Budget Airlines discussion thread - Asian and abroad (whine, praise, condemn etc)


petetherock

Senior Member
Oct 9, 2006
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#1
The phenomenon of budget airlines is something which has actually been around for more than a decade but has only become prevalent in Asia for less than 5 years.

It was envisaged as a radical alternative to buses, and traditional but more expensive carriers.

However it has not been all roses, and the thorns come in the form of increasing complaints about their services, which have left a lot of customers fuming.

There are 2 sides. The consumer who still thinks of SIA, MAS or other full price carriers, and expects services which albeit less than that of these traditional carrier, but still approximating them. Then when they board the planes (literally via steps), they quickly learn the meaning of budget, not only in price but also in service standards, feedback and dealing with emergencies. Singaporeans expect 2 dollars worth of service for a dollar’s price. That has to change.

Well, to me, these budget planes are like buses, do not expect more. So if they run late, that’s par, and if the planes don't turn up, that’s like buses.

However on the flip side, these airlines really are not prepared or do not wish to be bothered at all. There is no face, the phone lines are non-existent and if there is any change at all to their flights, or delays, they are unable or not willing to cope with the situation.

That becomes dangerous, especially in crisis situations like riots, natural disasters etc. The difference in service becomes so evident then. That little money we save becomes a pittance when we desperately try and find flights home.

Budget airlines are good in that they bring air travel to the masses. But they also need to understand the expectations of the customers and for their long term survival, they will need to buck up and leave a better impression. For every customer who complains about a bad experience, at least 5 more will stop using their services.

Travel business is dependent on repeat customers, that is why SIA can charge a premium. If the same budget cousins want a long life, they need to be more responsive or the potential customers or those who have been bitten before will beat a hasty retreat and choose other alternatives, like buses or pay more so they do not get treated like animals.

As the economy improves and people travel again, they will consider their options more carefully and with more money, they will certain vote with their wallets and choose the best compromise in travel experience. One which does not deplete the funds, yet makes them want to come back for more. Budget travel can be like dining at a good hawker stall. The wait is longer, yet the fare is cheap and makes you want to come back for more. Food for thought for the budget carriers.
 

petetherock

Senior Member
Oct 9, 2006
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#2
I had great experiences with Southwest Airlines in USA, Spirit Airlines and Easyjet, but the local ones have been quite poor.
 

#3
A flight from Changi Airport to Kuala Lumpur International Airport cost less than a cab ride from Jurong to Changi and as people always says, you get what you paid for.

Local budget airlines such as Tiger Aiways are modelled after Ryanair (infamous for planning to impose toilet surcharge), though I have better than expected customer services and hospitality on-board Air Asia and Firefly.
 

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petetherock

Senior Member
Oct 9, 2006
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#5
Actually with regards to this flight consider this:

Time from a typical home to Changi - 30-40min

Check in with luggage - at least 1 1/2 hrs

Time from KLIA to the city - 40-60min -it will cost about $35 RINGITT by train or worse if you get fleeced by the taxis.

So how much time and cost do you save compared to the buses?

Not much in reality. Plus the bus goes to the city right away.
 

Shen siung

Senior Member
May 21, 2008
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#6
I always advise anyone who intend to go from SIN-KUL via flight, consider the time spend is almost same, unless the ticket price is very attractive.

anyway, my vote for favorite budget flight have to go to AirAsia.
1. They seldom cancel flight last min nowadays, only 'consolidate' flight and inform passenger at least 2 weeks ahead
2. They seldom delay flights nowadays (but it happen 5-6 yrs ago when it 1st started in Malaysia), only for about 30 min sometimes.
3. They are very good in earning $$ for themselves - their ticket will never become cheaper once the date of flight is closer (Tiger will somewhat give cheaper ticket for non-peak season, weekdays, one or two week before the actual date, on certain route - I suspect is to attract more people to purchase)
4. They even fly beyond Asia! (of course most other budget airline did that too)

Disclaimer: I have no relation with AirAsia - I just really impress by the way they run the airline.
 

rotisiao

New Member
Nov 14, 2007
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#7
Having taken jetstar, airasia and tiger. I now always look to fly with AirAsia. Prices are very competitive when flying from Kuala Lumpur. I get delayed flights quite often with jetstar and tiger i feel is a notch down in terms of service.
 

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Shen siung

Senior Member
May 21, 2008
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#8
Having taken jetstar, airasia and tiger. I now always look to fly with AirAsia. Prices are very competitive when flying from Kuala Lumpur. I get delayed flights quite often with jetstar and tiger i feel is a notch down in terms of service.
I am agree with what you said.
E.g. Air Asia KUL-HKG (or other route) sometimes can be very cheap, even added the SIN-KUL; compare to SIN-HKG.

The only catch is sometimes difficult to transit in KL (SIN-KUL flight timing not so good), so sometimes (not always) either have to wait very long in KL (LCCT) before next flight, or must wait / stay overnight in KL before the next day early flight.

Also, Air Asia SIN-Bali always got better timing (at least one timing per day) then that offer by Jetstar.

My usual experience: to get very very good deal for Air Asia, have to book very very early (at least 5 month), and provided that is not peak season. Also, look for the time they give out free seats (0 + tax).
For Tiger, can be slightly late, say 2 month or 3 month before the date.
 

huaiwei

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Sep 21, 2003
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#9
Actually with regards to this flight consider this:

Time from a typical home to Changi - 30-40min

Check in with luggage - at least 1 1/2 hrs

Time from KLIA to the city - 40-60min -it will cost about $35 RINGITT by train or worse if you get fleeced by the taxis.

So how much time and cost do you save compared to the buses?

Not much in reality. Plus the bus goes to the city right away.
Depends bah. I will still choose plane over buses for the following reasons:

By Air
- From my home to airport by public bus only 30 mins, and very cheap. Can take MRT some more.
- I used to obey the 2 hour rule, but I am smarter now. Since I fly light, I just appear 1 hour before, sometimes even less.
- The flight time is always 30-40 mins.
- I take the bus shuttle to KL Sentral. Costs just RM10 one way and takes 1 hour. Alternatively, there are buses which goes from KLIA to your hotel direct for just RM15 one way.

By Bus
- From my home to the bus takes at least 45 mins by public bus, depending on which company. I hate those from Beach Road the most, or they stop at Bukit Timah with no MRT in sight.
- Travelling from the pickup point to either causeway is dependent on local traffic conditions. And then you have to hope there are no major jams at the causeways. Total travel time is 5 hours on average, provided no major jams anywhere along the route.
- I find it harder to get from the drop-off point to get to your specific hotel within KL itself, unless you are familiar with the local bus network, or your hotel is near an LRT station.

In both scenarios above, I avoid taking cabs for a shoestring budget. Even then, the only obvious benefit if I take cabs is when getting to the hotel in KL.

And finally, air travel is still much much safer than bus travel. ;)
 

Shen siung

Senior Member
May 21, 2008
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#10
Also, nowadays the budget airline can be 'not so budget' sometimes.
best is to compare with other non budget air

Example, in DEC this year, Silkair still got seats to Siem Reap and cost about SGD345 return (if fly weekdays), but Jet Star is selling 300 for single trip.
 

huaiwei

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#11
Hmm SQ one-way ticket from KUL to SIN for just $80 all in on weekdays. Nearly bought that 3 weeks ago due to an emergency while on holiday there, and its cheaper than any other airline include all the LCCs!
 

Shen siung

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May 21, 2008
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#12
Hmm SQ one-way ticket from KUL to SIN for just $80 all in on weekdays. Nearly bought that 3 weeks ago due to an emergency while on holiday there, and its cheaper than any other airline include all the LCCs!
Yes agree.
SIN-KUL is a 'competitive' route, many flights daily. sometimes MH also giving SGD92 return; cheapest by AirAisa is about SGD85; while Tiger can get SGD70++. of course all above mentioned price have to book early.
 

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Shen siung

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May 21, 2008
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#13
However on the flip side, these airlines really are not prepared or do not wish to be bothered at all. There is no face, the phone lines are non-existent and if there is any change at all to their flights, or delays, they are unable or not willing to cope with the situation.
I heard previously Tiger do not have a proper call line. My own experiences with Jet Star call line is the most pleasing. Meanwhile, Air Aisa's call line is still ok, but have to wait very very long.
 

huaiwei

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#14
Yes agree.
SIN-KUL is a 'competitive' route, many flights daily. sometimes MH also giving SGD92 return; cheapest by AirAisa is about SGD85; while Tiger can get SGD70++. of course all above mentioned price have to book early.
With the exception of SQ/MI, where you can oftentimes get that kind of price even if the flight is on the same day!
 

Shen siung

Senior Member
May 21, 2008
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#16
Let me start with other Non-Asia region budget airline :)
I've only experienced once on easyJet. They have an extensive network in Europe, mainly base from London.
Book the ticket online (as we did on other budget airline) 5 weeks ahead. If I can book 2 month in advance, I should be able to get 1 pound + tax, which is about 25-30 pound for single journey.
Everything (experience) is the same for the budget airline... But can't recall (opps!) whether they connect a sky-bridge or not.

Recently there is a report in a Malaysia newspaper complaining AirAsia not bother to connect the sky-bridge even when it is rain, thus I mentioned here I forgot whether the easyJet connect the sky-Bridge or not.
 

petetherock

Senior Member
Oct 9, 2006
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#17
Easy Jet uses Sky Bridges.

Even Swiss-air does not in Zurich for domestic flights.
 

petetherock

Senior Member
Oct 9, 2006
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#18
The news just reported a new collaboration between Jetstar & AirAsia...
This should be interesting....
 

GDSNP

New Member
Dec 17, 2003
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#19
Let me start with other Non-Asia region budget airline :)
I've only experienced once on easyJet. They have an extensive network in Europe, mainly base from London.
Book the ticket online (as we did on other budget airline) 5 weeks ahead. If I can book 2 month in advance, I should be able to get 1 pound + tax, which is about 25-30 pound for single journey.
Everything (experience) is the same for the budget airline... But can't recall (opps!) whether they connect a sky-bridge or not.

Recently there is a report in a Malaysia newspaper complaining AirAsia not bother to connect the sky-bridge even when it is rain, thus I mentioned here I forgot whether the easyJet connect the sky-Bridge or not.
If they use aerobridge, they gotta pay the ground handlers. Thats how they squeeze out the low fare.
 

Nikonnew

New Member
May 31, 2005
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#20
I have taken Tiger and Jet star, and by far, Tiger is probably the worst of the 2. And going by the complains people have about this carrier, my rating is not too far from the general opinion.

I understand that budget airlines means bare bone service, but what I could not understand is the rude way the air stewardess or should I say air waitresses, talk to the passengers.

I have discussed this with several people and the general opinion is "budget airline", what do you expect.?

But my opinion is, budget airline means, no free food, no free drinks, no free blanket, etc, but exercising a bit of couteousy will not cost the airline any extra $$$.

unless Tiger could monopolise a destination that nobody else will fly to, or else, I have probably just taken my last flight with them......thank you....but no thanks:thumbsd:
 

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