How to beat AirAsia’s b***s**t extra charges

Update: March 20, 2017: Refreshed this page with latest booking procedure.

When I used to travel frequently, I travelled with AirAsia a lot. I would buy tickets at dirt-cheap price several months in advance. I usually do take the flight but sometimes I have to forfeit the ticket because of work commitments.

Back then (2012 or so), AirAsia would sneakily include charges and taxes in the booking pages. Somehow you’d end up with strange extra services you never wanted in the first place. Here’s an updated version on how to avoid the baggage charge, insurance and bank charges.

cancel airasia booking charges
For this money saving activity, you will need

  • Internet connection
  • Browser
  • Direct debit e-payment method (eNETS in Singapore)

I am using a return flight from Singapore to Langkawi as an example.

 

Step 1: Pick a good price

Unless you are flying within the month, I recommend that you wait for a while for the promos to roll in. The AirAsia Facebook puts up updates about the sales frequently. I haven’t figured out the promo fares’ cycles but they come quite quick.

Plan as far in advance if you can and do not buy tickets at full price. If you are booking during the promo period, remember that a lot of people are doing the same so you need to strategize your booking.

cancel airasia booking charges

Step 2: Skip the value bundle

AirAsia will entice you with a Value Pack or the Premium Flex. It’s a good price if you’ve already need luggage and meal. But don’t pick this if you don’t need it.

cancel airasia booking charges

Step 3: Beat the charges: Luggage

Take note of your booking summary on the right. Thankfully AirAsia has stopped automatically including luggage and insurance into your booking.

I’ve been travelling with only a carry one for many of my trips now. It takes some getting used to but it is possible to stuff a laptop, two dresses and other things into one backpack.

cancel airasia booking charges

Step 4: Beat the charges: Insurance

At the pop-up, click No.

cancel airasia booking charges

A word of caution: I do not recommend having no insurance when travelling. I have an annual travel insurance by another company so I do not buy from AirAsia.

Step 5: Beat the charges: Processing fee

We are almost there!

The last fees that you will encounter is very much like the Boss level in video games. You will need that “Direct debit e-payment method” I prescribed up there. You’ll be paying less processing fee than if you use a credit or debit card.

It doesn’t mean that you can buy 10 person’s tickets in one transaction to even out the processing fee. It means it’s 10 x [processing fee]=A lot of wasted money.

cancel airasia booking charges

In Singapore, we can use ENets as the direct debit payment option, which eliminates the processing fee. Just change the currency to Singapore Dollar to get the ENets function.

cancel airasia booking charges

For other countries, there are other ways so please research before you start your payment.

If you are buying tickets departing from countries without your Direct Debit option, change the currency to the one your account is based to see if they have the option for you.

Step 6: Pre flying tip

Since its first days, AirAsia’s sneaky charges have been minimized by the company. That’s great for us.

Also, remember to use Web check-in because they might charge you extra at the counter.

That is all I have to impart. Go on your money saving journey, my friends!

 

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More about Liau Yun Qing

Yun Qing is a writer, improviser and curious person. She loves finding little adventures in life. In 2013, she went on a 130-day round-the-world trip. She wrote a book to help those who also want to go on a career break.

70 Comments

    1. I got charged processing fee $16/pax, 4 of us $64!!! it won’t show up until you complete the payment.

        1. Yesterday we were very lucky because of very busy traffic in the airport odf Don Mueng (Bangkok). When we made the check in at the counter the lady said we are only authorised to have 7Kg with 2 hand lugages. I had the double…14Kg! she said we have to pay 1200 THB there if not we could pay 2500thb at the gate!!!! We said we have not this money and try to go without paying. The traffic was quiet huge so at the gate nobody said nothing and we took the plane without paying the supposed 2500THB;
          BUT, I have been on AIR ASIA site after this trouble to see what was the real rule!!!! The lady said the truth!….. SO YOU BETTER CHECK BEFORE ON AIR ASIA site WHAT IS THE RULE for lugage FOR YOUR DESTINATION. It’s different for international and for domestic flights,and over all it’s not really logics!….. By exemple BANGKOK BALI (International flight!) you have to pay for luggage which is not cabin lugage and that exceed 7Kg,which is nothing ,if you have a computer and a camera!!!!! But On a domestic flight DENPASAR JAKARTA you can travel witk 15 kg free and hand luggage up to 7kg…..SO be carefull!

    1. I got charged 2400Yen for booking tickets for 2 as they was no direct-debit option for Japan site user. What a rip-off!

      I also heard that the seat cannot be reclined (WTF!?).

      1. Sorry to hear about the processing fee. It’s really annoying.
        The seats can’t be reclined too much but if it’s a short trip, it’s not too bad.

        1. Hi there, I’m struggling with a weight upgrade being added automatically when I’m trying to do my web check in. I scrolled down to look for an option for not adding luggage but there is nothing, just different weight and prices. HELP!

    1. AA managed to sneak a $12 insurance in on me when I bought baggage allowance while checking in online the night before!!
      I will fight it with Visa, as in my view, I did not authorize it.

    1. I found the credit card “processing fee” per person per flight exorbitant, too. As I was looking to book a promo flight, I was quite disappointed that the “processing fee” would cost more than the actual tickets. And because the processing fee was added only on the very last part of the online ordering process, I felt a bit deceived, too. The direct debit option for the Philippines (Dragonpay) is something I am not quite familiar with, so I will be looking at Cebu Pacific and Air Philippines for other options.

    1. Everyone, you can change the currency to Australian Dollars and use PayPal to pay to skip the processing fees.

      1. I got charged 48 extra frigging dollars. Damn! Btw, what you mean Andy? So if I choose Australian currency, and use PayPal option, there won’t be a processing fee for me?

      1. Thanks to Andy note I saved for their stupid fee, thanks for the PayPal notice! :)
        Btw- what is better- Visa & MasterCard currency or the PayPal currency? I’ve chosen PayPal and the urrency wasn’t so competitive..

    1. Reblogged this on The Nomad Damsel and commented:
      AirAsia has a lot of s^&%t hidden costs. I hate hidden costs. Read this! Stop giving AirAsia so much money.

    1. As of Aug 7th 2013, AA is charging RM4 per booking for ant direct debit payment as well!! WTF!!!

        1. YUP!! Luckily Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is also having PROMO prices quite frequent as of late…I got my KUL-LGK for RM150 round trip. And my KUL-BKK round trip for RM399!!! Of course, with FULL service!!!

          No stupid processing fees for paying with Debit and Credit cards!!!

    1. Indonesia – AirAsia now requires you to pay for 15kg checked luggage but charges it as an add on – I feel this is nothing short of theft

    1. There are actually still charges if you select the Direct Debit option. Just that it’s lesser than the credit card option

        1. Another problem i faced now with the current promo. When i select Flight+Hotel to Kota Kinabalu for 21-24 oct 2013, it gives me a free return ticket as advertised. But if i only select Flight, the return flight is chargeable and is even more expensive than what I saw yesterday…sigh…

    1. Hey, thanks for the info, Saved money by getting rid of the flight insurance crap! Shame Expedia didn’t mention that you gotta pay for your luggage when i booked the ticket.

    1. Brilliant mate. Very useful tips with screen shots provided by you. Thanks for taking your valuable time, which is going to help many who dont have experience with booking Air Asia. I have kind of followed your tips but couldn’t skimp on the luggage and seat preference, since would always prefer the aisle seat and didn’t want to take a gamble. The avoidance of the credit and debit card for payment is very handy. It is a farcical measure – cant understand why such exhorbitant processing charges

    1. Somehow I have just been scammed for the insurance too. I cannot web check-in without buying the insurance. I unchecked insurance option in the booking stage, and have not been charged for it, but the site will not let me check-in now without buying it. Only $10, but that is beside the point. The insurance is worthless. Anyone who is interested just take a quick google for those who have bought it and needed to claim…

      1. NOTE: I just found a fineprint “Cancel Insurance Here” link at the bottom of the page. This will remove the insurance! Unbelievable. Simply leaving the box unchecked will not work

        1. Thank you for this! I had to go through the checking in twice because the first time I missed the tiny ‘cancel insurance’ link, and tried to cancel it on the next page (which cancels your whole check-in instead).

          Thanks to your post I knew what I was looking for the second time through to avoid it. The way its written it strongly implies you have to have their insurance to move forward, very sneaky.

    1. This NEW thing : a BIG SHOT visa card, another scam. The AirAsia team ahes been very creative!
      NOW you have no choice but to pay the extra fee of 51 euro at the end of the booking.
      Big SHOT visa cards payments are not charged with this fee, but the card is only available for customers with Malaysian residence address!!! WTF????
      Ooh, and euhh…don’t take the effort to write their costumers service : they DON’T write back!

    1. I’ve just tried to book a return flight with this unfAirAsia.com mob. Their website is crap – full of errors.
      The site is not secure (no https connection) until ther passenger details page and even then it doesn’t reveal it’s validation details to the server. The date on an outward flight changes to the same as the return date when you enter the return date – you then have to re-enter the outward date! All of these extra charges you have to out manoevre reminds me of Ryanair.com several years ago, before the European Union made their preposterous card fees illegal. Of course now they try other means to part you from your money.
      what riles me most is that it gives you a price against which it states the word ‘TOTAL’. Now what part of TOTAL does a payment processing fee come into ? It doesn’t. Therefore the use of the word TOTAL is misleading at best, false description most certainly and arguably fraudulent. This is legitimate theft aka daylight robbery. If these guys set out to deceive and piss off as many customers as possible, they win 100% of the time. On the flipside: customer satisfaction score 0%. Rant over. Now Aireen Omar AirAsia CEO are you listening ???

    1. You people are stupid. Whining about little fees. It’s a budget airline and all budget airlines charge fees. Nothing is hidden in fine print. It’s all clear as day. Try reading. Air Asia’s flights are cheaper than Cebu Pacific for the most part so even with processing fees in usually comes out cheaper. Try swimming if you’re too cheap to pay the costs.

    1. Just booked a few trips recently in AirAsia and I must say that these sneaky charges are just not quite friendly especially if you don’t need them. I just realised that the processing fee for Credit and debit cards is per person instead of per transaction which I thought previously. Makes much more sense to go through eNet.

    1. Having flown with AirAsia twice 2 years back, I utterly hate the airline for their sneaky fees and poor services. More important on their flight safety; the 2015 complete aircraft hull loss over Surabaya due to cost cutting on maintenance and it had been hardly reported as such; this is more than a good excuse not to fly with this rubbish airline. WL

    1. Ever bought insurance on a flight to Penang but flight was delayed by 11hours. I filed a claim as I have purchased the Airasia insurance. After going through so much procedures, I received a official letter from the insurer stating that this delay is not covered by the Airasia insurance. If this is not covered by insurance, then what is being covered? From then onwards, I never purchase the Airasia insurance.

    1. It is definitely a collusion between credit card companies and budget airlines. We don’t see such exorbitant charges by regular airlines even on promotions nor for hotel bookings.

      If the regular airlines drop their rates, these budget guys will get killed because their sneakiness does not generate goodwill.

    1. I added on check in baggage to my flight after purchasing my flight ticket(paid for flight ticket prior to adding on). But, I haven’t paid for the addon. I’ve decided not to have the checked baggage now, but I can’t cancel. My question is, will I be denied boarding (I already have my boarding pass) since I have some pending payments for the addon?

      If possible please email your reply to me. Thanks.

      1. (Replied by email but reposting here)
        It’s likely that you won’t be denied boarding because they will cancel the add on in 24 hours or something if it’s not paid.

    1. Don’t count on no issues! In all likelyhood they will say something like “you must pay the rest or you will be denied boarding”. I would bet money that this is the case. Please post a follow-up so we know what happened to you.

    1. i can’t remove the extra 20kg baggage in returning flight, i only remove the departure baggages. how to do it?

      1. In step 3 (luggage) [there are actually 2 step 3s in this tutorial :)), you’ll notice the SIN-LGK AND LGK-SIN tabs in the first picture. click on each tab to remove the luggage.

    1. Anybody has the experience of being denied boarding because (they said) the ticket has not been paid? Today I just experienced it, and I had not enough time to pay it cash because by the time they said it has not been paid, i was referred to another counter and i had to wait for 15 minutes roughly (due to long queue), and then the boarding gate closed (45 minutes before departure). Got to buy a new ticket (which is more expensive and it’s not direct flight) and spend one more night at the airport. In short, Air Asia got no money that I have expended but issued my itinerary and didn’t whatsoever tell me that the ticket has not been paid. Anyway, my bank account has been charged for the ticket purchase. I’m starting to think that they are frauding me.

    1. You need to take into account that they load the exchange rate if you change it from MYR.

      For my last purchase it was:

      575MYR with card fee included when charged in MYR
      585MYR with POLi fee included when charged in AUD – even though the POLi fee was a lot smaller than the card fee.

    1. “Step 2: kick the value bundlle”
      I have not found any button to unclick the value bundle, how do you do that?

        1. Yes, but i have not found a way to avoid adding the bundle, it doesnt work without adding it. There is no option to avoid the bundle. Does anyone else have this problem?

        1. Hello Ian, I’ve had no problems not adding the bundle. Just click continue and it will bring you to another page without the bundle.
          Later on they will try to sneakily add luggage. You just need to follow Step 3.

    1. Looks like the option of removing the default check-in baggage is now removed! Is there any hack to keep the baggage pricing out of the ticket?

    1. Same issue with luggage. Air Asia forces you to buy the excess baggage. Very disgusting.

    1. There are actually 2 cards which you can use to eliminate the card processing fees,one of it even gives you some discount of your baggage and meal if there is any. Not sure if those outside Malaysia can use these cards

      Airasia ezpay card offers no processing fees, and also RM2 off each baggage and meal.so if you include a baggage and meal you save a total of RM4 on top of the no processing fees

    1. Thanks, saved credit card processing fees under ur guide.
      Mobile website do not have enets, so I logon to web version and found it,

      Thanks

    1. Hi, does anyone know if Air asia will charge payment processing fees when I purchase add-ons after I have purchased the ticket ? I called their customer service and they don’t know.

    1. Hi YQ, thanks for the article, I need some help here. I am charged with $32 ($16 per person) for the processing fee by AirAsia when I picked the credit/debit option. When I picked eNets as the option, the booking fee becomes $4 in total (for 2 persons). Just wondering how does eNets work? Does it mean I can pay via AXS/SAM once I have booked my flights online? Will there be additional fees charged by AXS other than $4? Please advise.

      1. Hi Ken, didn’t catch this as soon as I should. You pay using Internet Banking so get your bank token ready. It’s not paid through AXS or SAM.

    1. I knew there had to be some way to get around that.. thanks!

    1. Hi YQ
      I cannot find the e Nets option in the mobile apps now. Do they remove this option already?
      Is it only available in the computer website?

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