[Note: March 6. 2016] This is the original “How to beat AirAsia’s b***s**t extra charges” before its Web site revamp in November 2011. For those booking with the new interface, the new post lies under the old title.
Since the revamp, there has been changes to booking so all of the screencaps are not applicable. A lot of the angst in the original post are not applicable too.
START OF OLD POST
Other titles considered: “Tips for first time AirAsia bookers” or “How I saved S$80 by not clicking blindly when booking with AirAsia”.
First thing first, I am a frequent AirAsia passenger and I’m glad that “now everyone can fly” because of it. Thanks @tonyfernandes.
What I’m not glad is that AirAsia hides its extra fees sneakily. So sneaky that you wouldn’t really know how on earth that fee for extra baggage, seats or insurance (seriously?) came into your bill.
If you are an experienced AirAsia flight booker, you won’t need my tips. But if you are a first timer or just haven’t been on the site for some time, here are some ways you can beat the BS charges.
For this money saving activity, you will need
- Internet connection
- Direct debit e-payment method
- Reading glasses
Step 1: Pick a good price
Unless you are flying within the month, I’d 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. For example, last week there was a sale for Sep. 2012 to Jan. 2013 tickets. Today, the sale for Asia tickets from April to August just started. (And I snagged S$97 tickets from Singapore to Kota Kinabalu.)
Plan as far in advance if you can and do not buy tickets at full price.
Step 2: Beat the BS charges I–Luggage
When you have selected the flight with the best price and time combo, you are ready to eliminate those sneaky fees.
The first extra charge that will hit you is the baggage fee. Instead of the minimum 15kg baggage fees, AirAsia lists the 20kg as default. You can select the cheaper 15kg or even 0kg (if you are hardcore).
It takes practice to go from a 15kg traveller to a hand-carry only traveller. For me, I sometimes find myself getting the minimum luggage just so I can carry my face products with me.
Money saved with 0kg: S$15 one way (for default 20kg price).
Total saved: S$30
Step 3: Beat the BS charges II–Seat allocation
The next charge is seat allocation. If you are a solo traveller, you really do not need to pay the extra fees just so you can sit in front/by the aisle/at the back. Everyone will crowd at the aisle when the plane brakes anyway.
I was given the “Hot Seat” once (for free) but I didn’t feel that it was any better than the rest of the seats. Maybe the red faux leather was prettier than the boring black, but everything’s the same.
Unless you and your darling are two lovebirds who cannot bear to be apart (nice ad by the way, AirAsia) or you need to take care of your child/elderly, please be sensible and click “Remove Seat”, then “OK” in the pop-up then “Confirm and Continue” and “OK” in the pop-up.
Yes, it takes a minimum of 4 bloody clicks to tell it that you do not need to pick a seat.
Money saved with no seat allocation: S$15 one way.
Total saved: S$30+S$30=S$60
Step 4: Beat the BS charges III–Insurance
Well, I already have a yearly travel insurance so I really do not need any extra insurance. For you who don’t have insurance, it’d be OK for you to consider the one packaged with the AirAsia ticket.
If you have decided that you do not need AirAsia’s insurance, you’ll need to put on the reading glasses I wrote in the “You will need” list.
You first need to click [Cancel] and then Cancel in the pop up.
It’s really sneaky of them to put: “If you are sure you do not require travel insurance, please click [Cancel]”. Instead of the usual “OK!!!!!!”
Money saved with no insurance*: S$10.
Total saved: S$60+S$10=S$70
Step 5: Beat the BS charges IV–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.
If you pay using a credit or debit card, AirAsia will charge you something they call a “processing fee” for each flight that you take. 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.
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.
For other countries, there are other ways so please research before you start your payment.
Money saved with no processing fee: S$10 return trip.
Total saved: S$70+S$10=S$80
Step 6: S$80 richer (+pre flying tip)
So by being careful, I just saved myself S$80 for a single person return trip–enough to fund for another trip to a closer location! The amount also adds up if there are more travellers.
Also, remember to use Web check-in because they might charge you extra at the counter.
My tips is targeted at AirAsia. At my favorite money saving site: UK-based MoneySavingExpert, there’s extra tips on how to save money on budget flights with a focus on inter-Europe cheap flights.
That is all I have to impart. Go on your money saving journey, my friends!
* Money spent on hospitalization/lost luggage/natural disasters/Murphy’s Law because of no insurance: Priceless
You can’t afford not to buy insurance
Do you like budget flights? What was your cheapest ticket?