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

airasia booking

AirAsia revamped its Web site in November, changing all of booking pages. This is a refreshed version of the original “How to beat AirAsia’s b***s**t extra charges” with new screencaps and new step-by-step instructions.

Update: Feb 23, 2014. I’ve shifted some of the steps because AirAsia changed their sequence.

Update: Jan 13, 2013. Changing publishing date so the post will be higher up, ready for this round of Free Seats.

AirAsia Booking
AirAsia booking first page

AirAsia has revamped its whole Web site. Good news is, some of the sneaky charges in the previous booking procedure have been taken out.

However, there might be still some confusion with the booking, I’m doing up a new version of the guide too.

For this money saving activity, you will need

  • Internet connection
  • Browser
  • Direct debit e-payment method (save RM4 per journey)

I am using a return flight from Singapore to Kota Kinabalu as an example. Please ignore the exorbitant flight price.

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.

Step 2: Beat the charges I–Luggage

When you have selected the flight with the best price and time combo, you are ready to eliminate those sneaky fees.

At the page where you fill in the passengers’ details, you will come across the first extra charge–baggage fee.

AirAsia lists the 20kg as default. You can select 0kg if you are hardcore.

Get rid of AirAsia Baggage Fee
Get rid of AirAsia Baggage Fee

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.

Be careful, you will need to deselect luggage twice on the same page if you have booked a return trip.

Money saved with 0kg: S$17 one way (for default 20kg price).
Total saved: S$34

Step 3: Beat the charges II–Insurance

With the revamp, AirAsia has made it much easier to skip buying insurance. But it’s still a bit sneaky.

To remove insurance,

  1. untick the box
  2. click  [Cancel]
  3. click [OK]
Cancel AirAsia Insurance
Cancel AirAsia Insurance

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.

Money saved no insurance S$12.
Total saved: S$46

Step 3: Beat the charges III–Seat allocation

Hurray! There is no sneaky extra charge here.

Just head straight to Confirm on the lower right.

AirAsia seat selection
AirAsia seat selection

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 do not add any seats.

No sneaky charges. Hurray!.
Total saved: S$34

Step 5: Beat the 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.

[Update Sep 16, 2013] Since a month ago or so, AirAsia has started charging processing fee for direct debit payments as well. However, you will still save a measly RM4 if you use direct debit.

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.

AirAsia Direct Debit
AirAsia Direct Debit

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.

Money saved with no processing fee S$16 return trip.
Total saved: S$62

Step 6: S$62 richer (+pre flying tip)

So by being careful, I just saved myself S$62 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 are 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!

Related posts

Do you like budget flights? What was your cheapest ticket?

How to book AirAsia Free Seats

airasia free seats

It’s that time of the year when AirAsia has its “Free Seats” sale. This time, the sale will be held on the coming Monday, Oct 29 at 0:00 GMT +8.

Unfortunately, I probably won’t be able to book those Free Seats because I am still travelling at the start of the sale.

However, I’ve whipped up a few tips so you can successfully book those Free Seats* (airport tax and service charge not included).

Before you go around saying, “Hey, why do I still need to pay if it’s a Free Seats sale?”, remember, the plane ride itself costs nothing but you pay the usual airport tax, service charge. You can beat secret extra charges too if you know where to find them.

These RM0 sales was once a really rare event. But AirAsia had two of these Free Seats sales just this May and September. It’s great that it’s getting more frequent. This also means that if you cannot book your flights in this round, the other round will come soon.

Are you ready to book those Free Seats? Let’s go! (PS The following tips are adapted from a guide by AirAsia. Even if you have read the guide, I have a few tips based on my booking experience so please read on.)

Preparation before sale day

You should prepare for the sale by following the list below a few days before the sale. Doing it on the day of booking will cost you time and even make you lose your Free Seat.

Step 1: Sign up for an account
Even if you will only book from AirAsia once, sign up for an account as this will cut down the time you make bookings later.

You will be able to save your travel information (such as passport number, passport expiry date, phone number etc) to the account as well. You will need these information when you make the booking.

Step 2: Register your Family and Friends list
Once you have an account, register your travelmates’ names and travel information in the Family and Friends list.

This list saves the travel information of your Family and Friends so you can add them into your booking with only a few clicks. (Similar to Step 1, you will need the personal information of those travelling with you.)

Tip: If you or your travelmate’s passport is expiring around the dates you want to book, just give a pretend expiry date. You can change the passport number and date later after you’ve made the booking.

Step 3: Figure out the routes and dates you want to fly
There are only a few “Free” tickets for each flight so if those RM0 tickets are snatched up, you will get slightly more expensive tickets. This is why you need to be quick and plan really far ahead.

As the tickets are usually for dates that around half a year earlier, you have to figure out which are the best dates to travel. This includes finding out if there are long weekends or public holidays which you can take advantage of.

Also, it’s not worth going on trips where you reach too late or leave too early because you will waste half day’s leave (or your precious holiday time) going to the airport or flying back.

Step 4: Have two or three backups
Even if you are clever enough to plan your trip around public holidays, other buyers are thinking the same. That’s why it’s important to have a few backup destinations or dates.

Without backups, changing dates while booking might be easy if you are a solo traveler. But if you are travelling in a group, make sure everyone is fine with the backup dates.

Step 5: Familiarize yourself with AsiaAsia’s booking system
Practice makes perfect so go ahead and pretend to book a few tickets until you’ve reached the page where you actually need to pay money.

This way, you will also see where the tricky extra charges are laid out. My post on how to beat AirAsia’s b***s*** charges tells you how to avoid those fees.

AirAsia also has a nice guide on how to book tickets for novice bookers.

On the date of the sale…

Tip 1: Book early or at a weird timing
I don’t think I’ve been lucky enough to book a Free Seat in the first hour of launch because the servers are usually too busy.

But I’ve had success booking at strange timings like early in the morning, in the office (don’t tell my boss. Shh…) or some days after the initial craze.

For the last few sales, AirAsia has implemented a “Waiting Room” system where you wait for the servers to be less busy before you are brought to the booking page. Make sure you have enough time to wait for your turn when making the booking.

Tip 2: Book through mobile site
There was a year when I booked my free seat through the mobile site and managed to snag one or two free seats. Unfortunately, I could only pay by credit card so there was the extra credit card processing fee.

Tip 3: Be patient!
This tip is actually targeted at myself. I run out of patience when trying to book and that doesn’t really help with the booking experience.

Do you have any tips to share?

That is all I have for now. I’ll update this page if I think of any new tips. If you are a AirAsia veteran, please share your tips for booking Free Seats.

Until my next post, have a safe trip.

Further reading: How to beat AirAsia’s secret extra charges

Welcome, Readers from AirAsia blog!

I was at a travel blogging workshop when I found out through Twitter that AirAsia blog published my A Day in Osaka post. (Check out the post at the AirAsia blog if you haven’t read it yet.)

A Day in Osaka on AirAsia blog
A Day in Osaka on AirAsia blog

A big welcome to new readers (and a virtual high five to old readers).

If you are new to the blog, here are some topics and posts on the blog that might interest you:
Budget travelling
How to beat AirAsia’s b***s**t extra charges (Yes, I love you AirAsia, but the bullshit charges should be opt in.)
6 tips for a pleasant budget flight

AirAsia destinations
Japan
Skip JR Pass, take long distance night bus
Stayed: Capsule Ryokan Kyoto

Vietnam
Party signs in Hoi An

Singapore
5 free touristy things to do in Singapore
24 hours in Singapore

Malaysia
Shopping for vintage clothing in Kota Kinabalu
8 reasons you should visit Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Extra
Have you tried train travelling? I heard trains are the new planes: Tips on taking train from Singapore to Malaysia

If you have any questions about travelling in Singapore/travelling solo as a female/travelling solo as a shy person, drop me an e-mail : yqtravelling[at]gmail.com, tweet me or even comment down below (unless you’re too shy, I understand that).

Until the next post!

-YQ

[Retired post] How to get rid of AirAsia extra charges

[Note: Nov 13. 2012] This is the original “How to beat AirAsia’s b***s**t extra charges” before its Web site revamp in November. 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.

Continue reading “[Retired post] How to get rid of AirAsia extra charges”

Going home for the new year

20120119-160348.jpg
Happy Chinese New Year! AirAsia gave me some surprise angpow packets–nice touch considering it’s a budget airline.
I found the staff canteen at Terminal 1 of Changi Airport. Food here is local and cheaper than the restaurants at the airport. (Actually, airport food here isn’t as inflated as other countries.)
I’ll be home for a week to rest/eat/spend time with family. To be honest, I didn’t bring any new clothes with me (not that I have much to begin with). The red (festive) dress I have with me is about three years old!!

Thailand, my 2012 destination

A post inspired by the Travel Belles:

Welcome to Across the Cafe Table where every second Wednesday we ask a question and share our answers

Question this month: In 2012 where do you most want to go but haven’t yet, & why?

Thai temple in Penang

I’ve not set foot in the Land of Smiles yet. It seems to be the destination to go for Malaysians and Singaporeans. Of course, growing up on the other side of the South China Sea means it will be a bit more difficult for me to get air tickets there.

I heard that Bangkok is wonderful for its clothes/food/cosmetics/shopping/everything/people/temples. My mom said Chiang Mai was nice. And then there’s the Thai towns just across the Malaysian borders.

If it’s for a shopping or eating trip in Bangkok, I have plenty of airlines to pick from. In fact, AirAsia just added another flight in the late evening.

Or, I could take the sleeping bunk on the Malaysian train and take a whole 24 hours to get to Bangkok.

So many choices! I must visit Thailand by the end of the year.