Monday, March 23, 2015

Air Asia Premium Flex Not so Flex


Generally I buy the normal low fare ticket, but as my purchase for this time I felt my schedule was not that firm due to commitments, I opted to buy the Air Asia Premium Flex, mainly for the flexi-flight option.
Among the main benefit as per AA Premium Flex website :


And also at AA Premium Flex FAQ states 2 Flight Changes - up to 2 hours before scheduled time of departure time of the original flight with no Flight Change Fee, fare                     differences may apply.

So, I found this a good benefit of AA. Yes, no refund if new fare is cheaper, but at least I avoid the exorbitant (to me) change flight fees (can't recall how much I kena the other day). So to my understanding (which proved poor) was "Hei, if I have to re-schedule, as long as I go to AA website and find fares that are LOWER or the SAME as my current fare, I am good". So yes, it would be worthwhile paying the premium now for this flexibility. 

But guess what, let the pictures do the talking - note pictures taken at same time of day doing enquiry on AA website. 

Change Flight using Premium Flex

So to change my ticket, which is supposed to be no change fees applied, I would be paying RM288 per ticket. BUT If I go directly to AA website and purchase new tickets (as below) for same day and time, only RM209. So relatively the same seat on AA via change ticket costs me RM79 more per person!


Purchase New Flight


 I did send a query via AA online form. Kudos (I was happily surprised with the timely response ~3 days). Below is their response

Thank you for writing to AirAsia.



In response to your email, we do apologise for the inconvenience caused, however please be informed that promotional fare is only applicable to new flight booking and not when guest attempt to perform flight change on date/time.

We may advise guest flight change date/time as below;

5.3 Flight Change: Once a booking number has been issued, flight changes are subject to the following terms: Inside of forty-eight (48) hours prior to the scheduled flight departure time, no changes are allowed. The charges for flight change outside of forty-eight (48) hours prior to the scheduled flight departure time are provided for in the Fee Schedule at this link http://www.airasia.com/ot/en/our-fares/fees-and-charges.page?, subject to the following conditions:

  1. If a lower fare is available, the difference in fares will not be refunded to the passenger;
  2. If the new flight booked is in a higher fare class than that of the cancelled booked flight, the difference in fares shall be paid by the passenger before the cancellation or change can be made;
  3. The change is not confirmed until we issue you a new Itinerary and/or booking number.
  4. Changes on route(s) are not allowed.

Flight change can be done via “Manage My Booking” or at our nearest sales counter/office.

While performing flight change on date/time, at the right side of the screen, a booking summary will be shown for guest reference if changes if confirm. Guest may also check by the difference between the New Fare – Old Fare (air fare only).

Should you need any further assistance, please submit online form (http://www.airasia.com/my/en/e-form.page). For simple inquiry, please feel free to check our AskAirAsia portal at (http://www.airasia.com/ask/), follow us at our Twitter account, or approach our Live Chat service at (http://www.airasia.com/my/en/live-chat.page).

Thank you for choosing AirAsia.
                        

 Key thing here is " however please be informed that promotional fare is only applicable to new flight booking and not when guest attempt to perform flight change on date/time. "

So to me, it is not really that worthwhile, (agak rugi) coz once you buy premium flex, yes you can change BUT you no longer can enjoy any promotional fare. So let's do some maths, say if you didn't need the other premium flex benefits like luggage, meal and selecting your seats, based on the above picture (I can't recall my original price difference between premium flex and low fare).

If I bought low fare at RM109, and just couldn't fly on that day, I loose RM109. Then I again purchase another ticket few months later at RM109, I would have ended up paying RM218 in total. (yes ticket prices change, but I could wait for a sale to buy a new ticket - so it could be higher then RM109 or WAY lower then RM109). BUT, in my case I would have paid RM209 for first time premium flex fare, then another RM79 = RM288!

So that's an additional of RM70 effectively in my total cost of buying a premium flex and making changes, versus saving RM70 if I just buy two tickets! Which in reality if I never change my tickets upon buying premium fare, would already be ~RM100 more expensive. NOTE :  I didn't do that math to calculate how much meal + baggage + seat selection + any additional taxes is buy new ticket vs change ticket is. But bottom line, my own understanding based on my knowledge today is that if you are buying premium flex mainly just for the flexibility of changing dates in the future, probably not really worth it. Just buy the cheap fare, if you can fly. Save already. If have to forfeit and book new ticket, as long as your are flexible to wait for promo fair, just buy a new ticket. Lagi PUAS.


PS - another thing I don't get - haven't follow up is , their website says below

2 Flight Changes - up to 2 hours before scheduled time of departure time of the original flight with no Flight Change Fee, fare                     differences may apply.
·         Flight Change has to be done at least 3 hours before the scheduled time of departure of the new flight for AirAsia (AK, QZ, FD,                      PQ, Z2, I5) and at least 4 hours before the scheduled time of departure of the new flights for  AirAsia X (D7, XJ).

 
Q14. If I have already checked in my Premium Flex flight, can I still change my flight?
Yes, you may. If you change your flight more than 48 hours before departure, you may change your flight through ‘Manage My Booking’, sales office, call centre or airport sales counter. If you change your flight less than 48 hours before departure, you may only change your flight through ‘Manage my booking’ and airport sales counter.



but the email reply I posted in the beginning says :
 Once a booking number has been issued, flight changes are subject to the following terms: Inside of forty-eight (48) hours prior to the scheduled flight departure time, no changes are allowed.

Am I missing something or?

How about you? Do share your experience. I've got another experience 'in motion', will update once I get a reply from AA.

Oh, I and just realized, I can't reply to Air Asia's initial email reply to seek clarification on the 2 hrs vs 48 hrs to cancel or book a new flight, since the email is a 'DoNotReply' email. If I want to follow up on their reply means I either have to in their own words do the below. Let's see la, If I larat, for now will just publish this blog, and tag them / post it on their FB. Hope this helps people make informed decision as of date, I couldn't find any info on their website saying changing flights via Premium Flex makes you in-eligible for promo fare (based on my googling, I could be wrong)...

"Should you need any further assistance, please submit online form (http://www.airasia.com/my/en/e-form.page). For simple inquiry, please feel free to check our AskAirAsia portal at (http://www.airasia.com/ask/), follow us at our Twitter account, or approach our Live Chat service at (http://www.airasia.com/my/en/live-chat.page)."

 

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

hi, i think you should make this viral la, the other day i just kena. I bought premium flex from kl-sydney for around rm1200, then i wanted to change flight date and they charged me around rm 2600. So, final cost would be the fare difference which was 2600-1200 = rm 1400. Checking back airasia website and the premium flex ticket for the date i wanted is also around rm 1400. What a waste of money, i could save Rm1200 if i never bought the premium flex ticket at the first place. They got to be clear on this la. i know la they want to make money but by playing with ambiguity like this, it will just make people hate them la IMO. How could they say the price on their website is promo price while they will compare with their own price which only God knows what. really disappointed with airasia la.

Lukman Iqbal said...

Hi , thanks. Please go ahead and share on FB or other means and medium. I have posted on my FB and shared with many friends. So help make it viral.

Henry Chai said...

Too bad i didn't read this earlier. I just bought premium flex yesterday cos i can't confirm what time my meeting ends. If only i'd come across this before i purchased the ticket.

Lukman Iqbal said...

Hei Henry, yup, would help if you can help make it viral / share it on FB

Anonymous said...

I experienced only bad AA ! Highest profit, no(low) customer service.

In vietnam the plane depart/closed gare 10 minutes before shedule, because their pc/windows computer clock was 10 minutes ahead, i passed the fligt, coz ny luggage was already discharged.

One time I filled the AA booking form by autofill finction. Unfortunately the system used my village name instead of surname, i didnt double check and confirmed booking... as I received itinerary it was too late. I tried several time change of name online as it was said on faq, i sent email to AA,
result, i have to buy expensive new ticket again, and my further experience in past, in thailand, if there are not enought passengers, they just cancel the flight.
Great... how can they AA become best asian airline for some years... by cheat? Or ?
I avoid any time to book AA, coz its never worth the price. Nearly better walk than fly AA again.

magwal said...

Note, they will also charge you a new "Airport tax", even if you paid that for your first ticket. So, kind of a new ticket +x2 airport tax, that is what they call full flexibility.

 

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