Saturday, 31 March 2012

Airfare Comparison Survey 2: AirAsia Cheap, Nasty and More Expensive Than Full Service Airlines


Breaking News!





MORE EXPENSIVE THAN BUDGET AIRLINE COMPETITORS




MORE EXPENSIVE THAN LUXURY FULL-SERVICE AIRLINES







Yes, the result of our first quarter 2012 Airfare Survey is in, and two of the world's most renowned airlines, KLM & Qatar, turn out to be cheaper than AirAsia - even before any of its  '+++' extras have been factored in.

Think about that for a minute. A skanky 'cut-price' budget airline - yes, we understand the irony in that label - is more expensive than a number of the best airlines in the world. How can shoddy AirAsia be more expensive?

Once you're hit by a few of those extras - that passengers get for free on any full-service luxury carrier - AirAsia [US$239] skyrockets to well above KLM [US$129] and Malaysian Airlines [US$207]. Still think AirAsia is cheap?






Vs




In case you think we're making all this up, all of the Survey airfares were submitted to - and have been independently verified by - Mr Ben Sandilands, Australia's foremost aviation journalist who boasts thirty years of airline observation in the Asia-Pacific. The parameters of the survey are below.

This from Sandiland's 'Plane Talking' regards the Airfare Comparison Survey: "A day before Air Asia X starts its Sydney-Kuala Lumpur flights a valid fare comparisons on the Air Asia Not Me website suggests that the airline will struggle to convince all but the laziest of shoppers that it is consistently cheaper at various value points. That comparison is supported by the screen grabs on the Air Asia Not Me site, never mind its reference to myself."

Why would you fly cattle class when you go 'first'?  Forget about that, why fly with an airline renowned for leaving its passengers stranded? Here's an airline that is insolvent that will not - or can not - refund passengers after deserting them on the French, UK, India and NZ routes in 2011-12.


Remember our 2011 Survey?

A few moppets - probably AirAsia employees - in the Lonely Planet and Trip Adviser forums suggested the 2011 Survey wasn't a fair comparison, that we had conducted it immediately before Christmas when all AirAsia 'cheap' tickets had been snapped up. By that logic, the various full service airlines' cheaper tickets should have been snapped up too, but what the heck. 





"AirAsia +++"




Notice our plus symbols "+++"? That means the AirAsia price - which was already a couple of hundred dollars more than a full-service airline - is not even 'all in'. You still had to choose seats, so you could sit with your family. Of course, you had more than carry-on luggage, so that was going to cost you dearly. It's not a short flight, so you probably needed some sustenance.

For a family of four, we estimate that is going to add another A$1000-1500 to your cattle-class flight. All free, including legroom, on a full-service.

So, we decided to conduct this NEW survey, pricing tickets nine months before takeoff. Presumably this one plays to the strengths of AirAsia, where you have many months to book the 'cheap' AirAsia tickets. And the result?

Those prices at the head of this article, well, they are the prices you get when you book AirAsia early.  AirAsia are already more expensive than full-service carriers. And those fares rely upon their extremely limited promo tickets. It all goes downhill from here. Check again in September! 

Let's try comparing apples with apples. We will level the playing field by showing the airfares to include the 'extras' that AirAsia charge for, but that don't show up in an initial head-to-head comparison of basic fares. Consider that renowned airline, Qatar Airways, is already  cheaper Singapore to Bali than AirAsia, before they start piling in the added extras at hugely inflated prices. Why fly unsafe, badly maintained AirAsia, rather than luxury Qatar?




You've seen the 2011 Survey result for Singapore to Perth at Christmas where AirAsia was easily the most expensive. Ready for another one? It's a choice between British Airways and AirAsia on the Singapore to Perth route.

This time, the only 'extra' AirAsia could slug us with was that we included a suitcase weighing 25kg. So, how does no-frills cut-price AirAsia hit us for additional costs this time around? You'll love it. This is so bad, it's funny.



Firstly, AirAsia passengers must make a stopover in Kuala Lumpur [... so you actually start the journey heading in the opposite direction to your destination], while the British Airways jet is half way to Perth. But the funniest part is that they then charge you extra for the plane change in KL.

Yes, they charge you four separate times for your baggage - once for the leg from Singapore to KL, and then again from KL to Perth, and same on your return. No, we're serious. In the end, AirAsia charge S$120 for something BA give you free. Plus British Airways is easily cheaper than AirAsia overall.





So, as you inconveniently overshoot Singapore on the return journey for another plane change in KL, ask yourself if AirAsia was a terrific idea. British Airways offered you a generous luggage allowance, along with food, alcohol, seating allocation, inflight entertainment and terrific service.

And what is full-service comfort? Is it the free food and booze? Maybe it's the inflight entertainment and extremely spacious seats, or the fact that you chose your seat for free? Maybe it's something as simple as asking for a blanket, a newspaper, or a coloring book to entertain your children. Pragmatists would enjoy the fact that flights arrive and depart on schedule.

Of course, you'd never find KLM cancelling routes and failing to honour refunds after months of passengers going out of their brains. Take some time and read our articles on AirAsia dire financial status HERE & HERE  - which might suggest why the airline is charging like a badly wounded bull.





THE SURVEY *


The independently verified Holiday Airfare Survey was conducted on Friday 30th  of March, with all flight searches being made online 10am - 5PM. In each instance, the lowest economy fare offered by each airline was the one selected and featured in the survey - all fare data was taken from each airline's own website, not from airfare aggregators such as Expedia.com. For all holidays there was a standard departure date of 05/12/2012 and return of 31/12/2012, though the actual arrival and departure times obviously differ among the various operators, departures are strictly kept within 24hours. Screen captures at the base of this article evidence each. The term 'inclusive' means an 'ounce for ounce' comparison with, say, baggage allowances being allotted at the same weight that the full-service airline allocated to passengers for free, or a seating allocation was included. Optional insurance or extras like 'comfort kits' were not included in what were the 'extras' that AirAsia charge for and full-service carriers routinely offer free.







Another piece of regrettably inaccurate, yet ironic, 
AirAsia communication.




The Screen Captured Evidence


Kuala Lumpur - Jakarta 
KLM & Malaysia Airlines Better Value than AirAsia




Kuala Lumpur - Singapore [Budget Airlines]
Tiger Airlines Better Value than AirAsia 


Melbourne - Singapore [Budget Airlines]
Jetstar Better Value than AirAsia




Perth - Bangkok [Budget Airlines]
Tiger Airways Better Value than AirAsia

Perth - Kuala Lumpur [Budget Airlines]
Tiger Airways Better Value than AirAsia


Singapore - Bali [Full Service Airlines]
Qatar Airways Better Value than AirAsia



Singapore - Perth [Full Service Airlines]
British Airways Better Value than AirAsia

 


 
 

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Anti-AirAsia Website to be auctioned for charity


Mahathir punishes Tony Fernandes with old underpants on head ....







It seems Dr. 'Evil' Mahathir bin Mohamad was furious to discover that Fernandes had forgotten to bid on the 'Fly AirAsia? Not Me' blog in the 2012 kids' charity auction. Just when Mahathir's cronies and AirAsia had a chance to bury the anti-AirAsia website forever, Fernandes fumbled and let it slip into the hands of one of his biggest regional airline competitors. We cannot reveal which carrier. It was an anonymous auction in support of charity


Actually, this blog is for sale, and the auction is about to happen .. 






'Fly AirAsia' Website For Sale.
 A Ceasefire for Charity. 




Since 2007, the hugely popular website has strung together over 60 investigative articles that have lambasted AirAsia, highlighting its lack of maintenance, safety, governance, pricing, and ethics in particular, but generally making sure that people were aware of all AirAsia's sins.

The AirAsia exposé website is read by hundreds of regional customers each day. And for the right price - money that goes directly to underprivileged kids across Asia - it could be yours. We hope it's not AirAsia's. 

We have already had a number of anonymous emails from parties interested in bidding. Following our last email push today, and any extra registrations at airasianotme@yahoo.com we can begin. VIP, PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO TWITTER VIA AN ANONYMOUS ACCOUNT. THEN 'FOLLOW' US ON OUR TWITTER ACCOUNT - HERE. This is imperative if you wish to bid at auction.





Of course, if this Anti-AirAsia opus falls into the wrong hands upon the auction, it will disappear and never be heard of again. If one of AirAsia's competitors purchase the consumerist website, however, it will forever be a major thorn in their Marketing Department's side. Here's our philosophy ...





Our group, the 'Causeway Co-op' Committee was unanimous in our decision to auction the website to the highest bidder and donate the US$500,000 reserve price, or more, to charity. Yes, it's not going cheap - but the charities can never have enough. We are very happy with our decision. With the sale complete, and the charities far better for it, our members have avowed to cease all activity against AirAsia and its affiliates. We're done. Not even articles about engines falling off poorly maintained aircraft? 

Finito. Our lips are sealed. Someone will have to pay to fill our shoes. 




Have we gone soft on AirAsia? It's pretty clear that at least one brand would prefer the site to disappear, whilst a handful of others would like to see the website stay around forever. Let's just say that all parties will be extremely keen to to get their hands on this hot anti-brand website property. We will never have anything but contempt for AirAsia's Management and the bent politicians; however, we are prepared to call a ceasefire for charity.  

Of course, whether it's a ceasefire or WW3 all depends on which anonymous buyer purchases the website via our lawyers. Hell, we'd like to see the website get bigger and bigger with a bit of money behind it. Tony Fernandes must be shitting himself as he recalls all the puerile comments he made about his competitors. As our motto goes, "Don't get angry, get even!"  

We've all been working on this site since 2007. That anti-corruption commitment has led to a website that is content and keyword rich and boasts SEO as sticky as fly paper. And doesn't Google just love 'Fly AirAsia? Not Me'. Try a few 'AirAsia' search terms, especially those for safety, and we are atop of all the international searches from Australia to Malaysia, America to England.  That brings us an average of around 200 individual hits per day - and occasionally up around 600 per day when we get featured in International newspaper websites - which is a lot of eyes, leading to a huge amount of word of mouth. Of course, that is the tip of the iceberg, as there is our incessant 'contribution' to all of AirAsia's social media efforts including FaceBook and Twitter, and regular postings to over a dozen of the world's most influential travel websites. Talk about a thorn in your side.




Why are we selling? We could adopt any number of plans that we had in store for AirAsia, including further safety exposes, advertiser boycotts and far reaching social media campaigns, but we decided 'Save the Children', 'Free the Slaves', 'International Rescue Committee', and others are more important than the safety of a planeload of thrifty AirAsia customers. In spite of our spiteful demeanor, once we step down from our consumerist anti-AirAsia role, that will be the last you will hear from any of our team.

One wag asked us what will happen if we don't reach the reserve, to which we reply that we would be so bitterly angry that we will keep harassing AirAsia 'til the day we die. We're pretty young!  So, that's a long time.




Accordingly, we would like to thank all our team of tireless 'Causeway Coworkers', you know who you are; all of our contributors over the years; our beloved 'moles' within AirAsia and in Government -  and all of our fans who have spread the word about AirAsia's sins. Thank you very much. It is fans like you who managed the miracle of putting us on Page #1 of Google for a search of 'AirAsia' in Malaysia. As any marketeer knows, it takes SEO Gods [ED: We used the 'G' word, team] to reach this absolute SEO pinnacle. We appear just below AirAsia, but above their FaceBook or Twitter pages.






If you need further information, or making a bid to our lawyers over US$500K, please contact us on airasianotme@yahoo.com via an anonymous email address and we will give you details of the auction. As we mentioned, this is an anonymous sale - neither the seller or buyer will be aware of the others identity. One will leave with the the new URL and all the website content, plus the keys to our Blogger, YouTube and Twitter account, the other will have a big party for all of its faithful staff and donate the rest to children in need.  Who'd have thought it'd all end like this? Bye bye.


We really liked this comment posted here -


"Marvelous idea of taxing companies for their ill-deeds, it's a bit like polluters buying carbon credits. I like that a bad brand can support worthy charities, albeit unwillingly. If the blog suddenly disappears, at least we will know why ... and that countless kids will have benefited. Love it. 
Bye bye, 'Fly AirAsia'"

Anonymous reader. 





Wednesday, 14 March 2012

AirAsia trading while insolvent - Govt. Investigate

Breaking.
AirAsia cancels NZ - KL route, tells passengers to pay their own way to Australia if they wish to take a connecting flight to KL. No refunds.  


# Knowingly accepting advanced bookings then deliberately cancelling
# Passengers lobbying credit card companies to have AirAsia blacklisted
# Part 1 of how to get even with AirAsia - a continuing series.  



We're going to keep this one short, because we're speechless. AirAsia's management just dumped thousands of passengers expecting flights to and from Christchurch, New Zealand.  Let's be clear here, these passengers had all already paid their money and had entered into a contract with AirAsia.

What's possibly worse is that AirAsia Management had continued to take passengers' money for goodness knows how may months in full knowledge AirAsia X would never be in a position to fly any of these people.

Yes, of course it's fkin' illegal, not to mention morally reprehensible. In case you don't know Malaysia,  it is the entirely corrupt, predominantly Muslim, country where this ramshackle airline was born and continues to be able to act outside international IATA regulations. We are here to stop that.

You can help. Even if you are not an affected passenger, you can still get online and complain to New Zealand's Commerce Commission - HERE - or the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission - HERE, or Malaysia's National Consumer Complaints Center - HERE. There is already a Government investigation in all countries, but every email counts.

Let's not forget, most of these customers have no desire to receive a refund in this instance. It still leaves them thousands of dollars out of pocket, doesn't it? You can bet your bottom dollar they have already booked hire cars, hotels, cruises, etc, etc. They want their holiday, not some figure that was mismanaged by AirAsia and that saw the airline end up insolvent.





The ultimate red-card for AirAsia

Interestingly, word on the street is that many ex-passengers who have been defrauded have been contacting their credit card companies. This serves several purposes. Firstly, in many cases they get their money back straight away, and the credit card company has to take it up with AirAsia.

Ipso facto, the credit card companies get the shits with AirAsia and they are permanently blacklisted. For a company that relies almost 100% on online sales, that would be a real pain in the posterior. Do this immediately!

We'd recommend you claim any ancillary losses on insurance - but definitely follow through with your credit card provider on AirAsia, who unlike other third party providers in this scam, deserve a bloody good hiding.



Do you fancy spending weeks on the telephone, and sending dozens of email that go unanswered?  Well, you might as well forget about a timely refund also. Consider the thousands of passengers who still have not received refunds they were promised from the French, UK, Indian flights that AirAsia cancelled. These despicable corporate criminals are liars and thieves.

If you recall our previous post that asks is AirAsia bankrupt - HERE - we would suggest that the preceding  information from AirAsia would confirm it. Let's run it by you again, readers. If you wish to still get to KL, then you have to buy your own ticket on another airline and swallow it. Tough luck.

You'd think we were making this up, but just as passengers need assistance more than ever before, AirAsia go and announce that they are closing down their telephone support , in order to keep their prices low. These are the most inept marketers on planet earth. They truly deserve to be hated.


Hmmm, look what's on the menu.



So, here's what you might do next time you're flying on AirAsia. Bring the prawns that are left over from your dinner the night before. Yes, AirAsia have a rule about bringing you own food with you [.. but they've taught us that rules are meant to be broken, haven't they?] We'll leave it up to you where you deposit the shells after you've finished your snack [...but hide them well, because we don't want to get into trouble with the stewardess - or Tony Fernandes - for eating on board]. They'll find them eventually. We have lots more fun tips to help you enjoy your trip coming up soon.

Please note: Get angry and get even, but do not perform any pranks that would distress or endanger the lives of others, or break the law. Annoying and inconveniencing AirAsia is fine, but bomb hoaxes, or anything that delays innocent passengers, are definitely out of the question.

Crustaceans are cool.






Thursday, 8 March 2012

Is AirAsia going bankrupt? Should we buy tickets?


  #Cancel rather than honoring contract with tens of thousands of clients
# AirAsia consistently forfeit on issuing 2011/12 passenger refunds
# Passengers lacking confidence in assurances of replacement flights
# AirAsia New Zealand routes set to fall with widespread disruption 
# AirAsia insolvent and lacking funds to meet operational expenses?



UPDATE: AirAsia have cancelled the Christchurch to KL route. In a bizarre turn of events they have told passengers that if they want to get to KL, then they must pay their own way to Australia to make a connection and onward flight to Malaysia. You be the judge of whether to hand them your money ..

It's only weeks since 'Air Australia' collapsed, leaving thousands of passengers stranded worldwide. And now there's increasing conjecture that AirAsia may be following in their footsteps.  Of course,  'Air Australia' had allegedly been hand to mouth for many months, before their aircraft became stranded because they couldn't pay their expenses. Can AirAsia??

AirAsia are withholding refunds. From social networks and travel websites, we estimate that it is withholding thousands of passengers' refunds. In case you have been on Mars, this comes from AirAsia 'suspending' flights - arbitrarily cancelling rather than honoring their contract with passengers -  to London, Paris, Mumbai and Darwin. Is this an airline in good health? No.





"It currently appears that there are no funds available to meet operational expenses so flights will be suspended immediately.." CNN


Consider the 'Air Australia' statement immediately after its demise - with passengers trapped overseas everywhere from Hawaii, Thailand, Indonesia to Australia. It all escalated when an aircraft could not afford to refuel in Phuket. "It currently appears that there are no funds available to meet operational expenses so flights will be suspended immediately," the company said in joint statement Friday with its newly appointed administrators, KordaMentha." Meanwhile, over at AirAsia ... 

Here's a typical complaint from a gentleman by the name of Oscar from Perth, Australia. His is one of a multitude of similar posting on websites such as Tripadvisor.  In Oscar's case he states that he has sent AirAsia no less than four emails requesting his A$6000 refund - that's not a typo, that's six thousand dollars - and has had exactly zero responses from AirAsia.

Correction, one initial email where they said he would be refunded in 14-30 days - which is long gone. Again, this is not an isolated incident, readers. We are hearing it again and again. Why are they not refunding passengers?





So, let's begin with the hoards of disgruntled people who are still waiting for a refund as a result of AirAsia's defaulting on their flights to London, Paris and other destinations. Why AirAsia suddenly cut these routes is an entirely different question, isn't it? The weeks pass by and become months, and the AirAsia social networking sites like FaceBook and Twitter are buckling with ex-customers demanding satisfaction regarding their flight replacements or refunds for cancellations. Show me the money! being the rallied cry.

Indeed, most passengers are still unsure if they will even be offered replacements. Again, the real life stories of people whose lives have been ripped apart are numerous. They can't get refunds for accommodation, tours they had paid for in advance, even if AirAsia did finally refund their ticket.
One of the saddest tales was a couple whose wedding had been ruined by AirAsia's selfishness - the poor groom's repeated desperate attempts on social media sites was like a wounded animal whose cries haunt you.

According to TVNZ, it is also tipped that AirAsia will soon be dropping its New Zealand route - like Christchurch hasn't been hit badly enough. "Industry sources say the Malaysian budget airline has approached Air New Zealand about the availability of special fares to cater for passengers who will have their travel plans disrupted by their flights being cancelled. The fares needed to be available in the next few weeks, sources said" And Australia is openly welcoming this sham airline? Say it ain't so! 

What about the AirAsia 'Go Insure' that was thrust upon passengers? Is it valid for AirAsia cancelling thousands of people's flights and the affiliated problems that surely brings? If it's not hard enough for passengers to get money out of this airline, how hard must it be to have your money refunded, but leave the insurance in place? We would be very interested to hear from customers via Twitter @FlyAirAsiaNotMe or airasianotme@yahoo.com  about any extraordinary problems that you have encountered. We guarantee you'll get more action our of us than AirAsia. Don't get angry. Get even!

Remember, this was the egalitarian airline. This was the airline that made it so, "Now everyone can fly!" This is the airline that is now frequently more expensive than full-service airlines. See our report - HERE - from Christmas where AirAsia bumped its holiday prices above Qantas and Singapore Airlines. And now they break their implicit agreement to fly those who had confirmed flights and beyond, thousands of passengers who trusted AirAsia.



Behold another bullshit 
AirAsia technical fault ..

 

The easiest logistical problem to sort - one would have thought - would be to issue customers who asked for a refund with their money. And let's not be mistaken, it is the passengers' money, isn't it? It should be an easy exercise, of course, if AirAsia actually had the money to give the money back.

We rather doubt they do. The airline is in a cash-flow nosedive, and feasibly headed for disaster. Whether they take your money with them is up to you. You see, we feel intensely sorry for those who may have lost their money. It is up to AirAsia to make amends. We feel very concerned, however, for any of you who are yet to book. You have an airline throwing good money after bad. Do you trust them? Please study the following paragraph very carefully.

Importantly, it must be said that AirAsia are entirely underhand when it comes to issuing refunds. Frankly, we have been wondering how they escape jail for many years, and have filed articles such as these - HERE & HERE.

Did you read those articles? Do you now begin to understand what a bunch of frauds they are? AirAsia frequently use ridiculous excuses of IT problems to explain away their withholding what is rightfully yours. AKA 'Thieves'.

AirAsia are willing to destroy the travel plans of literally thousands and thousands of faithful passengers as they did in July without any guilt, or even a genuine apology. Will they do it again? Yes. Are they willing to deceive customers? Demonstrably, they've just done exactly that. It's ongoing. Are they to be trusted with your money? Are you joking? 







Again this week, AirAsia announced more route cuts. This airline isn't growing as its Management are constantly boasting, it is shrinking.

Indeed, after a much lauded purchase from Boeing worth billions of dollars, some would call it a PR stunt, AirAsia has just deferred delivery of the raft of aircraft. The airline's CEO, Tony Fernandes, was boasting that the contract was smeared with lipstick of AirAsia hostesses. So, with these current issues, passengers deliberately denied refunds, and an imminent global financial crisis, will we be waving AirAsia goodbye? Who knows? It's a story for another day, but we'd recommend you observe the commentary on AirAsia's absolutely fkin' unbelievable level of debt - US$18,919,590,797.00 - and lack of Corporate Governance HERE & HERE. This airline's on the brink, one that cannot repay its debts .. even withholding your money.






Of course, one cannot ignore the recent Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) report slamming AirAsia's training of its pilots - HERE - and the dearly lacking maintenance of their aircraft - HERE - which above all else would have alarm bells ringing as to lack of due diligence and funds. 

Without getting unnecessarily technical, we have all the analytical information for the 'back office' of this website. A part of that detailed information pertains to specific search terms people enter into Google, in order to reach our pages. It is armed with that information that we are aware at just how many people on the Internet are asking questions like, "Is AirAsia out of money?" and "Has AirAsia gone bust", and "Is AirAsia bankrupt - will I get my refund." Do they know something that we don't? This negative consumer expectation is only going to spiral down and down - and one would have to think that it is only a matter of time before the share price tanks.

Bye bye.


And what of AirAsia's attitude? Are they being transparent? As we mentioned, 'Air Australia' had allegedly been doomed for months, before their aircraft became stranded in Thailand. Only last evening the 'AirAsia UK' FaceBook page deleted our comments and blocked us from commenting.

That is concerning, as it ostensibly shows a company that is afraid of fielding questions from customers - or consumerist websites such as our own - and being transparent as to their current situation. Clearly it was a silly move, because at least AirAsia was guaranteed the right of reply on their own social media page. Naturally, they now do not have an immediate opportunity to comment. Honesty is not in their vocabulary. Of one thing we are 100% positive, the Management of AirAsia are bankrupt morally. Will they issue numerous press releases asserting that they are not insolvent?

Probably.  Will they be believed? We'll see. In the meantime, before you consider booking on any future AirAsia flight, please read the excellent Malaysia Chronicle article about this debacle - HERE - not forgetting to read the many understandably belligerent customer responses you will find.