air asia foibles

Every system has it's bugs and also its intended little tricks.

Air Asia do a great job, as long as you don't fall outside the well trodden path.

They are a budget airline, they keep costs down.
Trying to talk to anyone about things can be difficult.
When unexpected things happen then quite a few times, I've simply written off the cost of a ticket and bought a new one for the date and route I wanted.
Even with the odd unused/lost ticket, Air Asia is a LOT cheaper than the regular full service airlines.

Here are some useful methods of dealing with  Air Asia when things go pear shaped.

Can't get anyone to answer the phone ?
workaround:   Call another country's call center.  Recently I could not get through to the Australian call center (I was in Australia) so I called the Singapore call center (better English). It was worth an overseas call. Also: try to Malaysian premium line, just call it internationally.
Air Asia make their money with  high volume, standard systems. They don't want to muck around with special problems and sob stories. Like it or lump it is the method.

Bought a ticket but YOU can't go  ? i.e. passenger can't use the ticket he booked.
workaround:   there is no refund for tickets you can't use. You can change dates but not routes. If you can't use the ticket at a later date, you can apply to get the airport tax refunded. Finding the relevant form for that is hard, but this one seemed to do the trick:  http://www.airasia.com/my/en/faqdetailsform.page  refund only AFTER the departure date.
More info on this forum http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/ShowTopic-g293915-i3686-k4931674-AirAsia_can_I_get_a_refund_on_a_flight_I_won_t_be_taking-Thailand.html
and this one http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=1703590


Bought a ticket but can't go for personal reasons

Dear Mr. Heiko Rudolph,

 

First of all, thank you for emailing AirAsia.

 

In response to your email, we regret to inform you that once the booking is confirmed, the booking cannot be cancelled and payments made are not refundable.

 

However, if you don’t convenience to travel on that flight, the flight changes can be made via Manage My Booking, at all our Sales Office/Airport Sales Counter and through our call centre. The change need to be done more than 48 hours before your departure flight time. For any flight changes (date/time) is subject to fees, flight change will subject to Fare different + Change Fees. The fare different is driven by demand which is change from time to time. For more info on fees, please visit this link; http://www.airasia.com/th/en/flightinfo/feeschedule.page?

 

In case of no show status, the payment can be refunded only airport tax and can be done after flight departed. Guest can submit the inquiry through e-form http://www.airasia.com/my/en/faqdetailsform.html

 

We do hope the above explanation can helps and we humbly seek for your kind understanding. Should you require any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

Thank you for choosing AirAsia as your traveling partner.

 

Warm regards,

 

Prapawadee Srisuphan

Customer Care officer

Thai AirAsia Co., Ltd


NOTE: if Air Asia cancels your flight it's a different story.   A good  experience story here http://thatsofarahz.wordpress.com/2010/12/19/airasia-flight-cancellation-%E2%80%93-my-personal-experience/


Insurance, how to avoid Air Asia Insurance charges
workaround:   This one is my major grip with Air Asia. They try to sell you insurance at every opportunity. But they do not tell you what you are insured for, or how much, there is no cooling off period and there is no information on how to claim and what the limits of claims are. It seems to me like a bit of a scam to make some extra money.
Trying to avoid paying the insurance while booking online takes a bit of hard work, clicking various things  in often counterintuitive ways.
This insurance thing is their major dodgy and  questionable business. Really a bit of quick and dirty tricks used here, especially in the way they try to sneak it in.
The fact that they try these sneaky methods tells me that  they are not going to want to pay for any claims, that this is all a bit of a quick money trick
The tricks they use on the website are:
1) adding insurance and making it VERY hard to OPT OUT OF INSURANCE. Even clicking "OK" to cancelling does not work, you have to click CANCEL to be say 'yes I want out of insurance'.
2) Webcheck-in asks for insurance yet agaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaain. Opting out is hard, took me 3 attempts to figure out where the small carefully hidden opt out link was. All I wanted was to print my boarding pass, but  everytime it asked for 250Baht for insurance I never asked for. Insurance I went to great lengths to opt out of at the time of booking. 

I suspect that much of what they cover is covered by other insurances, and taking the worst case spin: I suspect that they have clause that says if you can claim with another insurance policy first then that is what you have to do. The chances of ever getting any money from them would be 0.000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001%    I'd guess... :-) Ok I'm exaggerating. I anyone has any good or bad stories let me know please... ;-)


minor sneaky stuff: pre-allocated seats. The system randomly allocates a seat for you and charges you for it. Originally it was the passenger who was supposed to make the choice of seats. IF the passenger didn't make a choice then he didn't pay a seat allocation fee. A seat would be randomly selected at check in time.
Now seats are randomly selected for you at booking time and you are charged for the seat allocation as if you had chosen it yourself.
workaround:   Choose the appropriate button to say you want to skip seat allocation. It asks you to confirm once or twice.


The form on http://www.airasia.com/my/en/faqdetailsform.page  actually works !
I had a response and it was intelligible and kind of made sense.
They also have options to give feedback, make inquiries, complaints etc....
Responses are however processed by a very fast and rough standard reply system. It takes a few itertions to figure out how to phrase and talk to their system.


NOTE: when the above form, or any other Air Asia form, tells you that your email is invalid, it usually means there is a blank character at the end of the email, - just remove it and you are ok.
Copying an email address often causes a blank to appear, CR, LF problems and translation (IT geeks and heiko's students will understand this easily).   Air Asia is not Google, and their user interface and congnitive ergonomics is generally ok except for such little things.


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