Thursday, January 04, 2007

Long-haul budget flight, anyone?

Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic, Sir Stelios Hajiloannou of EasyJet and Datuk Tony Fernandes of AirAsia are planning to start a long-haul budget airline company, probably offering service from Australia and South-East Asia to Europe.

I once traveled with AirAsia from Kuala Lumpur to Bali. However, I am not sure if I will be interested in a no-frills flight from South-East Asia to Europe. For such a long distance inter-continental travel, I like to have the convenience of re-scheduling, which is usually not offered by budget airlines.

Imagine this: I spend 250 Euros to book a flight from South-East Asia to Europe. For some unforeseen reasons, I can’t make it, and I am not allowed to re-schedule to a later flight. The amount of money wasted and the hassle of re-booking are a pain.

For any flights longer than 6 hours, I believe a lot of travelers value comfort over price. Many years ago, an assistant manager of my ex-employer was sent to Sweden. The company arranged for a seat in Economy class. The assistant manager spent his own money to upgrade to Business class.

I also remember a sad story whereby a London traveler to Singapore collapsed and never regained consciousness. She was said to have died of ‘Economy-Class Syndrome’.

Then there is the issue of connecting flights. Assuming I fly from Kuala Lumpur (KL) to visit my aunt in Amsterdam, making a transit in Heathrow. I am not sure if I can arrange for connecting flight online. On the return trip, what would happen if the flight from Schiphol to Heathrow is delayed? Remember that I can’t re-schedule my London-to-KL flight.

That said, the very names of the entrepreneurs involved give me a little bit of confidence. Perhaps these creative people can think of an idea which will give us the best of both worlds. Time will tell.


  1. Hi Khengsiong, Thanks for dropping by at my 'eat full nothing to do' blog.
    Budget airlines or LCC are only good for point to point travelling. I don't recommend it if you have a connecting flight to catch.

    Also, some of the LCC operating out from Singapore like Tiger Airways and ValuAir are quite spacious and clean. They use Airbus instead of Boeings.
    I don't have any thing nice to say about AirAsia. Took it once, and found the spacing of the seats too near. This was deliberately done to maximize passenger loading.
    Moreover, their toilet stinks!

  2. Update:
    Now it looks like the whole thing is the plan of Datuk Tony Fernandez of AirAsia. He did talk to Sir Richard Branson, but no agreement has been made.

    Cocka Doodle,
    Thanks for your insight.