Tag Archives: long haul flight Australia Europe

Air Asia – Cheap Long Haul From New Zealand

I found out about Air Asia while living in Australia – but have just booked it while living in New Zealand – why? Because I am getting a return airfare to Europe for around NZ$1000 (US$700) less than the equivalent airfare on a full service airline. However it was an interesting process booking long haul airfares  – and along the way I learnt a few  pointers.

First you will need a few things to start with:

  • some idea of what dates you want to travel and how flexible you can be
  • Air Asia route map: essentially from Australia they fly ex Perth, Gold Coast or Melbourne all to Kuala Lumpur. From KL there are regular flights to Stansted (near London, UK).
  • an exchange rate calculator – I like xe.com
  • if you are flying from New Zealand you will need to have your frequent flyer  points or other airfare options to Australia sorted out.
  • some thoughts on what extras you are going to pay for these include:
    • luggage
    • allocated seating – both extra room but also just to seat your party together
    • meals
    • comfort kit (blanket, eye mask etc – you get to keep this so you can buy once and reuse)

Working Out Whether Air Asia Is Cheaper

To find the acutal cost on any day – you will need to work your way through the booking system – this will include having to add passenger names and passport details – yes it will take a few hours. Finally though you will get to the “pay now” screen – and that is the real cost of the ticket.

Recently Air Asia has stated that  Australia -UK flights can be booked as connection flights ie you can transit Malaysia rather than enter and leave immediately – and if the first flight is delayed you will be re-booked on a later flight. In general though – if you are making connections I’d leave at least 12 hours to be on the safe side.  We are overnighting  in both Melbourne and KL in both directions.

You should probably look at buying travel insurance – though I’d avoid Air Asia’s upsell of travel insurance (be careful – its very easily to inadvertently accept it!). Though in general Air Asia’s flights will allow you to reschedule up until 48 hours prior to flying.

Air Asia - Cheapest Flight New Zealand UK

Connecting Flights with Long Haul Budget Airlines

In general flights with airlines such as Air Asia are point to point. That means if, for example your connection to Melbourne is 5 hours late – and you miss your flight to Kuala Lumpur – tough luck – no one will be paying you for the extra costs involved – which include having to buy a new ticket to KL. (Not even your travel insurance from what I can tell).

Where Do You Arrive in KL

There is only one airport in KL – but the two main terminals are about 20km apart! Air Asia uses LCCT – the “low cost carrier” terminal. This is not the one connected to the super-fast train into KL. Instead you might as well take the upsell of the Air Asia bus to town for a few ringitt.

Luggage and Cheap Flights

Is a nightmare to be honest. Air Asia will allow you to buy between 15kg and 30kg – which is straightforward – but many of the European budget airlines only allow you one piece of luggage – 2 bags even if less than 20kg will mean you have to pay more (often more than the original airfare).  So if you intend to fly at your destinati0n as well- double check  the luggage requirements on ALL of your carriers – you certainly won’t get a waiver because you just flew into the country!

Non-Stop Auckland Ireland – I Love JetLag!

Smooth flight out of Wellington at noon heading to Auckland – though a little late leaving not a good start. AirNZ flight to connect with Emirates in Auckland. 2.5 hours in Auckland International Airport to check out the duty free and not do much else. Had to check in for the Emirates flights here – but the luggage was already tagged through to Cork – yeah right! I’m flying solo as my partner has to b et work until Good Friday (and has less leave than me). He’d pulled an all nighter so I had to wake him to get me to the airport on time.

Flying Emirates for the first time – they fly primarily to Australia but heavily discount the Auckland/Australia leg just to fill the planes. I’ve never stopped over in the MIddle East before so I am looking forward to that on the way back and I like how it will break up that killer 12 hour Europe-Asia long haul leg. On the way over its a milk run flight with only abut an hour on the ground in Brisbane, Singapore, Dubai and 2.5 hours to sprint between Heathrow terminals to make the Air Lingus flight to Cork. Leaving Auckland at 5:45pm we leave Singapore at 6:45pm and Dubai at noon so I am hoping to sleep the Singapore – Dubai leg.

Emirates stewardesses are in flash 50’s style pill box hats and mini-veils – their skirts are shorter than Air NZ’s hosties. They were generous on the checkin weight as I have a bag of stuff for the kids in Ireland – 21.5kg to be exact. The extra bag will come in handy though because we will leave it in Asia with the winter clothes we won’t need in Malaysia – packing for two distinct climates its a good idea to have a third bag to leave a hotel and collect at the end of the trip.

Plane was 1/2 to 1 hour late leaving Brisbane and we never caught up the time. Only then had about 1/2 hour on the ground at Singapore’s Changi airport – still one my favourite airports in the world – free email can’t argue with that in the middle of the night. Nice inboard flight entertainment system though – especially if you need to improve your Tetris score!

With only 20 minutes on the ground in Dubai -I didn’t see much of the super-modern airport as I was sprinting for the gate (and another security check). I would have made it (just) but the flight was delayed 1 hour anyways. It was at this point that my bag didn’t sprint fast enough and didn’t make the connection – but I would discover that much later.

Arriving in Heathrow’s Terminal 3 – was a mess I had an hour to navigate the renovation mess, find the transit route, catch a bus, do security, check in, hike 15 minutes to the Air Lingus gate (why are they always the furthest away?) Did it in 50 minutes but I wouldn’t recommend it! The flight was on last call – but was late again as well. The luggage took another day to get to Cork – but was delivered to my door – by a taxi driver who called me for directions! Finally arrived Cork at 4:30 pm 4 April – which happens to be my birthday so I did get a birthday cake!