May 7, 2008

The Zeros and Sub-Zeros Flying

Flip open any newspaper, or log on to any Malaysian website and you'd be bombarded with advertisements promising rock-bottom domestic airfares recently. Malaysia Airlines, after a successful turnaround, is currently embarking on its second phase - transformation. Promising zero fares on their domestic and ASEAN routes (of course, you'd have to pay for your airport taxes and fuel surcharges), this is the lowest fares MAS offers in a long time.
Just wanting to hop into the excitement, i logged on to Malaysia Airlines and according to their accountants I have to pay a total of RM76 for a one-way flight. Quite reasonable considering I paid RM150 for a similar trip one year ago (and it was already heavily discounted using my GRADS status).

Then come the big bad wolf the next day. Air Asia naturally made a big fuss about their new competitor, and trust Tony Fernandez to make sure every newspaper and media covered his whines about how unfair the MAS-AirAsia fight is turning out. As a consumer I will not debate government policies and competition between a newbie and a 60-year old national carrier here. I just want low prices and good products. So I watched the fight going on.
Before midnight, AirAsia's executives was probably surviving on double-thick espresso and made this fancy e-mail for me: Fares Below Zero.

Made a similar search for an AirAsia flight minutes ago. Same flight dates, almost the same flight time and same destination. The fares are even better than MAS, like what their e-mail promised. But just wait...

After taking into account all 'frills' - baggage, insurance, boarding (gosh, now passengers even have to pay to board, where is the logic in that?), the price is RM2.50 more expensive than MAS.
Consumerism comes in play under such circumstances. I started AirAsia with RM15 (basic fare from Penang to KL), then on one click the price ballooned to RM62.50 (including taxes and surcharges). On the next page it was asking whether I have any baggages to check-in (MAS provides free baggage up to 20kgs), which costs me another RM3. On my last click they automatically included an insurance called Go'n'Insure which costs me another RM6. Then there's the priority boarding which costs another RM10 (with seat allocation on MAS, you can be the last to board and first to disembark without having to fork out the red note). This is absolutely outrageous and out-of-the-world! Of course, like all other LCCs, this is a way AirAsia knocks money out of passengers without them being aware at all.
MAS simplified everything down to one slim figure: total price including tax = RM76.00. For me I'd fly them in their old 737s (which will be replaced soon) with free juice, free peanuts, a magazine, and no red-dressed demon spanking cents and dollars out of everything I do onboard*.
*Author's personal opinion


KN Loo said...

in support of MAS, i booked my return ticket for upcoming holiday..haha
although airasia claim there r cheaper according to their advert, i still think tat my MAS ticket is worthwhile, for the sake of easier transportation to KLIA, seat allocated, no long queue..erm, nt to mention at least a cup of drink on 737, which i think would be more comfortable than

JYSim said...

And I just found out AirAsia pilots landed 2 planes with record-breaking 3.8G forces this month. MAS Engineering people would be laughing their ass off repairing the blood-douched planes.