Sunday, December 05, 2004

Price Wars

I usually fly with Malaysia Airlines only when my ticket is paid for or I can claim the price later - from the government. On unofficial journeys, I usually fly with Air Asia. That is, until I recently, discovered that MAS has quietly entered the low cost airline market. In case you didn't know, you can get great discounts on domestic destinations through the MAS 'Domestic supersavers' online offer. Up to “50% off” they say.

My in-laws have to attend a relative’s wedding in Jitra, Kedah next week and we were trying to book tickets for them. We visited the Air Asia website and discovered that the cheapest prices for the KLIA- Alor Setar trip was RM99 (without tax). However, the return trip was RM115 (without tax) + RM10 for an infant. It all came to around RM866 for four adults + Rahil without the taxes. The plan was to go on 11th morning and come back on the 12th evening. As they say, sometimes things don’t turn out the way you plan them. We found out that there were no evening flights anymore. As my in-laws were not planning to stay longer in Kedah, we were discussing other options including driving, when I suddenly remembered the MAS offer.

We checked their website out but found that we couldn’t book online. When there is a will, there is a way. We called up their customer service and discovered that we could get tickets much cheaper. However, the only drawback is that you cannot buy the tickets online - you can only book them and have to pay for the tickets at the nearest MAS office within 24 hours of making the reservations. That’s a minor hassle considering that we can get better service + extra miles on my Enrich loyalty card, at almost same prices. To tell the truth, though I was a great fan of the discount airline, I am beginning to get annoyed by Air Asia’s frequent flight delays. I am definitely flying with MAS from now on.

Let the price wars begin.

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