Saturday, February 18, 2012

AirAsia Big Sale: Tips and tricks

I am sure most of you knew about AirAsia BIG Sale, especially if you subscribed to their newsletter, "like" AirAsia Facebook and even follow them on Twitter (yes, that's me). And even my Dad called when he saw the advertisement on the newspaper. AirAsia is not the most comfortable airline but it is low cost so not much to complain.

They have flights within Malaysia and to other parts of South East Asia countries from RM19 onwards, saw some at only RM17 though! I bought to Bangkok with the family and Clark with the friends :)

And sales on AirAsia X, which flies to further locations such as China, Australia, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. Notice the "selling fast" section?? Grab yours asap!

The BIG Sale started on 15 February midnight and goshhh due to the worst internet connection in UTP, most of us here who really planned to fly somewhere actually stayed up all night to book the tickets. I slept at 6AM and still didn't manage to book anything so we decided to try the next day. We kept getting into the waiting room, which reloads itself every 15 seconds but sometimes all of a sudden it stops loading and shows an external error page.

Using Mobile to purchase the tickets is faster (using phone data plan since there is no wifi in my room) but I tried to avoid it because the processing fee is RM20 per transaction.

I had a few destinations in mind before the sale started. My first choice was of course Bangkok, Thailand because my Dad had been there way before he started a family and he had been wanting to go there again. And my cousin married his wife, who is a Thai and is currently residing in Bangkok. My family had not seen them ever since had took up a job there so this will be a good opportunity. And then, Japan as second choice because I really want to experience the culture there. Told my parents I aim for Australia during the year end but considering it will be Summer and will be hotter than Malaysia, I considered not to.

Here is the list of all the locations I checked and the flight charges including fuel, tax, 15kg baggage allowance and a RM12 meal:

1. Hanoi - round trip around RM279
2. Manila (clark) - round trip around RM169
3. Tokyo - round trip around RM567
4. Osaka - round trip around RM579
5. Taipei - round trip around RM736
6. Beijing - round trip around RM427
7. Shenzen - round trip around RM398
8. Bangkok - round trip around RM249

Maybe you've found cheaper prices because the prices depends a lot on the dates picked. Considering using this AirAsia Price Chart for your reference, it always work for me.

For all the extra charges included, I consider them cheap. I love to travel so I had been constantly checking on flights ticket. Even checked for MAS flight to London, RM1700 is freaking cheap but considering we only had 3 weeks before the semester starts, and the need to submit our Internship report after 3 weeks, we opted for somewhere nearer this time. We still dream of backpacking in Europe one day, most probably after graduation :)

TIPS: Here is some tips for a satisfying backpacking (cheap) trip, at least for me:

1. Budget
Consider the budget you have and make sure the destination you pick is within budget. In this budget section, also consider other basic necessities like accommodation and food. For us who backpack, these are the 2 basics, and others are extra money for transportation, sightseeing and entrance fees.

2. Travel companion
If you go backpacking, make sure you partner(s) agree to do the same. Sleeping in hostels, walking long distance and etc. It is important that you both share the same interests. You can't be going shopping alone while she goes to the club alone. Or if he loves seeing temples and you prefer the beaches. Misunderstanding during the trip will cause all of you to be moody. If you are daring enough, consider backpacking alone. Read: this or this. For me, I have yet to find the guts. Considering I am the only daughter in the family, it makes me think twice, or thrice. And makes my parents think forever :)

3. Language barrier
Consider language barrier when you travel. For example when travelling in South East Asia countries, using English is not a problem. But when you travel to China, Hong Kong or Taiwan, you will probably need to learn Mandarin or Cantonese. The same applies to Japan and Korea. Without learning the language, it will be really difficult because most of the signboards and instructions are in their language. The citizens rarely speak English and may treat you differently if you cannot converse in their language. Try considering whether you will have enough time to learn the language before you travel.

4. Weather
Since you knew when will you be travelling, try Google-ing for the weather during that period, especially for 4 seasons countries. The best time to travel is during Spring and Autumn. Summer is not bad be I am pretty sure not many Malaysians want to experience Summer because Malaysia is having Summer all year round. Winter is not that bad, considering those who want to touch some snow but be informed that the view may be all just, snow. And walking in the cold is not something really great to do.

5. Exchange rate
Survey for the best exchange rate near your place. After calculating your budget, you should know how much currency you should change. Consider having both large and small notes for convenience. Do not keep all your cash in your wallet or purse, place them in you bag or luggage as well (but always lock them and pay extra attention to them) so that if you lost them, you won't lost the whole amount. Activate your ATM card for overseas if you do not own a credit card. Easy, just call your bank and they will verify your identity. Inform them your travel period and walla!

6. Research
Do your research well on where to go and what to do. Do a daily planner and the locations for that day should be in one area, and move to the other area the next day. LonelyPlanet travel books are great reference for must go places and the must eat food (my favourite!). They also have prices for your reference. Plan on how long should you be in a location and how to get to the next as well.

TIPS: And you want to know how to grab AirAsia great deals?

1. Use Firefox or Google Chrome
I guess most of us knew that Internet Explorer is a pain in the ass so using Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome definitely helps a lot, loads much faster as well and does not go into error all of a sudden.

2. Subscribe to the newsletter and follow AirAsia on Facebook & Twitter
Want to be the first to get the news, this is how it is. Or if your friends are AirAsia freaks, they may just spam Facebook with the AirAsia promotional posters. But pay attention to the booking period and travelling period to prevent disappointment. If you know about it earlier, you will be prepared earlier for the following steps.

3. Be an AirAsia member
This will enable you to fill up contact details fast. Add in up to 10 of your friends and family into the guests list so that you don't need to fill up over and over again if the page reloads. When there is an "error" message, do not panic, just hit reload. I also realized that whenever you sign in and click book, it loads faster.

4. Fix your date but be flexible
I know it sounded ironic but you must know when are you free to travel so that you will know when dates to check on. Loading during sales in way slower and each time you click on the book button, you will be directed to the waiting room. Which is why to prevent entering the waiting room too many times (and at the end you may miss the seats), fix the dates. And as I said, refer to the AirAsia Chart for the dates with cheap fares, usually on weekdays.

5. Book from 3AM to 6AM
Seriously, from someone who stayed up from 12AM to 6AM. At around 3.30AM, the booking was so fast you will only be directed to the waiting room if the location you picked is a hot spot. So you can sleep early, like me and my friends, and wake up during the wee hours to buy the tickets.

6. Debit banking or Bank transfer
Paying with debit card or through bank transfer will prevent you from being charged the processing fee. The processing fee for credit card is RM20 per transaction. However, make sure that if you use Bank Transfer, the online banking service for your bank is in service. For example I used CIMB clicks, they update the service every night from 11.30PM to 12 Midnight and sometimes the system is down up to 8AM (which is what I experienced when I booked for my Manila trip so we had to use credit card before the seats run out).

7. Pay attention to the website
Pay 100% attention to the site because they have time limit for you to fill up all the details (which is why it is better to do point #3 before you start booking). The page will expire and you will need to click OK before the page expires and reloads. Same goes for the payment page, make sure you are sure of all the details in order for you to fill them up fast.

The Sale is still on up to tomorrow so if you've read all the tips, quick! Go grab your seats! :)

I've wrote a lot, now time to play some cards before I get killed by my friends for saying "wait" too many times :P


Diana Diane Teo said...

Hello there! Love you this post because I am currently a part time traveller cum backpacker. :D

Recently, I also managed to grab 2 return tix within 2 hours after the big sales started. Booked until so tired and I slept in my couch in living room instead going to my own comfort room to sleep. You can see how crazy am I towards travelling just like you. Hehehe...

From the promotion list you given, seems like Taiwan is so expensive than Tokyo/Osaka.

Feel free to visit my travel & living blog and hopefully we can exchange travel tips and idea in future. Happy weekend to you!

MeiLin said...

Hey thanks for visiting my blog. Found yours really interesting, plus you had been to so many places. I just started my travelling craze and had to tone down because I am still in university. Traveled mostly on my own expense and considering the time limit, it was not that easy. Followed your blog for future references. Happy weekend too!

Diana Diane Teo said...

Hello MeiLin! Thanks for drop by my blog and following my travel blog too. Done with following your blog and place your blog in blogroll.

For your information, I am Sarawakian too. My parents are from Kuching, Sarawak. Which part are you from?

MeiLin said...

Great! Hahaha. So you are from Sarawak and living in Sabah? I am living in Stampin area. hahah