You obviously don't know me.
My name is Timothy and I run a blog advertising community in Malaysia called Nuffnang where two companies that you own: Air Asia and Tune Hotels have both advertised on.
As much as I would like to thank you and the people at Air Asia for your support of our humble dotcom, that is however a whole different matter altogether and is not why I'm writing this letter.
About a month ago, I packed my bags and flew Air Asia for the first time on a flight to Macau to visit the very talked about Venetian there.
It was the first time in my life that I ever flew Air Asia.This may come as a shock to many since I for one travel a lot and have yet never before flown Air Asia.
That's not to say that I don't fly budget airlines. I do.
I spent 3 years of my life pursuing a degree at UCL in London. As you can imagine, as a student I traveled a lot around Europe and also as a student... the only flights that I could really afford there were from budget airlines.
I actively flew budget airlines like Easyjet and Ryan Air, coincidentally the budget airlines that I assume Air Asia models after.
Yet whenever I was back in Malaysia I never once set foot on an Air Asia plane because of the ill-advised stigma that a local budget airline will not be very safe let alone comfortable.A month ago however, I finally mustered the courage and boarded an Air Asia plane. I was greeted with a rude shock.
Being used to Easyjet and Ryan Air, I was used to:
1) Massive flight delays: I once waited out a delay of 4 hours in Berlin for a flight to take me back to London.
2) Casually dressed air stewardesses: At Easyjet, I remember their on-flight staff wore casual clothes with an orange vest which really is not too much to complain about since after all, I was flying budget.
3) Small tiny seats which barely reclined: This made me suffer a little bit on the slightly longer flights but hey... I was flying budget!
4) Very very very little leg space: Which made it very hard for me to stretch any time during a flight.
And that was what I expected from Air Asia as well.
After I chucked my bag into the overhead compartment and sat down on my seat, I took a quick look around realized that I was TERRIBLY WRONG.
1) The flight left the airport on time: I may have heard of some delays before but for the two flights I had, there were no delays and everyone I have spoken to so far tells me that the flight is almost never late to leave.
2) The air stewardesses were very well dressed in stunning uniform: Which almost had me forget for a while that I was flying on a budget airline.
3) The seat was of a good size and to my disbelief was LEATHER. I have NEVER sat on a leather seat on an airplane before and I say this even after having been lucky enough to fly First and Business class on some other airlines before.
4) There was enough leg space for me to stretch every now and then.
I could not believe it.
The airline that I expected so little from, gave me so much more and for that I felt compelled to write this letter.
What I was even more surprised with was this.
Many companies in Asia grow big with the benefits of being either a monopoly or oligopoly in its markets. Competition for Air Asia exists but in the budget airline industry for this region, it is clear that Air Asia is by far the market leader.
In that market environment, one would expect to see a complacent airline with high prices and questionable service but that is not what I saw in Air Asia. Instead, the prices are low and affordable: everything down from the air fare itself to the delicious Maggi cup noodle I ate on board the flight and the service was fantastic. Really fantastic!
For that I just have to say to you and all the people at Air Asia who put together this wonderful organization (everyone from the stewardesses on board the flight to the ground crew, the admin, accounts, marketing and even sales people),Well done... all of you have indeed built a Malaysian company that I am very proud of as a Malaysian.
From now on, I will no longer look at Air Asia as the airline that simply took after other successful budget airlines in the UK and US.
I will look at Air Asia as the airline that took the budget airline model, innovated it and made it far better than the airlines it modeled after.
I can't wait to fly Air Asia X.