Wednesday, October 31, 2007

An Open Letter to Datuk Tony Fernandez and The People of Air Asia

Dear Datuk,

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.

Humbly Yours,
Timothy Tiah


Phil said...

I believe those ppl behind Air Asia especially Datuk Tony will be very happy after reading this. This is sure one of the very successful company in Malaysia.

Boss Stewie said...

philip: yah well i don't think i'm overflattering them. i think they deserve the credit

Genova said...

yup indeed they do. for the price they offer during promotions, its unbeatable. especially for students like me. :). they do have some delays once in a while but thats not gonna stop them from being by far the best budget airlines.

looks like boss stewie had a good experience. lol

Melanie said...

80 % of my flight are MAS, but i go on telling ppl how i love air asia and their chair! it's so comfortable and service was good. i dont' see anyting that makes them lousier than MAS. MAS has recently change their in flight food to cold sandwiches .. n it's so NOT EDIBLE!!

Boss Stewie said...

genova: yah... seriously the best budget airline i have ever been on...

melanie: hahahahaha!!!! the maggie cup noodles that they sell on airasia are pretty good huh

TenthOfMarch said...

I have never flown with Air Asia. I have heard so much negatives about it. It is good to hear something good like this.

Why lah eat maggie only? Their nasi lemak looks nice. I might give it a try the next time I fly with them.

TheBeerCrusader said...

Yes !!

I'm waiting for Air Asia X too !!

I hope Tony Fernandez read this ..

Boss ! You must be as famous as Tony Fernandez... OK ??

MAybe one day , Google will buy a stake in Nuffnang !! Muahaha ~

Just like Sir Richard bought a stake in Air Asia X !!

Boss Stewie said...

tenth: hehe yah i heard the nasi lemak is damn good

gila: hahaha.. pls lar... let me accomplish my small dreams first okie?

Michelle said...

Wowww... very humbly indirect of you.. very well-done.. glad u enjoyed air asia.. ahhaha lol

KY said...

truly a phenomenal success, lets hope nuffnang follows the same direction. :D

Jason Lioh said...


It's so obvious.

MikeM said...

im flyin airasia again next wednesday... though i caught on delays b4, ok lar, at least got air asia, my rm300 passport now got more chops liao :P

HK said...

hahaha I tried ryanair before. Boy, their stewardesses weren't something to look at. =P

pinkpau said...

evil ex boss : i looove air asia's nasi lemak. they get it catered from Mum's Place in dsara! boss you go there next time. very nice wan, i promise

hk : you dont be so hamsap. faster come back with some nice UK thingies!

Adrian said...

Haha you "actively" flew budget airlines like Easyjet and Ryanair. So, shall we call you Pilot Tim then?

Cheng Chun said...

Malaysia Boleh kan. :) Well, I have yet to try Air Asia. Parents say NOOOOOO. :(

Evil Chica said...

i hvnt been on Air Asia yet as i stil choose to travel wif MAS instead..=) wen i was in UK, to travel to Europe, i owes go for either EasyJet or RyanAir..i stil rmber where i went on RyanAir, n they overbook, they need to send extra crew to Belgium wf tat flight, so reluctantly i gv up my seats along wif 2 other frens of mine..we wasted a lot of time as we only reached Belgium 5 hours later..but thank God, wen Ryanair compensate us 150EURO cash and upgrade us to 1st class facilties...hehehe

Boss Stewie said...

michelle: indirect of me?

ky: ahaha i hope so too dude

jasonmumbles: what obvious leh

michael: hahaha got more chops... so funny u

hk: hahaha yah

pink: okok i shall

adrian: hahah no lar dude

cheng: yes malaysia boleH!

ricci: that's terrible! no first class treatment will make me feel good about that

Unknown said...

In case you guys have heard or seen the ads, AirAsia won the Airline of the Year Award 2007 from CAPA (Centre of Asia Pacific Aviation).

Last year the award went to Cathay Pacific. Looks like AirAsia beat the big boys this year. Kudos to them!

Boss Stewie said...

cym: yah! well donne to them huh :P

Shu said...

The last time i flew on Air Asia, the flight was delayed an hour and 45 mins. Otherwise it was as good as a konsortium express bus.

Cheng Chun said...

Did you send pictures to Datuk? :P

Evil Chica said...

well, wat to do but jus accept de compensation n try to feel gud abt de 1st class treatment. we hv no choice but to leave de plane as they were randomly picking names i was unlucky tat my name got picked wif 2 other passenger..but my frens do not want me to travel alone in de later flight so they exchange plc wif de other passenger and enjoy de compensation..i shld hv demanded for more sponsored acomodation

Unknown said...

They are improving compared to when they first started. The service and all that sucks when they started but now they improved a lot and I like it a lot too.