Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Trip Report: Kenya Airways, Dar Es Salaam to Seychelles via Nairobi (January 2014)

A Trip Report: Kenya Airways
Dar Es Salaam to Seychelles via Nairobi
comment below and let me know your thoughts :) 

There are many airlines to choose from while travelling to and within Africa, but most passengers stick to the top three: South African, Ethiopian, and Kenyan.  Out of these three, Kenyan Airways is the smallest but seems to be the one that is strategically growing very fast.  While all three airlines are part of alliances - South African and Ethiopian are part of Star Alliance while Kenyan is part of SkyTeam - only Kenyan seems to be using the alliances to expand its reach across the world.  While South African and Ethiopian are adding new destinations and routes, Kenyan is looking through partnerships and alliances to grow their network.  They connect with Delta and KLM through their SkyTeam alliance, and recently they announced a partnership with Etihad to increase the connections to the Middle East.  The increase in partnerships means Kenya Airways can focus on becoming a better African airline, which some people will like; but it will also mean that its reach is limited and this some people may not like.  I write this all to say is that we flew from the U.S. to Tanzania and then was looking to fly from Tanzania to the Seychelles (my flight to Tanzania was in December 2013 and to the Seychelles was January 2014).  Instead of choosing one airline, we choose 2 different African airlines because 1) I wanted to experience both airlines but also 2) what I had mentioned above in that an airline can either be a great regional carrier or a great international carrier, but its hard to be both.  

We flew from the U.S. to Tanzania on Ethiopian Airlines (a great flight which I reviewed in an earlier post) and we choose Ethiopian because it had the best connections and timings from the U.S. to Africa; the reason for this is that Ethiopian flies non-stop from America to Africa.  Kenya Airways does not fly to the U.S. but instead partners with its SkyTeam partner to connect from the U.S. to Africa; however, there are many stops and the timings are very inconvenient so that is why we did not fly with them.  When we were looking at flying intra-Africa, from Tanzania to the Seychelles, we choose Kenya Airways because they had a good service with good timings and connections (and lots of options); Ethiopian was priced competitively with Kenyan but the timings and connections were bad.  Kenya Airways bills itself as the 'Pride of Africa' and after experiencing the service, they are doing Africa well.

Booking:  Based in the U.S., it was hard booking an intra-African flight on Kenya Airways.  While the website is very nice, it is a little clunky and not as fast or as modern as other sites (such as Ethiopian).  Also, for some reason the Kenya Airways site would not take my American credit card; when I inquired about this they informed me that I could put the reservation on hold and pay for the ticket in a ticket-office within 24 hours - very convenient if you are within Africa, not so convenient when you are in America.  Because of all these reasons, I booked my flight through a travel website.  While Kenya Airways has many flights from DAR to NBO (Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport), they only have one flight from NBO to SEZ (Seychelles International Airport in Victoria).  Depending on which flight you choose out of DAR, you can either have a very long or very short connection in NBO to the next flight. 

After I had booked my flight on the travel site, I contacted the airline to ensure the reservation and the details were correct.  As I previously did not know that Kenyan flew many flights from DAR to NBO, I was unaware that the 11-hour layover I had in Kenya was unwarranted; in fact it was the airline itself that informed me of this.  (I will come to that part later on under 'service').  Because all this happened within 4 hours, I was able to cancel my original booking and rebook myself on the flights with the shorter connection:

KQ489 departing DAR @ 5:10am and arriving NBO @ 6:30am (using Embraer 190)
KQ450 departing NBO @ 9:05am and arriving SEZ @ 13:15/1:15pm (using Boeing 737-800)

Service:  Kenya Airways has excellent service, both prior to an on-board the flight.  After I had booked my ticket through the travel website, I contacted the airline to ensure the reservation was confirmed and the details were correct.  I had contacted the airline via email and within 2 hours I had a detailed response from a Kenyan Airways representative.  The quickness and the detailed level of response was very impressive.  The travel website had originally booked me on a 11-hour layover in NBO but the Kenya Airways representative informed me that other Kenya Airways flights were available with shorter connection times and they had plenty of availability.  I was able to cancel my original booking and book the shorter connection times.  I later emailed the airline about seat assignments and emailed one week prior to my flight to confirm my booking, and each time the responses were quick and detailed.  A great customer service touch.  On board, the great customer service continued.

On-board:  The first flight was KQ489 which was an early morning 1hr 20min flight on a Embraer 190.  The plane was already parked at the gate when we arrived and boarding commenced for an on-time departure.  Once on-board, the aircraft looked new and clean.  There were leather seats (with a nice seat pitch) and each seat had a personal TV screen -- on an Embraer! 

Note: only one side of the plane's PTV's had been turned on; I was sitting on the turned off side so I asked the FA to turn it on, and they said due to the short flying time they could not -- luckily there were empty seats around me on the working side so I switched over

Even though it was a short flying time, the FA's still served breakfast along with coffee, tea, and juices.  The breakfast was simple with fruit and a croissant (in a box-type presentation), but it was a nice touch for the early morning flight and the FA's were very cheerful and smiled throughout the early morning flight.  We landed on-time at NBO and parked at the terminal and deplaned; those with connections were told to take the stairs up to the terminal while passengers staying in Kenya were asked to board a bus to take them to the luggage and customs.

Our next flight was 3hr 10min flight - KQ450 - on a Boeing 737-800.  This plane looked nice from the outside, but unfortunately it looked old and used from the inside.  I know that Kenya Airways was in the process of upgrading their fleet, and I don't think this plane had received its upgrade.  The seat pitch was tight, the seats were not leather but were cloth and seemed worn out, and there were no personal screens (how can a 1hr flight on an Embraer be so nice while a 3hr flight on a Boeing 737 be so bad --- i have experienced this on other airlines and it shocks me every time!)  The plane did have video screens running down the main aisle, but nothing was shown on it except for the flight path.  

On this flight, we were served lunch about 20 minutes after we took off and the lunch was decent.  Drinks, tea, and coffee were served as well, but after the trays were cleared there wasn't really that much to do for the remaining 2+hours (water was served drink refills were available upon request).  The seat pitch was very tight and the seats were uncomfortable so it also made sleeping uncomfortable as well.  We landed at SEZ on time at 13:15 and proceeded to deplane and walk to the terminal (Kenya Airways operates one flight from NBO to SEZ and only flies 4-times a week - Tues, Thurs, Sat, Sun - so this plane has one hour to deplane, clean, and reload passengers before it returns back to NBO).

Transit:  Note: most of the planes at NBO are parked at stands and are not connected to jet-bridgets.  Only the European-bound flights seemed to be using the jet-bridges while everyone else deplaned using the stairs and took the stairs up to the terminal.  When we were to board, we took those same stairs back down to the plane.  There is not a lot to do in NBO.  There are many gates and a lot of passengers, but the terminal seems very narrow.  While it never felt claustrophobic, it certainly did not feel spacious (note: this was the time when a terminal at NBO had caught fire so all the flights had to be put into a single terminal so everything was a bit more cramped than usual, but never chaotic).  In this terminal, there was free wi-fi and while it wasn't the greatest speed it was free and did provide enough strength to send a basic email.  The terminal resembled a long hallway - with coffee shops/restaurants on either end.  note: the duty free shops accepted international currency and sold coke/sprite/diet coke at cheaper prices than the restaurant!  When you walked from one end to the other, on one side was the runway and the gates along with some duty-free shops, and on the terminal side were the restrooms and connections for passengers coming in from the outside. (note: the restrooms were small/tiny and did feel claustrophobic, especially when a plane came in and all the passengers went to the restroom at the same time!)   The duty-free shops were small and basic, but provided local souvenirs that you could purchase.  Other than that, there was nothing much to do but wait (if I had a longer wait time, I think I would've become very board very quickly!)  After a while, they called our flight and we proceeded to the boarding area (through another security check) and waited for our flight.   This is where a bit of confusion took place.

Once you enter security, you can either proceed to the right or left depending on what gate you departing out of; however there was no clear direction as to where passengers should be sitting or going so those who should have sat on the right were sitting on the left and vice versa.  This meant that different flights were being called on the announcement and then airline representatives were going through the gates announcing the correct flights they were boarding (it happened many times that they called 'boarding' but failed to mention which flight was boarding until you got down the stairs and they checked the boarding passes, which meant fighting the other crowds who were coming down to go back up to sit in the waiting area --- i'm sure it had to do with the terminal fire and the chaos surrounding that, but it was still a mess.)  Finally, our flight was called and we proceeded down the stairs to the runway and then walked to our waiting plane.

Overall:  In the end, it was a nice and pleasant journey on Kenya Airways.  I got to experience both the new and old Kenya Airways, and while I prefer the new airplane, both had good customer service and attentive and smiling FA's - and to me that is what matters most.  Yes, new planes with fancy gadgets is very nice (and makes the time go by so much quicker) but I would much rather have good, quality customer service on the ground and in the sky and that is what Kenya Airways has.  I am not sure if Kenya Airways will start operating to the U.S. - their Dreamliner 787 is coming into service shortly so service to the U.S. may be in the near future - and I am not sure it is the right move for them as they are the smaller of the African 3 (South African, Ethiopian, and Kenya).  If they do expand, hopefully they will be able to maintain their good customer service both on ground and in the sky.

Monday, August 18, 2014

NOLA to DC: does USAirways need to worry about the 'Southwest effect'?

Flying from MSY to DCA: Southwest vs. USAirways
comment below and let me know your thoughts :)

I am based in New Orleans (and proud to call the city home!) and New Orleans has many great qualities and attributes, however one thing New Orleans did not use to have were many direct flights.  Usually, if you wanted to take a direct flight to a certain destination there was only one option and usually that was via the airline's hub, which meant that particular airline had the monopoly over that flight timings and prices.  This is how flying from New Orleans (MSY) to Washington Reagan (DCA) used to be as USAirways was the only airline that flew direct, that is until Southwest arrived.  With Southwest's takeover of AirTran, it got landing rights into DCA which allowed it to operate direct flights and one of the cities to get direct flights from DCA on Southwest was New Orleans.  This would be great, another option to fly direct --- but is Southwest better?  Did the competition bring down fares?  Is the flight experience any different between the two carriers?  Let's find out.  

SWA Boeing 737
Background:  USAirways has been flying between MSY and DCA for a while, but initially the flight options were limited.  When USAirways adopted a somewhat 'hybrid LCC model', they transferred some of their services to USAirways Express and those services included the flights from MSY to DCA.  Initially, USAirways Express (operated by Republic Airlines dba USAirways Express) kept the same schedule and but then gradually increased the flight options.  Southwest, on the other hand, is a new competitor as it acquired the landing slots at DCA (which are restricted) through its acquisition of AirTran.  Southwest also gained a landing slots through the American-USAirways merger (they had to give up slots to get approval for the merger) and started flights from MSY to DCA on August 10th. It started with 2 non-stops (flights via connections have been available on Southwest since January 2014).  

USAirways Express Embraer
The Plane: For the route, USAirways Express uses an Embraer 175 while Southwest uses a Boeing 737-700.  The Embraer is a small plane and is layed out in a 2-2 fashion while the Boeing 737 is a bigger plane but is layed out in a 3-3 option.  The good thing about this is that you know exactly what kind of plane you are getting, what the seating layout is, and what amenities are available.  There are no surprises!
NOTE: The flight time from MSY to DCA ranges from 2hours to 2hrs 40minutes.  Southwest flew the route in 2 hours (from takeoff to landing) while USAirways flew the route in 2hrs30minutes.  I am not sure if it is because Southwest uses bigger planes so can get there faster or if they are going faster speeds.  On the return, both airlines had the same flight time of 2hour 30minutes.

Price: This is usually the first thing customers look at in terms of flights and usually competition brings down fares. Normally, USAirways charges between $230-$320 or higher for a roundtrip fare (depending on how in advance you purchase).  Despite the addition of the Southwest flights, the fares have remained the same (and I have not seen any sales for these fares).  Southwest's fares have been going up and down like a yo-yo.  When the flights were first available on their website, the non-stops were pricing at $240 for a roundtrip fare (connections were slightly higher).  Later, when Southwest started their promotions of the new flights the roundtrip flights dropped down to $186 (for the non-stop).  
NOTE: if you book the higher fare on Southwest and then the fare drops, if they can verify the lower fare they will provide you a credit for the difference.  

One of SWA's new flights to DCA - from MSY
Flight Options: As I stated earlier, initially the flight options on USAirways were limited but in the last 5 years they have increased gradually.  USAirways Express now offers 5 daily non-stop flights from MSY to DCA, with the earliest flight at 5:45am and the latest flight at 6:35pm (very convenient and work-friendly schedules).  More flight options are available via connections (through Charlotte or now Miami and Dallas).  Southwest currently offers only 2 non-stop flights - one at 7:40am and the other at 2:55pm (which is being pushed back to 3pm).  There are additional flight options via connections (through Houston, Atlanta, or Nashville; they used to have connections via St. Louis but no longer).

Services:  Southwest has pioneered the LCC (low-cost carrier) model so you know you are not going to get a lot with your ticket.  USAirways is a hybrid in that USAirways operates as a 'reduced' full-service airline while USAirways Express operates more like a LCC.  On both airlines, you basically pay for your seat and a drink and that is about it.  For USAirways, you can pre-select your seat (regular economy is free while additional room and exit row cost $25) while Southwest has an 'open seating' policy where you can choose your seat based on what's available when you board.  Southwest does provide 2 free bags (a nice bonus) while USAirways does charge for checked bags (starting at $25).  Southwest also provides a 'no change fee' policy if you need to change your flight (you just pay the difference in fare) while USAirways does charge a change fee (along with the difference in fare).  While on board, both provide soft drinks and water for free.  USAirways Express does provide a free small pretzel pack and does have a (limited) selection of food to buy on board.  Southwest provides free peanuts/pretzels as well as a 'veggie wheat thins' snack pack; it does not provide any food to buy on board

Entertainment:  USAirways Express does not provide any entertainment while on board.  They do offer paid wifi or a free airline magazine.  Southwest also provides paid wifi or a free airline magazine, and now they have started a promotion with Dish Network to offer live TV via a downloaded app to your smartphone or table (which you do prior to your flight).  The live TV, as well as selected TV shows, are only available on wifi-enabled planes (which most but not all planes are) and only if the wifi works (which sometimes it does not).  When it does work, it is a great past-time and is very fast (and is comparable to Jetblue's tv options).

using the app: 24 hours prior to your flight, you receive an email indicating whether your flight is wifi-enabled, and if it is you are prompted to dowload the app.  When you get on board, select 'Southwest wifi' and then open the app.  You can select the free tv or paid wifi.  After watching a short DISH Network commercial and entering your email, the browser launches and you can watch up to 19 channels and 75 tv episodes.  

Overall: In the end which is better?  That really depends on what you are looking for and what is important to you.  USAirways' flight schedules are more convenient and have more options so they are more flexible with your schedule.  However, USAirways charges for bags while Southwest does not and if you are checking in two bags, that's is an extra $60 on USAirways while on Southwest it would be no charge.  Both airlines are pricing the flights equally so it really depends on the extras and your preference as to which one you choose.  Whichever one you do choose...happy and safe travels!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Trip Report: Malaysia Airlines, Sydney to Jakarta via Kuala Lumpur (Oct 2013)

Malaysia Airlines - Sydney to Jakarta via Kuala Lumpur
comment below and let me know your thoughts :)

Note: this trip occurred in October 2013, before the disappearance of MH370 and the tragedy of MH17.  My thoughts and wishes go out to the families of those flights 

Malaysia Airlines is a small but important player in the aviation market, but it has struggled.  From its base at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, it competes with low-cost carrier Air Asia - so Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has to figure out whether it wants to be a full-service airline, a LCC, or a hybrid of both.  I believe Malaysia Airlines has found a balance - medium service availability with a lower costs- but not sure how profitable that balance will be maintained. 

In terms of the Asia-Pacific market, Malaysia Airlines is one of the more affordable full-service airlines if you consider Singapore Airlines, Qantas, and Cathay its competition.  While I may not put Malaysia Airlines in that same category, it is these airlines that Malaysia is competing with - and winning with a lower airfare.  

I was flying from Australia to Jakarta and looked around to find an inexpensive alternative.  There are many LCCs flying from Australia, but they fly to Bali (where I did not want to go) and the other airlines seemed very costly.  It came down to a choice between Malaysia Airlines (via KUL) or direct on Garuda Indonesia (with its upgraded service, I now consider as competition to Malaysia Airlines).   I choose Malaysian based on their past experience and dedication to service...I was not wrong in my choice.

I had booked my trip through an online site as they were offering a better price than the Malaysia Airlines site.  Even then, I could go online and choose my seats and update my information - this is something I appreciate as not all airlines allow this and this is something extremely customer-friendly and focused. 

I was booked on MH134 which departs Brisbane (BNE) at 11:20pm and arrives at Kuala Lumpur (KUL) at 5:50am.  I was already in BNE from an earlier flight so when boarding opened up 9:00pm, I was ready and in-line.  Check-in was easy and efficient, and MAS is very generous in allowing one bag up to 30kg per passenger.  After going through security and immigration I proceeded to the gate and waited for the boarding to commence.  The plane was already at the gate, as MH134 is the return flight with the originating flight arriving into BNE at 7L50pm.  Boarding commenced around 10:50pm and all passengers boarded the plane.

The interior:  The plane looked relatively brand new and was a very modern and updated Airbus A333, with 250 seats and a seat pitch of 34 and width of 17 - it was very nice and spacious and suitable for the 8hr 30min flight.  The seats itself were slim and comfortable enough for the duration of the flight.  Seat amenities included a game controller, AC power and USB connecting ports, a foot rest, and as well as an IFE.  Each seatback included an IFE and the IFE was touchscreen as well as worked with the remote.  

The IFE on Malaysian was very nice and up to date.  They had a lot of new and interesting movies to choose from, along with TV shows, music, games, and features on the company.  In my opinion, Emirates provides the best IFE so they are the standard to which I compare other airlines to --- and in that regard Malaysia does not stack up; however, when comparing them to other carriers such as Etihad or Qantas then I believe Malaysian wins.  Their IFE's were more up-to-date, had a wider selection, and had a more interesting selection than some of the other 'bigger carriers' and for that they get high marks.

The food: Since this was an evening flight, about an hour after we took off the airline started its dinner service.  The food on Malaysian is good, with nice portions and decent flavor.  After dinner, drinks, tea and coffee were served, the lights were dimmed so passengers could rest as the flight continued.  During this period, the FA's came around multiple times to provide water to the passengers.  About an hour or so prior to decent into KUL, a small snack plus drinks were served.  The snack was all that appetizing and was very small but a nice gesture from Malaysian.

the model planes at KUL
Transition: We were scheduled to land at KUL at 5:50am and we landed on time and taxied to our gate.   In our flight, the passengers were split down the middle with half connecting to other flights and half spending time in Malaysia.  KUL has a main terminal and a satellite terminal (and from what I can detect, most wide-body planes use the satellite terminal and short-body planes use the main terminal).  The two terminals are connected by a train (which was an improvement as in 2007 there were only buses and no trains) - those with connections got off at the main terminal while those collecting bags had one more stop.  The main terminal at KUL is very large and has some great plane-viewing windows.  There is a lot of duty-free available and some food options, although the food options were some-what limited.  There is free-wifi in the airport, but the service and reception was spotty and depended on where you were.  Since it was about 6am and I had been travelling all day, I was tired so I went to my gate where they had nice big couch/benches on which you could lay out and rest (I saw a lot of people sleeping on them.)  On the couches near my gate, the wifi was not good but if I moved two or three gates down the wifi service improved.   I was connecting in KUL to my next flight to Jakarta, which was scheduled to leave at 7:50am - which means that gate to gate I had about 2 hours transit (less if you consider taxi time, transfer to gates, and security and boarding for my next flight).  The connection time did not seem tight, but rather perfect for the early morning.

the seats on Malaysia (Boeing 737)
Connections: My next flight was MH713 on a Boeing 737 and is one of the many daily flights Malaysian has to Jakarta.  Our scheduled departure time was 7:50am and we boarded on time and even though the flight was generally full, I had the entire row to myself (very nice).  There were many FA's on board serving the passengers, and all of them were friendly and had a smile on their face.  The flight time to Jakarta is 2hr 15mins and it was overall a comfortable seat.  Even though the plane looked older, inside it had been refurbished and updated with leather seats.  Each seat also had its own IFE, which was a nice addition.  The options were not as wide as what was available on longer flights, but still had enough of a wide selection to easily pass the flight time and it was a nice addition on this short flight.  Shortly after take-off drinks and meals were served.  Since it was early in the morning, breakfast was served and there was a choice of either western or Malay/Indonesian.  'When in Rome, do as the Romans' as the saying goes so as I was going to Indonesia I chose the Indonesian options.  The food was generally quite good and the best part was that because people have different spice preferences, the spices were presented in a separate container which you could add to your liking (a nice touch).  The meals were cleared, drinks along with tea and coffee were offered, and the passengers were left to enjoy the remaining portion of the flight.  We were scheduled to land at 8:50am and we landed on time and had a short taxi to the gate.  Immigration and visa on arrival were cleared easily and then I proceeded to the luggage area --- this is where I did have some problems.  

CGK - where you get your luggage
Apparently only one of my bags made it onto the Jakarta flight while in transit in Malaysia.  I am not sure how only one bag shows up and the other does not, but that is what happened - and it seemed to happen to a lot of people who had regular (i.e. less than 3 hours) transit times in KUL.  There was a group of 7 of us who did not get some or all of their luggage when we landed.  When we went to the claims office, we were told that the luggage was still in KUL and had already been put on the next flight to Jakarta - which was scheduled to land in 3 hours.  Not receiving my luggage has happened before, but normally when my luggage does arrive the airline will transport it directly to where I am staying and I do not need to wait at the airport.  I assumed this would happen this time as well so I provided the address of where I was staying --- a hotel near downtown and from the airport to downtown is about 30-45 minutes without traffic -- however I was told that it would just be easier if I waited at the airport for my luggage and then just took it with me.  I asked that, instead of me waiting 3 hours in the arrivals hall (prior to clearing customs and exiting) if they could just send my bags -- they said 'it would just be easier to wait'; so I waited.

Luggage Hall @ CGK
Jakarta Airport:  The arrivals hall (where you get your luggage) at CGK or Soekarno-Hatta International Airport has some facilities for passengers - but not a lot.  There were no food options available in this section, but there was a technology store available where you could purchase SIMs.  Since I needed to do this anyway, I took the opportunity to get the SIM here - NOTE: I always get a cheap, pre-paid SIM wherever I go as its easier if I need to make any local calls, and I can give the number out to friends and family who can use calling cards to call me.  Most countries also have it to where you can use the SIM to check your mail so that is also convenient.  After waiting for 3 hours, the next flight from KUL eventually landed and I received my luggage.

CGK main area
I returned about 4 days -- my flight from Jakarta was very early in the morning at 4:40am so I spent the previous evening on the other side of the airport.  On this side - the Departure side - there are plenty of luggage carts available.  They also have many food options available as well, but these are not open all night.  Almost all of the businesses closed around midnight - including restaurants and kiosks.  There is a pay lounge which had AC and was quieter, but the food did not look all that appetizing (you basically paid for quiet, less people, and some AC).  What was lacking were power points - I found one on the far side of the terminal next to the administrative offices - and places to sit/lounge.  The area prior to going through security and checking in is not very big, yet there are tons of people.  They have about 8 wood benches/loungers there in which you could spread out, if you like sleeping on wood and want to fight for your space; it was not a comfortable place to rest.  My flight was scheduled to take off at 4:40am and we departed on time and landed in KUL at 7:40am.  Again, I had 2 hours to transit as my next flight departed at 9:45am (this is a daily flight Malaysia has from Brisbane that departs KUL at 9:45am, arrives into Brisbane at 7:50pm and departs at 11:20pm back to KUL).                                   

Conclusion: Overall, despite my luggage incident, I enjoyed my experience with Malaysia Airlines.  They provided nice, clean airlines with decent leg space, good amenities, decent food, an easy to use and navigate site, and on board it was a great service that got me to my destination without spending a lot of money -- and that is where I see the problem for Malaysia. They are trying to be a full-service airline - to compete with Qantas, Singapore, and Cathay - at reduced fares to compete with the LCC's - Air Asia, Scoot, Tiger, and Cebu.  Malaysia needs to figure out who they want to be -- as I stated earlier the majority of the passengers of my flight were transit passengers as Malaysia provide a good service at a decent price; but the question is for how long can they have this 'hybrid' model of full-service and discounted prices.  

Would I fly Malaysia again? Definitely!
How does their service compare? Not as good as Singapore or Cathay (and both SIN and HKG are better airports) but I thought this was better than Virgin Australia or Qantas or Air Asia

How do their fares compare?  They are more economical than Singapore, Cathay, Qantas, and Virgin Australia but not as cheap as AirAsia -- however they fly more places and KUL is nicer than KLIA!

Happy flying!