Round the World, Travel

Air Asia Sucks

September 18, 2010

Air Asia is one of these low cost airlines that teases you with low fares, then frustrates you so much that what you gain in savings you lose in years off your life. Deciphering the rules is like figuring out the multiple street parking signs in LA (and those of you in LA know exactly what I’m talking about – by the time you’ve figured it out, the Parking Authority has already ticketed you).

When I was booking the main hub flights for my trip, I tried to book on Air Asia for Bangkok to Hong Kong and tried four different credit cards, all declined.  I checked with the banks and it was not them declining the transactions because they never reached that far.  The fact that in the booking form, when you select United States for the country, the State field comes up as “N/A” should have raised a flag.  Apparently, we are just one big happy family here in the USA (lawsuits aside).

I wrote Air Asia and got some form reply asking me to call customer service.  Now, I realize that because they don’t fly in the US, I shouldn’t expect a US Customer Support number.  But I know enough about low cost airlines that anything you do on the phone will invariably end up costing you at least twice as much to book that way.  And who’s to say my card(s) would be any good this way, anyway.  So I gave up and went with another airline.  Business lost to them.

However, I thought I would try again for a short flight from Chiang Mai to Bangkok now that I was going to spend a couple of days in Chiang Mai via the overnight train.  Air Asia was running a special that, even with extra baggage and seat and credit card convenience (?!!) fees would still be about 50 bucks.  Again, tried four credit cards.  Again, declined.

This time I noticed that they have online chat, so I thought I would give that a try.  Well, if you do that be prepared to sit for awhile.  I mean A-while.  Finally, I pretty much got the same response.  Call customer service.  So I did.  First Australia.  24 hour line.  No answer.  Then the UK.  Message says, sorry we’re busy.  But do try us again later.  Click.  Next, Thailand office since that’s where I’m flying.  The guy either pretended not to understand me (press 2 for English) or didn’t want to actually tell me the truth that they don’t take US credit cards so he just hung up.  The only conclusion I can make.  No US credit cards.  Fine.  But at least put it on the website so we don’t go through the frustrations.  That’s right, tell the truth and admit it.  Americans, your money is no good with us.

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