Sunday, March 18, 2018

The low cost carrier experience

sadviser March 14, 2012

A BIG BATH… Swimming with the elephants is offered at a rehabilitation centre. The elephants are well cared for, they are led into the river where you can join in the fun of washing them.MORE and More travellers are taking the option of the no frills low cost carrier on holidays and with Virgin, Jetstar, Tiger and Air Asia, just to mention few, you can save money on your overseas flights.
I recently had the opportunity to fly Air Asia to Hong Kong and was quite pleased with the experience.
When they say no frills, that’s exactly what it was but you have the option to pre pay meals or take pot luck on what’s available as the cart comes around.
You can upgrade your seat for extra dollars in what is called a hot seat, usually the ones near a bulkhead or exit that give you extra leg room.
There is no entertainment provided but for a few more dollars, out comes a stand alone screen loaded with movies, music and games.
I noticed a lot of travellers had their own tablet computers and brought their own entertainment with them.
I also discovered a website called Option Town where you can apply for an upgrade to executive class for a fee of about $160. They call you three days before departure and offer an upgrade to a seat which folds to a bed, great if you are on a long overnight flight.
▼	FREE FLYING… KL has the biggest undercover bird park in the world, it’s like an undercover paradise where the birds freely fly.I had a long stopover in Kuala Lumpur and found the optional Premium Lounge and for only $50 you can buy five hours there where you are supplied with comfortable seating, shower facilities, food and even a cold beer or two.
These Premium Lounges are now being opened up all over Asia, which is handy for those with a young family. Even after you add up all the extras, if you are travelling with a family you can save big.
I have flown via Malaysia before and always admired the facilities at the KL International Airport, but this time we didn’t land there, instead these cheap flights have their own terminal.
Gone was all the glitz of the KL International, instead we went the LCCT terminal, that’s right, the Low Cost Carrier Terminal.
It was different, not as big and showy but it did the job and with the Premium Lounge it was great.
With the high Australian dollar Hong Kong is great value and with their very efficient underground subway it is a breeze to get around.
▼	COLOURFUL DISPLAY… This beautiful peacock seemed to want to perform before the camera showing it’s wonderful feathers.Shopping seems to be the number one activity and bargains are to be had from the glitzy shopping malls right through to the night markets that sell just about everything.
In the markets you bargain to about half the asking price, I even saw a stall selling four Polo shirts for around $12 for the lot (no need to bargain here).
There is plenty to do from Disney Land to a sunset cruise on the harbour, or a visit to the new territories into China proper.
There are day trips to Canton where you can see a Panda, but the Ocean Park on Hong Kong Island offers a full day’s activities with a water world theme park and the option to see more Pandas.
A must see is the symphony of lights on the harbour and the laser light show is impressive, and for a few dollars you can join one of the boats that cruise the harbour, giving you a great view.
On my way home I stopped over at KL and again the Aussie dollar provided great shopping and the night markets have many bargains to choose from as well as great food.
There are many things to do, from a tour that will show you the highlights of the city, or an option to swim with elephants at a conservation park located in a tropical rainforest, you can visit the Batu Caves or travel out of town to historic Malacca.
So for just a few days away you can get a great feel for Asia and with these low coast airlines you can save a few dollars. Drop into your local travel agent for more details.
Until next time,
Safe Travel’n,
Geoff Vallance