After writing my first thoughts on booking the AirAsia Asean pass I have spent many long hours investigating the best possible route to get the most out of the pass value.
I wish it was a lot simpler, but AirAsia is not happy giving away a magical ticket that would allow you to go everywhere your heart desires (I wish!).
In fact, from first glance the pass already implies that and it gets your wanderlust buzzing when you first hear about it.
Once you start looking into the small print more and more problems pop up, but as long as you’re dedicated to putting in research time, it’s still possible to get great value out of the AirAsia Pass.
The painful puzzle that took forever to piece together
I spend hours trying to work out the best possible solution to finding the most resourceful route.
I used the template on the AirAsia Asean pass promotional page, which was a little confusing, but was helpful mapping out what routes were possible.
The AirAsia interactive online flight map was also helpful when looking into what airports link to other airports and revealing 1 credit flights that had value.
Also WikiTravel come in handy when new destinations popped up that I’ve never heard of.
Here is what I discovered:
Flying 1 credit routes 20 times proved challenging
I tried to work out if it would be possible to use 20, 1 credit flights to reach all the destinations that I desired to visit, it was not possible without the use of some 3 credit flights, unless I went back on myself.
This is mainly due to the reason that you cannot book the same route twice with one pass you can only fly one route once.
Some destinations are only connected to one airport
Some flights are only assessable from one destination, normally from one of the AirAsia hubs, this means you will have to go back a number of times to the same destination if you wish to visit these places.
What you want to make use of is 1 credit routes that connect to a new destination that leads to another, so you can create a forward flying effect which allows you to constantly visit new destinations instead of back tracking yourself and wasting credits.
Here I have made these routes a little clearer:
List of flights that can only be reached by taking a return flight
Brunei – KL, 6 Credits return
Yangon, Burma (Myanmar) via Bangkok 2 credits return
Vientiane, Laos – KL, 6 credits return
Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Cambodia from Bangkok is 2 credits return and from KL 6 credits return
Hanoi (2 return from BKK), DA Nang, 6 credits returns to KL.
Singapore – KL, 2 Credits return
Bangkok – KL, 6 credits return
As you can tell such as the Brunei flight, they are popular sort after flights, but will be tricky to reach as you can’t visit them on a one credit flight, it’s your choice what you wish to do.
If you want to get full value out of the AirAsia Asean pass wasting the credits on 6 credit return flights might not be smart in some cases.
That’s correct, Brunei will cost you 6 credits and there is nothing you can do about that, you either use it or not. As its surrounded by Loads of 1 credit routes, it’s sad to see them go in such a way, but that’s the way the pass works.
For My chosen route, I have 20 credits and I plan to use them in 30 days, yep you heard me correctly, introducing:
Travel Dave’s AirAsia Asean Pass tour
Over the course of August, this will be my route:
1. Chiang Mai – Bangkok 1 credit
2. Bangkok – Surat Thani 1 credit
3. Surat Thani – Kuala Lumpur 1 credit
4. Kuala Lumpur – Brunei 3 credit
5. Brunei – Kuala Lumpur 3 credit
6. Kuala Lumpur – Singapore 1 credit
7. Singapore – Jakarta 1 credit
8. Jakarta – Yogyakarta 1 credit
9. Yogyakarta – Bali 1 credit
10. Bali – Kota Kinabalu 1 credit
11. Kota Kinabalu – Cebu 1 credit
12. Cebu – Davo 1 credit
13. Davo – Cebu 1 credit
14. Cebu – Kuala Lumpur 3 credit
As you can see, I’ve mostly used groups of 1 credit flights to get to many destinations that link together. This has mostly broken some 3 credit flights into 2 credits flights, allowing an extra credit to play with.
That’s where the added value is in the AirAsia Asean Pass and that’s how you can get more destinations out of it.
If it wasn’t for my crazy desire to want to visit Brunei this route would be a little bit longer. I would have instead gone to Burma, Cambodia and Vietnam from Bangkok for 2 credits each return, making it a total of 18 flights for around £160 (plus tax), you simply can’t beat that value!
Hmmm 14 flights in one month
This is going to be a challenge and a half, but I’m going to treat it like a Interrail pass in the air to explore South East Asia. Its like an up-to-date modern version and I hope more airlines move into opening up such passes in the future if the AirAsia Asean pass proves to be a success.
Problems faced when booking with the AirAsia Asean pass
When I went to book my first flight using the pass, it seemed rather simple at first but then I Started facing issues.
The first route I wanted to book was not available on that date, This alarmed me because when I went to search Normally, without the pass, many seats were still available for purchase, this was frustrating.
Why are they treating AirAsia Asean pass holders like this? Little unfair,
Especially when you have to book 14 days in advance and also cram a possible 20 flights in one month, you can’t have this happening every route.
Some routes connect other routes, once you’ve booked the flights its done, you can’t go back, it risks a knock on effect which is simply not fair.
This means if someone discovers a route which is super cheap using the pass, Airasia can cut this out by making the flight unavailable. I really hope they don’t do this, would be incredibly unfair.
After moving the flight a few days forward, finally I found an available flight.
I just can’t be doing this each time, my month period will run out! That’s another problem, you have to keep within the month, it’s going to get tricky.
When I Went to check out, I had to pay the extra taxes added on the spot, but the system declined my card twice, this was annoying as I had only just paid for the pass with the same card moments ago.
This got me thinking, you would have to put your card details in 10-20 times in a row and you also can’t book your friend or family member in at the same time as well, so you have to do it all over again for them, this is going to take forever!
Maybe it might have been a good idea for AirAsia to have sold a Credit voucher to put on the account so you only have to make one payment or hey, Maybe cut out the whole tax thing all together??
Also a feature to preselect your preferences as I don’t order any extra leg room, baggage, food, insurance, car rental, but you still have to go through all the steps!
Having to go through that whole booking system takes forever, x20 you have a nightmare on your hands so be prepared!