Sometimes I’ve been guilty of falling in love with a product and/or service to the point where it blinds me from trying something else. When it comes to flying around select destinations in Asia, I’ve been a huge fan of Air Asia for years. Almost exclusively I’ve flown with Air Asia – on both long and short haul flights – whenever I haven’t taken more local forms of transportation such as trains or buses.
As a traveller that seeks value over comfort, I’ve come to appreciate being able to take flights (when booked well in advance) that costs a mere fraction compared with major airlines. In certain cases, I’ve found flights with Air Asia that were far cheaper than taking either the bus or train!
Recently, I was forced to look at flights with another carrier when the route I was looking for, a flight from Chiang Mai, Thailand to Penang, Malaysia, was fully booked. With an impending Visa run just mere days away, I had yet to book a flight out of Thailand.
I had heard about Nok Air, from several friends who had flown with them before; although, they had mentioned positive things about their experiences flying with Nok Air, I had yet to really consider them for my own personal connections.
Scrambling last minute, I was initially disappointed when I noticed they also didn’t have any available flights from Chiang Mai to Penang. Randomly, I started thinking of destinations in the southern part of Thailand that were close to the Malaysian border; Hat Yai and Krabi immediately came to mind.
When I discovered that a flight from Chiang Mai to Hat Yai, on a promo fare, would cost less than half of the price of a train ticket I immediately pounced. Not knowing what to expect, concerns about safety, service and reliability from this ‘new’ airline crept into my mind as time grew closer to my departure.
Now that I’m writing this post from Phuket, Thailand, having just completed my Visa run to Penang, Malaysia, I’ve only got overwhelming positive things to say about Nok Air. When compared to flights I’ve taken in the past with Air Asia, three things really stand out:
source: Samuel and Audrey on YouTube
FREE WIFI IN THE AIRPORT
Free wifi in the airport? For those accustomed to flying out of the highest rated airports in the world, such as Changi International Airport in Sinagore or Incheon International Aiport in Korea, free wifi has been in play for years; however, for those in North America – or flying with budget airlines – waiting for delayed flights can be excruciatingly painful without a wifi connection.
What I loved about Nok Air, is that they had free wifi for customers waiting to board their flights. To connect, it didn’t require any fancy password or login id; I just simply had to enter my boarding number and within seconds I was surfing online.
Another huge bonus was that I didn’t have to pay extra online (or at the check in counter) for luggage. Because our bag was under 15 kg it was free to have it checked. When booking flights with Air Asia, I always find it a bit misleading when I have the fare etched out in my mind and then suddenly the extras (such as luggage) tack on a significant amount more.
SNACKS ON BOARD THE PLANE
Now the real kicker was having a surprise snack and beverage on board Nok Air! I’m used to having to purchase overpriced tiny portion meals from Air Asia; and in the rare case that I actually do decide I’m hungry enough to fork over money for something to eat,
I end up paying more money out of pocket. Although the snack on Nok Air was merely nothing more than a couple of coconut pastries filled with raisins along with a water, I felt as though I was a valued customer.
Air Asia Information For Travelers
AirAsia is a low-cost airline based in Malaysia that offers flights to destinations across Asia and beyond. Here are some key pieces of information that travelers should know:
- Booking: AirAsia allows you to book flights online through their website or mobile app. You can also book through a travel agent.
- Baggage: AirAsia has strict baggage policies, so make sure to check their website before packing for your trip. You may need to pay extra for checked baggage or for bringing a carry-on bag on board.
- Check-in: AirAsia offers online check-in, self-service kiosks at the airport, and counter check-in. Make sure to arrive at the airport with enough time to check-in, clear security, and get to your gate.
- In-flight experience: AirAsia offers a no-frills experience, which means you’ll need to purchase any food, drinks, or entertainment on board. You can purchase these items online ahead of time to save money.
- Safety: AirAsia has a strong safety record and is committed to ensuring the safety of their passengers. They have implemented enhanced cleaning and safety measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Loyalty program: AirAsia has a loyalty program called AirAsia BIG that allows you to earn and redeem points for flights, hotel stays, and other travel-related expenses.
- Customer service: If you have any questions or concerns, AirAsia has a customer service team that you can reach through their website, social media, or by phone.
Overall, AirAsia is a decent option for travelers who are looking for affordable flights to destinations across Asia and beyond. Just make sure to familiarize yourself with their policies and procedures before your trip to ensure a smooth travel experience.
Nok Air Information For Travelers
Nok Air is a low-cost airline based in Thailand that offers domestic and international flights to various destinations in Thailand, Cambodia, China, Myanmar, Vietnam, and more. Here are some key pieces of information for travelers:
- Booking: You can book flights on Nok Air’s website or through their mobile app. They also have partnerships with travel agencies and online travel booking platforms.
- Baggage: Nok Air has a baggage allowance of 15 kg for checked baggage and 7 kg for carry-on baggage. You may need to pay extra for additional baggage or for oversized or overweight baggage.
- Check-in: Nok Air offers online check-in, self-service kiosks at the airport, and counter check-in. Make sure to arrive at the airport with enough time to check-in, clear security, and get to your gate.
- In-flight experience: Nok Air offers a no-frills experience, similar to other low-cost airlines. They do offer food and drinks for purchase on board.
- Safety: Nok Air has a strong safety record and is committed to ensuring the safety of their passengers. They have implemented enhanced cleaning and safety measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Nok Fan Club: Nok Air has a loyalty program called Nok Fan Club that allows you to earn and redeem points for flights and other travel-related expenses.
- Customer service: If you have any questions or concerns, Nok Air has a customer service team that you can reach through their website or by phone.
Overall, Nok Air is a good option for travelers who are looking for affordable flights within Thailand and to nearby countries in Asia. Just make sure to familiarize yourself with their policies and procedures before your trip to ensure a smooth travel experience.
Air Asia versus Nok Air Comparison
AirAsia and Nok Air are both low-cost airlines based in Southeast Asia, but they differ in some key aspects that may affect travelers’ preferences.
- Network: AirAsia has a larger network and flies to more destinations compared to Nok Air. AirAsia also offers international flights to destinations beyond Southeast Asia.
- Prices: Both airlines offer affordable fares, but AirAsia may sometimes have lower prices than Nok Air, especially on international routes.
- In-flight experience: Both airlines offer a no-frills experience, but AirAsia offers more amenities and services on board, such as in-flight entertainment, hot meals, and more comfortable seats. Nok Air, on the other hand, offers a simpler and more basic in-flight experience.
- Baggage allowance: Nok Air has a more generous baggage allowance than AirAsia, with a free checked baggage allowance of 20 kg and a carry-on allowance of 7 kg. AirAsia, on the other hand, charges for checked baggage and has a lower carry-on allowance.
- Loyalty program: Both airlines have loyalty programs, but AirAsia’s BIG program is more extensive and offers more opportunities to earn and redeem points.
- Customer service: Both airlines have customer service teams, but AirAsia has a larger and more established customer service network with multiple channels for support.
AirAsia may be a better choice for travelers looking for a wider network, more amenities on board, and a more established loyalty program.
Nok Air may be a better choice for travelers who value a more generous baggage allowance and a simpler in-flight experience. However, it’s important to check both airlines’ fares, schedules, and policies before booking to find the best option for your travel needs.