AirAsia X review: what’s so special about the Premium Flatbed seats?

AirAsia X Premium Flatbed seats

Before going into this AirAsia X review, I honestly had no idea what the difference was between AirAsia and AirAsia X. I mean, it’s essentially the same airline, with the same livery, owned by the same parent company. I didn’t get it.

You see, here in the US, applying an “x” to something implies that it’s “extreme” and / or super rad. It wasn’t my fault that I couldn’t help to think that I was about to fly on the raddest flight of my life in the moments leading up to it. Exciting stuff!

D7372
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (KUL) – Taipei, Taiwan (TPE)
Sunday, March 1, 2020
Aircraft: A330-343
Registration: 9M-XXD
Duration: 4 hours 7 minutes
Seat: 2K (Premium Flatbed)

AirAsia A330-300 UFC livery side view 9M-XXD
AirAsia A330-300 (UFC livery) side view illustration by Norebbo.com
airasia x 372 flight track
Our route from Kuala Lumpur to Taipei today as D70372

The video

A rad flight calls for an equally rad video, so tensions were high as I was getting footage for this AirAsia X review. However, there were no fireballs or explosions involved, and I didn’t even have to say the word “bro” once.

Looking back on it, I think I missed a golden opportunity to tell you how sick this flight experience was. Of course I mean the good kind of sick. The kind of sick that you would hear someone say just after they ripped off an inverted 760 on the half pipe.

As always, the music from this video came from my pals over at Epidemic Sound. Their collection of YouTube-friendly royalty-free music is growing every week, and it behooves you to check it out if you’re making really sick videos of your own.

How much did I pay for this AirAsia X flight from Kuala Lumpur to Taipei?

Did you happen to catch my AirAsia review about the flight from Penang to Kuala Lumpur that I just posted? If you did, you already know that this flight to Taipei was bundled into that. As a reminder, the total price for this AirAsia / AirAsia X experience from Penang to Kuala Lumpur to Taipei came in add a measly $497.02.

This was a fantastic deal in my opinion. Not only did it include a premium seat with extra leg room from Penang to Kuala Lumpur, it also got me into a lie flat business class seat for this segment up to Taipei. It was a pretty sweet deal if you ask me.

Please note: some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. This means that I will get paid a commission if you buy something or take an action after clicking one of them.

This entire AirAsia / AirAsia X experience was purchased with my American Express Platinum Card, which always earns me 5X points on all airfare. 2485 Membership Rewards points were mine for the purchase of this flight.

Pros and cons of the AirAsia X Premium Flatbed experience

Normally I have to dig pretty deep to come up with a list of cons about a flight experience involving a fully lie flat seat. However, it’s going to be especially easy in this particular AirAsia X review.

No, this wasn’t a bad experience. At all. The issue is that AirAsia X is a discount airline that (by design), cuts costs wherever possible. That means that their Premium Flatbed product is a little different than what you would expect on a mainline carrier. Let me explain…

Pros

  • The bang for the buck on AirAsia X is unbeatable. The ability to get a lie flat seat on a 4 1/2 hour international flight for under $500 it’s pretty darn amazing. I’d even go as far as to say that it’s totally sick.
  • Even though AirAsia X doesn’t advertise these as traditional business class seats, they are still quite nice. As mentioned, they are fully life flat, and quite comfy. Even in the upright position.
  • The cabin crew on this particular flight to Taipei was exemplary.

Cons

  • Food and drinks are not free on AirAsia X (not even if you’re sitting in a premium seat). Yes, they do serve hot meals, but you have to pay extra if you want to eat.
  • Even though the seats were extremely comfortable, they were slightly dated. The most notable downside of the seats was the fact that there were no built-in video screens.
  • Video and audio entertainment is complementary, but it comes in the form of tablets handed out by the cabin crew.
  • At the time of this writing, there are no lounges available for AirAsia X premium passengers. Sorry, you’re just gonna have to schlep it out with the common folk out in the terminal while you wait for your flight.

The full transcript of my AirAsia X review video (with lots of bonus content that you didn’t see)

If you’re not already a subscriber to my YouTube channel, I’d recommend heading over there and checking out my content. What you are about to see is a written version of the full AirAsia X Premium Flatbed review video that I put together for this flight. Plus a some extra bonus content, as always.

Arrival at Kuala Lumpur International Airport

My arriving flight from Penang was approximately 15 minutes early, which was nice since I didn’t have a lot of time to waste before this flight up to Taipei. At least that’s what I thought. I actually arrived so early that this flight wasn’t even listed on the departures board yet.

Sanspotter selfie KUL airport
Hey everyone! My name is Scott, and I’m here in Kuala Lumpur this morning just after arriving from Penang. Yup – I’m on my way up to Taipei in AirAsia X business class! Oops. I mean Premium Flatbed class. My bad.
KUL airport terminal
I know. Most of you are probably looking forward to my EVA Air premium economy review instead, but please have patience. We gotta do this one before we can do that one.
SANspotter selfie Kuala Lumpur airport
I know it’s a little disappointing. But if you forgive me for being slightly boring, we can just forget about it and enjoy some quality airport time together…

The AirAsia X pre-boarding experience

Unfortunately, there’s not much of an “experience” to tell you about. AirAsia X does not have lounges for premium passengers, so there really wasn’t much to do other than just meandering around the terminal as I would be for an economy class flight.

AirAsia terminal Kuala Lumpur
For me, quality airport time is defined as “roaming the corridors and seeing what I can find.” Looks like I found some AirAsia planes. Who woulda thunk it?
KUL airport terminal
I also found a really nice looking airport terminal. This is sweet!
Kuala Lumpur departure board
Somewhere on the Internet there’s another AirAsia X review showing a photo of me taking a picture of a guy looking at people who are looking at the departure board. Yup, we were stacked deep here this morning.
Kuala Lumpur airport terminal interior
There’s some funky orange carpet, duty free up the wazoo, oh – and a security checkpoint at the end of this that I’m not going to show you (not because I’m mean – I’m just doing my best to stay out of Malaysian jail, that’s all).
KUL airport interior
It’s gonna be gate P4 this morning, and I’ve got two choices here: 1). Do I keep walking and exploring in order to satisfy my inner aviation nerd? Or 2). Do I venture inside and take a seat like a normal human being?
sanspotter selfie Kuala Lumpur airport gate
Me (being a normal human).
theater style seating Kuala Lumpur airport
Check this out! Can you name any other airport in the world that has theater-style seating in the gate areas?
theater style seating KUL airport
I’ve never seen anything like this before, and it makes total sense. Why aren’t all airports doing this?!
US passport KUL airport
Getting one step closer to home today.
KUL airport gate
Somehow I lost the footage of having my boarding pass pass scanned, but honestly – you didn’t miss much.
KUL airport jet bridge
The scanner beeped, the nice lady smiled, and…well…here I am.

My first impressions of the AirAsia X Premium Flatbed

For the record, I’m probably going to get a lot of slack for referring to the Premium Flatbed seats as “business class”. But, let’s face it – this is a fully lie flat business class seat, similar to the ones you’d have to pay thousands of dollars for on other airlines. Even though air AsiaX doesn’t explicitly label it as “business class”, I do. So there.

AirAsia X cabin crew
This particular A330 featured a special UFC livery, which, despite being greeted by a very friendly AirAsia X cabin crew, left me thinking how interesting it is that the UFC is so big in this part of the world. Yeah, I’m easily distracted.
AirAsia X premium cabin
According to Wikipedia, the UFC in Malaysia…wait…I mean…check out this premium cabin!
AirAsia X Premium Flatbed cabin
It’s a 2-2-2 layout featuring 12 seats and is approximately 48.4% of the size of a regulation UFC octagon.
AirAsia X Premium Flatbed seats
AirAsia X Premium Flatbed seats. I’m diggin’ the red!
AirAsia X premium lie flat seats
The shivers that go up and down your spine when you realize that your shoes match the seats.
AirAsia X A330 hot seats
A quick peek back to the hot seats. Odd name considering that the Premium Flatbed seats are way hotter.
AirAsia X Premium Flatbed leg room
Am I admiring my shoes? Or the impressive leg room?
SANspotter selfie AirAsia X review
Do you have any idea how good it feels to know that you’re gonna have an entire business class cabin to yourself? Being almost alone up here did seem odd though – economy looked to be nearly 100% full today, and I’m not exactly sure how I lucked out hard enough to have this nearly all to myself.
Quarantinable disease risk areas February 2020
Remember the good ‘ol days when the virus was spreading slow enough to warrant printing glossy inserts highlighting the current hot spots in the world?
SANspotter selfie AirAsia X premium flatbed review
It did remind me to put on my mask, but at the time, I was more concerned about staying up to date with the latest cat memes on Twitter.
AirAsia X Premium Flatbed power outlet
Yeah, they may be a little crusty, but there are indeed electrical outlets here in AirAsia X business class. Let’s just say that I’m glad that all my devices are fully charged already….
AirAsia X A330-300 safety card
Wouldn’t be an AirAsia X Premium Flatbed review without a proper shot of the safety card I guess.
AirAsia X quiet zone
Shhhhh!
AirAsia X special livery
Hmph. Another bloodsport livery!
AirAsia X A330-300
There’s just gotta be tons of funny and clever things to say about airline promoting a sport which involves one human beating the snot out another, but I used up all my creativity with that octagon stat earlier.
AirAsia X A330 engine and wing
“Mmmvvvvvvvvvvvmmm…” (my lame attempt at a compelling Rolls Royce aircraft engine impression)
departing KUL airport
So long Malaysia! I didn’t get to see as much of you as I wanted, but I’ll definitely be back.

In the air and getting settled in

The fact that I was one of only three passengers up in the forward cabin this morning made it all the more comfortable. I had plenty of room to spread out and do whatever I wanted in order to get the content I needed for the video and this blog post.

You know, things like getting up and placing my GoPro camera in different parts of the cabin in order to get footage of me eating. Weird stuff like that only airline reviewers such as myself thinks is perfectly normal.

AirAsia X A330-300 wing view
I had lots to think about just after takeoff. With COVID-19 taking a stranglehold on the entire world, was this going to be one of my last flights for a while? Would it be the the end of my blog and my YouTube channel? More importantly, am I ever going to be able to wear my new travel shoes ever again??
AirAsia X red blanket
If it wasn’t obvious by now, AirAsia X premium seating is fairly basic. Extra bonus points for the super-fire red blankets though.
AirAsia X Premium Flatbed entertainment
Video entertainment comes in the form of Android-based tablets. You also get noise canceling headphones that look as if they’ve been strapped to many a noggin in the past.
SANspotter selfie AirAsia X headphones
Just curious: Can viruses be passed through the ear canal?

What’s the food like on AirAsia X?

Having just experienced the best airline meal of my life on an air Asia flight just several hours prior, my expectations were extremely high going into this hop up to Taipei.

For the record, I had the exact same choices for a meal that I had on the previous flight. My selection was made on the AirAsia website when I booked the ticket, so I didn’t even have to do anything once on board. The food just came to me without even asking for it.

AirAsia X glutinous rice
Glutinous rice.
AirAsia X food
You know, with everything being so proudly gluten free these days, it kinda seemed as if I was cracking open a carton of unfiltered cigarettes or something.
SANspotter selfie AirAsia X food
I felt like such a badass.
AirAsia X glutinous rice
To be honest I had no idea what glutinous rice was before I selected it. It definitely looks decent, but…
AirAsia X Premium Flatbed meal
I can’t say that I enjoyed this all that much. Y’all know I like rice of course, but gluten is far too gooey and sticky for my tastes.
SANspotter selfie AirAsia glutinous rice
See that? That’s the look of a disappointed man right there. I’ve cooked bad rice before, but this was on a completely different level. Mental note: never (ever) choose the glutinous option. Whatever it may be.

A detailed trip to the lavatory (and other useless AvGeek nonsense)

AirAsia X Premium Flatbed A330
Does anyone have a pen I can borrow? The flight attendant said she had one, and promised to deliver it 10 minutes ago. Once again – a gentle reminder that I’m boring and forgettable.
SANspotter selfie awkward crotch shot
What the heck. Since this may be one of my last airline reviews for a while, here’s an awkward crotch shot I wasn’t planning on using.
AirAsia X A330 Premium Flatbed lavatory
And for the loo review fans (all 2 of you): Here’s some obnoxiously thorough coverage of the forward lavatory.
AirAsia X A330 lavatory
I normally trim these clips into short and easily digestible shots, but…
AirAsia X lavatory review
…I figured it was only appropriate to give you the extended version this time. This may be it for a while folks!

Just how comfortable are the AirAsia X Premium Flatbed seats?

Extremely comfortable! The fact that I had the entire forward cabin nearly all to myself probably helped a lot. But the seat itself was still pretty darn comfortable.

AirAsia X Premium Flatbed recline
Ok, yeah, I know it looks like a stretcher they use to carry away the loser of a bloody UFC match, but don’t let that distract you.
AirAsia X Premium Flatbed comfort
These angled lie-flat seats are quite comfy actually. Especially when you factor in how cheap AirAsia X business class fares can be sometimes.
AirAsia X A330-300 main cabin
Of the 6 flights I took to Asia and back on this week-long trip, this was by far the fullest of them all.
AirAsia X business class
Economy was packed, which definitely made the feeling of being all alone up here far more special.

Final thoughts: is it worth paying a little extra for an AirAsia X premium seat?

At the time of this writing (October 2020) AirAsia X is out of money and has announced plans to significantly downsize as a result of decreased demand from the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s extremely unfortunate considering how good of an airline this is, and I wish them nothing but the best on their eventual road to recovery.

That being said, I had nothing but really good feelings as I was sitting there in seat 2K for the remainder of this flight. I already knew that I’d be flying AirAsia and AirAsia X on future trips to Asia – although I wasn’t aware at just how bad the pandemic would be hurting them over the coming months. Anyway, here’s the descent and arrival into Taipei:

AirAsia X Premium Flatbed final verdict
So – what’s my final verdict about AirAsia X Premium Flatbed seats? Well, Assuming you can find a good deal, it’s absolutely worth it. As long as you avoid the glutinous rice of course.
AirAsia X flight arrival into Taipei
The cabin crew and video entertainment were ok, and the seat was perfectly fine.
Arrival at TPE
This definitely isn’t a product competitive with StarluxSingapore Airlines or Cathay Pacific, but considering how much lower the fares are, it’s a solid option that I would easily consider again.
TPE airport tarmac
Welcome to Taipei! It’s too bad this will be one of my last super-nerdy airline reviews for a while. 🙁
Malaysia Airlines at TPE
Sigh. Thanks to COVID-19, I’m not really sure when I’ll get to see stuff like this again.
SANspotter AirAsia X A330 review
Standing around trying to suck up the ambiance of being in a premium airline cabin for the last time without looking like I’m standing around trying to suck up the ambiance of being in a premium airline cabin.
AirAsia X A330 boarding door
Sucking up complete. Later dudes!

Comments (2)

  1. Loren

    October 20, 2020
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      October 20, 2020

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