[ UPDATE 13/06/2020 14:00 ]: The sale of the RM399 Unlimited pass has been extended until 15th June 2020. More details here.
The Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO), which came into effect on 10 June and will end on 31 Aug, has enabled Malaysians to travel domestically. AirAsia has introduced its new Unlimited Pass Cuti-Cuti Malaysia that allows travellers to fly within the country as many times as they want for RM399. AirAsia previously introduced a similar Unlimited Pass that costs RM499 for overseas destinations covered by AirAsia X.
But is this deal too good to be true or does it genuinely help you save money? Well, if you are keen to finally stretch your legs, we explore 7 things you need to know about the pass.
1. How to buy the Unlimited Pass?
Firstly, the pass is available for a limited time and can be purchased via the ‘Unlimited 399’ tab in AirAsia’s website or mobile app (iOS/ Android) between 11 June to 13 June. Once a user logs into their BIG Member account they only need to select the pass and purchase it. Payment can be made with a valid credit or debit card.
The pass is available to all BIG Members, aged 12 and above, residing in Malaysia during the promotional period. Make sure that your BIG Member profile name matches your NRIC or passport. If it doesn’t match, you need to go to this site to change it. Once the first flight redemption has been confirmed, you are locked in and can’t change it.
Each pass is tied with the individual’s BIG Membership. This means that you can only book flights for yourself and are not able to book flights with multiple passengers when using the promo codes. Unfortunately, this means the pass is not ideal for families travelling together. Each family member would need to have a pass tied to their own BIG Member account in order to redeem flights.
2. What if you want to travel with children?
If you have bought the pass and intend to travel with children, you will need to purchase a flight ticket for your child separately. For infants (Age 0-2), you will need to modify your booking and click to ‘add an infant’. AirAsia has provided a FAQ here on how to do so. Infants are also subjected to an infant fee as provided for in the fee schedule by AirAsia. We tried checking the fees on the site but it failed to load when we clicked on it.
Those intending to travel with older children (Age 3 – 12) will need to bring along their itinerary and their child’s original identity card or passport for verification and booking at your nearest AirAsia sales office. A full list of Air Asia’s sales offices can be found here.
3. What is included with the Unlimited Pass?
Just like the previous Unlimited Pass, this pass only covers the base fare of the flight. It does not include passenger service charge (RM11), regulatory service charge (RM1) as well as optional add-ons for in-flight meals and check-in luggage allowance.
The way to go about this is to think of the initial cost of RM399 like a subscription fee to enjoy discounted flights. Without any add-ons, a return ticket from Kuala Lumpur to Johor Bahru and back will cost you just RM24 all-in for one adult. We tried this for several destinations, including Penang and Kuching, to find that the cost was still just RM24 all-in.
Intrigued, we did a direct comparison of the cost of booking a flight for a single adult with the pass and without it. We chose to keep cost really low for the flight, opting out of any additional add-ons like baggage allowance, seat allocation and meals in both cases. The result? With the pass the flight costs us only RM24 all-in and without it we were charged RM497.98 all-in.
But considering that passengers are only allowed one small hand-carry luggage onboard, you will definitely need to add buy some baggage allowance if you are travelling for a few days. Factoring that in, realistically you are looking at a total cost of between RM79 to RM88 depending on your destination. Still, with the total cost of a return flight come up to less than RM100, the pass bring genuine savings.
4. How to book your flight?
Once you have purchased the pass, you will need to go to the ‘Deals’ or ‘Unlimited 399’ section of the AirAsia website. The pass cannot be redeemed offline at airport ticket counters.
Log into your BIG Member account, to get a generated promo code. You will then need to either click ‘REDEEM’ or manually Copy and Paste that promo code into the flight search widget bar in the website or mobile app.
A new promo code will be provided for each booking under the pass. Each promo code can be redeemed for round trip flights but seats are subject to availability.
From there you will need to search for your flight within the valid travel period: 25 June 2020 until 31 March 2021. Take note that flights booked under the pass must be made at least 14 days before departure.
In order to fully utilise the pass, you must search for direct flights that are marked ‘100% Off’. Now, there may be situations where you may find the date that you want does not have flights marked as ‘100% Off’. This means you will need to search for another day where there are flights listed as such. If you cannot find another ‘100% Off’ flight for the return journey, you can opt to apply the promo to just one way of the journey and pay the regular fare for the other half.
That being said, AirAsia does recommend you to avoid making bookings during busy periods like festive seasons and school holidays as seating may be limited. Here is a list of dates to avoid when making a booking.
Just to see how true this was, we tried booking a return flight from Kuala Lumpur to Kuching as well as another to Kota Kinabalu during the next year’s Chinese New Year week. Sure enough, we found that there were no ‘100% Off’ flights available during the week.
According to AirAsia, you are allowed to book up to two flights on the same day but cannot make multiple bookings for travel on the same day from the same origin. Such bookings will be automatically cancelled.
5. Where and when can you fly?
Unlike the previous Unlimited Pass that flew to international destinations, this pass is quite straight forward as it allows you to fly to 16 domestic destinations.
This includes Alor Setar, Langkawi, Penang, Kota Bahru, Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur, Terengganu, Johor Bahru, Kota Kinabalu, Miri, Kuching, Tawau, Sandakan, Sibu, Bintulu and Labuan.
According to AirAsia’s travel requirements page, those travelling to Sarawak and Sabah must download the MySejahtera app (iOS/Android) to their smartphones. Sarawak requires travellers to fill an e-Health declaration before being permitted to enter. They are also encouraged to use apps like COVIDTrace-Sarawak (iOS/ Android) and QMUNITY apps (iOS).
6. Refunds and No-Show
Much like the unlimited pass for international travel, the pass does not allow for any refunds or changes be made to your flights after payment has been made.
Looking at AirAsia’s Terms and Conditions, if your flight is cancelled, terminated, diverted, postponed, rescheduled or delay before you reach your final destination, AirAsia will, at its discretion, either carry you to the next available flight at no charge or refund your check-baggage, meals or seat selection purchased and airport charges or taxes paid.
Similar to its unlimited pass for international travel, you are only allowed to have a maximum of up to 3 no-shows before your pass is forfeited.
7. How is flying different now?
Flying is a very different experience now compared to the days before Covid-19. AirAsia has implemented several safety measures for all passengers. Firstly, all passengers are required to wear a face mask throughout their journey from check-in, on the flight right up to baggage collection. Those without a face mask will be denied boarding.
Another significant change is the hand-carry luggage limit. Passengers are now limited to a small bag, handbag or laptop bag with a maximum weight of 7kg. This bag must be stored underneath the seat in front.
You are also no longer allowed to store luggage in the overhead compartment. This is done to ensure passengers do not touch one another’s bags and limit physical contact. Air Asia recommends that passengers pre-book their checked baggage allowance and drop it off at the check-in counter when they arrive at the airport.
The airline also advises passengers to arrive at the airport at least 3 hours before their flight’s departure time. For a smoother check-in process, passengers are recommended to use contactless web and mobile check-in options before the starting their journey. Temperature screening will be conducted at different checkpoints throughout the KLIA 2. Social distancing must be observed at the various checkpoints, so stick to the floor markers placed at queuing areas.