Sunday, August 22, 2010

AirAsia X unveils low-cost flatbed seats

23 June 2010

Good news for long-haul travellers who fly on a budget – AirAsia X has just become the first low-cost carrier in the world to offer flatbed seats on its long-haul route network.

The airline, which runs daily flights to Kuala Lumpur from London Stansted Airport , claims that its product combines the comfort of premium travel with the affordability of no-frills flying.

With fares starting from £649 one-way its new offering will be out of reach for many, but for those who simply want a comfy seat without the bells-and-whistles it could be perfect.

Seasoned business travellers will immediately pick out the low-cost elements of the new product, which lacks backseat TVs and includes a meagre 15kg checked baggage allowance.

But AirAsia X is right to hail its product as revolutionary. The £649 price-tag is a fraction of what legacy carriers at Heathrow charge for similar comfort, and the seat's ergonomic design allowed our 6ft 3in correspondent to lie outstretched in the fully-reclined position without impediment.

Universal power sockets, adjustable headrests and privacy screens add to the air of luxury premium travel, though it's the groundbreaking flatbed option that puts this seat in a league of its own.

Speaking at the official launch, AirAsia X chief executive Azran Osman-Rani commented: "As frequent flyers ourselves, we understand the great need for comfort especially for long-haul flights. Both business and leisure travellers can now enjoy greater low-fare connectivity than ever before."

Nick Barton, Stansted's commercial and development director, called the product the "next evolution" of low-cost flying and said it would revolutionise air travel "between Europe, Asia and beyond".

AirAsia X is increasing its London Stansted to Kuala Lumpur route to nine weekly flights in November. The airline offers onward connections to destinations such as Australia, Thailand and China via its parent brand AirAsia, which operates more than 400 daily flights in the region.

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