January 24, 2009

Cheap travel

I am currently on a trip to Jakarta Indonesia with a few days being spend in Bandung,. Bandung is another town east of Jakarta, which is like Jakarta's twin town. The trip here is made possible with the advent of cheap travel on offered by, surprise, surprise, not the lowfare airline of AirAsia but it's closest rival, Malaysia Airline System or MAS. I was one of the lucky one who had the chance of buying tickets at less than 30% of it's normal price due to the price war between this two airlines.

AirAsia of course is the original low fare leader in air travel in Malaysia and is even well known among Indonesian as the cheap airlines which they can use to reach the promise land of Malaysia where they can work either legally or otherwise. Cheap though the seats on the plane of AirAsia, they promote their fares extensively through the advertisements that they run in local newspaper, on billboards and even on the jersey of the world's favourite soccer team (though not me), Manchester United. Their marketing campaign alone cost millions of Ringgits but their returns are tenfold.

Along came the failed first mover, MAS, which knows that they need to get their act together and tap this market which they had lost. First they offered the unsold seats through various offers as these seats are just dead loads which can turn a small profit even if it is not sold in it's original price. Then MAS starts to play the dirty game by using advertisements which at first glance will look like it was made for AirAsia. They used the same font and the same typeface. The only glaring different is the colour.

I was not impressed at first as I am an advantage taker. In June '08, I travelled Sabah, a state which I never been to before by taking a flight in using MAS but returning to Kuala Lumpur using AirAsia. I did that as I could get cheaper priced seats than if I use either one of the airlines exclusively. Even when I was booking this trip to Jakarta, I did a comparison. Only when I was satisfied that I was getting the best deal did I pay for the seats. As a few people had commented, the benefits of price war should be the people regardless of who owns the airlines (MAS is still a government supported airline, whatever they say). Thanks to them, cheap travel is now possible.

1 comment:

*lynne* said...

I have yet to experience Air Asia... I hear they are expanding their reach, and are offering dirt cheap flights to London! Once they extend to the USA, whoohooo!!! :D :D

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