As the holiday season is coming near, many people are looking forward to Christmas and New Year with various kinds of holiday plans they can chalk out. For those appreciating the joy and comfort of going on a trip, be it domestic or overseas, flying is still considered the favorable choice.
Not only does flying save a great amount of time, but with the airlines outdoing each other in their offerings, this mode of transport has become second to none.
Despite the economic slowdown, Air Asia has pioneered low-cost travelling yet the company keeps enhancing travel experience. Operated since last September, the Airbus A320 (replacing the company’s Boeing 737) with a seating capacity of 180, more spacious leg room and bigger baggage capacity has demonstrated the airline’s increase in its quality and comfort to the fullest.
Depending on the date of booking and travel, Air Asia Indonesia has launched travel promotions with incredibly low-fares that draw both local and foreign tourists to fly from Indonesia to cities in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore for as low as US$100. And from Jakarta to domestic destinations like Yogyakarta, Surabaya, Bali, Batam, Medan, Makassar and Pekanbaru with a variety of low-fares from around Rp. 100 thousand (around US$9) to some Rp. 500 thousand (around US$45).
“Air Asia has proven that the company slogan -‘Now, everyone can fly’– is bearing fruit,” Captain Dharmadi, Air Asia Indonesia CEO, said. “Our goal is to drive costs down in order that everyone can afford to fly.”
The increasing popularity of Thailand as one of the holiday hubs in Southeast Asia have paved the way for promoting tourism in the region. Winning the prestigious Friends of Thailand Awards 2008, Air Asia Indonesia is confident to continue promoting Thailand to Indonesian and expatriate tourists as the company looks forward to flying from Indonesia to more cities in Thailand with special deal offered.
“Owing to its unique cultural attractions, tourist-friendly facilities, shopping bargains and the country’s amazing culinary journey, Thailand has been one of the preferred overseas travel destinations, particularly during the year-end festivities,” the Air Asia Indonesia CEO remarked.
Moreover, the new airline – AirAsia X – is said to be the lowest-cost of long haul flown directly from Malaysia’s cities, Bangkok, Jakarta and Bali to domestic and international destinations such as Makassar, Manado, Solo, Bandung Vientiane and Shenzhen. Depending on the terms and conditions applied, some sources say flying from Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne, Australia only costs as much as US$150.
Nevertheless, spending year-end holiday abroad for some can be sumptuous. For Jakarta’s crème de la crème travel enthusiasts, staying few nights in Singapore before flying to Sidney by the Singapore Airlines (SIA) Airbus superjumbo (SQ A380) is another way to appreciate the art of living.
Being in luxury suites with double beds on the world’s roomiest jetliner along with excellent hospitality and all the facilities and amenities surely comes with high price. “Enjoying the most expensive lobster with charming flight attendants handed out Dom Pérignon before relaxing on the double bed in our private first-class suite was a memorably awesome experience,” says Andre Widjaja, who bought the two tickets from an on-line auction for US$50,000 so as to fly with his wife from Singapore to Sydney round-trip.
But for those who want to experience SIA’s outstanding hospitality with affordable fare, the airlines’ ongoing deal can be of great advantage for group travelers. With as much as US$400, one can be on board from Jakarta to Hong Kong even though the deal is only valid for the minimum number of four to travel.
In welcoming Christmas holiday, some SIA flights creates special menu available in all classes; from traditional roast turkey with chestnut stuffing and cranberry sauce to Christmas log cake.
Singapore Airlines CEO, Chew Choon Seng said, “Customers are very important for us. So, it is our duty to keep passengers happy during flights.”
Being one of the leading carriers in the world, SIA has gotten itself to stay ahead of the game due to its excellent service amidst the fact that many airlines worldwide have gone bankrupt.
Asked about the current ongoing price war among flight carriers, Chew averred that competition could lead the business to move forward. He was referring to the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Singapore Airlines and Garuda Indonesia.
The MoU that was signed on June 20 this year in Jakarta by Chew and Emirsyah Satar, the president director & CEO Garuda Indonesia was aimed to improve service quality to the customers of both flight carriers. The MoU includes code-share agreements, marketing and promotion activities and sales, to name a few.
According to Emirsyah, the partnership has left a wider choice for customers to choose their travel comfort. “And for us, it’s a positive uptrend to increase the traffic between the two countries.”
The Superbrands 2008/2009 that was awarded to Garuda Indonesia in Jakarta on Dec. 10 this year witnessed the company’s increase in popularity, consumers’ trust and successful market domination.
For the December holiday season, with the overwhelming majority of travelers where their domestic destination they favor is places outside Java, Bali in particular; Garuda Indonesia has special offers for year-end celebration in the archipelago priced from Rp. 2 to 6 million (US$182 to US$546) per person for a two-night accommodation including roundtrip flight ticket from Jakarta.
By Aulia R. Sungkar, published in The Jakarta Globe, Dec. 19, 2008.