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I am fresh off a Hot Seat on the 8-hour Kuala Lumpur-Sydney AirAsia X flight and here to give the lowdown.
The passengers were out of central casting. Of the mainland Chinese tourist/real estate shoppers, South and Southeast Asian tourists, the three gals (musicians?) in cowboy hats, and assorted others, my favorites were the Australian hippies returning home from who knows how long on the Southeast Asian beaches.
The guy popping up after meditating in the boarding area.
The gal strumming a ukulele.
Back to AirAsia X and the seats. Yes, the seats are tight and narrow. Not unbearable. Not great. Exit rows even tighter. For the first time I felt both side of the exit row seat press on me a bit with my size 35-ish waist.
AirAsia X operates A330 and A340. The AirAsia blog gives full details and seat maps in Finally, New Seats for AirAsia X. All Australia routes have these seats.
Both have lie-flat business seats (on the A340 they are interestingly in the middle). Both have Quiet Zones which are the same seats as elsewhere in the cabin, sold at additional cost. All seats have power outlets. In-flight entertainment is available on tablets for rent, not integrated into the seat.
Hot Seats are detailed in the AirAsia blog post Hot Seats! Extra Legroom on Long-Haul AirAsia X Flights. The post is honest about each seat, with many pictures. For instance, the most expensive economy seats are the bulkheads in the Quiet Zone, going for US$62 on my flight. They have more room than the typically bulkhead, though not as much as the exits.
I was on the A330 and paid US$53 for exit row 15J. Tremendous legroom. The window seat has a large door protrusion.
In line with online comments I saw the flight is often empty and every passenger had a least a row of their own. I bought the exit row anyway because I was worried it was going to be one of those cases where the seat map is empty because people don’t have seat assignments and then suddenly fills up.
If you want an advance seat assignment without paying you are sent to the far back which looked rather full at booking.
In-flight you can freely switch seats as long as not taking a Hot Seat or Quiet Zone. A couple who tried to slip into Hot Seats were chased award.
My exit row was great to stetch out, had good recline (no one behind me) and I had the row to myself. The paid meals were great, too.
I would have no hesitation saddling up with AirAsia X again.
Readers, what are your AirAsia X experiences?