During the organization of our trip through Southeast Asia we read about the Asean PASS of AirAsia, which is something like an Interrail by plane through Asia. In this post, I will show the disadvantages for which we decided not to use the Asean PASS.
HOW THE ASEAN PASS WORKs
There are two types of passes, 10 credits pass exchangeable in 30 days (110€) and the 20 credits pass exchangeable in 60 days (190€). Those credits are used for different routes. Depending on the origin and the destination of the trip; you will have to spend 1, 3 or 5 credits.
ASEAN PASS FINE PRINT
After investigating we decided to discard this idea due to the following:
– Only some seats can be redeemed for credits. That is to say, that in some flights, even though you can find seats paying for them in the normal way, those seats might not be available if you intend to exchange your Asean PASS credits.
– Once you get ready to redeem a flight with credits you have to pay the airport taxes. So the savings are less than they seem at first.
AirAsia by itself has very cheap flights even if you buy them independently. Asean PASS was taking a lot of flexibility from us (we only had 20 days) and the savings that they promised to us were not really clear.
ASEAN PASS ON OUR ROUTE
For example, our route was Singapore – Penang – Sumatra – Yogyakarta – Bali – Kuala Lumpur. This would make a total of 1 + 1 + 5 + 5 + 3 = 15 credits. To do this route we would need the pass of 20 credits. As we only had 20 days available we were physically impossible to consume the other 5 credits which we would lose.
Buying the flights separately we spent 235 €. 45 € more than buying the Asean Pass, without taking into account the airport taxes.
Although we were pretty much determined to buy the flights independently we found that the sum of airport charges was bigger than this difference, completing the last step of the purchase of each ticket individually to know how much was the total of these rates.
For all of this, and because I was not able to find a single traveler to tell me his gratifying experience using the Asean PASS, we decided that it would be better for us to buy the tickets independently.
Anyway on the next journey that I organize to Asia, likely I would check again whether it is viable to buy the tickets independently or not.
If you would like to know how many credits will your itinerary consume Check it out here. Do not forget to inquire how much they will charge you for the airport fees. Make a real comparison between your trip using Asean PASS and your trip using Independent tickets.
And of course, tell us your experience!
If you want to know more about Asean PASS, visit their website.