We fly to Malaysia and on to the rest of Asia from our home base of Melbourne regularly. So it’s lucky that one of our favourite airlines is AirAsia. They make travel so cheap and easy that it’s a no-brainer to keep choosing them for our travel.

This latest trip, we decided to finally try the AirAsia flatbed premium option – AirAsia’s version of business class (also called Premium Up). Note that this isn’t a true business class like you may imagine. This is a low cost airline after all. But it does give you access to some special privileges and a big seat – all of this is described below in our AirAsia flatbed reviews.

premium flatbed airasia x

The premium flatbed AirAsia X cabin when we stepped onboard.

We took this AirAsia X premium flatbed flight from Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne Avalon. We have also previously flown premium flatbed from Seoul Incheon to Kuala Lumpur.

The service and seats were very similar and should be wherever you are flying. Below is our full AirAsia business class review including the AirAsia flatbed price and how to save money on an upgrade.

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Premium Flatbed AirAsia. Worth The Money? AirAsia Flatbed Reviews [2019]

AirAsia Premium Flatbed Review

I have broken up this premium flatbed AirAsia review to show you all the info about the actual seat you get, the check-in and boarding process and other extra services you get in business class AirAsia X, how you can get an AirAsia upgrade to business class and whether I think it’s worth the price.

Air Asia premium flatbed review row 2

Row 2 in AirAsia premium flatbed class

Check-In And Boarding

An AirAsia premium flatbed booking gives you priority check-in and boarding and we found the check-in very useful – once we could work it out at KLIA2.

In Seoul, we were able to only wait minutes to check in being able to go straight to the front of a queue rather than joining the long, economy line.

In KLIA2, it was also fast – once we found the right check-in desk. This is not well signed at all and we started by going to the area where there is check-in for our destination. But it turns out all premium flatbed passengers check in at desks W2 and W3 regardless of destination.

However, the priority boarding is not always as promised.

boarding at KLIA2

Zone 1 boarding line for premium flatbed passengers. Other types of passenger also often board at the same time and often the zone 4 line is in the same place

AirAsia boards by zones. As a flatbed AirAsia X flyer, you are in zone 1. However, the zone 4 line was in the same place and AirAsia allowed a long line of people in front of us who were actually zone 4 to board first.

This really isn’t policed as it should be and it’s a shame.

We were greeted like any other passenger and made our way to our seats where we found bottles of water and pillows on each seat.

There are 12 AirAsia flatbed seats in a 2-2-2 configuration over two rows. There is plenty of space especially as the cabin wasn’t full in this AirAsia X flatbed review. There is also a dedicated toilet for this area.

We appreciated the priority check-in but found the boarding frustrating – we usually get on faster just by travelling with a small child than we did on this flight thanks to them not caring what zones people were in.

AirAsia Flatbed Review

For me, this AirAsia X business class review is mainly about the seat – as that’s the main benefit you get with this class of travel.

So, let’s take a look in our AirAsia x premium seat review!

Air Asia business class row 1

Row 1 AirAsia premium flatbed

There’s a good amount of space with 20 inches of width and a full recline. There’s no chance your knees are going to hit the seat in front of you and, with half the seats being in the front row, you have a a good chance of getting even more space.

I quite liked being in row two though thanks to a little bit more storage – I had slots for magazines or an iPad and space for shoes (or we used it for the included entertainment units when not using them).

My tall husband also tried out both rows and, when fully reclined, there was more leg space in row two.

Air Asia flatbed back of row 1

Extra storage at the back of row 1 seats – the magazine slots on top and shoe spaces down below

I also prefer being on the aisle or middle sections – there is more light by the windows, so not ideal if you want to sleep.

There is a control for the seat so you can position your seat however you like and also a reading lamp. I especially liked that the footrest could also be extended as you recline the seat back.

the seat control on Airasia flatbed premium

the seat control

The biggest issue you are likely to have with the AirAsia business class seat is if you are expecting it to be fully flat and horizontal – it does not go horizontal but close to and it is quite comfortable when fully extended. In fact, it did feel horizontal to me when lying down on it.

You can see the difference between fully reclined and upright in the following photo.

One seat fully reclined, one upright on AirAsia business class

One seat fully reclined, one upright

My husband is 190 centimetres and he did not have any issues fitting in this AirAsia premium seat or enjoying the full recline mode. He was able to sleep comfortably.

There is a universal powerpoint for each seat in between the two seats which is easy to reach. It did a great job of charging my devices. However, one of the points did not work on our seats.

There is also a seat pocket and compartment in the side of the seat where I kept my cables, earphones, water and purse (since we still needed to purchase beverages). The tray table is a reasonable size as well as the bigger arm rest between seats where you can keep your drinks.

There is a divider between the seats for more privacy but you are closer to your neighbours than in regular business class.

As a bonus, the rows behind the premium class are the quiet zone. I never heard a sound from other passengers other than my toddler (who passed out shortly after take off and slept the whole flight – a big win for the premium seat AirAsia!).

Another win is the included duvet and pillow. They are quite comfortable and cosy and much better than the blankets often available on other airlines. It does lead to quite a nice bed.

Sleeping on fully reclined AirAsia premium flatbed

Having a nap when fully reclined

All in all, the seat is a massive win except for one thing. On my previous flight from Korea, my seat was broken and did not fully recline. Had this been an overnight flight, I would have been really upset.

However, on my flight in this review, my seat was comfortable and functional and much much better than what’s offered in other low cost carriers’ business classes that I have flown.

After take off, we chose to have our first meal and then had the rest of our 8-hour flight to lie back on the AirAsia flatbed seat and get some z’s or watch the entertainment unit. Or, in my case, write this!

AirAsia X Business Class Service

While the AirAsia business class booking does not include some of the services you would usually get with business class – like free lounge access and whatever you want to eat or drink, it does contain some extras and means you aren’t stuck purchasing everything you want like in AirAsia economy.

Below, I will describe our experience as well as give you an overview of what is included (and not). I did not expect much from the service onboard and I was surprised when it was actually friendly, personal and good.

Before takeoff, an attendant came around and asked when we wanted our pre-ordered meals. One is included and we had paid for another. So there is on-demand dining in this business class.

The people behind me had not pre-ordered and were told that their included meal had defaulted to chicken and rice. So I suggest you pre-order.

Shortly after takeoff, we were given our entertainment units and duvets.

The kungpao chicken and entertainment unit. I have been ordering this for years and every flight it gets smaller and looks less appetising

We could order (and pay) from the menu whenever we wanted during the flight. It was still somewhat slow as there is no dedicated service person for this class but much nicer than in economy.

I was surprised when I asked for white wine and they came out with three options to choose from – usually they don’t understand when I specify a type!

The entertainment unit options. There is also a back page with TV shows.

The one thing I wish they would change is that the AirAsia flatbed fares come with one meal and a bottle of water. For longer flights, a second one would make a big difference to the perceived value. Then you could get away without needing to pull your wallet out on board.

As for luggage, the AirAsia premium flatbed baggage allowance is 40 kilograms, so you can basically take whatever you need for no extra. You can choose your seat beforehand without an extra charge.

There are some common business class services too – you get priority check in, boarding and luggage. Our luggage did come out first. You can also change your flights up to two hours before your departure time – but you do have to pay fare difference.

As an extra bonus compared to other low-cost carrier airlines, you also get access to the AirAsia Premium Red Lounge in Kuala Lumpur if you are flying out of there. There are small snacks and non-alcoholic drinks here and we found it a nice place to relax before our flight.

Inside the AirAsia Premium Red Lounge at KLIA2

Inside the AirAsia Premium Red Lounge at KLIA2

Read our full lounge review here.

So what don’t you get?

No extra food is included beyond one, simple meal. There is no drink on boarding apart from water and the only other drink is water with your meal. You can purchase other food.

You don’t get any amenities kits, newspapers or lounge access apart from at KLIA2.

I think it is a good balance of services and extras for the price paid. In fact, I think this is very good value if you get a sales fare compared to what business class costs on other airlines. I do wish they had champers on boarding though! I’d pay extra for that 😉

AirAsia Flatbed Upgrade Cost And Options

There are several options when it comes to booking AirAsia flatbed premium – what you pick and when you book will determine the AirAsia business class price.

The first is simply to buy the seats when you book. This is the easiest and can be the cheapest way during an AirAsia flatbed promotion. They can be very affordable in an AirAsia flatbed sale, and this is what we did previously.

It’s also possible to pay for an upgrade to flatbed AirAsia at any time by editing your booking, paying the fare difference and a change fee.

Bidding For An AirAsia Upgrade To Flatbed

If you already have an economy seat, you can also bid to get an AirAsia upgrade to premium flatbed. This is how we flew this class on our Melbourne flight.

If you are eligible, you’ll receive an email in the week or two leading up to your flight. It will give you a link to make a bid. If you booked a return flight, you can bid on one or both segments at this time.

If you don’t get the email, you can also click here and enter your booking reference number to see if you are eligible.

Bidding is not cheap – a good sale price is likely to beat what you will pay. However, it’ll most probably be cheaper than what you would pay otherwise.

airasia upgrade to business

Our success upgrade email came through just over 24 hours early

For our last flights, the minimum bid price was AUD$440 between Melbourne and Kuala Lumpur. It was about $50 less than this on the shorter flight between Kuala Lumpur and Seoul.

If you want to bid more than the minimum for a better chance of getting an AirAsia premium flatbed upgrade, the bid intervals went up by AUD$50. Unfortunately, you can’t pick whatever price you like.

To make a bid, you need to enter your credit card details but you aren’t charged unless you are successful. You should find this out about 24 hours before take off.

After making a bid and before being told that you are successful, you can cancel an AirAsia upgrade flatbed bid.

Failing all of this, I have also seen signs at the airport check in counters advertising the cost to upgrade at check in. It is similar to the minimum bid amount. So, you can always ask at check in if it’s possible.

It was not competitive when we bid. Our flight was full in economy and we “won” based on the minimum bid and there were still seats left in premium flatbed.

If you are successful and you have ordered more than one meal previously, you will need to log in and re-add the meal if you can. Otherwise, it seems to disappear into oblivion. I also recommend picking your seat if you have a preference (I recommend an aisle in row 2).

Final Thoughts – Worth The Cost?

AirAsia premium review

Slightly reclined ready to work just after take off.

Before I had ever travelled business class, I had imagined business class was just about the beautiful big seat. Now that I have flown quite a few business classes, I know it is actually mostly about the awesome service you get flying business from the moment you enter the airport to the moment you exit the airport (or from home if you fly a carrier with chauffeur service!).

With AirAsia’s premium flatbed, it is mostly about the seat – the extras are nice and the service is better than in economy, but it is nothing like business class on the full-service airlines.

However, the seat is very good and, for an overnight flight, for example, the service is less important and the lie flat bed will give you a much more pleasant journey. It is far superior than Jetstar’s business class seat and it is a great seat.

I have heard the AirAsia premium flatbed class compared to premium economy on full-service airlines. I don’t agree with this as the seat is far superior and you do get the extra services like priority check in and boarding and the service onboard is much better than premium economy. It’s really in a class all of its own.

Is it worth the extra cost? It really depends on how much you pay.

We paid the minimum bid of AUD$440 extra and, for that price, 100% yes. Especially as we flew this flight after a four-hour red eye flight and were exhausted.

Our previous Korean flight, we bought on sale and only paid about $300 extra per person. Given we usually purchase about $100 of extras per person that we didn’t need to, this is a great price.

I have seen it for as much as AUD$1000+ more on journeys between Kuala Lumpur and Australia and it is not worth this. But for under $500 extra, yes, I would pay it if I had the money to spend especially if flying overnight.

AirAsia Vs Jetstar Business Class Vs ScootPlus

AirAsia’s Premium Up definitely wins between these budget airline options for having the best seat.

However, Jetstar wins for having the best service and included extras – you get all your meals and drinks (including alcohol) included on Jestar. They have a dedicated cabin flight attendant and I found the service very good!

ScootPlus has a very similar seat to Jetstar but without all the inclusions.

For these reasons, if you are picking between these options, I recommend Jetstar business class for day flights where you will get the most from the service and AirAsia Premium Up for night flights when the great seat is more important.

You can read my full review for Jetstar business class here and for ScootPlus here.

I hope you have found this AirAsia X premium flatbed review helpful. Ask your questions or share your own experiences in our Facebook group!

Planning a trip to Malaysia? Have any questions? Join our Malaysia Travel Planning Facebook group here now! It’s the perfect place to ask any questions and to be inspired!

Want to read more about KL airport? Read all our detailed airport guides here including lounge reviews and airport hotel reviews.

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