Travel passes offered by airlines have been around for some time now, but an offer like this seems to be a new and exciting option for everyone who travels frequently across Asia and Australia.
AirAsia X announced that for 499 MYR (about €106 /$119) passengers will be able to buy a pass for unlimited amount of flights aboard AirAsia X and Thai AirAsia X between 2nd March 2020 and 2nd March 2021. This deal is available to members of the BIG loyalty program and is subject to numerous restrictions. So what’s the catch?
AirAsia Unlimited Pass is available to all Malaysia-based AirAsia BIG members. Each pass is valid only for the registered user and you can’t use it to book tickets for anyone else. The Pass only covers the base fare of a flight and does not include the price of taxes, airport charges, regulatory fees or any additinal service like seat reservation, meals or extra baggage.
It’s important to note that the Unlimited Pass covers connections from Malaysia and Thailand to not only Australia, Japan and India, but also to South Korea and China – countries where two largest outbreaks of coronavirus occured. Air Asia doesn’t even try to hide the fact that one of the reasons for introducing the pass is to stimulate travel in the region.
AirAsia X’s CEO Benyamin Ismail said:
“This is unprecedented. However, AirAsia has always been known as the disruptor and we want to restore traveller’s confidence amid the current sentiment towards flying. Travelling is still very safe as long as everyone travels responsibly and is kept updated by World Health Organisation (WHO) or respective government’s travel advice.”
At the same time the Malaysian airline quotes Dr David Powell from IATA, who talks about prevention:
“If you are sick, don’t travel. If you have flu-like symptoms, wear a mask and see a doctor. And when you travel wash your hands frequently and don’t touch your face. Observing these simple measures should keep flying safe for all.”
The Unlimited Pass can be purchased until March 7th 2020 – their number is limited, although at the moment it’s not sure how popular it’s gonna be. It is certainly interesting that AirAsia X Unlimited Pass only covers medium and long distance flights, with duration over 4 hours. The airline seems to be confident that demand for plane travel within Southeast Asia would return to normal fairly quickly, but long distance travel might not be a popular choice among travellers in the nearest future.