Flight Review – AirAsia AK512: Kuala Lumpur (klia2) to Hanoi (Noi Bai International Airport) by Airbus A320neo

I opted to fly from Kuala Lumpur to Hanoi rather than straight from Singapore as there was an AirAsia low fare promotion which made the all-in fare from KL cheaper than the new airport tax for departures from Singapore, so the slight additional inconvenience of travelling overnight to KL but having a nice breakfast in the capital city was all worth it.

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I pre-booked my SkyBus (AeroSky Ventures) ticket when I booked my ticket, so it was just an RM8.90 (~S$2.96) express bus transfer from KL Sentral to klia2.

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Redeeming my SkyBus (AeroSky Ventures) ticket at the KL Sentral counter with my AirAsia AK512 boarding pass.

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The AirAsia pre-book SkyBus (AeroSky Ventures) ticket issued at KL Sentral.

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I was one of the last few passengers to board the bus, so it was just less than 5 minutes of waiting before the bus departed at 10.00am.

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The receipt ticket for the SkyBus (AeroSky Ventures) still showed the fare as RM12.00 rather than the lower pre-booked price.

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The view of the ride from my aisle seat. (The red seat covers make me feel like I’m seated on an AirAsia Hot Seat – cheap thrills.)

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The driver drove safely and smoothly throughout the ride. However, there were signs around with hotlines to call if there were any problems with the driver during the journey, so that could have been an effective deterrent.

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The SkyBus journey from KL Sentral to klia2 took around an hour, and I arrived at around 11am.

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Heading up to gateway@klia2 to walk to the passenger terminal building.

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The klia2 sign before the entrance to the main terminal building has been decked out in Merdeka colours for August.

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The rather famous check-in hall of klia2.

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Boarding passes can be printed from the kiosks around the check-in hall if you haven’t done so at home.

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I used the boarding pass printed at home instead.

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Heading for immigration.

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Carry-on baggage will be measured and weighed by the ground staff should they find that your bag may be exceeding the allowance. However, I was waved through this part with my rather flat backpack and a small camera bag.

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Looks like my flight AK512 will be departing from Gate L14 at Pier L of the main terminal building.

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Immediately after security clearance after immigration, I headed down for security clearance to enter the pier. 🙄

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The very dry and linear walk to the gate after security. The only plus point I can see here as compared with KLIA is that I can fill my water bottle with water after security and before boarding the plane, which is not possible at KLIA’s security checks before entering the gate hold room, saving me RM4 instead of buying water off AirAsia on board.

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Gate L14, which I almost missed because it was literally a small corridor along the purple wall.

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Lines were set up down at the gate hold room in separate boarding zones.

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I was in boarding zone 2, the middle queue line.

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At around 12.50pm, 10 minutes after the supposed departure time, the gate was open for passengers to board the plane.

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Ooh, a new Airbus A320neo. Will there be roKKi WiFi to entertain me for this 3 hour flight?

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Oh, unfortunately not.

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The upfront Hot Seats, which I’m not sitting in.

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I’m seated somewhere at the back instead, at Seat 21C.

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The view of the window from my aisle seat.

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The legroom available on board the Airbus A320neo, similar to existing A320s.

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The AirAsia logo embossed on the new Airbus A320neo seats.

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Once the announcement was made for cabin crew to arm the doors, I hopped over to Row 20 in front of me as the whole row was empty. Yay to more space for this 3-hour flight!

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Bye Kuala Lumpur, it felt as if like I just got here. Oh wait.

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Taking off from klia2.

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Flying over Putrajaya.

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Flying over Kajang and MRT Kajang Depot.

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Steadily climbing over the Titiwangsa Range.

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I decided to splurge on 2 meals on this 3-hour flight since 2 meals is just a small top up from the sides top-up. I chose the new Spiral Pasta and the Emperor Fried Rice which I’ve been wanting to try.

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The new Spiral Pasta actually tastes amazing for in-flight food, I would say it’s the best pasta dish I’ve ever had on a flight, and that includes those served on full-service airlines. The sauce is very evident and consistent, and didn’t go totally dry, which is quite a difficult thing to master for in-flight meals. If there’s a slight inconvenience to feedback on, it would be that the cheese was a little bit too concentrated in the middle, causing about half the portion to stick on the lid, so it was a slight mess when opening, and of course, disappointing that some good cheese has burnt onto the lid.

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I was expecting the Emperor Fried Rice to be a little bit buttery, albeit like a Eurasian-style dish with curried chicken, but it turned out to be a Thai Pineapple Fried Rice instead. Oh well, curiosity satisfied, but I don’t think I’ll be ordering this again any time soon with the other options on the menu that I prefer.

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As my flight was just after the announcement that AirAsia is once again the World’s Best Low-Cost Airline for the 10th successive year in the Skytrax World Airline Awards, a pack of #WeAreAllChampions cards was handed out during the meal, which includes Ben Proud, Pilots, Cabin Crew, Engineers, Roberto Carlos, and a pseudo-mirror for your face (which means you) to be shown on the card.

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It was a relatively uneventful flight after the meal.

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Descending into Hanoi.

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Touching down in Noi Bai International Airport, marking my first time arriving by air into Vietnam on my third trip.

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Passing by Terminal 1, the Domestic Terminal of Noi Bai Airport.

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The new Terminal 1 Extension looks more like a modern bus terminal for planes instead, with no contact gates.

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Planes are parked in front of the terminal, but I guess it’s quite an experience to walk on the tarmac to the plane – provided it isn’t raining.

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Heading to Terminal 2, the International Terminal of Noi Bai Airport.

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I have to admit – the terminal looks better than I expected.

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Turning into the gate. Thankfully there will be an aerobridge, after passing all the planes parked at remote stands at Terminal 1.

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Disembarking from the plane on a comfortable and convenient aerobridge.

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Hello Hanoi and hello left-hand drive.

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Heading on travellators from the gate to the immigration area.

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Immigration took less than 10 minutes, as most incoming passengers had to do their Visa on Arrival at another counter instead.

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With no check-in baggage, I headed straight out of the baggage reclaim area and customs, to be greeted with this modern airport look.

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SIM Cards can be purchased here, however, I did not check on the prices.

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From here, I continued my journey into town with the Hanoibus Airport Bus Service 86.

Overall, it was a great flight at ~S$50 all-in after the convenience fee, excluding my meals and the SkyBus ticket, which I couldn’t even buy now even if there were AirAsia Free Seats from Singapore as the new Airport Tax at S$47.30 + S$4 NETS convenience fee would already cost more than that. The crew were generally friendly and the temperature on board was cool and comfortable.

Perhaps this is the future for cheap short-haul international flights from Singapore – to take the bus to KL first and fly out from there.

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