Flight Review – AirAsia AK720: Singapore to Kuala Lumpur by Airbus A321neo (AirAsia’s First A321neo: 9M-VAA in 3,2,1 Take Off Livery)

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AirAsia AK720 is a daily night flight from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, which has recently been swapped out to AirAsia’s brand new Airbus A321neo since 20 December 2019 to increase capacity for the Singapore route where slots are a concern as AirAsia has maxed them all out. This flight makes it perfect to try out AirAsia’s new plane as the original launch route of KL – Kuching was a little inconvenient for me.

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Heading to the FAST Check-in Kiosk to print out my boarding pass.

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Printing out my boarding pass from the FAST Check-in Kiosk.

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My boarding pass for my AirAsia AK720 flight from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur by Airbus A321neo. For some reason, I am listed as Premium Flex despite paying a normal Low Fare. Thanks for the Zone 1 boarding then, AirAsia.

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Heading through the duty free shops after clearing immigration and security.

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Heading through the transit area to my gate at Gate G10.

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Passengers heading on the same flight as me were already waiting outside Gate G10.

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The departure screen at Gate G10.

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At about 10.05pm, the brand new Airbus A321neo showed up at the gate, operating as AK721 from KL.

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The departure screen changes before boarding to guide passengers to the Automated Boarding Gates (ABGs) if they had cleared immigration at the Automated Immigration Gates (AIGs).

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Queuing up to board first as I was somehow given Boarding Zone 1.

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Hello 9M-VAA, AirAsia’s First A321neo.

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Heading down the ramp to the aerobridge.

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9M-VAA in 3,2,1 Take Off Livery at Changi Airport Terminal 4 Gate G10.

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Stalled at the end of the ramp to allow passengers to disembark first, just like Ryanair.

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Heading down the aerobridge once the passengers from KL had all disembarked.

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Stepping on board the Airbus A321neo for the first time.

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The first look of the interior of AirAsia’s Airbus A321neo with Mirus Hawk Slimline Seats installed.

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Hot Seats have an additional headrest pillow installed. However, these do not seem to be adjustable.

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The rest of the Mirus Hawk Slimline Seats feature a simple slim design.

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Standard Seats do not have the red headrest installed.

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Emergency exit rows have the headrest too, since they are also sold as Hot Seats.

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The view of the empty row beside me towards the window.

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The legroom on board AirAsia’s Airbus A321neo. The Mirus Hawk Slimline Seats here feels less crammed than the previous time I tried the trial seats on a regular Airbus A320 from KL to JB.

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The aircon vents, reading lights and crew call buttons are similar to the existing A320s.

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The new safety card for AirAsia’s Airbus A321neo.

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The seat back is rather plain, surprisingly with no advertising slots.

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Despite the slim seat design, the table is nicely flushed flat against the seat back.

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USB charging ports are available at the end of the armrest.

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The tray table now comes with a device holder.

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A simple yet effective design.

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The device holder’s width is more than enough to fit my Redmi 5 Plus when placed upright.

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When placed on the side, it fits my Redmi 5 Plus too. This would be great for those using tablets with the bottom groove ready for it, and would be perfect with USB charging and AirAsia WiFi for an almost full-service IFE experience.

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The view of the aircraft from my aisle seat.

There are no pre-recorded safety demonstration announcements on board, and the announcement was done manually by a crew. There are differences for the use of the emergency exits for a water landing which are pointed out.

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Cabin lights were switched off for take-off.

The Airbus A321neo was so silent, it sounded as if I was on board an SCS departing from KL Sentral rather than flying up in the air, until the sound of the moving flaps and landing gear doors kicked in.

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For supper, I pre-booked the festive meal of Chicken Meatballs and Mushroom Stew with Roasted Vegetables for S$4.

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The Mushroom Stew is probably what carried the dish, flavouring all the ingredients inside like a pot roast. The Chicken Meatballs were nice and sufficiently soft, and the roasted vegetables and sweet potatoes were tasty when eaten with the sauce. I would have preferred beef meatballs to chicken though, but I guess Tony needs to cater to everyone.

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Now to test the USB port in front of the armrest.

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Unfortunately, the power was not switched on for this flight. I’m not sure if AirAsia will provide USB power for free in future, or charge for power per seat like Scoot.

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The toilet on board the Airbus A321neo is similar to the Airbus A320neo.

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Seems like the crew threw the ice away here.

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Row 30 is a mid-aircraft door exit row with tonnes of extra legroom. Seat 29F is missing, with a crew seat facing Seat 30F in place. The passenger in Seat 29E will be seated next to the crew during take-off and landing.

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Disembarking from the Airbus A321neo at klia2 using the aerobridge.

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Thanks for the ride, 9M-VAA.

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The sunglasses cockpit of the Airbus A321neo.

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Heading up the ramp to the arrivals level.

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9M-VAA viewed from the ramp exit up at the arrivals level.

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The front view of 9M-VAA.

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The unobstructed view of 9M-VAA without the aerobridge blocking, but with reflection from the terminal’s glass.

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A closer look at 9M-VAA’s 3,2,1, Take Off Livery.

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Heading out of the arrivals area via the travellator.

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Oh.

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It’s as if klia2 travellators take turns to be switched off.

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Heading out to arrival immigration.

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The new widened hall of klia2’s arrival immigration. I see more queue space rather than additional immigration counters though. It seems that immigration counters have the two short rows at the side shifted to a single main row in front.

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The Erawan Duty Free shop after immigration has been moved to the baggage reclaim area as a result of the widened queuing area.

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As I have no check-in bags to pick up, I headed past this area as usual.

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The way out through customs.

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After an xray scan at customs, it’s back out to Malaysia.

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Heading out to the public area.

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Here, I headed on to the ERL station to catch the KLIA Ekspres into the city.

Overall, a pleasant first flight with the Airbus A321neo on board AirAsia as usual. The seats may be a bit hard for a 4-hour flight though, but it’s reasonably sufficient for short hops like this Singapore to KL leg. The recline seems to be a bit too generous, and may be uncomfortable for the person behind, but I guess if everyone reclines like dominoes together then it’s okay. The quietness on board is an amazing achievement though, and I may even choose my flights based on the Airbus A321neo just to have such a quiet engine flying me around like a train.

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One comment

  1. Wonder where the mysterious H1-H8 boarding gates are ? Looks like Changi Airport hasn’t updated their web site.
    T4 isn’t all that convenient as we mainly day trip out of JB. Senai is easier to get to and the flights to KL are much cheaper. Thanks for the great guide though.

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