Flight Review: AirAsia VTL Flight AK710 from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur klia2 by Airbus A321neo
It’s finally time. After almost 2 years, I’m going to visit Malaysia again with the new Vaccinated Travel Lane (Air) [VTL (Air)] scheme which allows quarantine-free travel to Malaysia and back to Singapore via air.
Budgeting for this trip costs more than $1,000, which can actually be considered on the lower end since most of the costs are fixed, and it’s AirAsia that has brought fares down as usual, allowing me to purchase a Low Fare (Promo) of only S$126.84 for a return ticket inclusive of taxes for VTL both ways.
Currently, AirAsia operates just 1 pair of flights daily between KL and Singapore, which makes VTL booking easy since it will definitely be a VTL flight, unlike other airline websites were you have to double-check the flight number as there are both VTL and non-VTL flights.
Check-in for AirAsia at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1 is at Row 9. No online check-in is available for travel out of Singapore, as document checks are required for all passengers.
Unlike the previous meaning of document check which just requires a stamp on your boarding pass, AirAsia is now required to check for documents required to enter Malaysia via the VTL-Air.
- AirAsia Booking (with PNR)
- Pre-departure PCR Test Certificate (2 days before departure)
- Vaccination Certificate
- MySejahtera App
- COVID-19 Travel Insurance (minimum RM100,000 coverage in Malaysia)
- Proof of purchase of on-arrival COVID-19 PCR test at klia2
- NEW: MySafeTravel registration
To speed up the process and make life easy for both yourself and the ground document check staff, print out all required documents and put it in a file for easy flipping reference. I printed all of my documents, and my document check was done in less than 30 seconds, as compared with a few minutes for those finding individual files on phones.
Once the document checks were done, it’s time to proceed to the check-in kiosk.
I miss this screen so much.
Do note that the screens at Changi Airport’s Fast Check-in kiosks are now touchless.
A few waves of my finger later, and I’m holding on to a boarding pass again.
Next, as I have baggage, is the bag drop counter.
Again, this process is touchless. After a few failed scans of my baggage tag with my bag tagging skills unpolished for the past 2 years, my bag finally made it in after 3 attempts of scanning.
Next, immigration was surprising as per normal with the automated gates, aside from the new face scanning technology which is in place at Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore (MBCCS) already.
The Transit Area is understandably quiet, with lots of shops still closed.
To while away a bit of waiting time, I headed up to the SATS Premier Lounge for some breakfast and wine.
About 1 hour before departure time, I headed back down to make it to the gate in good time.
There’s a checkpoint at the junction where arriving and departing passengers mix. Only departing passengers can move freely through this checkpoint.
Unfortunately, the Singapore souvenir of choice is closed here at Terminal 1.
Gate C20 is the first gate of the C pier, which made for a short walk.
Another step closer to Malaysia.
9M-VAB will be flying me from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur. A pleasure to be flying on board the Airbus A321neo.
The water cooler is temporarily shut down due to COVID, with a bottle refilling station beside in place instead.
With the queues of getting into the gate hold room, the aircraft was already ready for boarding by the time I entered.
Heading down the aerobridge to an actual flying plane, unlike the last time I did it for dinner.
Boarding the AirAsia Airbus A321neo to get somewhere.
The interior of AirAsia’s Airbus A321neo.
I was given an auto seat assignment of 35F, which was quite unusual for me as I am an AirAsia BIG Platinum Member. Pre-COVID, this would get me an auto seat assignment in the Hot Seat area. But no issue, since I would have a window seat for this first flight to Malaysia after almost 2 years.
The legroom on board AirAsia’s Airbus A321neo.
A nice wing goodbye to Singapore.
The AirAsia VTL Flight AK710 was very full. At the check-in sales counter after checking in, no seat change was available for sale.
Pushing back from the gate.
With not flying for so long, I actually paid attention to the safety demonstration this time, just in case I forgot anything important.
Heading to Runway 02L.
Lining up to the runway.
It’s been a long time since I felt an aircraft rolling on the runway.
And I’m up.
Fewer planes being parked around Changi Airport now.
Goodbye to the planespotting beach which was the closest I could get to flying planes for the past almost 2 years.
Crossing over from Singapore to Malaysia.
Despite still being in a plane, this view of Malaysia is refreshing indeed.
Pak Nasser’s Nasi Lemak
An AirAsia flight is not complete without some Santan meals. Having not eaten it for so long, I maxed out at 2 meals for this flight.
The meals were pre-packed into a plastic bag for serving, with no cart used.
And what better way to start my Revenge Travel Semenanjung with the classic Pak Nasser’s Nasi Lemak. This costs S$4.
On first look, it looks like the ingredients had been reduced by a little bit, but after digging in, it was just the few rice grains on the right that covered up the sambal and rendang. The overall taste of Pak Nasser’s Nasi Lemak was still there.
As for my other meal, that’s for my lunch later while waiting for my PCR test results at klia2.
A slightly different view on approach to KL, I don’t recall this flight path.
Looking down at Sungai Gadut Railway Station which is strange.
Banking sharp right to align to KLIA and klia2.
Flying over Sepang.
Oh, hello planespotters.
Touching down on Malaysian soil once again.
Some broken up Boeing 747s in front of MAB Engineering Complex.
Looking across to KLIA.
Hmm, not sure if I’ll ever be able to fly on a Malaysia Airlines Airbus A380 ever.
Turning to klia2.
9M-XBE AirAsia X Airbus A330-300 has been taped up for storage.
9M-XXF AirAsia X Airbus A330-300 has also been taped up for storage.
Turning into Gate P6.
Yes, I do thank AirAsia for making ASEAN a smaller place for my travels pre-COVID.
What a surreal feeling to be parked at klia2 once again.
Heading up the aerobridge.
Out on the tarmac, klia2 looks very quiet.
Arrival COVID-19 Screening Test at klia2
After disembarking via the aerobridge, the path leads directly to the VTL On-Arrival RT-PCR Swab Test.
Overall, AirAsia proved to be almost great once again with the surprisingly fuss-free check-in experience and friendly crew on board. The Pak Nasser’s Nasi Lemak definitely completed the AirAsia experience on board too.
The perks of a Hot Seat assignment for Platinum members seem to be gone though, which is a slight bummer. But a regular seat is still quite fine for me, especially since I did not pay for a seat assignment. Also, there was no separate check-in queue like the previous AirAsia Red Carpet Service as indicated in my itinerary as “Airport Priority Service”, so I’m not sure what that SSR is for.
Either way, the main perk of AirAsia VTL Flight AK710 is to have no quarantine upon arrival in Malaysia, and that’s indeed what everyone on this full VTL flight is here for.