AirAsia – Do We Get Better Seat By Checking In Early?

Check-in early so that we get better seat,” was the advice bestowed by my eldest sis, during our last year’s family trip to Hong Kong. Securing good seats for my family “haunted” me so much, that I was losing sleep before web check-in was open. For international flights, web check-in can be done from 14 days up to 1 hour before departure. As you can imagine, I was watching the clock like a hawk and kept on refreshing the check-in page. *chuckle*

AirAsia flight

On AirAsia flights, passengers can “Pick A Seat”: Premium Seats (aka Hot Seats) (RM30-40) or Standard Seats (RM6-10), fee indicated is depending on route. For budget-conscious traveler, like me, I usually opt NOT to pay extra. AirAsia made it very clear that if you do not pre-book a seat, their system will randomly assign a seat upon check-in. I can understand the benefit of early check-in, if I am paying for seats, But otherwise, is there any seat advantage to checking in early?

I did what I had to. I digged out my past flight itineraries and boarding passes, and put on my Media Planner hat. But use this as a gauge, as I do not have the 30 magic number, for a proper analysis to be done.

Where’s my seat?

On a typical AirAsia flight, there are 30 rows altogether, even though the last row no is No 31. This is because there is no row #13. It’s 12, then 14. We Chinese love #13, but it is an unlucky number for some cultures. That’s why. There are 7 Premium Seats – the Hot Seats are from Row 1, 2-5, 12 and 14; the remaining are 23 Standard Seat Rows. I’ve included a column, indicating first quarter, first half, etc for easy comparison. So, let’s say Row 6-11= First 25% of the plane,  Row 15-20 = 50%, Row 21-25=75%, and Row 26-30 = Last 25% of the plane.

Route

Seat no

Travel date

Web check-in date

# days before departure

KUL-BKK

27D

Last quarter

14/06/2016

12/6

2 days before

KUL-BKK

22C

Third quarter

26/04/2016

22/4

2 days before

KUL-BKK

26F

Last quarter

25/02/2016

23/2

2 days before

KUL-BKK

11C

First quarter

25/03/2017

19/3

6 days before

BKK-KUL

23C

Third quarter

26/01/2017

20/1

6 days before

BKK-KUL

20C

First half

07/09/2015

1/9

6 days before

KUL-BKK

21A

Third quarter

19/10/2016

12/10

7 days before

KUL-BKK

18A

First half

29/11/2016

20/11

9 days before

From above table, I summed it up as there is no fixed seat allocation pattern.

  • 9 days before: best seat @18A
  • 6 days before: the most-front seat @11C, but Row 11 isa non-reclining seat row, as it is right in front of emergency exit
  • 2 days before: consistently assigned me towards the back of the plane @Row 22-27

Update May 2017:

I’ve just done the web check-in for my sis’ family, and the seatings are as per below:

Route

Seat no

Travel date

Web check-in date

# days before departure

KUL-BKK

20D-20F

First half

21/05/2017

10/5

11 days before

BKK-KUL

22D-DDF

Third quarter

24/05/2017

10/5

14 days before

 

But,

  • In Oct 2016, 7 days check-in before departure for my flight in Oct 2016, yet I was assigned a seat in the 3/4 zone of the plane
  • In March 2017, I was assigned the first 25% of the plane with 6 days check-in before departure
ORIGINAL:KUL-HKG

A

B

C

D

E

F

Row 20

2

Row 21

3

2

2

2

2

Row 22

1

1

1

1

1

1

Row 23

1

1

1

REVISED: KUL-HKG

A

B

C

D

E

F

Row 21

3

2

2

2

2

2

Row 22

1

1

1

1

1

1

Row 23

1

1

1

As for our Hong Kong trip with full 14 days check-in before departure, we were assigned Row 20-23, out of 31 rows.  Go figure. The good thing is that the seats are all together, except for one lone seat from KUL-HKG. We paid for one seat change, as my younger brother wanted to be seated next to his wife. Awww …  Honestly, if it was me, I would be more than alright to sit by myself.  Too independent for my own good, sometimes. As for the flight from HKG-KUL, we managed to secure seats together. One thing that I’ve observed is that (perhaps) by checking in together, I managed to secure seats for my family next to each other. You see … there were 3 different bookings made, indicated as 1,2,3 on the table above.  Booking #3 was made few days after the first 2 bookings .. but yet, the seat allocation for Booking #3 was close to Booking #1&2.

In summary, for solo traveler – no rush, but don’t leave it until the last 1-2 days before departure date. For travellers in group, there possibly could be an advantage, if you want to be seated together. My theory is other travellers might “kick” you out from system-assigned seats, so instead of being seated together – you might end up getting separated. For me, so long I get aisle seat, I am a happy girl.

 

 

 

Notyourtypicaltourist

Travel opens up a whole new world, which is cliche but true. I am a strong advocate for independent and solo travel. I was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia but now live in Bangkok, Thailand, resulted from a chance encounter in 2009 with my why-are-you-Thai bf. I am now split between two countries. One country for my bf, another for the family, for the occasional weekend together.

One thought on “AirAsia – Do We Get Better Seat By Checking In Early?

  • January 5, 2018 at 7:39 pm
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    Air Asia Seating : I have booked return flight to Bangkok for my family of 7 pax. One week before departure, I received email asking us to do web check in. During the process, I noticed that all 7 of us are assigned to different seats (even we are under same booking no). My family consisted of 3 kids (4 to 10 yrs old) and 2 70yrs old parents. Wanted to call A.Asia hotline but we told it will be charge by min, so when on live chat. Was told to seat together, I need to pay to select seats !! How ridiculous ! I don’t mind any seats as long as we all seats together without the extra charges of selecting. The Live Chat just replied my 10min chat is up and shut me off ! So, I suppose I will leave it to the Flight crews to take care of my kids and parents then. A.Asia is indirectly cornering and FORCING customers to PAY for everything – it is NOT as cheap as it claims once you add up all the force charges.

    Reply

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