Air Asia X is one of the many budget airlines flying the world – but, this one has a difference. The Air Asia X Quiet Zone where peace reigns. Here’s what happened when we flew it.
The man behind me on my Emirates flight from Bangkok to Sydney had had a brilliant trip – I know as he was telling the woman he’d just met all about it.
He also had a lot of tips for her on her trip to Sydney – about 20 minutes worth.
Normally, I’d be pleased that he was so enthusiastic and helpful – but, this was 3am in the morning and he was standing behind my plane seat chatting at the top of his voice, so right now all I wanted him to do was shut the heck up….fast forward a few flights and it’s a different story.
I’m in a completely silent plane cabin. No-one is speaking at all and even the crew seem to whisper.
This, my friends, is the Air Asia X Quiet Zone and it’s a magical world in the air.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which mean I earn a small commission if you use them to book. This does not cost you any extra.
What is the Quiet Zone on Air Asia X?
Let’s start first with what is Air Asia X? It’s the sister airline of Air Asia, a budget airline operating out of Kuala Lumpur – it’s an absolutely brilliant way to get around Asia for not much money and I’ve flown it a lot.
Air Asia X is their long haul version.
The planes are bigger, but it’s still no frills – I’d flown it when they used to fly from the UK but this was my first trip from Sydney.
I was doing four flights – Sydney to KL, KL to Taipei in Taiwan, Kaohsiung in Taiwan to KL and KL back to Sydney.
Three of these flights were booked in the Air Asia Quiet Zone.
The Air Asia Quiet Zone is a dedicated space at the front of the plane (between rows 7-14 on their A330 aircraft) that aims to offer a quieter place to travel.
Only those over 10 years of age can travel in the quiet zone and it’s a specially sectioned off to try and provide a little bit more privacy and peace.
It’s designed for those who want to sleep, work or just chill out on their journey. It has softer lighting than normal economy and meals are served earlier so, if you’re flying on a night flight they really are aiming to ensure you get as much sleep as possible.
And when you get to the other end, you also disembark before normal economy which is a nice bonus.
It’s different, which is why we’re reviewing it on here. Theoretically, a pleasant place on a plane. But what’s it really like to fly in?
The Air Asia Quiet Zone Seat
Even though you pay a little extra for the Quiet Zone, it’s still the economy part of the cabin so don’t expect extravagance, but the seat is comfy enough.
According to their website, the average Air Asia X seat pitch on the A330 is 31″ and the width is at least 16″. It didn’t have footrests but the back of the seat did have ‘wings’ so you could rest your head.
You pay extra for seats in the Quiet Zone – exact price varies by sector, where you are booking from and when you add them in your booking process, but to give you a clue, the Air Asia Quiet Zone price between Sydney to KL was AU$29 per flight, KL to Taipei cost 65MYR per sector (booked when we made our original booking) and I’m not sure if this is why, but of the three flights we took in the Quiet Zone the only one that was very busy was Sydney to KL – the rest of the time we had entire rows to ourselves.
I’m not sure if that was abnormal or if it’s always less busy because the Quiet Zone seats have a surcharge, but it was very welcome.
The Quiet Zone is a 3-3-3 configuration, but, as you’re paying for your seat, you can book window, aisle or middle seat. As normal, my partner had a window, and I had the aisle.
As a no-frills airline, there’s no seatback TV or other entertainment so go armed with your own.
What are Quiet Zone Hot Seats?
These are the seats in the front row of the Quiet Zone cabin and as such they have slightly more legroom – they also have power sockets in them.
They cost about twice as much to book in advance than standard Quiet Zone seats – 148.90 MYR for the KL to Taipei sector for example – so we decided against them. However…
The man sat between us on the Sydney to KL leg was a fidgeter – and, suddenly realising that there was no-one sitting next to the window in the Hot Seats, The Boyfriend paid to AU$75 during the flight to upgrade to one of these premium seats.
He decided the extra legroom was absolutely worth it and had no qualms about the extra money he’d spent.
The fidgeter and I were also happy as we then got a spare seat between us.
If you like the sound of this seat though, it will be much cheaper to book it at the same time as your original booking.
Are There any Bad Seats?
I was sat in the aisle seat on row 8 and that does have the power boxes for the hot seats underneath which limits leg room a little bit – but my favourite seat when I fly normally economy on most other airlines has those too so I’m used to that. If you’re not you might want to skip that row.
Another seat you might want to watch out for would be the window seats in row 14. On our flights, these didn’t actually have a window – causing one man to move back to normal economy when he realised.
If you like a view, then avoid that seat.
Is it Actually Quiet?
Yes. Noticeably so.
For a couple of our sectors this was because it was half empty but even on the day when we travelled in a full quiet zone, it was mostly couples and a lot of single travellers who were very respectful of the point of the place.
I also wonder if when the plane is fuller Air Asia X allocate seats to single travellers in an attempt to keep the cabin quieter.
The only downside of the front and back rows in the Quiet Zone are that you can get noise from whoever is in Business in front or the first rows of economy behind. We had a few people a bit over excited to be at the pointy end of a plane in front of us, but they soon settled down once we took off.
What’s the Food Like?
You get the same food in the Air Asia X Quiet Zone as you do in normal economy – there’s no extras in that department.
We had booked the Air Asia Value Pack (about AU$3 per person, per sector) which meant we got a meal – but we didn’t get to pick what it was.I figured the surprise might liven things up a bit (I need all the entertainment I can get on a plane).
Two of the four flights we got a Special Fried Rice which looked seriously dull but was actually quite tasty – although a sachet of chilli sauce wouldn’t go amiss.
On the KL to Taipei flight, I had Sweet and Sour Meatballs, which, photographed horribly but were actually pretty good. I certainly didn’t feel I missed out on anything by not paying to choose a specific meal.
If you got peckish at another time on the flight, drinks and snacks are available – a full meal was 20 MYR, chicken pie cost 12 MYR, sushi cost 6 MYR. Hot drinks were also 6 MYR, water was 5 MYR.
Would We Fly in the Air Asia X Quiet Zone Again?
Absolutely. It was one of the nicest flights I’ve had in a while – and for a bargain price as well.
Air Asia fly into KLIA 2 at Kuala Lumpur and have a huge presence at the airport. As we were among the first off the plane we were through customs pretty quickly and on our flight the next morning, check in was quick and easy (although you do have to print and affix your own luggage tags which is a lot harder than you might think).
So How Do You Book?
Easy – just slide over to the Air Asia website, choose your flights and when you get to seat selection look for seats in the Quiet Zone – it’s not on every flight, but it’s clearly marked when they do have one.
A Quick Review of Tune Hotel KLIA2 – While We’re Here.
Rather than flying straight to Taipei after an eight-hour flight from Sydney, we chose to stay overnight here at the relatively new Tune Hotel KLIA2.
Like Air Asia, Tune Hotels are also no frills and usually, clean, quiet, cheap and functional is about all you can say about them.
This was a completely different ballgame.
The room was spacious – I’ve stayed in Tune Hotels where I could touch both walls at the same time.
Here not only could two of us wander around with room to store luggage, the shower and toilet were also in separate rooms – rather than virtually on top of each other – and, the hotel had a lovely outside bar and a full restaurant – for just 345MYR a night.
That’s pricey for a Tune Hotel, but excellent value for nice airport hotel. And trust me, I love airport hotels and have stayed in a LOT of them – and this is a keeper.
If you like the sound of it, here’s where to find out prices and make a booking for the Tune Hotel KLIA2.
Normally when I transit through KLIA I’m flying to or from the UK and so come into the main international terminal. When this is the case, I stay at the Sama Sama just past customs. The Tune Hotel was just as good and for slightly less money – although it didn’t have a pool.
If you’re flying in or out of the main international terminal, the Tune Hotel might be a bit of a trek so I’d definitely recommend the Sama Sama as well.
What Did We Do at The Other End
All in all, we had a decidedly stress free journey to Taipei – which was handy considering quite how many things I wanted to see when I got there.
For more on that, check out our guide to Unusual Things to Do in Taipei or search our Taipei section for ideas – there are cute cat pictures if you look hard enough.
We also took a day trip to Taichung, which is a fantastic city with loads of arty things to do – including the very cute Rainbow Village which has been painted by one of it’s residents.
And finally, for Taiwan anyway, we ended up in Kaohsiung which has to be one of the world’s most underrated cities – especially for street art. See why in our guide to Kaohsiung street art here.
From Kaohsiung we flew back to Malaysia, and, after a few days in Kuala Lumpur for my birthday where we did fun things like drink on a bar on top of a helipad
Then it was time to take a train rather than a plane and head off to Penang via Ipoh.
My big birthday trip then finished up with a few days in Penang doing all sorts of fun things – including going to a museum full of giant models of plastic food.
It’s called Wonderfood and you can see all the pictures here.
And that was only a fraction of all the fun we had, I told you we needed a relaxing journey!
Who Writes Differentville?
My name is Helen Foster and I’m a journalist and author living in Sydney.
My travel articles have been published in titles include The Australian, Body & Soul at the Sunday Telegraph, RAC Horizons, Jetstar magazine and more.
I like the weird, the wonderful and anything that makes me jump and down with glee like I’m about three. That’s what you’ll find here.