AirAsia X begins flying to and from Auckland this week with a pledge to cut fares and a novel opportunity for passengers to escape from children during their flights.
However, while the budget airline is talking about savings on ticket prices, keeping children at arms length on board comes at a price. The Malaysian-based airlines adds a charge of $45 for customers wanting to avoid children under the age of ten on long-haul flights. The carrier will deploy 72 seats as its ‘quiet zone’ on its 377-seat Airbus A330 flying between Kuala Lumpur and Auckland. This route will operate via the Australian Gold Coast.
A spokeswoman for AirAsia X said their quiet area concept was introduced three years ago and has received a good response from passengers using it. It is curtained off from the economy cabin behind it and the premium cabin in front of it.
NZherald.co.nz said there has been a mixed reaction to the zone on Skytrax, the aviation site. Some passengers felt it was a value from money innovation while others said it didn’t dispense with “plenty of loud adults”.
New Zealand travel agents believe the quiet zone space will be welcomed by its travellers. Brent Thomas, commercial director of House of Travel said it was a way of catering for different types of travellers who sought peace and quiet. The area provides an extra slice of luxury without paying premium class prices. Mr Thomas added that the growing competition between the extra number of airlines serving the country is providing lower fares for passengers.
Flight Centre NZ general manager, Sean Berenson, claimed the Gold Coast is traditionally a popular holiday destination for New Zealanders. He said the re-introduction of another low-cost carrier flying there is good news for passengers in the region.