AirAsia Zest Flight Review: Manila to Puerto Princesa

As one of the main carriers in the Philippines, AirAsia Zest is starting to get a fair share of the market in Philippine aviation. It was my first time flying with this airline and I am excited to share my flight experience from Manila to Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

"AirAsia Zest: Now Everyone Can Fly!"
Copyright Photo: travelling_bk/PFN

PRE-DEPARTURE

The Manila hub of AirAsia Zest is currently based at the  Manila Domestic Passenger Terminal, also known as Terminal 4. Once you get inside the airport, the mandatory security check is performed and the check-in counters can easily be found. The check-in counters are not equipped with any television panels but rather a small piece of bond paper showing the flight details.

"AirAsia Zest Check-in Counters at NAIA Terminal 4"
Copyright Photo: travelling_bk/PFN
"NAIA Terminal 4 Check-in Counters"
Copyright Photo: travelling_bk/PFN
The ground crew greeted me, asked for my identification card (ID), and my ticket. But instead of a ticket, I gave him my boarding pass together with my ID since I used their web check-in service that can be found on their website. It was less than 10 minutes before I found myself inside the boarding area where you can find shops and small food stalls to beat any lingering hunger.

"Blue Seats in the Pre-Departure Area at NAIA Terminal 4"
Copyright Photo: travelling_bk/PFN
"Green Chairs in Pre-Departure Area. Food Stalls are also Available"
Copyright Photo: travelling_bk/PFN
Ten minutes before the actual boarding time, I heard my name being called at the passenger service area. The ground crew explained that we would be using an Airbus A319-200 (RP-C8990) and the seat assigned to me was not available on that plane. I was given a receipt type of boarding pass with my new seat assignment and then heard the instructions for boarding.

"Flight Z2 428 now ready for boarding at Gate 2"
Copyright Photo: travelling_bk/PFN
It was about 5 minutes after the boarding instructions that we were asked to board the plane 10 minutes before the scheduled time. The flow of people was organized from the boarding gate up until we reached the plane, assisted by AirAsia Zest ground crew.

"Passengers Lining Up at Boarding Gate 2"
Copyright Photo: travelling_bk/PFN
The front and back door of the plane were used for embarkation, which improved the speed and flow of passengers boarding the aircraft.

"Airbus A319-200 (RP-C8990) still has the old Zest Air livery"
Copyright Photo: travelling_bk/PFN
"Passengers lining to board at the front door of the aircraft"
Copyright Photo: travelling_bk/PFN
PRE-FLIGHT

There were 4 cabin crew that greeted us at the aircraft doors, consistently checking the boarding passes of passengers to make sure they were on the correct flight. The flight was under the command of Captain Javellana and First Officer Peralta together with lead cabin crew Avilard and 3 other crew members, Princess, Honey and Frances.

"The Front Seats of the Aircraft where the Red Seats are Missing"
Copyright Photo: travelling_bk/PFN
Upon entering the aircraft, I was expecting to see the red seats at the front, which are typical of AirAsia's cabin configuration but I was not able to find them. But what I noticed was that people could pass through to a window seat even though someone was sitting in the aisle. I felt that the space aboard the aircraft was better compared to other low-cost carriers.

"The aisle of the aircraft as the cabin crew checks that passengers are seated"
Copyright Photo: travelling_bk/PFN
Once I settled down in my seat, I grabbed the safety instructions and read how to open the exit door during an emergency situation.

"The seat backs contain the in-flight magazine, safety instructions, and menu"
Copyright Photo: travelling_bk/PFN
15 minutes after boarding time, the lead cabin crew announced the closing of the door and getting ready for departure. The mandatory checks and counts of passengers were conducted along with the in-flight safety demonstration. The cabin crew assigned to our row provided additional instructions in the event of an emergency landing and what we should do should our assistance be required. Infant life jackets were also given to passengers during the final check before departure.

"Lead Cabin Crew, Avilard, reminding passengers to stow luggage"
Copyright Photo: travelling_bk/PFN

IN-FLIGHT

"An AirAsia Philippines flight departs from Ninoy Aquino International Airport"
Copyright Photo: travelling_bk/PFN
The flight departed out of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) 10 minutes before the scheduled departure time. It was a smooth take-off by the captain and the weather was good. However, 15 minutes after departing, the captain announced to keep the seatbelts on as we were about to experience turbulence. About ten minutes later, the seatbelts sign was switched off and the cabin crew announced further information about the flight.


"Snack trays served by cabin crew"
Copyright Photo: travelling_bk/PFN
Snacks were offered to passengers and as expected, the cost was higher compared to buying on the ground. Their in-flight menu featured hot meals including Maan’s Pasta Arrabiata, Junior Cho’s Korean Beef Stew, and Chicken Adobo ala Mariles which were sold at Php 200 (less than USD 4) and all were Halal certified. Though I did not try any of the offerings, I feel that it could satisfy one's hunger on a quick flight.

"AirAsia pencils sold for just Php 140 - less than USD 3"
Copyright Photo: travelling_bk/PFN
On board memorabilia was also sold to passengers for a minimal amount. I am not sure if all of them were available but I was able to buy the AirAsia Zest pencils. One thing I noticed is that their in-flight menu was cut into two. I mentioned to the cabin crew that they need to replace it since it should be presentable to passengers. She politely explained that there are other staff responsible for changing them every night but that she would ensure it was replaced with a more presentable one.

"Table trays are stowed in the seats at exit rows"
Copyright Photo: travelling_bk/PFN
Tray tables in the exit rows were not in front of the seat but rather kept in the arm of the chair, which needs to be taken out. Together with the in-flight instructions and menu, I found time to read their in-flight magazine, Travel3Sixty, which featured Taylor Swift on the cover. The in-flight magazine is interesting because it covers a lot of stories not just about travelling but also some interesting topics about the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

"In-Flight Safety Card, Menu, and Magazine: Travel3Sixty"
Copyright Photo: travelling_bk/PFN
After 45 minutes in flight, the captain announced his gratitude for flying AirAsia Zest and less than 10 minutes after, we began to descend. The flight landed at Puerto Princesa International Airport, 30 minutes ahead of the scheduled time of arrival.

CONCLUSION

AirAsia Zest may have the smallest market share in the Philippines but I am definitely hoping that they will strive against the competition. Personally, one of the things that I found that separates them from the other low cost carriers is how they provide service to their customers. Starting from the ground crew up to the cabin crew, they have this level of professionalism that truly shows off their confidence wearing the AirAsia Zest uniforms. I would definitely recommend to my friends and family to choose AirAsia Zest and AirAsia Philippines for destination currently served by the airline. I hope they will continue expanding their network and painting the skies red so that “Now Everyone Can Fly.” Kudos, AirAsia Zest for a job well done!

"Enjoying the view on approach to Puerto Princesa International Airport"
Copyright Photo: travelling_bk/PFN
Traveller's Notes:
  • AirAsia Zest flies to Puerto Princesa 4 times daily. Check their website at for flight details and further information.
  • The web check-in service is available to all of their flights 14 days up to 1 hour before departure for AirAsia (AK, QZ, FD, PQ, Z2, I5) flights and up to 4 hours for AirAsia (D7, XJ) flights. 
-travelling_bk

4 comments:

  1. Hi. Upon arriving in Puerto Princesa, do they also open both front and rear doors?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Terrible airline ALWAYS delayed, bad safety record, avoid!

    ReplyDelete
  3. 뱃할맛이 나는곳 먹튀검증 안전한메이져

    ReplyDelete

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