Travellers between Bangkok and Brisbane got a new low-cost lie-flat option today as Air Asia X completed its first flight between the Thai capital and the capital of the Australian state of Queensland.
Flight XJ310 arrived at Brisbane Airport at 11.46 local time on June 26, 11 minutes later than its scheduled arrival time. At the time of writing, flight XJ311 was on its way from Brisbane to Bangkok, having departed at 13:47 Brisbane time, nearly an hour later than its scheduled departure time, according to Flightradar24.
Low-cost, long-haul carrier AirAsia X is flying its Airbus A330 on the route, which notably offers 12 of the airline’s Premium Flatbed seat product in the forward cabin. These seats offer 59 inches of pitch, are 19 inches wide and, as the name suggests, can recline to form a lie-flat bed. Seats are laid out in a 2-2-2 configuration. It’s worth noting, however, that the seats do not quite recline to a 180 degree fully flat (horizontal) position.
Despite this, with a flight time of around nine hours and 20 minutes on this route, the Premium Flatbed seat could be a compelling proposition for those who want similar comfort to a business class fully-flat bed product, without the price-tag of a full service carrier.
Currently, the only other non-stop service between Brisbane and Bangkok is a four times weekly B777-200/300 service (cut down from a daily service in October last year) with Thai Airways. The airline previously operated this route with its B787-8 Dreamliner.
When Business Traveller Asia-Pacific checked prices on the afternoon of June 26 for flights departing Brisbane the second week of July and returning mid-July from Bangkok, Air Asia X’s Premium Flatbed was cheaper than Thai Airways’ Royal Silk Class (the airline’s business class product). Air Asia X’s Flatbed cost around US$1,956 for a return ticket, while Thai’s Royal Silk Class cost around US$3,228.
The flight schedule is as follows:
|XJ 310||Bangkok Don Mueang (DMK)||Brisbane (BNE)||2340||1135 (+1)||Mon, Tues, Fri, Sat|
|XJ 311||Brisbane (BNE)||Bangkok Don Mueang (DMK)||1250||1910||Tue, Wed, Sat, Sun|
Source: Brisbane Airport
The new route marks Air Asia’s first time operating out of Brisbane Airport and the airline is expected to carry up to 150,000 people between the two cities over the next year, Brisbane Airport said in a press release.
Air Asia X Group CEO Nadda Buranasiri said in a statement: “We are delighted to have a new home in Queensland, adding Brisbane to our Queensland ports after we commenced operating flights from the Gold Coast in 2007. This direct service between Bangkok and Brisbane strengthens our connections into Australia and adds to our extensive network of more than 140 destinations worldwide.
“Australia remains a key market for Airasia and with new aircraft on order we can continue to review potential future expansion opportunities where we witness the right levels of demand for great value, medium to long haul air travel.”
Brisbane is also expecting to get non-stop flights to Brunei next month, when Royal Brunei Airways launches a flight to the capital Bandar Seri Begawan on July 10 (a month later than originally planned).
In March, Business Traveller Asia-Pacific reported that Air Asia X’s Premium Flatbed customers can expect to receive new wireless noise-cancelling Sony headphones.