AirAsia X value meals combo deal worth it?

AirAsia X is the long haul unit of popular budget low cost carrier Air Asia. The inflight menu of AirAsia X is slightly different and a bit expensive. For example, A Ramee veg noodles that cost 3.5 MYR in KLIA2 WHSmith store costs 8 MYR on board airasia, but 10 MYR on AirAsia X. Rice with vegetable curry meal costs 17 MYR on Air Asia but costs 22 MYR on Air Asia X. Similarly many other items are expensive by a few ringgits or 20 to 30% on Air Asia X compared to AirAsia.
Not sure of the reason for increased price on Air Asia X- possible reasons are as below:
  • AirAsia X passengers are probably deemed capable of paying little more as they are flying long haul
  • On a short flight like 3-4 hours one can manage without food, but on a long haul flight it is difficult. Passengers will be forced to shell out for food, even if it is bit expensive
  • AirAsia X has more cost to carry the food onboard as they fly long distance and burn more fuel- for example, For KUL-OOL_AKL leg, AirAsia X won't be uptaking food in Gold Coast or Auckland- they carry all the food from KUL. That is 300 passengers * 3 meals (two on KUL-OOL and one on OOL-AKL legs) *2 (for the return trip)= 1800 meals- Don't think they can carry so many meals- probably half of that- not everyone buys- but the cost of logistics is relatively high on AirAsia X
One thing that caught my attention during my Air Asia X flight between Kuala Lumpur and Auckland recently is their Value Meal Combo deal. It was advertised everywhere- behind tray tables in-front of us, on the bulk head and so on. The promise was that a hot meal, a 500 ml water bottle and a piece of cake can be bought for 25 MYR instead of original price of 31 MYR.  Towards the end of my Kuala Lumpur-Gold Coast leg I ran out of water and almost made up my mind to purchase this value meal. It was then the reality stuck me.

There’re 3 hidden things in the AirAsia X value meal deal
1 Only cheaper hot meals are included- meals that cost 20 MYR or less. Slightly expensive items- Malaysian Rice, Rice with Veg curry and beef with black sause and rice- which cost 2 MYR more at 22 MYR are excluded from this value meal deal. I wanted vegetable curry with biriyani rice but that couldn’t be had with this combo. I will have to pay 22 MYR for meals and buy water additionally if needed.

2 While all advertised image shows as if we will get a full loaf of butterscotch chocolate cake, what we get is one small slice. This isn’t called out anywhere in external displays but the detailing on the printed menu calls this out. So if you thought you’ll be getting lots of cake, you will be disappointed.
3 The piece of cake isn’t really worth 6 MYR. The hot meal costs 20 MYR, the 500 ml water costs 5 MYR. The butterscotch chocolate cake isn’t separately listed for us to know its individual price, but since the combo price is listed at 31 MYR and then discounted to 25 MYR, the cost of the small slice of cake works out to 6 MYR or 1.5 USD. Not sure if it is really worth it. What you’re effectively getting free in the Air Asia X combo meal is this slice of cake- nothing else. 
I had a choice to make- buy a meal on board for 22 MYR or the 25 MYR combo (with Kabali Biriyani rice) or manage without it. I decided to manage without the purchase. If I could have had the 25 MYR combo on Vegetable Curry with rice I would have purchased it. The exclusions and poor mathematics of the combo deal put me off. Eventually I quenched by hunger a bit by buying 2 bananas and an apple in Gold Coast airport for about 7.6 AUD or close to 400 INR- Not cheap- almost same as 20 MYR. Gold Coast Airport doesn't have too many options and is expensive as well. So if you're thinking you'll buy something in Gold Coast during transit, it might be better to buy on board.

While I see to be criticizing Air Asia X for their pricing, let me state that cost of a meal onboard AirAsia X is much more cheaper than other low cost carriers I have seen- such as Fly Dubai, WowAir etc. Thus please note that I am not really complaining. Purpose of this post is just to share my observation and appraise AirAsia X passengers as to what to expect. Because I didn’t pay a lot for my ticket, I don’t mind paying another 500-1000 on meals if absolutely necessary. But I will make an attempt to explore cheaper alternatives and save a few bucks if I can. Every saved rupee will eventually help buy a new ticket!

Another thing I noticed are the cost of meal on Osaka  to Honolulu sector. None of the 20-22 MYR meals are available for this sector. Air Asia X passengers flying to/from Honolulu will have to buy meals at 66 MYR a meal, which is 3-4 times the normal cost. This is again probably due to captive customers who don’t have any other alternative for 8 hours plus high cost of logistics involved in ultra long haul flights. Passengers should be prepared for this.

Is the food cheaper in Auckland?
No. While a meal onboard airasia may cost you 20-22 MYR, a proper meal in a restaurant in Auckland would cost around 17-20 NZD, which is roughly 40-45 MYR or twice the inflight food cost. But of course, restaurant food will have more choices, better quantity and you can have it in a more spacious and relaxed manner. But if you're very calculative and wish to spend every possible dollar, might be good idea to have your meals enroute to Auckland inflight and skip the expensive dinner at Auckland on the day of your arrival.

Below are some suggestions for Air Asia
1 At present the online pre-book order options are very limited. Why not make all menu items available online for pre-book?
2. On the combo, will be nice if it can be kept a bit flexible- someone may like coffee instead of water or coconut water or noodle instead of cake. Giving some flexibility will be highly appreciated by the customers- yes it may cost a ringget or more.

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