Air Asia's Big Bold Change: now a travel agent- sells other airline tickets- Good or bad?

Airline websites usually sell tickets only of their flights and select airlines with which they have code share or other partnership agreements. Air Asia was like that- we could only buy Air Asia operated flight tickets on its official website,
But that has changed recently. My bad I didn't notice it soon enough. Recently I noticed that Air Asia website is selling tickets for Scoot, Indigo, Air India and all other airlines. This was strange. A quick check on google revealed that in mid November 2019, 3 months ago, Air Asia entered into a partnership with Kiwi to sell competitor tickets. [News]

What this means?
AirAsia is OK if you don't book on AirAsia flights. They are happy to facilitate you fly with a competitor. This is a bold decision from AirAsia- not sure if it is a wise one and how other airlines would feel (probably positive?)

Negative impacts of this big change by Air Asia
As a passenger, I don't need Air Asia to become other online travel agent. I have skyscanner, makemytrip etc for that, which I will use for my global/generic search. I was using Air Asia to find lowest possible fares for Air Asia destinations. Now this has got a lot more complex. At present Air Asia website behaviour seems unpredictable. For some instances I was being redirected to Flybeyond.airasia (kiwi partnership site) and for some instances I was shown results old fashioned way within Air Asia website. My guess is the integration/implementation is still work in progress. Or Air Asia is still optimizing the logic when to redirect to Kiwi and when to show within. Will be good if they leave the option for customers- to select between AirAsia exclusive like earlier and global search on Kiwi.

Some of the drawbacks I spotted on Flybeyond.airasia

Drawback 1:  Selecting airport is now more difficult.
Earlier, Air Asia website was smart- it would only list airports it flies to. For example if I type MAA, I used to get Chennai right away because that was the only airport Air Asia used to fly to. Now the search box shows every airport in the world having its Maa in its name or code, forcing me to scroll down heavily to select Chennai.

Argument could be that now you can fly world wide on Air Asia, but for me, it is not Air Asia's core competency, they are diluting the experience by spreading all around.

Drawback 2: Destinations are not filtered
Earlier, once I select Origin as MAA, only Air Asia destinations to which I can book ticket from MAA used to be shown. If I can't book from Chennai to Lombok, that destination will not come up. It was lot easier that way. Now other airports also may be shown- like Air Asia doesn't fly to Brisbane but it will appear. Of course you can book on other airlines and reach Brisbane, but too much effort if my intention is only to book on Air Asia.

Drawback 3: No way to filter Air Asia group carriers only
There is a carrier selection section, but no easy way to say "Show me air asia group carriers only" (like AK, D7, I5 etc). Have to manually select one by one but screen refreshes once you select any one- too complicated when two of them are involved- like India to KUL on AK, KUL to Australia on D7.
Selecting return date is also not very intuitive- needs two clicks

Drawback 4: New website is not even optional.
Would have been good if Air Asia had retained the old flavor (air asia group flights only) with an option to "see flights on other carriers", so that those who are keen can shift to new site while those who want only air asia can stick to old layout.

Drawback 5: Impossible to find cheapest onward and return combination
Earlier website used to display rates for a week in one view- I can see if there are any cheaper tickets for adjacent dates. Now it is impossible, as initial display shows onward+ return fare together and no option to see how much for adjacent days. Locating lowest fares now got almost impossible
Displaying fares for adjacent dates is not available on Kiwi portal

Drawback 6: Payment options have changed
Now we can not pay using net banking any longer. Only credit card options on Kiwi. No provision to redeem big points either. I didn't see any convenience fee being added- this is a good thing- not sure if it is temporary or permanent.

Air Asia India domestic bookings are still handled old fashioned way. Which is probably good, but if Kiwi doesn't charge any convenience fee then it would have been great to book on Kiwi for domestic flights and save on convenience fee. but that is not possible

Drawback 7: Air line logo is not shown in initial results, making it a bit more difficult to identify the same.

Drawback 8: Just can't book at times
I was checking fare for Phuket from Chennai. AirAsia website would redirect me to Kiwi and Kiwi would show no results even then there're flights. So between Air Asia and Kiwi, they are just not allowing people to book by not showing any result (Skyscanner has results for same dates)
Above: Kiwi failing to show results for Chennai-Phuket
Below: Skyscanner showing results for same dates
Drawback 9: Spam: Kiwi also repeatedly spams you with email if you go till final page but don't pay. If I have not booked, it means I have got cheaper tickets elsewhere, but Kiwi tries to create fake urgency claiming the flight will be sold out and I should book asap.

We still don't know the impact on other processes- like airport tax refund who will process, in case of insurance or other claims will there be a blame game, do big members get the discount and points they used to get earlier?

March 2020 update: Been a month since I wrote this, nothing much as changed, nor AirAsia has give any kind of response/clarification.

What are your thoughts? Do you prefer an airline website to be exclusive or you like AirAsia's initiative to sell tickets of all airlines?


  1.'s very confusing and it doesn't give us the best deal.

    AirAsia is obviously out to get as much money as they can.

    For example, looking at a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne, the first search result is from Kuala Lumpur to Dubai, making 2 other stops before reaching Melbourne. And the total is a crazy RM7000.

    This doesn't make sense at all and makes me so mad!!!

    1. Yes, they haven't made any attempt to sort it out or streamline since past few weeks

  2. This has still not been resolved. Booked an air asia flight on what i thought was airasia site but received an email confirmation with a 1000xxxxxxx booking reference which turns out to be No booking found on my airasia account but appears on other airlines in the account. Unable to claim a refund from as no account created during booking. Eventually created a case through AVA and received an email from Flybeyond , who are, asking for further flight details. This is still active.

    1. yes, now things are complicated. were you able to fly?

  3. This is exactly what's happening to me now!!! How were you able to solve it? Were you able to get a refund from Air Asia? I thought I was booking on Air Asia website too!!!

    1. I didn't book on kiwi.. had booked on airasia, got some credit refund after long time, need to check how to use it now


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