AirAsia offers return fares to London for under $250

In the latest salvo in air fare wars, AirAsia is offering return flights to London for $217 from the Gold Coast or $240 from Melbourne, airport taxes and charges included.

AirAsia has been making headlines recently with ultra low- or no-fare flights: the airline offered free flights from some Asian ports to Bangkok to help restore tourism after the recent civil conflict there and earlier last month with one-way $378 Australia-London flights.

But Melbourne-Kuala Lumpur (KL)-London return for $240? That's probably unprecedented.

The rock bottom special fare is part of a network sale that starts at 2am on Wednesday, June 9 and runs for 48 hours.

The sale fares are for travel between October 11 to 14 November 14, 2010 only.

Of course the usual airline caveats apply: seats are limited and some methods of payment may attract additional charges.

The bookings can be made at the airline's website or via smartphones at

The fares are purchased as discrete sectors: travellers from Melbourne or Perth to KL will pay $73 one way, but only $23-$27 on the return leg.

From the Gold Coast it's $56 to KL but only $21 coming back.

Once in KL the options broaden significantly with $10 flights to London and a host of Asian destinations, including India, and $26 to $130 back to KL.

While the fares might be easy on the hip pocket, history shows they're not as easy to book.

The last time AirAsia had a big sale its website ground to a halt, unable to cope with the volume of internet hits.

AirAsia recently reported a net profit after tax of $A81.23 million (224.11 million Malaysian ringgit) for the first quarter of the year, up 10 per cent on a year ago, and a 17.1 per cent increase in passengers, to 3.7 million carried.

One secret to its financial result is that the low-cost airline charges extra for things others include in ticket prices, such a meals, beverages, in-flight entertainment and extra baggage.

Those "extras" — from so-called "unbundling" of services — accounted for 16 per cent of the airline's revenues.

Domestically, Tiger Airways has announced more Avalon routes — to Adelaide for $25 and Perth $95 one-way, with fares on sale now.

The Adelaide flights start on November 10 and to Perth on November 12.

These two new routes come after flights to the Gold Coast were announced last week.

Avalon airport is Tiger Airway's second Victorian base.