Flight test: AirAsia X economy class

Aircraft AirAsia A330-300.

Route Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur.

Class Economy, seat 36C.

Seat pitch and width Pitch is 31 inches; width 16.5 inches.

Seat Configuration 3-3-3.

Luggage allowance One cabin bag up to seven kilograms. No included check-in luggage allowance. Fees for checking in bags start at $A10.40 for up to 15kg and $17.30 for up to 20kg and fees are higher if not booked in advance.

Scheduled flight time 8 hours, 15 minutes.

On-time performance Passengers are advised to be on time - three hours before take-off. Despite standing in the check-in queue for 1½ hours for a post-midnight flight, the departure is delayed 45 minutes due to a plane problem. (Other short flights we take in Asia on the airline are on time.)

Aircraft condition Used but clean and colourful in red and dove grey.

Entertainment No overhead screens. Limited number of e-players with movies, TV, music and games for rent at $10.

Comfort Adequate knee room but for bigger builds booking exit-row seats is advisable.

Service Friendly and helpful.

Online Hearing that international budget airlines typically overbook, we select our seat allocation online at airasia.com. On shorter flights we didn't select and witnessed no overbooking.

Food and beverage Not included in fare. There are discounts for ordering online. Failing this it's pot luck - the preferred chicken dish is sold out and all that is left is vegetarian ($6). The mislabelled spicy chicken meal that arrives would have been confusing for many.

Amenities Take your own or buy; a comfort pack of shades, neck pillow and blanket costs $12.

Tips AirAsia's hub is the LCCT airport, about 50 minutes from central Kuala Lumpur. Beware of international motorsport events at the nearby Sepang Circuit and the traffic jams.

Flight frequency Daily between Melbourne and Kuala Lumpur, economy fare about $533 return including taxes.

Tested by Leonie Lamont

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