Air Asia and the Interesting Case of the Prices on Board

Air Asia is always my number one choice when I travel in South East Asia and for my latest trip to Bali I had no doubts that I would be flying with them. A task, by the way, not so easy to complete as it was impossible to book a ticket from their website and I had to do it with eDreams at the end.

With four hours of spare time in the air I had the chance not only to read all the magazines available on board ( safety instructions included) but also to splurge on some cabin food. This is where my perplexity enters the scene.

On the flight from Bangkok to Bali the prices on menu were in Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) which seemed a bit illogical to me since it is more likely that, coming from Thailand, people are more likely to have thai baht (THB) rather than IDR.

However, it was written that they accept other currencies as well so I could have my meal without problems. I paid in baht, more than I calculated that I should have but I didn’t pay much attention at that moment as I assumed that I had made some kind of exchange rate mess.

On the way back, from Bali to Bangkok I had 60.000 IDR left and I knew that I would spend them all on food.

This time the prices were in THB adn my total was 140 THB (4 usd) which according to the official bank rate was around 52.000 IDR. Even with a worse exchange rate I should make it or at least this is what I thought. Erroneously.Because according to the flight attendant the total was 80.000 IDR (or 212 THB or 6 usd).

The story doesn’t end here because at this point I told him that I would pay 60.000 and the difference of 20.000 that I didn’t have in IDR I would pay in THB. How much do you think he asked me for? 100 THB instead of 53.

This means that the total I paid for my 140 THB meal (4 usd) was 260 THB (or 7.3 usd). In other words the exchange rate on board of Air Asia is 85% higher than the offical market rate.

So yes, Air Asia, the best low cost company for the past years, is officialy a usurer as well.

Tip: if you don’t want to pay double buy the meal online or be sure to have the currency of your final destinaion.