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AirAsia penalises counter check-in

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SEPANG, 3 September 2020: AirAsia introduced counter check-in fees in selected countries effective Wednesday, following the deployment of its contactless check-in kiosks and enhanced mobile app features recently.

The fees are MYR20 per passenger for domestic flights and MYR30 per passenger for international flights. The airline is applying the fee to pressure passengers to migrate to a check-in process using the AirAsia.com website, mobile app or airport kiosks. Digital contactless check-in reduces the airline’s payroll and counter-rental fees at airports.

The additional fees apply to passengers who check-in using the airport counters in Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, as well as Taipei, Kaohsiung and Honolulu, for both domestic and international flights.

No news yet on whether Thai AirAsia will follow suit but rules on what fees airlines can charge passengers in Thailand require endorsement from aviation authorities.

However, AirAsia’s latest move will prompt push back from some consumer protection lobbyists who say it disadvantages passengers who are not comfortable with digital check-in for various reasons. It could be troublesome for those who have physical disabilities, or stressful and daunting for parents checking-in with young children, strollers and suitcases.

AirAsia Group chief operations officer Javed Malik said: “We have seen high adoption of our self-check-in services through our website, mobile app and airport kiosks … the implementation of the counter check-in fees is a way for us to encourage guests to use these digital technologies, which we have invested enormously in, to promote and enhance operational efficiency.”

AirAsia also claims to be one of the first airlines to enable the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test report screening feature on its website and mobile app, where guests can upload their PCR report or selected travel documents and check-in for their flights, even before they arrive at the airport.

A waiver of the counter check-in fees applies to passengers with reduced mobility and those paying for Premium Flex or Premium Flatbed travel.    

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