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Lion Air vs Air Asia: Which One To Choose?

Low-cost airlines have revolutionized air travel in Southeast Asia, making it more accessible and affordable. Lion Air and Air Asia stand out as two prominent players in this dynamic market.

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By Eglė

Published: Nov 13, 2023 min read

 Lion Air vs Air Asia: Which One To Choose?

These carriers have redefined regional travel with their distinct approaches to hubs and destinations, in-flight experiences, baggage allowance, and pricing strategies. While they share the common goal of budget-friendly travel, their operational models and service offerings exhibit notable differences. This comparison delves into the nuances of Lion Air and Air Asia, highlighting how each airline caters to the evolving needs of modern travelers in Southeast Asia.

Hubs and Destinations

Air Asia Wins

Lion Air, an Indonesian low-cost airline, primarily operates from its main hub at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta. It serves a vast network across Indonesia and Southeast Asia, along with some routes to the Middle East and China. Talking in numbers: it connects 26 destinations.

Air Asia, a Malaysian low-cost carrier, has its primary hub at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. It boasts a more extensive network compared to Lion Air, with destinations across Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and even some routes to the US. AirAsia offers regular domestic and international flights, serving over 165 destinations across 25 countries. 
Most importantly, AirAsia solidified its reputation in the aviation industry by being honored as the World's Best Low-Cost Airline 2023 , a testament to its enduring success and commitment to excellence in affordable air travel.

In-flight Experience

Air Asia

Lion Air, staying true to its low-cost ethos, provides a basic, no-frills in-flight experience. The focus here is on affordable travel, with luxury amenities taking a back seat. Onboard, meals and beverages are not included in the ticket price, but passengers have the option to purchase a variety of snacks and drinks. These are usually limited to simple refreshments and light snacks. In terms of in-flight entertainment, Lion Air generally does not offer systems like individual screens, and any available entertainment, such as magazines, is basic.

On the other hand, Air Asia, while also adhering to the low-cost model, offers an in-flight experience that is slightly more enhanced than Lion Air. Passengers on Air Asia flights have the option to pre-book meals, and the airline boasts a diverse menu that includes both local and international cuisine. The in-flight entertainment on Air Asia is more substantial, with options such as music, movies, and magazines, although the availability and range can vary by flight and aircraft type. Moreover, Air Asia is known for its relatively comfortable seating, even within the budget airline category, often providing a bit more legroom and comfort compared to other low-cost carriers. 

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Baggage Allowance

Lion Air Wins

Lion Air stands out for its comparatively generous baggage allowance policies, a feature particularly appreciated by travelers who prefer not to travel light. Typically, passengers flying with Lion Air can check in baggage up to 20kg without incurring additional charges on most of their routes. This allowance is relatively higher than many other low-cost carriers, making it a significant advantage for those who need more luggage. Furthermore, the airline maintains reasonable limits for carry-on luggage, allowing passengers to bring a fair amount of belongings on board without extra cost. This aspect of Lion Air’s service adds to its appeal, especially for travelers on longer trips or those requiring more gear.

In contrast, Air Asia is known for its more stringent baggage policies, a common trait among many budget airlines aimed at reducing operational costs. For carry-on luggage, Air Asia sets strict limits, and passengers are often required to adhere to these to avoid additional charges. When it comes to checked baggage, the airline typically imposes additional fees, which can vary significantly. These fees depend not only on the route but also on how and when the baggage fee is paid. For instance, passengers who pre-pay for their luggage online usually face lower charges compared to those who pay at the airport. This pricing structure encourages passengers to plan ahead and manage their luggage requirements at the time of booking, which can lead to cost savings.

Both Lion Air and Air Asia are prominent low-cost carriers in Southeast Asia, each with its strengths. Lion Air offers more generous baggage allowances and a broader network within Indonesia, while Air Asia has a wider international reach and a slightly better in-flight experience. However, both airlines charge additional fees for various services, which can significantly affect the total cost of travel.

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