Friday, June 22, 2012

Travel Tip: AirAsia's Row 4

Warning: This is not for the superstitious!  During my semester in Malaysia, I have flown on AirAsia maybe a dozen times now. AirAsia is the most successful discount airline in the world, and is a great money saver.  And, I have found an *almost* guaranteed way to get a full row of seats to yourself on an AriAsia flight. First, you have to pay a little extra for a "Hot Seat".  These are the first five rows and the two exit rows of most AirAisia planes.  They have a little more leg room (I think) and you get to board and unboard before everyone else.  Next, select Row 4.

The word "four" is considered unlucky by Chinese, for whom it is a homonym of the word for "death".  Thus, most buildings in East and Southeast Asia do not have a 4th floor. They either call it 3A or just skip it altogether.  I saw one hotel recently in Hong Kong that skipped both the 4th and 13th floors.

I accidentally stumbled on AirAsia's 4th row on a flight about a couple of months ago.  I was on a packed AirAsia plane on which almost all of the Hot Seats were taken (which is extremely rare -- perhaps caused by a canceled flight?) and I was in the 4th row, which I had selected not remembering the Chinese superstition at the time.  I had the whole row to myself, allowing me to lean against the window and put my legs up on the seats next to me.

No, I am not superstitious when it comes to numbers.  My lucky number has always been 13, and I have never had an unlucky number.  While I generally avoid 4 and favored 8, due to my Chinese background, it is not something that I have strong feelings about.  In fact, I think bad luck numbers are really silly.

I suspect that this 4th row tip may apply to most all airlines in East and Southeast Asia (and especially in China). So, if you are comfortable with the number 4, like me, take advantage of this more comfortable upgrade before everyone else figures it out!