There are two budget airlines that fly to Japan from Australia - Jetstar and Air Asia. Since Jetstar now offer direct flights from Melbourne to Tokyo, I don't know that I'd bother flying Air Asia in future. However, for this trip, we wanted to fly into Osaka not Tokyo and Air Asia worked out to be the best option for that after taking into account shinkansen tickets even using a JR pass.
I would use Air Asia if I intended to travel to other destinations in the Asia region though. At the moment, I'm thinking about Laos.
When I've flown with Air Asia previously, they used the Low Cost Carrier Terminal in KL. This was the most hideous tin shed with no air con and few facilities. Considering that a lot of Air Asia flights have long stopover times, this was pretty much hell.
Now they have moved to a new and improved terminal in KL so I was pretty curious to see how this improved my stopover quality.
We had a 9 hour stopover so figured some rest time would be in order. My sister is pretty feeble at the moment and we knew the long flight would be hard on her.
Initially, we booked at the Container capsule hotel at the airport, thinking that would be a fun experience. After a bit of research though, I discovered that the hotel is actually landside, not airside. I found this out not by any information on the airport website or via the hotel but because one of the reviews on TripAdvisor triggered alarm bells so I contacted the person who wrote the review.
I actually found this was true of most of the "facilities" listed on the airport site. It's all "come to our airport, we have really cool stuff" but unless you want to go through passport control and then go through the entire check in process (we were told to allow 3 hours for this), you have no access to most of these shiny things.
Am I stupid in thinking that a place that calls itself a "transit hotel" would actually be airside?
Adding an extra chunk of queuing and mucking around time at KL kinda defeated the purpose of having a kip in the first place, especially for my sister so I did some more searching.
The Sama Sama Hotel is definitely airside. They made big, bold mention of that on their website (to prevent people going through passport control without realising). The price was a bit more expensive than the Container Hotel. In Australian dollars, the capsule place was $24 each while the Sama Sama was $67 for a twin room - both for a 6 hour stay. Not that much of a difference and I'd been a bit worried because reviews mentioned that the capsule hotel only had a curtain on the capsules and it could be quite noisy.
After doing all the official transfer business, which didn't take long because even my feeble, disabled sister walked faster than most people on that flight, we headed to get a coffee and have a cigarette. I noticed most of the staff at the new airport are lovely. At the old LCCT, there were a lot of snarly staff. I guess working all day in a horrible old shed doesn't make for happy people.
The hotel is about 2 minutes walk from the transfer area. We headed up and checked in. The reception are was part of the lounge area which served food. It looked like it'd be a great place to kill time on a shorter stopover.
The room wasn't huge but it had everything we needed for our 6 hours of rest - comfy beds with clean, crispy linen and great pillows, a bathroom and no noise. Just having a 6 hour break from being around people was pretty awesome.
It also meant we could recharge our devices without having to fight with anyone for airport power points. That is when I discovered, to my horror, I'd left my Samsung charger at home! Actually, I still can't find it so I have no idea what I've done with it. Stupid ipad cords do not fit in Samsung devices.
After our naps, we could have nice, relaxing showers. The bathroom was amazing with one shower head for washing and one for massaging. The room had all the basic toiletries you need. We changed our clothes and got on the flight feeling like human beings instead of grungy pigs.
After a coffee (a pretty awful one because our flight was at 1am and a lot of places had closed), we headed to the gate just in time for boarding.
I'd definitely recommend the Sama Sama hotel if you have a long stopover in KL. They cover all the basic needs and the rooms are so comfortable.