The Airbus A330-300 operated by AirAsia X travels daily from Auckland to the Gold Coast and on to Kuala Lumpur. It is a great budget option for transtasman travel and onward to Asia. The plane is configured with two classes: Premium Flatbed, which is its Business Class equivalent, and Economy. There are 365 seats in Economy (in a 3-3-3 configuration) divided into two sections and there are 12 "flat-bed" seats at the front of the plane.
Class: Economy, Seat Only. I opted for the Seat Only as it was a quick weekend trip back to the Gold Coast. Within Economy there are a few other seat options - a "Hot Seat", which provides extra leg room in an exit row or bulkhead seat, "Quiet Zone" seat for people (aged 10 and older) wanting peace and quiet on their flight, or the standard seat. When you check in you can upgrade to a Hot Seat or Quiet Zone for a fee.
Price: $99 - this was the introductory sale price, but airfares start from $129 one way.
Flight time: Scheduled for 3 hours, 25 minutes.
My seat: I was in seat 31B. I didn't pay to choose my seat ($10 each) so I was assigned to a middle seat. Fortunately the plane wasn't full so I was able to move to a window seat with a few seats to myself. I was in the first section of Economy, closer to the toilet.
Fellow passengers: A mixture of young couples and families from New Zealand and Australia and groups of students who appeared to be travelling to Malaysia.
How full: Two-thirds - most people had a seat free next to them in Economy.
Entertainment: There are no televisions on the back of seats and no entertainment options. Take a tablet or book to occupy yourself.
The service: Staff were helpful and the process of boarding was well organised by seat numbers.
Food and drink: I didn't pre-order a meal, but they came out quickly for those who had. There was a selection of rice and noodle dishes available, as well as sandwiches, burgers and pasta. It's recommended to pre-order online to ensure availability.
The toilets: Clean.
Luggage: I carried on my 7kg bag and didn't pay for checked baggage as it was only a weekend trip. Luggage of 20kg can be checked in for an additional $55 when booking, which includes a standard seat selection as well.
The airport experience: I checked-in online and went directly to departures. Because I didn't check in at the Air Asia counter, my passport was flagged at Customs when trying to use the automatic terminal. I was then called to the service desk at the gate to present my passport again. Worth remembering if travelling lightly and checking-in online.
Would I fly this again? Sure! It's a quick cheap way to get to the Gold Coast for a long weekend.