Review: Indonesia AirAsia A320 Hot Seat (CGK-DPS)

Jyaga likes (3.5/5)

Indonesia AirAsia flight details

Airline : Indonesia AirAsia
Flight No : QZ 7532
Departure City : Jakarta – Soekarno-Hatta (CGK)
Arrival City : Denpasar – Ngurah Rai (DPS)
Equipment : A320-200 (PK-AZA)
Blocked Time : 1h50m
Seat No: 2A

Indonesia AirAsia (QZ) is the Indonesian arm of the Malaysian low-cost carrier, AirAsia. The airline was originally founded in 2000 as Awair, owned by former Indonesian President, Abdurrahman Wahid. The airline was acquired by the AirAsia Group in 2005, relaunching as Indonesia AirAsia. Like any other AirAsia Group airline, Indonesia AirAsia operates a uniform fleet of Airbus A320s, most delivered new to the airline.

The airline is based at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (CGK), operating mainly out of Terminal 1A for domestic flights and Terminal 2F for international.

Booking Indonesia AirAsia

Back in 2020, AirAsia transformed part of its business into a one-stop lifestyle app called AirAsia Super App. Likewise, the AirAsia website and app became super complex, involving a lot of features and booking functions. Most confusingly, the airline’s flight search engine works like an online travel agency (OTA) – it shows all flights on any airline (including their competitors) that you can book. This seems wildly counterintuitive for an airline, but okay.

Having given up using their website, I ended up booking my ticket via, an Indonesian OTA that I’ve found to be intuitive and reliable. I booked my flight for IDR 723,000 (£39), which coincidentally was cheaper than AirAsia’s own website. Whilst booking, I also selected a Hot Seat for IDR 85,000 (£4.5) and a meal for IDR 50,000 (£2.7). This brought the total to IDR 858,000 (~£46), which I thought was a good price.

Note that you won’t be able to change your seat online for free, even in the same seating category. Worse yet, pre-booking seats and meals will increase in cost after your initial booking. This is as no-frills as you can get in Indonesia!

Indonesia AirAsia Check-in

Indonesia AirAsia domestic flights depart Soekarno-Hatta Airport Terminal 1A. I arrived at 9.50 for this 12.00 departure. Before entering the terminal, passengers are required to go through a quick document and security check. Whilst that was the case, I checked in via the Blue Sky Lounge, which I have reviewed separately. Regardless, there was neither a significant line for this check nor at the check-in counters.

Terminal 1 Check-in Desks

Before going inside, passengers are first requested to get their boarding passes through the kerbside check-in machines or by online check-in. Inside, there are only a handful of baggage drop desks which could get quite packed at peak hours.

AirAsia Baggage Drop at Terminal 1

Despite being Jakarta’s oldest terminal, I thought Terminal 1 was quite nice. The terminal was bright and clean, and very compact. It is quite literally the opposite of the cavernous Terminal 3, which I don’t quite like. On the departure floor, there are a number of high-street restaurants and cafés. Annoyingly they are located before security, meaning you couldn’t takeaway drinks. Sadly, there is also practically nothing in terms of food or shops after security. 

Did you know?

If Terminal 1 reminds you of Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG), you’re not imagining things. Soekarno-Hatta Airport’s Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 were designed by Paul Andreu who also designed Charles de Gaulle International Airport.
Terminal 1 Departures
Shops at Terminal 1 Departure Level
Airside at Terminal 1


After the quick security check, I proceeded straight to the gate, which was really close to the checkpoint. From here, the gates are separated into ‘branches’, all of which are connected by a narrow corridor. I really liked the look of the gate area which looked charming and exuded a nice tropical feel. A manual ID and boarding pass check were done at the entrance to the gate.

Walkway to Gate A6 at Terminal 1

The design of the gate looks like the interior of a sleek joglo house, which is a nice traditional touch. The seating areas are divided into two sides, although I went straight to the left since that’s where the flight will board. Boarding is done in three groups distinguished by zone. Passengers who booked a Hot Seat are grouped in Zone 1, which is a priority boarding zone. Afterwards, the plane boards back-to-front.

Seating at Gate A6

Around 11 minutes before boarding time, the ground staff started putting up boarding signs. Sure enough, boarding commenced 6 minutes later at 11.15. A flight finally boarding early in Jakarta? Wow.

Gate Seating at Terminal 1

A Long Bus Ride

Sadly, we had to board by bus – meaning more waiting. Despite that, I was glad that they didn’t pack the bus to the brim. After around 3 minutes the bus departed and we went on a long winding drive. The drive took ages as we drove all the way to a remote stand by Terminal 2.

AirAsia Apron Bus

Despite the bus ride, I guess I did appreciate that we at least got to drive past a few cool planes! There was even a neat row of Super Air Jet A320s, an airline which I hope to review soon!

Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737-800
Super Air Jet A320s
Lion Air A330-900neo

We finally reached our stand after a roughly 6-minute drive. Our plane will be PK-AZA, a Tianjin-built Airbus A320 delivered new to AirAsia in December 2012. By sheer luck, the bus door opened on my side. Likewise, I managed to board first and get empty cabin pictures! Woohoo!

Our Indonesia AirAsia A320 – PK-AZA
Our Indonesia AirAsia A320 – PK-AZA

Indonesia AirAsia A320 Cabin

Indonesia AirAsia A320s are equipped in a standard high-density configuration with 180 all-economy seats. Of those, the first five rows are categorised as Hot Seats, alongside the two emergency exit rows. Note that apart from row 1 and the emergency exit rows, all Hot Seats share the same seat pitch as regular seats.

Indonesia AirAsia A320 Cabin
Indonesia AirAsia A320 Cabin

I purposefully booked seat 2A to get a sense of the legroom – which was okay. At 180 cm (5’11), there was around 2 cm between my knees and the seatback. The seat pitch was 28 inches (71 cm), and the space between the seat and the seatback pocket is 23 cm (9 inches). And yes, I brought a tape measure!!

Indonesia AirAsia A320 Legroom
Indonesia AirAsia A320 Legroom

Apart from that, the seat has excellent padding and was quite comfortable to sit on. The cabin was also clean and well-kept. I did notice that the cabin temperature was really warm at boarding and stayed that way until we reached cruising altitude…

Departure from Jakarta

Upon boarding, the captain made a welcome announcement in Bahasa and English, which was very clear and crisp. At this time, the cabin crew grouped by the door and seemed quite convivial and casual. I honestly really liked the AirAsia uniform, which looks very eye-catching, sleek, and stylish. All the while, a series of pop music was played as boarding music. I guess AirAsia is trying hard to be Asia’s ‘cool airline’, eh?

Interestingly, there was a flight attendant who was in training, evident from her recitations of inflight announcements to the chief flight attendant.

Another Indonesia AirAsia A320

Boarding was completed at 11.50 with the plane around 70% full. Despite that, we waited until 12.06 for three passengers, who ended up being no-shows. The doors finally closed at 12.08, 8 minutes past our scheduled departure time. We then pushed back shortly after and taxied back to Terminal 1, passing by some cool random airlines.

We finally took off at 12.26 from runway 25L and were treated to some incredible views of Jakarta Bay. I mean wow, I’ve never expected Jakarta to look so dense and built up!

Ricefields near Soekarno-Hatta Airport
View of Jakarta Bay after takeoff

AirAsia Inflight Service

The captain extinguished the seatbelt signs 5 minutes after takeoff, after which and the cabin crew immediately started inflight service preparations. An inflight announcement regarding the meal and shopping was made as soon the trolley started going down the aisle, 5 minutes past that. 

For reference, the following are a few pages of the inflight menu. Interestingly, it is also possible to upgrade to a Hot Seat on board…

Indonesia AirAsia Menus

Hot meals are available for purchase, if you hadn’t already prebooked one – except that there is a 25% premium over booking it online. So be sure to prebook! I thought the inflight food prices are marginally higher to other domestic low-cost carriers, but reasonably priced enough.

Hot meal options
Hot meal options and sandwiches
Beverage options
Hmmm, is this a pop culture reference? Would’ve been great if paired with Qatar Airways’ So Jennie 😉

As with any Indonesian airline, the seatback pocket also contained a prayer card for multiple world religions. Fair enough.

Seatback pocket contents

AirAsia’s Santan Café Meal

I had pre-booked a Nasi Lemak Pak Nasser, which is the AirAsia Group’s signature meal option; this is no surprise, since Nasi Lemak is considered Malaysia’s national dish. Prebooked meals are delivered first, before the cabin crew does their general meal and snack sales.

The meal was served piping hot with a small cup of water. I thought this is bit stingier compared to other Indonesian LCCs like Citilink and TransNusa – both of which offer full bottles.

Pak Nasser’s Nasi Lemak

The Nasi Lemak meal consists of rice cooked in coconut milk and pandan, alongside fried peanuts and anchovies, a chicken rendang, sambal, and half a boiled egg. The meal was quite greasy from the sambal, and it was even difficult to open the package since the sambal oil flowed out. I was impressed by how fragrant the meal was, although sadly less so when it came to its taste. The rice was surprisingly bland for Nasi Lemak, whilst the accompaniments were overly salty. I also struggled with the spiciness of the sambal and the chicken rendang, although this one is a matter of personal taste. Regardless, I tried my best to eat it.

Pak Nasser’s Nasi Lemak


Following the sales of meals, the cabin crew went down the cabin aisle one more to offer inflight sales of sundries. At this time, I went to the front of the cabin to check out the toilet, which I found to be clean and tidy.

Indonesia AirAsia A320 Lavatory

Indonesia AirAsia Service

For the most part, the flight attendants were very friendly yet also professional. I was also really impressed by the excellent English announcements made by the male cabin crew. So at least one crew member had an excellent grasp of English.

Although most of the crew members seemed well-intentioned, one flight attendant looked quite rude. Just as the seatbelt signs were switched on, a lady went up to use the forward lavatory, which had just been locked. The flight attendant blocked her and then told her to use the rear lavatory. After a short argument, she agreed to open it, though not before an ‘ugh’ and an eye-roll. Wow. That just looked really unprofessional… maybe she was just having a bad day, but I certainly hope she wasn’t deliberately being rude.

Arrival in Bali

After finishing my meal, I just spent the rest of the flight working. My two seatmates also ended up sleeping the entire flight, which was quite ideal. We commenced our descent 38 minutes before our expected arrival, which seemed really early. The captain then requested the cabin was to be prepared for landing at 29 minutes before our landing time. Despite that, the seat belt signs interestingly weren’t switched on until 10 minutes later.

View of Nusa Penida Island

Ten minutes before landing, the chief cabin crew thanked us for flying AirAsia and did a traditional anjali greeting gesture. How nice! At this time, I was also kindly requested to take off my headphones, which was quite interesting. I don’t think that has happened to me before outside of Fiji Airways…

View of Tanjung Benoa during our approach (Hi Sakala Resort!)

We approached Ngurah Rai Airport from the east and had a rough touch down at 14:55. The crew thanked us for flying AirAsia and several minutes later, we pulled into our gate at 15.00, 10 minutes past our scheduled arrival time. Everyone then stood up as soon as we parked, before the seatbelt lights were even extinguished. We disembarked 3 minutes later via jet bridge.

Ngurah Rai International Airport
Ngurah Rai International Airport Arrival


Overall, I think AirAsia offers a solid and low-cost option for travel within Indonesia. Whilst the food and legroom were merely mediocre, everything else was reasonably nice. As such, I wouldn’t hesitate to fly with them again should the price be right – though I wouldn’t go out of my way to choose them either. I was honestly going to give a 4/5 rating but was too shocked by the eye-rolling flight attendant… so 3.5/5 it is!

Read more from this trip here!

2 responses to “Review: Indonesia AirAsia A320 Hot Seat (CGK-DPS)”

  1. nana

    I’ve been very nervous about taking Air Asia to Bali next week. Your review gives me a bit of relief though. I hope my flight will be uneventful. thank you so much!

    1. Hi Nana, thanks for reading! AirAsia is a relatively major carrier in Indonesia and South East Asia in general, with a massive fleet and network. Despite their nickel-and-diming, the run a very professional operation, and rest assured you’ll have an uneventful flight. I hope you enjoy your time in Bali!

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