Review of AirAsia Premium Flex Chiang Mai to Hanoi: Farewell Chiang Mai

My reviews of AirAsia from Chiang Mai to Kuala Lumpur and back were pretty detailed so this review of AirAsia from Chiang Mai to Hanoi will just focus on the AirAsia Premium Flex experience and saying goodbye to Chiang Mai.

Saying Goodbye to Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai was the slow travel stop we never knew we needed.

We arrived skeptical as to why it was such an expat and digital nomad hub. But it didn’t take long for us to become believers. Chiang Mai has a fantastic climate, a good vibe and is a great low-key yet bustling town.

We accomplished so much there in terms of growing our business and focusing on our revenue streams including putting ourselves on a path to nearly double the number of products we sell on Amazon.

Meanwhile, we met so many other travelers and digital nomads…some of whom I firmly believe will become lifelong friends. At least I hope so!

In the end it was surprisingly hard to say goodbye.

Leaving Kantary Hills

We were also sad to leave Kantary Hills. It was totally our backup plan B in terms of where to live in Chiang Mai. But by the time we left we had fallen in love with the place.

The staff were fantastic.

The pool was AMAZING; we became swimmers there and in the end were regularly swimming 1000 yards in 30 minutes.

kantary hills pool
We Fell in Love with This Pool!

Nevertheless, for the first time in 5 weeks we packed up all of our possessions into BOTH of our tiny bags (on side trips to KL and Chiang Rai we only took the smaller bag) and left.

osprey bag packed
All Packed Up and Ready to Go
Kantary Hills Registration
Saying Goodbye to Kantary Hills

But as much sadness as we had to be leaving the place we called home, we were even more excited to be traveling again.

Kantary Hills thanked us for our 5-week stay with a comped ride to the airport. It was a perfect way to say goodbye.

Thanks for the Ride, Kantary Hills!

AirAsia Premium Flex

After our experience flying to Kuala Lumpur buying lots of add-ons we wanted to review AirAsia Chiang Mai to Hanoi on a Premium Flex ticket.

AirAsia Premium Flex is basically a bundle of all of the premium add-ons that AirAsia offers. If you are familiar with Southwest Airlines, it’s AirAsia’s version of Business Select.

AirAsia Premium Flex Perks

Here are the published benefits of AirAsia Premium Flex:

  • 20kg checked baggage allowance 
  • Pick A Seat Standard or Hot Seats (Hot Seats are subject to availability) 
  • Xpress baggage 
  • Xpress boarding 
  • Premium Flex counter: Premium Flex guest are able to use the Premium Flex counter.
  • Complimentary 3-hour AirAsia Premium Red Lounge access for guests departing from klia2. RM79 charge applicable for every additional 3 hours. Click here to learn more.
  • Complimentary inflight meal included (limited selection) 
  • Insurance 1 Hour On Time Guarantee and Baggage Delay
  • Guests may change flights up to 2 hours before the scheduled time of departure. No fee is charged for the first two (2) changes, but fare differences apply (if any).
    For flight changes after the first 2 i.e. 3rd and onwards, guests may change flights up to 2 hours before the scheduled time of departure, however, both fees and fare difference will apply.
  • Flight Change has to be done at least 3 hours before the scheduled time of departure of the new flight for AirAsia (AK, QZ, FD, PQ, Z2, I5)   and at least 4 hours before the scheduled time of departure of the new flights for AirAsia X (D7, XJ, XT).
  • Earn AirAsia BIG Points – RM1=3 AirAsia BIG Points except for D7 which is RM1 = 1 BIG Point.

The Cost and Biggest Benefits of AirAsia Premium Flex

The fare difference between a basic ticket and AirAsia Premium Flex was about 1000 Baht ($31US) per person. But when you subtract the cost of all the add-ons we had bought (hot seat, meal, etc) the difference is more like about $15US pp.

For us, the biggest perks were Xpress checkin and being able to reserve and sit in row 1 which have the best seats on AirAsia.

When we had flown to KL during Chinese New Year the queue for check-in had been sooooo long. With Premium Flex we just walked right up to the counter.

Because of AirAsia’s strict baggage weight limits and all the new product samples we were carrying we had decided to just check our larger backpacks. And at the Premium Flex counter we were pleased to get Xpress Baggage stickers on our bags.

Premium Flex has Express Check-in…No Queuing


Once again, Hot Seats allowed us to be among the first to board. Boarding to row 1 felt great:

Row 1 on AirAsia is the BEST Row!

The Flight

Chiang Mai to Hanoi

It’s a quick and easy 1.5 hour flight from Chiang Mai to Hanoi.

In row 1 we had ample leg-room to spread out, cross our legs and enjoy the flight.

Once again, our (included with Premium Flex) hot meal was mostly rice which we don’t eat on our keto way eating, but the small portion of chicken that was served with it was surprisingly tasty.


We arrived in Hanoi and dealt with the visa-on-arrival formalities which we had fast-tracked (more on that in another blog post).

In all it took about 30 minutes to get to the baggage carousel. But the bags from our flight were still not out yet.

When they finally came out 15 minutes later the notion of ‘Xpress Baggage’ was undermined: our bags were among the last to appear:

Air Asia Xpress Baggage
Not So Xpress Baggage

But soon enough we were in Hanoi and at the start of a period of exiting fast travel.

Hoàn Kiem Lake on the Night of our Arrival

Bottom Line Review of AirAsia Premium Flex Chiang Mai to Hanoi

Once again, you get out of AirAsia what you put into it. Premium Flex fares provide the best possible experience. Are they WORTH it? That depends on your budget and your desire for convenience and comfort. For us, it made good sense and we enjoyed the entire experience that much more for having bought AirAsia Premium Flex.

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