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After a long break because of the Covid pandemic, we recently flew in the AirAsia X paired seats to one of our favourite destinations, Queensland’s Gold Coast in Australia. AirAsia X, the long-haul arm of the AirAsia Group (Capital A) exclusively uses the Airbus A330-300 as the workhorse of their fleet. 

At the time of writing, the AirAsia X fleet consists of eighteen aircraft designated 9M-XX* or 9M-XB*, sixteen of which have been returned to service at the time of writing. Five of these aircraft have been with other airlines and have kept the original internal layout, which varies depending on the previous user configuration.

Economy class seats in XX* aircraft feature 365 standard seats. Those up to Row 43 are in a 3-3-3 configuration. The fuselage narrows at row 44 and the configuration changes to a 2-3-2 layout. We flew in two very different aircraft. Check out our video at the bottom of the page, or watch it on YouTube.

best standard AirAsia X seat,AirAsia X paired seats
The standard seat layout in XX* aircraft changes after Row 44 to a 2-3-2 configuration

AirAsia X paired seats

Our Airbus A330-343 aircraft KUL-OOL was 9M-XXQ. This aircraft uses the 3-3-3 configuration described above, with Rows 7 to 14 designated as the Quiet Zone. The paired seats are found at the rear of the aircraft, rows 44 to 51. You can read our review on the quiet zone, here.

Our return trip OOL-KUL used 9M-XBIoriginally delivered to Singapore Airlines in Jun 2015, joining AAX in Sep 2023. This aircraft still uses the original Singapore Airlines seats and configuration with 30 premium seats and 255 Economy seating arranged 2-4-2 to Row 58, slightly offset, with the last 5 rows 2-3-2. 

The screen and USB/audio ports were disabled, but the cup holder and coat hook were useful.

This resulted in our Row 46 (A&K) seats putting us at the rear of the second Economy cabin, rather than the middle of the last, and close to the toilets. This wasn’t a problem for us as there’s a space in the front of the next cabin (Rows 49 & 50) for people to wait. It did, however, put us above the back of the wing, impacting our view from the window.

AirAsia X paired seats: best choice?

KUL-OOL (9M-XXQ) (seats 47 H&K) These seats are towards the back of the aircraft, but they are well clear of the wing in aircraft with the standard configuration, so you will have a fairly unrestricted view of the landscape below. We selected these particular seats because the view of the Gold Coast is spectacular as you come in for landing and we were not disappointed.

beautiful Gold Coast,AirAsia X paired seats
Flying in to Coolangatta Airport, Gold Coast

OOL-KUL (9M-XBI) (seats 46 A&C) is an ex-Singapore Airlines aircraft, which still has the original configuration of paired AC/HK seats all the way through Economy, so we found ourselves at the rear edge of the wing, with a restricted view below. This is one of two such aircraft, the other registered as 9M-XBH.

Gold Coast Airport Coolangatta
Taking off from Gold Coast Airport OOL (top of picture). Seat 46A in 9M-XBI 

We found both aircraft similar in terms of comfort, and although we were happy to see the ‘bells and whistles’ in the seat backs of the ex-SIA aircraft, the USB port and screen were disabled. However, the pull down cup holder was a great improvement on the recess in the tray table. The coat hooks were also handy and easily accessible on both aircraft. There are no USB power connections available in the standard layout aircraft, except for Premium Flatbed travellers.

best standard AirAsia X seat
seat reclined,headrest folded out, coat hanger

The Best Seat

Although we don’t identify the ‘best’ seat in our story on best standard seat on an AirAsia X A330, as it’s very subjective, when flying as a couple we’ll usually pre-select paired seats, despite the slightly louder engine noise behind the engines. As in all standard AirAsia X A330 aircraft, leg room is a ‘bit tight’ if you have long legs, but this traveller is OK with both the seat width (a fairly cosy 16.5 inches) and the pitch (front of one seat to front of next) of 32″. The footrest in 9M-XBI was very handy. It’s also useful to know that you can easily slip out of your aisle seat by lifting the armrest while holding the button under the hinge. This is a useful thing to know which is pretty standard across aircraft types, that may be less obvious.


The tray table in the standard aircraft (9M-XXQ) is a fold down, one piece table which can be pulled closer to the user during meals, or to use as a work space. There is a cup space and a ‘tummy cut-out’. As there is no power supply, we didn’t use any devices and saw only a couple of other passengers using them during the day flight. During our night flight, most people chose to sleep. The tray table on the ex-SIA aircraft, (9M-XBI) is a double fold table, with a separate cup holder on the back of the seat. We found this very useful, especially when we tried the coffee from the snack cart as the cup fits neatly in the holder. It wasn’t so useful for either of our water bottles, however.


There is no in-seat entertainment available on board either aircraft. However, you can rent a portable device preloaded with entertainment options, although at the time of writing, these are temporarily unavailable. This is available on all AirAsia X flights to/from certain destinations only. There are limited units available, so pre-booking (MYR 59) is advised. If available, they will cost MYR 69 on board.


The washrooms were similar in both aircraft and staff monitored, cleaned and resupplied regularly. This was especially important on our OOL/KUL leg as there was a sink blockage.


The food available on all AirAsia and AirAsia X flights is the same, regardless of where you choose to sit as it is not included in your fare. We pre-ordered meals both ways, adding an extra nasi lemak when the plant based version was added shortly before our flight. The food choices in the AirAsia ‘Santan’ menu are good enough that we’ve never had to call a ‘miss’. They are tasty and have ingredients that can be identified. That is, the veggies do look like veggies! They’ve just introduced a new plant based version of their popular Pak Nasser’s nasi lemak, so we ordered one of each to compare.

Pak Nasser’s Plant based Nasi Lemak vs the regular version

The original nasi lemak is always a must choose on any trip for these travellers, it’s a good serving and the sambal and chicken curry tick the right boxes. It comes with half a hard boiled egg, roasted peanuts and anchovies. The plant based version came with sambal and a good serving of vegetable curry. The curry sauce mixed well with the basmati and wild purple rice which was a little on the dry side. It’s good enough to try again, but the original remains this writer’s favourite. The Basil Chicken is well balanced with flavour, although the gravy was not quite enough for the amount of rice. All meals came with a complimentary bottle of water as they were pre-ordered.

Thai Basil Chicken

It is cheaper to pre-order your meals, especially at the time of booking. You’ll also be assured of your choice and they’ll serve all the pre-ordered meals first. On our return trip we had a varied things with a Bukhara Chicken Biryani, served with chutney and as always, another Pak Nasser’s nasi lemak. Looks wise,  the biryani was pretty ordinary, but the taste made up for looks. The flavours went well together and the size of the serving was sufficient for a moderate eater. It is quite hot though, so keep the water handy, or choose something like Uncle Chin’s Chicken rice if you prefer a less spicy meal.

Since this flight, AirAsia has introduced Pak Nasser’s Nasi Lemak Double Special, priced at MYR23 for AirAsia Malaysia flights (flight code AK) flights and MYR30 for AirAsia X flights (flight code D7).

Our bukhara chicken biryani was tasty


One thing we couldn’t pre-order was the newly introduced coffee offerings – latte, americano and mocha and any of the snacks. We missed out on our KUL/OOL leg, as supply was finished before they got to us so we asked the crew to save some for us OOL/KUL in case they ran out. We decided to choose the coffee/cake combo offerings and got to try out a latte and a mocha, with a black and pink roll and a slice of butter cake. The cakes weren’t overly sweet and the combination of chocolate roll wrapping a strawberry mousse was more than acceptable. They were complimented by the coffee and we were given the containers to freeze dried coffee came in, to bring home.

They’ve also recently expanded their Santan 92 Signature Blend coffee lineup, with a milder flavoured blend – ‘Santan Captain’ and a third ‘Santan Allstar’. All are only available for onboard purchase. Our Signature blend and Mocha choices were definitely worth it, although the mocha was a bit on the sweet side.

Get to your flight on time!

At both airports you have a long walk to reach your boarding gate, so you don’t have time to waste. Allow plenty of time for immigration and security formalities and make sure you are at your boarding gate, especially if you want to fill your water bottle after the final security check. It’s at the opposite end of the Departure lounge in Gold Coast Airport (OOL) and you may have to queue. In Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL), there are a few along the corridor to the Boarding gates, but again there will be a queue.

Duty Free

The Duty-Free cart did come around but the choices were rather limited. If possible, pre-book your selection and have it delivered to you on board. Read about our experience with pre-booking here.  Here’s the eCatalogue. You can download the inflight menu as well as the in-flight duty free offerings. There’s also a button on the page to pre-book your duty free selections. Our order was delivered not long before arrival, so we didn’t have to store it anywhere for long. Everything was in order and we’ve found this the best way to order and receive what we want. Be aware though, that when you make your pre-order, you cannot use points or take from your credit account.

Other useful things to know

If you’re holding a voucher issued post Covid, this useful guide will make it easier to match your voucher with available dates as only a limited number of voucher seats are available on each flight.


Generally both flights were satisfactory, the seat was comfortable and the staff responsive and polite. Despite the limited legroom, (11″ isn’t too bad), you can stretch your legs in front if there’s no footrest in the standard layout aircraft. There is no entertainment unit reducing the space under the seat either and there are only two supporting struts, neither of which blocks your feet. If you’re travelling with someone you’re comfortable with, you only have to ‘climb over’ one person from the window seat.

Apart from the toilet available at the rear of the Quiet zone cabin, in front of Row 15 which is for the use of passengers in this cabin, there is a bank of four toilets after Row 33 (standard layout) and two more at the rear of the aircraft. They were clean and was serviced regularly. As there is space to the wait beside the exit doors, there’s plenty of room to wait without bother anyone else.

Although you’ll be last off when you land and the noise level may be higher behind the wings, if neither bothers you, these seats are a good consideration. They are a little more expensive than a standard seat selection though, so clearly they’re popular.


Although we have travelled on this route many times on our own account, this return trip was made courtesy of AirAsia. Book your seat on the AirAsia website, or their mobile app, now renamed AirAsia Move. Download free for Android, iPhone and HuaWei or just scan the QR code on the website.

images ©ET

Lesley loves photography, budget travel and getting value for money, visiting places on and off the beaten track.

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