AirAsia Zest is formerly known as Zest air and Asian Spirit. The name AirAsia Zest is a rebranded name for the airline Zest air after Airasia strategically joined in alliance with one another. The airline is another of Philippine’s budget/ lowcost airlines which flies domestically and internationally as Airasia. Stats from 2016 states the airlines has a fleet of around 20 airbus aircraft flying throughout the country.
Just like Cebu Pacific Air, I have also used this airline a few times domestically around the Philippine islands. I still remember when Airasia Zest was still the former Zest air, nothing much has changed but the uniforms and A/C colours which do well to give a luxury feel, even for a low cost airline.
At the airport
Airasia Zest bases at Manila NAIA airport terminal 4, a very small domestic terminal. It is a one floor building that only really consists of 3 rooms Check-in, Security and the Gates. There are not much shops and restaurants in this terminal.
Aircraft and Flight
AirAsia Zest is a budget/ low cost airline which in my opinion shows a little more luxury than its competitors. Firstly the staff uniform shows that the airline means business, rather than just a plain t-shirt (which other low cost airlines have) AirAsia Zest have a formal white shirt (black for men) complete with a red blazer and a decent skirt (black trousers for men), the same as its partner company and name sake ‘AirAsia’. Furthermore the seats are complete with the standard magazine pouch and foldable table with the legroom similar to its competitors. Food and drinks are available for purchase, they vary from cold snacks and also hot meals all a bit more expensive than your retail price. The cabin was always clean and I have never experienced anything to be out of the ordinary.
Overall I am very happy with Airasia Zest as a company to travel as it just enhances your low cost airline experience. The airline varies in price, it just depends when you book and how busy the flight is. Flying domestically I like to fly the cheapest possible as it is only approx. 1- 1.5 hours flight around the different areas of the Philippines, not much to care about the flight experience. However if AirAsia Zest and its competitors were equal in price, I would edge to fly AirAsia Zest due to their little improvements into their cabins and staff standards.
Logo from AirAsia.com
main image at https://www.flickr.com/photos/byeangel/18017744354/
Boracay in my opinion is the most connected of all the paradise islands, in the Philippines, there is 2 different airports, with a choice of domestic flights from different corners of the country (not just from Manila), there is also a boat port with routes from Batangas. International flights are now also introduced here making holiday makers from Korea, Japan enter Boracay straight without the need to go through Manila. However if flying through the capital there is two main ways to travel to Boracay from Manila by flight, you either fly to “Kalibo” or “Caticlan”, popular airlines like Philippine airlines, Cebu Pacific and Airasia zest (formally Zest air) fly these routes.
Arriving at Godofredo P Ramos airport (Caticlan) is closer and more convenient to Boracay. It is a very small airport, which only caters smaller aircraft, mostly propeller. Getting off the aircraft is somewhat strange, you bored a bus straight from the aircraft, and the bus drives outside the airport and on its perimeter road through traffic (outside the airport itself), and onto the other side of the airport where it enters security gate back inside the airport and onto the little room they call a terminal, there passengers can collect their luggage and head out. Flights to Caticlan are very expensive, and could be double the price of that flying to Kalibo at around 5k-7k pesos (£70-£115). A short tricycle ride from the airport to Caticlan Jetty port can be taken, walking is possible but with luggage and backpacks is unadvisable or if your hotel caters pickups they will also help you transfer.
Kalibo airport in the other hand is much larger than that of Godofredo P Ramos airport (Caticlan), more frequent flights arrive and depart from here, hence the higher population that travel through here. Flights to or from here are also much cheaper than that of Caticlan costing at around 1.5k-7k pesos (£30-£115) again depending on time and season. It is however 1.5 hours away from the Caticlan Jetty port, meaning more time is required to depart your hotels when going home, it also means that more money is required to travel to or from Kalibo. I always advise for everyone to get arrangement with their hotels to transport to and from the airport, this could cost around 2k-3k pesos (£30-£50), but it is safer easier and you can feel the holiday environment. However to save money there are independent buses or vans, driver who will assist you in travelling to or from Kalibo, this is good i especially if there are a lot of you travelling. Some drivers allow you to haggle a price whereas some will have a firm asking fee, doing this could be very difficult and unreliable but it is cheaper.
Another way to travel from Manila is by boat, from Batangas boat port to Caticlan jetty port. 2GO boat company has Batangas to Caticlan route daily, it is approximately 9 hours and leaves Batangas at 9pm and arrives at Caticlan at 6am. The boat has different classes and rooms, and offers complimentary meals.
Which ever airport or boat port you choose you will need to go to the Caticlan jetty port the station that takes you to Boracay island via a short 5min-10min boat trip. There are 3 tickets needed to purchase, the boat ticket itself which is needed to enter the boats depending in which boat you choose it will be 50pesos -200pesos (50pence to £3.20), the terminal fee which is a ticket that is needed to use the terminal facilities (this is mandatory), used to help maintain the jetty port this costs 100 pesos or £1.60, and finally the environmental fee which is used to maintain Boracay’s environment paying local workforce, this costs 75 pesos or £1.20. These 3 tickets are checked upon boarding the boat to Boracay and can be purchase just outside the Jetty port. The more prestigious luxury hotels may have their own boat services, some with an additional fee others all inclusive with the hotel price. Click here for full 2Go travel page.
After stepping foot at Boracay island, the usual first thoughts is that it doesn’t look very nice. That’s because your at the back of the island, there is still a 10min-20min ride to the hotel areas depending on where your hotel is. Again some hotels do have their own van/ car and will pick you up, but if not there is two ways to travel to your hotel, one is to travel by a van, fixed fees are applied. Another way is to travel by a tricycle, which is cheaper but may not be able to accept some journeys or customers if your hotel consist of steep hills which a tricycle cannot climb. If you are on a budget there is nothing wrong with taking a tricycle as it is the main use of transportation in the island.
However you travel once you arrive, you will know it was worth while going.
Once in Boracay depending on where you are, the need to travel around can vary. If you are in the station 1,2 and 3 beaches you will rarely need to go elsewhere unless you go to another island, tours or activities like 4×4, ATV, Buggys or even other beaches and attractions in Boracay. If you have availed a tour, it will usually include the transport to that location (and it might be accompanied with your very own attendant). It will usually be a local styled tricycle. If you have chosen a hotel/ resort in the more quieter areas of Boracay like the back or far from the main beach station 1,2 and 3 then every hotel will likely have complimentary hourly transports to and from D’mall (a centre drop-off, pick-up point to main beach).
Tricycles are ever present in Boracay and they are available 24hours so if nightlife is what you are looking for then do so without worrying how to get back to your hotel. . It is also possible to walk from one area to another, it will be a good way to get around by seeing around the place. Tourism is huge in Boracay and getting lost is rare as everyone will be able to help. Prices for tricycles are however a bit expensive and inconsistent, some fares may be more expensive than others, if you have haggling skills this will come in handy.