A certified marketing expert at the age of 28, Apprentice Asia Season 1 winner Jonathan Yabut knows a thing or two about working smart and living life in the fast lane. In his new position post-Apprentice Asia win, the AirAsia Chief of Staff shares how the new Hi-Flyer class can empower business travellers and entrepreneurs (like himself) with its flexibility and convenience!
People always ask me what it’s like to work with Tony Fernandes. In a word, reporting directly to the AirAsia Group CEO is challenging. Tony throws you a curveball when you least expect it and keeps you on your toes. Lucky for me, I thrive in this fast-paced environment, where travelling and meeting people are essential to getting things done.
Whether you are a CEO’s apprentice or just starting to grow your organization, keeping costs low when travelling for business is an important consideration, and more importantly, timeliness is key to the most efficient of resources.
Being in the business world, I truly believe that time is the enemy of the ambitious. There are so many factors that are not in our control – the person you are meeting may suddenly change his schedule, or the launch of the projects you manage might encounter unforeseen delays.
Fortunately, AirAsia now offers more options with the new Hi-Flyer fare class (in addition to Promo and Regular fares), and my first order of business is to test out the ‘product’ in view of making life in the fast lane easier (and way more flexible).
Here’s a quick overview: Hi-Flyer is designed with the low-cost business travellers in mind, with seat selection, flight change options and baggage allowances built-in. So what does this mean to your business?
1. Seat matters
Time is very precious – every second counts and wasting it in the airport is a no-no for Tony’s Apprentice. Plus, queuing in the airport is one of my pet peeves when traveling. A flight from Manila to AirAsia’s biggest hub and HQ, Kuala Lumpur, is four hours. But due to immigration, boarding, baggage checks and queueing, it can take six to seven hours in total. That’s an extra three hours that I can use to finish an entire presentation for Tony!
Thanks to Hi-Flyer, I am entitled to Xpress Boarding in which I get to board the plane first. The Pick-A-Seat option is free, so I can choose any seat available seat on the plane, including Hot Seats. (I personally prefer aisle seats as I can easily move without having to bother my seatmates.) A small detail like getting a seat in the first few rows can spell the difference between being mentally prepared for your appointment and peace of mind for the rest of your flight, and it saves you time queuing for immigration because you’re among the first to disembark. While everyone else waits for the person in front to put their hand-carry luggage into the overhead compartment, I’m already reviewing my notes or deep in the pages of a book. When I land, I’ll be refreshed and unstressed – all ready for my appointment.
I also travelled a lot in my former company prior to joining AirAsia. There were so many moments when my colleagues in Hong Kong or Incheon had to cancel important meetings days before the schedule, which left me cancelling my trip. It was a big hassle for me and my company as we wasted the flight tickets. The same scenario happened on my personal trips. There were days when I’d take a vacation leave on a Friday to spend a three-day weekend only to find out that my boss changed his mind and needed me critically on that day. Good thing, Hi-Flyer allows me to change the flight date up to two times without any change fee!
3. Say no to excess
Most of us will not have a chance to weigh our luggage, and I’m sure a lot of us (including me!) pray on the road to the airport that we won’t exceed 7kg, right? I once went to Singapore with one handcarry luggage for an overnight business trip but went back to Manila with overweight luggage after doing some shopping in Orchard Road. The cost? Almost as much as the plane ticket itself.
This is where Hi-Flyer’s free baggage allowance comes in handy. With a generous 20 kg for all destinations, I have more than enough room to pack personal items and souvenirs into my checked-in luggage without worrying about additional charges. The only downside is that the list for shopping requests from friends and family gets longer with every trip!
A good business deal
With the nature of business today, Hi-Flyer makes good business sense. Entrepreneurs and leaders have to walk the talk and spend conscientiously, yet be able to predict and prepare for last minute changes. Get results, but not at the expense of cost and convenience. So go ahead and choose the option that’s best for you the next time you book. Now every driven dreamer can fly.
Get great flexibility and perks with Hi-Flyer!
Enjoy two flight changes (up to 2hrs before), Xpress Boarding, Pick A Seat, complimentary 20kg baggage allowance and earn 2x BIG Points!