Flying Air Arabia : Mumbai to Sharjah

We were on the runaway. Seated in an Air Arabia plane, Sharjah bound, I looked out at the flickering lights of the air wing. This was my 4th trip of the year and it was the second month of 2017.

My very first time with this airline, I had my prejudices.

The first look of Sharjah though my window

In the cloud of judgements the first thought was being a low cost airline what kind of experience would it give the flyer.

Once you know it’s a no frills airlines you start judging factors like Value for money, utility and so on.

Note:Low cost does not mean low quality.

At the crack of dawn

Air Arabia technically has a Pay for what you want policy: 

There are three price brackets for passengers and  frills are dependant on that : Basic, Value and Extra

Check in:

Thanks to the never ending congestion at the Mumbai airport, it is imperative that one checks in online.

The online check in process was done smoothly, a matter of 4 clicks.

Meals and seats can be booked online too.

A speedy check in thanks to a separate Air Arabia counter for baggage drop and an on time departure were very welcome for a weary traveler.

Separate lines for baggage drop (not at all crowded!)

Connectivity: 

Air Arabia connects 13 Indian cities to Sharjah and 88 cities across various countries in the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe.

There are flights to 120 destinations in 35 countries from five hubs across the Middle East and North Africa.

Reaching to 120 destinations

Entertainment:

There isn’t any inflight entertainment. But there is a travel magazine for reading, covering destinations across Middle East and Africa. On a select few display monitors an introductory video plays explaining Air Arabia’s presence across the Middle East and Africa.

Meals served and hospitality:

Food is chargeable on the basic fare.

My meals were pre booked but the cabin crew had no inkling I was going to write this review. ( treated like just another passenger and hence this honest review).

The crew was multilingual and courteous.

Water is chargeable too which I found slightly strange, being an international flight. A bottle of water costs 2USD.

Alcohol is not served on the flight.

Never been a fan of airline food and hence did not  complete the masala dosa served on my outbound flight.

On my way back though, the Veg biryani served on board deserves  a mention.

Ergonomics: 

Leg space is comfortable and the seating is 3×3. It doesn’t have a business class.

Air Arabia planes are airbus 320 planes, but seats are 165, not 180. ( more place to rest those elbows and not tuck them left and right).

For the ones who never pack light: Baggage allowance is 30 kgs. (You can pay for it!) upto 10 kg is free.

Flying experience: 

Dozed off on both the journeys: to and fro, thanks to non noisy take offs and landings.

Landed in Sharjah on time but got stuck in an extremely long queue for immigration. ( only my counter was slow!) Murphy’s law states: the line you join is always the slowest, only that Murphy is a little more biased towards me.

The Sharjah airport is said to have free wifi for the first 30 minutes. Due to paucity of time, couldn’t try it.

While entering and exiting Sharjah there is a retina scan for immigration.

On my return, the Air Arabia ground staff were super helpful and facilitated a quick group check in.

Beyond flying: Air Arabia’s CSR program: Charity Cloud:

Charity Cloud, Air Arabia’s award-winning corporate social responsibility program is an initiative for social and economic development of underprivileged communities around the world. The initiative is focused on building and operating educational institutes in Sri Lanka,Turkey and Nepal and healthcare projects in needy communities across Sudan, Yemen, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Egypt.

 

Charity Cloud accepts donations exclusively from passengers on board Air Arabia flights, through special envelopes that are available in their seat.

 

A quick summary:

Pros:

Value for money

On time

Speedy check in and baggage drops

Connectivity to 120 destinations.

Helpful for long travel plans with stipulated budgets.

Cons:

No frills because of the Pay for what you want policy.

 

All in all, the flying experience was good and they gave me no reason to complain. Look out for their Rewards program, Airewards, which is designed to provide added to value to regular flyers.

Disclaimer: I was invited to fly AirArabia during my trip to Sharjah, facilitated by Sharjah Tourism.

The staff had no clue this was going to be documented and needless to say all the views are mine.

60 thoughts on “Flying Air Arabia : Mumbai to Sharjah

  1. We have never flown this airline, but by the looks of it Air Arabia does seem like a decent enough airline. The seats also seem to have sufficient leg space. Considering that the costs are reasonable, definitely looks like value for money.

  2. I had taken a flight to Air Arabia while I vacationed in Jordan. Despite being economy class, I was impressed with the leg space. I enjoyed reading the carefully curated travel pieces in Nawras.

  3. You are right, expensive airline ticket doesn’t always guarantee you a pleasant experience. It’s nice to know you had a fairly good experience with Air Arabia. I was not aware of their services prior to, but it’s nice to know that you have three options for your fare. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Always nice when low cost doesn’t have to mean low value! Have never traveled on AirArabia but sounds like a nice flight experiences overall. It’s nice they at least have magazines even though they don’t have TVs for inflight entertainment. I understand being charged for extras on a budget carrier, but I do always get a bit frustrated when they charge for water though!

  5. Sounds a lot like Air Asia. I am frequent flyer of Air Asia but never been on Air Arabia…..the food looks great but not sure I would order anything in flight unless it is a long flight.

  6. Sounds like a pretty standard budget airline, for ya. I don’t mind them at all. You just have to make sure to familiarize yourself with all their rules, so you don’t face unexpected fees!

  7. Now that is one really comprehensive, in depth review. Really helpful for anyone planning to fly AirArabia to get to Sharjah. Off lately I have seen airlines adopting the Pay for what you want policy.

  8. I hate flying. So I always appreciate airlines who try their best to make a flight comfortable or distracting enough.
    That’s why I’m willing to pay a few Euros more to get a better service.

  9. Thanks for the review ! I haven’t heard about the airline but it looks quite nice & comfortable and even the food looks good too 🙂

  10. I’ve flown with AirArabia quite a number of times when I lived in Dubai a few years back. In my opinion, it’s quite good for short and medium haul flights – although I tended to choose them for flights less than 3 hours. Sharjah Airport is also much smaller than Dubai Airport and thus more customer-friendly, esp. in terms of queues and stuff. I’d have no problem recommending the airline is the airfare is right.

  11. I must say a short, clear and crisp review. Air Arabia seems like a good budgeted flight,with good connectivity to 120 countries and on time service. I really liked their concept of pay for what you want. Will keep in mind, when flying next time.

  12. Simple, straightforward and crisp review. It definitely sounds like a good option for the short flights from India to UAE. I can do without the frills for sure. Rather spend on the destination 🙂

  13. Looks a good option with lots of connections, the food options actually look quite good. We’ve had some good flights recently with some ‘no frills’ airlines. Compared to how bad some of the big carriers are becoming (like British Airways) the budget airlines are getting a more and more attractive .

  14. Interesting airline review. We always fly British Airways (or any affiliate) to gather points. Recently for short haul flights, BA has started charging for in-flight drink and snack. This was very upsetting because we were used to get everything for free – coffee and biscuits for an hour flight isn’t so bad. Good that you have a generally good experience on this!

  15. Great review! It sounds weird that Air Arabia charges for water. Also, no in-flight entertainment is a deal breaker for me! But the airline looks good for budget traveling!

  16. I have actually never heard of this airline before now. It is great that the airline staff speak multiple languages. Sounds like a good budget airline anyway though

  17. This is the first time that I have read about Air Arabia. I have traveled via a budget airline before and it was nice. You get what you pay for.
    The three options that you have shown look reasonable. I do not mind having no entertainment choices on a flight because I will just use my laptop or read a book.
    Your meal looked okay and delicious. I like veggie biryani too. It is also nice that this airline has a 3 x 3 seating plan. The best part was that the crew was hospitable. I would recommend this to my friends.

  18. Wow! this actually looks like a great value! As someone who travels light and rarely eats the meals, these types of fares and airlines are perfect for me. It really looks like a decent experience and I’ll keep Air Arabia in mind next time I fly 😀

  19. What an easy way to select your ticket with Air Arabia. The baggage drop of can be such a hassle, good to know they were OK. I would be interested in knowing the leg space as well, being really tall.

  20. I know a lot of airlines are going towards the pay-for-what-you-want model, and I’m actually pretty happy about it. We usually don’t check a bag, so I’m excited to avoid paying for that unless I need to. I’d much rather have a less expensive ticket. I don’t think I have ever traveled in an airline that doesn’t give me unlimited, free water.

  21. I like this concept of Pay for what you want! Its awesome actually! Esp if you’re a frequent traveler and need only hand baggage, why pay for everything else???!!!
    The Biriyani looks totally yummm…

  22. I’ve never flown Air Arabia so it’s very interesting to see and learn about it. I understand that checking in online is the best way, especially in the busy airports like that of Mumbai. It’s good they give you water, even though you had to ask, some airlines don’t even give it!

  23. LOL! Murphy doesn’t like me either when it comes to choosing a line! I’ve even tried picking the one I think it good and then going to another one….then THAT one becomes slow. LOL! Surprise that even water has a charge. Great thing to know since it is so important to drink water when you fly.

  24. Wow, I haven’t heard about this Airplane yet and seemed like a comfortable and beautiful plane. I like the color of the plane and their service. You truly have had a comfortable flying experience. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  25. Actually I love Air Arabia! It also flies to Kyiv and I used it to fly to Kathmandu, Delhi and Mumbai. How did you like the prayer in the beginning?
    I think its is called the Prayer of a traveller and it sounds so mysterious to me.

  26. I have never taken air Arabia as I always take emirates if I need to connect to the west. It is interesting to know that its a budget flight and I would look to explore this in the future.

  27. Very genuine reviews on Air Arabia. Really a budget flight with good facilities according to price. Also it offers many destinations which is useful for people who travel a lot. Food options are great and I will try it for my further travels.

  28. I was excited to read this post as soon as I found it. I’m a fan of trying out new airlines, so it’s always interesting to see inside the airpolane of some company I haven’t used before. It looks like a good experience and a decent airpine to use. I will make sure to try it out
    soon.

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