This past week I went on a trip to Chiang Rai, in northern Thailand and I thought I would share my experience using a budget airline, Air Asia. I booked the flight about a month in advance, thanks to advance planning due to a desire to get away from Bangkok for Thanksgiving. I will be honest with you everything went great; I was not dissatisfied at all, especially only paying the equivalent of approximately 100 USD.
While checking in on the return flight I noticed that there was a diagram behind the counter, showing a number of red-colored seats, labeled "hot". I asked about the diagram but didn't really understand the answer until in mid-flight I wanted to stretch a bit and changed my seat to a vacant area of the plane. I was quickly told to go back to my original seat because the seat I was in costs more. Then I realized that the "Hot" seats were that were most desired and thus Air Asia was asking for more money for those seats. It also explained the boarding, as they asked to rows 1 through 5 and 14, to board first (Row 14 was the row I wanted to move). Anyway, those seats are only an extra 250 baht (8 USD) and knowing what I paid for ticket, I didn't mind at all.
Just a few extra pieces of information: the "hot" seats were mostly vacant but the other seats were full. I assume the Thais would rather book the discounted seats… Also, the plane did not go directly to the gate but had picked the passengers up in a bus and transported to the terminal. I have probably taken a bus like this at least a hundred times before for various flights, but this one seemed extra packed, just further emphasizing the “budget” part of this airline.