25 Jun 2010

Flying to KL

Recently


, I have decided to travel with a budget airline for my short trips to KL. It is only a short trip of 45 minutes either way. However, one will need to check-in at least an hour before (counters usually opens 2 hours before) scheduled flight time.

So far, I have tried three of the locally available budget airlines and fly to or from three different airports. Here are my takes.

Singapore to Kuala Lumpur via Budget Airlines



  • online booking/ call booking (payment method varies, but most accept VISA/ MasterCard)

  • 45mins - 1 hr flight to KL (generally, and subjected to delay)

  • cheap tickets (only when there are promotions, and book early) + airport tax (compulsory) + admin charges (differs between airlines)

  • check-in at least 45 minutes or an hour before flight departure time (differs between airlines and routes)

  • need to find connecting transport (eg. LRT/ taxi/ bus) to bring you from the airports to the KL Sentral/ Genting/ your destination in KL

  • LAG requirements to follow if you travel with cabin luggage

  • may check-in luggage and this means extra charges

  • baggage size and weight requirements (differs for each airline)

  • seat selection (non-compulsory, but if chosen, there may be a charge)

  • flight insurance (read the terms and conditions carefully) (non-compulsory)


You may think that budget airlines want to charge this, charge that. However, everything is cost. How do you think they can keep prices low?

My takes on the airlines.


*Well, this represents what I experience. They generally arrives on time. The turnover time for the aircraft is very short and you might be alighting and another batch of customers ready to fly with that same aircraft. Seats are usually three on left and right of the narrow passage way on the aircraft. Food and beverages are available at a charge and can be pre-ordered or purchase on-board.

Jetstar Airways


(travelled from KL to SG twice with them in 2009, 2010. flies from T1 Changi Airport to KLIA Main Terminal)
*Call Centre*
Called on a weekday afternoon and took less than 15 minutes to get to the operator.
*Online Booking*
Swift and easy. Require very little details of your travel document.

*On Board*
Normal seats have little leg-room. More leg-room are available if you choose the first row or emergency exit seats. Announcements made on board vary from clear to unclear, probably due to the surroundings. Air-conditioning not strong enough.

Air Asia


(travelled to KL once with them in 2009, flies from T1 Changi Airport to KLIA LCCT)
*Call Centre*
Called on a weekday afternoon and took less than 15 minutes to get to the operator.
*Online Booking*
Swift and easy. Can’t remember exactly the fields to be filled in. *Tried to book again in June 2010 but the system is slow and unresponsive on my Singnet line.*
*On Board*
Normal seats have little leg-room. There are seats available with more leg-room. Announcements made on board are muffled and unclear, probably due to the surroundings. Air-conditioning not strong enough.

Tiger Airways


(travelled from SG to KL once with them in 2010. flies from Budget Terminal @ Changi to KLIA LCCT)
*Call Centre*
Called on a weeknight and took slightly more than 30 minutes to get to the operator. Seems like their hotline is really HOT! =)
*Online Booking*
Swift and easy. Require slightly more details of your travel document.
*On Board*
Normal seats have little leg-room. More leg-room are available if you choose the first row or emergency exit seats. Announcements made on board are clear, probably due to the surroundings.

What I had noticed about the terminals.

In SG


*I think I don’t really need to evaluate the transport options for Singapore airports. The taxis takes you everywhere in Singapore. A link to our MRT is available at T2 non-transit area. Buses are available at the bus terminal at T1’s basement. There should be also a car rental service (I remember spotting one in T3, but not sure about T1). Oh yah, there are bus services that ferries passengers to the two IRs.


Changi Airport’s T1
(flew from here once, flew to here twice)
*Comfort* (transit area)
Air-conditioned transit area, aero bridges. Design of the holding rooms of the boarding gates varies as they are carrying out retrofitting and renovation works as of June 2010. The older rooms appear to be slightly darker on non-sunny days. Gates are easy to find and the arrival hall is downstairs. There are tv airing various programmes and Internet kiosks available. Wireless@SG is available. Toilets are clean.
*Shopping/ F&B Choices*
The choices here are definitely much more than our Budget Terminal. Restaurants, fast-food, hawker fare, and other shops are available here.

Budget Terminal
(flew from here once)
*Comfort*(Transit Area)
Air-conditioned transit area, no aerobridges but no need to walk a long distance from the boarding gates to the aircraft. Wireless@SG is available. Toilets are clean.
*Shopping/ F&B Choices*
A MacDonald’s, a café and a shop (can’t remember the type of shop) outside the transit area. Within the transit area, there is some choices of F&B and a few shops.

In KL



*Well, most of the time, I have transport pre-arranged by my parents with our Malaysian relatives. Thus, I have no chance to explore the options. I remember that there is a LRT service to KL Sentral. Research more online or try to look/ask around for more information.
KLIA – Kuala Lumpur International Airport (Main Terminal)
(flew from here twice)
*Comfort* (transit area)
Air-conditioned transit area. Need to take a LRT service to the respective boarding gates (at the satellite terminals).Slightly confusing due to the size of the airport. Toilets are kind of clean. Has free WiFi.
*Shopping/ F&B Choices*
As this is an international airports, the choices are normally more with international brands and souvenir shops.
*Travel to KL Sentral*
The most convenient way is to take their LRT system. I have not tried it yet. There are options available. Do check out for more information before you travel.

KLIA’s LCCT
(flew to here twice)
*Comfort* (transit area)
Distance between boarding gates and the actual place to alight or board the plane is slightly far. No air-conditioning between the stretch of road between boarding gates and the arrivals gate (only one arrival gate).
*Shopping/ F&B*
A few shops in the transit area. A few cafes, shops, food choices outside.
*Travel to KL Sentral*
When I travelled to here in June 2010, there seems to be quite a number of operators promoting bus and LRT service to KL Sentral/ KL area. Check for the price.

In a nutshell, there are various pros and cons of travelling using budget air. The experience varies airports to airports and also between the airlines. Experiences will vary as it is a dynamic thing. Since we are using budget air, I do expect some of the things to be kind of budget too. There is this saying in hokkien "mai hiam buay pai, ai hiam kena sai" (literally "don't despise (make a mountain out of a molehill) and it will be good, and will be like shit if otherwise").




*Note/disclaimer: I only provide information that I know of or experienced it myself. Please do further research and not rely on my post. Information published here varies from time to time and is only accurate at the time of publication.

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