Sunday, 1 September 2013

Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia or Firefly? Or Berjaya Air?

I wrote this story way back in Year 2009. That's four years ago. And I know that a lot of people still read this story to find out the most convenient way of flying between Penang and Kuala Lumpur. Of course, much of the information in my original story still holds true but today, there is a fourth alternative if one wants to fly between the two cities.

So apart from using Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia or Firefly, travellers should also seriously consider Berjaya Air. They are not a new airline, by the way. Berjaya Air has been around for ages but all the time, the airline had been flying to Pangkor, Redang and Tioman from the Subang airport near Petaling Jaya and Kuala Lumpur. Since from late last year or earlier this year though, Berjaya Air decided to extend their route to Penang. And all I can do is to shout out, "finally!" It is about time that travellers get another choice alternative.

I haven't flown on Berjaya Air before, but my wife has. My daughter has flown on this airline too, and so has my son. I'm the only one in the family who still has my feet firmly on the ground, so it seems.

How was the flight? I had asked my wife casually when she flew on Berjaya Air recently. Oh, it was quite all right, she replied. Coming from her, this understatement was already a compliment. Similarly, my son and daughter had only effusive things to say about flying Berjaya Air. The aircraft employed is the ATR72-500 which is the same type used by Firefly. My wife's recent one-way trip from Penang to Kuala Lumpur cost her RM98 and she landed not at the KLIA low-cost carrier terminal (KLIA LCCT) but at the closer Subang Airport at the outskirts of Petaling Jaya.

P.S. As someone commented, the taxi or bus fares to the Subang Airport mentioned in my original article do not apply anymore. So please do check out the prices yourself once you are there!

---ORIGINAL ARTICLE (Posted on 31 July 2009)---

I am thinking about making a short trip from Penang to Kuala Lumpur next week and looking at possibilities of using Malaysia Airlines to jet into the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) or AirAsia and land at the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) or be propelled by Firefly into the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah (SAAS) Airport, formerly known as Subang Airport.

However, the problem I see with Malaysia Airlines is the rather high cost of the ticket. After throwing in the taxes and what not, a return ticket on my intended days of travel will amount to RM515, and I haven't even added in the cost of the KLIA Express tickets (another RM70) and the travel to KL Sentral to catch the train. It's going to cost something like RM600 for the round trip.

AirAsia, well, they are so much cheaper at RM161 for a return trip (could become more expensive if I delay booking my flight tickets) and the cost of a bus ticket from the LCCT to KL Sentral and back is only about RM14. However, the flight schedule does not really appeal to me. I'm only free to travel in the afternoon but by the time I get to Kuala Lumpur, the whole day is gone and wasted.

So, taking flight schedule into consideration, I think that Firefly is presently my best option. The return flight will cost RM239 (more than I expected, actually, but I don't get to waste the afternoon and evening hours) and I think that I shall need perhaps another RM70 for travel from Subang airport to my destination in KL. Total cost is around RM310.

According to the Firefly website, it only takes about 30 minutes of ground travel time from the airport to the Kuala Lumpur city centre. It doesn't elaborate but I think that Fireflyz meant the KLCC and not anywhere else. Where would the Kuala Lumpur city centre be if not the KLCC?

The website also has some useful travel tips for people who haven't flown by their new high-wing, twin turboprop ATR 72-500 aircraft before. I certainly haven't and I shall look forward to it. Anyway, I read that its capacity is 72 "seating" passengers. The interior of the ATR-72 500 looks quite nice from the picture, doesn't it?

(I just hope this description doesn't mean that Firefly - or AirAsia for that matter - is considering Ryan Air's controversial proposal to make some of their customers stand during flights.)

There are buses arriving at the Subang airport every 30 minutes between 6am and midnight: Rapid KL Bus No: U81 to/from KL Sentral/Central Market for RM2 (return) and the ticket purchased is valid for one day of use, and Metro Bus No: 9 to/from the Klang bus stand (near Kuala Lumpur's China Town) for RM2 (one way).

At the airport, taxi coupons must be purchased at the taxi counter near the Skypark information counter, and the taxi counter is open from 7am to 11.30pm. (I think it is a type error on the website because it says until 11.30am.) Anyway, cost per trip is RM35 to all destinations in Kuala Lumpur and RM23 to all destinations in Petaling Jaya, including the Kelana Jaya Putra Light Rail Transit (LRT) station.

I used to blog once about a shuttle bus service between the KLIA and the LCCT, and thought that perhaps there's a similar service servicing all three airports, but apparently there's none. Passengers between the KLIA and the LCCT should still take the shuttle bus but a trip from Subang airport to the other two airports and vice-versa has to be made by taxi. A one-way taxi trip to the KLIA will cost RM70 while to the LCCT, it will be RM75, that's what I've learnt so far.

From Subang, I'm tempted to take the taxi to the Kelana Jaya LRT station and thence to my destination in Kuala Lumpur but I don't believe the extra 40-minute travel time is worth saving me RM9 if I were to take the taxi direct.

Decisions, decisions .... Anyway, it's still early days to really consider my options.


Jeffrey Chew said...

Fireflyz - it is safe and the airport is cool

azuan said...

Hi there!

Firefly all the way for me just because of its subang airport advantage! save me $$ and time for airport trasnfer.

smaravinthan said...

Pls there is no more rm 2 tickets !

Quah, Seng-Sun said...

Smaravinthan, yes, unfortunately so. Thanks for pointing out that there is no more RM2 tickets. Inflation, inflation. But the original blog entry was written in 2009 when this price was still available, and I just wanted to preserve it as it was.