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How to buy cheap air tickets to Malaysia

Posted by on Dec 7th, 2008
Filed Under: Featured, Flight, Guides

One of the wonderful effects of the internet revolution is the lowering of the cost of business. As a result, online purchases and bookings are often encouraged and getting things like flight tickets end up cheaper online than if you went through a travel agent. The difference is you have to do the checks yourself, so it’s as if you were your own travel agent. Book your flight into Malaysia in advance – as the seats run out, prices get pushed up especially by business travellers who will pay any price to get a spot.

Low Cost Carriers (LCCs): The Cheapest Option

First, the LCCs. Currently available between select cities in Australia and various Asian cities, they can’t be beat if you are willing to “rough it” a little by compromising on comfort and take on the higher risk of delays or even cancellations.

As an example of the potential savings, the cheapest return flight from Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur (KL) on a major airline like Cathay Pacific could cost US$400 but only US$200 on low-cost Air Asia for the same dates.

Here’s a list of the LCC airlines with direct flights into Malaysia:

Air Asia (Various countries)
Air Asia is Malaysia’s low-cost carrier. Have a check if you’re coming from any of the following places: Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Macau, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam (Offers direct flights into Johor Bahru, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching and Penang from select locations)

Air-India Express (India)
Direct to KL from Chennai, Hyderabad and Tiruchirapalli

Cebu Pacific Air (Philippines, Hong Kong, Taipei)
Direct to KL and Kota Kinabalu from Manila. Indirect via Manila to KL from numerous other Philippines locations. Also indirect to KL from Hong Kong and Taipei

Firefly (Indonesia, Thailand)
Direct to Subang Airport (near KL) and/or Penang. From Banda Aceh, Medan, Pekanbaru, Koh Samui, Phuket

Lion Air (Indonesia)
Direct to Kuala Lumpur from Jakarta, Surabaya

Silk Air (Singapore)
Direct to Langkawi, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu
Technically not a LCC but is an affordable short-haul airline ran as a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines

Tiger Airways (Singapore)
Direct to Kuala Lumpur

More things to note:

While they offer substantial savings, be aware that check-in baggage, having an allocated seat and in-flight meals are considered “luxuries” and are usually not included in the price

Some LCCs have direct flights from nearby countries into cities other than KL e.g. Johor Bahru, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Langkawi, Penang. All major airlines would otherwise require you to transit in KL

For those flying to/out of KL, the LCC Terminal at KL International Airport (KLIA) is pretty basic, and separate from the main terminal (you can get to/from them by a shuttle service for RM1.50 per person). From the LCC Terminal, you can catch a taxi into town, or take the Skybus to/from KL Sentral for RM9 one-way

Flight Comparison Sites You Should Check

Besides the LCCs, an efficient way of finding the next cheapest batch of flights is to use a bunch of different flight comparison search engines. Punch in your required trip route and times and they will grab prices from all sorts of different airlines (they tend to miss the LCCs) and other comparison sites to pool together results for you in one place – sweet.

However, each site has its own partnerships and prices for the same flight can vary, so always check a minimum of two/three different sites. The more the merrier. Once you’ve found it, don’t just book it right away. Go direct to the website of the airline servicing that flight and do a check. It’s not uncommon for it to be cheaper.

Bear in mind that choosing the cheapest ticket available may come with strings attached such as restrictions on whether you can make any changes or get a refund if you cancel your ticket. So check to ensure the terms suit your needs.

It would be ideal to be able to pinpoint one super site but in reality, the “best” site for your needs depends on various factors including exactly when and where you’ll be flying from. Still, there is a general collection of comparison sites that when used together has a high probability of seeking out the lowest price for your flight to Malaysia. Here are our top picks:


One of our personal favourites, this site hunts deals across a range of different suppliers. From experience, it manages to frequently seek out the lowest prices around to Kuala Lumpur (it also includes low-cost Air Asia in its results). Its clean design is easy to use and has a range of filtering options to narrow down the results. Once you select the option, you’ll be redirected to the provider’s site to make the booking.


On par with Momondo, Kayak is also worth checking. Again, it is a simple, user-friendly site where you can compare and filter prices before being redirected to the provider’s site for booking.


A useful comparison site overall, it is particularly effective if you are flying from one of the countries where Zuji has a tailored local site – Australia, Hong Kong, India, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan. Bookings can be done on Zuji itself.

Travelocity and Expedia,

Both are effective search engines with similar level of information detail and can be booked on-site. When checking either, have a look to see if they have a tailored local site for the country you are flying from – it will likely offer better prices than if you searched on the main “.com” site.

Remember, once you’ve found the cheapest suitable flight, go direct to the airline’s site and check if they offer the same one for less.

Malaysia Airlines: The National Carrier

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is the national carrier. Some people unfamiliar with the airline have concerns about its safety but rest assured, MAS is reliable with overall good service and track record, having won the Skytrax (UK) 5-Star Airline Award and World’s Best Cabin Staff 2007. They are not necessarily the cheapest but will be more likely to offer direct flights into Kuala Lumpur from international locations.

About the author:
Ling, like PKTan, is a proud Malaysian and Australian resident with a passion for new discoveries and experiences. A value-hunter, she also runs Car Hire Insider where she dishes out straight-up advice to travellers on car rentals in Australia.

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One Response »

  1. awesome, thanks so much!