Thursday, June 11, 2009

Budget Air Travel to Penang

I am currently planning a trip from Penang to Europe. And since the Malaysian Ringgit is "puny", I explored and looked for the cheapest airfare available, browsing online and checking with travel agents. I find that you get better airfare deals via online compared to agents. One tour that I was looking at from Cosmos, was quoted US$1450. This was fine, but the local agent told me I need to pay using a "slightly" higher exchange rate, i.e. US$1=Rm$3.65! Last I checked, the exchange rate was $3.53. What the #$*? ( Pardon my language) :P I went online, and for the same tour I get a discounted price of US$1213. ( A savings of US$237 plus with the correct market exchange rate).
The cheapest budget airline now is via our own Malaysian pride "AirAsia" airline ( However, this is a no frills flight with narrow seats and no entertainment on board, and you will have to purchase your own meals. Of course the flight only goes from KLIA- London Stansted Airport. I found that there are also other viable alternative other than AirAsia, especially if you plan to leave from Penang, and not have to go down south to KL. You just have to book an AirAsia flight frm Penang to Bangkok, Thailand. ( Cost is about RM$100/pax), and then take Air Berlin from Bangkok, which flies to Dusseldorf, Germany, and from there you can continue on to London, or other major cities in Europe. You just pay a little extra but you get meals, better entertainment on board, and more time friendly. It works for me especially for my return trip from London to Penang, since the flight touches down in Bangkok in the morning, and you can take the direct flight from Bangkok to Penang via AirAsia in the afternoon. MAS is having some really cheap seats nowadays for a full service airline, but the seats go real fast. Check their websites, and try to book at least 3 months or more in advance to get good deals.

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