The Kuala Lumpur International Airport is one of the world’s largest and busiest global hubs since it opened in 1998.
Usually shortened to ‘KLIA’, this is the primary airport of Malaysia. It supersedes the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang, which is now being used for charter and commercial turboprop flights.
A consistent contender in the aviation industry for its top-tier service, KLIA is a popular layover destination for long-haul flights.
In 2013, the KLIA even won the Skytrax World Airport Award for “World’s Best Immigration Service.”
Check out this guide to Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
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Kuala Lumpur International Airport has two terminals, KLIA (Terminal 1) and KLIA 2 (Terminal 2).
Terminal 1 services the country’s flagship carrier, Malaysia Airlines, as well as other international carriers. Meanwhile, Terminal 2 services AirAsia and other similar low-cost carriers.
KLIA has three areas: a main terminal, the contact pier, and the Satellite Terminal A which is connected by train.
KLIA 2 is located 6km away from KLIA and you can travel from one terminal to the other via free shuttle buses and trains.
Kuala Lumpur International Airport is located in the Sepang District of Selangor.
Editorial Credit / Shutterstock.com: shuttle bus|TK Kurikawa / Taxi|ENCIK KOPI O / KLIA Ekspres|Shah Shukri
There are plenty of ways to get to KLIA, but here are the best three transportation options that consider time and speed:
The Express Coach is the easiest option because it runs 24 hours and departs every 30 minutes. It also takes you straight from KL Sentral all the way to KLIA and vice versa.
The earliest trip starts at 5AM if you are coming from KL Sentral.
The buses used here are built for the trip of shuttling passengers to the airport, so there is enough space for your luggage too.
One advantage of taking the Star Shuttle instead of the Express Coach is that you have more boarding options available.
Aside from being able to get a bus from KL Sentral, you may also take the Star Shuttle from Pudu Raya, Batu 3, or Jalan Ipoh.
However, departure times are not as flexible as the Express Coach. The earliest trips start at 4:15AM to 10:30PM coming from Pudu Raya, and 5:15AM to 12MN from KLIA.
Don’t want to worry about other passengers or traveling with your kids? Download ride-sharing apps like Uber or Grab and get a private car to take you to the airport.
While this type of transportation is more expensive, you have the luxury of comfort and privacy.
Using the ride-sharing apps also ensure you can get picked up anywhere at any time. Just be aware of the risks, including a possible surge of rates and potentially no drivers being available to take you!
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If you’re coming from KLIA, have no fear—there are plenty of transportation options going into the city proper.
Most public transportation in Malaysia will lead you to KL Sentral, the largest train station in Southeast Asia and Malaysia’s premier one-stop transport hub.
Here are a couple of ways to get to KL from the airport:
This is considered the easiest method to get to the city from KLIA, regardless of which terminal you landed in.
If you’re coming from KLIA, the trip to the city only takes 30 minutes; 33 minutes from KLIA2. During peak hours, add 15 minutes intervals, and 20 minutes off during relaxed hours of the day.
Simply travel to Level 1 and board the train to take you to KL Sentral.
From KL Sentral, you now get to decide which method of transportation to take to your hotel or destination—LRT, Monorail, Taxi, or book another Uber or GrabCar.
This is a more affordable option for the budget-conscious. These airport bus shuttles operate at 30-minute intervals and they offer daily point-to-point services from KL Sentral to KLIA and back again.
It takes an hour for the bus to reach KL Sentral.
If your hotel is within the Kuala Lumpur city center, these buses can also take you to the hotel front. Let the driver or ticket-master know your destination in advance.
If you want the premier service, use the taxi or limousine service instead. Go to the Airport Limo counter right in the Arrival Hall. Purchase a “ticket” for the ride, and you’re good to go.
You may even choose the type of model for your limousine, such as a Renault Enviro, Mercedes E220, and a Jaguar S-Type.
Of course, given the premium service, don’t expect this one to be as cheap as the shuttle buses and trains! Additionally, metered taxis are also ready to take you to Kuala Lumpur.
You can find them at Level 1 and Level 3 of the Main Terminal Building of KLIA — just purchase a coupon worth RM2.00 before taking a ride.
Also note that if you ride the taxi between 12MN and 6AM, there will be a 50% surcharge added to your fare.
The following carriers operate in KLIA and KLIA 2. Please be guided accordingly when booking your flight.
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As KLIA and KLIA2 both fly red-eye flights every day, the airport runs 24-hours.
Lounges in both terminals are open all day and night if you have the requirements needed to enter (optional).
For Post Office services inside the Main Terminal, hours start at 8:30AM-5:00PM (Monday-Saturday).
For restaurants, some may not be open for 24 hours but convenience stores are.
Other services that are open 24 hours a day include the Information Desk (Main Terminal, 3F), luggage storage and lockers as well as luggage wrapping.
The Medical Clinic runs day to night, but the Pharmacy is open until 12MN only and resumes operations at 6AM.
If you need the bank specifically, CIMB Bank opens 7:30AM and closes at 10:30PM daily.
KLIA has free wi-fi available for up to 3 hours at a time. Find the network named “[email protected]” and connect instantly, no sign-in or registration required.
There are also internet kiosks at the Satellite Building if you don’t want to use your own mobile phone or tablet for internet.
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The most important thing for you to remember is that most of the airline check-in counters in KLIA open at least 3 hours before the flight.
Depending on your airline, some may even open earlier than that. As a rule of thumb, please check-in at least 2 hours before departing to avoid any unnecessary delays.
You may also need to pay a PSC, or the Passenger Service Charge (formerly known as the Airport Tax). This is paid by all departing passengers and is collected by the airlines upon purchase of tickets.
This is only paid to MAHB (the airport management) upon the completion of the flight. If you are a passenger who did not travel on the flight on which you purchased the tickets, then you are eligible for a full refund of the PSC.
As of July 1 2018, the PSC rates are as follows:
Editorial credit: asiastock / Shutterstock.com
There is a total of 216 check-in counters, located on 6 different islands. There are identified from letters A through M, excluding I.
There are also check-in counters and kiosks scattered throughout Level 5 for those arriving or departing, or are looking for transit.
Located at Level 4, Meanwhile, you will find the Airline offices and a food court called “Food Paradise” at Level 4.
Note that most amenities are located outside of the Departure Hall. Be aware of this before lining up for Customs and Immigration.
The KLIA lounge is located in Level 2 (Mezzanine Floor), Satellite Building. This has showers and is open for 24-hours. You may pay at the door or purchase prepaid lounge passes. For more info check the KLIA Plaza Premium Lounge.
There is a service counter for additional inquires upon entering. Meanwhile, there are four islands with a total of 128 check-in counters identified by alphabets S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, and Z.
There are 55 self-service check-in kiosks and plenty of space to sit and wait for counters to open. (Remember: They open three hours before the departure time, and they close one hour before!)
As of March 2018, KLIA2 departing travelers have begun using the newly-installed Self-Bag Drop Facilities (SBD).
A Smoking zone is located on the left and right wings outside of the Departure Hall. This is before you enter the hall proper.
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They each need prepaid lounge passes or payment at the door, and have Shower and Nap rooms available.
Lounge offers private resting suites of various configurations with en-suite bathrooms. For more info check the KLIA2 Plaza Premium Lounge.
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The Arrival Hall at KLIA and KLIA2 are just as well-furnished and well-equipped as the Departures area. It comes complete with a wide variety of restaurants, shopping and souvenir outlets, and convenience stores.
For KLIA, the Arrival level is located at Level 3 of the Main Terminal Building. You can get to the center of the Contact Pier (Level 4) if you take the Aerotrain from the Satellite Building.
Meanwhile, if you are scheduled for a flight transfer at KLIA, transfer counters are at the Contact Pier hub. For arriving passengers, just go down one level for connection to Level 3 security clearance and baggage claim.
For transportation, you will find ticketing counters for Airport Taxi services and Train shuttles on the way to the Arrival Hall.
At the hall proper, there will be a Tourism Malaysia office for first-time visitors, a Celcom stand and a Digi Kiosk for those who need prepaid SIM cards and rentable phones and devices, and other counters for car-rentals and the like.
The Arrival Hall of KLIA is vast, occupying around five levels in total. Be sure to find the map the moment you get to the floor and situate yourself on where to go next.
Here’s what you can find in each level.
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As for KLIA2, you may find the Arrival Hall at Level 2 of the Main Terminal Building. This is the final stop for all Domestic Arrivals and International Arrivals alike. You can start shopping for duty-free goods after collecting your luggage.
Transportation hubs are accessible as soon as you exit the Arrival Hall, most of which will be able to take you to the city-proper of Kuala Lumpur.
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For domestic arrivals, flights will usually land in Pier J and Pier K. International arrivals might see your flight land at Piers P, Q, and L.
Regardless, be prepared for a lot of walking towards the Satellite building after landing and crossing the aerobridge. Note the signages above-head, which will guide you on where to go once you are at the Arrival Hall.
Upon reaching the Satellite Building, move towards the Skybridge before stepping foot into the Arrival Hall. Note that the Walkway at Level 3 is for departing passengers, and Level 3A is for arriving passengers.
The shops and services at the Arrival Hall are at Level 2, Sector 2, of the KLIA2. They currently have the following for newly arrived tourists and residents alike:
You may also find multi-level car parks here, as well as the various boarding points for public transportation into the city.
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