I must admit that sometimes I could be a little cheapskate when it comes to travelling- whereby I try to save as much as I can. So I would be packing some drinks, food and fruits to go with my handcarry so that I need not spend money buying food from the airport.
From the years travelling between KLIA/KLIA2, I’ve learned a thing or two to avoid spending more money at the airport. I wanted to write this article as I often see the unhappy faces on some travellers when they had to throw away their water bottle or expensive smoothie drink at the security checkpoints.
Making the trip to airport
Usually I would take a cab to KL Sentral and then board the ERL (Express Railway link) to airport. I know, I could take Uber or Grab but I find travelling via ERL to be much more comfortable. I don’t need to deal with chatty drivers, traffic jams, possible travel sickness when I use the ERL.
One way ticket cost RM55. Sometimes ERL may have tie up with Master Card to offer some discount for a round journey ticket (please check the timing because ERL is not 24hours. Once, there was delay in my returning flight to Malaysia. I nearly miss last ERL train at 1am. That is why I usually avoid buying round trip ERL tickets because if I had miss the train, I would need to take cab/Uber/Grab taxi and the return ticket would be wasted).
I carry my own water bottle but fill it with enough water to last me from home/office till my Immigration check-in.
Aside from having a small or half full bottle, I also keep another small bottle of water inside my check-in luggage. So that I need not buy any overpriced water when I reach the destination airport. This I learn from experience because I sometimes arrived at my destination feeling thirsty and could not find water to drink. With a small bottle of water in my luggage, I could quench my thirst the moment I claim my baggage. I use the more durable small Tupperware eco bottle that would not break easily inside my luggage.
It may be a good idea to pack along little bit of your favourite snacks in your hand-carry to tie you in the hours of waiting and in the flight. I love Snickers so I would bring along a small bar or two as well as asam jeruk (sour stuff like sour plums or pickled fruits which you can find in any convenient stores in Malaysia like 7 Eleven, Speedmart or supermarkets). It is useful especially if you suddenly suffer from travel sickness or when you are in the mood for something sour.
And I would pack along a green apple or pear. I take along fruits because sometimes I may end up feeling a bit quesy or uncomfortable after the meal there. So a green apple or pear would definitely come in handy. Sometimes cut fruits are not so easy to find at the airport and even if you can find, them, you are not sure if they are fresh and clean….. and they are very expensive. For the fruits that I bought along for my trip, even if I ended up not eating them, it is still useful to keep in handy during my trip.
Over the years, there were all sorts of stuff I had done. There was a time at KLIA2, I saw a shop selling cup noddles for RM6.50…the same brand which I can get for RM1.35 from Speedmart and it is one of the cheapest brand of cup noddles. And yet people had no choice but to buy them to warm their tummies especially when the air-con was so cold.
So the next time, what I did was that I bought a more delicious cup noodle and bring along a small empty thermal flask on my hand carry (I have found it is useful to bring thermal flask along when travelling especially if you are prone to catching cold or sinus as airports are usually very cold). After I completed all my check-ins, I still had more than 2 hours before the flight. So I paid for hot water (RM2 to RM4 depending on them since hot water is not an itemized item). I could then enjoy my cup noddle and the remaining to make coffee (I also bought my favorite 3-in-1) using my trusty water bottle (which I had emptied the water earlier during customs check-in).
However, the last two years, I have allowed myself to indulge a little. Savor the joy of travelling, which include carrying a lighter bag and dining at the airport itself. Buy my favourite cup of Starbucks latte. But I would still bring along a small bar of chocolate, sour plums and a green apple/pear in my handcarry bag.
When you need to dispose your water bottles at KLIA/KLIA2:
Next, let’s talk more about the regulation of bringing in fluids. You would be required to dispose or drink all your water at security checkpoints at KLIA/KLIA2.
The checkpoints are different between KLIA/KLIA2.
At KLIA ( MAS, Malindo, Thai Airways, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, etc)
At KLIA there are also 2 security checks:
- the first right after Immigration –don’t throw away your water bottle as it can be used for water refills later 🙂
- the second at the departing gate (so each departing gate would have their individual checkpoints).
You would need to dispose whatever drinks you have before entering the departing gate to board your plane. In KLIA, there are abundant of water fountains available (located outside the restrooms) for you to fill up your water bottle to quench your thirst. Don’t be shy…you have paid airport tax so you can help yourself to the facilities there.
Once, I bought a cup of regular Starbucks latte and wanted to sip my drink slowly. I had to either throw it away or drink it all up before entering my departing gate. As well as empty my water bottle.
On the reverse, had I been in KLIA2, I would be able to bring it in the waiting area of the departing gate and sip it slowly until before entering the airplane itself (usually the staff would not allow you to bring your drinks up the plane).
KLIA2 (Air Asia)
After entering the Immigration check-in, you would pass 2 checkpoints where you would need to dispose any liquids or drinks that are not meeting the guidelines. The first checkpoint is right after the Immigration check-in, and the second one is about some distance away. So before you go to the second checkpoint (where after that you would be going towards the area with lots of departing gates and also some shops), don’t buy any bottled water or drinks unless you will be able to finish it immediately or are prepared to throw it away.
After the second checkpoint, there would be some shops selling bottled drinks (at a higher price). In fact, it is almost the same price if you purchase a bottle of water from the air stewardess on board your Air Asia plane.
Still, for KLIA2, if you buy your drink after the second checkpoint, you can put inside your bag without needing to dispose/empty the liquid. However, for KLIA, you are required to dispose your drinks before going into your departing gate at the second security checkpoint. So the next time you would be able to get a drink would be on the plane itself.
Disclaimer: This is correct at point of writing. However, it may be subjected to changes.