Between last year and this year, I have made more than 10 trips to KLIA and klia2 by driving to send and receiving friends/ guests. When having to pick up or send off friends, I find it easier to drive to the airport rather than to take the public transport.
Plus, I find driving to be therapeutic and relaxing especially if I plan my drive ahead of time instead of rushing.
Important: The easiest route to the airport is via the highway- from Elite you would turn into the KLIA exit. Please ensure you have a functional Touch N Go card with sufficient balance. To enter the parking in KLIA, you must have minimum remaining balance of RM30 else you would not be able enter with the card and have to pay cash.
Driving to the airport
I remember the first time I have driven to the airport, long before GPS and Waze existed- I could find the airport merely by looking at the signboards on the highways.
In my last trip to the airport, I was able to manage the trip to the airport without using Waze- merely by referring to the sign boards. Once you enter into LDP, Elite or MEX highway, there would be signboards pointing to the airport. If you are taking Elite coming from Subang/Shah Alam area, there are full R&R (rest and relax areas) such as from Subang UEP and Dengkil where you can also stop to rest and pump fuel and have a meal before proceeding to KLIA.
The parking of both airports cost approximately RM4 per hour if not mistaken. I often park using TnG card- even though I pay slightly more for parking charges, I find it easy that I need not save up my RM1 notes or risk having the notes rejected by the auto payment machines.
If I am dropping off a passenger, I would drop at the entrances of Departures before I go and find the parking so that my passengers could unload their luggages and proceed straight to the check-in counter.
If I am picking up someone, I would arrive and park first. There are more than 1 parking blocks in KLIA…. I usually park at block C. It helps to take a picture of the parking aisle so that you can remember where you park your car later as there are more than 1 multi-storey parking block:
The Departure hall is located at level 5 while the Arrival is located at level 3 at KLIA terminal. There is a connecting bridge at level 2 of both the parking complex that connects the parking complex to the main terminal building. For example, if I have parked at level 3 of the parking complex, I would need to take the lift down to level 2, and then cross over to the main terminal via the connecting air conditioned bridge (with shops).
However after I reach the main terminal, I would then need to either take the escalator or lift to level 3 (arrivals) or level 5 (departures).
Below is the level 3 Arrivals at KLIA:
You can check the arrival time of your friends/family/guests via the Arrival board located right outside the Customs exit. Usually from the time of the landing, it would take them about 20 minutes to exit (after going through Immigration, collecting baggage and passing through Customs).
One thing though, there isn’t much seats for you to seat and wait. There are a few seats near the entrance but they are usually occupied. You would need to walk around or just stand around and wait. Once we was going there to pick up a friend whose flight were delayed. We proceeded to level 5 to go to Anjung Tinjau (viewing area- scroll down to read further) as well as I got myself a cup of latte from Gloria Jeans. There are more seats available at level 5 and it felt less crowded there.
Below is level 5 of Departures at KLIA:
At the Departure hall, once you know the flight number, you would know which aisle the check-in counter would be. Either that or you can also search by the airline as each airline occupies specific aisles or rows.
What if you arrive too early at KLIA
Unlike klia2 where there is actually a shopping complex where you can walk around if you arrived too early or have time in your hands, there isn’t much shops in KLIA.
However I still prefer KLIA. You can take a slow walk at the Anjung Tinjau/Viewing area located at the back (behind the Immigration exit) at level 5 Departure hall (see there are 2 side doors where you can enter to):
Above: At one area, there is a setup of an olden cinema wallpaper and it showed the poster of the late P.Ramlee, a talented actor, director and producer in the 1940s, 50s an 60s. It really brings back a little feeling of nostalgia as I grew up watching P Ramlee shows. There are also posters of other films such as Puteri Gunung Ledang starring Tiara Jacquelina.
As you reached the end, you would see the area where airports land and take off as well as the connecting train that connects to a further departure gate. There are seats and a children play area for you to sit and relax:
I have seen a number of passengers enjoying some quiet time. Some would and take pictures in front of the olden wall set ups.
However, if I am the passenger who is going to board a flight at KLIA and happened to arrive early, I would usually try to check in as soon as I can and then find my way to the departure gate. Once I am inside, I would go to Starbucks to grab myself a Latte and sit near the gate …..just observing the passengers coming and going.
In the past, I used to be typing draft posts using my Smartphone but nowadays I would rather just take the time to relax.
Note: KLIA is disabled friendly as they have elevators, functional disabled washrooms, and a flat surface which wheelchairs could easily travel.