Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Kuala Lumpur Airport

Recently I transited thru Kuala Lumpur airport enroute to Bangalore from Los Angeles. I liked the airport quite a lot for several reasons and thought write a few lines about Kuala Lumpur airport.

Singapore's Changi airport and Hon Kong airport were the best airports I had seen before I got to see Kuala Lumpur airport. I put KUL airport also in the same league. No doubt there. One of the finest airports I have seen anywhere. Beats lousy airports in LA and Boston (two airports in the US that I mostly use) hands down.

One of the best things I liked about KUL airport is that they have a nice hotel well within the airport premises. Since the hotel is right within the airport, you do not need to go thru customs etc. This way you do not have to worry about transit visas which are not available on arrival  to Indian passport holders anyway. This hotel came as a real savior as I had close 10 hours of lay over for my flight to Bangalore from Kuala Lumpur.

You can make bookings at this hotel from KUL airport site. Search for KUL airport and under services you will find "Airside Hotel" and you can use web form to make a booking and they will confirm the booking within 24 hours. You can also book shower rooms if you do not need to rent a room if your lay over is not that long.

Rooms in Airside hotel are comparable to what we see in budget hotels like Holiday Inn or Comfort Inn etc. Rates are pretty good. They rent in hours. First minimum duration is 6 hours. Then they rent in every 2 hour increments and up  to 10 hours at the max (I think). Rent for first 6 hours comes to about $35. It's a great deal. Shower facilities are much cheaper.

The hotel directly over looks good portion of the airport. The view of planes landing and taking off is great from many rooms. One can really relax gazing across the airport. Rooms in the hotel have basics like TV, Coffee Maker etc.

KUL airport also has very nice restaurants. All sorts of food are available at pretty reasonable fares. Duty free shopping also looked pretty attractive although I did not check for prices or shop anything out there.

One drawback, like in many other airports, is total absence of electric power outlets. There are hardly any. I do not really understand what is the deal with all these international airport. In this area US airports are pretty good. Lot of power outlets can be found in LA and Boston airports etc.

Airport and the hotel also have free Wi-fi. Great deal. In US most of the airports really suck with one having to buy services from T-Mobile etc. which is a $6 minimum from carriers like T-Mobile. It really beats what is stopping airlines from offering such simple service. Probably Las Vegas, NV and Manchester, NH are probably some of the very few airports in the US which provide free wireless Internet service.

I certainly recommend KUL to anyone traveling from the US west coast. It's great place and offers great deals.

I certainly recommend prior reservations as rooms tend to fill fast as most of the people going to Bangalore, Chennai etc. tend to take rooms here.


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