In July Edition of Personal Money Magazine, on page 69 to 71, there is an article written by Tho Li Ming regarding tips on getting lower airfares. Tho said that in Malaysia, the first inclination is to check out budget carriers, and if the budget carriers don’t fly the route, they will turn to travel fairs like MATTA (Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents)

There are seven tips listed in the article. Now I am going to verify the methods by doing some investigation verification.

1. Plot out other ways to get to your destination

If you can withstand the hassle of connecting flight or other combination of transport means, this might be able to save a few thousands ringgit.

Example shown in the magazine:
Instead of taking flights Malaysia – Hong Kong , which costs a minimum of RM1,904 (inclusive of tax and fuel surcharge), you can try budget airline AirAsia which provides cheap direct flight to Macau. From Macau, you can then take a ferry to Hong Kong. Round trip from Kuala Lumpur to Macau is RM930.

So I head over to MAS homepage and this is what I found out:

Image: K.L. to Hong Kong air tickets price list from MAS

The lowest price available is RM1614 all inclusive.

Image: Total amount for round trip of KL – Hong Kong

How about the airfare at AirAsia?

From Macau to Hong Kong, the ferry fare is about HK138 (RM65) one way trip, taken from TravelBlog.
The total becomes RM130 + RM906.98 = RM1036.98

Saving rate = (1614- 1036.98)/1614 = 35.75%

2. Go budget, and look at neighbouring countries

From the article, Tho wrote that for an indication of whether you are paying top or bargain-basement prices for your AirAsia ticket, check out the code type. Y fare is the highest-tier pricing rate on AirAsia.

Refer to the ABC of Airfare,

F, P are the letters most commonly used to indicate First Class.

J, C are the letters most often used to represent Business, or Executive Class.

Y is almost universally used to indicate a full fare economy ticket.

B, H, L, M, V, etc. are just some of the letters indicating subclasses (reduced, restricted, and/or discounted fares).

If the destination of your choice is not in AirAsia’s list, try the Singapore’s Tiger Airways. To verify the example shown in the article, here is a screen shot for flight booking from Kuala Lumpur to Perth. It costs RM2427 for MAS flights.

From Tiger Airways, the airfare is S$619.59 ( RM1425)

By flying to Perth via Tiger Airways, you might be able to save about RM1000. Good tips from Personal Money magazine.

3. Fly during off-peak periods

The idea here is to travel when other people can’t. This means getting flights during low-traffic seasons. So when is the peak season?

  • national school holidays
  • festive periods like Chinese New Year
  • Gawai festival period in May for Sarawak
  • international school breaks
  • Indonesia’s school holidays are in July
  • Philippine’s school holidays are in April
  • Christmas season for Western countries (Europe, America)

Avoid those periods and you will probably save 20%. This strategy will be useful for self-employed, and those travelers without kids.

4. Choose flights at odd hours, mid-day or mid-week

  • choose day-time tickets for long hour flights
  • week day fares are cheaper than weekends
  • mid-day flights during the middle of the week are normally cheaper as well

Night time flight from KL to London is 21% more expensive than the day time tickets from MAS, as shown in the booking above.

5. Look out for promotions

I think you are very familiar with AirAsia’s promotion. There are free tickets to be grabbed from time to time. The easiest way to get informed of relevant promotion is to sign up for the airline’s newsletter.

6. Go Online

Always shop around and do some comparison before you book the air tickets. The best way to do so is search for the information from Google, before you login at the airlines homepage. A great website to do the comparison is Expedia.

You don’t have to buy a direct flight from Kuala Lumpur all the time. Plan your journey and you will be able to get a cheaper route.

7. Transit with Middle-Eastern Carriers

Middle East carriers generally offer competitive prices for travelers heading to Europe because places like Dubai, Daho and Bahrain are not favourite stops for Malaysians.

For example, round trip from London to Kuala Lumpur is GBP 400.80 (RM2818.79) by Gulf Air. You save more than RM1000 per trip.

I highly recommend that you read Personal Money magazine on a regular basis for more money tips.


Personal finance author and trainer

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