When I was in the first three years of university, I flew from Kota Kinabalu to Johor’s Senai Airport on AirAsia. From the airport, I usually take a private cab into Singapore for a princely sum.
Of course I had a choice of flying directly into Changi Airport but it was an expensive choice of SilkAir.
When AirAsia finally flew from KK to Singapore directly, I was ecstatic. I remember saying “goodbye” to Senai Airport, adding, “We’ll never see each other again.”
Unfortunately, I did see Senai again.
I took an AirAsia flight from JB back home to Sabah during the Christmas break back in 2012. It was more than S$100 cheaper per trip compared with flying directly to or from Singapore. (RM284 [SG$115] vs ~S$250).
Compared to 4 years ago, AirAsia has made it convenient for passengers in Singapore to go to Senai. There’s a bus from JB’s CIQ to Senai. The bus journey is about 40 minutes and a pleasant ride.
When I was on the way to the airport, I asked the driver about the number of passengers who have taken the shuttle. He counted in his head and said, “13. And that’s a good number. It’s the weekend, you see.”
On the way to the airport, there were 3 passengers. On my way back to JB, there was only me. I have a feeling AirAsia might cancel the shuttle any time.
Since I had the chance to experience flying to Senai and to Changi, I will list down the pros and cons for you to decide.
Pros and cons of Senai and Changi
- Tickets are cheaper than flying directly into Singapore
- Marry Brown fast food at the airport
- Less crowded at airport
- Transport to Senai and CIQ by AirAsia
- Extra travelling time to JB or Singapore (depending on traffic)
- Nothing much at airport
- Free transport only available once every 2 hours
- Shorter travelling time
- Cool things to do
- Tickets are usually more expensive
If you are still undecided, here are some factors to take into consideration when buying your JB/Singapore ticket:
- Total price difference (Remember to count in transport fees from Senai into Singapore. It doesn’t make sense if your transport fees are similar to airtickets savings.)
- Time to travel to airport (You will probably be travelling for an extra 2+ hours depending on your SIngapore location.)
- Wait for SkyShuttle bus (Buses come 2-hourly) [Check out the schedule here]
- Getting to location in Singapore (Do you have too much luggage? Do you really want to drag them from Malaysia to Singapore?)