Should you fly from JB Senai Airport or Singapore Changi Airport?

When I was in the first three years of university, I flew from Kota Kinabaluto 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. 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 2-hourly bus from JB’s CIQ to Senai. The bus journey is about 40 minutes and a pleasant ride.

AirAsia Sky Shuttle
AirAsia Sky Shuttle

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

Senai Airport
Cruel fate

Senai Airport


  • Tickets are cheaper than flying directly into Singapore
  • Marry Brown fast food at airport
  • Less crowded at airport
  • Free transport to Senai and CIQ


  • Extra travelling time to JB or Singapore (depending on traffic)
  • Nothing much at airport
  • Free transport only available once every 2 hours
Changi Airport
Changi Airport

Changi Airport



  • 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)
  • Getting to location in Singapore (Do you have too much luggage? Do you really want to drag them from Malaysia to Singapore?)

Have you flown from JB airport instead of Singapore? How was your experience?

4 thoughts on “Should you fly from JB Senai Airport or Singapore Changi Airport?

  1. Thank you for the article. I saw the price difference is significant, so I am planning to go back to Germany (Frankfurt) from Australia (Perth) over JB and KL. I definitely need to land in Singapore, so I was looking for a bus that takes me directly from Changi to Senai. As far as I know, there is only a direct bus to JB Sentral and I would need to switch onto another bus to Senai. I might even stay in JB for a few days to relax before I continue flying. However, if the transfer from Changi to Senai is smooth without hassle, I would prefer to fly to KL straight away and have some days off there.

  2. Hi YQ,

    Where do I take the bus from JB CIQ? Is it at the bus terminal just before entering CIty Square where there are buses going to other parts of Johor Bahru?

    Cos I was there today and I saw the information board with the word “senai airport” Think it was bus CWA. but i didn’t see a bus with the CWA plate..

    1. I went to the link u gave provided by AIrAsia … the webage is gone … so is this service still running?

      1. Here’s an update from the bus company:
        Dearest AirAsia Guest,

        Please be informed that the AirAsia Free Sky Shuttle Service (operated by Causeway Link) from Singapore – Senai Airport will not be available after 30/06/2015.
        The bus service will be named as Senai Airport Shuttle Service (CWA). Causeway Link Bus Service will continue to provide an affordable travel for all commuters from JB Sentral to Senai Airport (or vice versa). The attachment is the latest bus schedule for our services, and we do hope to serve you better in the coming days.

        Important Notice:
        1) On 1st July onward, our bus service will only operate from JB Sentral instead of Malaysia Immigration CIQ. Hence, the advance booking which has been redeemed to travel free is only from JB Sentral to Senai International Airport. ( *The service does not include the trip from Singapore to Malaysia CIQ )

        2) The ticket price is RM8.00 from JB Sentral to Senai International Airport or vice versa. If you are travelling to and fro Singapore, you may get more information by visiting our bus guide:

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