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Sunday, April 29, 2012

In the nick of time - thanks to KLIA Express

My CEB called it "Adventure with the (insert unflattering nickname). I call it the second most disastrous travel encounter I'd experienced. The first was when I was due to fly to Melbourne on a 9.20am flight and I woke up at 8.20am. And that trip was to meet my ex-boss for the first time in her home country.

Anyway, this time I screwed up our departure from KL. Kind of. We were in KL the weekend before the last and our flight out was at 9.20pm. As we had flown out of SG on a flight the same time this week, I had assumed that our flight out was 9.20pm without bothering to check the flight itinerary.

So we had a good time shopping around in the afternoon before buying the 6pm bus tickets to KLIA (my bright idea to get tickets early in case they were sold out). Then we back to the Hilton executive lounge to get drinks and some nice chocolates. Something made me look at the flight itinerary in my bag and...MG, the flight tickets were for the 6.45pm flight back. It was 4.55pm then. Guess what saved us?

Oh yes, the KLIA express saved us. My CEB and I ran to KL Sentral (Thank God we were staying at the Hilton KL Sentral) and the earliest KLIA express train was at 5.20pm. While I queued to get the tickets (RM40 each), he went to the bus terminal downstairs to get a refund for the bus tickets (he only got back half the price we paid). The KLIA express train left punctually at 5.20pm and the journey took exactly the 28minutes it promised.

It was our first time on the KLIA express train and we wre glad to find out that it stopped at the basement of KLIA. (The KLIA express train does not go to the existing LCCT at the moment) We ran to the elevator and took the lift up to the 5th floor which was the departure level. As we both were very casually dressed, our flip flops made an embarrassing amount of noise when we ran across the concourse to the jetstar counter.

There wasn't a queue. Because the counter was about to close. The staff told us they were due to close in 1 min. The problem with flying budget airlines is that the counter tends to close 40-45mins before departure as stated on the itinerary unlike other airlines which have counters open almost 24-7. Also, there is no refund for budget airlines' tickets if you miss the flight. Although it cost us SGD46 for a round trip ticket to KL (including all taxes), it would have cost us a lot more to buy a ticket to fly back at the last minute.

It took almost half an hour for all the adrenaline to flow back out of my system after the mad rush to get the airplane tickets, clear customs, take the monorail to the departure gate and board the plane - we even had a couple of minutes to sit at the gate area before departure!

Thankfully my CEB wasn't too mad with me but he sure learnt from this experience that coming on a holiday with his (insert unflattering nickname) means that he needs to check the itinerary too instead of having the full extent of his contribution be limited to packing his bag.

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