Slow coach over fast flying

When I arrived in Kuala Lumpur on late afternoon of Sep 22 after a 5 hr ride by First Coach from Singapore, I called home and was told by mum’s Picky Siti that a Big Name in business had sent me a box Girl Guide cookies.

So, naturally, I texted my thanks to Big Name in business to proffer my suitable thanks for remembering that I’m partial to Girl Guide cookies. That I was i KL etc and would savour them on my return home.

Big Name in business replied: “My pleasure. I m in KL too and at the airport lounge. Have a good flight back.”

Big Name in business had assumed I would fly back.

I wasn’t. In fact, I’ve already stopped flying in and out of KLIA for years, once I discovered First Coach which departs from Novena Square — a short hop and jump from where I live — and arrives at my destination in Bangsar, again a short hop and jump away from PJ Section 5 where I always stay.

The reason? Cost effectiveness.

My return tix to KL on First Coach was $57. It’s risen from $54 but still a lot less than what I would have to pay had I opted to fly, even by the cheapest budget airline and even if I opted for one that goes to Subang instead of KLIA. First Coach return tix is about the cost of a return taxi trip from Changi airport!

Sure it’s about 5 hours on the road, including 5 minutes per stopover on either side of the Second Link and another 20 minutes for a rest stop. Add the time I need to get between coach stations and my starting and ending destinations and it should make a grand 6-hour journey.

Would it be quicker by air?

Flying time is about 1 hour including check-in and immigration clearance. Then add the minimum of 1.5 hours on the road to get from and to airports in Singapore and KL. Add also the 45 minutes to 1 hour one allows one self for the check in at the airport, cos if one arrives too late one may not be allowed to board –(that’s why even Big Name in business was waiting at the airport lounge!)

So the total journey by air including ground transport is 3.5 hours. A grand saving of 2.5 hours. And meaningful enough for many, especially those who besides time-savings want to be able to say they flew rather than go for the obviously cheaper (for which read less classy 😆 ) option of going by road.

I’ve no hang ups myself and not a lot of time constraints, in most instances. Going to KL and back by air isn’t so much faster that I would pay a premium for reducing the travel time. Especially when the premium could add up to the cost of at least two trips by First Coach!

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