Airport Review – KLIA2
So, here I sit at Gloria Jean’s in the brand new terminal of Kuala Lumpur International Airport, writing my first ever airport review – well, of this new terminal that opened, as near as I can work out, a week ago on May the second. We received an email two days before our flight on Air Asia that we would not be transiting in the old LCCT (Low Cost Carrier Terminal) as was the norm for Air Asia flights, but the brand spanking new KLIA2, the biggest budget airline terminal in the world! It’s even bigger than KLIA1, a rather state of the art terminal which is one of my favourites.
Then on the flight we were told by the very friendly Air Asia cabin crew that we were to be the first ever flight from Japan to land at KLIA2! Wow! It was actually pretty exciting! And a massive relief – the LCCT was basically a large shed with four food outlets that appeared to have bought their sandwiches from the same catering company, and was pretty hot, always packed, and very small with nowhere to escape and relax. With a seven-hour layover either way with Air Asia heading from Tokyo to Melbourne, this was welcome news, and to be honest, a little exciting.
And now I am here. And to be honest, I feel let down. Let’s get this straight, it is definitely without a doubt a lot better than the LCCT. However, it feels like it opened before it was ready. The flight attendant was pretty excited too, he described it as ‘a shopping mall with an airport attached’. Except, the fact is, a week in it seems only about a quarter of the outlets are open. Now bear in mind that I didn’t check out the area outside immigration, but the information desk said that this was where most of the shops are. It doesn’t even seem that big!
There are more spots for a kip. I confess I lay down at Gloria Jean’s – there’s a nice kind of sofa here and no-one seemed to mind. I didn’t sleep much on the flight. The air conditioning isn’t perfect – but it’s better than LCCT. Getting off the plane, you avoid the long walks now because a gangway greets the plane. At LCCT there was a lot of walking – usually 500 metres or more from the plane to the terminal.
Still. The place has been open a week and the floors are filthy. There’s a lot of carpeting, and it looks worn – like it’s 20 years old. And there’s dust and dirt, and it doesn’t appear to have been vacuumed since it opened. Window ledges have names written in the thick dust that sits on them. Presumably the dust is from the completion of building, rather than Father Time, but still! There are only a couple of ATMs, with plenty of slots for new ones.
Tables in the general seating area remain uncleared for hours. Here at Gloria Jean’s or at McDonald’s it’s ok, but in the public areas it’s diabolical! I even saw a bunch of cigarette butts in a pot with a native Malaysian tree in it! And the toilets! There are more than at LCCT, a MAJOR blessing, but – no toilet paper in some, very dirty, and I went into one before and saw basically every stall clogged or covered in shit. Sorry. It had to be said. When they do clean the toilets (this was a complaint I had at the LCCT too) they just spray water everywhere. The floor, toilet seats and walls are sopping wet. In contrast, the KLIA-1 terminal, which I visited last year, is almost spotless.
I guess I need to remember that it is a low-cost carrier terminal still. There’s an apple shop open called ‘Machines’, a WH Smiths, an eye place and a jewellery place. The prices are not cheap. Not horrifically expensive, but not cheap. As the guy said – it’s a shopping mall with an airport attached, so you’d expect better. I’ve been to KL, the shopping malls are generally much cleaner and presentable than this place. Some of the fittings are already coming loose as well, the plastering job is pretty average, it looks rather temporary.
Oh – but the PA system is good, a vast improvement on the one at LCCT, where your eardrums got assaulted at every announcement. Again – it’s a terminal for low cost carriers. So we can’t expect perfection. Air Asia, as always, are an outstanding low cost airline and have a great range of destinations. Wish they would reinstate their flights to Europe! Sadly, for all the hype – and I expect things will improve over time – this KLIA2 terminal has been a disappointment, albeit it is much better than the previous one. I’d give it one and a half stars out of five.
In three hours, it’s time for the second part of the leg. Folks – I am almost home. Tomorrow’s Sunday Spotlight will take you to Cameroon, so stay tuned!