Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) At A Glance

I AM warming up on airports. There was a time all I wanted to do with them was LEAVE them as fast as I could, but things have changed a bit. I now view them with wide-eyed excitement, seeing them as a microcosm – a small community of people on the move. It is a “dynamic world” of its own. Of late, I have become more observant of them, checking out nooks and cranny.

Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) is the slick crown in this bustling Muslim capital. I remember a friend’s description of Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 – before the spanking new NAIA Terminal 3 opened to public recently – in comparison to the KLIA: “Our NAIA looks like the KLIA’s dirty kitchen.” Haha! KLIA boasts of clean, wide open spaces that hum with life 24 hours a day. You can shop, dine, worship, check your mails, exchange your dollars to Malaysian ringgit, mail your postcards, take your train or taxi or bus, park your car, or do your business meeting over coffee. And you can take those photographs. This place is a relaxing hub of possibilities.
KLIA is located at the Sepang district, in the state of Selangor, some 51 kilometers away from Kuala Lumpur. It's about 20 kilometers away from the LCCT. Yes, KLIA is not in KL. It is capable of handling 35 million passengers. It is also the brainchild of well loved former PM Mahathir. With an area covering 100 square kilometers, what was once an agricultural piece of land soon teemed with construction workers totaling 25,000. It took them 4 ½ years to finish, and by June 27, 1998, it was officially inaugurated. Due to escalating traffic, further expansion is already in the works, and a railway system is even underway to connect KLIA with the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT), which services budget airlines like Air Asia, Cebu Pacific and Tiger Airways. This is great news since LCCT is wanting of so many basic services for its tourists.

The Immigration Counters greet the arriving passengers. Painless and no-frills really.


Though there is a relaxed ambiance upon arrival at the departure area, which is very comforting to a tourist, make no mistake -
security is tight. You will be passing through 2 or 3 x-ray scanners where every item will be scrutinized. I was observing the entry of passengers at the pre-departure area for my flight to Dhaka. I sat at a couch just outside the pre-dep’s entrance and waited for the queue to dissipate. This line took quite a while coz every little thing was carefully checked. Men’s belts, writing pens, bling blings and eyeglasses had to slide through the scanner as well. Ditto with those steel-belted shoes.

Upon arrival from
Chennai, and after getting my passport stamped, I found myself walking with the flow of the crowd that somehow lead me to a “train” – a high-speed train that didn’t take 5 minutes. There was an adrenaline rush of not knowing exactly where this was taking me. I do not remember taking this train from my previous arrival. As I stepped out of it, I asked a girl at a counter who pointed me to the escalator where I could retrieve my baggage. From there, I leisurely pushed my cart out of the airport.

This is the
Eye in the Sky.

Information counter at the Departure Area lobby. To its left and right are the different check-in counters.

Entrance to a Pre-departure Room. Notice the scanning machines. This area will take time so alot enough time for check-in.

Check-in Hall with graceful curves...

Service Hall leading to the corresponding Predeparture Areas. This photo only courtesy of Akira Mitsuda and Wikipedia.

Kuala Lumpur International Airport. This photo only by selbst of wikipedia.


Anonymous said...

thank you for your blog. you inspire me to go back and take pics again during my travels. =)

eye in the sky said...

My pleasure, K. You should document your travels. It's a means of capturing specific moments in your life. Be safe.