Airlines

Trip Reports: Penang to Koh Samui

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To recap, during our 24 hours in Penang,we’d had a failed tour but an awesome stay at the Campbell House hotel. Now it was time to leave Malaysia and start the second week of our trip in Koh Samui, Thailand.

Firefly was one of the few airlines offering a direct flight from Penang to Koh Samui, and though the price wasn’t the $o + taxes fare I’d found to Penang, it was still a decent $100. Having stressed through the entire check in and boarding process of the first flight for fear of being charged for overweight luggage, we were prepared this time.

Firefly Check In Penang Airport

Sort of. Since carry on size and weight didn’t seem to be high enforced, we packed those bags full to make sure our checked bags stayed under the 20kg limit. Even having reconciled ourselves to paying for extra kgs if needed, we were still anxious as we waited in the long line to check in.

I don’t know why, it wouldn’t have been the end of the world if we’d had to pay an additional $25 each for our bags, but for some reason we both had it fully ingrained that having to pay should be avoided.

Anyway, once we got to the desk, check in went smoothly and we were soon making our way to the gate, surcharge free. Only to launch a new stress.

Firefly Gate Penang Airport

When we got to the gate, there was Air Asia signage everywhere. Hmmm. That wouldn’t have been as big a deal if there hadn’t also been Air Asia gate reps instead of the Firefly agents we were expecting. Boarding time came — the Air Asia folks removed all their signage and left. People in the gate area started to look nervous. Finally someone wearing Firefly colors ran up and started moving us from the current waiting area to another in preparation for boarding.

The hour long flight was quite smooth, other than some screaming tourist children. We were awake for most of it and got to sample the free snacks of a banana muffin or a pack of peanuts.

Getting through Koh Samui immigration once we landed was a little more tedious though. The airport is open air and we were loaded on to very festive trams and taken to the immigration section where we stood in the humid heat for at least 45 minutes as everyone was processed (no pictures allowed).

Koh Samui Airport Plane Tram

Signage wasn’t great and they only had two people working the counter (since there are so few flights in and out), but eventually we made it through. The bright side to it taking so long was our luggage was already waiting for us. We grabbed a cart and made the long hike from the baggage area to where taxis and hired drivers wait. I’d booked a transfer through Samui Explorer for 850 baht only a 1/3 as much as the Intercontinental hotel charged.

So I realize I spent very little time talking about the flight — mostly focusing on the check in and immigration policy. That’s because it went well once I got over my luggage stress! Firefly isn’t quite as plush as JetBlue, but they’re much better than low-cost carriers, next time I’m in Malaysia I’ll definitely fly them again (I’ll just pack lighter)!

More posts from the trip:

Checking In and Air France Lounge at IAD
Korean Airlines First Class IAD-ICN
Hyatt Regency Incheon: Great Service, Hard Beds
Accidentally Seeing Seoul Like a Native
Tight Quarters at the Park Hyatt Seoul
Worth a Hike — Bukchon Hanok Village
Checking In for a Flight from Downtown Seoul 
Korean Airlines First Class Lounge Incheon Airport
Korean Airlines First Class Seoul to Kuala Lumpur
You Don’t Get Massaged By a Blind Paralympic Everyday...
Great Value at the Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur
Flying Firefly Airlines from Subang to Penang
Is Penang Hill Worth It?
Tour Bust in Penang
Campbell House: the Highlight of Penang

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Living for the little (and big things) that make life so fun, especially mistake deals and crazy last minute weekend mileage runs across the world. www.twitter.com/klatravel

2 Comments

  1. Levy Flight

    July 23, 2014 at 2:06 am

    I remember when Ko Samui was just a small airstrip with a baggage claim under a open walled roof the size of a bus shelter. Not sure I want to go back. Has development been thoughtfully done?

    • Keri Anderson

      July 23, 2014 at 2:31 pm

      It’s quite interesting. Everything is very far apart and walking from the check in area to security you go through a strip of outdoor stores very reminiscent of Downtown Disney. The gates are a series of connected cone-shaped, hut-like open air structures. I’d not been to an airport quite like it.

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