Malaysia flights and flight hacks
Flights to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. Book plane tickets to KLIA (KUL) in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia is fully open to international tourism

In April 2022 Malaysia reopened its borders to international visitors, regardless of their vaccination status. Starting 1 August 2022 pre-departure and on-arrival tests are not required for all visitors. There is also no need to obtain travel insurance or undergo quarantine upon arrival.

Travelers may transit via Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) for up to 24 hours as long as they remain airside.

Practical tips

  • If you are flying to Malaysia from abroad, you will most likely land at one of its biggest international airportsits main international airportKuala Lumpur KUL, Langkawi LGK, Kuching KCH, Penang PEN, and Kota Kinabalu BKI.

    These are also the best (and cheapest) airports to fly into Malaysia. As they are used by many airlines serving the same routes, the competition for passengers is fierce, and airfare decreases as a result.
Best airports to fly into Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur KUL, KLIA, KLIA 2, Langkawi LGK, Kuching KCH, Penang PEN, Kota Kinabalu BKI, and Senai JHB
Malaysia has 6 international and 16 domestic airports – Kuala Lumpur KUL, Langkawi LGK, Kuching KCH, Penang PEN, Kota Kinabalu BKI, and Senai JHB among others.
  • Once in Malaysia, take advantage of frequent intercity flights operated by domestic airlines such as Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, AirAsia X, Batik Air, Firefly, MASwings, MYAirline, and SKS Airways. Those in-country carriers typically offer lower fares, operate from smaller airports located closer to city centers (you save on ground transportation) and provide flexible schedules – with a wide range of departure times.
  • Planning to explore the region? Popular destinations near Malaysia can be easily reached with regional low-cost carriers (LCCs) by the likes of Air Arabia, Air India Express, Bangkok Airways, Cebu Pacific, Flynas, Jetstar Airways, Lion Air, Saudia, Scoot, and VietJet Air. If you have a layover in Malaysia and plan to fly only a short distance to one of its neighboring countries, these budget airlines are an excellent way to save money.

Flights to Malaysia
from United States and Canada

  • There are no direct flights from the US or Canada to Malaysia. However, most major hubs in Asia have non-stop flights to Malaysia, as do some larger airports in the Middle East – your journey will have at least one stop.
  • Malaysia is well-served via one-stop flights from North America. Flights to Malaysia with one layover depart from most major North American airports, including Atlanta ATL, Dallas DFW, Denver DEN, Chicago ORD, Los Angeles LAX, Las Vegas DFW, Miami MIA, Seattle SEA, Houston IAH, New York JFK, and San Francisco SFO in the United States and Toronto YYZ, Vancouver YVR, Calgary LAS, and Montreal YUL in Canada.
  • The best airlines to fly to Malaysia from the US and Canada are: ANA, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Etihad Airways, Korean Air, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, and Turkish Airlines. They are top full-service carriers, offering exceptional customer service, in-flight comfort, a generous checked baggage allowance, and reliable customer support channels – all included in the ticket price.

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Flights to Malaysia from Europe

  • There are no direct flights from Europe to Malaysia — you’ll need to get a connecting flight from elsewhere in the Middle East or in Asia. Direct flights options are limited. Currently, only Malaysia Airlines operate non-stop flights to Malaysia from Europe (from London Heathrow to KLIA, around 13 hours flight time). Flying with any other airline involves a change of plane in the Middle East or elsewhere in Asia
  • Airlines that frequently fly from the UK, Germany, France, and other European countries to Malaysia include Air France, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, China Southern Airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, KLM, Lufthansa, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, SWISS, Oman Air, Thai Airways, and Turkish Airlines.
  • Consider departure airports in neighboring countries to increase your chance of spotting the best deal. Especially look for large airports that serve as hubs for multiple airlines. For example, if you live in Western Europe, check air tickets to Malaysia from Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Paris, and Rome. Leverage frequent promotions from European budget carriers like RyanAir, EasyJet, and Eurowings to reach a major hub; from there, take a cheaper long-haul flight to your final destination, potentially saving hundreds of euros.

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Things to know before flying to Malaysia
Airlines flying to MalaysiaAir Arabia, AirAsia, Air China, Air France, Air India Express, ANA, Bangkok Airways, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Cebu Pacific, China Airlines, China Eeastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, EVA Air, Flynas, Garuda Indonesia, IndiGo, Japan Airlines, Jetstar Airways, KLM, Korean Air, Kuwait Airways, Malaysia Airlines, Malindo Air, Lufthansa, Oman Air, Philippine Airlines, Qatar Airways, Saudia, Scoot, Singapore Airlines, SriLankan Airlines, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines, VietJet Air
Malaysian airlinesMalaysia Airlines, AirAsia, AirAsia X, Batik Air, Firefly, MASwings, MYAirline, and SKS Airways
Popular airports in MalaysiaKuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) – Kuala Lumpur
Kota Kinabalu International Airport (BKI) – Kota Kinabalu
Penang International Airport (PEN) – George Town
Kuching International Airport (KCH) – Kuching
Senai International Airport (JHB) – Johor Baru
Langkawi International Airport (LGK) – Langkawi
Miri Airport (MYY) – Miri
Regular price (roundtrip)✈ €700 – €1100 (from Europe)
✈ $800 to $1200 (from USA)

Low-cost flights from Malaysia

Stay ahead of the game. Fly to popular destinations at a fraction of the regular fare.

The cheapest time to fly to Malaysia

Seasons in Malaysia differ from one side of the peninsula to the other. However, December to February and June to August may be considered the high tourist seasons. If you want to visit Malaysia during this time, be prepared to book your tickets well in advance.

The low season is between March and June, when the country experiences the worst rains and low humidity. As the rain tends to drive tourists away, it is the best time to look for cheap flights to Malaysia.

It’s easy (and worth it!) to get to Malaysian Borneo

Malaysia consists of two parts: Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo, divided by the South China Sea. The main cities are in the Peninsular part, while Malaysian Borneo is genuinely an adventure paradise. It has world-famous diving sites in Sipadan and Mabul, trekking and climbing routes at Mount Kinabalu, wild orangutans in Batang Ai National Park, and so on.

The easiest way to get between the two parts is by plane, as the flights are frequent and affordable (around $50 one way). Most flights to Borneo depart from Kuala Lumpur, either from KLIA or KLIA2 terminals, and you can fly directly into Kota Kinabalu in Sabah or Kuching in Sarawak with an average flight time of around 2 hours. Flying from other destinations, such as Langkawi or Penang, will require a layover in Kuala Lumpur.

The routes are served by local budget carriers AirAsia and Malindo Air, and by the national carrier Malaysia Airlines.

Duty-free rules

Malaysia is serious about the duty-free concession. There is a limit for bringing in certain items. Alcoholic drinks such as wine, spirits or beer cannot exceed one liter per person, and you can carry only 200 cigarettes. You are also only allowed to bring three pieces of new clothing and one pair of new shoes.

Anything above those limits must be declared – at the Malaysia airport, head to the Red Lane to declare your goods.

Use low-cost carriers to fly cheap around Malaysia

Flying around the region is relatively inexpensive if you choose local budget airlines. Many Malaysian domestic flights are operated by low-cost carriers AirAsia, Firefly, and MASwings (a subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines).

When flying within Malaysia, many connections between regional airports require a change of plane in Kuala Lumpur – it can make flying less of a time-saver than it might seem.

Next tips

Avoid Malaysian public holidays

Big holidays and events such as Ramadan or Chinese New Year will certainly affect your trip to Malaysia. Accommodation prices during large holidays go up and transportation may be limited. Prices also skyrocket during such national holidays as Hari Merdeka (31 August), Wesak Day (10 May), and Hari Raya Puasa (May). Try to avoid school holidays in May, June and August.

Adjust your travel dates to avoid expensive tickets, or arrive early if you wish to enjoy the festivals in Malaysia.

Know your time zone

When checking flights and airport transfer times, ensure you know the local time zones. The departure/arrival times on your plane ticket to Malaysia and on the boarding pass are based on the time zone of the departure/arrival airport – this also applies to the connecting (layover) airports.

Malaysia observes Malaysia Time (MYT) all year, which is UTC+8 time zone. As a result, clocks in Malaysia are 7 hours ahead of London and 12 hours ahead of New York. MYT does not have an associated daylight saving time.

Avoid currency exchange kiosks at airports

Airports are infamous for making an exuberant amount of money from their currency exchanges due to the extremely high margins, and Malaysian airports are no exception. Airport kiosks usually charge higher fees which are sometimes hidden within the poorer exchange rates they offer – their business is based on charging extra for being a convenient, last-minute option.

Plan ahead and exchange some money for Malaysian ringgits at home.

Long waiting times when calling the helpline?

Social media is usually a faster way to reach the airline when a problem arises. Use Twitter or Facebook Messenger to contact the airline customer service and get a response and solution within minutes (see detailed guides for Emirates, AirAsia, Singapore Airlines, and others).

When it comes to Twitter, there’s one more trick to get in touch with the airline faster: mention the airline in a tweet about your issue (add “@airline_handle”, for example: “@SingaporeAir”). The customer care team will often notice it immediately, ask you for a direct message, and respond privately.

Next tips

Airlines of Malaysia

There are five main airlines in Malaysia that handle most of the international and domestic air traffic.

The national carrier Malaysia Airlines has the status of the country’s flagship and flies to around 80 destinations across Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and North America. While it serves only 15 domestic destinations (including Alor Setar, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Langkawi, Miri, and Penang), other smaller Malaysia airports are covered with help from its subsidiary airlines: FireFly and MASwings. Firefly operates scheduled flights from its two home bases in Penang and Subang, focusing mostly on tertiary cities. MASwings focuses on operating flights between the Malaysian Peninsula and Malaysian Borneo, including inter-Borneo routes within the Sabah and Sarawak states.

AirAsia is the most popular choice when it comes to low-cost airlines. It is based at Kuala Lumpur International Airport and flies to nearly 20 destinations across Malaysia – Alor Setar, Johor Bahru, Kota Bahru, Kuching, Langkawi, Penang, Sandakan, and others.

Batik Air (formerly known as Malindo Air) is a hybrid airline owned by Lion Air Group. The airline is best known for connecting destinations in Malaysia with destinations in Indonesia (it flies to Ambon, Bali, Banda Aceh, Bandung, Batam, Medan, Pekanbaru, and others).

Flights to Malaysia
from Australia and New Zealand

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Flights to Malaysia
from major hubs in Asia

  • Asia is probably the best continent for short-haul and mid-haul flying. The sheer scale of this most populous region on Earth is reflected in the type of aircraft operating many shorter routes: intra-Asia flyers benefit from comfortable, wide-bodied aircraft by the likes of Boeing 777, 787 or Airbus A350, A330, and A380. When booking your flight to Malaysia look for these bigger planes as they will almost always give you the best experience in every cabin, including better seat pitches, higher ceilings, and larger overhead bin space.
  • Asia is also home to most of the world’s best airlines. There are only ten airlines that received the prestigious 5-star mark of quality from Skytrax, and all of them are from Asia: ANA, Asiana Airlines, Cathay Pacific, EVA Air, Garuda Indonesia, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines. Choosing one of these airlines for your trip to Malaysia will guarantee a pleasant journey – delicious meals served during the flight, great in-flight entertainment, and above-average airline customer service.
  • Asia is extremely well served by low-cost regional airlines. If you are visiting Malaysia and want to see several other countries on a tight budget, they often have great sales with rock-bottom prices, while still offering a relatively comfortable flight experience. Among the best Asian budget airlines you can book without hesitation are AirAsiaCebu Pacific, Citilink, FlyDubai, Indigo, Jetstar Airways, Scoot, SpiceJet. The cons? Being no-frills airlines they may not provide free baggage allowance, inflight meals, or onboard entertainment. The departure times may also be quite inconvenient as they try to save money by flying at off-peak hours.

40–80% off flights to Malaysia
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Flights to Malaysia dataset