Going back to my hometown in Ipoh used to be a long and dreaded 8 hours journey by coach. Hence, my ‘balik kampung’ (meaning: return home) trip was always very tiring. Imagine spending 8 long hours on the road, with an active toddler and bringing my entire luggage to be checked through two immigration counters. It was a nightmare!
Firefly, who billed itself as “Your Community Airline“, started flying the Ipoh-Singapore route since July 2009. The new ATR 72, which is a 72-seater aircraft, takes off from Changi Budget Terminal and lands at the Sultan Azlan Shah airport. The flight duration is only 1.5 hours. It was indeed good news to me!
Five things I like about Firefly:
Unlike other budget airlines, Firefly provides free refreshments (fruit juices, coffee or tea) and snacks (bread, cake, peanuts etc) as well as free 20kg baggage allowance for check-in baggage.
The seats and leg rooms are more spacious than Air Asia (not sure about other budget airlines).
The seats on-boards Firefly are leather seats and they can be reclined quite comfortably.
With the small number of passengers, boarding the plane is smooth and easy. Don’t have to worry about long queues!
Soft background music is played throughout the journey. It makes the whole flying experience more enjoyable and fun.
The ATR 72 is a twin-engine turboprop short-haul regional airliner built by the French-Italian aircraft manufacturer ATR. Passengers are boarded using the rear door as the front door is used to load cargo only. Being a ‘light’ plane, ATR-72 flies at a lower altitude and thus it is more exposed to clouds and turbulence. As a result, the flight can be slightly bumpy on bad weather conditions.
Another problem is that the sound from the engine can cause minor discomfort during take-off but it only lasted for about a minute or two. Little Edison didn’t make any complaint, thus I can conclude that it isn’t that bad after all.
Last thing to note is that the overhead compartment is much smaller as compared to those on Boeing 737. You can only put in your handbags or laptop bags. Thus, I would advise you to check-in all your luggage bags to avoid inconvenience.
One common question that people ask me about Firefly is the noise from the propeller. It’s actually not loud or irritating as some people described. If you dislike sitting next to the propeller, please avoid line 5 and 6 when you’re making seat selection online.
This is my second trip home via Firefly. I paid RM1000+ on my first trip (two-way for 3 passengers) and about RM400+ on my second trip. You can see the huge price difference here. The fare price for Firefly is not as low as Air Asia, that’s for sure. The earlier you book, the cheaper you get. Do check out Firefly website or Facebook for their offers and promotions.
All in all, I really enjoy flying with Firefly. It makes my ‘balik kampung’ trip so fast and hassle-free. I couldn’t ask for more.