Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur International Airport

Everything you need to know before departing from or arriving to Kuala Lumpur Airport

Transfer at Kuala Lumpur Airport

David Eiselt updated 3. 11. 2023

Kuala Lumpur is very often the gateway for travellers to Southeast Asia, who use it for its ideal conditions for transit to other locations not only in Malaysia, Thailand or Indonesia.

The airport operates 2 terminals, the first of which is for conventional carriers and the second for low cost carriers such as Air Asia.

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Both terminals are modern, large and well laid out. Both also have a satellite building in the middle of the airport area, accessible only to passengers with boarding passes.

A free automated train runs from Terminal 1 to the satellite building every 3-5 minutes. The ride takes approximately 3 minutes.

From Terminal 2, a pedestrian overpass above the tarmac leads to the satellite building; the walk from security takes approximately 5-10 minutes.

Which terminal?

The terminals are referred to by the numbers 1 and 2, but the former designations "KLIA" for Terminal 1 and "KLIA2" for Terminal 2 still remain.

The buildings are divided according to the airlines that check in at them.

  • Terminal 1 (KLIA) - all airlines except those that check in at Terminal 2
  • Terminal 2 (KLIA2) - Air Asia, Cebu Pacific, Jetstar, Scoot

Transfer between flights

If you are connecting within the same booking at Kuala Lumpur Airport, in the vast majority of cases you do not need to change terminals.

What checks do I go through when transferring?

Be prepared for different types of checks for each type of transfer.

  • International -> International: security check
  • International -> domestic: immigration and security check
  • Domestic -> international: immigration and security check
  • National -> national: no check

Do I have to leave the transit zone when I transfer?

If you have a guaranteed transfer (connecting flight is purchased on one booking), you do not need to leave the transit area.

You only have to leave the transit area if you are not checking in for the connecting flight or if you are changing terminals during the transfer.

Do I need to collect my luggage?

Baggage will be transferred automatically if you have purchased both flights as one booking. This also applies if you are changing from an international flight to a domestic flight or vice versa.

You will only collect your luggage if you combine the transfer on your own from two separate tickets.

What is the average transfer time?

  • International -> International: 40-45 minutes
  • International -> Domestic: 60-70 minutes
  • Domestic -> Domestic: 30 minutes
  • Domestic -> International: 50-60 minutes

Do I need a visa for Malaysia?

If you are transferring between two international flights, you do not go through immigration control and therefore do not need a visa.

How long does the immigration check take?

There are often long lines for immigration checks, however the process tends to be very efficient and you will rarely wait longer than 30 minutes.

Transfer accommodation

If you have a long layover at KLIA but don't want to leave the transit area, there are special transit hotels in both terminals.

Terminal 1 (KLIA)

Terminal 2 (KLIA2)

Transfer between terminals

As transfers between terminals are not common, it is not possible to move between KLIA and KLIA2 via the transit zone. You always have to exit to the outside public area.

A free airport bus runs between the terminals every 15 minutes. The journey takes 10 minutes and the buses run 24/7.

  • Terminal 1 - stop on level 1 by door 4
  • Terminal 2 - stop on Level 1, Transportation Hub, Bay A10

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David Eiselt

David is the founder and CEO of Cestee. He is also an avid traveller with 302 flights and 49 countries visited.

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