- Book your air travel as far in advance as possible. Generally you can expect airfare to go up every two weeks as you move toward your departure time, and daily within a month of your departure date.
- Kayak.com is our favorite search site for international tickets, but when flying between Southeast Asian destinations, look at the airlines' Web sites directly. And in our opinion, Orbitz and Expedia are simply pains
- Enroll in frequent flier programs and fly the same airline whenever you can. Those frequent flier miles really do add up, and if there is not a huge difference in ticket price, go with the same airline. Two trans-Pacific flights on the same airline can often add up to a free domestic USA ticket since a one-way trip to Southeast Asia from the USA West Coast will be around 10,000 miles (award domestic tickets usually start at about 25,000 miles).
- Ensure you check the baggage allowance for your ticket, particularly if you are traveling budget. Many flights on the airlines below will have a 20 kilograms (about 44 pounds) check-in baggage limit, and you can expect to pay about $20 per kilogram over. It can be an expensive and unpleasant suprise to learn your overweight luggage is more than your budget plane ticket.
- Don't fly an airline with an antiquated fleet, and when you can avoid it don't fly budget carriers. Old airplanes equal SCARY. Also, budget airlines are saving money somewhere--pilot compensation, additional nonessential maintenance, et cetera. Look for younger fleets, also, as newer airplanes are generally more reliable.
By far the two best airlines servicing this area are Malaysian Airlines and Singapore Airlines, but they both tend to be more on the expensive side. Malaysian Airlines is modernizing its fleet to replace some 737-400s which would have been produced from 1984 to 2000. Singapore Airlines has one of the youngest fleets of any major commercial airline. In keeping with its policy of maintaining a young fleet, which stands at an average of 6 years 7 months as at 24 January 2010, it renews its fleet frequently.
4 flights within ASEAN for MYR 1049 (around $350 USD). This is a great deal. Good for six months, you can use it to book flights in the Malaysia Airline network to destinations in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar.
Another airline to consider is Jet Airways. While primarily serving India, it does connect India with many Kuala Lumpur and Singapore and codeshares with Malaysian Airlines. If flying these routes, you should check out both Web sites--often Jet Airways beats the Malaysian Airlines' price. Jet Airways also have a very young fleet, but the service on these connecting flights is, unfortunately, dismal and not what you would expect from Malaysian Airlines.