The high prices of direct flight tickets are forcing many Malaysians staying in China to take long transit flights to return home to Malaysia for Chinese New Year (CNY).
According to a report in The Star, economy class tickets for direct flights from Beijing to Kuala Lumpur cost at least RMB2,700 (RM1,700), more than triple the usual price of such tickets.
Taking transit flights are cheaper but take up a tremendous amount of time. Someone taking a transit flight from Beijing may take as long as 24 hours to reach Malaysia.
Nevertheless, the Malaysians who make the long journey home feel it is worth all that trouble just to be home for the CNY reunion.
Film director Michael Wong, who took almost 13 hours to reach Kuala Lumpur after a transit in Hong Kong, said: "It was tiring but worth it because I get to see my family, relatives and old friends, not to mention savour all the delicious food.â€
Wong said he did not expect prices of direct flight tickets to rise as rapidly as they did.
Cheryl Liew, from Miri, who will arrive in Malaysia on Saturday, said: "I'm looking forward to it. I miss my family, siblings and Sarawak laksa.â€
Liew also intends to buy skincare products while she is in Malaysia because these are more expensive in China.
Sim Ri Sheng, from Penang, who studies at the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, is looking forward to visiting his old haunts.
"I want to go to the seaside and take a stroll down all the familiar roads. Penang Hill is another place I want to go to watch the sunset and see the night sky.â€
His flight ticket cost RMB700 more than normal, although he bought his ticket in December last year.