(This is not a paid advertisement. I wish it was!)

One of the ways low cost carriers achieve their cheap fares is by cutting out the middle-man. When flying with a low cost carrier, you book your ticket directly with them online, do your own check in, and even print out your own boarding pass.

Meanwhile, I needed to book a ticket for KUL-CGK. I usually fly this sector on KLM as it has decent flight hours and for a full service airline the fares (around MYR300-400 return, if you book early) are quite reasonable compared to low cost carriers. But most importantly, it departs from KLIA Main Terminal, which I prefer at it is a lot less hectic than KLIA2. But this time -- due to a last minute decision to fly -- the return fares were reaching MYR1800.

So I compared a few other airlines, and I found that Lion Air had quite a lot of flights suitable and many seats were still on promotional rates. So I picked a flight and proceeded to check out. The total fare came up to MYR480.10:

It was then that I noticed something strange. In one of my other windows, I had also selected some flights via Traveloka, a travel agent that services multiple airlines. This is what they quoted me:

For the exact same flight and time, both ways, the fare if booked via Traveloka was MYR380.29 -- almost MYR100 less than booking directly with Lion Air.

The last time I booked a flight on Traveloka was when flying MAS ... for some reason or other, the MAS online booking site -- which I found terribly unfriendly -- would return an error just before confirming your booking. So to be able to secure the already limited seats I ended up booking on Traveloka, which was a little bit more expensive but could at least accept by booking. But interestingly, today ... booking through Traveloka came up cheaper than booking directly with the airline!

Now you would think saving MYR100 (around 20% discount) would be great already, but when I checked out, the Traveloka site took a bit longer while "checking seats with the airline ..." and suddenly popped up this message:

"Airline system has just updated the basic fare from MYR380.29 to MYR366.49. Please review the price details on this page. This may be caused by change in seat capacity and currency rate."

So ... an additional MYR14 off !