Review of Malaysia Airlines flight Kuala Lumpur Penang in Business

Airline Malaysia Airlines
Flight MH1140
Class Business
Seat 3A
Aircraft Boeing 737-800
Flight time 00:35
Take-off 05 Nov 16, 11:35
Arrival at 05 Nov 16, 12:10
MH   #45 out of 139 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 189 reviews
AARashid
By 2349
Published on 27th November 2016
Hello and 'Selamat datang'. Today I shall report on my flight to penang. Having not flown for quite sometime, I was terribly excited for my next flight. Having want to enjoy the journey as well as the destination, i opted for a full service carrier. Since I have yet to fly their relatively new 737-800 in business i chose the flag carrier of Malaysia. As it happens, Malaysia airlines had an unbeatable deal on this flight, total i had to pay was Rm241.00 (USD55.00) for a one way trip to the food heaven that is Penang Island, Malaysia. Thought i'll share my experience.


Flight details

Airlines: Malaysia Ailines
Class: Business
Reg: 9M-MSB
Aircraft: Boeing 737-8H6
Departure: Kuala Lumpur International Airport (WMKK)
Arrival: Penang International Airport (WMKP)
Flight number: MH1140
Date: 5th November 2016
Total time: 45 minutes



The journey to the airport

The airport i'll be departing out of was Kuala Lumpur International Airport or KLIA (WMKK/KUL) as its known here. Since it was the weekend and i had time to spare I decided to take the Train. The ERL (express Rail Link) connects Kuala Lumpur City Centre to Kuala Lumpur International Airport and serves as the only rail transport connecting to KLIA. There are 2 services on offer, KLIA Transit and KLIA Express. The later is a nonstop 28 minute service from KL Sentral (Kuala Lumpur) to KLIA. What is worth pointing out, you may Check-in at KL Sentral instead of KLIA if you wish to do so but only on Malaysia Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways and Etihad Airways. I have used this service and it did save me from having to queue at the airport at peak hour. Thankfully, today, i'll be travelling from home, plus its the weekend.


photo dsc_1855
Siemens Desiro ET


photo dsc_1856photo dsc_1859



The flight is scheduled to depart at 11.15am, deciding to take it slow and easy i leave my house at 7.00am. I'm use to leaving work almost an hour earlier which makes leaving home at this time feeling alien to me. The drive to the closest ERL Station (Putrajaya) from home would take approximately 15 minutes. Parking there can get pretty crowded during the weekdays but not today as it was a Saturday. At a daily parking rate of RM4.00 (USD0.90) it is my default choice for parking the car for any trips out of KLIA. Putrajaya is one of 3 stops the KLIA ERL transit makes travelling to and fro KL Sentral and the Airport. Service starts as early as 4.30am from KL Sentral and ends at Midnight. While in the opposing direction service starts at 5.48am and the last train departs at 1.00am. Frequency varies between 2 and 4 an hour depending on time of travel and service taken. My Journey from Purtajaya to KLIA will take 18 minutes at a cost RM9.40 (USD2.13). Im quite a big fan of this train. The interior is well appointed but starting to look dull. It does suffer from hunting oscillation at speed but as long as you sit in the middle of the carriage away from the bogies, it is refined.


photo dsc_1861photo dsc_1863



Kuala Lumpur Inernational Airport (KLIA)

The train connects to both airport terminals, KLIA (Main building terminal) and KLIA2 (Low cost terminal). Malaysia Airlines departs from KLIA. The train station is located at the lowest floor inside the airport terminal. A quick ride on the lift or escalator will deposit you at the check-in counters. There is a dedicated check-in row for Malaysia Airlines Business and First class passengers. Premium Check-in offers a less crowded check-in area with carpet and seats. There was only a handful of attendants at the counters as it wasn't busy. I did not need to queue and the check-in process was over in 2 minutes





The walk to the domestic security took just as long. I presented my boarding pass, went through security and took the escalator down which will bring you to duty free shops. Since most of KLIA's floor was granite and marble, the carpeted walkway through the duty free shops made it feel cosy. Once you exit the duty free area, turn right, walk for about a hundred metres and Malaysia Airlines Domestic Golden Lounge should be on your left. This will be the first time I visited the lounge since it was renovated a few years ago so i was eager to find what has changed. It use to be opened exclusively for Business passengers of Malaysia Airlines but the lounge now accepts One world sapphire and above as well as holders of certain credit cards.



Lounge

photo dsc_1890photo dsc_1891


I presented my boarding pass at the counter and was invited in with a warm smile. Not much has changed but new furnitures and some fittings. The overall layout is similar. The best feature of this lounge is the uninterrupted view of the tarmac. You're situated right next to the Apron. I was lucky enough to have the Malaysia Airlines Retro Livery on the Boeing 737-800 parked next to the lounge. Any aviation geek would approve of the views. The lounge itself is pretty basic. Everything seems adequate, from the choices of food to the facilities provided. There are plenty of seating and those huge windows let in plenty of natural light. What is note worthy are a lack of Charging points at the seating area so charging your electronic device while in use is not possible.





There wasn't a lot of food options available. There's a noodle bar, a Nasi lemak station, some salad, cereal, pastries and fruit. Choices of beverage are also limited to a rudimentary coffee machine, apple juice, orange juice and a drinks fountain. None of the food were especially good but to be honest it wasn't that bad either. I'm struggling to describe how they tasted since they were all consistently average. Unmemorable is a good way to describe the overall food experience. Staff were also quite polarising, the chef who helmed the noodle bar was extremely friendly while others wouldn't even acknowledge you even when you talk to them. At certain times you can see groups of lounge staff bunched up together while at other times they all went missing. They were also slow to clear plates and refill cutlery. The cutlery tray had to be empty before they came to fill them up. Some of the hot dishes were replaced even though it was more than half full. The pastry was cold and when i requested for it to be warmed up, one of the attendants told me to turn on the toaster and put it on that. On the plus side, the chocolate puff pastry was alright even though one side was hot and the other cold. I could have had a properly warm pastry but just took too long to warm up plus it would have been rude to hog the toaster. I do miss the small sandwiches they use to serve but hey, you cant have everything in life.





To be fair to Malaysia Airlines, i like this lounge a lot. Its a peaceful place where one can enjoy relaxing while enjoying the view which is exactly what i did. The views are amazing and the seating comfortable. Other than the screams of a few children the lounge is quiet. There isn't much to do but its there isn't much more i wanted to do. I didn't even visit the toilets. I spent a good 2 hours at the lounge. There was an increase of people later into the morning but the lounge was far from full. Showering facilities are available though i didn't get to try that out. There is also a pay spa but i didn't ask what services they offered. Free WiFi was available and like pretty much everything else in the lounge, it was decent. Wasn't blazing fast but it was enough to stream videos on my phone. I wonder how it'll hold up once the lounge is full of people. There are a number of international papers available at the entrance but i didn't sample any of them as you'll be given newspapers while boarding the plane. To the far end of the lounge, there is another buffet island with coffee and dry finger food. No need to walk far to refill my coffee.


photo dsc_1914photo dsc_1920photo dsc_1927


Soon it was time to board. It was a 10 minute walk to the boarding area. Once we arrived, boarding has yet to begin and the boarding area was congested. I therefore decided to continue wandering around the terminal while waiting for boarding to commence. Walking to one end to sample more of the gorgeous views of the tarmac KLIA has to offer only to have realise 20 minutes has passed. I quickly rushed back to the boarding area to find the area empty except for two agents at the gates. I missed the priority boarding but it was a fault of my own. Having checked my boarding pass, i quickly hurried along to join a queue at the aero bridge. The flight seemed full. This was a positive sign for Malaysia Airlines who haven't been doing too well over the past few years.


photo dsc_1933photo dsc_1939



The Plane

Malaysia Airlines uses Boeing 737-800s for most regional and domestic routes, Today i will be flying on 9M-MSB, a 3 year old 737-8h6. Seating capacity is 160 with 144 in Y and the rest in Business.
photo flight details
Information courtesy of FlightAware

photo plane details



Cabin

On entering into the cabin, I was greeted by Boeing's sky interior which creates a wonderfully inviting atmosphere. I was also greeted by 3 flight attendants. Some may find the blue of the seats against the white walls clinical but i was quite fond of it. The cabin was clean and smelt of lime with lemon grass. Malaysia Airlines has 4 rows of Business Class seats in the 737. Which seats 4 a breast. Load Factore in Business was good. 15 of the 16 seats were filled. Upon seating, a cold towel was distributed and the flight attendant gave me a choice of welcome drinks. I took a Malaysia airline staple, Pink Guava. Sweet and refreshing. I had a window seat in 3A.



Welcome drinks. Pink guava. Delicious but a little too sweet for me.


Chunky control for seat recline and foot rest. A bit hard to operate but built well.

photo dsc_1962


I didn't have much time to browse through the IFE. Quality of the screen is average. The screen was not bright enough and reflected the brightly lit cabin. No earphones where given on this flight and the response time of the IFE was frustrating. The entertainment box also robbed some legroom. Once the front passenger reclined his seat, the screen tilted to an awkward angle and rocked through out the flight. I was too busy enjoying the view so i left the route map on.





There are a total of 16 business class seats in the 737. From a far the seat looks pretty decent but on closer inspection it feels a little cheap. The seat material was shiny and slippery. It felt more like PVC than leather. Once seated, for me at least, it got worse. You're perched up high from the floor. The seat felt like a thrown. Which was fine but crucially for some one who spends most of the time looking out of the window, my eye line was above the window. As a result i had to duck to get a decent view. It got even worse when taxiing, i felt a little dizzy as my main view was tarmac passing by. The seat width is reportedly 21 inches but the IFE remote was poking into my thigh. It was very uncomfortable. There was a small additional pull out tray from the centre arm rest, for drinks i presume BUT my thighs rendered it useless. Thankfully the armrest were very comfortable. Padding was very soft and the material seem to be of a higher quality than the ones used for the seat. Plus, there is a sizable table with more than enough room for the welcome drinks and a face towel. Legroom too was decent 42 inches.


Inflight meal


Even though we spent 35 minutes flying, a meal was provided. Kudos to Malaysia Airlines for providing a meal on such a short flight and a good meal at that. The service was well coordinated and done professionally. Top Marks to the flight crew. Everyone received their meals within minutes of each other.

photo dsc_1965

I had Malaysia Airlines famous chicken satay sticks. Served with nasi impit (cubes of rice) and peanut sauce. Dessert was a small chocolate sweet. The satay was very well marinated. It might not be as delicious as some satay food stall you get on the ground in Malaysia but it was good nonetheless.

photo dsc_1966photo dsc_1967
food was washed down with soda water.

photo dsc_1969
I love the details of the glass.



Penang International Airport

I arrived Penang just passed noon. Business class passengers are given priority to disembark. Once the business class cabin is empty will the passengers in economy are allowed to disembark. I pity the flight attendant who stood at the partition curtain between the economy and business class closed. People where impatient to get off the plane. One man even popped his head out only to stare at me while i disembarked. He didn't look too happy having to wait for business class passengers to disembark. I didn't have any luggage checked-in and was out of the terminal in 15 minutes.



See more

Verdict

Malaysia Airlines

7.4/10
Cabin6.0
Cabin crew9.5
Entertainment/wifi6.0
Meal/catering8.0

Malaysian Airlines Golden Lounge Regional

6.3/10
Comfort8.5
Meal/catering5.0
Entertainment/wifi5.5
Services6.0

Kuala Lumpur - KUL

8.5/10
Efficiency9.0
Access8.5
Services8.5
Cleanliness8.0

Penang - PEN

5.8/10
Efficiency6.0
Access5.0
Services6.0
Cleanliness6.0

Conclusion

It was a solid flight with Malaysia Airlines. The booking process was simple. The crew were exemplary. They even offered a meal on such a short flight. In my opinion, Malaysia Airlines could improve their hard products. The seats and lounge are a good place to start. A small investment could do wonders to the overall product on offer. Amazing considering the price of the ticket. Looking forward to my next flight with them.

Information on the route Kuala Lumpur (KUL) Penang (PEN)

6 Comments

Login to post a comment.