Review of Malindo Air flight Kuala Lumpur Kota Kinabalu in Business

Airline Malindo Air
Flight OD1002
Class Business
Seat 3F
Aircraft Boeing 737-900ER
Flight time 02:20
Take-off 22 Sep 16, 07:30
Arrival at 22 Sep 16, 09:50
OD   #110 out of 116 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 35 reviews
Alif A.F.
By 1691
Published on 5th November 2017
Good day everyone,

It has been more than a year since I posted my last flight report here. Today, I am going to post about my trip to Uzbekistan. Stay tuned…

BACKGROUND

My first ever overseas trip since January 2015 came at a rather short notice. The idea of going to Central Asia first came to mind in July 2016 when my aunt and her family paid a visit to our home for the Eid. Whilst talking about family matters and what not, the topic of overseas holiday sure came. We all know my aunt is an avid traveller and whenever we have a family get together she talks about how she is planning to go here and there, visiting the exotic places that we seldom heard of. But, when the price starts to be mentioned, everyone started thinking twice. For several years, she always eager to invite us for a tour of exotic places but the cost does not always justify the intent. Although my parents did follow but that so far that is only for places that are within five hours flying time.

“We are planning for a trip to Uzbekistan this September,” she said. This is not the first time I heard about that country, but it struck a chord in my mind that I may finally have a chance to go for seldom seen places. Immediately, I swipe my smartphone and began searching online to know more about the country. Sure, we all somehow heard this and that countries before, but knowing a bit more detail is always exciting when someone especially in your family begin enticing you on a trip like that.

I didn’t make instant decision that afternoon. I need to sink in whether I should join this trip or not. I promised to my aunt that I will decide later. “You are still young and energetic, this is a great opportunity for you to get out and see places beyond. Not like us elderly, getting harder to walk,” she quipped. Fast forward few days later, I finally decided to join the trip.

When I told my colleagues that I am planning to go to Uzbekistan, I can see bewilderment on their faces. “Uzbeki…what? Which …tan? Where is that? How do you pronounce it? Isn’t there war going on there now?” are all the reactions I got. Quite frankly, mention the countries with the suffix ending with –stan nowadays have a bad connotation in them. Kazakhstan, Pakistan and Afghanistan are way more popularly known and sadly for all the wrong reasons and large part of it have to do with portrayals in mass media, be it news channels or films.

Anyway, my return journey to Uzbekistan involves six flights. The highlights of the trip are my experience on flights in business class with Malaysia Airlines and Malindo Air (recently renamed Batik Air Malaysia) for the domestic leg of the journey and of course my first flight with the seldom heard airline, Uzbekistan Airways. We also took a domestic flight too within Uzbekistan. All will be told in the next six reports. So, stay tuned.


FINAL PART (PART 6)


Hello! This is the last instalment of my journey to Uzbekistan and back. Congratulations for staying put until the very end of this journey.

My flight back to my hometown of Kota Kinabalu (KK) was scheduled to depart at 7.30AM. Since my previous flight arrived at 7.30PM the night before, I stayed in Tune Hotel KLIA2 for further rest. I woke up at 3.30AM, had a shower and repack my bags to ensure everything was in order. This would be my first time travelling on-board Malindo Air (IATA Code: OD), which is a joint-venture company between a rather obscure Malaysian company and Lion Air, which as some of us know by now, the largest LCC carrier in Indonesia and fast becoming a chief competitor to AirAsia Group in ASEAN region. I will be travelling in Business Class.

The airline has since been rebranded as Batik Air Malaysia and the owner claims that Malindo Air (or Batik Air Malaysia, depending which name you prefer) is not a pure LCC but a hybrid one, in the context of Malaysian domestic aviation market, a cross between AirAsia (pure LCC) and Malaysia Airlines (pure FSC). It competes directly with both other Malaysian based carriers in economy (AirAsia) and Business Class (Malaysia Airlines). So, it would be interesting to try the business class product and how it fared compared with MH.

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Location of Tune Hotel branches around the world…


After everything settled, I checked out from my hotel room at about 4.00AM. The lobby was very quiet, devoid of guests except hotel staff. But, before I left the hotel, I also pre-booked a breakfast meal which came as an optional add-on while booking my accommodation online. So, I return the room key and then went straight to the Glass House Café. As I entered the café, there was no one to be seen inside – perhaps I was a bit too early. Luckily, one staff appeared and I informed about my pre-booked meal which was a Nasi Lemak (a traditional Malaysian dish).

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The Glass House Café was empty at around 4.00AM…


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The bar area of the café…


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The ambience is chic and contemporary in my opinion…


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Those glowing globes were eye-catching…



After several minutes, my meal finally came. The Nasi Lemak tasted great and the proportion was respectable too. I also asked for a cup of tea.

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The tea came first…


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Then, the yummy dish…


After finishing my breakfast (which, again was very good BTW), I left the hotel and followed the same path towards KLIA2 terminal heading for ERL station for a short train ride to KLIA1. I arrived at the train station at about 5.00AM and waited for the first train of the day to come. While waiting, suddenly an old lady approached me and asking for direction to KLIA1. I kindly said that the first train hadn’t arrived yet and we still have to wait for it. Since there were only two of us there, I also more inclined to have a chat with her. I was mildly surprised that she would also be in the same flight with me. She said this would be her first time coming back to KK after residing in Peninsular Malaysia for a very long time. Her reason for coming back was to visit a sick relative. Seeing an elderly person like her, I thought I just want to ensure that she got in the train and guided her until arriving at KLIA1.

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The walk from the hotel to KLIA2 can be quite arduous especially if you carry lots of baggage…


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The view of the hotel from the pedestrian bridge linking it to KLIA2…


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ERL station at KLIA2…



The first train finally came and then brought me back to KLIA1. After the short ride, I exited the station and then went straight to departure area at level 5 for check-in.

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The business class check-in counter…


At the counter, the ground agent greeted me nicely requested the usual (my ID card and boarding pass since I checked-in online). I requested my baggage to be put in the cargo hold and I still had a wide margin of reserved baggage weight left. After everything was cleared, the agent then gave me a piece of meal voucher while waiting for my flight. I then realise that since OD didn’t have any dedicated business class lounge, so perhaps this was an alternative way for OD in regards to their business class guest. So, I went to the nearby designated café where the voucher was redeemable and this was what I got in return (photo below). But since I just had my big breakfast at the hotel, I think this was fine after all…

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I redeemed the voucher in return for these…


As soon as I finished the muffin and the beverage, I wasted no time and went straight to the waiting lounge after passing through the usual security and ID checks. Upon arring at the designated gate (Gate B6 to be exact), I gazed through the window towards the dark tarmac and the plane wasn’t there yet.

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It was still dark outside…


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After 15 minutes, the plane which is a Boeing 737-900ER finally arrived at our gate…


Because the plane arrived from somewhere, it took a while for us to wait until all passengers from the previous flight disembarked along with their baggage and the plane’s cabin tidied-up and cleaned for the next journey to KK. At about 7.00AM, the sun began to rise. Passengers for the next flight began to fill the waiting lounge. Soon after boarding was announced starting with Business Class passengers. As I entered the aircraft, the cabin crews greeted me and guided me to my seat. If I could remember, there were only two of us passengers in Business Class section and the Economy Class seemed to be full.

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This is the first time I am on-board a Boeing 737-900ER…


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The cabin crew was busy attending to the other Business Class guest while the aircraft was prepared for take-off…


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One of the cabin crews than approached me politely and offered me some beverage options – in which I opted for orange juice…


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Huge legroom…


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The Business Class section was almost devoid of guests apart from two people (I was one of them)…


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Reclining options in my seat…


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The IFE controller…


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At about 7.30AM, our plane began pushed back and taxied towards runway 34R for take-off…


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We took-off at about 7.40AM on a rather humid morning…


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Overflying Putrajaya, the country’s federal administrative centre…


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We turned right to the east, flying right above this master planned city…


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Weather was cloudy and overcast as we crossed the middle of Peninsular Malaysia towards South China Sea…


Soon after take-off and the plane ascending towards its cruising altitude, the cabin crew then offered me a packet of mixed peanuts and also a headset. Meal service then followed. A crew helped me set the table and laid the table cloth before breakfast arrived.

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A blanket was also provided (as seen in lower edge of the photo above)…


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When the crew offered me a choice of breakfast meal, I didn’t remember which the other one was, but here is my choice…



The meal option was good enough but I think MH is still better in terms of assortment of courses within a tray. However, food is still food and I still managed to finish everything.

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Browsing and exploring the on-board entertainment system…


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The entertainment options are more limited and not extensive compared with MH…


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Among the movie options available…


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The Air Show is quite standard…


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Still a long way to go to KK…


Interestingly, OD also offered on-board internet connection and this specific aircraft has been specifically fitted to offer such service for passenger use.

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Yes, Wi-Fi connection is available at a price…


Out of curiosity, I then turned on my smartphone’s Wi-Fi receiver and immediately it detected the on-board Wi-Fi signal from within the aircraft! But, then to make full use of it, a payment was required and the price offered was USD6.95 for 30 minutes that day. I am not sure what is the pricing nowadays.

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The Wi-Fi is called ‘Malindowifi’…


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Do you all think it is worth paying for such a duration?..


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Another screenshot of the on-board Wi-Fi…


I think internet connection can be the future form of IFEs for passengers in the future. Who knows? Maybe those big TV screens at the back of your seats may be no longer being needed, thus shaving more weight off airplanes. We can instead stream movies online directly to our tablets and smartphones. Just my thought on this…

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Compared to its Indonesian parent, OD covers more international destinations than Lion Air itself…


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Cruising through cloudy weather above South China Sea…


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Crossing above Indonesia’s Natuna islands…


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This island is a common sight for frequent travellers flying back and forth between East and West Malaysia…


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There is an airport on the island, in case you all wondering, long enough for small jetliner like Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s to take-off and land…



Our plane cruised for another 1.5 hours. At about 9.30AM, we began our descent as the plane flew nearer to the shores of Borneo. Since the weather was cloudy, I could barely see the land. And as the crew announced in preparation for landing, the economy class section suddenly became livelier. Since I was seated at 3F which is the last row of Business Class section, the only thing that separated me and the first row of Economy Class section is a thin piece of panel which isn’t soundproof. I could hear passengers seated in the first row of Economy Class section chat with each other at ease.

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Nearing Kota Kinabalu International Airport (BKI)…


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The weather became sunnier and less cloudy…


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Closing in on the coastal area…


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The plane then turned to the left for approach towards Runway 02…


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View of outskirts of Kota Kinabalu…


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We touched down after about 2.5 hours in the air…


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After a short taxi, we stopped at the gate…


So, that is all folks! Thank you very much for staying put and read all my instalments of my journey to Uzbekistan and back! I hope you thoroughly enjoy reading my flight report!
See more

Verdict

Malindo Air

7.8/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew8.0
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Meal/catering8.0

Kuala Lumpur - KUL

8.5/10
Efficiency8.5
Access8.5
Services8.5
Cleanliness8.5

Kota Kinabalu - BKI

8.3/10
Efficiency8.5
Access8.5
Services8.5
Cleanliness7.5

Conclusion

For a price offered on a Business Class that is half of MH’s, OD didn’t disappoint. Yes, the cabin product might be less impressive than what is offered on MH (on regional 4-5 hour flights anyway), this is suffice, in my opinion. Any longer flights than that then might be better off to find other airlines with more superior Business Class offerings (which are plenty, BTW). Cabin crews tried as much as possible to be attentive, and at times do remind me of MH crews (not just the way they dressed, but the manner in which they treat their guests as well).

However, since this particular flight happened more than a year ago, I received many recent reviews about OD and unfortunately not favourable as well. Some members in our local aviation forum lamented that flights are prone to reschedules which can be frustrating. And there is also some confusion as well regarding the Malindo Air branding itself. Some planes are still stuck in Malindo Air’s original livery while newer planes are already donning the Batik Air scheme. And many of you might know that OD had the distinction of being the first airline in the world to receive the Boeing 737 MAX8 which features all economy seats (yes, I saw one taking off from BKI, the plane is so much quieter than all prevalent 737s out there). However, we found out that all MAX8s have all been transferred to Batik Air Indonesia. Some pointed out that an all-economy cabin is not suitable with overall OD’s business strategy and the airline wants to stick to two class cabin offerings.

Information on the route Kuala Lumpur (KUL) Kota Kinabalu (BKI)

2 Comments

  • Comment 418372 by
    Eric V P SILVER 125 Comments

    Thank you for sharing! This report seems to feel quite a bit like my reports on flying with them on business class, but anyway:

    After everything was cleared, the agent then gave me a piece of meal voucher while waiting for my flight. I then realise that since OD didn’t have any dedicated business class lounge, so perhaps this was an alternative way for OD in regards to their business class guest.
    - I'm not sure if they differentiate the offerings for international and domestic, but I remember there is a lounge you can access within the check-in area. That place seems mediocre, though, so I'm glad they still offer some choices.

    When the crew offered me a choice of breakfast meal, I didn’t remember which the other one was, but here is my choice…
    - The breakfast looked decent and they actually offered butter instead of margarine - how about the drinks? Do you know if they still brought Tropicana again?

    I think internet connection can be the future form of IFEs for passengers in the future. Who knows?
    - SilkAir has such approach for their IFE, and I must say that whoever wants to offer it better prepare really well as slow Wi-Fi would be equivalent to no IFE at all.

    Thank you!

  • Comment 418465 by
    Alif A.F. AUTHOR 30 Comments

    Hi Eric,
    Thanks for your insight. Perhaps the lounge is for international bound passengers only, I don't know and don't bother to check though. :)

    I am not sure which orange juice brand they use... but the meal does look decent compared with MH.

    EK offered free 10MB online data which I tried once...speed is fluid too. But then, its only good for online messaging app I think. On a positive side, I expect airlines to increasingly make full use of inflight data connection to reduce IFE cost. So, maybe instead of surfing the CX Studio, Krosflyer or I.C.E. onboard the dedicated IFE screen installed on seats, you can just stream it via your tablet or smartphone.

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