After spending six days in the Philippines, it was time to head to my next destination during my 2019 summer break. Today, this FR will cover the Manila to Kuala Lumpur route on Malaysia Airlines. I chose this airline as I have never flown with them before and wanted to see how they are like.
Unlike my ANA flight, which arrived at Terminal 3, Malaysia Airlines wasn't one of the airlines that switched terminals due to congestion. Therefore, my flight to Kuala Lumpur departs at Terminal 1 of the MNL airport.
The check-in line for Malaysia Airlines wasn't that long. The wait was only about 10 minutes and it turns out that the flight was only 65% full.
Immigration and security weren't too bad either, at least for Foreign Passport holders. Shoes had to be taken off though during the security check, something I haven't seen before at any other airport. After passing through both of those, it was now time to wait for boarding. Unfortunately, the flight was delayed and was now scheduled to leave at 1:10PM, 20 minutes after the original departure time.
Plane-spotting at NAIA 1
To pass the time, I decided to do a bit of plane spotting before boarding.
Two Philippine Airlines A330s (headed to either Dammam, Doha or Riyadh)
China Southern B737-800 headed to Guangzhou
Thai Airways B777-300ER bound for Bangkok, with a GulfAir B787 behind it.
Another Philippine Airlines A330, with a Cebu Pacific A320 that just landed.
Philippine Airlines A330 and an Asiana B747-400 going to Seoul (Incheon). Asiana is still one of the airlines that uses B747-400s while other airlines have long gone retired them.
More Philippine Airlines aircraft.
EVA Air B777-300ER headed to Taipei later that afternoon.
Here is my aircraft that was going to be used to Kuala Lumpur. It's a Boeing 737-800 in the special Negaraku livery. Registration 9M-MXS.
Some Malaysia Airlines 737s have no IFE equipped onboard and they often get used not just on domestic flights, but on many regional hops as well, including Manila. There is really no way of knowing if you get on-board entertainment or not until the actual day of your flight. This time, however, the aircraft was equipped with IFE.
Cabin View during boarding. There were a good amount of empty seats on the flight.
The flight was already late coming in from Kuala Lumpur, therefore the departure time of this flight was also delayed to 1:30PM. The taxi to the runway also took a long time thanks to other planes landing, taking off or departing around the same time as us.
Passing by a Japan Airlines B787-9
A Gulf Air B787 ready for departure to Bahrain
Passing by Terminal 2 and 3 of NAIA
The Xiamen Airlines 737 still sits here since the runway overshot almost a year ago.
A Philippine Airlines A350. Notice the British Airways A380 in the hangar as well.
There wasn't any traffic before us for the takeoff sequence, however there was an A320 landing and we had to wait for that to finish before we were cleared for takeoff.
Soon after, we were en-route to Kuala Lumpur
The seatbelt sign was switched off, and the cabin crew begun preparations to start the inflight service. Announcements onboard were made in Bahasa Malaysia and English.
Blankets were already at every seat during boarding, as well as headsets. Pillows were also available on request but I didn't need one.
Seat pocket contents, which contains an inflight magazine, safety card, airsickness bag and duty-free catalogue.
I've read reviews about MH online and from what I've heard, on most regional flights, Malaysia Airlines would be simple in their meal services in Economy by the means of a small meal box, which only contained the main course, salted peanuts and a cup of water. I was surprised with the catering on my flight as it was a full meal tray. Drinks were served from a separate cart.
The choices were chicken or fish. By the time the crew got to my row, it was only the fish option left but this was not a problem for me as I'm more of a seafood person. The cabin crew apologized about the meal choices as he didn't want me to feel too disappointed, but I told him it's okay as I preferred the fish anyway. When I told him that, he smiled and even asked "Would you like a second serving of the main course?"
Never have I seen a crew member on any airline be that accommodating to their passengers. I happily agreed to his offer.
The meal served onboard the flight, with the second serving of the fish to the left of the tray.
After the meals were cleared, I explored the IFE for a bit. There were a good selection of movies, videos and audio programs. The touchscreen worked good, albeit slowly. But usually on flights, I use the remote control for IFE browsing.
The IFE also has information regarding their fleet.
But the best part about any airline's IFE that I use all the time is flight map!
The seatbelt sign was turned on part-way through the meal service as there was a bit of light chops, which turned moderate for a short while then went back to light turbulence. Hot drinks weren't being served while the seatbelt sign was on so I ordered a Sprite and just asked the crew member to serve my coffee whenever they have time when the seatbelt sign turns off. After the meals were served, I handed my Flight Logbook to one of the crew for them to fill it up.
Just less than two weeks before my flight, I was browsing through the Temptations website and found something interesting.
I normally don't pre-order as I usually pay with cash during flight and I was going to purchase the item onboard, however it stated that it's not available for inflight purchase and needs to be pre-ordered. Nevertheless, I made the pre-order and was charged MYR225 instead of MYR250, thanks to a special promotion of 10% off if the product was pre-ordered online and the minimum purchase amount was met.
The item itself was also listed in the Temptations catalogue and I asked the crew member if it were available for inflight purchases. He checked the inventory onboard and told me that it was only my pre-ordered one that was on the flight. However, there were also some other airline logo products that can be bought onboard without having to pre-order it.
The purchased duty-free item from Temptations.
Here it is all put together after the flight.
Mid-flight, a crew member came to my seat and inquired about my flight logbook. We then had a short chat about aviation, Malaysia Airlines in general, as well as her career as a cabin crew member. She was delighted to hear that I plan to pursue a career in the aviation industry and was telling me all about the perks and the fun of travelling the world, as well as seeing unique places. She was also proud of being a cabin crew for Malaysia Airlines and has worked for them for over 20 years. Despite the unfortunate incidents that turned the airline's reputation into a path that no other airline wants to go through, the onboard hospitality shown by the cabin crew on this flight has now made Malaysia Airlines my preferred carrier whenever I fly to and from Malaysia.
After she attended to another passenger, she came back with a bag full of Malaysian souvenirs. I was taken back a little bit as I never expected this to happen, nor did I request for them. She explained each one of the contents in the bag and wished me good luck in my flying endeavours afterwards.
When my flight logbook was returned to me, the crew member asked if I wanted a flight deck visit after landing, as well as pictures with the flight deck and cabin crew. I agreed and was told to wait till all the last passengers disembarked so that way the pictures can be taken in the cabin without inconveniencing other passengers. Surnames blurred on flight log entry for privacy reasons.
For the rest of the flight, I explored the IFE and took a short, 20 minute nap as they dimmed the lights for passengers to get a chance to rest.
After about over three hours of turbulence, the seatbelt sign was finally switched off and my coffee was served. However, this was short-lived as it was almost time to prepare for arrival.
The descent into Kuala Lumpur was not too bumpy.
Landed at 5:22PM
The aircraft pulled at the gate at 5:27PM, which was 37 minutes late after scheduled arrival.
After all passengers have left the aircraft, the purser directed me to the cockpit, where I met the captain and first officer. He was genuinely interested in my ambition to become a future airline pilot and talked about his career flying for Malaysia Airlines. Afterwards, he took his phone out and we took some pictures of all of us in the flight deck. I also was able to get a shot of the B737-800 flight deck.
After the flight deck visit, the captain then led us back into the cabin who offered to take pictures of me and the wonderful cabin crew. They also were happy to pose a picture for my camera as well. Faces blurred for privacy reasons.
I asked them where they were flying to next, and they said that they were going to Langkawi then back to Kuala Lumpur. Afterwards, we bid our goodbyes.
One last look at the aircraft that flew me here all the way from Manila.
Afterwards, it was the usual arrival procedures.
I now have four days to spend here in this beautiful country before flying off to my next destination: Singapore.
My first flight on Malaysia Airlines was definitely a flight to remember!
Aircraft was great; it was nice to be flying on the Negaraku livery plane as well.
The tray is a huge improvement over the meal box used in the past for the meal service.
The cabin crews' service and hospitality were the highlight of the trip. Not only were they nice and efficient during service, but they also asked passengers if they needed anything else after serving them with something or just checking on how they are doing. The Malaysian souvenirs were very much appreciated, as well as the flight deck visit.
There is no doubt that my next flight to/from Malaysia will be on Malaysia Airlines. This airline has won a spot on my preferred carriers to fly and I am hoping to fly with them again in the future.
MH really stands for Malaysian Hospitality!