Review of Malindo Air flight Kuala Lumpur Jakarta in Business

Airline Malindo Air
Flight OD318
Class Business
Seat 2F
Aircraft Boeing 737-800
Flight time 02:05
Take-off 08 Sep 19, 20:25
Arrival at 08 Sep 19, 21:30
OD   #72 out of 134 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 35 reviews
Eric V P
By GOLD 551
Published on 20th September 2019

Report #73: OD318 - Lite business class with a touch of First

This will be my report on flying on Malindo Air business class from Kuala Lumpur KUL to Jakarta CGK, a short-haul international flight within SE Asia, on board their Boeing 737-800.


Routing

  • Jakarta CGK - Kuala Lumpur KUL on KLM 777-200ER economy class Not available
  • Kuala Lumpur KUL - Jakarta CGK on Malindo Air 737-800 business class You are here

Background


KUL to CGK is a very competitive market with prices being constantly pressured by AirAsia (AK/QZ)'s economy class on the low end and KL's fifth freedom business class on the high end. Somewhere on the middle lies OD's well-priced business class, which I had also reviewed a couple of years ago. Though a couple of amenities had been adjusted (for example, there was no complimentary lounge access this time and the luggage allowance was cut to 30kg except for their flexible business class), the price this time was pretty low at RM400 (~US$100) one-way, only RM50 (~US$13) more than economy class on the same flight, so I decided to pick that. In return, I received Rp140.520 (~US$10) cashback from an online travel agency.


photo od318_20190908_receipt

Trip to KUL and check-in


Just like almost all my ex-KUL flights, I first went to KL Sentral.


photo 20190908_155139

Naturally I went for the bus terminal downstairs.


photo 20190908_155255

In the recent months the fare had increased from RM12 (~US$3) to RM15 (US$3.7).


photo 20190908_161242

In return, however, i had seen more 3-abreast buses being deployed compared to what was previously exclusively 4-abreast.


photo 20190908_155458

This kind of seating is the standard for intercity trips rather than for city to airport trips, so it's definitely a plus - I managed to catch some sleep before I worked on the review.


photo 20190908_160612

Around 50 minutes after we departed the airport terminal could be seen.


photo 20190908_165824

We arrived on schedule, 1 hour after the departure.


photo 20190908_170138

From the bus terminal it was a short walk to the terminal building itself.


photo 20190908_170239

OD's check-in area is located beside MH's premium check-in area.


photo 20190908_170518

As a business class passenger I received priority check-in, even on their promo fare - I was checked through in no time compared with the economy class check-in queue beside. The check-in agent told me that there were only 10 empty seats in economy class and none in business class for the flight.


photo 20190908_170533

Product-wise, the main difference between the promo business class fare and flexible business class fare lies in the lounge access - I didn't receive any by virtue of my ticket alone, so I was only handed with this boarding pass.


photo 20190908_170803

With nothing else to do landside, I went straight to the ticket check.


photo 20190908_170837

Immigration followed immediately afterwards. While there was some queue in the normal immigration counters, as a business class passenger I received priority immigration (and no, being an elite member doesn't count).


photo 20190908_170915

Afterwards it was time for the customs check, which if anything was superficial.


photo 20190908_171159

KUL Transit Area


I first needed to go to the satellite terminal.


photo 20190908_171337

View from the people mover.


photo 20190908_171809

Just like most of my ex-KUL flights, I found myself at the mezzanine floor.


photo 20190908_172010

Lounge test #1: Plaza Premium First Kuala Lumpur


My credit card provided me with Priority Pass membership including one free annual lounge access to the normal Plaza Premium Lounge. From there I then upgraded for RM69 (~US$17) for access to the Plaza Premium First lounge using their promotional offer. I could pay RM80 (~US$20) for access to the Plaza Premium Lounge itself using my ride-hailing loyalty program's benefits instead of using my visit allowance, but that would be ineligible for the upgrade.

As I needed to process the Priority Pass visit as well as the upgrade, I needed to go to the normal Plaza Premium lounge. To say that the reception was packed would be an understatement - the queue even went outside. To be fair, it was not only a Priority Pass lounge, but also the lounge for elite or premium passengers for a number of carriers (including GA, so that's one more reason to avoid GA on this sector), but still I don't think that should ever happen.


photo 20190908_172018

It took me ~5 minutes to get to the reception, and the procedures afterwards was as follows:
- My original Plaza Premium visit was first cleared,
- The upgrade surcharge was then applied to my card,
- A receipt was issued to be shown to the Plaza Premium First lounge,
- The reception staff called the team on the other lounge telling them of the upgraded customer, and
- I was handed with the receipt to show to the other lounge.

At that time the reception staffs were pretty overworked and even started telling people that the normal lounge was almost full, though at least they cleared my upgrade in a couple of minutes.


photo 20190908_172306

The receipt I was supposed to show to the Plaza Premium First lounge.


photo 20190908_173130

As both lounges were not colocated, I needed to go outside and take a short walk before I finally made my way in. After I showed my receipt I was then showed my way in.


photo 20190908_172940

Naturally, Wi-Fi was provided and quite fast.


photo 20190908_172959

I was offered to take a seat at their dining room, which was more akin to a restaurant if anything.


photo 20190908_173140

A menu was handed to me as well. I also asked them if it would be possible to have more than one item, to which the staff said yes so I decided to sample quite a few things on their menu.


photo 20190908_173034

The first dish I had was the satay. While the satay itself was okay, the rice cake left something to be desired.


photo 20190908_173641

Following this I had their steamed barramundi, which was good, typical of Chinese-style fish preparation.


photo 20190908_181127

I then sampled their chicken steak with wasabi sauce, which was equally good - some additional kick would help, but I devoured it too fast to take a picture of it.

Noodle followed afterwards, which for me was the least favorite dish - I tend to like dishes with stronger flavors, and the dish felt almost flavorless. Worse, though the broth was light, the portion didn't reflect it even I got almost full after having the noodle.


photo 20190908_185543

My last main dish was Hainanese rice with grilled chicken. This was a twist of the usual steamed or roasted chicken you'd find on Malaysia or Singapore, which I especially liked.


photo 20190908_190114

Their alcoholic drink options were also pretty extensive for a contract lounge, even including a house mocktail.


photo 20190908_184817photo 20190908_184820

I tried their white wine and mocktail, which didn't disappoint.


photo 20190908_183609

For lighter options, salad and soup were offered on the buffet. I didn't try the soup, but I tried the salad, which felt like they've been there for a while.


photo 20190908_183039photo 20190908_183046

A limited selection of ready-to-eat pastries and desserts were on offer - no toast here.


photo 20190908_184743

Other drink options didn't disappoint either, from Dilmah tea, canned soft drinks like what you'd find on MH's lounge, to Asahi draft beer.


photo 20190908_193454

Before this turned to a food blog, let's continue with the rest of the lounge review: the view of the apron was a tad different from the one at MH's lounge, given that it was at a different side of the airport.


photo 20190908_173143

Though the lounge didn't have a business center, it had a number of seats with proper tables, thus completing the seat-power-table combination.


photo 20190908_173213

The seats and mini-tables were all Plaza Premium's standard ones, so the upgrade was more on just how quiet this lounge is.


photo 20190908_173244

All seats are near to the windows, even the innermost ones.


photo 20190908_173231

I asked the lounge staff for the shower room, and after taking note of my name was directed to the bathroom and upon reaching immediately posted the do not disturb sign - there was no one using the bathroom anyway, but still a nice touch.


photo 20190908_174312

The bathroom had pretty much all amenities covered, from body lotion, all the way to hair dryer. Though the lounge was already more than 1 year old, it still looked like brand new.


photo 20190908_174341

The single use amenities can easily match those offered by hotels, and available without first requesting for them. (take note of that, MH).


photo 20190908_174348

Shower also used Elemis shampoo and soap, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The water flow was also pretty good, just like the one on MH's satellite lounge.


photo 20190908_174358

Lounge test verdict and departure


This has to be one of the better contract lounges around - I even dare to say that despite its size this is better than MH's and GA's flagship lounges, and almost on par with CX's lounge in BKK. Not only are the amenities plentiful despite the small size, the lounge itself was really tranquil with only a handful of guests at any time, service wasn't a large issue (not to the level of QR's BKK lounge, but there were more than enough staff I didn't need to wait), and the foods decent by lounge standard.

When I have my next complimentary visit posted, this will be quite high on my to-visit lounges if the price is right.

After the lounge visit I went back to the main terminal for boarding using the people mover.


photo 20190908_194223

From there it was a short walk to the gate, being the closest one from the immigration.


photo 20190908_194826

There was fortunately no queue at security, so I was through in a couple of minutes.


photo 20190908_194851

After I had my ticket checked I went straight to the waiting room.


photo 20190908_195231

I didn't even get to sit there, though, as boarding started to be called, starting from special needs passengers and then business class passengers.


photo 20190908_195255

Priority was enforced, meaning that I could cut through the queue and after showing my boarding pass was let through.


photo 20190908_195331

We boarded using the right aerobridge only.


photo 20190908_195405

There were still few people boarding, meaning that it was still not chaotic yet.


photo 20190908_195439

In a couple of seconds I managed to reach the plane.


photo 20190908_195452

On board


Flight: OD318
Plane: 9M-LNQ
STD/ATD: 20:25/20:25
STA/ATA: 21:30/21:38
Load factor: 100% J (12/12), 93% Y (140/150)
Seat type: Recliner business class (window seat)
Details: https://flightaware.com/live/flight/9MLNQ/history/20190908/1235Z/WMKK/WIII

After being welcomed by the cabin crew I made my way to the business class cabin, consisting of 12 leather recliners.


photo 20190908_195514

My seat for this flight.


photo 20190908_195526

Legroom was fine for recliner business class standard.


photo 20190908_195629

As you would expect, there was no seatback screen, just a seat pocket.


photo 20190908_195708

At the outside armrest a table could be taken out.


photo 20190908_195747

Contents inside the seat pocket.


photo 20190908_195841photo 20190908_195942

Note the buy-on-board menu, which was provided even in business class. Naturally, no sales was made throughout the flight.


photo 20190908_195920

A pillow was provided by default, with blanket available on request.


photo 20190908_200002

A cocktail table was also not absent, together with the button to secure the IFE screen at the center armrest. Somehow, though, mine couldn't be locked so it straight popped up when I opened the armrest.


photo 20190908_200039

Power plugs were provided, which I used to charge my phone and worked.


photo 20190908_213654

The screen was almost akin to what was provided in economy class, and when taken away was pretty warm as it didn't turn off at all when stowed.


photo 20190908_200357

All the seat controls were manual yet at the same time didn't provide enough tactile response when engaged.


photo 20190908_200049

View from the window.


photo 20190908_200201

Me on the seat - as usual, the headrest wasn't extensible by much.


photo 20190908_200711

Time to move on to the rest of the flight: boarding was underway and done through the .


photo 20190908_195858

Welcome drinks were brought around, which consisted of water, orange drink, or apple drink. I picked the apple drink, while my seatmate preferred the water.


photo 20190908_200348

We soon pushed back, but not before the plane I rode a couple of years back showed up.


photo 20190908_202427

Safety demonstration was surprisingly manually conducted - time for a safety video like ID?


photo 20190908_202748

Can you see MH's regional Golden Lounge?


photo 20190908_202919

The cabin was darkened right after the safety demonstration for departure.


photo 20190908_203419

Takeoff proceeded without any issue and we were airborne in no time.


photo 20190908_203754

After the fasten seatbelt sign was switched off, Panasonic headphones were distributed for business class passengers, which normally retailed at US$17. It wasn't the best one on the market, but still did its job and worked on my phone.


photo 20190908_204529photo 20190908_204532

Just like other OD/ID flights, their entertainment offerings were pretty crap - think of no music on offer and non-interactive moving maps, though to be fair they had a couple of movies for most major countries they fly to.


photo 20190908_204706photo 20190908_205005

As for TV shows, they're split by episode and tend to be scattered, so no movie binging here - I'd rather listen to some of my classic options on my phone.


photo 20190908_204751

Dinner was served, starting with tablecloth being put and our drink of choice served.


photo 20190908_204831photo 20190908_205451

The flight attendants took the orders during boarding, and afterwards brought the trays to each passenger by hand Naturally, drink refills were offered, though it's still the same crap. Following was the menu for the flight:
Appetizer: Green salad with vinaigrette dressing
Bread: Whole grain bread roll with butter
Main course: Lamb biryani, chicken with curry dish, or vegetarian mock meat dish
Dessert: Vanilla yoghurt and chocolate cake with nuts
Drink: Water / orange juice / apple drink / tea / coffee / soft drink


photo 20190908_210054

To start the meal I had the salad, which didn't exactly taste fresh. My meal continued with the lamb biryani, which despite the seemingly full of rice look had a decent amount of meat inside. Taste-wise it wasn't bad (if anything, it's slightly muted compared to biryani I had on the land), though typical of lamb it was slightly chewy on some parts. Bread was pretty abundant I doubted that the butter could make it (which for the record was an upgrade over canola margarine they used before), though I only had one of them. Desserts were pretty bad - while the chocolate cake was okay, the yoghurt was already lukewarm (and awkward since it's dinner time) and there was even no spoon to eat those dishes so I asked for a teaspoon just to have my desserts. As for "juices", it's still the same Tropicana Twister drinks as before, which I don't think count as juice anyway. On overall, I found this to be an overly substantial yet mediocre single tray meal.

Which fork is for which part of the meal?


photo 20190908_210348

Instead of at the start of the flight, I had my hot towel after my table was cleared.


photo 20190908_212353

After the meal I went to the restroom, which was pretty poorly cleaned.


photo 20190908_213358

I for sure wouldn't expect this in economy class, let alone business.


photo 20190908_213404

After the meal I decided to take some nap and after around 40 minutes we were approaching Banten province.


photo 20190908_222009

After the fasten seatbelt sign was turned on, the cabin was checked and just like before the cabin was quickly dimmed again.


photo 20190908_221827

As we were nearing CGK, the bustling region became all more apparent.


photo 20190908_212637

Which airport did we land at? On a side note, we landed on runway 07R, which meant some pretty long taxi to get to terminal 2F.


photo 20190908_214028

The terminal was pretty packed, given that it was Sunday evening.


photo 20190908_214043

After a 10 minutes taxi it was time to alight from the front door.


photo 20190908_214503

Following my farewell to the crew I took the staircase to the tarmac.


photo 20190908_214546

On my way to the arrival gate, I also took the chance to take a photo of the plane I flew on.


photo 20190908_214614

Arrival at CGK and post-arrival trip


We arrived from gate F4, which meant a long walk to the immigration counter.


photo 20190908_214649

Immigration took around 5 minutes to clear, but only after they opened a couple of counters for Indonesian passport holders. The lack of automated immigration gates didn't help either, so I still went away with one additional passport stamp.


photo 20190908_215038

Following immigration was the dingy luggage claim hall.


photo 20190908_215503

OD/ID's business class passengers' bags are being collected by the ground staff for faster collection. Priority was followed, however my bag was among the last ones for business class passengers.


photo 20190908_215819

After I filled the customs form, I went to the customs officer and after passing on my form was let through without bag search.


photo 20190908_220333

My trip ended with a ride-hailing ride back to my residence.


photo 20190908_221246
See more

Verdict

Malindo Air

5.4/10
Cabin5.0
Cabin crew7.0
Entertainment/wifi4.5
Meal/catering5.0

Kuala Lumpur - KUL

7.0/10
Efficiency7.5
Access7.0
Services6.5
Cleanliness7.0

Jakarta - CGK

6.1/10
Efficiency5.5
Access6.5
Services7.5
Cleanliness5.0

Conclusion

Just like before, this was an uneventful shuttle flight, delivering most of the basics from a hot meal, entertainment, plush seats, and priority services throughout the journey. Just like before, though, it's the refinement of the experience that felt lacking, from the lack of lounge access, mediocre IFE, and average quality meal. In terms of the lounge that I accessed separately from the ticket, it was pretty decent and worth the additional fee.

On overall, I'd fly on something like this if the price was right.

Information on the route Kuala Lumpur (KUL) Jakarta (CGK)

0 Comments

Login to post a comment.