26 June 2010 Malaysia Airlines MH 637 Kuching (KCH) - Singapore (SIN) B737-400 9M-MQI Economy Class
After 44hrs of feasting on delicious Kuching food, we had to leave the town of cats (since Kuching = Cat in malay), not that there are many cats around apart from the cat statues. We arrived at Kuching International about 90min before departure. As I had already checked in online a day before, we just need to proceed to the bag drop counter to deposit our bags and obtain our boarding passes. There was a choice of printing our boarding passes online but I preferred to have the traditional ones. Kuching airport seemed renovated recently as everything looked quite new, like a scaled down version of KLIA. MH also has self check-in machines at the airport with MH staff assisting passengers. However, Air Asia's check-in counters seemed much more busier than MH's.
MH's check-in row at Kuching airport.
As there were not much facilities land side, we soon proceeded through security and immigration to the airside. The shops in the terminal did not seemed very appealing, probably due to the fact that most passengers are domestic passengers.
Duty-free shops in the terminal.
I always prefer the traditional boarding passes! Can be kept for momento.
Our flight, MH637, is routed Kota Kinabalu - Kuching - Singapore. The plane, 9M-MQI, arrived slightly late from Kota Kinabalu.
The plane parked at Gate 7 and was serviced for our flight to Singapore. Passengers disembarked and most passengers were travelling from Kota Kinabalu to Kuching while only a handful continued to Singapore.
The turnaround was quite fast and very soon, the boarding was announced, though we were a bit late. Boarding was slightly slow, with only 1 agent processing the boarding passes, but no worries as we were gonna get stuck in the aerobridge anyway. A variety of newspapers were available at the door and we were welcomed aboard by the indian leading steward. What struck us first were the fiery red Business Class seats!
We proceeded into the smarties coloured economy cabin and was again welcomed by a malay steward and a chinese stewardess. We had a multi-racial crew on this flight! Total there were 5 crew members, the leading steward and a malay stewardess in Business, and 2 malay stewards + a chinese stewardess in economy. All the crew members were all smiles and professional. Malaysian hospitality (cliche) is really evident.
Boarding in progress. 2 crew were assisting with the boarding while a 3rd steward was in the galley heating up the meals to be served i suppose. Oh, and there was the kept ringing in my head boarding music but it was on a much lower volume on this flight. The pax load was quite healthy, though not full. Probably about 70-80% load factor.
Legroom was average. As you can see, no inflight magazines are available again. Guess they did not replace the magazines as it was towards the end of the month.
Here we are, parked at the gate, with sister 737s at the terminal.
Welcome announcement by the leading steward. The flight time was announced as 1hr25min but actual flying time was only about 1hr05min.
We pushed back about 15min late due to the late arrival of the aircraft. Safety demo was shown manually also. The MH B737 crew are really well trained in doing safety demos as it was performed in a very professional manner.
Taxi to the runway. We did not taxi right to the end but started our takeoff run at probably about 3/4 of the runway.
Ascending to cruising altitude of 33000ft, as announced by the pilot.
Leaving the Sarawak coast.
Almost immediately after the seatbelt signs were switched off, the crew rushed down the aisle with the meal carts. 2 meal carts were used, 1 from the front row and manned by the chinese stewardess and the other from the last row and manned by a steward. The 3rd steward was shuttling in between the 2 meal carts to assist in handing out meals. Wow, they better work fast as the flying time is real short! But short-haul flights are where MH excels (due to their rigorous short-haul trainings?) and the crew managed to conduct the service in a quick and orderly way without any rushed atmosphere, and with friendly smiles and enjoy your meals too! I was also impressed that MH offered a choice of 2 mains, since Silkair would only offer a hot wrap/sandwich on a flight of similar length. Coffee/tea/juices/soft drinks were also offered but I did not see any wines on the meal cart. Not sure if they are offered too.
Crew starting lunch service.
Meal service in progress.
The 2 meal choices were Soya sauce chicken rice and vege or Panfried fish in mustard sauce with steamed white rice and vege. Me and my friend tried both choices.
The famous MH meal boxes. Along with the main course were fresh fruits, a cup of water and chocolate delight (aka kit-kat bar).
Main course unveiled. I had a tea and orange juice to go along.
Panfried fish in mustard sauce, steamed rice and stir-fried vegetables. It was not bad.
Soya sauce chicken rice and vegetables. According to my friend, this was delicious!!
After finishing the meal, you hide the sightly leftovers.
Using of meal boxes really enabled the service to be much faster. While clearing the meal boxes, the crew also offered another round of drinks. Impressive!!
After the meals were cleared and while descending. Another view of the smarties coloured cabin.
Flying into Peninsular Malaysia.
Final approach into Singapore. The crew worked hard clearing the cabin and had just sat down for landing when this shot was taken.
Landing into Changi Rwy20R about 5min late. We rolled all the way to the end of the runway before exiting and crossing the bridge to Terminal 2.
Passing the parked SQ B777s again.
Kuching - KCH
Singapore - SIN
Considering the offer fare of only about S$95 all-in one-way, MH provided an excellent and value-for-money service! Food served for the short sector was excellent and cabin crew were as good as SQ's. I would not hesitate to fly MH again in the future on regional flights and definitely recommend them if they could maintain a consistent good standard of service delivery.
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