Review of Malaysia Airlines flight Singapore Kuala Lumpur in Business

Airline Malaysia Airlines
Flight MH610
Class Business
Seat 4F
Aircraft Boeing 737-800
Flight time 01:05
Take-off 25 May 18, 21:10
Arrival at 25 May 18, 22:15
MH   #23 out of 99 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 196 reviews
tn92
By 781
Published on 21st February 2021

Introduction


I became a Qantas Frequent Flyer member since 2013. Every year since then, I aimed to renew my Qantas Gold membership; 2018 was not an exception. My dad, on the other hand, frequently travelled for work and was a oneworld Sapphire member too. In 2018, we discussed and decided to head to South Korea for a family trip. I was tasked to decide the flights, and I came across Malaysia Airline’s (MH) very competitive* Business Class rates, and purchasing this ticket instead of redeeming it using miles would help us accumulate some points towards our re-qualification.

After a brief confirmation with my dad, we agreed that Malaysia Airlines (MH) shall be the selected airline choice for this trip to South Korea.


*Note: This is what I usually do…
1. Tabulate all available flights and their ticket prices for a selected route in an Excel spreadsheet
2. Input in another column the QF status credits (SC) I can earn for each of those flights
3. Use a simple formula to compute “$ per SC” and look for the lowest rate
4. The lowest “$ per SC” rate means that I can get to earn status credits that will contribute to re-qualification at the lowest possible price


There will be 4 reports in this series. While all 4 will be MH flights, I happened to fly on different Business Class products on each flight; and I hope this will make it a slightly more interesting series despite the lack of airline variety. 


Routing

  • 2018.05.25 Malaysia Airlines MH610 Singapore to Kuala Lumpur (B738 Business) You are here
  • 2018.05.25 Malaysia Airlines MH066 Kuala Lumpur to Seoul-Incheon (A388 Business) Coming soon
  • 2018.05.30 Malaysia Airlines MH067 Seoul-Incheon to Kuala Lumpur (A333 Business) Coming soon
  • 2018.05.30 Malaysia Airlines MH607 Kuala Lumpur to Singapore (B738 Business) Coming soon

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Let’s head to South Korea together, 안녕하세요 (annyeong hasaeyo)!


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check in & immigration


We start off with an appetiser: A short hop from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur on MH’s B737-800. We flew on a B738 with the new cabin that day; this meant newer leather seats and IFE screens for every passenger. I had flown on this aircraft type in this cabin product many times, but me being me, I couldn’t kick the bad habit of taking tons of photos. That’s why you’ll see me regurgitating those photos here in this report. Well… A pandemic is now raging around the world (in 2021) and many of us can’t fly anywhere, so why not just follow through and imagine you are travelling on this flight with me too? (Haha, enjoy your flight!)

Malaysia Airlines MH610
Aircraft Registration: 9M-MLV
Aircraft Type: B737-800
Origin: Changi International Airport, Singapore (SIN)
Destination: Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia (KUL)
Date: 25 May 2018 (Friday)
Scheduled Departure/Arrival: 2115h (UTC+08:00) to 2215h (UTC+08:00)
Actual Departure/Arrival: 2110h (UTC+08:00) to 2214h (UTC+08:00)
Estimated Duration: 1h 00mins
Actual Duration: 1h 04mins
Distance: 185 miles / 298 km
Class: Business
Seat: 4F (Window)

Without exception, on this trip, I chose a flight that allowed me to head to the airport straight after work. I arrived at the airport 2.5h before departure at 6.50pm. 


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Our flight was scheduled for departure at 9.15pm and check-in was allocated at Aisle 5 of Terminal 2.


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It was still really early when I arrived at the airport, so the MH check-in counter was still empty and we didn’t have to wait at all. 


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We were travelling Business that day on a narrow body aircraft, so only one priority check-in counter was opened.


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When it was our turn for check in, the Business Class counter was already serving another group of passenger and we were promptly waved over to an empty Economy Class counter beside it. 


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Check-in process took only 5 minutes this time; this was an exception rather then a norm in all my MH flying experience, opps… 


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7.20pm, with our boarding pass on hand, it was about time to head through immigration.


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Usually during the evening period, immigration clearance at Changi Airport isn’t too crowded. Couple that with the fact that I am eligible to use the automated clearance system, immigration is usually a breeze for me at Changi Airport when I fly on flights departing in the evenings.

When all three of us completed immigration formalities, only 5 minutes passed and the time was 7.25pm. This meant I took only half an hour from the airport's taxi drop-off point all the way to completing immigration. I guess it is this confidence I have with SIN’s efficiency that resulted in me always booking crazy air tickets with flights departing just a few hours after my knock off time at work. One of my craziest experience was a flight departing at 7pm, and I ended work only at 6pm… (Crazy yea? I made it onboard with time to spare, by the way! This shall be a story for next time.)


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From immigration, we headed directly to the skytrain station for a shuttle service bound for Terminal 1.


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And the reason for making our way here was… 


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The Qantas Lounge!


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Business Class lounge


First thing first, a very needed shower.


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Shower facilities in this lounge is amazing. Not just because the shower rooms themselves are clean and relatively spacious, but also because there’s a total of twenty shower rooms, so guests rarely need to wait too long for one of those to become vacant. The lounge did experience a brief period of overcrowding, I think… In 2019? It was around the time when Qantas re-routed their Kangaroo Route flights back via Singapore after 5 years of flying through Dubai. The overcrowding issue was resolved when Qantas opened a separate First Class Lounge in Changi Terminal 1. At that point of time in 2019, it was very clear that this time, Qantas is very serious about their commitment to the Singapore Hub! But… An invisible virus penetrated its way worldwide, and both Qantas lounges in Changi Airport have been closed since then. With no certainty of Qantas flights resuming passenger services here, we don’t know how long this closure will last.


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I am sorry that I digressed.

Let's recap: This is… A flight report on Malaysia Airline’s Business Class and we are currently looking at the showers in Qantas’ Business Lounge in Singapore. 


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The showers were great. Apart from one minor complaint that water pressure from the shower heads was a little weak. 


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Showers - Checked.
Dinner - Next Up!

Chosen options for that evening:
- Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand
- Chicken Laksa from Singapore


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YUMMY!


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We dined in the dining section of the lounge, which had lots of seats.


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Here's the all day dining menu for that day.

Buffet selections were available too but I had no photos of it. 


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Do pardon my lounge review’s brevity, as this was a lounge I was really familiar with and hence it’s also my Nth time writing about it. I’m sure I’ll have another flight report in my database containing more photos of the lounge and therefore a more detailed review of it!

Soon after dinner, we packed up and prepared to leave the lounge. At this time, the crowd has disappeared from the lounge as quite a few Australia bound Qantas flights would have departed by then. 


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boarding


8.07pm, preparing to head back to Terminal 2 for boarding.


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We could choose to walk back to Terminal 2, but the better alternative would definitely have been to take the skytrain again.


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And within minutes, we were back at Terminal 2, which seemed to be a tad busier than Terminal 1.


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8.27pm, passing security at around 45 minutes before scheduled time of departure.


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At that point in time when security checks commenced, our aircraft has just arrived into SIN after its short hop from KUL.


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Moments later, 9M-MLV pulled into the gate. This aircraft was around 4 years old at that time.


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While the jet bridge was not connected yet, many people started to queue for boarding.


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We were lazy, and so we just sat on the seats available around the boarding lounge to use our phones. You can vaguely see us in the reflection.


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8.49pm, about 20 mins later, boarding finally commenced for higher tiers frequent flyer members and Business Class passengers.


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ONBOARD THE PLANE


A relatively new plane along with Malaysia Airlines' new Regional Business Class seat product. (By the time this report is written, this product is not new anymore)


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This was my 7th time flying on this Business Class seat product.


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As I kept using my phone before boarding, it was almost out of battery by the time I boarded the plane. Thankfully there were USB ports and charging sockets at each seat, otherwise it will be a big problem as I needed my phone to be fully charged in order to take photos of my MH A380 flight later.


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It was a quick turnaround in Singapore for this aircraft and I could see two teams of baggage handling staff: One team unloading bags for passengers from the previous flight and the other team loading ours onto the plane.


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We boarded early, but the rest of the boarding process took quite a while.


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in-flight magazine


While waiting for boarding to complete, let us take a look at May 2018's MH in-flight magazine: Going Places. A simple but meaningful name for an airline's publication.


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"Going Places" would be something we have all taken for granted up until very recently. COVID-19 has shown us something: All we need is a tiny, invisible strand of virus to stop so many of us from "Going Places" totally.


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In the message from CEO, we see Mr Ismail (MH's CEO since Dec 2017) writing about the very new MH Lounges in Kuala Lumpur Airport (at that time), which we will be taking some quick looks at in the last report of this series.


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I was definitely looking forward to visiting the airline's newly renovated lounge!


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On the next page, the editor gave a quick overview of contents to expect in this episode of the magazine.


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I have always liked MH's magazine as it usually contains very interesting reads.


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In this edition, the theme was related to UK's Royal Family in conjunction with the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle that very month itself. So far, I have only visited London for 1 day on transit and I am so looking forward to travelling there when we can fly again.


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Here are some of the other articles in the magazine.



There were also a few articles in Bahasa Melayu (Malay Language).


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Even the airline's advertisement in the magazine was UK-related, featuring their new A350 London flights.


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And we finally reach the most interested portion of any airline magazines… "Inside Malaysia Airlines", a section containing information all about the airline.


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In the year of 2018, Malaysia Airlines was embarking on a Genuine Hospitality Pledge. It was generally related to the goal of improving service standards and hardware across the airline's facilities, and one example of this was the renovation of both the airline's Regional and Satellite Lounges in Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

I must say I am relatively familiar with Malaysia Airlines, having flown with them on a total of 39 flights from 2013 till date. How will I grade the service standards onboard MH? Well I would say, it's a hit-or-miss. I really hope the next time when we find our chances to go onboard an MH flight again, we will be able to see if the Genuine Hospitality Pledge has met its target and has truly improved "warmth, humility and hospitality" in the airline's service standards. For now, I have my reservations regarding this.


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In any airline magazines, I always think that the fleet introduction and airline network maps are the most interesting sections. Tell me if you agree with that! (:

As at 2018, MH was seeing A380s, A350s, A330s and B737s in its fleet. As for its regional airlines FireFly & MASwings, their fleets consisted of some ATR72s and DHC6s - Aircraft types that I’m extremely unfamiliar with. Interestingly, FireFly actually has scheduled flights operated by ATR72s flying from Subang (in Kuala Lumpur) to Seletar (in Singapore). I had been eyeing those flights for quite a while since they were introduced and was supposed to book a return journey with FireFly last year (2020) but oh well… We all know what happened.


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Here’s the domestic network map for Malaysia Airlines Group.


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As for the international network map, a large majority of the destinations actually belonged to partner airlines or other oneworld members, not MH.


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There will almost always be advertisement space for the oneworld alliance in all of its member airline’s in-fight magazine.


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In this magazine, the IFE guide’s also included in it.


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There were also a handful of advertisements for Malaysia Airline’s frequent flyer programme, Enrich, in the magazine.

But honestly speaking, Enrich isn’t a particularly attractive airline loyalty programme.


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Finally, towards the end of the magazine, there were some miscellaneous information, for example the introduction of a new train type on the Kuala Lumpur Airport Express Line (KLIA Ekspres).


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The last page of the magazine was another advertisement for the KLIA Ekspres. But if you are visiting KL as a leisure traveller and will not be rushing for time, it might sometimes be cheaper to travel via taxi or Grab from airport to the city as compared to the express trains.


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taxi & take off


9.03pm, we received our welcome drink. Choices available were: Juices or Water. MH doesn’t serve alcoholic beverages on regional routes within Southeast Asia.


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Hot towels were provided to all Business Class passengers too.


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9.14pm, safety video played via the IFE.


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(UTC+08:00)
2106h Cabin Door Closed
2110h Push Back (5 Mins Early)
2114h Taxi
2117h Announcement “Cabin Crew Be Seated”
2119h Take Off
2122h Seatbelt Signs Off


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As you can see from the time stamps, while boarding took a while and appeared to be quite inefficient, we still managed to push back early. Furthermore, we managed to take off within 5 minutes after the aircraft started to taxi, which meant that we were probably parked quite close to the runway used that evening.

On MH flights, the flight maps function in the IFE can only be activated after take off. I have noticed this after my first few flights on MH, but I have never figured out why this was the case.


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The flight maps will usually be activated immediately after take off.


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9.22pm, seatbelt signs were stitched off and our fellow passengers seated in front of us got up really quickly to get her belongings.


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Meal Service


9.28pm, 6 minutes later, crew started to prepare for meal service. On this short flight, they were really swift in starting service in Business Class. The usual meal service in Economy Class for a SIN-KUL flight would be a drink and a pack of peanuts. 


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Including this flight, I would have flown Malaysia Airline’s “SIN=KUL” flight sectors (on both ways) for 7 times in Business Class, and the meal served on each flight was almost always different. On this flight, Hong Kong dim sum was served, and it was really tasty.


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9.41pm, within another 15 minutes, the seatbelt signs were switched on again, just when I was finishing up my meal.

For the Malaysia Airline crew members, the SIN=KUL flights are indeed very challenging with the very, very short flight time. However, most of the time I observe that they will usually be very systematic and organised on these flights while carrying out their duties. This is most likely because they would have been trained to handle even shorter domestic flights within Malaysia, and so to them, flights to Singapore may not actually be the toughest to handle?

Anyway kudos to them on always pulling off such efficient services on their short turnaround flights, such as this one.


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On this flight, the cabin temperature was pretty warm and I felt a little stuffy mid-flight. Thankfully, there was on average 1.5 air vents per Business Class passenger on this aircraft type, and that proved to be super important in this flight.


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descent & arrival


9.43pm, about to land at KUL. 


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But… Just before landing, it seemed that we might have been asked to circle in a holding pattern for a while.


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Eventually, this proved to be a wrong guess as we were merely making an "S-shaped" approach into KUL.


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(UTC+08:00)
2141h Seatbelt Signs On
2155h Announcement "Cabin Crew be Seated"
2158h Touched Down
2214h On-Time Arrival
2217h Disembarked 

It is always very dark at Kuala Lumpur International Airport when landing at night. There seems to be very little lights around the airport taxiway areas. 


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As we taxi to our gate, we passed by some "supposedly abandoned" B747s. Eventually, some company seemed to have claimed ownership though.


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In contrast from the short taxi time back at SIN before departure, our taxi duration from runway to gate at KUL seemed to take much longer.


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My screen was permanently on the flight map throughout the flight, but the maps will usually disappear at the moment the aircraft lands and it will switch to the "Thank You" screen as you see below.


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9.14pm, arrived at gate.


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9.17pm, it was really nice to be seated in Business Class for this flight because we managed to get off the plane within 3 minutes after it arrived at the gate.


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As we approached the terminal building, we were blocked by other passengers who were queueing to board another flight just outside of the adjacent gate. It was very interesting that all of them were queueing in a slanted manner and eventually blocked the entire corridor in the terminal. All other passengers crossing through had to say multiple "Excuse Me-s" before they could pass through.


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Alright, it's transit time. Time for MH's A380!

See more

Verdict

Malaysia Airlines

7.9/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew7.5
Entertainment/wifi7.5
Meal/catering8.5

Qantas Lounge

8.4/10
Comfort8.5
Meal/catering8.0
Entertainment/wifi8.5
Services8.5

Singapore - SIN

9.2/10
Efficiency10.0
Access8.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness10.0

Kuala Lumpur - KUL

8.1/10
Efficiency7.5
Access9.0
Services7.5
Cleanliness8.5

Conclusion

The new cabins on Malaysia Airline's B737-800 were certainly comfortable to fly in on a short 1h hop from SIN to KUL, especially so in Business Class. The service was acceptable, not exactly friendly but definitely very efficient and complete, despite the super short flight time.

Back at the departure airport. SIN is getting my usual rating with nothing much to fault. As for the Qantas Business Lounge in SIN, it is really an extremely decent lounge that I love a lot! There are rare times that the food might not be as fantastic, but most of the times, everything's great in there. From the service, to the food, to the facilities, and all the seating options available.

Information on the route Singapore (SIN) Kuala Lumpur (KUL)

1 Comments

  • Comment 571435 by
    Tim84 15 Comments

    Welcome back and great to see you're posting (nostalgic) flight reports again :)

    I'm shook that MAS would even serve a hot meal on this short haul flight - good on them! Have flown Business a number of times on their (international) medium haul B737 routes and completely agreed - cabin product / service varies wildly!

    Can't wait for your next instalment :)

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