Review of Malaysia Airlines flight Kota Kinabalu Kuala Lumpur in Economy

Airline Malaysia Airlines
Flight MH2605
Class Economy
Seat 24F
Aircraft Boeing 737-800
Flight time 02:25
Take-off 19 Apr 14, 10:45
Arrival at 19 Apr 14, 13:10
MH   #69 out of 121 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 191 reviews
Alif A.F.
By 5222
Published on 30th April 2014
Hello everyone!

I am new to this website, though I wrote a few flight reports on a local forum (Malaysianwings.com). Today, I will write a flight report about my recent trip to Adelaide, South Australia. Stay tuned for more details.
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BACKGROUND:

The trip to Adelaide was made possible because it was our first big family trip to visit my uncle and his family. We planned this trip for quite sometime, but never actually put it into reality to a simple reason - cost. And the high cost of flying was always a stumbling block, further so when involve big family outings.

Sometime in October 2013, My parents informed me of their intention to join the group by telling me that they already booked a flight onboard Airasia X. They told me, the airline had a promotional fare to Adelaide for roughly RM800 (around $270) return ex-Kuala Lumpur (KL). Of course, a connecting flight was booked separately as my parents and I are living at Kota Kinabalu (KK), a city located at East Malaysia. The rest of the family members who joined the trip (except one of my aunts who live at KK too) live at KL.

Upon hearing it, I immediately jumped the gun and felt very excited. But, instead of following the rest of the group, I chose to take, should I say daring action by going there alone, where I planned to meet them again in Adelaide. That night, I went surfing to find airlines around South East Asia that provides direct services to Adelaide. There is no prize guessing here - Malaysia Airlines (MH), Singapore Airlines (SQ) and Airasia X (D7) came out top. D7 recently started their direct flight to Adelaide, so air fare is expected to be very competitive in comparison to established carriers like MH and SQ.

Yet, I have this daring plan of my own because I was so eager to try out something new. For many years, almost all of my flight trips are onboard MH. Only recently I experience to be onboard Airasia (AK) and in 1996, while for a brief visit to Brunei, got onboard Royal Brunei Airlines, in their then Boeing 757. Okay, I went to SQ website and did dummy booking to Adelaide direct from KK (it goes like this - BKI>SIN>ADL). Since there is no promotional fare at the time from SQ, the price came out to be around RM1,700 including taxes, and this is only a one way trip because I intent on choosing a different airline when returning to KK. Next, I went to MH website, and found out that the air fare is almost similar to SQ's with a stop at KUL.

Being so want to try something new, I almost chose SQ. But then, I got an idea. Why not try Emirates (EK)? OK, as far as I know Emirates don't fly to Adelaide form any airports in Asia. Yet, I went to EK website and did dummy booking. In the booking page I inserted BKI as my departure airport and ADL as destination airport, with the dates set at 19th April 2014(departure date). Voila! It works! Emirates booking engine did show a flight to Adelaide from Kota Kinabalu. So, in summary it showed like this:

- BKI-KUL onboard MH2605
- KUL-MEL onboard EK408
- MEL-ADL onboard JQ774

A one-way fare inclusive airport taxes of just above RM1,700. I know it is not cheap, but since I wanted to try another airlines so badly, I just gave it a go. Finished my booking and did the payment. Yay! Adelaide here I come. But, I haven't finished booking yet. I still need to book for a flight back home. So, since my parents booked their return flights on D7, I immediately went to Airasia website and booked a one-way flight which goes like this (ADL>KUL>BKI) all in one go. So, here is the tricky part. I know, perhaps many of you already know the tips and tricks of flight travel, but this is a first time from me.

Since, D7 had a promotional fare to Adelaide, I thought that would be the same case when I book ex-ADL. Turn out the price for one-way fare is A$366 inclusive of airport taxes (Actually, I also added-on meals and checked-in baggage of 30kg). So, that means I booked the flight as if I am in Australia. So did currency conversion and turned out I spent more than RM1,000 for merely a one-way flight. Certainly, not a low-cost price from my own point of view. Oh, well the ticket was already booked. But, one thing that perhaps eased me a little is the fact that my ADL-KUL-BKI flight is ticketed under same itinerary, so I only have to check-in once since D7 and AK now have 'fly-thru' (their way of saying transit) system.

Alright, here are my flight legs of my trip to Adelaide and back:

1st leg - BKI-KUL onboard MH2605
2nd leg - KUL-MEL onboard EK408
3rd leg - MEL-ADL onboard JQ774
4th leg - ADL-KUL onboard D7247
5th leg - KUL-BKI onboard AK5130

Now, off to flight reporting!
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1st leg - BKI-KUL onboard MH2605

The first leg of my journey to Adelaide was actually onboard Malaysia Airlines. On the night before my flight, I went to the Emirates website to do online check-in since all my one-way flights to ADL were actually booked with the airline. So, I went to the website, entered my booking details, and this showed up:

photo EK
I was mildly surprised by what I saw on this page. Fortunately, the airline gave me the booking reference for my flight with MH. This was to be my first ever experience dealing with airlines and their interline agreements with each other.

photo EK2
So, I immediately went to MH website and attempted to do online check-in based on the booking reference Emirates gave to me on their website. I entered the details of my booking, and this showed up. Amazing! Now I can checked-in my baggage all the way to Adelaide without another check-in.

So, I ticked all the boxes and proceeded further to complete my check-in process. Oh, wait!. I can only checked-in along with my baggage only until MEL. The reason is that MEL-ADL is a domestic flight. But, I will leave the details of MEL-ADL flight later as my focus is now on the first leg of the flight. Afterwards, I got my boarding passes for both MH and EK flights in the form of PDF document. So, I saved it in my iPad. MH also gave a text code but that was only for the MH flight, not on EK.

On the day of my flight, my father sent me to the BKI Terminal 1 at 8.30AM. I was the first one to begin my journey to Adelaide and the first one to arrive there as my parents would be departing a bit later in the day.

photo WP_20140419_08_24_18_Pro
I immediately proceeded to the security check to have my baggage scanned. Quite a long queue of a tourist group (probably from Japan or Taiwan). However, the long queue quickly dissipated and after the security cleared my baggage, I proceeded to MH baggage drop counter.

As soon as I arrived at the check-in counter, I informed the MH staff in-charge that I already did online check-in. I showed her my passport and drop my baggage at the counter. As she went through my passport, she noticed something amiss. I was informed that I have two tourist visas under my name. I was like, what the?! She then further asked me whether I had been to Australia before. My reply was that I did stay in Australia for a few years (at Brisbane, Queensland). But, that was almost 10 years ago, so the visa should have expired by now. Tourist visa is only valid for one year. Honestly, I didn't know how that happened. She then made a phone call to her supervisor to sort out the problem. After she made the phone call, I was finally informed by her that the best thing to do to sort out the problem is to just deal with Emirates staff by the time I reached KUL. Now, I began to feel anxious whether I can even reach Australia (or not). However, I told myself to calm down and think positively. Despite the issue with the visa, the MH staff was able to checked-in all baggage to MEL. As usual, I went to another security and ID check before heading to the boarding gate.

photo WP_20140419_10_21_55_Pro
Our flight was assigned at gate A5. Beautiful morning at BKI that day. The airport faces directly in front of South China Sea where parts of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park can be seen here. It is among the major tourist attractions in the city.

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The airport was recently expanded and renovated, so the resemblance to KUL is quite stark.

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We began our boarding process at around 10.30AM. Our flight that day was operated using aircraft with registration number 9M-MXE. What is interesting with this particular aircraft is that, the aircraft's tail logo has this awkward design compared with the rest of MH fleet. Try looking at aircraft photo database (or googling it) and you notice what I mean.

photo WP_20140419_10_48_57_Pro
You might not notice in this picture, but despite being among the newest aircrafts in the fleet, the signature Boeing Sky Interior fitted in the aircraft's cabin started to show wear and tear. There was noticeable dark stains and deformation on the sculptured cabin ceiling. I honestly don't know when the aircraft has had its last major cabin maintenance. Perhaps, it is due now? I don't know.

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I chose seat 24F and the seat pitch is 30-inches. The legroom is just alright as my height is 1.76m (if my memory serves me correctly). Surprisingly, the IFE screen wasn't active and earphones weren't distributed. That was not the case during my similar flight from BKI to KUL last year where the IFE screen was active and earphones were distributed to everyone.

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We pushed back at around 10.45AM simultaneously with another MH aircraft parked next to us (aircraft rego 9M-MLJ). We then taxied towards Runway 02 for departure.

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We departed BKI at almost 11.00AM. Seen here are parts of Kota Kinabalu. Further afield is Crocker Range.

photo WP_20140419_10_59_22_Pro
We turned left towards South China Sea onwards to KUL.

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We overflew Gaya island, the largest of all islands at Kota Kinabalu. Large portion of it is within Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park.

photo Fotor050184733
Counter clockwise from the top right:
1 - Complimentary drinks were served. I chose mango juice which tasted juicy and concentrated.
2 - Malaysia Airlines official inflight magazine, Going Places. When I was younger, I used to collect many volumes of this magazine.
3 - As I flicked through the pages, I came across one page featuring interviews with CNN's Richard Quest. Back in February this year, he did an episode of CNN Business Traveller where he got an opportunity to sit in the cockpit jumpseat of an MH flight from HKG to KUL. One of the pilots who were in the flight was onboard the missing flight MH370 the next month. Interestingly, I noticed there was no mention or hint of the incident inside the magazine. With no concrete news of the plane ever being found, I guess everyone has move on with their lives now.
4 & 5 - Since it was still late morning, we were served with a mayonnaise tuna wrapped in croissant sandwich in a snack box. A piece of cake was also served as dessert. I opt for plain tea. Despite the meal being simple, it was alright and satisfying.

Our cabin crews for that day were very nice. I can truly felt their genuine smiles on their faces. Very professional.

photo WP_20140419_11_23_27_Pro
As I enjoyed having my meal, suddenly the IFE screen went active, and a cartoon show (My Little Pony) popped-up on the screen. Certainly, I didn't accidentally press any button. Anyway, the IFE did work during my flight, but then there was no point in watching movies without earphones/headphones. The IFE screen onboard MH aircrafts are receptive, so you can flicked through pages using your finger on the screen. But, the response rate is a bit slower than our smartphones and even iPads. I tried watching the flight information page to know where we were, our flight speed and altitude but it seemed that the page wasn't working. Oh, well.

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As we crossed the South China Sea, I managed to get some nap. I am used to this route, so the views outside can be boring.

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We reached the east coast of Malay Peninsula at around 12.30PM. Below is an area around Pekan on the state of Pahang.

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We began our descent as we crossed the peninsula towards KUL. There were clouds but no rain as far as I saw. That part of Malaysia was hit by a punishingly dry season with at least 2 million residents face water rationing.

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We lined-up for landing at Runway 32L and touched down at around 1.00PM. The aircraft taxied to the gate at Main Terminal Building.

So, that's it for my first leg of my journey to Adelaide and back. Stay tuned for my next flight onboard EK408!

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES…
See more

Verdict

Malaysia Airlines

7.1/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment/wifi4.5
Meal/catering7.0

Kota Kinabalu - BKI

7.6/10
Efficiency7.5
Access8.5
Services7.5
Cleanliness7.0

Kuala Lumpur - KUL

8.0/10
Efficiency8.0
Access8.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

Overall, the flight was alright. I didn't expect anything big from MH as I have flown with them so many times in the past. The crews were always nice and professional. However, the main issue facing MH in my opinion is consistency. My previous flight with MH in 2013 has better services (i.e. provision of earphones and activated IFE screens). I would have expected the services to be consistent with any flights at least with this particular route. Furthermore, in light of the recent MH370 incident (Can't help it but I have to mention it somehow as this is still a very recent event) and MH continued financial losses, they just need to buck-up.

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

10 Comments

  • Comment 107299 by
    Durian 1171 Comments

    Hi, thanks for that excellent first FR !
    Thanks also for the views of BKI that I'll be visiting in a couple of months ;-)
    Although the Sky interior is welcome, the seat pitch looks very cramped ! Although not short you are not a giant either ;)
    Always nice to have an individual IFE in a narrow-body aircraft. The catering does not seem very generous in terms of quantity.

    • Comment 293324 by
      Alif A.F. AUTHOR 30 Comments

      Regarding seats, I felt a OK with it, though I don't want to be in this airplane for longer than 3 hours. I expected that we were served full lunch meal, but I guess 11.00AM+ is still too early for such meal for MH.

  • Comment 107300 by
    tn92 165 Comments

    Hello! I am flying MH soon, in 8 days! Thanks for your report! Look forward to the next few legs of flight! (:

  • Comment 107316 by
    kelval 122 Comments

    Hello and thanks for the report.
    You can really feel the aviation enthusiast by reading.
    The legroom seems pretty cramped. It looks like in a Ryanair plane (wich is not a good thing by any standards).
    That's pretty much a letdown for the IFE, considering the flight was still a good 3 hours.

    After reading your report, it struck me that Malaysia is indeed a peninsula (I had never really paid attention to it). What a fabulous geological curiosity! I love how namazing geography can be, and how fabulous the forces modeling the earth are.

    It probably felt like a routine flight for you, but it was really an interesting read.

    • Comment 293325 by
      Alif A.F. AUTHOR 30 Comments

      Hi there, thanks for dropping by reading my report. Regarding Malaysia as a country, it actually consisted of two parts, West Malaysia (the Malay peninsula) and East Malaysia (or Malaysian Borneo). I live at East Malaysia. KUL-BKI flights are becoming a routine for everyone ever since AK came into the scene, so the price has become more competitive and cheaper too. So, that is good for consumers. :-)

  • Comment 107358 by
    Alcam 2072 Comments

    Thanks a lot for this excellent first FR. I visited Kota Kinabalu some years ago for work and keep beatiful memories of it, especially because I had the chance to spend a whole weekend snorkellong around the little isles you can see when taking off. The resort was also great!
    I departed from BKI for Taïwan in an old MH 737 that was far from this one, but where I had the chance to be the only business Class passenger: a real treat!
    Looking forward to reading the next reports

  • Comment 107359 by
    marathon GOLD 9566 Comments

    Having one visa too few can be a serious problem. Having a visa too many is a new one ! There is nothing like such an issue to raise the stress at check in time, when the chances of recovery can be limited if things are not sorted out quickly.
    Well no, my googling did not help me find out the logo difference.
    30 seat pitch is not generous for people like you and me, and it shows. The flight information is often the only feature I use on an IFE. Too bad it was not working, even though most of the flight was above water.
    A couple hints for improving future reports : try to take landscape rather portrait format pictures (horizontal rather than vertical), and putting the caption above the picture rather than below like in books and magazines is more online reader-friendly. This is nevertheless an excellent first report, congratulations and welcome among the contributors !

  • Comment 108123 by
    pititom GOLD 10702 Comments

    Welcome here :)

    Thank you very much for this first FR. It was a pleasure to read it, and I hope many more will come next !

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