Malaysia Airlines: the Economy and Business class experience on medium-haul flights

As part of the TravelGuys vacation in Asia, we traveled from Singapore to Langkawi and back on Malaysia Airlines via Kuala Lumpur, so with two domestic and two international segments.

We paid 90 Euros each for these 4 segments, but I decided to participate in the upgrade bidding on all 4 segments, placing the lowest bid.

I had no luck on the outbound flights, neither of the two segments was upgraded. On the return trip,I receive a confirmation for both flights72 hours before, for a total of 60€. A great opportunity to share this experience with you!

Malaysia Airlines in medium-haul economy class

The outbound flight is in economy classfrom Singapore to Langkawi.

Ground experience in Singapore

We left a little more than 3 hours before the departure from our hotel located on the island of Sentosa. After30 minutes, we arrive at the terminal 2 of Changi airport where the check-in counters of the Malaysian national airline are located.





No waiting for the check-in, and having done the check-in together, our luggage allowance is “pooled”, that is to say cumulated between Bertrand and me, that is to say 60 kg for both of us, and our luggage checked to Langkawi in my name.


We then go to the emigration, and thefingerprint gates since our fingerprints were taken at the entrance. Something that should be generalized in all countries…

Changidoesn’t have a central security checkpoint, so it’s the huge Duty Free that’s available to us.

Neither Bertrand nor I have status with Oneworld and despite the ongoing partnership between Malaysia and Emirates, my Skywards Gold status did not allow us access to a lounge. So we took the opportunity to walk around the airport, which we never really had the chance to do!



1 hour before departure, we leave the Starbucks in which we were installed to go to the boarding gate… And I realize that I have forgotten my boarding passes and luggage receiptsat the Starbucks, which is now more than a 20 minute walk from where we are.

So I go through the security checkpoint at the flight’s departure gate, and ask the gate agent to reprint the cards for me, which will take a few minutes.

As soon as I checked in, a delay of 30 minutes was announced, which shortened our connection in Kuala Lumpur by that much… It’s going to be sporty!

We are in Asia:boarding is very orderly and priorities are respected

Flight Experience: Singapore – Kuala Lumpur

A little stressed, the boarding ends and the push back takes a lot of time, delaying our arrival time in KUL.



The flight is very short: 1 hour block, and 38 minutes of flight time, reduced to 32 minutes today: the service is therefore reduced to its minimum and starts as soon as the “fasten your seatbelts” signal is turned off. The crew literally rushes on its trolley to offer a basic service but which has the merit to exist: a small cup of orange juice and peanuts for everyone. The crew did several rounds of clearing and even came back with extra peanuts. Not bad at all for such a short flight, where European or American majors would not do any service.

Arrival at the gate with 45 minutes to make our connection. That should be enough…

International to domestic connection in Kuala Lumpur

Because of our short connection, a staff member was waitingat the gate to show us gate B9 as our connecting gate, giving us directions. We move forward in fast march towards this door, thanks to the travelators which accelerate our course.
The indications are very clear, and we pass the passport control in 5 minutes(no waiting), ditto for the security checkpoint (as strict as in Europe), then a quick walk to gate B9: in the end we walked through the whole terminal, our arrival and departure gates being at the exact opposite!



Flight Experience: Kuala Lumpur – Langkawi

We arrived at the gate 35 minutes before the departure while the boarding had not yet started: we therefore took 10 minutes for this connection. A record in an international airport, without priority access… CDG should take note!



Not much to say about this flight,the service will be exactly the same as on the first leg in Economy class.


Experience on arrival in Langkawi

It is always pleasant to disembark on foot and walk to the terminal in exotic destinations: Langkawi is no exception to this rule which I find very pleasant. Air Asia flies a lot to Langkawi, and you can see it by looking at the tarmac!



We arrive in front of the baggage carousel and there, no surprise: our luggage was not as fast as us, and we have to make a baggage file. The agent is very professional, takes all our details and tells us that our luggage should be delivered the same evening at the hotel … Which was the case, around 21:30(7 hours after our arrival). Not a very pleasant situation, but the agents were very professional anyway.


Malaysia Airlines in medium-haul business class

Thanks to the acceptance of myupgrade bid, I have the pleasure of traveling in Business Class on the return trip to Singapore.

Ground experience in Langkawi

As we noticed when we arrived, the airport of Langkawi is very small, and the formalities are thus fast. To access the check-in area, a first baggage check is performed, probably because the airport does not have an airside X-ray scan.


Check-in is then very simple,and priority counters for Business and Oneworld frequent flyersare available. My check-in will be very courteous, and the baggage tagged directly to Singapore.



After leaving the check-in area, I stroll in the few Duty Free stores of the airport, not very interesting especially since Singapore strongly restricts the import of alcohol from Malaysia and totally of tobacco whatever the origin.

So I go to the domestic security checkpoint, the international security checkpoint being closed for the moment, no international flight being at departure.

The boarding lounge is very basic: plenty of seats, power outlets and 4 side-by-side foot boarding gates. There is a bar (cash only) and a bookshop, and then a lounge reserved for passengers who have stayed at the Westin or the St. Regis but unfortunately not those of the Andaman..



The flight boards at the scheduled time, but in the greatest confusion, because everyone wants to go at the same time…



Flight Experience: Langkawi – Kuala Lumpur

The boarding goes smoothly and I join my seat 01C, in the first row of the Business cabin. We will finally be only 4 passengers out of 16 available seats, and I can move to 01A as soon as the boarding is over.





On the ground, a cold oshibori is served as well as a welcome drink (water, guava or mango juice), and theorder for the flight service is taken.





After take-off, the meal is brought directly from the galley. I chose the cold chicken sandwich option, but a hot (and hearty, from what I saw at my back neighbor’s) option is offered (still with chicken).


Really very decent for a 35 minute flight time.

On landing,the crew rushes to close the separation curtain between Economy and Business, a common practice in Asian airlines and one that should be systematized here: giving Business passengers time to disembark in peace is a considerable plus!

Domestic to international connection in Kuala Lumpur

When disembarking from the flight from Langkawi, just go the opposite way of the outbound flight. The Police control is immediate (even if no priority lane is available). No security check, since it is at the gate for international flights.


Since I’m traveling in Business Class today, I can access Malaysia Airlines’Golden Lounge.




The lounge is very nice, the architecture gives an important impression of space.




The solid and liquid offer isvaried and qualitative. The solid offer comes from a buffet but the food is quite fine, and chefs are busy preparing dishes on demand, mainly pasta and noodles.













Thebar is well stocked, and the drinks served by a bartender.


All kinds of special coffees are available and designed on demand by a barista.

Flight Experience: Kuala Lumpur – Singapore

Not much to note about this flight, except for aslightly different menu and the use of an ungainly trolley for service. Overall a less good crew: no order taking, no oshibori and globally little attention for the passengers.





Ground experience in Singapore

This is the magic of this airport: very fast disembarkation, fast passage immigration controls and luggage that was already on the conveyor belt. From my plane seat to the Uber seat in 10 minutes flat. Impossible everywhere else with a checked bag.


For 25€ a segment, what can I ask for? Well, Malaysia delivers more than you’d expect in both Economy and Business class. And the clients are back after several dark years following MH370 and MH17. Long live Malaysia Airlines!

Olivier Delestre-Levai
Olivier Delestre-Levai
Olivier has been into airline blogging since 2010. First a major contributor to the FlyerTalk forum, he created the FlyerPlan website in July 2012, and writes articles with a major echo among airline specialists. He now co-runs the TravelGuys blog with Bertrand, focusing on travel experience and loyalty programs.

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