While many Australian travellers look to Malaysia Airlines for flights straight to Kuala Lumpur and then onwards to London, Malaysia's flag carrier also has an impressive network of destinations across Asia – many of which it serves using its smaller Boeing 737 aircraft.
Included on that list is Singapore, where a successful and relatively minute $42 bid via the MHupgrade system got us a business class seat to Kuala Lumpur to bring you this review.
- Frequent flyer scheme: Malaysia Airlines Enrich. Australians can also choose to earn points and status credits via Qantas Frequent Flyer and other Oneworld programs on eligible fares.
- Priority check-in: Although this line was shorter than economy, once we reached the desk it took the staff nearly 20 minutes to complete our standard check-in of two passengers with just one bag each, which most other airlines can manage in two minutes or less.
- Priority boarding: Business class was called to board first but the process was shambolic with no dedicated priority lane and other travellers crowding around the gate door before their turn to board, blocking the entrance.
- Checked baggage allowance: 40kg total weight spread across a maximum of two bags.
- Carry-on baggage allowance: 2x115cm bags, each weighing up to 7kg, plus one additional item such as briefcase, handbag or overcoat.
- Airport fast track lanes: No in Singapore, yes on arrival in Malaysia via the red carpet 'business and first class' lane.
With Malaysia Airlines' Singapore lounge now having closed its doors, business class passengers can instead visit the Premier Lounge in Changi Airport's Terminal 2 before their flight.
However, with all of the terminals connected 'airside' at Singapore Airport and with MH's Oneworld partnership with Qantas, we instead opted for the far superior Qantas Singapore Lounge over in Terminal 1, complete with cocktails from in-house mixologist Ronaldo:
If you take the same route, be sure to allow ample time to return to Terminal 2 and to then clear security at your departure gate, as is the case for all flights departing Singapore.
As with most Boeing 737s in the skies, Malaysia Airlines' planes come with business class at the front in a 2-2 layout... ... with newer aircraft also featuring the familiar Boeing Sky Interior found on many Australian domestic flights: All seats come 42-inches apart and offer a reasonable recline plus a comfortable legrest... ... along with a fold-out foot rest for shorter travellers but which proved uncomfortable for this taller writer: Each seat also packs in a multi-country AC charging port, a USB outlet for smartphones and tablets and a connection for powered noise-cancelling headphones: For a flight lasting just one hour from gate to gate, we really couldn't ask for more.
A selection of juices, soft drinks and water are offered on boarding... ... although when requesting something alcoholic after take-off we were surprised to be told there was "no bar service" on this international business class flight.
The food however was much more memorable with a helping of Malaysia Airlines' signature satay sticks, plus a chocolate Lindor Lindt ball for dessert, Salted peanuts followed for those still peckish... ... but as satay and peanuts were the only options provided, peanut allergy sufferers would be wise to request a special meal in advance or reconsider their need to fly if those eating peanut products around them would cause an upset.
Entertainment & Service
Each business class seat offers a touchscreen inflight entertainment system... ... packed with movies, TV shows and with access to the moving map, yet no headphones were proactively offered for use with the system – instead available from the crew only by request.
I'd also managed to make my screen freeze and need a reboot before we'd even left the tarmac, merely by browsing through the available content: Crew on today's flight were personable and did well to feed and water 16 business class passengers during the 30-or-so minutes spent cruising, but which obviously meant there was no time for them to customise the service or make chit-chat.
All up, paired with a pre-flight visit to the Qantas Singapore Lounge, Malaysia Airlines' Boeing 737 business class makes for a comfortable way to jet from the Lion City to Kuala Lumpur.
Would I fork out the usual business class ticket price of $550-$800 for the hour-long hop? Not a chance... but would I part with $42 again to fly in Malaysia Airlines business class, even sans an inflight vino?
Without a doubt, most definitely.
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