Malindo Air is a hybrid airline with a cooperative pact between Malaysia and Indonesia, the name itself signifies the two countries. The carrier operates a young fleet of Boeing 737-900ER, 737-800 and ATR72-600 aircrafts for its domestic and international routes of over 800 weekly flights to more than 40 destinations from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport (Subang Airport). While Malindo Air operates daily flights to Sri Lanka from Kuala Lumpur, I have long waited for an opportunity to experience this airline and finally here is my review:
Date: 11 May 2017
Flight Path: Kuala Lumpur (KUL) – Kota Kinabalu (BKI)
Seat: 30F / Window
Length: 2 hour 35 minutes
Fare: USD 22.81 (one-way)
Frequent-flyer program: Malindo Miles
CHECK IN: Malindo Air check-in counters are located at Row F at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. While I had my AirAsia flight arrived at KLIA2, the low-cost carrier terminal from Malé at 0435 hrs, I had to take the KLIA transit train to the main airport to catch my flight to Kota Kinabalu. The train took 4 minutes to reach KLIA from KLIA2 and costed 6.00 MYR. There was a long snake-like queue at Row F at KLIA and I didn’t want to queue at the back. I pretended someone at the check-in counter was calling me and facing towards the counters, I made my way in without people noticing and it did work, in a matter of minutes I managed to get to the top of the queue and got myself checked-in for my flight. I had about 2 hours before my flight and had a light breakfast, but I couldn’t find a place to charge my phone which I really needed to, after snapping several stories for my Instagram and Snapchat.
PLANE: The aircraft equipment was a Boeing 737-8GP, twin-engine/ short to medium range narrow body aircraft, it had two classes of service, the Business class featured 12 seats from rows 1 to 3 and the Economy Class had 162 seats from rows 4 to 30.
The scheduled time of boarding the passengers was 0745 hrs, there was no airline staff seen at the gate area until 0750 hrs, first appeared a female staff rushing to collect the boarding card stubs from the passengers while they remained seated at the boarding gate, another male staff appeared shortly to assist her while she attended the crew requirements. We were called to board the flight at 0800 hrs, priority was given to business class passengers and passengers traveling with children to board first. Only after boarding I realized that I was right at the back and last row of the aircraft, there was an unpleasant odor and assumed it was from the lavatory. Dust and dirt were clearly visible around the windows and on the in-seat IFE screens, the seats were black color with the sides in red, not at all comfortable. The airline didn’t offer pillows or blankets for the economy class passengers.
ENTERTAINMENT: All economy class seats were fitted with personal 9-inch touch-screens with tv programmes, Asian, Hollywood movies and various interactive games. It also had a USB port to charge electronic devices, but was only allowed to plug-in after take-off and the crew instructed to disconnect it before landing. If I had any complaints, that would be the outdated movie collection, but that’s not a reason not to fly Malindo Air.
FOOD: As the aircraft climbed to the cruising altitude of 37,000 feet, the crew began the food and beverage service, the economy class passengers were served pizza and a yummy muffin along with a choice of three different types of juices and a glass of water for breakfast. The price of the airfare includes this on-board meal along with the 20kg baggage allowance for all economy class passengers. It was a big thumbs up for Malindo Air compared to its competitors flying the same route from Kuala Lumpur.
SERVICE: One thing I noticed about the crew during our flight was that all of them were female and, their uniforms consisted of a white partially see-through kebaya and a down cut-out sarong that revealed their legs when they walked. The sarong’s hot pink and purple batik motif reflected the true Malaysian spirit and values. The crew smiled and greeted when everyone boarded the aircraft through the aero-bridge, they were very helpful and attentive to all the passengers, especially when we had to spend a lot of time inside the aircraft with a delayed departure of 37 minutes against our actual departure time from Kuala Lumpur. The crew distributed earpieces for all economy class passengers, for those of us who wanted to enjoy the on-board entertainment – I preferred some sleep since I missed it during my flight from Malé to Kuala Lumpur. I was woken a couple of minutes before the plane began its descent when several passengers queued up to use the lavatory around my seat, and soon was able to enjoy the incredible views of Sabah, the Malaysian state that occupied the northern region of Borneo.
CONCLUSION: I will never mistake Malindo Air as a low cost carrier, it is a full service carrier with a superior product and service line. For what I paid, I was more than satisfied with the flight experience and I will certainly consider flying Malindo Air in the future if traveling within Asia.
I flew at my own expense.