This is my review of redeeming Avios for Malaysia Airlines regional business class between Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta.
Rob writes: this is 5th article covering Jamie’s recent month-long break in Indonesia, using Avios for oneworld alliance business class flights. The previous article looked at the Malaysia Airlines Golden Lounge in Kuala Lumpur.
Over to Jamie ….
I was on my way to Jakarta and due to flight availability I ended up routing via Kuala Lumpur. I’d completed the first leg, a British Airways Club World business class flight (review here) and I’d spent some time in the Malaysia Airlines flagship Golden Lounge (review here). It was now time to board my second flight, a short two hour hop to Soekarno-Hatta International airport in Jakarta.
It felt like somewhat of an indulgence flying business class on such a short journey, but it guaranteed me lounge entry between flights and hopefully a more comfortable journey.
This was my first time flying with Malaysia Airlines so I wasn’t sure what to expect. However as it was a short haul trip I was mindful not to expect a great deal. The gate was very busy when I arrived but it wasn’t a particularly large space to wait. Business class ticket holders were invited to board first. There weren’t many of us and I felt a little self conscious. There were also families with children waiting and I’d have liked to see them being called first.
I was greeted briefly and ushered towards my seat. I was in 1A (possibly a first!) so it wasn’t difficult to find.
The plane was a Boeing 737-800 with four rows of 2 x 2 fixed business seats. You rarely see fixed business class seating on regional flights within Europe but it is more common in the US, Asia and Middle East. The upside is that premium passengers get a better experience, but for the airline the downside is the loss of flexibility over how large the cabin can be from flight to flight.
Here is a library picture which gives a better impression, although this is a different variant which comes with IFE:
The seat had a pitch of 42 inches and width of 21 inches. It had a faux soft leather look and feel and was perfectly comfortable. I also had a pillow and thin blanket, neither of which were used. There was a small table that hides in the outer (in my case left) armrest. In-between the two seats was a shared small table, ideal for drinks when not wanting to have your table extended out.
Leg room was excellent, chiefly due to the fact I was in a front row seat on the left.
The right hand side front row was not so spacious due to the bulkhead although I suspect it was still better than the rows directly behind. I could stretch out fully and still had plenty of room to spare. A magazine rack was situated in front of me containing a copy of that days New Straits Times newspaper plus the usual airline’s own magazine. There was no IFE or wifi available.
Once seated I was offered a tropical tasting glass of fruit juice and a cold towel. Both were very welcome.
Very soon after take-off I was given a glass of water and some peanuts. I was also informed of the meal choices. These were beef sesame soy or Hainese chicken, both with rice or spicy prawns with noodles. I chose the prawn dish. The flight attendant pointed out this was a spicy dish which meant it may well have a kick I thought. I thanked her and nodded.
Dinner arrived fairly swiftly. Here is the meal I was presented with.
The main dish was really very good. It was tasty and indeed spicy. It came with a basic green salad and lemon dressing. Not bad for a meal on a two hour flight.
Dessert was a chocolate cake with raspberry coulis. Again it was very nice.
I was not offered an alcoholic drink (and didn’t need one) but found out afterwards that Malaysia Airlines does not serve alcohol on short haul flights.
The empty plate on my tray was for a bread roll. I could see the passenger across the aisle being offered bread but it seems I missed out. I didn’t mind as I didn’t need any more carbs that day anyway…
Apart from my missing roll, service was excellent. There were two crew working in my vicinity and both spent the whole flight running up and down the aisle, working extremely hard. They were professional and observant, topping up my water twice without me asking. And they continued to smile throughout the journey.
Overall I was impressed with Malaysian Airlines short haul product. It was an enjoyable and comfortable two hour flight which passed quickly. I felt well looked after and the food was actually better than I expected.
If this is typical of the Malaysia Airlines long haul product then I would definitely consider them for future long haul travel, especially as they have some good sale prices from time to time. If you are looking to redeem Avios for a trip to Asia then hubbing through Kuala Lumpur (on either the Malaysia or BA flights from Heathrow) and connecting to a flight such as this one is a perfectly acceptable option.
Booking this flight via Avios – unless you are using the ‘multiple oneworld carriers distance-based Avios redemption chart‘, which I did – costs 7,500 Avios + £8.20 one-way in Economy and 15,000 Avios + £9.70 one-way in Business.
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