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Review: Malaysia Airlines regional business class, from Kuala Lumpur to Jakarta, on Avios

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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.

The Malaysia Airlines website is here if you want to find out more about what they offer, although Avios redemptions need to be booked via ba.com as usual.

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.

Malaysia Airlines Boeing 737

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.

Review of Malaysian Airlines Business Class from Kuala Lumpur to Jakarta

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:

Malaysia Airlines review Boeing 737-8 business class

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.

Review of Malaysian Airlines Business Class from Kuala Lumpur to Jakarta

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.

Review of Malaysian Airlines Business Class from Kuala Lumpur to Jakarta

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…

Conclusion

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.

You can learn more about Malaysia Airlines on their website here.  The earning rates for crediting cash tickets to British Airways Executive Club are on this page of ba.com.

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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How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (July 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

There are two official British Airways American Express cards:

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You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

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We also recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card:

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Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (39)

  • Polly says:

    Anika quoted in ST section today regarding supermarket perks lost etc..

  • Alan says:

    Looks good (as long as the other options are non-spicy – good that they warned you!).

    From the photo I’d have thought legroom in row 2/3 would be very good. I’ve been caught out a few times now where row 1 has actually been worse due to the bulkhead (AA and DL domestic F flights come to mind), so although it looks decent here I tend to pick row 2 now to avoid the lottery!

    • Alex Sm says:

      Haihanese Chicken is a very plain (non-spicy) dish by default, so it’s ok in terms of balance

      • Alan says:

        Ah, cool – I’m just supremely rubbish with spicy, forehead covered in sweat! 🙂

  • PAL says:

    I do like it when airlines offer you an ice cold towel as well.

  • Will says:

    Flying KUL-SIN in Y (Avios redemption, when maybe cash would have been more appropriate?)

    Anyone know if Y get food and/or drinks on this short flight? (or is it the PAYG option)

    • Alex Sm says:

      My partner and I were on MH flight from Penang to KL last year, on 738 in Y (paying hard ringgit for our tix and earning some Avios). Same seat, lounge included, great service, guava juice, amazing peanuts and authentic chicken satay with pieces of rice cake. All for an 1hr flight

      • Will says:

        How do you get ‘lounge included’ with Y cash fare? (Possibly you have Oneworld status?)

  • Alex says:

    Sorry for the newbie question, but how do I actually redeem Avios for a non-BA flight like this? What website should I use?

  • JH Neoh says:

    I’m surprised you redeemed 15,000 avios for this as you can typically buy this ticket for 130 GBP or so.

    • Rob says:

      He didn’t. Whilst it has not been written about, he was on a ‘oneworld partners’ Avios redemption. This allows you to fly multiple oneworld airlines on a distance based chart. If you have ‘leeway’ – eg you paid for 15,000 miles of redemptions but have not yet fully used your allowance – you might as well keep adding them in as they are ‘free’ apart from the taxes.

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