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Review: we fly 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 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…


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

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.

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

Comments (39)

  • Curious says:

    ‘Apart from my missing role’ 🙂

    A month in Indonesia?

    (Maybe I’ve missed the purpose, having not read all your review articles)

  • Graham says:

    Nice trip report ! I recently flew to the same destination, but used AA miles on Cathay Pacific via Hong Kong, starting from Dublin. £30 Taxes for one way trip, business class on A350-900, 787. Needed a couple of calls to AA to book, as first agent could not see availability.

  • Leo says:

    Isn’t the policy that alcohol is offered on routes of over 3 hours?

    • Polly says:

      Yes, we just did the same 2.4 hr flight from kul to bki and they told me flights over 3 hrs only serve alcohol. Plus their domestic golden lounge don’t serve it wither sadly.

    • Marc says:

      It was certainly the case last year. KUL-DPS scrapes in so gets alcohol.

  • Rob MC says:

    What was the total cost for this flight in avios and cash?

  • BJ says:

    I agree with Jamie’s general sentiments. MAS regional business on 737 is great, I have enjoyed the food on board too. There is opportunity to try it on other zone 1 redemptions including Phuket. In Europe I am sure we would all love this in CE and in other carriers premium shorthaul cabins. However, in Asia there is a problem because this MAS product is competing with the likes of SQ, TG and CX who all typically use wide body aircraft with better premium seats, even on short routes. TG in my opinion is the best option for regional premium flights in Asia as you are much more likely to get longhaul metal than SQ or CX. Despite all this I ignore the lot on flights under 3h, preferring instead to save both cash and miles, and increase on time performance by opting for a revenue flight on Air Asia.

    • Leo says:

      I’ve used Air Asia and it’s fine. I’m even considering using Jetstar for a short hop from DAD to HKG. But it largely depends on how tall you are. I’m flying Malaysian KUL to HAN in J in the new year and it cost £93. I’m well over 6′ and not a backpacker. It’s a no brainer for me.

      • BJ says:

        I’m short and noticed Air Asia pitch got tighter in past two years, not sure if it is just on new planes or throughout the fleet. Getting on a plane or a bus is about the only time I’m happy to be 172cm 🙂

  • David says:

    Your tropical drink was likely their juice staple of Pink Guava. One of the best aspects of a MH flight for me is a glass of this stuff, so fresh!

    Great review. I think MH Regional does the job well. The food is sufficient and yes there is no alcohol <3hrs, however if you can live without it, it’s a perfectly pleasant place to spend a few hours.

    I also find the domestic, regional flights a really effective way to earn BAEC Tier Points. A return trip for 80TP within Malaysia can be picked up for as little as £75 which isn’t bad at all IMO.

    • Polly says:

      Yes, we just did the same 2.4 hr flight from kul to bki and they told me flights over 3 hrs only serve alcohol. Plus their domestic golden lounge don’t serve it wither sadly.

    • Alex Sm says:

      Yasss! My partner and I were on a similar MH flight from Penang to KL last year, on 738 in Y (paying cash though). Same seat but 2A/2C, very comfy, nothing to complain about (we hate 1st row as we feel too exposed and you can’t spread out properly and have to use flimsy tables and screens). Food was the highlight of that 1hr flight: fragrant guava juice, amazing peanuts and authentic chicken satay with pieces of rice cake!

  • Matt says:

    Product looks great.

    Jamie you’re obviously much nicer than me as I don’t at all feel bad on the few occasions I fly business/first and get to waltz past all the families!

  • Will says:

    Looks similar to SilkAir which we found excellent. Though service & food quality was noticeably better outbound from Singapore.