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I take a tour of the Malaysia Airlines A350-900 aircraft

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Malaysia Airlines invited me down to Heathrow last week to take a tour of their new Airbus A350-900.

I am hoping to do a proper review of Malaysia Airlines in the next couple of months, but for now you’ll have to do with this brief overview.

If you want to know more, there is a special A350 section on the Malaysia Airlines website which you can find here.

Malaysia Airlines is not usually ‘front of mind’ for people who are travelling to Asia and beyond and who want to earn Avios and British Airways tier points.  Cathay Pacific, yes.  Qatar Airways via Doha, yes.  Malaysia Airlines is, along with Japan Airlines, SriLankan and Royal Jordanian, one of the oneworld partners we seem to forget about.

Malaysia Airlines A350

This is a mistake.  Malaysia Airlines has recently switched its A380 fleet for brand new A350-900 aircraft on the London Heathrow route and the product looks very good.

I put together a short video, see below, which shows you around the cabin in detail.  Here are the three options:

Business Suite

First up is Business Suite.  Until recently this was First Class, but a push back against First Class by local Government officials led to the rebranding.

Malaysia Airlines Business Studio

There are just four seats in a 1-2-1 configuration.  The seat is an interesting design, with the IFE screen right at the back, quite a way from your head.

Malaysia Airlines Business Studio

Business Suite is no longer available for Avios redemptions.  You could book it when it was branded First Class but this is one of the casualties of the rebranding.  What you can do is book Business Class with Avios and then enquire at check-in for a cash upgrade, which will be in the region of £500-£600 each way I was told.

Business Class

Business Class consists of one small cabin of 35 seats.

The layout is a mix of 1-2-1 and 2-2-1.  On the ‘A’ seat side you only have solo seats, alternating between ‘next to the window’ and ‘next to the aisle’.  This is allow your feet to slot under the seat in front when the seat is reclined.

Malaysia Airlines Business Class

In the centre block, you always have two seats.  As the seats face fully forward – this is not a herringbone layout – you are nearer to your neighbour than you would otherwise be with, say, BA’s new Club Suite.  The middle block is best for couples whilst solo travellers are better taking a window seat.

Malaysia Airlines Business Class

On the H/K side of the plane, there is a mix of two seat rows and one seat rows.  The solo seats are ‘throne’ seats, in the centre of the row with storage areas on both sides.

Malaysia Airlines Business Class

Here is a view looking forwards which lets you see the footwell and IFE screen:

Malaysia Airlines Business Class

Economy Seats

Economy is not a big focus on Head for Points, but I wanted to point out one thing.  As you can see from the image below, the front three rows of Economy seating are a different colour.  This is because these are extra legroom seats.

Malaysia Airlines A350 economy class

There are 27 of these.  This is how much legroom you get:

Malaysia Airlines A350 economy class

Here is the smart thing.  Because these are standard Economy seats at the end of the day – just with extra legroom – you don’t pay any additional Air Passenger Duty.  One of the reasons that Premium Economy is always noticeably pricier than Economy is that it attracts the same Air Passenger Duty as Business Class and First Class.

This isn’t a problem here.  You get Premium Economy legroom but an Economy seat and service.  The upside is a saving of around £100 on Air Passenger Duty compared to calling these rows Premium Economy and upgrading the food, IFE etc.

Finally, just because I could, I went into the crew rest area.  Six crew members can sleep in here at any one time.  As well as the three berths at the front of the picture and the two to the sides, there was an additional one behind me.  You can see more in the video.

Malaysia Airlines A350 crew rest area

A video tour of Malaysia Airlines A350-900

I shot a short video showing the three cabins – click the image below to view it.  If you can’t see it, click here to visit the Head for Points YouTube page.  You can also subscribe to our channel via that link.

We’re hoping to bring you a full review of the Malaysia Airlines A350 in a couple of months.   In the meantime, click here to see the official A350 section of the Malaysia Airlines website.

I also visited their lounge in Terminal 4 as part of the same tour, which was a very pleasant surprise.  My review of the Malaysia Airlines lounge in Heathrow Terminal 4 is here.

Thanks to the Malaysia Airlines team for arranging the tour.


how to earn avios from credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (August 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:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

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

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

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 (61)

  • ASEAN Traveller says:

    Hi Rob. Quick comment: it’s called Business Suite, and not Business Studio.

  • Nick says:

    I am using Malaysia Airlines for the first time later in the year flying with them from SIN-KUL and then KUL-HKG. The KUL-HKG is on one of their A330 which I think have a similar business class set up.

    I’m not sure why but KUL-HKG is only 40 tier points in business class yet it’s long than some 80 tier point BA routes in Europe e.g Sofia.

    • David says:

      The 80TPs for Short Haul+ is the exception – it’s a special set of destinations arbitrarily picked by BA not dependent on distance (compare HEL with TLL, for example).

      Everywhere else in the world it’s either 40 or 140, depending on whether it’s over 2000 miles or not.

  • Daniel says:

    Have flown with them a lot short haul within Malaysia and between Singapore and Malaysia. Have always been pleased with the service and their short haul J is miles better than Club Europe!

    • Alex Sm says:

      This is what my partner and I did on a Penang-Singapore route, the seat and service were great. Nothing to complain about! I think it was recently covered here as well (probably, as part of that third-party review series from a person who travelled to the region, remember?)

  • Demetrio says:

    I flew the new Malaysia Airlines A350-900 from Kuala Lumpur to Osaka, in Economy with extra legroom. It is a very attractive product, selling as a regular Economy seat, plus a nominal extra charge.
    Malaysia Airlines ex-KUL is often very affordable in Economy, less so in Business class, especially on ultra-competitive routes like Tokyo. I found the A350-900 seat noticeably less comfortable than the one in the A380 on the return flight from Tokyo (still with extra legroom for a nominal charge). Overall thought, for us based in KL, it is a real bargain for a mini-trip to Japan (same time zone, more or less, night flight, no jetlag). I might consider this product for the longer haul to London too, if having to fly Economy.

  • JP Allen says:

    I travelled Malaysian and it was not possible to get Avios under the one world scheme…stuck with emerald points …good airline to get to Oz though

    • JJ says:

      I did get a few Avios and a huge 5 tier points credit on 2 out of 3 domestic MH sectors in 2017. They were deep discounted economy tagged on to an Emirates ticket. Made sure to enter BAEC number on booking.

    • marcw says:

      I believe nowadays the majority of economy fare classes do not earn Avios/TP or any oneworld program. With Malaysia Enrich you can… but let’s leave that for another day 🙂

      • flyforfun says:

        That’s why you need to use https://www.wheretocredit.com/malaysia-airlines/m to show you where you may have a chance to earn extra points.

        Looking at Malaysia Airlines, Q deep discount tickets get 0 miles anywhere except on MA, while M discount tickets will get you something with BA and AA.

        By using this website I worked out the my CX flight earned me 50% points on Iberia, but only 25% on BA. So I created an Iberia account and moved the miles once ok to do so to Iberia.

  • Michael C says:

    Have looked for some time for any sort of redemption ticket LHR-KUL: admittedly over the summer, but never once saw anything come up on Malaysian?

    • CV3V says:

      Redemptions with MH are hard to find, and often they only release one seat in each cabin.

  • DaveP says:

    What is the difference in legroom between the two types of economy seating?

    • Demetrio says:

      Pitch Economy With Extra Legroom: 36
      Pitch Economy (Regular): 31

  • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

    ‘Malaysia Airlines is, along with Japan Airlines and Royal Jordanian, one of the oneworld partners we seem to forget about.’

    Anyone else feeling sorry for Sri Lankan? 😉

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