[Airline Review] – Malaysia Airlines (MH604) / (MH607) – Economy Class, SIN-KUL, (5 Sep 15) / KUL-SIN (6 Sep 15)

MH uses 737-800 for the SIN – KUL route
Above the clouds
MH logo on the wing tip
Sunset

On The Ground

Changi International Airport

Malaysia Airlines (MH) departs from Terminal 2 in Singapore Changi Airport. The Airlines check-in is located in row 9, which is situated towards the end of the terminal. However the location of the check-in counter is right in front of the second immigration entrance of the terminal building. MH has a mobile check-in service for its flights and there are delegated queues for passengers who have done their check-in online or through their mobile web. At the time my checking in, the queue was thin and I hardly have to wait to get my boarding passes. I requested for emergency seats, the staff happily gave me the seats that I wanted. Checking in was fast (I did not have any luggage to be checked in anyways), after printing the boarding passes, the staff briefed me on the standard gate number and time for boarding, before sending me away with a smile towards the immigration gate.
Row 9 for MH check-in in Singapore Changi Airport
MH counters
Check-in queue for Business Class passengers
Check-in queue for Economy Class passengers. The load seemed to be light on this leg
Delegated counter for web.mobile check-in
Empty line at check-in counter

The flight to Kuala Lumpur departs at gate E1 in Singapore Changi Airport. The gate is located fairly close to the duty free shopping. There isn’t any view of the aircraft at the boarding gate as the aerobridge blocked the view of the aircraft. By the time we arrived at the gate, it is practically empty as the load for this leg is rather light.

Gate E1 for boarding
Rather empty waiting area
Seem like boarding has almost complete
Aerobridge towards the aircraft
MH 737-800

Kuala Lumpur International Airport

The check-in rows in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) for MH spreads across 4 counters from rows A to D located at the first few rows of the terminal. For mobile or internet check-ins, passengers are free to choose between rows B or C depending on the queue. There was a queue at the check-in counter for internet/mobile check-in, however I only have to wait for around 5 mins for my turn to check-in as there are plenty counters opened for checking in. The staff at the counter was friendly and serviced with a smile. Check-in process is pretty fast for a party of 4, the staff did the standard fair of briefing us the boarding gate and boarding time. After immigration in KLIA area is pretty boring, not too many shops or restaurants around. If one has the time, one can consider taking the train to the satellite terminal, where one can find more shopping and restaurants.

MH counters at KLIA
One of the counters in KLIA for MH
Row B is delegated to web/mobile check-in, there is a short queue at the time I reached the airport
Check-in counters at row B
Check-in counters at row B

The flight from KUL to SIN departs at H8, located at the far end of the terminal building. There was a long queue getting into the gate as the flight was operating on full capacity due to few airlines code sharing the same flight. The boarding area is nicely and cosily decorated. Boarding commenced shortly in an efficient way soon shortly after we arrived at the gate.

Gate H8 is located to the end of the terminal 
KUL-SIN route departs at Gate H8
Large and comfortable waiting area
Waiting area in Gate H8 of KLIA
Aerobridge towards the aircraft in KLIA
MH 737-800
Aerobridge towards the aircraft
Flight attendants welcoming passengers at the door during boarding

The Cabin

MH operates 737-800 for the SIN-KUL route, with 2-class cabins namely Business Class and Economy Class. The aircraft has 16 seats in Business Class and 150 seats in Economy Class. The Economy Class is decked out in earthy brown tones. The single alley Economy Class cabin is configured in 3-3 abreast seating. I find the Economy Class cabin a tad cramp with the number of seating MH has cramped onto this aircraft. The bulkhead of the cabin features the Boeing Sky Interior lighting.
Economy Class Cabin with brown earthy tone
Sky Interior with White lighting
Sky Interior with Blue lighting

There are only 2 lavatories in Economy Class situated to the rear of the aircraft. The lavatories felt a little cramp with little room for one to turn about too much. The amenities in the lavatory is limited only to hand soap, toilet paper and tissues. The opening of the trash bin in the lavatory is situated on the side of the sink instead of the usual top.

Lighting in lavatory
Someone littered in the sink
Toilet paper and location of the trash bin
Toilet bowl
Mirror
Only liquid soap is available
Empty rack

The Seats

Seats on MH is decked out in brown leather with fresh red headrest. The seats are comfortable enough for a short under 1 hour flight. As the flight is short, additional amenities such as pillows, blankets and headphones are not available. Each seat comes with a USB port on the seat in front. The seats have a single seat pocket, located on the back of the seat in front, where the aircraft information card and magazines are stored. I opted for 2 types of seats on both legs of my journey. Headphone jacks are located on the right armrest.

Seats in Economy Class
USB port in front of the seat
Seat pocket
Inflight Magazines
Aircraft information card
Seats in Business Class comes with pillow and blanket and are decked out in blue tones

MH604

For the SIN-KUL leg, I opted for row 14, which is the emergency seat. The seat on Economy Class measures 17″ in width and the seat pitch for the emergency exit seats measure a whopping 39″. It is so wide that I can stretch out my legs. The extra leg room is need for emergency purposes. Due to the width pitch, the tray table in front of the seat is locked, instead additional tray tables are installed onto the armrest. Due to the location of the tray table, the armrest are not movable. There is no recline for seats in this row.

Emergency Exit
Loads of leg room 
Power socket at the base of the armrest
Tray table storage
Tray Table folded out

MH607

For the KUL-SIN leg, I got the “normal” Economy Class seats. The seat pitch measures 30″ which I find it quite alright, however for someone who is taller might find it to be a little cramp. The standard width of the seats measures 17″.  As with the usual Economy Class seats, the tray table is stowed on the back of the seat in front. This seat is able to recline for about 5″ and the recline button is located on the inside of the arm rest.

Leg room would be tight for someone who is taller
Seat recline button
Tray table folded down
Tray table folded up

In-Flight Entertainment

Each seat has an In-Flight Entertainment system, which plays movies/shows on demand even for a short flight. Each Economy Class seat has a large 9″ screen with responsive touch screen function. MH shows the latest movies such as Terminator Genisys, Inside Out to name a few. Passengers will be spoil for choices when it comes to the library in the IFE. I had to split Inside Out into 2 parts due to the short flight. As mentioned earlier, headphones are not provided for the SIN-KUL leg, to enjoy the IFE one is advised to bring along a set of headphones. The controller for the IFE is located on the back of the seat in front. Unlike some airlines, the IFE on MH is turned on the moment when I boarded the flight, hence I was able to start browsing through the movie options and watch movies in the midst of boarding once I settled on my seat.
9″ personal touch screen TV which was already on when I boarded
There are a number of options available
The IFE controller is stored under the TV screen
Rather new IFE controller, stored on the back of the seat in front of mine
The back side of the controller

Meal Service

Meal service commenced shortly after the seat belt sign is turned off. Due to the short flight time, meal service can be challenging as the flight attendants have to pour the drinks in advance before serving to the passengers. However I do find the meal service onboard to be pathetic. Passengers were served with a small packet of peanuts and a glass of orange or apple juice. Perhaps due to the short flight, there is nothing much they can do. I think MH can learn from other airlines, which also operate short flights, by distributing snack boxes and packet drinks which were already being pre-packed in advance, all they need to do is just to distribute.

Flight attendants distributing peanuts
Each passengers get one packet, the other packet is for my friend
Meal service consisted of peanuts and fruit juice
Meal service

Service

I thought MH has rather good service. Prior to the flight, I contacted the call centre to change seats as the seat change options was not available when I did check-in on mobile app. Not knowing which button to press on the audio menu (there is no option for change of flight or seats), I was connected to an agent. I apologised to her for pressing the wrong option. Instead of brushing my request aside, the agent assured me that it is alright and she will help me change seats. She even explored the seating with me patiently and helped me secure the best seats for my flight.

In the aircraft, due to the short flight time, the attendants were busy with preparing the peanuts and drinks to distribute to the passengers. There are very little time for them to engage the passengers. The only time is during boarding and deplaning. I do find the service (with the limited interaction time) to vary with who you met onboard. On the same flight, I got a (male) attendant who behaves like a diva, and another attendant who was always smiling when she go around doing her pre-flight checks. I engaged in a short chat while boarding with a stewardess in the KUL-SIN leg, despite flying the whole day (the attendants, as I understood from her, fly throughout the day shuttling between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur) she still kept her smile and asked how was my day.

Overall

For a short flight, I found MH to be very comfortable. The availability of IFE for such a short flight is a plus. On top of that MH grants a generous 30kg of check-in baggage for those flying in Economy Class. Despite the pathetic peanuts served as meal, I thought MH is rather good. Service is great generally, with attendants welcoming passengers and bidding passengers farewell at the door. The flight and landing was a little rough, perhaps due to turbulence and the small aircraft.  I would consider MH the next time even on longer flights.
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