Comparing GA, SQ and MH: Malaysia Airlines DPS-KUL

Comparing GA, SQ and MH: Introduction
Comparing GA, SQ and MH: Garuda Indonesia DPS-CGK
Comparing GA, SQ and MH: Singapore Airlines CGK-SIN
Comparing GA, SQ and MH: Malaysia Airlines DPS-KUL
Comparing GA, SQ and MH: And the Best Economy Class is…

Check-in Process

With the new Denpasar International Airport, the check-in counters in Bali has received an amazing upgrade and there was little queue to be had. This meant we were checked in very quickly and got our boarding pass including our connecting flight to Kota Kinabalu. Check-in procedure were more or less consistent with other airlines and for an outstation this was quite good since Malaysia Airlines does have a couple of departures daily from Bali.

Malaysia 777 and Garuda Indonesia A330 at Denpasar
Malaysia 777 and Garuda Indonesia A330 at Denpasar

Score: 4 / 5

Boarding Process

Somehow for this flight, even with the new terminal at Ngurah Rai, our boarding gate was located at gate 4 which is not well ventilated. This was not a fault of Malaysia Airlines though since it is an airport problem. However the boarding felt pretty rushed and seems to be less orderly even if travellers did queue for their turn. Maybe the warm waiting area also got passengers raring to go into the aircraft. For a large 777 boarding, I find that there could have been a more organized boarding procedure.

Score: 3 / 5

Seat Comfort

In the Boeing 777, Malaysia Airlines has a 2-5-2 seat configuration which is comfortable when travelling in pairs and both are seated by a window seat. However it really sucks to be the lone middle passenger in the middle section. I still believe that a 3-3-3 seating works best for the cabin. The good (or bad to some) part is that the cabin is probably an antique like what Singapore Airlines still uses for their regional 777. The thick padding of these old seats are definitely more comfortable but it also means some seat parts are falling off. For example my meal tray table just refuses to be fixed back later on after the meal service and intrudes somewhat on the legroom space.

Economy Class Seat on Malaysia Airlines' 777-200
Economy class on Malaysia Airlines’ 777-200

Score: 3 / 5

Quality of Food

For the meal service, Malaysia Airlines provides 2 choices for passengers and in this flight the choices are either between a chicken pasta dish or fish with rice. Since I was travelling with a friend, I managed to get a photo of both dish. While both tasted alright, and I actually finished my pasta since I was quite hungry, the presentation of the dishes were terrible. Portions were also quite small but they did provide a Kit Kat bar as an additional snack which was a nice touch. In addition to the mineral water, they also have a good range of drinks for passengers but there was only one beverage service which was when they served the meal. Passengers have to ask for coffee or tea when they want it after the meal.

Fish in Sweet Sauce with Rice and Vegetables
Fish in sweet sauce with rice and vegetables
Linguine Pasta with Chicken
Linguine pasta with chicken

Score: 3 / 5

Inflight Entertainment

While having the meal, I went to watch a movie though because the seats are one generation behind, the screen size was of the nearly-square format, which is small with lower resolution. There was also no menu for the movies so you just have to flick through channel by channel to identify the movies without the help of a title. Not really the best method even though it was audio-video-on-demand. If I was stuck with this on a trans-pacific flight, I would surely be disappointed. In a saving grace, Malaysia Airlines does have an excellent inflight entertainment system on their 737-800 which was on my next flight to Kota Kinabalu utilizing the same system as Garuda Indonesia but a better selection of movies like ‘Man of Steel’ in the month of October.

Score: 3 / 5

Cabin Crew Service

The flight attendant serving the flight was professional though my friend did say that they seem to be just going through the standard notions and made no additional attempt in personalizing the service. They were efficient at getting the job done but otherwise remained out of sight for most of the flight.

Score: 3 / 5

Flight Ambience

Malaysia Airlines uses a bunch of colours for its Economy Class seats and I thought the cabin was not very clean compared to other airlines that have planes of a nearly similar age or older. Cathay Pacific does have a cleaner plane on its first 777, and that was the first ever 777 delivered. For a newer plane, I would have expected a better condition of the aircraft. While the washroom was in a clean state, the cabin colours was just not to my liking and I do not have a positive feeling about it. On the new 737-800 with Boeing Sky Interior though, that is a totally different ambience which I enjoy but since my rating is on this flight, I rate it poorly.

Onboard Malaysia Airlines 777-200
Onboard Malaysia Airlines 777-200

Score: 3 / 5

Total: 22 / 35

Generally, Malaysia Airlines is not a bad airline to fly at all especially for a short haul flight. I did enjoy the catering even though if it is of a small portion and they have decent entertainment. They also have very good new planes such as the A380 from Kuala Lumpur and the new 737-800s that serve regional destinations including Bali. In fact I did enjoy my flights better on the 737-800 rather than this older widebody 777. Even when you might be booked on a 737, they still have some older 737 models without a personal TV screen so it can be a downer for a 2 hour flight. The lack of consistency in their regional short to mid-haul flights is what makes them a disappointing airline though.

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5 thoughts on “Comparing GA, SQ and MH: Malaysia Airlines DPS-KUL

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