Though Malaysia Airlines’ identity has taken a drastic hit after the horrendous disappearance of flight 370 in 2014, the airline’s sterling first-class service doesn’t have to be overlooked. Due to the tragic incident, and the mounting commercial losses, the most talked-about airline in the world is now going through a management shuffle and renewal of its fleet.

While the MH370 incident changed how people felt about flying with Malaysia Airlines, the tragedy didn’t stop me from flying with them, and here is my first MH experience from my recent flight.

Date: 23 July 2016
Flight Path: Kuala Lumpur (KUL) – Langkawi (LGK)

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Seat: Window
Class: Economy
Seat: 12A
Length: 1 hour 5 minutes
Fare: USD 17/-

CHECK IN: Malaysia Airlines operates its domestic routes out of Kuala Lumpur at KLIA2 terminals. There were 5 check-in counters with very few passengers in the queue, hence the check-in process was quick and easy.

PLANE: The aircraft was a Boeing 737-800 and was not a new aircraft. Some of the fleet’s 737-800s are visibly new compared with the rest, they also operate two versions of Boeing 737-800: one with 150 seats on Economy Class and the other with 144 seats in the Economy Class. This aircraft had 16 seats of Business Class and 150 seats of Economy Class for domestic flights.
MH Cabin

MH Legroom

Soon after I boarded the plane, I started noticing that many passengers were standing next to their seats with their boarding passes, all of them were traveling with their families. Shortly a cabin crew met them, she was a little loud though, but kept telling everyone to take seats as per the seat numbers printed on their boarding passes and to speak with other passengers to exchange seats should they wish to sit with there family members. I purchased my ticket through the Malaysia Airlines website and selected my seat originally for 11E (the seat pitch was 30″ and was comfortable), the same option must have been available for everyone else who purchased tickets online, if not, would have been able to get it done through their travel agent. Even the staff at the check-in counter could have done something about it, instead of letting the same situation happen on every domestic flight departing from KLIA2.

There was something else I observed, an elderly man and woman sitting at the emergency exits seats on row 12. According to my knowledge in emergency exit seating requirements, whoever sits at an emergency exit must have the capacity to perform the applicable functions of an emergency evacuation without the assistance of an adult companion, parent, or other relative. There could have been the possibility that others who traveled with these 2 passengers selected the emergency exit seats for the convenience of legroom for them, but they are still not allowed to sit as per the emergency exit seating requirements. The chief purser of the flight was with them soon and asked me if I could offer my seat for them in exchange for the seats they already had, I agreed and took my new window seat at the emergency exit. The crew soon demonstrated the safety features on-board the Boeing 737-800 and the flight took off on schedule.

On-board safety instructions

The seat pocket has the on-board safety instructions

Air sickness bag

The seat pocket also had an air sickness bag

MH Inflight magazine

Going places is the in-flight magazine of Malaysia Airlines Berhad

MH AVOD Screen
ENTERTAINMENT: Almost all 737-800s in the Malaysia Airlines fleet have personal AVOD screens with a wide array of audio and video library. The rest of the 737-800s have standard audio available. The Business Class has 10.6″ screens while Economy Class has 9″ screens.

Savoury snack and juice
FOOD: Since it was a short flight, there was no meal service, but the crew offered a cup of orange juice and a packet of peanuts for the economy class passengers.

SERVICE: Not all the crew members were warm and hospitable, if you have seen the uniform of the female cabin crews of Malaysia Airlines, they wear a graceful silk uniform made from a sarong kebeya design, they conducted an MH = “Malaysian Hospitality” campaign in early 2013, while MH also represents the airline’s two letter code. And with the way the female crew addressed the passengers at the time I boarded and took my seat, I just cannot agree that it’s true Malaysian hospitality, especially with my first experience and impression.

It was a sunny day until the flight started its descent, the Captain informed the crew to prepare the cabin for landing and soon we touched at Langkawi International Airport.

CONCLUSION: I enjoyed my short experience with Malaysia Airlines though, in the midst of and in spite of so many troubles, the airline is putting a lot of effort to maintains its seat as one of the best airlines in the world. The seats were much comfortable than I expected— I’ll fly you again Malaysia Airlines.
Aerial view of Kuala Lumpur

* This article was originally posted on theislandlogic blog.