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Malindo Air: Flying from KL to Kota Kinabalu – A “Not Just Low Cost” Experience

There’s a new airline in town.

Malaysia’s first hybrid airline model, Malindo Air, has successfully started its flights to East Malaysia on 22nd March 2013. Leveraging on the strength of Lion Air Group, the airline operates brand new Boeing 737-900ER aircraft currently providing thrice-daily services to Kota Kinabalu and four-times-daily services to Kuching.

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Over the last couple of weeks, I received quite a number of queries on Malindo Airlines from AzuanZahdi.com readers. People are still unsure on what to expect from this new hybrid airline concept of Malindo Air. In order to answer some of these questions and simply because of the fact that I love flying, I took the effort to book myself a day-trip to Kota Kinabalu just to allow me to experience Malindo Air on its second day of operations.

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Through Malindo Air’s website I was able to get the introductory all-inclusive promo fare of RM136. Reasonable price for a day trip 🙂

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OD1002 – the first flight to Kota Kinabalu from Main Terminal Building, KLIA is scheduled to be at 0650 every day. I was at the terminal as early as 5:30am.

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Malindo Air occupies half of the counters at Row F.

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I was welcomed at the check-in counters by Miss Adriana Aman, a friendly personnel that granted me my request for an aisle seat.

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I had no checked-in luggage so the whole check-in process took only 2-minutes. I look forward for Malindo to enable its web check-in features on their website which could be a useful time-saver option for passengers without checked-in luggage especially on flights as early as OD1002.

Malindo Air Boeing 737-900ER. This aircraft (9M-LNF) is special due to the fact that it is the 7,500th Boeing 737! A huge family of 737 workhorse.

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Boarding process was completed using the usual routine of special assistance > family with kids > rows at the back > front rows. No business class passengers for today’s flight. On a similar note, I shall include “flying business class on Malindo Air” as one of my target for 2013.

The business class seats.

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I was the last person to board the plane. Pax load was quite low with last few rows of seats remain unoccupied.

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Within minutes, boarding was completed and door was closed for push-back, a couple minutes earlier than scheduled time.

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With a tagline of “Not Just Low Cost”, Malindo is not only a Low Cost carrier but also an airline that provides superior products and service. It’s ‘hybrid airline’ concept is more than just a marketing gimmick. The products offered are reflective of this concept and it is something that I personally willing to pay extra to enjoy.

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In the economy class section, the comfortable leather seat offers a 32in pitch, which is significantly better than low-cost carriers and some aircrafts operate by full-service carriers.

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The large seatback in-flight entertainment screen is a nice touch! Don’t forget to bring your own headset – the usual single -jack type or buy onboard for RM5).

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Some screenshots of the IFE screen. Games, music jukebox, inter-seats chati and latest movies (Life of Pi) are part of this IFE system that is available in 5 languages. I was in #AVGeek mode so I decided to just tune in to the airshow channel for flight info.

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If you have your own electronic device, bring your own USB cable and you do not have to worry about running out of power.

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Breakfast was served as we reached the cruising altitude of 37,000 feet above the Royal Town of Pekan, Pahang.

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Egg-sandwich and a small pack of mineral water. Free of charge. It is a nice touch but I personally think it would be even better if passengers are given the options to purchase a more solid food as well.

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The flight was generally smooth thanks to the good weather condition throughout the journey.

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Mood lighting that matches the cabin ambience with the environment outside. A nice feature of the Boeing 737-Next Generation series.

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It is also worth mentioning that Malindo Air also provides free 15kg checked-in luggage allowance. For hand-carry it allows up to 7kg within the usual cabin-size bag requirements which can be placed at the overhead compartment or below the seat in front of you.

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2-hours into the flight.

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A friendly reminder to those enjoying the movies.

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Approaching Kota Kinabalu.

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Welcome to Kota Kinabalu International Airport. On-time arrival for OD1002 23 March 2013.

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At the gate. Malindo Air utilizes the modern facilities of Terminal 1 KKIA.

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I was the last few to leave the aircraft. All seven cabin crew were immediately occupied in preparing the cabin for the return flight. Fast turnarounds contribute towards a better aircraft utilisation rate which translates into better revenue flow.

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One for my ‘aviation stories’ album!

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Special thanks to the lovely Malindo Air crew members who not only help answered my many questions on the airlines and the 737-900ER aircraft but also for providing the world class cabin service that is at par with premium airlines’ hospitality that I have experience before this.

Flight OD1002 gave me a good first impression. Malindo Air is definitely in my personal list of preferred airlines and given the kind of services that I experienced (main terminal, aerobridge, good seat pitch, free IFE, free snacks, new aircraft, friendly crew) I wish Malindo Air the very best of success. I hope that the seats can be filled up easily, fares remain competitive if not low and the airlines can sustain its bottom-line while maintaining the standards of service in a long run. In the end, we passengers will be the winner. 🙂

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For bookings – head over to http://www.malindoair.com/en/

p/s: With Malindo Air competitive fares to KK, we now have more reasons to travel for a holiday to Sabah! I did a short hop to Manukan Island and it was awesome! #SabahBounceBack

Malindo BKI Photos1

Coming up next: The video review of Flight OD1002! Please leave your comments below if you have any experience to share, feedback or questions 🙂

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Over the years, I have created some aviation related videos of my experience flying.