#4Weeks8Flights4Airlines : A Taste of Different Airlines in Malaysia
This is not meant to be the usual AzuanZahdi.com flight review. This is just a post to share my collection of photos from eight flights that I experienced over the period of four weeks on four different airlines. Expect lots of photos so please be patient while the photos load
Flying is addictive and I’ve mentioned in my previous blog posts on how I try to at least fly once a month. Alhamdulillah in the month of August, I had the opportunity to not only fly on eight flights but to also experience flying on 4 different airlines – Malaysia Airlines, Firefly, Air Asia and Malindo.
Flight #1 – August 2nd 2013 (Friday)
Firefly Airlines | FY 2151 | ATR72-500
Subang SkyPark (SZB) – Johor Bahru (JHB)
This was a pre-raya trip to my wife’s hometown. After clocking out at 4pm sharp from my office in KLIA, I had to rush back to Shah Alam before hopping in to a cab to make it just in time for check-in at Subang SkyPark.
Besides the online-check in and the normal check-in counter, Firefly now offers self-service check-in kiosks which look quite cute in orange but I did not notice anyone using it or assisting passengers to use it.
As we had checked-in online, it took us only couple of minutes to drop off our bags at the dedicated counter.
Arts @ SkyPark.
Boarding process was smooth with flight load around 50%.
Additional space for everyone.
Non-fasting passengers were served as per normal while those fasting were served as we began descending into Johor Bahru. Sugar crackers, muffin, juices and dates courtesy of passengers seating next to us.
No announcement were made over the PA instead the crew came to all the passengers with refill for juice while informing that it is time to “buka puasa”. Nice touch.
Thank you 9M-FYI for another smooth ride.
Flight #2 – August 4th 2013 (Sunday)
Firefly Airlines | FY 2142 | ATR72-600
Johor Bahru (JHB) – Subang SkyPark (SZB)
After spending a couple of awesome days at my wife’s hometown, we were set to return to KL for a couple of days more of working days before the raya celebration. Both Firefly and Malindo offered good rates for this sector but I opted for Firefly hoping to be able to try out their new ATR72-600.
A large crowd at Senai International Airport that morning due to an event to launch the airport weighing scale facility for the passengers. Nice to see Senai Airport following the footsteps of other international airports in Malaysia that have long been providing similar weighing scale facility.
Check-in along with other ground arrangements for Firefly flights in JHB are now manned by Firefly staff instead of MAS staff previously. A good sign that Firefly is expanding down south with the new connection to Pekanbaru.
From the waiting lounge, I was happy to see the sight of a Firefly plane. Not only our flight was expected to be on-time, it was also operated by the brand new ATR72-600.
9M-FIA departed on-time. Flight was quite bumpy as the new bird manoeuvred to clear the dark clouds over JHB.
Slimmer and sleeker seats.
Seat pockets with the usual Going Places + safety card + SP Setia and Firefly ads.\
Coat hanger/hook and a cute tray table at every seat.
The orange touch on the all-black seat is pleasant for the eyes.
Other than these little changes, the aircraft is pretty much similar with Firefly other ATRs. Of course this one still has the “factory smell”
Refreshments were served and it was nice to see the stewardess candidly saying “bungkus untuk buka puasa” while offering muffins/peanuts to fasting passengers.
We landed on-time at SkyPark. Within minutes we got our bags and were already in a car heading back to Shah Alam.
Flight #3 – August 6th 2013 (Tuesday)
Firefly Airlines | FY 2172 | ATR72-500
Subang SkyPark (SZB) – Alor Star (AOR)
It was the Balik Kampung trip! A couple of days before raya, we found ourselves at Subang SkyPark once again thanks to affordable fares offered by the airline. Keyword here is to book way early!
“Hi, we are a group of 11 passengers and 14 bags”. I still remember how the face of the friendly check-in personnel changed the moment she heard me describing the size of our group. Nevertheless she was efficient in checking us all and ensuring that we got our seats that we pre-booked. Obviously the person queuing behind us was not at all pleased but it wasn’t long before we were done.
We had plenty of time to kill so I went to check out the flight simulator at the 1st floor of Subang SkyPark. Pretty nice stuff especially if you are familiar with FS2004/FSX.
“Rombongan Balik Raya”
Boarding was delayed by about 15 minutes which was good news (for once!) as we got to enjoy our packed buka-puasa meals on the ground.
Everyone was in raya mood. We occupied 15% of the 72 seats!
Chocolate Roll and Pink Guava juice.
Thank you 9M-FYB.
Flight #4 – August 10th 2013 (Saturday)
Malaysia Airlines | MH 1253 | Boeing 737-800
Alor Star (AOR) – Kuala Lumpur (KUL)
The motivation to return to KL via Malaysia Airlines was due to the fact that the fares were much lower than Firefly which allowed us to save about RM100 per pax (RM1000 in total for the whole group!).
90 minutes before the flight, we were a bit too early. The staff was very friendly and we spoke about Raya and stuff while she efficiently tagged all 10 bags of ours.
Catching up on the Malaysia vs Barcelona FC game while waiting for our flight.
We were lucky as the ride back was on the newer Boeing 737-800.
Short 55minutes hop to KLIA but enough time to enjoy Just for Laugh.
Orange and apple juice were served but there were no peanuts served!? I have not flown on Malaysia Airlines on peninsular Malaysia route for quite some time but I remember being served juice+peanuts previously.
Arrived at KLIA around 1125pm. Airport Limo was not available (waiting for midnight?) but thank God there were normal taxis still operating and the executive (blue colour) taxis were not too bad.
Flight #5 – August 17th 2013 (Saturday)
Malindo Airways | OD1002 | Boeing 737-900
Kuala Lumpur (KUL) – Kota Kinabalu (BKI)
Attending someone’s wedding is always a good excuse to fly especially if the wedding ceremony is hundreds of KMs away. We were once again in KLIA on a wet Saturday morning to catch our ride on Malindo Airways to Kota Kinabalu to attend a wedding ceremony (+ a short getaway).
We were at the check in counters as early as 90 minutes before flight but the line has already quite long for all Malindo flights. Obviously one counter per flight was not the ideal way of managing 180+ passengers but after about 30 minutes we managed to check in our bag and got our boarding passes.
Wet Saturday morning @ KLIA.
Good news is that the plane still looks clean and new (in comparison with the flight I took when they first started) but the bad news is that we were assigned seats on row 26 which are windowless!
Nevertheless, I still love Malindo’s in flight entertainment. BYO earphones but totally free movies, TV series, music etc.
I enjoyed watching Ayat-Ayat Cinta while charging my phone via the USB port.
Malindo still serves free sandwich + bottled mineral water to all passengers. They have also started on the in-flight sales for hot meals, snacks and drinks. Quite a variety to choose from (including awesome meals by Kayu Nasi Kandar) but I was told that the availability of the meals is quite limited per flight. I would love to see on-line booking for meals in the future.
I had Nasi Kandar Ayam Kurma (Chicken Korma) + Samosa + Coke Light for breakfast.
Crew was very friendly and I still find Malindo Air Boeing 737 cabin and seats as the best among all airlines in Malaysia.
Thank you 9M-LNH.
Flight #6 – August 19th 2013 (Monday)
Malaysia Airlines | MH 2613 | Boeing 737-800
Kota Kinabalu (BKI) – Kuala Lumpur (KUL)
After a nice quick getaway in Kota Kinabalu, it was time for my wife and I to get back to our daily routine.
Upon checking in at the self-service kiosks, we got to know that we were seating at different ends of the plane (despite both of us being under the same booking number).
Thankfully, the check-in staff was kind enough to reassign us to the only vacant seats which were the emergency rows which is actually a bonus for us!
Kota Kinabalu Airport has one of the best views on a clear day. Beautiful planes with nice islands at the back!
Check out the space
The flight was operated on an ex-Firefly Boeing 737-800 which means no in-flight entertainment and quite a boring interior.
Luckily the catering was up to the mark with the signature dish of Nasi Lemak! Yummy. The rest of the flight was a typical good service one would expect on Malaysia Airlines
Flight #7 – August 22nd 2013 (Thursday)
AirAsia | AK 5234 | Airbus A320
Kuala Lumpur (KUL) – Kuching (KCH)
Based on my previous experience working with small business owners, I was invited to give a talk to a group of entrepreneurs in Kuching and since it is a rare opportunity I decided to take a day off from work and accepted the offer.
Due to the timing of the session, I had to choose the more expensive option of flying with AirAsia. Yes, for this particular route AirAsia was more expensive than Malindo and MAS but I had to be there on-time so I opted for Air Asia.
One thing I like about AirAsia is how they integrate technology into their service. I was able to easily upgrade my seat to hot seats and check in online was simple. With only a cabin bag, I was able to head straight to the gate.
The only setback was the flight not being on-time by about 30 minutes. I don’t really mind a slight delay as I had a 45 minutes buffer but the fact that there was no announcement made and no status updates on the FIDS made it very frustrating for the passengers.
The Hot Seat option in my opinion is really a worthy investment. At only RM30 I got to enjoy priority boarding, first to leave the plane and additional leg room.
The flight was very bumpy due to thunderstorm along the way but Capt Mark kept the passengers informed on the status of the flight through a couple of announcements throughout the flight.
I decided to try something light due to the weather and opted for the Spinach Wrap. To my surprise, not only it is a healthier option, it is actually very tasty. Thumbs up to the AirAsia catering team.
The rest of the flight was rather routine and we landed in Kuching 30 minutes behind schedule.
Flight #8 – August 24th 2013 (Saturday)
Malaysia Airlines | MH 2543 | Boeing 737-400
Kuching (KCH) – Kuala Lumpur (KUL)
I was looking for a great way to end my #4Weeks8Flights4Airlines and I can’t think of a better option than to hitch a ride on the classic Boeing 737-400. This workhorse has been around since ever and while it lacks a ‘sexy’ cabin interior, the sound of the engines along with the ‘smarties’ seats are something to be excited about.
We utilised the Flymas.mobi check-in features and obtained a paper boarding pass upon dropping our bags at the counter. The site is an easy way to check-in when you don’t have access to a computer and printer.
The “smarties” seats.
Better than In Flight Entertainment!
Nice touch with the Kek Lapis Sarawak.
Due to traffic our arrival was delayed by about 10 minutes but that means an additional 10 minutes in the classic B734.
#4Weeks8Flights4Airlines. I love flying and will continue to grab attractive deals to allow me to fly from time to time. What’s my best choice of airline? There’s no way for me to decide based on these 8 flights. Every airline has its own strength and weaknesses and as a Malaysian I am proud to see the operators connecting destinations all over Malaysia while maintaining high safety and hospitality standards.
See you at 35,000 feet!