Don’t ask me why but I get excited when there’s a new player in the local airline industry. When Firefly started their operations in 2008 and Malindo in 2013 I was fast to check out what they had to offer. I guess I still have this “aviation habit” in me and when the latest kid on the block, Rayani Air announced that they are starting on Dec 20, 2015, I immediately booked a ticket on their inaugural flight.
Selamat datang to the Malaysian aviation scene Rayani Air!
Rayani Airlines is a venture led by its founders Mr. Ravi Alagendrran and his wife Datuk Karthiyani Govindan. Put both the founders name and you’ll get the name of the airline :). While finding a name may not be challenging, setting up a new airline is a daunting task. After months of hard work, the airline finally ready for its Day One operation just in time for the year-end Holidays.
RN0600 – Rayani Air’s Inaugural Flight.
I was able to secure my tickets online quite easily. A RM150 return ticket to Langkawi. Not really dirt cheap in comparing to some other airlines but I am keen to try them out so price is secondary. There are still a few things on their site that bothers me such as usage of stock photos, price of fares kept changing randomly and lack of information on their fleet. I guess these are minor hiccups but I think it should be addressed prior to launch.
Rayani Air utilizes klia2 terminal (Row S check-in counters) so make sure you don’t head towards the main terminal.
My wife and I were at the airport quite early as we had anticipated that the terminal can get a bit crowded this time of the year. Thankfully there were quite a number of counters opened for this one flight to Langkawi.
It took us about 25 minutes to check-in mainly due to some confusion with the system and at the same time they were trying to do a group check in for the media delegates covering the flight. After stressing out that a paid customers like us should have priority, we managed to get our boarding passes ready within a minute. Despite the wait, it is worth mentioning that the check-in lady was very friendly and took the effort to apologize for keeping us waiting and she even asked for our seat preferences. Nice work!
At gate J5, it was fun to bump into few familiar faces, a normal thing during a special flight. Fellow aviation fans, soon to be former colleagues and more importantly readers of AzuanZahdi.com. It was nice meeting all of you.
Rayani Air kick-starts their operation by using former Malaysia Airlines Boeing 737-400. You might recall that in June 2014, I took the last flight before the 737-400 was retired from Malaysia Airlines service (click here to read).
Now these hardworking planes (2 so far!) are back in service. It is nice to see that these planes are given an extended life.
I am however not a big fan of the livery and color combinations. Probably it is just me.
“Let’s fly”. 9M-RKA, previously 9M-MQB.
Some of the features that they are proud of includes making it mandatory for Muslim female cabin crew to wear a hijab, a “more decent” uniform for all, halal certified meals on-board with no alcohol served and recital of “doa” before every flight.
I personally love the idea of allowing crew to wear hijab as many crew and ex-crew that I know are keen to continue flying but do not have access to airlines that allow crew with hijab.
However on the other features of this “Syariah compliant” airline, it is actually not something totally new. Some of these features are already common practices in some other local airlines as well. Nevertheless let us see how the general public views this concept 🙂
At 15 minutes before departure time, boarding announcements were made.
9M-RKA’s new “plate number” 🙂
The sweet smell of Boeing 737-400 is still there. Rayani Air opted to keep the previous owner’s layout and seats with changes only in including Rayani’s branding. Not that I am complaining as the Boeing 737-400 seats are the cushion type which is very comfy with ample leg-room.
The 4 rows of Business Class seats.
The economy class cabin.
The colourful or commonly known as “smarties seats”. Some love them, some hate them, 🙂
Ample leg room even when there’s a bag underneath the seat in front of you.
Unfortunately despite a speedy boarding process, flight RN600 could not leave on-time. However this was for a good reason as a group of kids from a Rumah Anak Yatim was late and the airline wanted to wait, which personally I do not mind as it was a special flight and I was not rushing.
The extra time gave me the opportunity to chat with the crew to know more about the airline. Awesome set of crew for this inaugural flight.
About 90 minutes later, we finally left for Langkawi.
Manual safety demo. It has been a while since I see this kind of demo on-board a jet plane.
Recital of doa.
Hope to see more green and blue at the terminal after this.
As the plane settles at its cruise altitude, cabin crew began their in-flight service.
The free refreshments!
The snack pack contains a tasty muffin, fruit juice and peanuts. Definitely beyond “low-cost”
At the same time, for those with bigger appetite, food and drinks are also available for purchase.
Unfortunately no merchandise was available in the first flight but here are some of the items.
It was a smooth ride all the way to Langkawi. Yes the Boring 737-400 planes are more than 20 years old but that’s perfectly normal as long as it has been maintained well by the airlines. Knowing that it is an ex-MAS plane gave me comfort.
Cute safety card and sick bag.
The management of Rayani Air thanked each of the passengers before the crew prepare the cabin for arrival.
Approaching Langkawi airport.
A grand welcome for Rayani Air. Water cannon tribute by the AFRS team in LGK.
More photos below, but just a quick note, since you’re heading to Kota Bharu or Langkawi with Rayani Air, you might also want to get good hotel deals, I highly recommend our partner, Agoda. Check out their hotel offers. 🙂
A quick look at the compartment for hand luggage. Can easily fit a cabin-size luggage.
Nice little touch by the airline for passengers to remember this special flight.
The friendly crew (some I’ve known for years and had wear different colours), posing for the media.
It was a fun flight and definitely money worth spending. In a nutshell, I think Rayani Air is still in its infancy stage but have potential to grow. Starting with only 2 planes will be quite challenging. Not because it is old planes but airplanes do get “unwell” from time to time and having a small fleet does poses a risk of delays and cancellation. Nevertheless, at one glance the current schedule looks doable with two planes and there are some gaps between sectors which could cushion any slight delay.
I would love to see them focusing on marketing the airline as a reliable and value for money alternative to what’s available out there and not so much focus on “Syariah Compliant”. In the end the passengers would only look for a safe, on-time and value-for-money option. My 2 sen worth.
Would I fly with Rayani Air again? Yes, although my loyalty and preferences towards certain brands remains intact, it won’t stop me from trying others. Yes I am talking about airlines not its crew. 😛
All the best Rayani Air, blue skies ahead!
Need more? Why don’t check out my video review on Rayani Air too.
Note: All photos are mine. If you would like to use it, please contact me.