Tried & Tested

Malaysia Airlines B737-400 economy class

13 Dec 2012 by Jenny Southan

CHECK-IN Flight MH1436 was departing KL International airport at 1305, and I arrived in good time at 1100. (When traffic is good, the journey by car from the city centre is 45 minutes.) I tried to check in at one of the self-service kiosks but it didn’t seem to be working so I went to one of the staffed check-in/bag-drop desks for domestic flights.

There was a five-minute wait while my luggage was processed and my boarding pass issued. I then made the one-minute walk to immigration, with security directly after. This was very quick and no one asked me to take any liquids out, although my laptop did need to be placed in a tray. I then turned right after passing through a small duty-free area and found a seat near my gate (A3) at 1115. 

BOARDING The boarding process began 15 minutes later than scheduled at 1220 but passengers were only allowed into the waiting area. At 1300, after no announcement as to why there was a delay, I asked what the problem was. Apparently the plane hadn’t yet arrived. Finally, at 1330, boarding began via an airbridge to the front of the aircraft, with families with small children given priority.

THE SEAT I was in window seat 24F, near the back of the economy section, by 1340. (The front row was five.) There were also four rows of business, beyond a curtain and partial dividing wall. Some seats were upholstered in turquoise blue fabric, while others were red, orange or green. Fold-down tray tables were stable enough to support working on a laptop and the legroom was decent for this short hop.

The exit row seats (row 11 and 12) are configured 2-2 (B-C) and provide a bit of extra legroom, while the rest of the cabin is 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F). The flight was only about half full and I was glad to find that not only was the seat next to me free, but the aisle seat as well. There was no row 13. The back row was 27.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? Choosing a seat near the front of the economy cabin will mean you disembark quicker, although you will have to wait for business class passengers to get off first. Avoid middle seats B and E if travelling alone. Crew store their bags in the bins over rows five and 11, as well as 25 and 26. Note that bassinets can be fixed to the bulkhead in row five so sitting near here may mean having to endure babies crying.

THE FLIGHT The plane pushed back one-hour late at 1405 and taxied for 15 minutes while some repetitive music played over and over. We then stood on the tarmac for six minutes, before finally taking off at 1430. The journey time to Langkawi was estimated to be 55 minutes and once cruising, at 1440, small bags of salted peanuts, and a choice of apple or orange juice were offered around. Crew were friendly.

ARRIVAL The music started up again at 1455 as we started out descent. Landing was at 1510 and we parked on a wide-open strip of tarmac, with barely another plane in sight, and disembarked down a flight of steps from the front within a couple of minutes. There was a five-minute wait for my case to appear.

VERDICT The flight was delayed by an hour, making the short hop from KL to Langkawi significantly longer. Passengers probably would have appreciated some announcements at the airport as to why there was a delay too. However, the crew were friendly I thought it was a nice gesture to hand out some complimentary refreshments on such a short sector.

PRICE Internet rates for a return economy class flight from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi in January ranged started from RM274 (£55.60).

CONTACT malaysiaairlines.com

FACT FILE

SEAT CONFIGURATION 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F)

SEAT PITCH 30in/76.2cm

SEAT WIDTH 17in/43.1cm

Jenny Southan

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