SYD to KUL
Duration: 8h 50m
To get from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur, I chose to fly Malaysia Airlines. This was my first time flying Malaysia Airlines, and I’m saddened that they’ve had so many unfortunate incidents and are going through hard times as I think they’re a solid carrier that I would happily fly again (and have since this first flight).
This aircraft featured a typical regional business class seat and configuration for Asia, so it was 2-2-2 seating with angled-flat seats. The cabin looked pretty new, and the seats didn’t feel worn or tired. When I arrived at my seat, I thought there were two blankets and a pillow, but one of the “blankets” was actually supposed to be used as a seat cover. No actual mattress for the seat, but it’s something.
Business class cabin
Seats 2A and 2C
I was offered a pre-departure beverage of juice or water. Rather than just orange juice, they also had apple juice and mango juice on offer. As boarding finished, one thing that I noticed was that almost half of the business class passengers were female. It’s pretty rare to have near gender parity in a business class cabin (e.g. I’m currently writing this on an AA flight in first class where there are 3 women out of 16 passengers). In total, the cabin was 28 out of 36 full. Amenity kits and headphones were handed out after takeoff. They didn’t offer slippers proactively, but you could request them, although they were pretty flimsy.
Catering on this flight was a supper service and refreshments before landing. I pre-ordered a VGML.
First up was the satay. Malaysia Airlines is supposed to be famous for their satay, so I had to try it. The satay sauce was pretty delicious, but the beef was not as it was tough and dry. The chicken was a bit better. The VGML came with vegetarian skewers, but to be honest, I’ve never had vegetable skewers that were delicious. They’re usually edible, but also underwhelming. The tofu from the vegetarian skewers dipped in the satay sauce was delicious, though.
VGML satay replacement
After satay came an appetizer of cold vegetables. I wish airlines would stop serving cold vegetables as part of vegetarian special meals. There are so many other cold vegetarian dishes that could be served like hummus or other bean dip or salad or spring rolls or anything else really. The fruit was tasty, though.
VGML appetizer and fruit
My main course was some sort of mushy rice (?) cake served in a tomato-y sauce. It wasn’t the worst VGML I’ve eaten (I still think Thai First Class holds that dubious honor), but it wasn’t great. Bland and mushy aren’t a great combo.
For dessert, I had some of the chocolate cake, which was pretty good.
Chocolate cake for dessert
Two annoying things about the in-flight entertainment: 1) the screen was awkwardly low and couldn’t be adjusted, so it wasn’t very easy to watch unless your seat was at least partially reclined; and 2) they played 3 minutes of ads before each movie.
Screen is somewhat awkwardly positioned
After dinner, I put the seat into the sleeping position. The seat was firm and slanty. I slept fine for 5 hours, but it wasn’t very comfortable for side sleeping, and my back was not happy when I woke up (does this mean I’m getting old?). The blanket was nice, but I wish the seat cover had more padding and the pillow were bigger.
They prepared the cabin pretty early for arrival. There were some movies about Malaysia and the arrivals process. My favorite part was the “celebrating 1Malaysia” song with lyrics like, “Truly Asia, the best place to be”. So catchy.
This flight is somewhat awkwardly timed in that it gets into KUL at 4:30am. To me, it would make so much more sense if they pushed back departure two hours so that it departs at 11:40pm and arrives at 6:30am, but i believe there are airport curfew restrictions at SYD that prevent a later takeoff. But it’s over 8 hours of flying time, so you theoretically could get a decent amount of sleep.
Overall, it was a good flight on MH. The cabin manager was great and addressed me by name at all interactions. And he used a more accurate version of my last name rather than how it’s typically pronounced in English. Yes, the seats could be better, but I see no reason to avoid flying Malaysia Airlines.