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Wednesday 27 November 2013

Joyride on Malaysia Airlines Boeing 737-800 from Kuala Lumpur to Johor Bahru


Initially, my original booking was to fly to Brunei on the 1st November, followed by Malindo on the 3rd to Penang and returning on the 5th and then back home on this flight (6th). However, Royal Brunei's 787 was no longer flying on the 1st so I changed the date to the 8th as it was one of the few days that was operating the Dreamliner on both outbound and inbound flights. As a result, my Malindo flights were cancelled (without refund) and since my MH's flight was not refundable, I decided to take a joyride to Johor and back to KUL on the same day.

On the day, after checking into my apartment near Bukit Bintang, I rested for a short while before making my way back to the airport. It took me about an hour to get from the monorail station to the airport using the Express Train from the KL Sentral.

I did my online check-in with my Ipad and I got the QR code to scan with my phone. Skipped past the check-in counter since I had no luggage, I went to the domestic departure hall, my first time doing so.

                                              Photos of my trip

Using the B gates for the first time. 

I saw 9M-MXA, the aircraft with the retro jet parking at B6, unfortunately, that wasn't my aircraft. Looking at the schedule, there wasn't any flight assigned to the aircraft. Probably a period of rest before it resumed its flying. 

I went over to my gate B11 and waited patiently and eagerly for the plane to arrive. I saw the old colours of MH and I went "oh-oh", have I been "Mh-ed" again? "Mh-ed" is the term when the airline does a last-minute equipment change to the flight, a term that is well known to #avgeeks. When I saw the winglets, I knew it was still a 738 and looking at the nose gear - it was 'FD' which means that I was flying on 9M-FFD, an ex-Firefly bird. 

Photos of the tarmac 

The ex-Firefly 737-400 aircraft parking there are waiting for their next duty.

My aircraft had arrived, it was a slight relief to see those winglets! 

I was naturally disappointed but at least it was one of the ex-firefly birds but the good thing was it was a different cabin from the others. If you ask me Malaysia Airlines's fleet is quite messy, so many different types of 737s and different schemes. 

My flight route: KUL-JHB

My aircraft (Photo credited to the photographer from Airliners.net)

Carrier: Malaysia Airlines
Flight: MH1057
Date: 6th November 2013
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Registration: 9M-FFD
Route: KUL-JHB
Delivered to MH: 27th November 2011
Previous operators: South African Airways and Firefly
First flight: 20th December 2001
Engines: 2 X CFM56-7B27
Config: C32Y125
Departure time: 1725
Push back: 1730 
Gate: B11
Flight level: 230 
Duration: 50 mins 
Load: 50%
Take off: 32R 
Arrival: 16 

Once boarding began, I made my way down to the aero-bridge. I wasn't sure how the cabin was like, but only know one thing, it was the old cabin. Checking the aircraft's history, it was about 13 years old so definitely no BSI on this bird. 

The interior of the aircraft was the black leather seats, much better than the colourful seats on the 737-400. One obvious observation was the legroom space, it was around 34 inch, quite spacious. The leather seat is very comfortable and plenty of legroom space and that is also helped by the fact that wasn't any PTV box. Looking at the history of this aircraft, it used to operate for South African Airways. 

                                                  Cabin interior 

The flight was less than 30% full, many empty seats were spotted around the cabin. I was very lucky indeed to have gotten the 738 perhaps the return was more crowded. The airline could have easily changed this flight to 734. 

The old windows, I had to bend to look outside.

Once the aircraft was ready, we pushed back about 5 minutes after departure time and we taxied to runway 32R for a quick rotation and headed to Johor Bahru. It was a short 50 minutes flight, the crew had it easy for them, but they were professional and friendly. 

                                   What's inside the seat pocket?

Photos of the toilet 

Only a drink was served on this 50-minute flight.

Window shot photos

                             Look at how huge the winglet is

My ride was smooth and we landed on time at Johor's single runway, runway 16. 

Photos of Senai Airport



I checked in here for my Air Asia flight. The machines on the left weren't working so I had to use the check-in counter to get my boarding pass. 

I got to admit I was pleasantly surprised with Senai Airport, I was expecting an old building with a few shops but this experience I had was a positive one. I would definitely come back here soon. In my opinion, it is much better than the current LCCT. Of course, both airports are built for different purposes. For Low-Cost Carriers that come to Johor, they won't use the aero-bridge but instead will be parked at the airport tarmac and passengers are required to either walk to the aircraft and vice versa. Only Malaysia Airlines and Malindo (739ER) use the aero-bridge. This airport currently only open to domestic flights only and only the local carriers used the airport. 

This is a good alternative for Singaporeans to use if they stay far away from Changi Airport. One can take the public bus or taxi from the Airport to the City Square near the checkpoint. From there, take one of the cross-border buses towards one of the designated places; Woodlands, Jurong East, Queen's Street and Yishun. It is quite convenient if you ask me. However, I wouldn't recommend this to any solo female travellers. It is not safe for one to travel alone in this city. 

My rating

In-flight service: 8/10 
Cabin interior: 8/10 
Seat comfort: 9/10 
Aircraft cleanliness: 8/10
Punctuality: 10/10 
Johor Airport: 7/10 

Overall rating: 50/60


I had a fun time on this trip. Everything went well on the flight and my time at Johor airport. I recommend anyone who wishes to do a joyride on the flights in Malaysia. You will be assured of safety and comfort. I can't really comment much about Malaysia Airlines as this was just a short sector but for the price I paid, it was a bargain. I paid only around S$30 for the one-way sector, a bargain right? So no complaints from me. Check out the airfare of the domestic flights in Malaysia, they are cheaper than most cities elsewhere.

Thank you for reading my trip report.


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