Sunday, 11 January 2015

Malindo Air - A treasure gem in South-East Asia and exploring KLIA 2-KUL airport

Welcome to my 115th trip report! 



This marks my last flight for year 2014, you can check out my flight logbook over here.

My other Malindo trip reports:

Malindo Air ATR-72 joyride with friends
Malindo Air Boeing 737-900ER joyride

8th January 2015


I have flown on SIN-KUL and return sectors many times, from Singapore Airlines' Airbus A310 back in the olden days to the Jetstar and Air Asia's A320 which are common sights in Singapore these days. This route is nothing spectacular to talk about but because flying on one of my favourite carriers to Singapore; a trip report must be done to savour the memory I had on the airline's first month in service on this route. In addition, the airline operates the Boeing 737-800, a recent introduced sub-type to the fleet, joining the ATR72-600 and the Boeing 737-900ER and I could add that to my flight logbook which means I would have flown on all 3 types.

*Aircraft photos are credited to the respective photographers from airliners.net


ATR-72-600


Boeing 737-800


Boeing 737-900ER (Extended Range)


For the non-aviation readers, can you spot the difference in the aircraft types especially the Boeing 737-800 and -900ER? 

History of Malindo Air

Malindo Air is based in Malaysia and its headquarters is in Petaling Jaya. Its a joint venture between 2 companies; National Aerospace of Malaysia (51%) and Lion Airlines Group (49%). The name 'Malindo' is deprived from (Mal)aysia and (Indo)nesia. This airline was launched in Mid-March 2013 and started off with domestic routes. 

The reason for the existence of this airline is to compete with Air Asia that seems to be dominating in a few places especially at Lion Air's home territory, Indonesia. To counter back, this airline is set up and offers competitive prices. What makes this airline stand up comparing to Air Asia is the in-flight product that it offers. Individual In-flight TV (only on the Boeing 737-800 and -900ER) free snack and drink, better seat pitch and free 20kg and 30kg baggage allowance (depends on which class you are flying on).

Currently, the airline has 2 hubs: KUL - Kuala Lumper International Airport (Boeing 737 based) and SZB - Kuala Lumper Subang Airport (ATR-72-600 based)

Check out the website for more information.


Malindo Air's network



The airline offers very low airfare, sometimes one would wonder how do they make money? One time, I saw the price going for S$65 for a return flight from Singapore to Kuala Lumper and mind you that includes luggage allowance of 20kg. What a bargain you ask me! 

Airline's website 

The website is far from perfect. There are both desktop and mobile version. I used both of them to do my booking and they worked fine. I tried to switch from the mobile to desktop version on my cell phone, but failed. Furthermore, I can't do on-line check-in on my IOS devices as the website requires flash in order for it to work, same as the last time I flew with this carrier. Huge thumb down for this and I discovered later that my original seat was changed to an aisle seat. More on this later on. 


On the day of departure

I stayed in a pretty new hotel located just opposite the new shopping mall - NU Sentral, located near KL Sentral train station. Its called Hotel Westree which I recommend especially for budget conscious travellers. Room may be small and windowless for some rooms but its comfortable and only cost S$35 per night. 




As my flight was at 5 pm, I didn't have to rush so I checked out at 12.30. The staff was kind enough to allow me extend my stay for another half an hour. I made my way to the airport to meet a friend for lunch, met him an hour later at KLIA2. We went to 'Johnny Rockets' for lunch and then 'Hui Lau Shan' for dessert. 

Just before the flight, I received a shocking news of a very good friend, who left us in his sleep. It took me quite a while before I got my composure back. I have to finish this trip report for him, as he enjoyed reading my reports and asking me about air travel.

Nevertheless, I wish his loved ones well especially his wife and daughter. 


Here are some photos of KLIA2 which were taken after my Uzbekistan Airways flight from SIN-KUL. 

Welcome to KLIA2-KUL Airport!



Looks very gloomy!


Once inside, it was time to explore. Certainly looks bigger than the defunct LCCT. 


Walking through the first level, is this NZ Curry house good? I was tempted to give it a try.





The ceiling is quite low, so I had to mind my head. 


I was on the second level, more shops to explore! It is like a shopping paradise, with many restaurants to choose. Unfortunately, there isn't a sushi restaurant. 



The shopping mall over here seems more glamourous than KLIA terminal. The land-side definitely looks impressive. 


Ladies, if you are flying to somewhere, don't forget your departure time! 



There is even an Uniqlo store over here, I seem to be seeing it everywhere.



This area looks odd; its like incomplete.



This is the arrival hall!




Connecting to the next building, this is where the departure hall is. 


It was so crowded at that time. As usual, Air Asia dominated the terminal!




You are able to do some spotting at both ends. 



This is the departure hall. I wonder why they don't start from Letter 'A' for the check-in rows. 



Got to admit the interior design is quite nice. 



For international travellers, there is where you go; security screening then immigration.



Mango Romance at 'Lau Hui Shan' Hong Kong dessert restaurant. 


Spaghetti at 'Johnny Rockets' cafe.




Photos taken on the day of departure. 

Plenty of Air Asia flights and my flight was on the 2nd column near the top, check-in counter at Row W. 



KLIA 2 Information Centre.


Finding the way to the air-side is not difficult. 


For international flights, check-in is 3 hours before departure time. I was one of the first few to check-in for this flight. 


I didn't realised I got myself an aisle seat until when I took this photo! I should have checked when I did the check-in. I was wondering later on why did this staff gave me such a front row when they were many seats near the rear. The staff wasn't friendly so I decided against heading back and asking for a change of seat, instead I try my luck on the flight, as I doubt it was full. 



Entering air-side, just after immigration and security check. 

Heading towards my gate L.


From this point onwards, my jaws dropped. As I walked more, the less impressed I was with the interior. 



Looks very boring and there are a few empty spots, presumably for new duty free shops. The positive thing is there is 3-hour free WiFi similar to KLIA1.


Still walking towards my gate. 


L10 is here so where is my gate? 


Walking on and still no sign, and finally I see it! 


Here I am, but the gate was not ready. So off to do some more exploring. 


Walking further down, there is an empty cafe. At that time, there wasn't flights on those gates beyond L9 so unless those gates are utilised, the cafe is likely to remain empty. 


This is the end of Gate L pier, what do you think of the interior? I think we can agree that its certainly an improvement over the LCCT, at least the aircraft at KLIA2 are connected to the aero-bridge. 


Heading back to my gate L9. 


This time, my flight's details were displayed. 


The holding room, flight turned out to be around 50-60%. 


My ride to Singapore: Malindo Air's first Boeing 737-800, 9M-LNM 


Photo: Johan Ljungdahl (Below)


My flight route: KUL-SIN


Date: 12th December 2014
Airline: Malindo Air
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Registration: 9M-LNM
Delivered on 15th October 2014
Engines: 2 X CFM56-7B24E
Line number: 5122 
Route: KUL-SIN 
Flight humber: OD805 
Seat: 8D later changed to 26F 
Load: Around 60% 
Gate: L9 
Duration: 1 hour 
FL:250 
Cruising speed: 750kph 
Departure time: 1755
Push back: 1755
Schedule arrival time: 1855
Actual arrival: 1921
Departure runway: 33
Arrival runway: 02L


Once I was at the door, I was greeted by the flight purser and her colleague. 

"Welcome aboard, Sir" 
"Thank you!" 
"Sir, your seat is at row 8D, just a few rows and you are there." 
"Thank you very much!" 

 I made my way there and got into my seat. Then I decided to do something unusual for a change and that was to test the crew who was standing a few rows behind my seat. 

"Hi, excuse me! Can I check with you something? Is Row 8D a window or aisle seat? 

"Row 8D? A window seat, sir!"
 I clearly heard this. 

So after hearing that, I was quite puzzled, but I moved to the window seat anyway and snapped some window-shot photos. 


Parking beside her bigger sister, Boeing 737-900ER, 9M-LNJ. 


After this photo was taken, a female passenger came into the picture. 

"Excuse me, I think you are sitting at my seat."

Inside my mind, "Darn, that goes my ideal window seat!" 

I looked around before she came and all window seats near row 8 were occupied.


"Hold on, let me ask the crew."

I pretended to be some sort of a first-timer flyer. Gosh, my acting must be good! ;) 

(Looking at the same cabin crew.) 

"Excuse me, you told me that seat 8D is a window seat, right?" 
"Huh?, no, its an aisle seat." 
"I thought you told me 8D is? 

Gave her a 'blur' look. 

"No, Sir, 8F is a window seat" 

She sounded a bit impatient at this moment! (Minus point!)

"In that case, can I move to the rear, is it empty?" 
"Yes, you may. The flight is not full." 
"Thank you."

This was the last time I interacted with her until the end of the flight. 

The female passenger had her seat and I got to move to row 26 and the seats around me and my row empty! So that was a good thing, agree? 

Started snapping as many photos as I could and for the crew, they weren't bothered at all once safety video was done. Not very friendly set of crew I must add. They went into "ninja" mode after doing the safety checks and we were only taxiing out of the apron but at least they appeared after the seat belt sign was turned off. 

The cabin of the Boeing 737-800, same as the Boeing 737-900ER's interior.


Legroom space is 32-inch.




Very comfortable leather seats! 


I am in love with this cabin, now do you know why?





As you can see from this photo below, the 2 emergency over-wing windows.



The mood lighting was turned on, beautiful right?




The combination of the mood lighting and sunset works well. 





Another type of lighting, do you prefer this or the blue? 


During the flight, the crew came out to distribute complimentary snack and drink for every passengers. 


"Hello Sir, here is your snack." 
"Thank you!"


The airline doesn't offer hot meal on this flight as this flight time is too short. So just a snack and a drink for us.

What's inside the seat pocket? 

Just the safety card; back and front. 



Here are my window-shot photos! It was a good thing I got myself a window seat elsewhere, check them out and you know why. 

We started our long taxi to runway 33. Usually, the airlines that use the KLIA2 will use this runway (33/05).


Reaching the threshold. 



Passing by this Air Asia A320 which departed first. From my observation, it seems that Air Asia and Malaysia Airlines aircraft get priority ahead of Malindo Air. 


We waited for about 10 minutes; a landing and 2 departures from Air Asia before we were allowed to take off. 



Here is the video of the take-off!


The take-off was powerful and hardly any turbulence during the climb. 

Can you spot a rainbow?


Goodbye KUL, I will be back soon.



Making a left turn while climbing up to its assigned heading and flight level.



It was enjoyable so far!



We flew into some turbulence and the seat belt sign came on. 



Don't be nervous when you are flying through this. 


The aircraft rattled but nothing bad. 


Sometimes, bad weather gives you some good photography opportunities. 






This is my personal favourite shot.


Fortunately, the ride at this point wasn't too bad and it was smooth again once we were out of it.


At this point, we have started our descend. However, we were placed on a holding pattern for 15 minutes and that was the reason for our late arrival. 


Lovely view, right? I wouldn't mind spending more time flying around. 


One of the many turns we made. 

The pilots made a welcome announcement and warned us that we would be late due to heavy traffic in Singapore and he was true to his words. 




This was it, we started our descend once again and were out of the holding pattern. Seat belt sign was turned on and the Captain told the crew to prepare for arrival. 

They came around and check to make sure everyone was belted up. Its important whether there is turbulence or not, always fasten your seat belt for unexpected turbulence can happen any time. 


One of the reasons why I love flying in the evening!



At this time, I was prepared for some bumps while descending through another thick layer of clouds.


Surprisingly, it was smooth. 


Out of it and we were on our final approach.



Sorry for the grainy shots. The recognisable city of Singapore was spotted and very soon my short trip came to an end. 




The aircraft touched down smoothly on runway 02 Left and we taxied to our gate at Terminal 3 about 25 minutes late. The flight purser made the usual "Thank you for flying with us" announcement and did apologise for the late arrival. 

My rating: 

Website: 5/10 
Check-in staff at KLIA2: 5/10 
KLIA2 Airport experience: 6/10
Cabin interior: 10/10
Seat comfort: 8/10
Cleanliness: 10/10
Punctuality: 2/10 
In-flight snack and drink: 6/10
Aircraft condition: 10/10
Overall rating: 62/90

Conclusion

With a fleet of Boeing 737-800,-900ER and ATR72-600 and more -800s entering this airline's fleet, we can expect it to further expand its network and improve some of the route's frequency. Do take note that another airline in Lion Air's group, Batik Air has the same cabin interior as Malindo Air. That airline seems to be doing quite well for the group. Strangely, Lion Air is supposed to be the parent airline and yet its subsidiaries have better in-flight products than it, sounds strange?

As for this flight, the ground and cabin staff were disappointing. I had a fair share of poor service and this is definitely one of them. Even though the flight was short, the crew could have been more welcoming, friendly and helpful. Hiding at the back of the cabin is pretty obvious that they are not interested in the passengers' welfare. I did however had a couple of good flights with this airline with better service, so I think its down to your luck the type of crew you get. Nevertheless, Malindo Air is definitely an airline you have to try, especially for the price you pay. For Singapore route, its currently operating 3 times daily, to be increased to 4 in February 2015. 

Thank you for reading!  

Look out for my upcoming flights this year. 

Happy 2015 New Year! 

Cheers,
Charles 





2 comments:

  1. Hi Charles. I came across your blog while looking for Malindo air information. This post is very useful and had very detailed obeservations. Thank you :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mi, I am glad you enjoy the report. If you have any questions, feel free to ask! :)

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