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Monday 7 April 2014

Malindo ATR 72-600 Joyrides With Friends

Welcome to my trip report on Malindo Air ATR-72 joyride!


My Singapore aviation friends had a discussion on the popular 'Whatsapp' group about a trip to KL somewhere in March. This discussion took place in January and we only confirmed our flights in mid-February. The original plan was to fly on SIN-KUL-SIN route but somehow I managed to convince them to fly Malindo's ATR72-600 on the return flight, SZB-JHB route. Unfortunately, not all could make it for the trip but at least the majority of us were there.  I thought I couldn't go since I was flying the week before (Indonesian trip) but somehow I managed to adjust my schedule. However, I wouldn't be flying with them on the same outbound flight. Instead, I took the 2.55pm flight to KUL with Air Asia, while for them, they took the 7 am flight there with Jetstar. The worrying part for them is getting the most problematic A320 in the fleet, that is 9V-JSA! Fortunately, their ride was 9V-JSR. So the plan was confirmed -  22nd March was the date of departure and we would come back a day later on the 4.50pm flight with Malindo to Johor Bahru. It is not every day you get to fly with your friends especially the aviation ones.

I don't intend to write about Air Asia's report, but here are some brief details.

I was lucky enough to have flown on this beauty, the first in Air Asia's fleet: 9M-AFA (Apprentice livery)

The former livery

The current livery 

On the day itself, I went to the airport and did an early check-in. You can check-in early for Air Asia flights out of Singapore, as long as it is on the same day. That's what I like about flying with the Low-Cost Carriers over here. 

I won't be going into details on this flight as I have done many of this so far. Service on the flight was normal, nothing to shout about, it was just another routine short over to KL. 

Here are some photos.

The tight legroom space! I was originally seated at 15C but because an old lady wanted an aisle, I moved to the 2nd last row of the aircraft, it was empty behind. Had no problem changing the seat. 

Once I reached KUL's LCCT, I had an hour wait at the immigration due to a massive queue! Luckily, I had my 3G network to keep me occupied. Once I was done with that, I took the Air Asia shuttle bus to KL Sentral. From there, I met the rest at Pavilion and celebrated Jonathan Pek's birthday. 

Did the birthday boy drink up the ketchup? (He didn't, of course!) 

Delicious birthday cake for him.

Most of us made it for this trip and this was our first overseas trip together.

Jovita handed the birthday present to Jonathan.

That evening, some of us went to Jalan Alor which is famous for its food street to have supper. I would recommend this restaurant, 'Restoran Wong Ah Wah'. The food there is delicious especially the chicken wings! 

On the day itself, we had breakfast at Jalan Alor, this time at Xin Ji Kitchen, the food was nice as usual and then we went back for some swimming before meeting up with Jun Hao's cousins, Nicholas and Stephanie! Thank both of them who gave us the lift to the airport and a lunch treat too! After the meal, we were dropped off at the Subang Skypark Terminal where would catch our Malindo's ATR72 to Johor Bahru! It was the 2nd time that we were flying together at least for some of us. The last time we flew together was on Thai's A380 inaugural BKK-SIN flight. 

Do take note that if you want to do the check-in when flying with Malindo, your browser must have flash to access it. Some of us didn't check-in and we tried to do so at the apartment but were unable to do so. Anyway, this was a small issue. 

At Subang Airport 

This was where we checked in. Fortunately for us, the queue wasn't long. 

Here is my air ticket.

Quite a number of shops to browse even though it is small. 

The Malindo Air office located at the 3rd level was in a mess. I wonder how the staff were able to work in it. Couldn't take a photo of the interior as there were some of them facing the entrance 

Airbus A320 simulator at this airport, it's cheaper than Singapore's.

Once I was done, I went to meet the rest at the viewing gallery where we managed to catch a few planes. Some of us saw a Virgin Australia's ERJ190 landed, unfortunately, we didn't manage to photograph it. 

Only this aircraft was seen at this side of the apron. 

Once everyone was ready, we made our way to the departure hall. We went through the security and passport check and we were in the airside in no time. 

  Interesting world map - showing you the weather forecast of popular cities.

Strangely, Singapore was not listed. 


This was where our gate was. Everyone was to follow the direction of the staff that directed us to the aircraft. Unfortunately, photography of the aircraft at the tarmac was not permitted but at least we were not told to delete them. 

No of airlines: 58
Airline: Malindo Air 
Flight: OD1213
Route: SZB-JHB
Aircraft: ATR72-600
Seat: 11F
2nd time on an ATR72, first time on a -600 series 
Configuration: Y72 
Engines: 2 X PW 127M
Delivered on 28th December 2013
MSN: 1130 
Gate: 3 
Departure: 1655
Push back: 1700
Take off: 1719
Departure runway: 16
Arrival runway: 04
Arrival: 1800

Honestly speaking, I am not a fan of a turboprop. My last experience with the ATR72 was a scary one, that flight I had with Firefly was quite turbulent and I didn't feel safe flying on it. However, as years passed by, my mind has opened up and since I had already flown the airline's B737-900ER, it made sense for me to fly on this. 

Managed to take a few shots of this before the ground staff stopped me.

While passing by the aircraft, I saw this. 

This Firefly departed after us and also flew on the same route as us. 

Once onboard, a few of us were scattered around the aircraft. Unfortunately for me, I had someone sitting beside me but in the end, I ended up sitting beside Daniel, losing my seat to my seat partner and his friend. It didn't matter anyway. 

The cabin crew welcome on board and the first thing they told us to look out for the number of our seats at this location - photo below. 

It was difficult to notice it especially for the first-timers, you have to get used to it.

My seat for 20 minutes or so. Comfortable leather seat with ample legroom space. Trust me, this legroom space is better than some premium airlines. 

The seatback cover looks very smart! Of course, there was no IFE (In-flight entertainment) on this aircraft since the flights are less than 2 hours.

This is Jovita! 

Of course, the birthday boy - Jonathan! 

The lovely crew posed for me for my trip report! They knew later on during the flight that we were a group of aircraft enthusiast so taking photos of the cabin was not a problem at all! Thank you, Malindo! 

Gosh, I can certainly lose a bit of weight! Later on, I mistakenly thought Daniel had to move to sit with Jerrold in row 5, so I moved here but he came back later, of course, he took the window seat. 

The seats were mostly occupied at the rear and some empty ones in front. 

A typical #avgeek in action! 

Personally, I like the new ATR72's cabin. ATR has done a great job!

The toilet is so small, I had to squeeze myself in it! 

Do you need a sickbag? 

If the weather is rough, the 'Back to your seat' sign will lit up. 

The small toilet, but it is clean and pleasant. 

What's inside the seat pocket? 

Complimentary drink and snack are served on Malindo Air's flights. 

I was actually hoping for a butter cake, not a fan of crackers. 

The take-off was a bit bumpy but nothing like the Firefly flight I had, it was clear blue sky all the way, perfect day of flying. We had a few small bumps but nothing major for the Captain to turn on the seatbelt sign and he only did that when it was time to prepare for arrival. 

Here are some photos of the window shots taken during the flight. 

Quite a number of interesting aircraft along this way.

Flying in beautiful weather is so enjoyable!

The landing was smooth, we taxied to a remote parking lot where we disembarked from our aircraft to the tarmac. From there we took some photos of the nearby aircraft including ours and we stayed until the ground staff chased us away. The pilots of our flights thought that I was a pilot but he knew later we were a bunch of aviation enthusiasts and didn't stop us taking photos. 

Here are some photos at the tarmac

The photo was taken with Jovita!

Photos were taken at Johor Bahru Airport

The turn around of our Malindo aircraft was very quick, it took around 20 minutes before the aircraft taxied to the runway and take off. 

This Firefly aircraft was also flying back to Subang not very long after. 

Johor Airport is a photography friendly airport, especially at the air-side. You get photos of the domestic carriers, usually only the narrow-bodies. Malindo used to fly here with the Boeing 737-900ER but now only operating with the ATR72 from Subang. 

From the airport, we paid RM8 for the Air Asia shuttle bus which took us to the Johor immigration checkpoint near the border. The bus operates at every hour and the ride took about 30 minutes. Once we reached there, some of us parted ways as we had work the next day. For most of us, we had dinner at City Square before heading back.

My rating:

Website: 5/10 (Low points because of the flash issue) 
On-ground crew: 6/10
Subang airport experience: 8/10
In-flight service: 7/10
Seat comfort: 8/10
Cabin interior: 9/10
Cleanliness: 10/10
Aircraft condition: 10/10
Punctuality: 10/10
In-flight snack: 6/10 
Overall rating:  79/100


It was definitely a fun trip to remember. I am just glad that I was able to make it! Got a special (Air Asia) flying to Kuala Lumpur and then the newest ATR in Malindo's fleet. Can't ask for more. My overall experience with both carriers had been a positive one, would definitely recommend both airlines to anyone. Doing such quick getaways can be a good idea but of course, fly at the right time. Would I recommend flying back to Singapore via Johor Bahru? Well, around 6pm Sunday time, we stayed behind for a while but after that leaving the airport was a fast process, we managed to catch the 7pm bus to the causeway. The only problem is around 7 plus at that time, the immigration counters could be crowded and that might take a while and also the traffic too. Unless you have spare time, it is better to fly back to Singapore. 

I like to dedicate this trip report to everyone whom I met this trip! Daniel Lim, Jonathan Pek, Hon Kit Liew and his girlfriend, Koh Hoe Jyn, Rinaldi, Shasha, Jun Hao, Stephanie, Nicholas, Jovita and Jerrold. 

Its a pity we didn't get to take a group photo but what's important is that everyone enjoyed themselves! 

My next trip report will take place in June and my upcoming trip is an exciting one that I am really looking forward to. More details of that coming up soon. 

Thanks for reading this trip report! 


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