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Tuesday 16 August 2016

Flying Malaysia Airlines to Phnom Penh via Kuala Lumpur

Welcome to my Trip Report on Malaysia Airlines!

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

Malaysia Airlines Boeing 737-800 (retro livery), the backbone of the airline's regional routes

Malaysia Airlines Boeing 747-400 in the special livery (Hibiscus livery) - in the past 


Flying to Ho Chi Minh City direct was getting boring to me, not many choices left. So I took a good look at other options such as flying there via Yangon with Myanmar International Airlines and I was quite close to booking it as I found a good fare to travel from Singapore to Yangon, however going there require a visa for me, not until December this year the visa for Singaporeans will be waived. Checking the price, it was S$80 for the visa and since I was going to be at the airport for a few hours, it was not worth it and I probably do this route after December. Then using 'Skyscanner' to check, I came across Phnom Penh option and found a very good fare with Malaysia Airlines, just $125 for one way (on mobile version) but for the website, it was $139. I checked the flight options from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh and I found Cambodia Angkor Air offering a slightly expensive airfare for a short flight and it was on the ATR-72-500, an aircraft I don't really fancy. After a short while, I did the booking, I wanted to try this airline and also fly the ATR-72-500 version again and it would be my 2nd time doing so. 

So finally my itinerary looks like this 


Miles: 2,541 miles

SIN - Singapore
KUL - Kuala Lumpur 
PHN - Phnom Penh 
DAD- Da Nang 

Airline's website 

My itinerary 

The website charged $24 more, I wonder why.

Using the mobile application, it was pleasant to use and I got my confirmation email not long after that. Doing the 48 hours check in on the app was a breeze. So the airline scored points for the user-friendly mobile app (IOS version). 

I did the web check-in and got my assigned seats, the good thing is I can do it 48 hours before departure but what I didn't like was I was not able to check-in the day before as the airline only allowed 12 hours early check on the day itself. 

On the day of departure 

I woke up around 3 in the morning, not an ideal time to wake up as my flight was at 6.40 in the morning, this is what you called a 'red-eye' flight. ( Red-eye flight refers to flights occurring at a bad timing) Once I was ready around 4, I called for Uber and a driver answered my call for about 2 minutes. Reached the airport around 4.15 and there was already a queue at the Malaysia Airlines check-in counter. Fortunately, it wasn't long and about 10 minutes later the check-in counters were opened. I was able to get my boarding pass for the next flight and everything was done smoothly. 

SIN-KUL sector

The flights for that particular morning

This is Merlion, the icon of Singapore. This is used as a mascot featuring a lion's head and a body of a fish.

Once I was done, the queue was already this long. 

My boarding passes for both flights 

Singapore Airlines Airbus A330-300 had just arrived. 

Can you spot a country bumpkin? No prize for guessing where he is from. 

This was my first time boarding an aircraft at terminal 2 via airport bus. Gate F55 was near the end of the F gate pier so to get there, you have to give yourself more time to do so. This aircraft, 9M-MSF flew in the previous night and stayed overnight at Changi so it was parked at a remote parking lot, to save cost for the airline. 

It turned out to be a full flight 

My ride: 9M-MSF (2nd time) 

My aircraft according to an aviation website was supposed to be 9M-MLG, I would be happy with that aircraft but it turned out to be this aircraft, was slightly disappointed as I had already flown on this aircraft on this flight.

Flight route: SIN-KUL

Date of departure: 5th August 2016
Airline: Malaysia Airlines 
Flight: MH602 
Route: SIN-KUL
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Registration: 9M-MSF (2nd time)
Delivered: 1st July 2013
Configuration: C16 Y144
Engines: 2 X CFM56-7B26E
Line number: 4512
Gate: F55 (Remote parking lot)
Terminal 2: 
Seat: 5A
Duration: 45 mins 
Departure: 0640
Boarding: 0603
Pushed back: 0637
Take off: 0647
Scheduled arrival: 0740
Actual arrival: 0724
Departure runway 20C
Arrival runway 32R

Boarding call was done early and I was on the first bus. Each bus can hold up to 90 passengers if I am not wrong so this flight probably needed 2 buses to ferry all the passengers on board. This was done quite quickly and we pushed back a few minutes ahead of schedule. Well done! 

Boarding the aircraft 

The flight crew were preparing the aircraft for departure

I chose the bulkhead row to enjoy this legroom space. The other 2 seats were taken up but it was still comfortable, thanks to the better legroom space in this row. 

The IFE screen in front of you

The red seat is fairly comfortable 

The remote control, charging ports and audio ports can be found here 

This was my seat 

The flight was smooth and pleasant. The cabin crew showed no sign of tiredness and were professional throughout. We were given a choice of juice or water. I chose apple juice. Snack was not provided. I won't go into details of this flight as I have done many times in this short sector. 

Window shot photos

Our aircraft was pushed back from the remote parking lot and soon we were on our way to the active runway. 

Entering runway 20C 

Take off was powerful 

The light was getting brighter and I was quite sleepy at that point

Not long after, we started our descent into Kuala Lumpur 

Touching down on runway 32 R 

Landed smoothly on the runway 

The taxi to the gate was about 1/5 of the flight time, that was how long it was. 

UPS Boeing 767-300F landed after our arrival 

Malaysia Airlines Airbus A380 has its own livery 

You can see how far between KLIA1 and KLIA2

We parked beside this Malindo Boeing 737-800 

Transit at Kuala Lumpur 

I had about an hour plus to spare, I walked around for a while before surfing the internet using the airport's wifi. Unlike Changi Airport, wifi is now available throughout the day unlike before (limited to 3 hours). 

No delay for my next flight - good! 

KLIA 1 is actually a pleasant airport to transit 

This gate H6 was confusing for first-time travellers as you can see 2 flights are departing quite close to one another. It turns out that passengers for both flights can enter the holding room and have to be alert not to board the wrong flight. Is there a shortage of gates? One must be wondering. This is the first time for me

2nd leg: KUL-PHN (Phnom Penh)

Those passengers still seated are on the same flight as me. 

New registration for my flight logbook, 9M-MXG. I was relieved it was not 9M-MXE as I have flown on this aircraft. 

My ride: 9M-MXG 

Flight route: KUL-PNH

Miles: 642

Date of departure: 5th August 2016
Airline: Malaysia Airlines 
Flight number: MH754
Route: KUL-PNH 
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Registration: 9M-MXG
Delivered on: 20th December 2011
Engines: 2 X CFM56- 7B26E
Configuration: C16 Y144
Gate: H6
Seat: 23F
Duration: 1 hrs 40 mins
Load: 90%
FL: 340
Push back: 0934
Boarding: 0903
Take off: 1001
Departure time: 0930
Scheduled arrival: 1020
Actual arrival: 1032
Departure runway: 32R
Arrival runway: 23

Making my way to the aircraft 

-XG registration at the landing gear confirmed to me that I am flying on 9M-MXG

Business Class cabin

The comfortable 2-2 layout 

I would love to try this seat, one day. 

Economy Class cabin

Emergency row, I wasn't able to select it when I did the online check-in. 

Legroom space is even better than the first row (row 5) 

Boeing Sky Interior is my personal favourite 

My seat, this time I chose the row near the back. The flight turned out to be full. 

See the legroom space? It was tight. Malindo's legroom space on the 737s is better.

For a short flight like this, it was still bearable. 

The view from my seat, the Boeing Sky Interior makes the cabin more attractive. 

The air-con vent and reading light - same as 787 Dreamliner

The IFE system was in operation from the departure gate to the arrival gate. 

Time to leave the aircraft, it was another pleasant flight 

Another photo of my seat 

IFE System 

Welcome onboard Malaysia Airlines, a member of OneWorld Alliance!

A good selection of recent movies

I caught a movie while enjoying the flight 

The seat map was not available until arrival 

Earplug was provided 

What's inside the seat pocket?

Disposal Bag

In-flight Magazine 

Safety Card 

In-flight meal

I had a choice between the chicken with bread or fish with rice, I chose the latter.

I had a choice of drink, I chose orange juice 

The cookie was not too bad 

In-flight experience

The flight was full as most of the passengers on board were from tour groups and a few were seen walking to other seats to chat with their friends. Fortunately, the cabin crew took control of things and told them to be seated for take off. They were friendly and professional throughout and for this flight. For the crew, there were 3 male and 1 female (in front) taking charge of our flight. 

Meal service was done professionally, with smiles on their faces. That's the way how service should be like.

This short flight was smooth for most parts except when we flew into some clouds which caused some turbulence. Approaching Phnom Penh was smooth but the touch down was hard, and I heard some swear words from one of the passengers behind me! After that, we taxied to one of the gates where we disembarked. I had a 6 hours transit at this airport, more on that in my Cambodia Angkor trip report. 

Window shot photos 

Boeing 737-800 dominates this part of the terminal

The airline's 'retrojet' aircraft was spotted! One of my lucky friends got to fly on it. This aircraft is registered as 9M-MXA. 

There was a bit of traffic at runway 32 R and it took around 25 minutes before we were cleared for take-off. No announcement from the pilots regarding this, only some brief information about our arrival during the flight.

We entered the runway and took off powerfully into the skies 

Off we go 

Take off was smooth 

I would return in a week with Malindo!

Gloomy looking weather, I would prefer flying in clear blue skies 

After an hour-plus of cruising, we started our descent into Phnom Penh. This day marks my first visit to Cambodia. 

Getting closer! The landing gear was out. 

Hard landing and after 10 minutes of taxi, we were at the gate. 

Arrival at the airport

I was expecting an old looking terminal, but I was wrong. It was quite decent, the interior. 

Once I got the chop on my passport, I went to collect my luggage. 

This is the land side, I was out of it after spending 20 minutes queuing at the immigration. 

More photos of Phnom Penh Airport in my next trip report. 

My rating (for both flights):

Airline's website/Mobile app: 7/10
SIN and KUL Airport experience: 8/10
Check-in staff: 7/10
In-flight service: 7/10
Cabin interior: 7/10
Cleanliness: 10/10
IFE system: 7/10
In-flight meal (KUL-PNH): 7/10
Punctuality: 8/10 (Slightly late arrival at PNH Airport)
Aircraft condition: 10/10
Overall rating: 78/100


My trip to Phnom Penh was a pleasant one. It was definitely value for money doing this one-way sector and if I get to do it again, I will. Some of you must be wondering why I didn't do the return flight with this airline. The reason is the airline was offering $125 for the one-way sector and $300 for the return. Buying one way was cheaper and also found a great deal with Malindo and add up both flights together, it was lower than $300. 

Malaysia Airlines is undergoing some changes once again with the management but for the general public, they don't care as long as the airfares are cheap. For those who are still sceptical about flying with this airline, don't be. I won't hesitate to fly with this airline on long haul especially with good deals that come from time to time. For my flight experience this time, the service on both flights was good and with decent in-flight products. If you get to upgrade yourself to Business Class with 'Optiontown', go ahead especially on the 737, the more comfortable seats do matter especially on flights with longer duration. Do note that this airline has different cabin configuration on the 737s, so it also depends on your luck. 

Hope you enjoy this trip report!


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