Trip Report from Singalaidean Travels.
I got a call from Malindo Air the day before my flight while preparing to board my Malaysia Airlines flight to Kuala Lumpur. The purpose of the call was to take my meal order for the flight tomorrow (a first for me!) and I was given a few options – Nasi Lemak, Roti Canai, Omelette and Szechuan Chicken. I am pretty sure the Nasi Lemak will not disappoint me but I was curious as to what the omelette will be like and I went with it. I also asked about the load for Business Class and to my delight, I am the only passenger!
Check in was quick and easy. There was no queue at the Business Class counter (yes, only one counter) but the Economy Class counters had snaking queues. Having heard beforehand that Malindo Air utilises the pretty average Sama Sama Lounge, I arrived at 5.30am, just an hour and 45 minutes before takeoff. To my disappointment, the lounge only opens at 6am and boarding for my flight starts at 6.45am for a 7.15am departure, which leaves me with little time to utilise the lounge. I was given another option which was to trade the lounge invitation for a 30RM dining voucher at one of the restaurants listed. I eventually went with Old Town White Coffee.
Due to “pipe cleaning” issues (whatever that means), they used only disposable cutleries which made for a challenging dining experience with the bone-in chicken. Immigration was quick and soon I found myself at the Satellite Terminal where my flight will depart from.
Boarding was called at 6.55am and soon I was onboard.
“Good morning Mr. Singalaidean! Welcome onboard!”
“Good morning, so I heard I am the only one in Business Class today?”
“Yes you are, please make yourself comfortable while I bring you a drink. Orange or apple juice for you?”
That was definitely a prelude to a wonderful flight ahead.
As I settled down in the plush leather seats, I could not help but to notice the mixed branding around the aircraft. There was initially a plan to rebrand Malindo Air to Batik Air Malaysia, the premium brand of Lion Air but it seems to have been put to a stop as of now.
Boarding was soon completed (less the awkwardness of 138 other people walking past me) and we made a slow taxi to runway 32R to join the queue for takeoff. There was a queue for takeoff being the morning rush hour (at the airport) and we finally took off at 7.42am.
My table was dressed immediately after takeoff to prepare for meal service. The crew also confirmed that my pre booked meal was loaded. While the meal was being prepared, I was offered some nuts and a hot tea. The tea came in a Malindo branded cup and Batik branded spoon.
My meal came after 5 minutes or so and I was not disappointed at all. The omelette was done just well, the sausages were juicy and spinach was perfectly seasoned.
The rest of the flight involved me chatting a little bit with the crew about their time in Malindo Air. The younger attendant told me that this is her second week into her new job and also second time serving Business Class and she had no prior experience. I swear I could not tell as she performed as well as any seasoned attendant. The IFS, J, has been with them shortly after they launched but had prior experience with other airlines.
I ordered a 7-up before heading back to my seat and started exploring the IFE options. Malindo Air’s IFE features a high definition screen at each seat for both Business and Economy Class. The screens are of the same size but Business Class passengers have them in the armrest while Economy Class passengers have them on the seatback or bulkhead.
I also find the seats on Malindo Air to be much better than those on Malaysia Airlines’ BSI Boeing 737s. For one, the tray table is not flimsy and I could put my 14 inch laptop on it easily. It also leaves some space for my legs to move around without the threat of toppling my entire meal tray at meal times.
Business Class passengers also get Philips headphones to go with the IFE. I do suspect that they have limited the maximum volume on the headphones as it was very soft even at maximum volume. I tried both the headphones and my own earpiece on my phone and could tell the obvious difference.
I also ordered some milo while I listened to some music on my phone. It was served with two packets of extremely delicious crackers.
Soon, the Taiwanese coast appeared beneath me and I knew that the flight was coming to an end. We touched down at 12.06pm, around 21 minutes behind schedule.
As the return flight was largely similar, I will let the pictures do the talking. However, it is worth noting that Malindo Air utilises the China Airlines lounge at Taipei, managed by Novotel. I love this lounge for its design and the food options are pretty decent. It was also easy finding a seat in the lounge on both occasions I was there, previously on Malaysia Airlines.
There is a noodle bar with freshly prepared noodles, salad bar, dim sum area and endless choices of drinks.
P.S. You must try the fried taro!
Pictures of the flight can be found below:
J (from my previous flight) told me that I should try their Szechuan Chicken on the way back and true enough, I was not disappointed. I do think that they were trying too hard on the appetizer though, by offering some tasteless corn kernels and cherry tomatoes. They handed out an amenity kit on this flight, fully Batik Air branded with some basic amenities which I did not use.
WiFi was also available on this flight and the speed was decent. Business Class passengers get an access card for an hour of complimentary WiFi.
Malindo Air performed well and above my expectations, especially in the form of their soft products. The crew made me feel welcome on both flights and food was delicious. The departure time from Kuala Lumpur (7.15am) clearly does not appeal to any connecting passengers as you almost always have to spend a night in Kuala Lumpur and wake up at an ungodly hour the next morning (4.30am for me). If you do not mind the small trouble, I would say go for it!