With their latest destination now in service, the Malindo Air Kuala Lumpur – Phuket inaugural flight took to the skies mid afternoon on 10th November 2016. The flight pushed back from the gate at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) a little after the stated time of 2.45 pm, taking off just after 3 pm. We made good time, landing just over an hour later to the traditional water salute welcome at Phuket International Airport. The return flight a couple of days later was slightly delayed on departure, making up time on the journey to land about 15 minutes after the scheduled time of 6.25pm. Please note that there is a time difference between Malaysia and Thailand – Phuket time is one hour behind that in Kuala Lumpur.
This route is serviced using the airline’s fleet of Boeing 737-800 aircraft. The aircraft used for this flight (OD 540) carrying the Registration 9M-LNT, entered service at the end of July 2015 making it just under 18 months old. With a capacity of 162 passengers, 150 of which are Economy class seating, the B737-800 is the smaller of the two B737 types currently in the Malindo Air Fleet.
The return flight (OD541) used 9M-LCG, which is decked out in Batik themed livery. The aircraft is just under two years old, having moved from the Indonesian sister company in August 2016.
The leather seats are arranged in threes, either side of a single aisle. There is no headrest, although this is not an issue for a short flight.
With a seat width of slightly over 18″ (46cm) and a pitch of 33″ (84cm), there was no need to feel cramped and even when the seat in front was reclined there was sufficient space to use the tray table and see the screen. The seats recline to a comfortable angle and the armrests can be raised to tuck into the gap between the seats.
For passengers sitting in the front row of the cabin, the tray table fits into the arm rest, so you won’t be able to raise these to stretch out. Your entertainment unit is on the bulkhead wall in front of your seat. The seats seem to be mostly well placed with window access for most.
Legroom is a fairly generous 12″ (30cm) which allows for much easier access and smaller passengers may even need to lean forward to reach their meal or make use of the workspace on the tray table.
There is no footrest, but the space beneath the seat in front is clear for all seats, as the entertainment unit is not placed here, often an issue when it takes up passengers legroom in window seats in some airlines/aircraft. There is a small unit attached to the leg of the middle seat, but it is quite unobtrusive and blocked neither feet nor stowed bags.
This under seat stowage space is more than enough for a small bag to be pushed completely into the space, or for longer legged passengers to stretch out more easily. The magazine space is quite tight, but big enough to fit a mobile phone to charge, or a novel.
The tray table is a non-fold table which can be pulled closer to the user during meals or when using as a work space. There is a slight ridge at the edge, but no cup recess. Staff hand out Arrival/Departure forms as soon as you board, there is plenty of space to complete these during the flight.
If you are seated in the front row of the cabin, your tray table is hidden in your armrest, and you will need to connect any charging items to the USB port on the entertainment unit located on the bulkhead wall.
The USB ports for all seats are located on the lower left of the entertainment unit, to the left of the earphone jack. There is also a credit card slot for payment, if wifi is available on your flight. While working on a laptop, the space is adequate, but there is only USB charging available, so if your device requires a power socket, rather than the available USB port, you’re out of luck.
The entertainment available on board is included in your fare, you can choose from four available directories, or just follow the flight path by clicking on the plane icon at the top of the touch screen. Earphones are handed out at the beginning of the flight and collected before landing.
Apart from a ‘Directory’, ‘About Us’ and a ‘Kids’ World’, the Entertainment selection has a good mix of games (like solitaire), general viewing movies in various languages and TV show episodes.
WiFi is available on-board these aircraft, swipe your credit card in the slot below the screen and away you go. The cost of usage starts at 30mins (capped at 20MB) for USD6.95, up to 12 hours (capped at 100MB) for USD21.95.
A snack is included in the fare on all Malindo Air flights, with the same hotdog and muffin selection offered on each leg of the journey. Passengers will also have a choice of juices and water.
If you are looking for the duty free cart on this flight – they have a fairly decent range of duty-free offerings in the in-flight brochure – there isn’t time to pull the cart down the aisle in just over the hour you will be airborne. However, they do carry a limited selection of the offerings on board, so ask one of the cabin staff and they will assist you to make your purchase, which will be delivered to your seat.
The Best Seat
All seats seem to be positioned with at least some view through a window. However the A seat in Row 8 does not have a window, and you can only see a small sliver of the view through the window in front. At the other side of the aircraft, Row 8F does have half a window as there seems to be an offset in the window arrangement.
If you want an unimpeded view, look for a seat in the rows before the wing, which in Economy would be rows 4 – 8 or Row 17 onwards, after the wing. There are two Exit Rows from Row 12 over the wing and these rows, as well as Row 11 in front of them, do not recline.
There is one pair of toilets available in this type of aircraft for Economy passengers, located at the rear of the plane. The galley is also located here. it is a short flight, so unless you are bothered by galley sounds or people queuing to go to the toilet, you may find the rear seats better to avoid. Food is served from the front of the cabin, moving towards the rear.
Generally the flight was satisfactory, the seat was comfortable and the staff responsive and polite. This writer’s seat in on the journey to Phuket was 8A with the return trip in Row 21F. I had no complaints about either comfort or accessibility although as previously noted, there is no window for 8A.
Economy Traveller flew to Phuket on the inaugural flight courtesy of Malindo Air.
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