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Malindo Air: Brisbane-Kuala Lumpur via Bali

by on September 4, 2017
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Positives

The leg room is generous.
Seats are firm but comfortable.
Baggage allowance is 30kg per passenger and can be shared between those on the same booking.
It's currently the only BNE/KUL option available without an aircraft/airline change.
Announcements were timely and appropriate.

Negatives

Food choices are average.
You must stay on board during stopover in Bali.

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Overall, this flight gets the thumbs up. It's currently the best option direct into Kuala Lumpur from Brisbane and the timing is good in both directions. The stopover means you can stretch your legs (even if only on-board) making the use of a B737 a non event.

 

The Malindo Air Brisbane-Kuala Lumpur departs daily at 7.15am with a stopover in Bali before a mid afternoon landing in Kuala Lumpur. A stopover does make it a longer flight for passengers going ‘all the way’, especially as you have to stay on board in Denpasar. Malindo Air services this route using their Boeing 737-800ER aircraft carrying 162 passengers.

Our aircraft, a Boeing 737-800 registered as 9M-LCG, is two years old. It is dressed in Batik Air livery, as the airline transforms during their on-going rebranding exercise.

The first leg of the flight to Denpasar, takes six and a half hours. We took off a minute early and landed right on time in Denpasar at 11.45am, local time. Our departure from Bali was delayed by some passenger issues, resulting in the loss of our departure slot. We were kept well informed regarding the delay, taking off an hour late at 1.42pm. Arrival into Kuala Lumpur was 4.20pm, rather than the expected 3.45pm.

First Impressions

Seat selection was not available during booking for our flight, so we made sure we checked in 48 hours ahead when online check-in opened. We were able to select our preferred seats 6E and 6F all the way to Kuala Lumpur. Bag drop at Brisbane was quick and easy as we caught the first Airtrain service from the city. By 5.35am we were bag free and ready for coffee. All the shops are open at this time and we enjoyed our cuppas overlooking the Departure Hall and runway.

**TIP: Your baggage may be re positioned in the aircraft during the Denpasar stopover. Ensure they stick the large ‘TRANSIT’ sticker on your bag during check-in.

The seat

The leather seats are arranged in threes, either side of a single aisle. There is no headrest, although this did not prove to be too uncomfortable for the just over six and a half hour flight, but if you have a neck pillow, you’ll appreciate using it.

With a seat width of slightly over 18″ (46cm) and a pitch of 32″ (81cm), there was no need to feel cramped. This pitch gives you a generous amount of legroom. 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. While you are not allowed to leave anything on the floor during takeoff and landing, you do have space during the flight.

We elected to sit in the E&F seats in Row 6  for this flight. A and F are window seats. If you do a web check-in, you can make changes if you don’t like your allocated seats, with no extra charge. Seat arrangement gives 6F seat a single window. This is a day flight, but you may still find the provided pillow and blanket useful.

Legroom

Legroom is a fairly roomy 12″ (30cm) which allows for much easier access. There is no footrest, but the space beneath the seat in front is clear, apart from the middle seat (B or E) which has a small entertainment unit (IFE) attached to one leg. However, this doesn’t really impede access.

This extra 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 enough to fit a mobile phone to charge, or a novel.

Workspace

The tray table is a non-fold table which can be pulled closer to the user during meals, or to use as a work space. There is a slight ridge at the edge, but no cup recess.

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.  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.

Entertainment

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.

Apart from a ‘Directory’, ‘About Us’ and a ‘Kids’ World’, the Entertainment selection has a good mix of general viewing movies in various languages and TV show episodes. On this flight, there were seven options available, one of which was ‘The Sound of Music’ the other a rather more recent movie – The second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. If you are a fan of British humour, this is a happy little movie starring Dame Judi Dench and Helen Mirren as well as Richard Gere. If you are continuing from Denpasar to Kuala Lumpur and haven’t finished your movie, you can easily step through to continue, once you take off again.

WiFi is available on-board some of these aircraft, swipe your credit card in the slot below the screen and away you go. Check with cabin crew if it is currently available on your aircraft.

Food

The meals were included in the fare on this flight, with two selections offered on each leg (Brisbane to Bali and Bali to Kuala Lumpur). Of these, two were rice choices, mildly spicy, both served with chicken.

Portion sizes for all meals was adequate. They were served with a prepacked cup of water. A choice of juice was also offered. Water was made freely available during the flight and staff were quite responsive to requests.

Breakfast was served between Brisbane and Bali. Water and a choice of juices accompanied the meal. The egg fried rice was a little dry, but both this and the vegetarian spaghetti were tasty. 

Lunch was served between Bali and Kuala Lumpur. The chicken meal was served with potatoes and vegetables and the vegetarian choice of macaroni cheese was tasty and filling.

A bottle of water and a choice of juices was provided with each meal as well as a packet of chocolate biscuits. While the writer and companion found the quantities sufficient, those with a hearty appetite may still be hungry.

We’d rate the food somewhere between that available on a low cost competitor and other full-fare airlines in terms of choice and presentation. Quality is good and portions are sufficient for an average sized appetite. As part of the transition in Malindo Air’s re-branding exercise, the napkins and table mats carried Batik Air branding.

The Best Seat

Most seats are positioned with at least some view through a window. If you want an unimpeded view, look for a seat in the rows before or behind the wing. Choose a seat in Rows 4 – 8 or from Row 17 on.

There are two Exit Rows – Rows 12 and 15 (there are no 13 or 14). These are over the wing and as noted above, you can request these seats only at the check-in counter. The upside to these seats is the extra leg room, but you must be fit and able to assist in any emergency. Your baggage must be stowed in the overhead lockers during take-off and landing. Row 12 and 11 in front of them, do not recline. This makes Row 11 somewhat undesirable, with no extra legroom and no recline. Row 15 does recline, making this row a good choice. 

The other seat to watch out for is 9A as it has no window. Unless, of course, you don’t need a window and value the flat wall to place your pillow as you sleep. The seats in the back row have limited recline and may be desirable if you need easy toilet access.

There is only one pair of toilets available in this type of aircraft for Economy passengers. You’ll find them located at the rear of the aircraft. The galley is also located here. If having people waiting in the aisle for the toilet bothers you, or you don’t like noise or smells from the galley, avoid seats in the last few rows. Food is served from the front of the cabin, moving towards the rear.

Conclusions

We found our flight satisfactory, the seat was comfortable and the staff responsive and polite. My window seat gave me a good view of our landing and take-off in Bali and all across Australia. Despite the early departure, public transport will get you to the airport, an important consideration for the economy traveller.

This flight is a good option for three types of traveller.

  • Brisbane/Kuala Lumpur: While travel time is extended by the stopover, you have the same aircraft and seats the whole journey.
  • Brisbane /Bali: The flight was quite full. This is a good option for holiday travellers. It’s not a long trip, but comes with baggage, food and entertainment.
  • Bali/Kuala Lumpur:  The timing of this flight meant it was almost full. A mid afternoon arrival into KL allows convenient connections to a number of other Malindo Air or codeshare flights. We noticed quite a number of passengers from Bali carrying Indian passports, possibly connecting on to Chennai

Economy Traveller flew to Brisbane courtesy of Malindo Air. Check out things to do in Brisbane during winter HERE, and any time of the year HERE and HERE. Travelling in the opposite direction? Check out our review of OD 157 between Kuala Lumpur and Brisbane.

images © LL

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