Malaysia Airlines short haul Intra-Southeast Asia service offers top quality service even on short flights within the region. Blowing competition out of the water by offering full service even on flights less than 2 hours in length!
As my trip around the world continued, I flew from Kuala Lumpur to Krabi, Thailand on Malaysia Airlines. The route is to be discontinued this spring, ceding the route to AirAisia and Malindo Air. The Krabi airport is fairly small, with no airside lounge for OneWorld travelers. The only airport lounge is operated by Thai Airways and is landside in Terminal 1, so if using the lounge, plan accordingly.
Security and customs was a breeze and only took about 10 minutes and then I had about 45 minutes to kill in the departure hall. The rectangular room doesn’t have the glitz and glamour like other Asian airports and is instead lined with street stall like vendors offering everything from street meat to goody tourist crap. About 10 minutes before boarding began, a monsoon like storm was upon us, and the airport was surrounded by high winds, lightning and heavy rains. I thought for certain we would be delayed, by the rain turned to a drizzle and we boarded by bus quickly and very efficiently, it also helped that the 737 only had about 30 people booked on the flight.
The new B737 offered both a regional First/Business Class with large recliner seats and an economy class. Nothing is special about B737 as almost all airlines have them configured the same way. Upon boarding newspapers in English, Thai, and Malay which were available to all customers.
I found my seat in the middle of the plane, but after boarding moved to the exit row with permission from the flight attendant so I could have more leg room. Each seat is equipped with a personal TV and in-seat power & USB plugs. The inflight entertainment is as extensive as Malaysia Airlines’ long haul systems as offers some of the newest and best inflight entertainment in the sky.
Once in the air, the flight attendants quickly came through the cabin and offered our choice of lunch and a drink. I opted for the pasta over the beef and a glass of wine. The food was actually fairly good for being economy class and on such a short flight (413 miles) and I was shocked that they even offered food. About 25 minutes later, the flight attendants cleaned up the meal and offered drink refills and peanuts to customers.
The flight was quickly over and we landed at the main terminal at KUL. Upon exiting the aircraft passengers are released into the main terminal and have access to all shops, lounges, duty free, and other airport concessions, before clearing customs and exiting the airport. As the airport is set up for easy international connection, both departing and arriving passengers have access to the airside concessions. Those connecting to other international flights do not have to reclear customs.
I booked this flight for only $110 round trip and offered lounge access (through my OneWorld Elite Status) in KUL, meal service, and a check bag. Air Asia Price was only $10 less but did not offer meal or free luggage, making this a much better deal! When traveling through Southeast Asia, always consider the legacy carriers, as many of the full service carriers offer better service and similar pricing on regional routes.