I did not realise that Malindo Air has resumed its Miri-Kuala Lumpur route until I sent my brother Tian and my sister-in-law Christina to the Miri Airport to book their flight to Kuala Lumpur on October 25 upon receiving news of the untimely death of their eldest son Lawrence in Kuala Lumpur.
I made a return booking with Malindo Air for myself, my wife and my son Leslie to travel to Kuala Lumpur on October 27 to attend the funeral of my nephew Lawrence. It was easy for me to choose Malindo over Air Asia or MAS. I only paid RM713 for the three of us to travel by Malindo whereas I would have to fork out more than RM1,200 if we were to use Air Asia and over RM1,600 if we were to travel by MAS during that period.
After my first experience of travelling by Malindo, I must say I am impressed. Upon returning to Miri on October 30, I went online to check reviews on Malindo Air. There are good reviews but in general, reviews are mostly scathing. Maybe I was lucky on my first flights with Malindo.
From my experience with Malindo, I feel that Malindo beats Air Asia hands down.
Malindo gives each passenger a free luggage allowance of 30 kg. With Air Asia, you will need to fork out quite a bit for 30 kg luggage allowance.
When I checked in online from Miri, I did not choose seats. I just accepted the seats allocated and I was pleasantly surprised to find that we were allocated seats 4A, 4B and 4C. Whenever I checked in online for Air Asia, we were very often allocated seats in a manner that one of us would end up sitting separated from the other two. If we were to move that person to sit with the other two, we would have to pay for the seat change. Such is AirAsia’s adhoc seating allocation policy designed to milk more dollars from passengers.
The only complaint I have is that I can only do online check-in within 48 hours of the flight’s departure. So when I did the check-in for our flight to KL, I could not do the check-in for our return flight. During our return flight, we only checked in at the Malindo counters at KLIA1. Again we were allocated seats in a manner where the three of us sat together.
Good Leg Space
I was pleased with the extra leg space on the Malindo plane. It makes our journey more comfortable. Air Asia planes have rather tight leg space.
We were surprised to be served with free 220 ml drinking water, 1 sausage bun and 1 muffin plus a choice of orange juice, Coke, tea or coffee. On Air Asia, you won’t even get a sweet!
Every seat on Malindo Air is fitted with a small TV on which we can watch good entertainment. On my flight to KL, I watched some comedy shows and on my return flight to Miri, I was so engrossed in playing Wordsense that the announcement about the plane going to land soon caught me by surprise.
On every seat, there is a USB port for charging small gadgets. You won’t find such USB port on Air Asia.
Malindo Air operates from KLIA1 so we did not have to walk long distances. If you have used LCCT-KL, you know what a great distance you need to walk when you are boarding an Air Asia flight or disembarking from one.
Friendly Air Hostesses
The air hostesses were friendly and accomodating, especially on our return flight to Miri. My wife asked for an extra sausage bun and was given one by the smiling air hostess. When we disembarking from the plane, the air hostesses thanked us with a big smile on their faces.
AirAsia is definitely the big brother of budget airlines and has a much longer history than Malindo Air. But my first experience with Malindo Air has been very positive and I will definitely use it again in my future travels. And if fares are the same, I would choose Malindo over Air Asia. Thumbs up to Malindo!