On the Ground
This is a trip that I took with my friends to Bali from Singapore via Kuala Lumpur due to the cheaper fares for the Singapore holiday period. Malaysia Airlines operates 9 flights daily between Singapore to Kuala Lumpur. The airlines fly out of Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2. The check-in counters for Malaysia Airlines is located at Row 5, in the middle of the terminal. There are 3 counters opened at the airport terminal at the time of our checking in with 1 dedicated for Business Class passengers and 2 for Economy Class passengers. Out of the 3 counters, only 1 counter was manned, perhaps due to our flight being scheduled 3 hours at the time we check-in. Unlike some other airlines, Malaysia Airlines did not seem to cater any counters for passengers who have completed their check-in online. There was no queue at the time of our check-in and we were served immediately when my friends and I entered the queue. The ground staff handling our check-in was friendly and processed our check-in efficiently. She also briefed us on the time we should appear at the gate and our gate number. As we are connecting via Kuala Lumpur, the ground staff placed our Kuala Lumpur to Bali boarding passes into an envelop and placed our Singapore to Kuala Lumpur boarding passes into our passports. This provided us with the convenience of not having figure out which boarding pass should we be using for Singapore to Kuala Lumpur sector.
Malaysia Airlines uses B737-800 for the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur route. There are two versions of the B737-800 that Malaysia Airlines is using, one is the refurbished version that comes with In-Fight Entertainment units, while the other seems older without IFE. I term the version without IFE as V1 (though not official from Malaysia Airlines) and the version with IFE as V2. For both legs between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Airlines uses the B737-800 V1.
The Malaysia Airlines B737-800 V1 cabin is a tad dull decked with dark blue seats which gives it an aged look. The use of white bulkhead in the cabin and yellow mood lighting during boarding and throughout the duration of the flight gives it a clean feel but did little to give the cabin a newer look. Malaysia Airlines B737-800 V1 comprises a small section of 16 seats in Business Class at the forward of the aircraft and 144 seats in Economy Class, separated by a wall.
There are only two lavatories in the Economy Class cabin serving all 144 passengers, both are located at the rear of the aircraft. Despite the small size of the lavatories, they are kept clean by the busy attendants. The use of bright lighting and mirrors in the lavatories made it look larger than it is, reducing the feel of claustrophobic for passengers. Lavatories are equipped with the standard essentials that are found onboard most aircrafts such as push button taps and toilet with trash bin being placed below the sink. The amenities in these lavatories are limited to hand soap and tissues.
Seats in the Economy Class onboard Malaysia Airlines B737-800 is arranged in 3-3 configuration. Each seat has a pitch of 30″ pitch and a width of 17″, which is fairly comfortable for this 50 mins flight time between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. All the seats in Malaysia Airlines B737-800 V1 Economy Class cabin are wrapped with cowhide leather. The legroom in the Economy Class cabin is very good with a good amount of space between my knees and the seat in front of me. I did not feel cramped up in the Economy Class cabin seat.
As with most airlines, the tray table onboard Malaysia Airlines B737-800 V1 is found on the back of the seat in front of me. The tray table does not have a bi-fold function and is large enough for me to browse through the in-flight magazine on. The seat reclined button and the 2-pin headphone jack is found on the right armrest. As the B737-800 V1 is an older aircraft, the lighting control, air vents and the call buttons are located on the ceiling above my seat. The seat pocket is located in front of my seat is fairly deep (but dirty) where one can find a copy of Malaysia Airlines in-house travel magazine as well as the aircraft safety card. There are no amenities such as pillows, blankets and handphones on the seats in the Economy Class cabin.
In-Flight Entertainment is non-existent on Malaysia Airlines B737-800 V1. There is a small panel on the right armrest which seems to provide some form of in-flight radio entertainment. I did not test out if there are indeed any in-flight radio as Malaysia Airlines does not provide headphones for this short 50 min flight between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. The only other form of entertainment onboard is the drop-down TV screen on the ceiling, but these screens are only used prior to take-off for the safety video. They remained undeployed throughout the flight time.
Due to the short flight time, each passenger is given a packet of peanuts and a cup of orange juice. I requested for an additional packet of peanuts, which the flight attendants are happy to provide.
The service onboard Malaysia Airlines B737-800 V1 plying between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur is good. The short flight time provided minimum interaction between flight attendants and passengers. Flight attendants are seen helping passengers finding their seats and stowing their luggage in the overhead bin during boarding. Despite the short flight time and only two flight attendants serving more than 100 passengers, the flight attendants are seen wearing smiles on their faces during the service run. The flight attendants went around serving peanuts and drinks as soon as the seat belt sign is turned off, ensuring that all passengers in Economy Class cabin get the drink and the peanuts.
Despite the lack of IFE and the ageing aircraft, Malaysia Airlines B737-800 V1 is comfortable for the short 50 min flight time. Passengers would not have much time to watch any shows even if IFE is available. Despite the hectic schedule, the flight attendants in the Economy Class cabin are still seen wearing smiles on their faces when interacting with passengers.