On the Ground
Malaysia Airlines check-in counters are located at Row C, on the right end in Bali Denpasar Airport. There are four counters used by Malaysia Airlines for passengers checking-in. Two counters are dedicated to passengers travelling in Economy Class cabin and one for Business Class passengers. There is an additional counter for passengers who have oversize baggage to check-in. As we were at the airport a tad early, there are no queues at the Economy Class counters. We were asked to check-in at the Business Class counter, which seem to be the only counter that is operating at the time we arrived at Bali Denpasar Airport. Check-in was done efficiently, the friendly ground staff quickly processed our check-in, took in our luggage and gave us instructions on which gate our flight will be departing. As the flight was delayed by 45 mins, which has an impact on our connecting flight to Singapore in Kuala Lumpur, when we raised our concerns to the ground staff, the ground staff assured us with a friendly and assuring tone of voice that we will still be in time to catch our onward flight to Singapore in Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia Airlines uses the wide body twin aisle A330-300 for this Bali to Kuala Lumpur flight.
Malaysia Airlines A330-300 has a total of 290 seats spreading across Business and Economy Class cabins. There are a total of 27 seats in Business Class cabin and 263 seats in Economy Class cabin. The Economy Class cabin is further split into a three sections, with a small section of 16 seats located just behind Business Class cabin, isolated from the rest of the Economy Class cabin. This section is a lot quieter and offers a lot more privacy compared to the rest of the Economy Class cabin at the back of the plane. I managed to secure seats (for the six of us flying) in the small section of Economy Class seats through the Malaysia Airlines mobile app when performing online check-in. This section of the Economy Class cabin (rows 9 and 10) looks bright, thanks to the white walls and the use of white mood lighting during boarding. The choice of bright red colour for the seats also contributes to the clean and new look on board Malaysia Airlines A330-300.
There are two lavatories behind the small section of Economy Class cabin, however only one of the lavatory can be used, the other lavatory is constantly kept locked by the flight attendants as it is reserved for Business Class passengers. The lavatory on board Malaysia Airlines A330-300 is slightly larger than those found on board the B737-800. The lavatories is very clean thanks to the lighting and the clever use of mirrors by Malaysia Airlines. There isn’t any amenities other than the hand soap in the lavatory.
Seats in the Economy Class cabin on board Malaysia Airlines A330-300 are arranged in 2-4-2 configuration. The Economy Class seats on board Malaysia Airlines are clad in bright red upholstery, with bright red headrest which is adjustable four ways. The 16 seats in the forward section has slightly wider pitch, measuring a good 36″ and a width of 17.3″. While seats in the main Economy Class cabin has a pitch of 32″. With 36″ pitch for those 16 seats in the forward section of Economy Class cabin, the legroom is very good. The seats moves forward when reclining, however it took some force for the recline to work well. As there are no seats behind me, my seat can stay reclined all the way after taking off till prior to landing. I highly recommend passengers flying on Economy Class on board Malaysia Airlines A330-300 to book seats in the forward cabin (Rows 9 and 10). Pillows and blankets are not made available on the seat in Economy Class cabin, however Malaysia Airlines brings limited quantity of pillows and blankets on board.
All the seats in the Economy Class cabin comes with a USB port for charging of mobile devices, located on the right beneath the TV screen. Headphone jack is found on the right armrest, while the seat recline button is located on the left armrest.
Unlike the B737-800, the tray tables in Economy Class cabin on board Malaysia Airlines A330-300 features a bi-fold function, which can be folded into half when passengers do not need to use the entire tray. This design also allows passengers sitting inside to access the aisle easier without having to stow the tray table. The tray table is large enough for passengers to put their laptop. The seat pocket is located on the back of the seat in front of mine. Seat pockets are deep enough for passengers to stow away small items they carry with them. In-flight magazine and duty-free shopping catalogue as well as the aircraft safety card are found in the seat pocket.
All seats in Economy Class cabin are equipped with a 9″ personal TV screen. These TV screens have touchscreen function, however the touchscreen function lags when using it. I find using the remote control for selection of movies to be far less frustrating than trying to use the touchscreen function. The In-Flight Entertainment system was already turned on during boarding and remained on until we were deplaned, which helps passengers to kill time when boarding is still in progress. IFE system is well packed with movies, including the latest Hollywood blockbuster, as well as sitcoms for passengers who prefer to watch shorter films. The IFE on board features Audio Video on Demand, which gives passengers the flexibility to watch the shows as and when they like. IFE menu is well organised and designed in an initiative manner, which makes navigating through the menu for the movies I want to watch very easy.
The IFE controller on board Malaysia Airlines Economy Class cabin is stored under the IFE TV screen. The design of the controller is similar to those found on other airlines, with all the controls that passengers needs to navigate the IFE menu on the front side of the controller. The attendant call button as well as the seat light control is also found on the front side of the controller. On the back side of the controller is where a qwerty keyboard and game control is found. The IFE system on board Malaysia Airlines does not contain gaming or productivity options, hence these features on the controller does not serve any purpose. Headphone is made available in every seat in the Economy Class cabin onboard Malaysia Airlines at the time we board the plane.
Food service commenced about 1 hour into the flight from Bali to Kuala Lumpur. As we were seated at the front of the Economy Class cabin, food was served in this section first. Food in Economy Class cabin on board Malaysia Airlines was served in a cardboard box, with a packet of peanuts, an oatmeal cookie and a small cup of water. Two options of main meal were offered for Economy Class passengers, Fish with black bean sauce and Chicken Nasi Briyani. I opted for the Fish with black bean sauce, while my friend opted for the Chicken Nasi Briyani. The fish in my meal was not crispy and the flavour is a tad blend. However the Chicken Nasi Briyani is a better choice as the chicken was tender and flavourful, the rice in the Nasi Briyani is well spiced and very flavourful. The flight attendants went around the cabin to serve beverage after the meal was served to all passengers.
The service on board Malaysia Airlines is quite good, starting with boarding. We were greeted by friendly flight attendants as we were boarding the aircraft. We thought this is the standard greeting that most airlines accord to their passengers during boarding. The service extends beyond there. The service we received at the front section of the aircraft was spilled over from Business Class. While we did not get the pre-departure drink, when the flight attendants were distributing newspapers in Business Class cabin, those of us seating in the forward Economy Class cabin were offered newspaper from the push cart as well. The flight attendants were seen wearing their smiles, despite a tiring return flight back to Kuala Lumpur and was seen patrolling the cabin constantly. When we requested for blankets and pillows, the flight attendants immediately attended to our requests. During beverage service, I casually told the flight attendant that I was very thirsty, she immediately gave me drinks with a smile. When she walked past my seat, the flight attendant even checked if I would need more drinks. Finished meals were cleared quickly so that we can either rest or continue watching the movies on the IFE. When the aircraft has landed, as we were waiting for the door to be opened, the flight attendant directed us to deplane from the Business Class door, which saved us time from waiting (as we had a connecting flight to catch). When we deplaned we realised that the aerobridge to Economy Class cabin doors were still being connected.
Flying on Malaysia Airlines Economy Class in the forward section is very comfortable. The legroom is very generous and I like the quiet cabin environment up front. The seats has great recline, which allowed my friends to rest during the flight. We were the first ones to be served food and the food was tasty. The IFE was packed with movies and sitcoms, which kept me occupied during the 3 hour flight from Bali to Kuala Lumpur. The service rendered by the flight attendants were fantastic, flight attendants were seen wearing their smiles throughout the flight time. I think the seats upfront were sold by Malaysia Airlines as extra legroom seats, which we got without paying extra (thanks to the internet check-in option).