Airline review: Malaysia Airlines Airbus A330-300 economy

THE ROUTE

Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne.

THE PLANE

Airbus A330-300. Malaysia Airlines' 32 inch (81cm) seat pitch is at the roomy end of Economy Class seats in the sky.

THE LOYALTY SCHEME

Enrich. Passengers can also earn points with Oneworld airlines' frequent flyer programmes.

CLASS 

Economy, seat 38D.

DURATION 

7 hours, 20 minutes from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Melbourne.

THE FREQUENCY 

Three times daily.

THE SEAT 

32 inches (81cm) pitch, 18 inches (46cm) width. There are 247 economy seats in a mostly 2-4-2 layout, with the five final rows 2-3-2.

BAGGAGE

One checked bag up to 30kg in weight, one carry-on bag up to 7kg in weight. Passengers are also allowed to take on additional personal items including electronic entertainment equipment and reading material.

COMFORT 

As you expect from a long-haul economy class seat, 38D seems very snug when the armrests are down, and there isn't a lot of room for my long legs. However, the flight is far from full and I've scored an entire empty row of four seats – the poor man's lie-flat bed! Up go the armrests and I have plenty of space to spread out. Pity it isn't a night flight, though in the middle of the flight I do stretch out full-length for a while and have a snooze. Annoyingly, the tray table drops down lower than I'm used to, sitting at an awkward angle on my lap.

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ENTERTAINMENT

The movie selection is sparser than expected – there are just 10 films in the "Latest" section. The comedy selection includes some Asian movies and older hits such as You've Got Mail. Other categories include favourites, drama, action and kids, the last containing five choices. The TV section has multiple episodes of the usual American comedy suspects (The Big Bang Theory, Friends, Glee) along with fresher dramas such as Almost Human. Every time I switch categories I receive an advertisement for Malaysia Airlines' customer service, which seems a bit pointless. There are a number of games, including multiplayer versions. There also appears to be an ebooks section, but it's not operational.

SERVICE

Service is warm and competent, from a good-natured crew. As the flight isn't full, they're happy to slip an extra bread roll onto my tray at mealtime.

FOOD 

Lunch is served 90 minutes into the daytime flight, with a choice of chicken or fish. I choose the chicken with mashed potato, carrots and broccoli. It's a reasonably tasty dish, though the meat is a little tough. The accompanying rice salad has plenty of flavour. For dessert there's a bright red and pink mousse which tastes as artificial as it looks, along with a packet of small dark chocolate wafer biscuits. They're quite good. I'm feeling slightly dehydrated from a previous flight, so I keep it simple by drinking water on this leg. Two hours before landing in the evening, we have a choice of chicken of vegetable pasties. The chicken one is flavoursome, but it's a bit dry.

THE VERDICT

Good service, but food and entertainment has room for improvement. There's free wi-fi at Kuala Lumpur International Airport which thankfully doesn't require a password or a mobile number, so you can easily stay online until boarding.

Tested by Tim Richards, who flew courtesy of Oman Tourism.

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