Flight test: Malaysia Airlines economy class

Aircraft Boeing 777-200.

Route Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur.

Class Economy, seat 18D.

Seat pitch and width 34 inches of pitch, width 17 inches.

Seat configuration Most of the class is 2-5-2. The last three rows of economy narrow to 2-4-2 for a total of 247 economy seats.

Luggage allowance One piece of checked luggage up to 20 kilograms, one carry-on bag of up to five kilograms.

Scheduled flight time Eight hours, five minutes.

On-time performance Twenty minutes late, creating a rush to make a domestic connection.

Aircraft condition Reasonable but seats are showing signs of wear and tear.

Entertainment Good, though not on par with the best in the skies (a 6½-inch screen versus nine inches on some other airlines, for example). More than 40 on-demand new releases and older films in various languages, plus a range of TV shows, games and audio. Movie scenes are cut for sex and violence, leading to occasional confusion in following the plot. No touchscreen but an older-style remote stored in the armrest. Headphones have ear pads attached, which I'm pleased with because I typically tear them if I have to attach them myself.

Comfort Older-style seats are comfortable by economy standards and well padded.

Service Efficient and exceptionally turned out, if not particularly friendly. A flight attendant arrives promptly and immediately fixes a problem with my entertainment screen. The crew handles a somewhat demanding family of four next to me with patient professionalism.

Food and drink A good chicken curry with rice, or braised lamb with potatoes. Oddly, for an afternoon flight, the main meal is served early, with a snack offered in the evening.

Amenities Blanket and pillow provided.

Flight frequency Malaysia Airlines flies twice daily from Melbourne and Sydney to Kuala Lumpur.

Online malaysiaairlines.com.

Tested by Craig Platt, who flew courtesy of Malaysia Airlines and Tourism Malaysia.