Flight test: Malaysia Airlines economy class

Aircraft Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777

Route Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne

Class and seat Economy 39G

Seat configuration 2-5-2 (rows 39, 40 and 41 are 2-4-2) for a total 247 economy-class seats.

Check-in Friendly and efficient. A five-minute wait in line and easy check-in with only a passport.

Pitch and width 34-inch pitch and 18-inch seat width.

Luggage allowance 20 kilograms check-in (silver cardholders of Malaysia Airlines loyalty program Enrich can check-in an additional 5 kg, Gold 10 kg and Platinum 20 kg). Hand luggage is limited to one 7 kg piece.

Scheduled flight time Seven hours.

On-time performance Spot on.


Lounge access The Golden Lounge in Kuala Lumpur for Gold and Platinum Enrich cardholders.

Aircraft condition Ageing but clean and orderly. The multicoloured seats match the attendant's lovely batik uniforms.

Console/entertainment A glossy but largely unexciting in-flight magazine. The on-demand entertainment system fares better with 50 movies, 100 TV shows and 70 games. New-release movies bravely include Food, Inc., a documentary on the US food industry. Just don't watch it during dinner.

Comfort Seats are harder than on other Boeing planes but reclining only seven degrees means you are less likely to get squashed by the seat in front. Each seat has a moveable headrest and footrest and a small personal TV screen. No comfort packs on this night flight (earplugs, eye mitt) is a hindrance to those wishing to sleep.

Service Spritely staff are efficient, obliging and quick to respond to requests. Always smiling and ready with drinks (water, beer, juice or wine and spirits on request), it's no wonder the airline won Skytrax's best cabin staff for 2009 — its sixth in the past 10 years.

Food and beverage A choice between tasty Malay-style chicken curry or marbled beef with vegetables for dinner. A light breakfast including a mini muesli bar, chocolate muffin and plenty of coffee make Tullamarine's long customs queues easier to deal with.

Flight frequency Malaysia Airlines flies from Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur 14 times a week and Sydney to Kuala Lumpur 12 times a week.

Online malaysiaairlines.com.

Tested by Leisa Tyler