Malaysia Airlines has admitted the meals it gave ravenous passengers disrupted by two aborted flights were "too light".

The airline has also apologised for "the shortcomings in its service" after flight MH145 encountered technical difficulties and came to a juddering halt just before taking off.

After the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Auckland was aborted about 8.45pm on January 1, the passengers were forced to sit in the plane on the runway for hours.

They then waited for even longer at the gate while accommodation was arranged.

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For dinner the passengers were only given a snack pack consisting of knock-off Oreos, a "gross" croissant, a crispy treat, two crackers and a little cup of water.

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Malaysia Airlines said all the nearby hotels were full and "eventually secured" four different hotels for the passengers.

Aucklander Nimi Kaur previously told the Herald she stayed at one 50km and an hour's drive from the airport and checked in at 3.15am.

Some items included in the passengers' snack pack on Malaysia Airlines MH145.
Some items included in the passengers' snack pack on Malaysia Airlines MH145.

She was then given a wake-up call at 5am, giving her and her 13-year-old daughter less than two hours' sleep.

When they got back to the airport that morning, they were given breakfast vouchers which were only valid for a muffin and a black coffee at a cafe near the gate.

Kaur had to pay for milk.

Malaysia Airlines initially said it gave the passengers meals, but has now admitted they were "too light".

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"It has also been noted that due to the short duration of time between the flight departures on January 2, we were only able to provide snacks which proved to be rather too light considering most passengers did not have ample time to use the vouchers given for breakfast," the airline said in a statement.

The croissant given to passengers while they waited for their next flight.
The croissant given to passengers while they waited for their next flight.

The new flight was on the same plane as the day before and just as it was about to take off, again came to a halt.

After the second aborted flight, the passengers demanded a new plane.

Sirjit Singh told the Herald they told airline staff they didn't want to be "crash test dummies".

"I was in utter shock and disbelief. The exact same issue that was meant to have been fixed was not and the lives of all passengers and crew on board were risked."

While they waited for a third flight, passengers in economy class were given another snack pack.

Kaur said there was nowhere to get water as there wasn't a fountain in the gate and the water in the toilets wasn't safe to drink.

Passengers also couldn't leave the gate to go buy their own food and water.

"We were completely ravenous. Honestly, we were starving. We would have been happy to pay for the food ourselves, but we couldn't leave," Kaur said.

"It almost feels like you're in prison - you can't eat, you can't leave that area and you're all hungry. And there were people with little kids there as well."

Malaysia Airlines said immediately after the flight successfully took-off later on January 2, it "conducted a post-mortem to review all the inconvenience experienced by its passengers".

"Malaysia Airlines once again apologises to its guests for all the inconvenience experienced and disruption to their travel plans."