Brett Atkinson flies MH3690 from Kuching to Sibu.

The plane:

An Aerospatiale/Alenia ATR 72, a zippy twin-engine turbo prop with 72 seats, flying under the MASWings banner, that's the smaller, domestic arm of Malaysian Airlines.

The class: Just the one, or as they say in Bahasa, Malaysia: "terdapat hanya satu kelas".


Cost: Book online and one-way fares are around $70.

My seat: 2A, sadly not Business Class, but I did get served my peanuts and tetrapak of Milo before anyone else.

Food and drink: See above.

Flight time: 45 minutes. Plenty of time to take in vistas of Borneo's northern coast and the sky-high calligraphy of caramel-coloured rivers meandering through rainforest. More prosaic and down to earth are the perfectly straight access roads reaching deep into sprawling palm oil plantations.

Entertainment: A free copy of the Borneo Post newspaper, and complete with siren and heavy breathing sound effects, quite probably the most entertaining onboard safety briefing I'll ever sit through.

Service: Friendly, informal, and just the ticket given the early start from Kuching. Expect to see the siren-making, heavy-breathing flight attendant on Malaysia's Got Talent very soon.

Fellow passengers: A friendly group of Sarawak locals keen to ask why I'm on board as the only Westerner flying to a regional airport with the IATA code, SBW. I'm pretty sure none had heard of New Zealand's code-hopping sports superstar.

The toilets: I didn't use them on a short flight, but the rest of the plane was spotless and modern.


Airport experience: Pick your own bag up off the trailer in front of Sibu's compact terminal, and grab a taxi into the city. If you're lucky, your cab driver might also give you a vegetarian samosa.

Would I take this flight again? When and if I'm back in Sarawak researching for Lonely Planet again, absolutely.