Stephanie Holmes flies Malaysia Airlines MH130 from Auckland to Kuala Lumpur.

The plane:

Airbus A330-200. I tried to use Seatguru to look up more information about the plane and its configuration, but unusually there is no map saved for this type of aircraft on Malaysia Airlines. I've never had that happen before. Mysterious.

Class: Economy


My seat: 25K, a window seat, in the 2-4-2 configured-aircraft. It is one of the only redeeming features of this flight — the ability for a couple to sit together without one person having to squash into a middle seat, or worry about a stranger sitting next to you. But, the space is compact. There was enough leg room for me, but it was very cramped for my 6ft boyfriend.

Price: $4021 for two return tickets through to Colombo.

Flight time: 10 hours 30 minutes, and we departed right on time.

How full: The only spare seats were the middle of some of the middle rows.

Fellow passengers: There was a mix of nationalities, some stopping in KL, many going on to connecting destinations.

Service: It was fine, but not overly friendly. The crew seemed to be just getting the job done.

Food and drink: A small pack of salted peanuts after takeoff, with the offer of water, apple or orange juice, or a small plastic cup of beer. Dinner was served about an hour into the flight, and was a choice of chicken with mash or fish with steamed rice. The chicken was in a tomato and black-eye bean sauce, and the mash was swimming in butter. The French red wine was passable and no doubt helped with falling asleep. Breakfast was a strange mix — a carton of chocolate Up n Go, a sugary muffin, fruit, then a choice of frittata and chicken sausage or nasi Lemak with chicken. I had the former, the boyfriend had the latter — neither of us were overwhelmed with our choice.

Amenities: None.


Entertainment: For English-speakers, it's a pretty poor selection. There are hardly any new release movies and no recent TV box sets. The functionality of the system has improved since I last travelled with MA, but the screens are small. Some movies, screening in English, also inexplicably had English subtitles which couldn't be turned off. No games. And there were more than five Christmas movies listed, even though it was mid-January. I thought perhaps it was because the offering only changes every two months, but the Christmas selection was still there on our return flight in February.

Toilets: Only four in the Economy cabin and one was out of action for much of the journey. When it finally was in use towards the end of the flight, it was disgusting — someone had suffered from a bout of motion sickness due to the heavy turbulence and the sink was blocked. There was water (or worse) all over the seat and floor. It was possibly the worst airline bathroom I've ever seen.

Airport experience: We had to queue for a long time, even though we'd already completed online check in and collected bag tags and boarding passes from the self-check in machine. Other than that, Auckland airport was great, with the new food areas attracting a lot of business. KLIA was very quiet when we arrived at 5am, but it slowly came to life as we waited for our connecting flight.

Would I fly again? Last time I flew with MA I swore I wouldn't again if I had the choice. This time I did have a choice, and price and route won out over the other options. But in hindsight, the difference between MA and the next cheapest option was only about $200pp — it would have been totally worth the extra expense to have a more comfortable experience.