Kay Foley flies aboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH130 from Auckland to Kuala Lumpur.

The plane:

Airbus A330-200. An older, leased plane so did not have the on-board Wi-Fi that the airline promotes on its newer planes.

Class: Economy.

Advertisement

Price: Booked as part of a House of Travel holiday package. Airfares $892 Auckland-Phuket return, via Kuala Lumpur.

Flight Time: 11h,15m. Departed on time at 10.40pm. The return Kuala Lumpur-to-Auckland flight was 9hr 45m.

My seat: 15A, for which I paid an additional seat booking fee of $96 as it was one of two seats together in the plane's 2-4-2 seating configuration and at the front of Economy. Had extra leg room and felt more spacious compared to standard economy seating. Much more comfortable than 48K on the
way home.

Fellow passengers: Mainly Asian family groups returning from holidaying in New Zealand and New Zealanders heading to destinations beyond Malaysia, such as Vietnam and Thailand.

How full: Seats about 287 including 18 in Business Class (there is no First Class on this plane) and the plane was full.

Entertainment: Usual selection of movies, music and kids programmes, including a few recent releases.

Not as extensive as on a recent (different airline) flight to Los Angeles. I used my own noise-cancelling headphones — a must.

The service: Best described as functional. Service with a smile it was not. Cabin crew efficiently got the plane loaded, doors closed, dished the food as fast as they could and were not to be seen again.

Advertisement

Food and drink: Airline food is never that enticing but the scone and muffin that arrived about an hour into this night flight would have made great door-stoppers. The filling of chargrilled capsicum and beef in the bread roll was tasty. One glass of wine was reluctantly served on request and water seemed to be a precious commodity. The mandarins handed out as a snack didn't appear to get many takers.

Toilets: Remained clean throughout the flight.

Luggage: Standard 23kg per passenger.

The airport experience: Check-in was efficient although I suggest that you book in online or use the Malaysia Airline self-check-in kiosks to save time. Check-in opened three hours before flight departure and the queues built very quickly.

The bottomline: Efficiency without flair. The crew did the basics well but showed little interest in providing a great passenger experience. The occasional smile and a few lessons in customer service wouldn't go amiss.