Malindo Air: Kuala Lumpur – Bali – Brisbane in Business Class
KUL – DPS – BNE
After my stay at the Petaling Jaya Hilton (review upcoming), I continued on with my RGN-KUL-DPS-BNE biz ticket on Malindo.
I took a Grab car for 55 or 60 ringgit (circa US$15) from the PJ Hilton to KUL. The lady who drove me was a wonderful conversationalist, and we covered Malay cuisine and spices in addition to relationships in the course of our drive.
Upon arriving at the terminal, I went over to Malindo’s check-in desks. The business desks were empty, and the agent soon handed me a boarding card and a voucher for lounge access or credit at a selection of eateries in the terminal.
I breezed through security this afternoon, changed some leftover ringgit, had some pre-departure sushi, and proceeded to the Sama Sama lounge, one of the options on my Malindo voucher. If you decided to cash in your voucher for credit at Burger King, you would have faced an enormous queue. I couldn’t believe it, and counted almost 50 people waiting. I don’t think an airport Burger King meal merits that sort of a wait, but a collective “you do you, bro” is perhaps the best approach.
Sama Sama is actually a transit hotel located airside with KUL. Their lobby also contains a lounge, which they offer as an ancillary revenue stream. While small, anyone who is hungry can opt to partake of the sizable buffet. My highest praise goes to the superabundance of charging outlets suitable for direct USB connections and international plugs. If your devices are starved on power, this is probably the best option in the airport.
Conveniently, a gate change meant that my flight would be departing from a gate much closer to the lounge than originally planned – based on what was printed on my boarding pass. I went for a stroll and arrived at the gate. After going through security (security is done at the gate), I found a seat in the gate area and awaited boarding. Our gate was adjacent to a Hajj flight, and we were treated to the sight of the pilgrims queuing for their flight. They were all garbed in white.
The boarding area was rather crowded, though they did board business class first. I stowed my backpack and relaxed. The crew offered us juice or water, and I took water per custom. We departed on time and made for Bali.
A meal service was offered, and while I forget which dishes were offered, I opted for a biriyani – by now solidified as the safe choice on Malindo. It was fine, but I didn’t polish off everything in front of me (salad, cake, bread, fruit) due to the sheer quantity and my desire not to gorge before sleeping.
Upon arrival in DPS, a change in procedure meant that all passengers had to disembark, including those in direct transit to Australia. This process wasted about half an hour of going through a document check in Denpasar, security, and waiting to re-board.
Upon boarding, I once again found my seat on a considerably more crowded aircraft. Clearly, DPS-BNE delivers the load factor. For the long haul though, what sort of yields do they get for this route? That’s the question. Given my prior experience with their head office, they might not even know themselves!
I can’t give much of an update on this flight, as I promptly went to sleep ASAP. I was hiring a car immediately upon arrival, so I wanted to be alert for the drive from Brisbane to my friend’s home in Redlands Bay.To my surprise, we received an amenity kit, pictured below. It won’t exactly steal the thunder from more upmarket offerings on other airlines.
They did offer a breakfast service, though I opted to just have some yogurt, fruit, and tea. Everything on that front was quite good. Tea is a safe choice in the air, and fresh fruit catered from Denpasar will range from “decent” to “excellent,” as one would expect.
Arrival & Summary
Arrival into Australia for e-passport holders from smartgate eligible countries is one of the fastest, most painless entries into a country I have experienced. In the bad old days, long queues could leave you wishing for or thankful for a premium cabin express pass. In a few minutes, I had my bags and was on my way into a sunburnt land.
Summary: A solid trip, through and through. The price was unbeatable, and I enjoyed a fabricated excuse to stop and see how KL had developed since my last visit. I should reiterate from my previous reviews that I do find the J recliner comfortable for what it is. Your mileage may vary, however.