For my trip from Male to Malaysia I weighed a couple of options. There is plenty of flying eastward from Male. Singapore Airlines via Singapore, Tiger Airways also via Singapore and Sri Lankan via Colombo besides Malaysia Airlines.
However I had a number of Enrich miles expiring and I could use those to book the flight for 12,500 Enrich miles + $84. Not a crazy good deal considering that Tiger had a flight for $180 incl. luggage with no miles needed. However Malaysia Airlines would have a better product as well as lounge access for me as an Oneworld Sapphire.
Check-in in Male tends be crowded because of the small check-in hall (see my Etihad Review). The Business Class line was short though and the agent knew what she was doing – security was easy too.
The Premium lounge in Male is shared between all airlines. Since my last visit it has gotten much better. There was decent hot food now and the Internet hit 2 Mbit suddenly – a speed that seemed downright ludicrous just a year ago in the Maldives.
The inbound plane arrived a couple of minutes late but the ground service used a full 90 minutes to get it ready and before boarding would ensue.
The 737-800 seemed brand new. It was very clean and the IFE displays very generous for Economy. I had been given an exit row window seat – great idea for a red-eye – right? Well in MH’s config the exit row seat is a much smaller seat than any other seat. Yes there is plenty of legroom but the seat is lie half the size and lowered down to the ground. It’s an awkward sitting position especially for a 4.5 hours long flight. I have never seen that before.
The flight was almost full and I did not get to change my seat.
After take-off the flight attendants served a full meal in Economy incl. mini prawns – it looked delicious – but I had just feasted on Chicken Tikka in Male.
I could not sleep during the flight much – but the IFE kept me entertained with plenty of new movies and TV shows (i.e. all the US network shows you would expect to see on a United Airlines flight but not necessarily on a MH flight)
The flight attendants seemed to be genuinely friendly though the passengers quickly fell asleep after the quick meal.
The route took us almost straight along the equator eastward. After a hot day this was thunderstorm alley and the pilot kept navigating the plane out of the thunderstorm cells. Our boat – excuse me – plane – was rocking most of the flight though.
The good news – KLIA has no immigration lines at 7 AM and the SIM card vendors have time to set up our phone in minutes.
All those vendors of local SIM cards in Peru or Colombia should take a trip to KL once in their life.