With 30 minutes left to spare before take off, at about 8:45AM we started making the slow march from the Sama-Sama Express Lounge to our gate to catch our flight OD 571 to Hanoi, which was scheduled to depart at 9:20AM. After groggily clearing the security check, boarding was soon announced inviting passengers to board the aircraft. Malindo was kind of strict with boarding procedures, enforcing priority for the elderly/children and business class passengers to board first. That was great, because everyone ignored the group boarding process and practically rushed to queue, but we got to go through ahead of the queue and the gate agents waved us in with a good morning.
Right after entering the aircraft the friendly ladies of Malindo Air greeted us good morning again and showed us to our seats and started offering us pre departure beverages, mostly juice choices, but a refreshing apple juice was a good enough at 9AM. The seat just had a pillow in it waiting for us, blankets were later offered when the aircraft doors were closed.
The cabins were spotless upon closer inspection, just maybe tiny signs of wear and tear which is to be expected after a few years of constant flying. I was really impressed at the efficiency and friendliness of the cabin crew, with a constant smile on their faces welcoming passengers on board and showing them to their seats.
Sometimes you just know the moment you enter the aircraft, that it’s going to be a good flight because of the beaming stewardesses, this was going to be one of them. Right after pre departure drinks were served, hot towels came next. I was mildly surprised, it really did fell like a full service airline. It was even a proper thick cotton hand towel, not a moist paper towelette that you throw away after using. So far so good. Newspapers and magazines soon we offered to all business class passengers on a silver tray, empty cups were cleared and used towels collected, the aircraft doors closed and we started taxiing right on schedule.
After the captain turned off the fasten seat belt sign, it was time to explore the seat. It had manual controls for reclining, foot rest extension and lumbar support. The IFE system was stored in the centre arm console together with the tray table, it had a touch screen, and was fairly easy to navigate and offered pretty up to date movies and tv shows.
The only minor downside to having the IFE in the armrest is that you’d have to watch your movies at a little weird angle. Would have preferred it if it were stored under the seat so you’d get a proper frontal view when fully extended up, or placed in the back of headrests/bulkhead like how most airlines have it. The 11.1 inch wide touch screen IFE has a USB port located right underneath it, with a traditional 3.5mm headphone jack slot, which made it easier to just plug-in your own ear/headphones if you brought it along with you. Otherwise the cabin crew soon started distributing headphones to each passenger, but they were just simple Philips branded ones, non noise cancelling. There is also a three-pin power supply socket that’s located underneath the middle console next to the leg rests.
The crew then came by to start taking breakfast orders, with a choice of 3 dishes. Nasi lemak, roti canai and fried noodles were available on this flight. Not too bad for a short 3 hour hop to Vietnam. Nasi lemak for me please! With the completion of breakfast orders being taken, the crew started distributing amenity kits and blankets to everyone. Less than 3 hours in the air and they even distribute amenity kits? MH could take a left out of their book.
As simple as the contents of the amenity kits were, I really do appreciate the fact that they had slippers in them. Sometimes all you need are the basics to make it a great flight. I would hate to keep putting on my shoes each time I needed to visit the lavatory.
Meals were soon served after linens were placed on the tray table. My nasi lemak meal was served on a single tray which came with a fruit platter and some pastries alongside with a pepsi light which I ordered with the meal. It was edible, nothing to really write home about, but the little muffin was strangely really good.
After finishing up my meal and watching Wonder Woman kick some ass, the stewardesses came by to take after meal drinks. I ordered a white coffee, and yup, it was powdered white coffee. Oh well, at least I had something warm to end the meal with, together with another hot towel when she cleared my tray. With one hour left before touching down in Noi Bai International Airport, Hanoi I deperately needed to take a nap, and yes those eye shades were extremely useful as were the slippers that came along with the kit. The recline was sufficient for a day flight, felt like I was taking a nap on a plush leather sofa.
I remember purchasing this return flight at a promotional price of RM 699 to Hanoi. A steal if you ask me. A fraction over what Malaysia Airlines would charge, but the service was much better than what I experienced in MH’s regional business class flights on their 737-800 to Siem Reap. Malindo’s cabin crew even kept addressing me as by name which I only ever experienced on Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines & Singapore Airlines when flying in business & first before. The polished cabin crew certainly did make it a great flight, plus the price point would certainly tip the scales in their favour if I ever had to make a decision to fly with MH’s in their regional business class cabin or with Malindo Air in the near future.