Saturday, 16 July 2016

FLIGHT REVIEW : Trying out a Hybrid Airline - Malindo Air OD1805 from Kuala Terengganu (TGG) to Subang (SZB)

Eid holiday is one of Malaysia's busiest travel period. Practically the entire population of Kuala Lumpur will be travelling, be it "balik kampung" or for leisure. I was a bit busy before and during Ramadhan, so although I purchased my flight ticket back to my home town of Kuala Terengganu much earlier, I totally forgot to buy a return ticket back to KUL. The reason I bought a one-way ticket was because I hadn't decided yet at the time on when to return.

So I was browsing around all available flights from Kuala Terengganu for almost a week, not surprised that all the one-way tickets ranged from MYR400-MYR700 in economy! Typically during non peak period, return tickets would be around MYR150-250 return or MYR150-180 return. 

After considering all available options from Malaysia Airlines, Air Asia, Firefly and Malindo Air, I decided that the best options were between Air Asia and Malindo Air. Since I hadn't been on Malindo before, it was a no brainer!

MALINDO AIR (OD1805)
Trip: Kuala Terengganu (TGG) – Subang (SZB)
Date: July 10, 2016 on Sunday
Depart: 10:55AM
Arrive: 12:00PM
Duration: 1hr 05min
Aircraft: ATR-72-600 (twin-turboprop)
Seat: 12A (Economy)

Kuala Terengganu Airport or if you prefer to go by its official name, Sultan Mahmud Airport (TGG), generally serves flights between the city of Kuala Terengganu and Kuala Lumpur (via Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) and Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport, Subang (SZB). Although it was built to handle international flights, the only international flights they currently serve are to Jeddah and Mecca during the Hajj season.

The check-in and boarding at TGG was smooth and quick as it is usually the case with smaller regional airports in Malaysia. You could get to the boarding gate within 10mins from the check in counter.

Flights into SZB are almost exclusively using turboprop aircrafts due to its close proximity to residential areas. One thing gets me excited when flying on turboprop...tarmac boarding!


Malindo Air OD1805 at the tarmac from boarding gate.
Malindo Air OD1805 : Tarmac boarding means awesome pictures of the plane!
Malindo Air OD1805 : ATR-72-600 on the tarmac TGG
Malindo Air OD1805 : Queuing into the ATR-72-600
Malindo Air OD1805 : Sultan Mahmud Airport exterior
Malindo Air OD1805 : ATR 72-600 Cabin Stowage / Overhead Compartment


Malindo Air OD1805 : Leather seat
Malindo Air OD1805 : ATR-72-600 Seat Back
Malindo Air OD1805 : Aircraft Cabin 
Malindo Air OD1805 : Overhead consoles
Malindo Air OD1805 : Seat Back Pocket
Malindo Air OD1805 : Ready-to-purchase Menu - Starbucks Coffee
Malindo Air OD1805 : Merchandise sold on board
Malindo Air OD1806: Overhead Comparment

The all economy configuration aircraft looks brand spanking new as Malindo just took delivery of this aircraft earlier in the month. I can even smell the new leather while entering the aircraft. The seat and cabin design is quite attractive to me, might be because it looks so new. 

The flight departed slightly later than scheduled. 

Another thing that gets me excited about flying turboprop is the relatively lower cruising altitude. Who needs in-flight entertainment when you can awe at the amazing Malaysian lush greenery. 

One thing you should note about Malindo Air is that it is not exactly a low cost carrier but it is also not a full fare airline. It is instead categorised as a hybrid airline. This means that while their fares are relatively cheaper they still offer free check-in baggage, meals/refreshments on board and even in flight entertainment on their Boeing 737. However, you shouldn't expect the same level of meal/refreshment quality as a full fare airline though. For my flight, we were served a small bottle of mineral water. But you get what you pay for so no complaints.
Malindo Air OD1805 : TGG from the aircraft
Malindo Air OD1805 :  Kuala Terengganu town bird view
Malindo Air OD1805 : Kuala Terengganu town bird view
Malindo Air OD1805 : Birdview from TGG-SZB
Malindo Air OD1805 : Mineral Water served on board
Malindo Air OD1805 : Birdview from SZB-TGG
Malindo Air OD1805 : Approaching SZB
Malindo Air OD1805 : Malindo Cabin Crew on walkway to Baggage Claim Area at SZB 

Eventhough the flight departed later than scheduled, but it reached SZB on time. 


Summary
Flying on Malindo Air's ATR 72-600 is convenient due to its Subang Airport hub which is within close proximity to the city as compared to KUL. Both airports, TGG and SZB are domestic-friendly airport. Less hassle and very convenient. The flying experience is better than I've experienced with ATR on Firefly but it might be due to the fact that I flew on their very new aircraft. But, for me personally though it was generally a pleasant flight all around, I felt that it was not worth my spending of MYR360 one-way. That cost me a hole in my wallet. However, given the last minute purchase (lesson learnt) and during the festive season, I think they were the best option I had.

2 comments:

  1. Gotta say I am a little jealous of your life, haha. Traveling is just something I really love but sadly I get to do really little of it sadly. But thanks for blogging about your travels though.

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  2. In that peak season u got a flight that is all u want at that time. it seems that u have a good experience with the Malaysian Airline. As the aircraft is new u have all the advantages of new leather seats and good food. As u say u got wat u pay for :) i will surely tell my friend about Malindo airline as he is arriving next month. Thanks for ur review :)

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