Review: Malaysia Airlines Business Class Bali to Kuala Lumpur

Filed Under: Awards, Malaysia

Our drive from Amankila to the airport was a bit of a disaster. The drive is only supposed to take about 75 minutes, but took more than double as long. Apparently the Indonesian president was in Bali, so it was really screwing up traffic. We were mildly panicked while the driver seemed incredibly calm, which confused me. I guess the part I forgot about is that Aman has a dedicated team of airport handlers, so as soon as we pulled up to the airport they were there to meet us, and had already informed Malaysia Airlines’ ticket counter we’d be a bit late. Our boarding passes were waiting for us at the counter, and the Aman representative whisked us past all the lines so that we were airside in the terminal within five minutes, with time to spare.

We even had time to briefly visit the Premier Lounge, which I’ve reviewed in the past. It’s a fairly nice contract lounge, and I especially love the tarmac views from their patio, from which we could see our Malaysia 777 parked.

Plane to Kuala Lumpur

At around 3:30PM we headed down to our departure gate. Security at Depnasar is at each individual gate, so it took about 10 minutes before we were through. At that point boarding was already underway.

Malaysia 850
Denpasar Bali (DPS) – Kuala Lumpur (KUL)
Saturday, June 15th
Depart: 4:05PM
Arrive: 7:05PM
Duration: 3hr
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200
Seat: 4C (Business Class)

Malaysia Airlines has several flights a day to Bali, which seem to be split between 737s and 777s. We were sure to choose a flight operated by a 777. While the business class seats aren’t fully flat, they are intended for longhaul flights, so much more comfortable than what you’d get on one of their 737s.

The business class cabin consists of a total of five rows in a 2-3-2 configuration. There are four rows in the forward cabin, and then one row behind the galley. We were in 4A & 4C, a pair of window and aisle seats in the last row of the forward cabin.

The seats themselves were pretty standard angled flat seats. There was plenty of legroom, and a small pillow and blanket waiting at each seat.

Our seats, 4A and 4C


Business class cabin

Business class cabin

Day blanket and pillow

To the right of the seat were the seat controls, which were intuitive.

Seat controls

Then to the left of the seat were the entertainment controls.

Entertainment controls

The best feature of the seats had to be the air vents, which are far too uncommon on non-US airlines.

Air vents!

Once settled in, one of the crew members came around with a tray of pre-departure beverages. I selected a glass of guava juice.

Pre-departure guava juice

As we approached our departure time the captain came on the PA to make his welcome aboard announcement, though I’m not actually convinced any of it was in English. The only words I understood were “two hours and thirty five minutes,” which I assume was our flight time.

We pushed back a couple of minutes behind schedule, and had a fairly quick taxi to runway 9.

View of terminal

There was a Garuda Indonesia 737 in front of us, so as soon as they were airborne it was our turn.

View on taxi

Ready for takeoff!

Lion Air 737 queuing behind us

The takeoff roll was extremely short, and the climb out was incredibly “jerky.” I’m not judging the skills of the pilot, but I couldn’t help but feel like the plane was flying in a similar manner to how I’d fly it in Flight Simulator 2004. There wasn’t much turbulence on the climb out, though there was nothing gradual about the way we changed rate of climb or headings.

Terminal view on climb out

View on climb out

View above the clouds

Once we passed through 10,000 feet I began browsing the entertainment selection. It was better than I expected though still not great. I decided to watch Identity Thief again, which I figured would be entertaining enough.


Identity Thief

The headphones were fairly cheap plastic ones, so the sound quality wasn’t great.


Once we leveled off the meal service began. The menus had been in the seatback pocket the whole time, which I hadn’t realized till they came around to take meal orders.


The menu read as follows:


I found it rather interesting that they started service at our row, and addressed us by name the whole flight, while they didn’t seem to address anyone else by name. Based on all my experiences on Malaysia Airlines so far, it seems they take really good care of their OneWorld Emerald members, as I’ve always had my meal order taken first and have always been addressed by name.

Anyway, I ordered the beef lasagna. The salad and dessert were quite good, though the lasagna was borderline inedible.


After lunch coffee and tea was served, and I ordered a teh tarik (“pulled tea”), which was tasty as always.

Beverage trolley

Teh tarik

Service throughout the meal service was fine. The crew treated us better than everyone else it seemed, though I can’t really say that the service was friendly. Don’t get me wrong, they weren’t actively rude, but there were no smiles and they seemed to just be going through “the motions.”

View after meal service

After the meal I tried to nap for a bit, and did manage to get in about a 30 minute snooze before we began our descent.


Cabin with lights dimmed

Before the seatbelt sign went on I headed to the lavatory, and on the way back to my seat asked the purser if we needed landing cards for Malaysia. He said “not for you Mr. Lucky, you’re special OneWorld Emerald.” My goodness, they really take this OneWorld stuff seriously!


Our descent into Kuala Lumpur was gradual and smooth.

Views on approach

Views on approach

Upon touchdown we had about a five minute taxi to the gate, and passed a couple of Malaysia A380s.

Anyone know what these planes are?

Malaysia Airlines A380

Malaysia Airlines A380

Upon landing we queued for immigration for about 20 minutes. At that point we took the train to the city, as we had just a quick overnight in Kuala Lumpur, so decided to stay at the Le Meridien. I’ve decided not to review it again since we were there for less than 12 hours, though you can find my previous review of the property here.

On the whole the flight was pleasant. Not quite as nice as Cathay Pacific’s service to Hong Kong if you can score a first class seat, though I’d probably choose Malaysia over Singapore’s service to Singapore, which features just regional business class seats.

  1. i’m sure your climb out was safe but when the plane ascends too steeply it can actually crash because the air pressure above the wings is not low enough to provide the lift. only happens to inexperienced pilots on small non-commercial planes these days… but it sounds like this pilot was somewhat on the edge.

  2. So how did your “no need for landing cards as a OWE” situation actually work out? Did they pick you up at the plane and escort you through immigration or something?

  3. @ Bgriff — Oh, nobody actually needs a landing card for Malaysia, the guy was just making a joke I guess. There were no special OneWorld Emerald ground services.

  4. On my recent trip to Bali I flew the 777 from Kuala Lumpur to Denpasar, but on the way back it was served by an A330. The legroom wasn’t as huge as the 777, but I prefered the seat of the A330.
    (both flights in C, Malaysia has some pretty decent offers for Business Class intra-Asia)

    Same experience with the crew 🙂

    And the two planes are still at KUL btw (Sept 16th)

  5. Ben,

    Old 747-300 by the look of the engine nacelles.
    747-400 would have ‘winglets’
    Engines and pylons different on the 100 & 200 series.

  6. You chose the same horrible meal I had on my flight DPS-KUL in February. Unfortunately I was stuck on a 737 which has some of the most uncomfortable J seats of any flight I’ve ever flown….I don’t understand how MH can have such horrible catering ex DPS.

  7. No satay? I thought that was standard for most business class flights. Or does the flight need to be a certain length?

  8. Lucky, this plane looks like a former UA 777, at least the sinks in the lavs appear so which pre merger UA never changed when retrofitting 767s, 777s, and 747s to lay flat C & F. I wonder why PMUA did not go with the MH & NH configuration for the lay flat C on the 777: 2-3-2 is much better than 2-4-2.

  9. Very cool Lucky – I like the look of MH’s A380’s, something about them just kind’ve grab your attention.

  10. No bubble tea? I don’t even know what it is but you have me looking for it on these trip reports.

    I’ve always thought I would be a compatible travel companion with Lucky (and even Andrew B) but our contrasting tastes in movies would make it good that we have separate monitors. ;-p

  11. @ wwk5d — Yeah, I was disappointed by the lack of satay as well. I think the flight has to be a bit longer to have satay service, though.

  12. I do like a lot of the mass market movies but also a mix of eclectic/independent films. (My Netflix movies usually just sit on the shelf and I keep paying the fee and forget to watch. Dumb!)

    For the record, I won’t turn down an opportunity to travel based on your movie selections. 😉 The Aman world tour…

  13. Lucky,
    Not sure if you are aware of it – You can actually use the fast track lanes by presenting your “First or Business Class” boarding pass(es). They use to give out special invitation cards, but in order to be more environmental friendly, MH no longer does it, but a showing of your boarding passes will be sufficient. Some airlines such as CX still hand out those invitation cards, but F or J boarding passes are good. The immigration lines are never really that long at KLIA but it is something good to know!


  14. Thanks for showing us an airplane toilet, Mr. Lucky! Perhaps you could save one frame on the 120 film in your Kodak Brownie Hawkeye camera to take a photo of the wine list. Malaysia has won some nice wine awards. Cheers! P.S.: I also like guava juice.

  15. Ben, how come you don’t own ( or use your own) a pair of Bose QC headphones? I have always wondered why a seasoned traveler like you relies on airline headphones. Care to share?

  16. @ Jorge — I actually do have a pair of QC15s. In this case, though, I didn’t have the adapter needed for the IFE system on this plane.

  17. MAS does not serve champagne on business?… or it does not serve any alcoholic drink at all since it is a Muslim country?

  18. “Anyone know what these planes are?”

    Are those the missing planes that SWIFT Air Cargo claimed?

  19. Hi Lucky, the planes are 747-100s. They were left there by a contractor and has been sent to be taken down and the parts sold off.

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