OdiE From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 1641 posts, RR: 1 Posted (12 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 12254 times:
Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is probably Singapore Airlines’ (SIA) main competitor and vice versa. I had the opportunity to experience these two rivals recently and I would like to share my opinions regarding these two airlines here. These are my just my opinions and it may differ accordingly to each individual (no offence intended to either SIA or MAS fan).
Cabin Crew Service:
MAS: There was no doubt that MAS deserved to win the Best Cabin Crew Award for the third consecutive year. The flight attendants were very warm and hospitable to the passengers ensuring that their long-flight was as pleasant as possible. The flight attendants often offer passengers drinks between meals to keep them hydrated in an atmosphere where the relative humidity is around 20%. Occasionally, on some flights, the flight attendants will chat up with me when they are free and if they do, they will address me by my last name when they serve me again later in the flight.
SIA: The flight attendants whom I had experienced with SIA can be split into two. There were some who were very friendly and there were some who were just plain snobbish. Luckily for me, the flight attendant serving my part of the cabin was the friendly one and she served me with a warm smile. The one serving the cabin in front of me was unapologetic. She accidentally hit my chair a couple of times while she was making her way up to the front part of the cabin and the worst thing was she didn’t even apologize to me and head straight up the aisle! The tap in one of the washrooms at the back of the aircraft was not functioning properly and when I told her the situation, her reply was, “So how? I can’t bring a pail for you to wash your hands!” I was like “what the f*ck!” I was just telling you that there was no water in the washroom and I am not even asking you for a pail!
Verdict: Definitely Malaysia Airlines. (Probably I was just unlucky to meet this cabin crew!)
MAS: Once again, MAS had fair pretty well in this aspect. In Economy, they offer passengers a choice of 3 entrées, of which one is normally a Malaysian dish; one is a local destination/origin dish and another vegetarian dish. The catering department at KUL had done remarkably well in providing passengers one of the best meals in the air. However, on long-haul flights, their in-between meals snacks were a bit short of decent. They only offer sandwiches, cookies, cheese and crackers. I also noticed that the flight attendants tend to bring a lot of beer to the passengers!
SIA: They only offer a choice of 2 entrées to the passengers, eliminating the vegetarian dish. I assumed that those passengers who require vegetarian meals would probably need to order it 24 hours in advance. Their choice for in-between meals snacks was fairly similar to MAS, but they offer Pot Noodles to the passengers as well. Their ice-cream is nothing less than superb!
Verdict: Malaysia Airlines
MAS: They offer passengers an elegant menu to choose for their meal service, which is printed in a nice little booklet. Each flight will have a different menu. Also, they offer passengers comfy feather pillows in Economy, which makes a great souvenir! However, their blankets are getting old and worn out. They used to provide toothbrush/toothpaste and a pair of socks in a toiletries bag, but now that their financial situation ain’t that great, they had scrapped the socks. Toothbrushes/toothpastes can be found in the drawers in the washroom.
SIA: They offer passengers menu as well, but not as elegant as those found in MAS. Their cover page is printed on a glossy paper! (Personally, I would prefer MAS’ recycled paper rather than glossy paper!) Also, they print two flight sectors in one menu, the outbound and the inbound flight in the same menu. They provide passengers with a little toiletries bag consist of a toothbrush, a small tube of toothpaste and a pair of socks, which is useful if you want to walk around the plane in your socks without dirtying your own pair of socks.
Verdict: Malaysia Airlines. The only thing lacking from MAS was the pair of socks. MAS’ feather pillows are way superior to SIA’s polyester pillows. The menu in MAS was of better quality as well.
MAS: There are 12 channels of entertainment, consisting of 8 movies, 3 short features and 1 airshow channel on your personal TVs. Movies are pretty up-to-date. Different movies and short features are shown on both the inbound and outbound sectors. MAS also offer passengers seat to seat phone call, Nintendo and PC Games.
SIA: Fortunately for me, I was flying on the aircraft equipped with Audio-Video-on-Demand (AVOD) in the Economy Class. There were a lot of movies, short features and games available for selection. As far as I know, there were only 2 aircraft is equipped with AVOD in Economy, i.e. 9V-SPQ and 9V-SMM, which I flew on the latter aircraft. The entertainment controller/in-flight phone was very sensitive, so much so that my movie was always interrupted because my thighs accidentally touched the controller placed in the arm-rest. On 9V-SMM, the movies and short features were the same for both inbound and outbound flights.
Verdict: Singapore Airlines. The AVOD is definitely a plus!
MAS: They had done a good job in this aspect. When they were informing the passengers regarding the safety features of the aircraft, there were subtitles in French, Spanish and German, if I am not mistaken, thus catering to many passengers around the world. The safety procedures were announced in Malay before English was announced.
SIA: The safety procedures announcer had a weird accent. It’s not Singaporean; neither it’s American nor British. Also, they used the term “hand phone”, which was mostly restricted to Asian passengers only.
Verdict: Tie. (I had not experience any emergency with these two airlines, hence, I was not able to judge. If you only take the safety announcements into considerations, then MAS will have the upper hand since they have a better accent , plus subtitles in other languages)
MAS: They offer passengers a very generous seat pitch of 34”, probably one of the largest in the air! Their seat is equipped with wing headrest and lumbar support, which was useful if you want to change the way you seat, especially while you are sleeping! Their orange fabric colors are dull, but their green, blue and purple are pleasing to the eyes. The leg space was more than enough for me (I am a 6-footer) and the seats are comfortably wide. Also, the seats in MAS tend to recline more than most major airlines I had been into.
SIA: They offer passengers an industry-standard 32” seat pitch. Their leg space was just adequate since my knees were about 1” from the seat in front of me. They offer wing headrest, but they lack the lumbar support found in MAS. Their fabric colors of green and blue were nice.
Verdict: Malaysia Airlines. No one will complain for more leg room or seat pitch!
MAS are definitely under-rated in the airline world. If you can’t decide which one to choose, either personal TV’s in economy or seat pitch, then MAS have both to offer to passengers. With a pretty decent in-flight entertainment, albeit not as great as SIA’s, but their seat pitch are superior to that found in SIA. Their award winning cabin crew will ensure that you will enjoy flying by providing you warm service straight from their hearts.
SIA on the other hand provide great entertainment in the sky. It will be great if you are small in size and don’t mind the 2” short in leg space. SIA is probably the airline to go if IFE is all that matters to you (this is extremely true if you are small in size and flying for more than 10 hours!) SIA had done so much publicity about being the world’s best airline, so much so that the passengers expected it to be a flying palace; but in fact, they do not differ a lot compared to their 2 main competitors, i.e. Cathay Pacific and MAS.
Finally, I find these two airlines are probably one of the best in the world, along with Cathay Pacific, Scandinavian and Japan Airlines. Every airline has its pros and cons and neither one of them is perfect in any way. In my humble opinion, I will choose MAS anytime over SIA. Probably, I am just pro MAS.
United777 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1657 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (12 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days ago) and read 12116 times:
Both the best airlines in Asia!
truly know how to take care of you in the air and both of there home airports are the newest and finest. There fleet is the best too.
Personally I don't think you could compare the two. I have flown on SIA many times and MAS about two times.
I wonder if they will be replacing there 737-400's soon and with what aircraft?
Also MAS has a much larger route network than SIA but SIA flies to more North American destinations than MAS but MAS also flies to South America too.
I think Malaysia Airlines is a really underrated airline!
KrisworldB777 From Australia, joined Nov 2000, 571 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (12 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days ago) and read 12101 times:
Wow you really do have a lot of time on your hands!!
I couldn’t agree more with you in relation to Malaysia Airlines being underrated. Unfortunately, however, the situation it finds itself in is purely self-inflicted in that it is the result of consecutive poor management, corruption, lack of vision and foresight. This has led the airline into a position whereby it “survives” and does little else.
If MAS were, for example, able to refine their schedules to allow more convenient connections, the impact would, as demonstrated by Singapore Airlines’ success, be radical and perhaps return the airline to a stronger position. Instead, MAS has concentrated too much in Asia itself and caters for travellers in and out of Malaysia – a relatively small market in the scale of things instead of looking to make Kuala Lumpur a hub for long-haul connecting passengers. Even some sustained marketing would help MAS to let people know that in fact they are one of the most enjoyable carriers to fly with. Unfortunately, the financial position prevents this from occurring.
I find it quite amazing that MAS cabin crew are able to sustain such high morale given the company’s status and they really are what is holding together the airline. Internationally, the service is, in my opinion also, markedly superior to Singapore Airlines. I like to liken MH’s service to SQ’s 5-10 years ago with that grace and charm which seems so lacking in the last few years. The products MH have on the 777s and 747-400s are generally to a very high standard. Why aren’t they marketing their 34” pitch in an era of DVT paranoia? Why aren’t they marketing their AVOD in First and Golden Club Class on 777s and 747s? Money.
Unfortunately, MAS can’t get out of the roundabout until they are more profitable. They can’t become more profitable unless they do some sustained marketing and get the business travellers flying and flying regularly. If businessmen love SIA’s Singapore Girl service, there is no reason why they wouldn’t become loyal passengers of MH. It’s a shame and they shouldn’t be in the position they face. So much potential which is wasted and we should be commending the cabin crew who are so valiantly holding the airline together. We must just wonder how long they can sustain it.
Mhz From United Arab Emirates, joined Apr 2002, 92 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (12 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 12064 times:
I agree to Odie and KrisworldB777 on their analysis but what makes MAS better than SIA are those little "humane" touches from their MAS cabin crew make you feel appreciated and wanted to fly with them again.
SQ772 From Singapore, joined Nov 2001, 1807 posts, RR: 5
Reply 7, posted (12 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 12012 times:
Interesting comparison,and definitely well thought out and articulated.
“So how? I can’t bring a pail for you to wash your hands!”
I found that hilarious, you can fault her for that quick typically Singaporean come back, but I did think her reply was quite funny. Guess depends on how she said it! I have come across bitchy MH crew myself, but the tone and manner in which she retorted to the pax made all the difference. Well, I think it was highly unappropriate for the SQ crew to say that, and I would have given her an equally "bitchy" reply.
I fully agree with Krisworld777 on his remarks and frankly, I am amazed and curious how MH's crew are able to keep their morale and inflight service at such a high level despite the current situation surrounding their company. Definitely good employees to have. In contrast, SQ's crew nowadays appear very affected by the problems the company is going through. I don't blame them as it has impacted them greatly. SQ has consciously implemented cost cutting measures in all fronts, and that includes crew complement on many flights. While a 744 used to be staffed by over 18 crew on long haul flights in the good ol'days, it is now seen as a luxury. Flights usually depart with almost the minimum number of crew (even on full flights) and that affects service in all aspects. I have seen aisles being served by just 1 junior crew, dishing out meals, offering drinks etc...service becomes slow, and the crew gets highly stressed out...hence bitchy. Senior crew often have to rush to help out in Y after serving P/J, leaving P/J manned by just 1 crew...that's not good. To make things worse, despite cutting back on manpower onboard, SQ has introduced new service features which puts added stress on crew. The demands on SQ crew nowadays are great, but I guess that from a pax point of view, that's no excuse for rude service.
I have met many crew who bitch about current working conditions, and having been in operations myself, I can emphatise with them.
In contrast, MH seems pretty generous when it comes to inflight service despite it being in the dire financial situation that we have come to acknowledge. 3 choices in Y is one good example. Perhaps MH has been treating their crew well despite the problems the company is facing, so that could explain the wonderful attitude they have.
Different Y menus for each sector? (not too sure about that because I have an MH J class menu for KUL-BKK-KUL - thanks Ryanair!!!) I think it depends on the route flown and the number of meals served. Because of the way menus are binded, there are usually a minimum of 4 pages in it. It would be quite wasteful not to make full use of every page. I also have a Y menu for SQ36, which does not have the return sector menu included because there are just too many meals for the 2 sectors (a total of 4 meals in English and Dutch).
I fully agree with Odie that recent menu designs on SQ have been aesthetically horrendous. If anyone of you has a copy of an SQ menu that was printed a few years back, you will realise how classy they looked. Things went downhill when they started outsourcing menu cover designs to students from the art schools in Singapore (cost cutting again).
Pillows - yes, MH has feather filled pillows...very comfy I must say. Have 2 (compliments of Ryanair!!! again) on my bed...really nice. thumbs up for MH's pillows.
Lumbar support... very few airlines have adjustable lumbar support in Y. SQ has them on their newer 777 aircrafts... some aircrafts have them, some don't...depends on your luck. Similarly, not all MH aircrafts have lumbar support in Y. But I tend to agree with Odie that lumbar support would be great if pax can have them on all long haul flights.
Safety procedures...just like to point out that there are subtitles on SQ's safety video. Usually Chinese and sometimes Japanese depending on the route. As for SQ crew's weird accent...well, that has been overly debated, so I shan't comment too much here.
I would like to try out MH's long haul service soon, just so that I can experience the inflight service that other a.net members talk about...
Docpepz From Singapore, joined May 2001, 1971 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (12 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 11916 times:
A friend of mine took MH SIN-KUL-LAX (with a stop in TPE) in May. He said it was great, except that his plane broke down ex SIN, delaying the flight by 2 hours, but the KUL-TPE-LAX plane was delayed as well, since many passengers were connecting to that flight from SIN.
Also, his plane broke down in TPE from LAX to KUL, resulting in a 12 hour delay. Some snacks were offered but it wasn't filling enough for 12 hours, he said. (I flew back to SIN at the same time as him from LAX on SQ. I think the MAS plane departs 5 mins before the SQ plane, just after midnight)
So all in all he said MAS has great service, good food and a satisfactory IFE albeit inferior to SQ's. However he doesn't really wanna travel with them again as the wait in KUL is tiring, and he doesn't want to risk a delay with them due to technical problems. I guess it's just pure bad luck for him.
And for goodness sake, I hope SQ changes its menus! Not that many people actually care about menus but they're just plain ugly. Even if they were outsourced to art school students, my goodness. I'm sure art students could come up with better designs!
Alpere1 From Spain, joined Sep 2000, 134 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (12 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 11916 times:
Congratulations OdiE for your excellent comparison!
I think SQ has done much better in what concerns to marketing and publicity, MH needs to learn how to market their product, because although both are excellent, I think MH offers a better product, but it is clearly under rated dued to it's poor marketing.
I do agree this two companies, along with Cathay Pacific, are the best in the world, MH and CX first and then SQ.
Mandala499 From Indonesia, joined Aug 2001, 7218 posts, RR: 77
Reply 15, posted (12 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 11858 times:
One hell of a comparison.
As good as SQ gets, I feel that a lot of the cabin crew let the airline down in terms of genuine enthusiasm for their work. I remember the days when they were and they were unbeatable... however, recently, well... need I say?
I'm picky when it comes to cabin crew friendliness... SQ needs to turn around otherwise eventually they'll loose their top spot. The marketing department can't create such utopian image forever... pax will begin to notice the cracks.
In the mean time, it's time I try other airlines again ! Oh yeah, and more balanced reviews like this please!!!!
When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !
BDRules From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2000, 1501 posts, RR: 3
Reply 17, posted (12 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 11835 times:
I want to fly Malaysian to Australia from MAN next year. Why cant i book through their website???? I am trying to beat £799 rtn economy restricted. I can afford to fly business class and probably will so i can get my frequent flyer points with Qantas.
Singapore 777 From Australia, joined May 1999, 1026 posts, RR: 3
Reply 20, posted (12 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 11741 times:
Bigo747, you should see some of the passengers that fly on Singapore Airlines. From the check-in counters right up to the moment when I leave the plane, I can see people that expect the world even though they're only flying in economy class. The expectation is just not realistic. And this isn't helped by the fact that SIA's marketing department constantly advertises them as the "best in the world."
You're right, bad passengers! I've seen people yell at the cabin crew before. How do you do your job when you're in a confined cabin having to see the same person that just yelled at you for something you can't control for a whole 13 hours? Simply horrendous!
OdiE From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 1641 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (12 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 11733 times:
United777: MAS' larger network can be attributed to its domestic operations. I think they have 30+ domestic destinations which SIA don't have. MAS plan to expand further in North America, with Chicago and Boston in the streamline as a list of destinations to be served by MAS. They are also planning to increase the frequnecy to New York from 3 times weekly to 6 times weekly. However, I remained puzzled as to why MAS do not plan to serve San Francisco since they were planning to serve SFO back in 1997.
KrisworldB777: MAS in fact did a lot of advertising in the UK. Almost twice a week, you could see MAS' advertisement in Financial Times and The Times, advertising their award winning cabin crew, their meal service, their chauffeured limousine service to LHR/MAN, helicopter service for their First Class passengers. I think this is where the majority of MAS' premium passengers come from. I don't think they do a lot of advertising in Asia mainly because passengers are more inclined to travel with their national carrier.
SQ772: The flight I took was on SQ 317, LHR-SIN. SQ 322's (SIN-LHR) menu was printed in the same booklet as well. Don't know for MAS' J menu for domestic sectors, but their KUL-Australia/UK flights are different for each sector. I am pretty surprised that MAS even offer passengers menu on a domestic flight! Maybe they need to print the menu in both Malay and English, hence fully utilizing the 4 pages, but I think in the Australia/UK-KUL run, they have 8 pages. Lumbar support can be found in all MAS' B777 and B747. The only aircraft that doesn't have the lumbar support is A330 and the B734, but you normally fly less than 6 hours with these aircrafts.
BDRules: Don't think MAS offer internet booking right now, but if you want to book via the internet, below are some websites with pretty good deals with MAS: http://www.netflights.com/ http://www.travelbag.co.uk/
The last time I flew with MAS to Australia, Travelbag offered me £520 plus tax with 2 free stopovers in Kuala Lumpur plus 2 free sidetrips to anywhere in Malaysia and Singapore. Pretty neat huh?
SQ772 From Singapore, joined Nov 2001, 1807 posts, RR: 5
Reply 22, posted (12 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 11705 times:
Wouldn't exactly call KUL-BKK-KUL "domestic", but point taken anyway. Actually prefer to know what the return sector passengers are having for lunch/dinner though...so having 2 sectors in one menu if fine for me. It's a cost cutting, money saving measure that I am pretty comfortable with.
Lumbar support, yes, I see that you agree with my point that it will be much appreciated on longhaul flights. How does the YCL lumbar support on MH work? Similar to how you operate them on SQ's 777ERs?
I was half expecting this topic to develop into a heated and vicious SQ vs MH vs CX thread, and I am glad it has been healthy and civilised so far... hopefully no kid comes in to spoil everything.
Ryanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4771 posts, RR: 24
Reply 24, posted (12 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 11679 times:
Their orange fabric colors are dull, but their green, blue and purple are pleasing to the eyes...
Err... which aircraft is this??
MH is fantastic, however it can get sloppy on the short-haul routes.
I generally feel that MH scores better than SQ in this department because they fly a lot more short haul routes than SQ does. I have seen SQ rushingly fumble more than once on a short sector like SIN-KUL... or even on a SIN - BKK flight. Service tends to get a little tense because of time contraints. However, if you read my trip report to Phuket with MAS, I described in detail the way the crew served on a 1hr flight from KUL - HKT. Then you'll understand why the service standards on MH differs from SQ.
With all said and done, I totally agree with the comparisons that Odie have done between the 2 airlines. While MH's long haul premium product lacks the sophistication of SQ's, let hope that the recent change in marketing strategy helps them aquire some new customers while satisfying the present batch of true- loyalist (me!).
If you have read my long haul trip reps with MH (mainly the ones to Australia), I have always been satisfied with the flight regardless of class. Since I have flown all 3 classes, I did not find watered down service as I went further aft cabin. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised with my first Economy experience with them (another trip rep covered ).
For those of you who have flown F / J Class would agree with me that the Golden Lounge in KLIA is one of the best in the world. The expansive and cozy surroundings, bright and airy feel of the entire environment - surely beats SQ's small and windowless lounges in Singapore.
While many Singaporeans still cringe at the thought of flying Malaysia Airlines, all I can say to them is "you do not know what you are missing"... lot of us need to get past the notion of anything Malaysian is "yucky". Political wranglings aside, I fly with MAS without any predjudice.
One axe to grind with the airline though... they need to improve on the ground service. The "Subang attitude" seems to be present still in the staff in KLIA. I just wish they would be more courteous and customer oriented. Free airport transfers for premium pax in Kuala Lumpur would be more than welcomed for a start! But that is only a suggestion...
Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
: Many Singaporeans I know prefer direct flights, they hate having to transit in KLIA. I think in the end it all boils down to ease of connectivity. The
: Please post the MU trip report. It is not very often we get reports about Chinese airlines.
27 SIA Fan
: I agree that SQ's menu design had been quite horrendous recently. Older menus were very classy. I also remembered that passengers could rip out the fr
: Docpepz, didn't I tell you to do that when you returned? Oh yes and about the "some kids are away on holiday", I fully agree. Vietnam has almost no in
: Malaysian have been doing a fair bit of advertising on Kabelvision ( in Indonesia ) while I was just away, especially to do with the helicopter pick u
: I am pretty surprised that MAS even offer passengers menu on a domestic flight! I don't think they offer menus on domestic flights because their cater
: Unlike the rest of you guys, i really don't seem to be very lucky in getting satisfactory service from this airline. I have been delayed twice and had
: one thing to remind you guys that eventhough MAS offers more route networks, but you have to see on frequency. There are many routes they operate onc
: good report indeed. I can only agree on MH economy class. One of the few flights I slept in cattle... Great recline, legroom and adjustable lumbar sup