Topic Author
Posts: 608
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

A Mix Of Both Worlds (Budget Vs 5-Stars To KCH)

Sat Jul 03, 2010 3:49 pm

Just barely a month after my Vietnam trip, I and a friend had the impromptu decision to make a very short 3-days trip to Kuching. Searching the websites for the best fares, I settled for the budget Tiger Airways up to Kuching and 5-stars Malaysia Airlines back to Singapore. With the offers, the Tiger flight probably cost less than the taxi fare from my home to Orchard while interestingly, MH offers the lowest fare (with all frills thrown in) on the date we are flying back! Finally had a chance to experience MH's short haul regional service with the meal boxes!

24 June 2010
Tiger Airways
TR 2494
Singapore (SIN) - Kuching (KCH)
9V-TRB (3rd time on this plane!)
Budget Class

As reported a few times before, nothing new about Tiger's flight experience apart from the late arrival of the inbound aircraft from Hatyai (due to airspace congestion according to the pilot), resulting in a late departure. Also it was my 3rd time on the A319 9V-TRB aircraft!! And I also had the same Korean crew member which I had flew with last year to Penang onboard the same aircraft! Talking about coincidence!! As I guess most of you would be very familiar with Tiger's inflight service by now, there would be minimal reporting regarding this leg. In fact the flight was very similar to my last Tiger flight (check out my previous reports).

A320 9V-TAB preparing for flight to KUL. The plane looks very dirty!

Our plane, 9V-TRB, has just arrived late. We were boarding via Gate 10.

At the gate awaiting pushback. We pushed back about half hour late.

Cabin view.

Pushed back and preparing to taxi.

Passing the SQ B777s parked at the remote stands.

Taxi to the runway, passing terminal 2.

B747SP and B763 of Sands

Jetstar A320 waiting clearance for takeoff beside us. We were cleared for takeoff ahead of Jetstar even though they Jetstar plane reached the runway holding point first.

Takeoff from Rwy20C

Climbing to 3?000ft. The pilot did not inform of the flight altitude.

It was very cloudy throughout the whole flight.

Even though it was cloudy, the flight was generally smooth. Out came the snacks/drinks trolleys followed by duty free trolley but not much sales were done. Most passengers prefer to while the hour away doing nothing. The crew were not overly friendly but performed their duties professionally. Not that I would expect anything more from them.

Descending through very cloudy skies.

Bako National Park?

Just before making the turn back to the airport.

Final approach into Kuching.

Landing in Kuching. The touchdown was very smooth! One of the best ever.

We landed about 20min late. Well, the captain did apologise for the late arrival, so some sort of service recovery here. Overall, a very no-frills experience and you did get what you pay for.

Looks like KCH is A380 ready! Wonder when will one actually fly here,

Another view of our baby airbus after disembarkation.

The largest plane at the airport, a MH A333.
My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
Topic Author
Posts: 608
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

RE: A Mix Of Both Worlds (Budget Vs 5-Stars To KCH)

Sat Jul 03, 2010 4:01 pm

26 June 2010
Malaysia Airlines
MH 637
Kuching (KCH) - Singapore (SIN)
Economy Class

After 44hrs of feasting on delicious Kuching food, we had to leave the town of cats (since "Kuching" = "Cat" in malay), not that there are many cats around apart from the cat statues. We arrived at Kuching International about 90min before departure. As I had already checked in online a day before, we just need to proceed to the bag drop counter to deposit our bags and obtain our boarding passes. There was a choice of printing our boarding passes online but I preferred to have the traditional ones. Kuching airport seemed renovated recently as everything looked quite new, like a scaled down version of KLIA. MH also has self check-in machines at the airport with MH staff assisting passengers. However, Air Asia's check-in counters seemed much more busier than MH's.

MH's check-in row at Kuching airport.

As there were not much facilities land side, we soon proceeded through security and immigration to the airside. The shops in the terminal did not seemed very appealing, probably due to the fact that most passengers are domestic passengers.

Duty-free shops in the terminal.

I always prefer the traditional boarding passes! Can be kept for momento.

Our flight, MH637, is routed Kota Kinabalu - Kuching - Singapore. The plane, 9M-MQI, arrived slightly late from Kota Kinabalu.

The plane parked at Gate 7 and was serviced for our flight to Singapore. Passengers disembarked and most passengers were travelling from Kota Kinabalu to Kuching while only a handful continued to Singapore.

The turnaround was quite fast and very soon, the boarding was announced, though we were a bit late. Boarding was slightly slow, with only 1 agent processing the boarding passes, but no worries as we were gonna get stuck in the aerobridge anyway. A variety of newspapers were available at the door and we were welcomed aboard by the indian leading steward. What struck us first were the fiery red Business Class seats!

We proceeded into the smarties coloured economy cabin and was again welcomed by a malay steward and a chinese stewardess. We had a multi-racial crew on this flight! Total there were 5 crew members, the leading steward and a malay stewardess in Business, and 2 malay stewards + a chinese stewardess in economy. All the crew members were all smiles and professional. Malaysian hospitality (cliche) is really evident.

Boarding in progress. 2 crew were assisting with the boarding while a 3rd steward was in the galley heating up the meals to be served i suppose. Oh, and there was the "kept ringing in my head" boarding music but it was on a much lower volume on this flight. The pax load was quite healthy, though not full. Probably about 70-80% load factor.

Legroom was average. As you can see, no inflight magazines are available again. Guess they did not replace the magazines as it was towards the end of the month.

Here we are, parked at the gate, with sister 737s at the terminal.

Welcome announcement by the leading steward. The flight time was announced as 1hr25min but actual flying time was only about 1hr05min.

We pushed back about 15min late due to the late arrival of the aircraft. Safety demo was shown manually also. The MH B737 crew are really well trained in doing safety demos as it was performed in a very professional manner.

Taxi to the runway. We did not taxi right to the end but started our takeoff run at probably about 3/4 of the runway.


Ascending to cruising altitude of 33000ft, as announced by the pilot.

Leaving the Sarawak coast.

Almost immediately after the seatbelt signs were switched off, the crew rushed down the aisle with the meal carts. 2 meal carts were used, 1 from the front row and manned by the chinese stewardess and the other from the last row and manned by a steward. The 3rd steward was shuttling in between the 2 meal carts to assist in handing out meals. Wow, they better work fast as the flying time is real short! But short-haul flights are where MH excels (due to their rigorous short-haul trainings?) and the crew managed to conduct the service in a quick and orderly way without any rushed atmosphere, and with friendly smiles and "enjoy your meal"s too! I was also impressed that MH offered a choice of 2 mains, since Silkair would only offer a hot wrap/sandwich on a flight of similar length. Coffee/tea/juices/soft drinks were also offered but I did not see any wines on the meal cart. Not sure if they are offered too.

Crew starting lunch service.

Meal service in progress.


The 2 meal choices were Soya sauce chicken rice and vege or Panfried fish in mustard sauce with steamed white rice and vege. Me and my friend tried both choices.

The famous MH meal boxes. Along with the main course were fresh fruits, a cup of water and "chocolate delight" (aka kit-kat bar).

Main course unveiled. I had a tea and orange juice to go along.

Panfried fish in mustard sauce, steamed rice and stir-fried vegetables. It was not bad.

Soya sauce chicken rice and vegetables. According to my friend, this was delicious!!

After finishing the meal, you hide the sightly leftovers.

Using of meal boxes really enabled the service to be much faster. While clearing the meal boxes, the crew also offered another round of drinks. Impressive!!

After the meals were cleared and while descending. Another view of the smarties coloured cabin.

Speedbrakes up.

Flying into Peninsular Malaysia.

Final approach into Singapore. The crew worked hard clearing the cabin and had just sat down for landing when this shot was taken.

Landing into Changi Rwy20R about 5min late. We rolled all the way to the end of the runway before exiting and crossing the bridge to Terminal 2.

Passing the parked SQ B777s again.

Considering the offer fare of only about S$95 all-in one-way, MH provided an excellent and value-for-money service! Food served for the short sector was excellent and cabin crew were as good as SQ's. I would not hesitate to fly MH again in the future on regional flights and definitely recommend them if they could maintain a consistent good standard of service delivery.

My next flight would be in Aug on Silkair to Lombok! Your comments regarding my reports are much welcomed!

Tigering To Vietnam (and VN Domestic) With Videos (by ycp81 May 23 2010 in Trip Reports)
Flying With Malaysian Hospitality To Tokyo (by ycp81 Apr 17 2010 in Trip Reports)
Silkair To Siem Reap : A Wonderful Way To Fly! (by Ycp81 Feb 1 2010 in Trip Reports)
36hrs In KL By Firefly And Air Asia (by Ycp81 Oct 30 2009 in Trip Reports)
Invasion Of The LCCs (Penang On Tiger And Jetstar) (by Ycp81 Aug 31 2009 in Trip Reports)
10 Flights On 6 Airlines In 11 Days! (by Ycp81 Aug 25 2009 in Trip Reports)
Cathay Way To Taipei (by Ycp81 Aug 25 2009 in Trip Reports)
SIN-DPS-SIN On Lionair And SQ (by Ycp81 Aug 25 2009 in Trip Reports)
SIN-SYD-MEL-SYD-SIN On SQ & QF (by Ycp81 Aug 25 2009 in Trip Reports)
SIN-SGN-SIN On SQ In 2008 (by Ycp81 Aug 25 2009 in Trip Reports)
Missing Swiss In SIN (by Ycp81 Aug 25 2009 in Trip Reports)
('07 Memories) SIN-KBV-DMK,BKK-SIN On TR, DD & FD (by Ycp81 Aug 25 2009 in Trip Reports)

[Edited 2010-07-03 09:18:13]
My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
Posts: 1204
Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:13 pm

RE: A Mix Of Both Worlds (Budget Vs 5-Stars To KCH)

Sat Jul 03, 2010 5:10 pm

Nice report! It's amazing how MH serves proper meal on a very short flight! Compared to other airlines, especially here in the US that doesn't serve complimentary meals even on a trans-con flight, which is like nearly 6 hours! Once again, nice report and I love that MH boarding pass!  
It's a cultural thing.
Posts: 631
Joined: Fri May 21, 2010 2:24 pm

RE: A Mix Of Both Worlds (Budget Vs 5-Stars To KCH)

Sat Jul 03, 2010 7:35 pm

Great TR
Yes, it is very unusual to get a hot meal on such a short flight, here in Europe, you only can buy sth like that for a lot of mony on short flights
Posts: 748
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 6:46 am

RE: A Mix Of Both Worlds (Budget Vs 5-Stars To KCH)

Mon Jul 05, 2010 6:25 am

Wow great trip report and loved the youtube videos!

I knew about the MH mulit-colo(u)red seats...but this is the first time I've seen them referred to as "smartie" colo(u)red which is only funny if you happen to know that smarties are bigger and flatter M&Ms!

The seats are growing on me...I kinda like the different colo(u)rs now!

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: KBUF and 46 guests

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos