Earlier this year, Malaysia Airlines published business class airfares for just US$128 round trip between Denpasar, Bali, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This is an incredibly low fare and I would consider this a good find even for and economy trip. The fact that it was for business class makes it irresistible.
I thought I had found a great deal already, but it got even better. Malaysia Airlines operates some of these flights with an A330 widebody that features the international lie-flat product. These fares earn 100% miles with AAdvantage, making this deal even more valuable. 3,000 AAdvantage miles are valued typically at $50. These miles can also help in obtaining status win any Oneworld program you may be collecting miles with.
Of course, this fare also comes with lounge access which is valued around $20 each time you access a lounge. You also get two checked bags, and business class catering and alcohol.
Malaysia Airlines check-in
48 hours before departure, I got an email and checked-in for my flight online. Malaysia Airlines uses the check-in system provided by GDS giant Amadeus, and it worked well. A few minutes later, I had my electronic boarding pass. Bali airport allows electronic boarding passes.
With many flights to China mainland, the Bali airport can get rather crowded, especially at night, but my experience was rather peaceful for this midday departure. Unfortunately, a major holiday was approaching, so flights were expected to be 100% full leaving the island. This included my own flight.
There is no Oneworld or Malaysia Airlines dedicated lounge at Denpasar airport. The Premier Lounge is accessible for Priority Pass members and this is my least favorite lounge at Denpasar airport. It is often crowded, has rather unappetizing food and simple drinks. Luckily, the nearby T/G lounge is a lot better, so that is where I headed.
Boarding was late, fortunately for just a few minutes, due to the late arrival from Kuala Lumpur. There is a priority boarding concept but it wasn’t exactly followed, as multiple lines were going all over the boarding gate area at Bali airport.
The business class cabin featured the brand new lie-flat business class seat, that looks much like the Stelia SOLSTYS product. You will notice how some seats open into the aisle and others are well protected and you need to slip into your seat through a small opening. Even though this offers a lot of privacy, you have to be flexible and skinny to fit yourself into your seat, especially if it is in lie-flat mode.
The cabin was immediately filled up and felt a bit cramped in the aisles. A family with a young child was immediately behind me. Unfortunately for my ears, not all of them were happy about flying.
The flight attendants informed me that some of the entertainment displays would not work in the cabin. Sadly, my seat was affected by it. The whole left side of the plane would have that problem later during the flight.
The flight attendants were friendly and warm. They did their best to serve pre-departure drinks and newspapers while the economy class filled with passengers.
The take-off was fast and just in time, as a rainstorm was approaching Bali. The next two hours of the flight were rather turbulent due to the seasonally humid weather.
The friendly flight attendants took drinks and food orders just a few minutes after take-off. I decided to try both white wines they offered as well as the champagne. I wasn’t a fan of the champagne, but enjoyed the white wines. They offered a citrus-infused taste, which I found to be refreshing.
The meals served were not my favorite. That could be attributed to my taste buds, of course, but I was not a fan of the food served on this flight.
I wasn’t able to fully stretch out in the lie-flat seats but I was able to lie down comfortably on my side. This, combined with the ongoing rocking, helped put me into a deep sleep for the next two hours.
Our arrival into Kuala Lumpur was right on time and immigration after landing was fast and easy. This was largely thanks to the dedicated business class lanes that the airport provides, and Malaysia Airlines pays for.
The frequent flyer miles I earned appeared very quickly in my account – only 48 hours later.
Just a week later it was time for me to take my return flight back to Bali.
Malaysia Airlines Golden Lounge Kuala Lumpur Airport
There are two lounges that you have access to at the Kuala Lumpur Airport, one for regional and one for long-haul flights. Both lounges offer the same food menu, but the lounge dedicated to long-haul flights offers more space.
Malaysia Airlines has recently upgraded the catering in their Golden lounges, which certainly improved the overall experience. The lounge now features dedicated baristas and premium food. While breakfast is usually the most difficult meal for airline lounges to do well, I was quite impressed with my custom made espresso drink, smoked salmon, fresh fruit, different curries, and a great cheese selection.
Return flight experience
The boarding was quite stressful and chaotic since Kuala Lumpur runs security at the gate and our gate was being shared with a full Lion Air flight. The gate was rather crowded and multiple announcers were talking over each other.
Once on board, a slightly different lie-flat cabin awaited. It was seemingly older but looked strikingly similar to the plane I flew on a few days ago with Malaysia Airlines. Again, the entertainment system on the left side of the plane would not work, but in the middle and on the right it would.
Unfortunately, there was a family with a not so happy toddler right behind me, just as on my earlier flight. To make this even spookier, the flight attendants were many of the same crew as my flight a week ago. However, this time the service felt less rushed.
Since I ate too much at the lounge I decided to skip the meal service. The seat was perfect for a nap and I was quick to fall asleep. However, it could get cramped for a long-haul flight.
We arrived on time in Bali and I was on my way to the beach 30 minutes later.
What a great deal!
In sum, I liked my flights and found the value to be incredible. I got a comfortable, even luxurious seat and earned miles worth $50. I loved the lounges in Kuala Lumpur but wasn’t a fan of the catering on board.
The flight attendants were jovial and friendly and I liked the idea of doing a little wine tasting while flying.
This article is sponsored by Mighty Travels Premium