Review: Malaysia Airlines A330 Business Class (KUL-SYD)

Malaysia Airlines A330 Business Class

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I’ve flown in the Malaysia Airlines A330 Business Class cabin once already this year (I reviewed it here) but there’s a very good reason why I’m writing about the cabin all over again. On this flight I was seated in a different seat to the one I enjoyed last time out and it made quite a big difference to my thoughts on the cabin.

My flight from Kuala Lumpur to Sydney departed from Gate C22 and, now that I’ve been through KL a number of times, I know to get to the gate early to miss out on the long lines caused by the security screening you have to go though before you’re allowed into the gate area.

Malaysia Airlines A330 Business Class

We boarded on time and I was soon inside the Business Class cabin I remembered from my last trip…..only something was different.

Malaysia Airlines A330 Business Class

On my last trip I was seated in seat 4K which l liked….

Malaysia Airlines A330 Business ClassMalaysia Airlines A330 Business Class – Seat 4K

…while on this trip I was booked into seat 2A which I had been expecting to be the same.

It wasn’t.

Thoughts On The Seats

Malaysia Airlines A330 Business ClassMalaysia Airlines A330 Business Class – Seat 2A

The single seats on the right side of the aircraft are “throne-style” seats which offer a nice combination of privacy and a good amount of storage space.

The single seats on the left side of the aircraft (the side I was now on) alternate between offering a good amount of privacy (rows 2, 5 & 7)……

Malaysia Airlines A330 Business Class – Seat 2A

…and not a lot of privacy at all (rows 1, 4 & 6):

Malaysia Airlines A330 Business Class – Seat 1A

But what all the seats on the left of the aircraft have in common is that they don’t have much storage space at all.

Here’s what you get:

There’s a small cubby next to each seat….

Malaysia Airlines A330 Business Class

…a small tray-like storage area on top of the cubby….

 Malaysia Airlines A330 Business Class

…a narrow pouch under the IFE screen….

Malaysia Airlines A330 Business ClassMalaysia Airlines A330 Business Class

…and another small pouch (just about big enough to fit an iPhone 6) next to the seat:

Malaysia Airlines A330 Business Class

As far as storage space goes, that’s it. The cubby is ok for things like eReaders, phones, books and headphones but it certainly isn’t big enough for any kind of laptop, a folder or paperwork. My MacBook spent most of its time on the floor:

Malaysia Airlines A330 Business Class

In the throne seats on the other side of the aircraft you have a lot of privacy and, because you have an added table/ledge between the seat and the window you get a feeling of space.

In seat 2A I had privacy but certainly no feeling of space.

The seat felt confining and a little claustrophobic….a feeling which was only exacerbated by the narrowness of the area where a passenger’s feet go when lying down:

Malaysia Airlines A330 Business ClassMalaysia Airlines A330 Business Class

This is where the seats in the first row have an advantage over all the other seats in the cabin.

Because the row 1 seats don’t have another seat ahead of them they can have a noticeably larger space for a passenger’s legs:

Malaysia Airlines A330 Business Class – Seat 1A

Malaysia Airlines A330 Business ClassMalaysia Airlines A330 Business Class – Seat 1D

I tried out one of these seats after we had landed and the extra space was noticeable and would almost certainly make quite a big difference on a long flight.

If you’re traveling as a couple and if you want to sit beside each other you’re best bet is to choose one of the center pairs of seats:

Malaysia Airlines A330 Business Class

The seat pairs on the right side of the aircraft look tight and I’ve overheard passengers complaining about the lack of storage space so, while the center seats won’t have any more space for your belongings, they both give access to the aisle and look and feel more spacious.

The seat padding is fine but you can’t escape the feeling of confinement when you’re in a seat like 2A. I’m not a person of size and I felt penned in so I dread to think what someone larger than me may make of these seats.

When upright there’s plenty of legroom to stretch out….

Malaysia Airlines A330 Business Class

…but when you’re lying down there’s a definite coffin-like effect going on and that’s not a good thing.

I flew in the A330 Business Class cabin both to and from Sydney and because the throne seats were all already reserved I had two flights in the space of 4 days in seat 2A…so I got to try it out quite comprehensively.

I didn’t like it.

Seat Amenities

All the seats have the same style easy-to-use seat controls complete with massage function….

Malaysia Airlines A330 Business Class

….but if those are too complicated there’s a simplified set of controls next to the armrest too:

Malaysia Airlines A330 Business Class

There’s a remote control for the IFE built into the frame next to the seat:

Malaysia Airlines A330 Business Class

And under this you’ll find a USB port and the headphone port for the IFE:

Malaysia Airlines A330 Business ClassMalaysia Airlines A330 Business Class

The headphones that Malaysia Airlines supplies are pretty basic and like a lot of airline headphones they’re double pinned:

Malaysia Airlines A330 Business Class

What this means is that if you want to use your own headphones to listen to the IFE (in stereo) you’ll need a small adapter like this one:

Malaysia Airlines A330 Business Class

You can get these from Amazon for under $5 (link).

The main power port is in the bulky part of the seat surround (the bit that houses the tray table), it’s of the universal variety and is at knee level:

Malaysia Airlines A330 Business Class

The power port on this flight was temperamental. It didn’t work at all for the first two hours of the flight and then worked on and off for the remainder of time I was on board.

The best advice I can give here is to say that you shouldn’t rely on having a working power port on board (this actually applies to all airlines) – if you’re traveling with electronic devices you’re planning to use I’d make sure they’re all fully charged before boarding.

Food On Board

Here is the menu that was on offer for both the Kuala Lumpur to Sydney and the Sydney to Kuala Lumpur sectors on the A330:

Brunch was served shortly after we levelled off and I was given a choice of juices:

  • Apple
  • Orange
  • Guava

I went for the latter.

Malaysia Airlines A330 Business Class

With the food there were more choices to be made:

  • Mixed fruit with yoghurt or cereal
  • Banana bread, croissant or bread (with jam or marmalade)

I chose the mixed fruit and yoghurt and the banana bread

Malaysia Airlines A330 Business Class

The fruit was nice, the yoghurt was fine and the banana bread was excellent.

For my main course I chose the pancakes with fruit and syrup:

Malaysia Airlines A330 Business ClassMalaysia Airlines A330 Business Class

The pancakes were thicker than I was expecting but the combination of pancakes, fruit and syrup worked well.

Malaysia Airlines A330 Business ClassMalaysia Airlines A330 Business Class

Two hours before our arrival in Sydney the crew served up Malaysia’s famous satay…..

Malaysia Airlines A330 Business ClassMalaysia Airlines A330 Business Class

Malaysia Airlines A330 Business ClassMalaysia Airlines A330 Business Class

…which was as delicious as ever.

The Amenity Kits

Malaysia Airlines issues Business Class passengers with Porsche Design amenity kits and, for an airline still dealing with a number of financial issues, they’re really not bad at all.

Malaysia Airlines A330 Business ClassMalaysia Airlines A330 Business Class

Malaysia Airlines A330 Business ClassMalaysia Airlines A330 Business Class

The kits come with all the usual toiletries you’d expect….

Malaysia Airlines A330 Business ClassMalaysia Airlines A330 Business Class

….as well as socks, a sleep mask and a dental kit:

Malaysia Airlines A330 Business ClassMalaysia Airlines A330 Business Class

The In-Flight Entertainment

The IFE screen on the Malaysia Airlines A330 is not significantly different in size to screens you’ll find in most other Business Class cabins and it’s perfectly ok for viewing the content provided:

Malaysia Airlines A330 Business Class

However, one thing that I did find annoying is that the screen doesn’t tilt so, when you’re lying down, the viewing angle can be poor and the glare can be distracting.

Content-wise the IFE offers up the usual choice of movies, TV shows, games and more and the offering should be perfectly adequate for most people’s needs….although I should reiterate that you should never rely on an airline to provide your entertainment – bring your own.

Thoughts

The last time I flew in this aircraft I flew in one of the “throne seats” and, although I didn’t much like the sleeping position in those seats either, I didn’t feel confined and there was a good amount of storage space around the seat. This experience was altogether different.

The seat I had on this flight was confining, claustrophobic and uncomfortable and a big step down from the throne seat I flew in last time. If I was to book a flight on this aircraft again I would look to book a throne seat first (1K being the best) and then any other seat in row 1 next. If all those options are taken I would choose to book a seat that was open to the aisle to, hopefully, give myself a little more feeling of space.

I should mention that the Malaysia Airlines crew on this flight were as charming as all the other Malaysia Airlines crews I’ve met and provided a very pleasant service….but I can’t get away from how much I didn’t like the seat.