Review: Malaysia Airlines Boeing 737 business class (Singapore-Kuala Lumpur)

Overall Rating

By Chris C., February 25 2016
Malaysia Airlines Boeing 737 business class (Singapore-Kuala Lumpur)

Singapore - Kuala Lumpur

Aircraft Type

Boeing 737-800


Malaysia Airlines



Cabin Class




The Good
  • Spacious seats with AC, USB power
  • Qantas Singapore Lounge access, if you have time
The Bad
  • No alcohol served on-board
  • Inefficient check-in, boarding
  • Those satay sticks


While many Australian travellers look to Malaysia Airlines for flights straight to Kuala Lumpur and then onwards to London, Malaysia's flag carrier also has an impressive network of destinations across Asia – many of which it serves using its smaller Boeing 737 aircraft.

Included on that list is Singapore, where a successful and relatively minute $42 bid via the MHupgrade system got us a business class seat to Kuala Lumpur to bring you this review.


  • Frequent flyer scheme: Malaysia Airlines Enrich. Australians can also choose to earn points and status credits via Qantas Frequent Flyer and other Oneworld programs on eligible fares.
  • Priority check-in: Although this line was shorter than economy, once we reached the desk it took the staff nearly 20 minutes to complete our standard check-in of two passengers with just one bag each, which most other airlines can manage in two minutes or less.
  • Priority boarding: Business class was called to board first but the process was shambolic with no dedicated priority lane and other travellers crowding around the gate door before their turn to board, blocking the entrance.
  • Checked baggage allowance: 40kg total weight spread across a maximum of two bags.
  • Carry-on baggage allowance: 2x115cm bags, each weighing up to 7kg, plus one additional item such as briefcase, handbag or overcoat.
  • Airport fast track lanes: No in Singapore, yes on arrival in Malaysia via the red carpet 'business and first class' lane.


With Malaysia Airlines' Singapore lounge now having closed its doors, business class passengers can instead visit the Premier Lounge in Changi Airport's Terminal 2 before their flight.

However, with all of the terminals connected 'airside' at Singapore Airport and with MH's Oneworld partnership with Qantas, we instead opted for the far superior Qantas Singapore Lounge over in Terminal 1, complete with cocktails from in-house mixologist Ronaldo:

If you take the same route, be sure to allow ample time to return to Terminal 2 and to then clear security at your departure gate, as is the case for all flights departing Singapore.


As with most Boeing 737s in the skies, Malaysia Airlines' planes come with business class at the front in a 2-2 layout...

... with newer aircraft also featuring the familiar Boeing Sky Interior found on many Australian domestic flights:

All seats come 42-inches apart and offer a reasonable recline plus a comfortable legrest...

... along with a fold-out foot rest for shorter travellers but which proved uncomfortable for this taller writer:

Each seat also packs in a multi-country AC charging port, a USB outlet for smartphones and tablets and a connection for powered noise-cancelling headphones:

For a flight lasting just one hour from gate to gate, we really couldn't ask for more.


A selection of juices, soft drinks and water are offered on boarding...

... although when requesting something alcoholic after take-off we were surprised to be told there was "no bar service" on this international business class flight.

The food however was much more memorable with a helping of Malaysia Airlines' signature satay sticks, plus a chocolate Lindor Lindt ball for dessert,

Salted peanuts followed for those still peckish...

... but as satay and peanuts were the only options provided, peanut allergy sufferers would be wise to request a special meal in advance or reconsider their need to fly if those eating peanut products around them would cause an upset.

Entertainment & Service

Each business class seat offers a touchscreen inflight entertainment system...

... packed with movies, TV shows and with access to the moving map, yet no headphones were proactively offered for use with the system – instead available from the crew only by request.

I'd also managed to make my screen freeze and need a reboot before we'd even left the tarmac, merely by browsing through the available content:

Crew on today's flight were personable and did well to feed and water 16 business class passengers during the 30-or-so minutes spent cruising, but which obviously meant there was no time for them to customise the service or make chit-chat.

All up, paired with a pre-flight visit to the Qantas Singapore Lounge, Malaysia Airlines' Boeing 737 business class makes for a comfortable way to jet from the Lion City to Kuala Lumpur.

Would I fork out the usual business class ticket price of $550-$800 for the hour-long hop? Not a chance... but would I part with $42 again to fly in Malaysia Airlines business class, even sans an inflight vino?

Without a doubt, most definitely.

Also read: Malaysia Airlines reveals all-new business class for A330s

Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

Hey Chris. Thanks for the trip report. One question though:

When upgrade bid goes through, which inventory are you re-ticketed on? Do you earn miles on the basis of purchased or upgraded inventory? 

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2482

Hi TRB, it booked into I class but Qantas didn't award any points after submitting a claim (original fare was a non-earner).

Thank you Chris!

03 Feb 2016

Total posts 2

I do wonder why Malaysian has stopped serving alcoholic drinks on shorter regional routes. On the 30 minute sector between SIN and KUL a glass of wine is a pleasant option especially if you are paying the usual J class fare.

Singapore continue to offer a full bar service, so I'm using them now.

This type of cost cutting, particularly for premium passengers seems very short sighted.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Nov 2011

Total posts 135

Both Singapore Airlines and SilkAir - who codeshare the majority of the SQ flights between SIN and KUL both only offer tea/coffe/juice on this route. The flight is just too quick.

03 Feb 2016

Total posts 2

Not in my experience, SQ offer alchoholic drinks in Business Class between SIN and KUl.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Nov 2011

Total posts 135

Ah - of course. I was thinking of the back of the bus. Unfortunately my frame of reference is very much anchored in Y!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 681

Malaysia also now has a recently established strict Muslim domestic airline (name escapes me right now) that does not serve alcohol on any of their flights for religious reasons. I respect that. 

Perhaps with the resizing and cost-sutting at MH to right-size the airline, allied with the short flight time, maybe MH is taking a cue from their competitor ? Yes, it is an 'international' OneWorld flight, but really, a drink or two at the lounge pre-flight should suffice, provided you know in advance. In Chris' case, a bit jolting when this policy is sprung on you once you're onboard and only explained once you've requested a drink. Poor communications?

08 Oct 2011

Total posts 52

MH has never served any alcoholic beverages in any of their domestic flights for as long as I can remember.  Several years ago (back in 2013) they used to serve beer and red/white wines on regional international flights (e.g. KUL-BKK, KUL-CGK) even in economy class. But on a recent business class KUL-BKK flight, I was unpleasantly surprised to be told that alcoholic beverages are not served on flights less than 3 hrs in duration. However, my friends who were also flying KUL-BKK at almost the same time in TG economy class were enjoying wines.  I won't fly MH on short regional flights again unless their fare is way cheaper (and I mean by a huge margin) than competitors. 

04 Aug 2017

Total posts 6

Chewkc65 - your analysis is correct.  

As for the previous commentator saying that he or she (the name Kim is admittedly androgynous) "respects" the establishment of a strict Moslem airline for religious reason, I find that sentiment appalling.  

There is nothing to respect about strict and arcane religious doctrine being imposed on other people, regardless of their faith and creed.  If people of Moslem faith find the consumption of alcohol by other pax on a plane offensive, then that is their problem. 

C'mon Kim, pull your socks up.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 May 2011

Total posts 231

Wow Chris, you must have moved fast to fit all that in a flight that starts decending the moment it finishes ascending.

If there ever was 2 city pairs that needed a high speed rail service, it would be Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Nov 2011

Total posts 135

They're on to it ...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Nov 2012

Total posts 109

Flying MH J around Asia is a great status credit run option. 

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