Malaysia Airlines reveals new Boeing 737 business class

The refreshed 737s get new seats from tip to tail, with seatback video screens swapped for streaming WiFi.

By David Flynn, July 21 2022
Malaysia Airlines reveals new Boeing 737 business class

It’s out with the old and in with the new at Malaysia Airlines, at least as far as the seats of its workhorse Boeing 737-800NG fleet is concerned.

Pulling back the curtains on its 737 refresh, the Oneworld member describes the new interior design as “a progressive step towards the future, with a fresh and premium cabin ambience that features a single colour: the trademark Malaysia Airlines blue.”

And yes, it’s very blue, right down to the iconic batik motif pressed into the seats.

Malaysia Airlines’ new Boeing 737 business class recliners retain a conventional two-by-two layout, although that is trimmed from four rows (16 seats) to three rows (12 seats), while the pitch is reduced from 42" to 39”.

Handily-located AC, USB-A and USB-C power outlets to keep your travel tech charged up.

The 162 economy seats (set at 30” pitch) also see USB-A and USB-C ports for every passenger; the airline says the seats in both cabins maximise legroom through a slimmer yet still highly comfortable design.

Another change is the removal of all seatback video screens, with video, music and podcasts all streamed through the aircraft’s WiFi system to the passenger’s own smartphone, tablet or even laptop.

As part of the ‘BYO device’ play, every seat – in business and economy – is fitted with a fold-down tray where you can perch your smartphone or tablet.

Also missing are the hard partitions between the business and economy cabins, with the airline opting for smaller lightweight dividers.

Malaysia Airlines says the lighter seats plus lack of partitions and video screens all contribute “to more eco-friendly flying” by trimming the weight of the refurbished 737-800NGs by around 679kg, which in turn reduces fuel consumption by some 91,000 litres per aircraft per year.

The first refreshed Boeing 737-800NG is scheduled to take to the skies at the end of July 2022, although the airline hasn’t said how long it will take to upgrade the entire 38-strong fleet.

"The cabin refurbishment exercise began in 2021, a bold step taken by the airline in response to feedback and suggestions received through customer surveys and various focus group sessions in 2020 to better understand the needs of our customers” says Lau Yin May, Malaysia Airlines’ Group Chief Marketing and Customer Experience Officer.

With Malaysia largely reopen to international visitors, the flag-carrier recently unlocked the doors to its Platinum Lounge at Kuala Lumpur, while both this and the adjacent Golden Lounge now welcome guests 24 hours a day.

Destinations beyond the reach or out-stripping the capacity of the Boeing 737s are handled by Airbus A330 and A350 jets with fully-flat business class beds, although there’s no sign of the double-decker Airbus A380s returning after the national airline’s parent company Malaysia Aviation Group put all six superjumbos up for sale in mid-2021.

11 Sep 2018

Total posts 16

Malaysia airline treading a fine line between budget and full service on this one.

Unfortunately it almost solidifies the fact that they're heavily indebted and cost cutting is rife.

09 Aug 2015

Total posts 91

Have to disagree, where is that 'fine line' between budget and full-service? MH still has business class, the new seats look better than the old ones they are replacing, they haven't said "Oh and there will be no meals". Sure there are no seat-back video screens but this does actually reduce the cost and weight of the seat as well as save money on fuel. As for being "heavily indebted" MH is actually in strong financial position now, it was restructured in 2021. to reduce liabilities by >$4bn and wiped out >$2.5bn in debt. At the end of 2021 it reported a profit ~$100m compared to a loss of >$400m in 2020. That sounds healthy to me!

Etihad - Etihad Guest

21 Jul 2019

Total posts 148

Have no fear, MH is still very much a full service carrier. It may not have ALL the 'bells and whistles', of SQ and QR, but it's still undeniably a full service carrier. Just one point to emphasize this: I'm always pleasantly surprised to be offered a full hot meal by MH in business class on these 737s whizzing between KUL and SIN. As much as I adore simply SQ, I can't recall the last time they offered me a full hot meal on that same short route.....

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Aug 2014

Total posts 151

I'm travelling with them Perth to KL late next month in J. Guess I'll have to check the seat map to see if it's been reduced from 4 rows of business to 3 to see of it's  a refurbished bird. Any ideas on what route they get prioritised? Also looking fwd to trying out the Plat lounge.  Any tips from recent visitors?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Aug 2014

Total posts 151

Also, looks like plenty of legroom in the front row of economy. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer P1

23 Aug 2014

Total posts 111

The reduction in pitch is the main issue for a potential flight to Perth (remember when Qantas had the 737-800 to Singapore) where leg extension may be important to travellers

28 Mar 2022

Total posts 3

It seem obvious the "service & amenity" is greatly reduced and MH is now a budget airline. Let's see if the price reflects the product.  I am a business class traveller and from this article it appears business class is essentially gone and your only options are a reduce service & amenity economy & premium economy. 

That's a very ill-informed comment.

"It seem obvious the "service & amenity" is greatly reduced and MH is now a budget airline." How is this "obvious" when the article doesn't say a thing about service & amenity?

"I am a business class traveller and from this article it appears business class is essentially gone and your only options are a reduce service & amenity economy & premium economy. " Again, this article says nothing about reduced service & amenity, and as far as business class, this is your standard short-haul business class, similar to what MH has had for decades but newer seats which seem a lot better than their current ones.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Nov 2019

Total posts 81

looks a bit better than the old MAS 737 rattler I catch Penang to KL weekly, hope they make the seat belts European size!

Malaysia Airlines - Enrich

22 Jul 2022

Total posts 1

The plat lounge KLIA reopened is a great place to relax before/between flights and the dining area open again is a real plus

At the Perth end though when I recently travelled MH to KL I was told the QF international lounge is closed for renovation (in fact it seems to be closed permanently) and there was no lounge facility for MH business class pax - that's very shabby - even the paid lounge didn't open until after the KL flight left

MH needs to do better than that - maybe they can use Emirates lounge now that has reopened 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Aug 2014

Total posts 151

Thanks derekc for your comments about the Plat lounge in KL. That's disappointing news about the lack of a lounge in Perth though.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1381

12/162 is an identical layout to Qantas 737s.

While id prefer IFE installed, I can understand why they've done it - in 10yrs any IFE system looks dated compared to the passengers new tablet.


29 Aug 2018

Total posts 14

It's for the short haul flights, I'm sure.  Those flights never had flat beds.  

25 Feb 2015

Total posts 43

This is a very cheap looking product aesthetically, and functionally when various other airlines are putting revolutionary (JetBlue, SQ, QR) lie flat seats, or at least fairly premium J seats (CX) in single aisle aircraft.

And yes, MH use these 737s for a lot of longer routes including overnighters from South Asia to KL, so a proper international product is probably warranted.

Meanwhile economy - once again a bland seat with no adjustable headrest.

Certainly a below-par hard product compared with several other airlines within its own OW alliance. Disappointing if you ask me.

28 Mar 2018

Total posts 31

Would be nice if MH to offer tablets to passengers.

I remember being offered tablets on some flights a few years ago on MH planes that did not have a screen.

Many power outlets or USB sockets on planes don't really provide enough amperage power.

I shed my tablet years ago and phones screen sizes are a little small to watch movies IMO.

Some of our business laptops are heavily controlled by IT dept as to what aps we can actually install, let alone the gauntlet of corporate firewalls.

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