Malaysia Airlines – MH 2520 – KUL – KCH
Seat 27F (Economy)
Flight time: 11:00-12:45 (11:10-12:44)
Duration: 1 hour 45 minutes
16th September 2020
O V E R V I E W :
The closure of international borders globally because of the COVID-19 pandemic saw me itching to fly and go on another domestic “Cuti-Cuti Malaysia”. This time round, I decided to cross the seas to East Malaysia after 2 months since my very first flight in the new normal to Kota Bharu on Air Asia back in July. For this trip, I will be flying the national carrier, Malaysia Airlines to Kuching, Sarawak. Nevertheless, as I have flown on MH various times before this with trip reports documented previously, this edition will be focused more on the #newnormal observations whilst flying on MH.
On the day of departure, as I was flying on a standby ticket I had to collect my boarding pass from a different counter before proceeding to the bag drop counters. Similar to KLIA2, KLIA has similar social distancing measures in place with marked indicators on the floor for queuing passengers.
Not only that, sneeze guard barriers have also been installed at the check in counters here to protect both the staff on duty and passengers. The queue wasn’t very long to begin with despite it being a public holiday (Malaysia day) but it moved pretty quickly and I was done with my baggage drop having completed my pre-arrival health declaration through my mobile phone as required by the Sarawak government at the same time.
Security clearance was a breeze with the lack of crowd and I made my way to the boarding gate right after. As with the practice with most airlines in the new normal, my temperature was taken at the entrance to the boarding gate as my boarding pass was inspected before I got the green light to proceed further into the holding lounge.
Had to wait for a bit until boarding commenced as I was one of the early birds who arrived at the boarding gate first.
Boarding was done according to zones as per usual and I was welcomed by the crew at the aircraft entrance who handed me a hygiene kit at the same time. As part of MH’s #FlyConfidently campaign, all passengers will receive a complimentary hygiene kit which aims to provide a peace of mind when they travel with the airline. Thumbs up indeed!
For this rather short flight just under 2 hours, no blankets or pillows were provided at the seats but only earphones. Note that all reading materials and magazines have also been removed from the seat back holder with only the safety information card left, which is what most airlines are doing in this new normal to minimize contact of common used items onboard.
Pushback was done on time and it was soon time to fly! Interesting spot whilst taxiing to the runway for departure, MH’s latest livery on one of its A330 spotted which combines the Oneworld and the Negaraku paint together. Pretty stunning in my opinion! 🙂
Now lets see what’s inside the complimentary hygiene kit! 2 face masks which are individually wrapped along with 2 alcohol wipes, pretty handy for those who requires extra masks during their trip besides using the wipes to do some cleaning onboard or even post flight.
Once airborne, meal service commenced after about 30 minutes. As you may have noticed, the cabin crew onboard are in their PPEs (gloves, masks and goggles) for the protection of themselves and also everyone else onboard. That said, this did not stop them from displaying their warmth and Malaysian Hospitality when attending to passengers! #newnormal
Hot meals are still served onboard MH despite some airlines transitioning to cold snacks during this new normal, which was greatly appreciated. I opted for the Chicken Briyani and it was a delicious meal indeed!
Shortly after everyone was done with their meal, we were already descending into KCH which marked the end of my short “hop” over to East Malaysia.
Sarawak river in sight during the final approach into Kuching International Airport.
Feels good to be back after 7 long years! As the load for this flight was rather light at about 60%, disembarkation was not done in rows of 4 which was the opposite of what I experienced during my flight back home (about 99% load) to KL a few days later. Pardon me side tracking a little from this trip report but I was impressed how orderly the disembarkation process for my inbound flight was carried out by the professional MH cabin crew who truly adhered to the announcement made on the staggered disembarkation and implemented it strictly.
C O N C L U S I O N:
All in all, my confidence in flying during the new normal has definitely elevated being my second trip now since COVID happened. This is due to 2 main reasons where firstly, the generally similar customer journey with only minor additions to processes. For instance, temperature screening at certain touchpoints which were not cumbersome at all. Secondly, the precautionary measures in place both on ground at the airport and in the air were satisfactory. On MH in particular, I feel comforted with the hygiene kits given out upon boarding the aircraft, this really showcases the airline’s commitment to its passengers wellbeing. In terms of the famed Malaysian Hospitality, the cabin crew on my flight definitely portrayed that with their warm and friendly service despite being in their PPEs. Besides that, I was glad to receive hot meals on this flight especially during the present situation where a lot of airlines have transitioned to cold meals to reduce costs. Finally, while the efficiency and consistency of the disembarkation by rows post arrival can be debated, it is definitely relieving to know that it is being carried out strictly with the safety of all passengers in mind, especially on a full flight!