With the short trip to Miri and Marudi over, it was now time to head back across the pond to Kuala Lumpur. Just like the outbound flight a day ago, I went with Malaysia Airlines for the return sector.
Buying my tickets
I bought my return Economy Basic tickets from Malaysia Airlines’ website. Economy Basic is MH’s mid-tier Economy fare giving 20kg of check-in baggage allowance per sector. The tickets cost me a total of RM431.04 (incl. taxes & charges).
Departure experience at Miri Airport
The ground experience at Miri Airport (MYY) was identical to my experience from my flight to Marudi the day before. As I had checked in online, the only thing left for me to do was to have my bags dropped at the counter.
The departure flow at MYY is identical for all flights, albeit passengers departing on flights out of Sarawak have to go through exit immigration.
Note: Sarawak and Sabah maintain immigration autonomy. If you received an arrival slip at the immigration counter on arrival in Sarawak from elsewhere in Malaysia, return the slip to the officer when you pass through departure immigration; For foreign passport holders, the officers will stamp your passport when you pass through the arrival and departure immigration. For all other international flights, the usual departure immigration procedure will apply.
As with my experience the day before, the departure hall at Miri airport was packed with multiple flights departing one after another.
Boarding & Taking off
Boarding was soon called and we trooped down the interstitial corridor separating the departure hall from the gates themselves.
Operating our flight today was 8 years old 9M-MXW, and from the looks of the human jam in the jet bridge, it was going to be a full flight.
Takeoff was from runway 02, and the departure routing was the exact reverse of the arrival track routing for runway 20 from just 2 days ago.
Cabin & Onboard amenities
The cabin onboard was MH’s standard B738 2-class configuration with 160 seats in Economy and 16 seats in Business. Much like the outbound flight from KUL, these Economy seats feature a 30 inch seat pitch and were quite adequate for the short hop from Miri to KUL. The lack of headrests, however, does make the prospect of longer flights in these seats less attractive.
All seatbacks feature MH’s Select IFE system. The software version featured on MH’s B738 and Airbus A330-300s are of the older type, and are not as polished as those on its full service competitors. The content selection was more than adequate for domestic and regional flights, but fall short of the enormous content offered by Emirates and other full service airlines.
I’d also note that this onboard layout is on its way out, with MH starting to fit out its B738 fleet with brand new Safran made slimline seats in Economy. The Select IFE system is also being ripped out to be replaced with the wireless MHStudio streaming service. Whether or not it will be a comfortable experience, however, is another matter altogether.
MH has gone down the route of standardising its onboard catering for domestic and regional flights. This means that if you fly MH domestically or regionally frequently in a year, the food options are going to be repetitive.
I wanted to spice things up a bit for both my flights to and from Miri, and decided to give MH’s special dietary meals options a try. These can be selected free of charge through the “Manage My Booking” function on MH’s website.
I’d already tried the Low Fat Meal for breakfast on the previous sector out of KUL, so I decided to give the Low Calorie Meal option a try for lunch.
What I received was a serving of rice, flanked by a helping of chicken breast meat in a tomato-ey sauce, and what appeared to be blanched broccoli and carrots. It tasted alright, but it wasn’t the most flavourful.
I’m also not sure why a Low Calorie Meal has a big serving of rice, and while I briefly considered the possibility that they may have used brown rice, I couldn’t really tell even after closely examining the rice grains. Still, it’s not a bad meal choice, and receiving your meal ahead of all the other passengers in Economy does feel great. If you do need more flavours, though, I’d recommend the Low Fat Meal option instead.
Arrival at Kuala Lumpur International Airport
Our aircraft was put on track for a runway 14L arrival, a deviation from the usual 32L arrival at KUL.
It was an overcast day over Kuala Lumpur, but we were still treated to great views of KUL as we overflew the airfield.
Touchdown on 14L was firm, and the good braking performance saw us parked at the domestic gates not too long after.
Like the outbound sector, this flight was a routine domestic run on MH. Service standards were consistent, and the crew were in good spirits. All in all, there really wasn’t much to complain about.