MYAirline is the newest entrant to Malaysia’s heavily price sensitive air travel market. First commencing operations in December 2022, the airline currently serves 9 destinations within Malaysia, and its sole international destination is Bangkok, Thailand with flights into both of the city’s airports. The low cost carrier currently flies a fleet of 8 leased Airbus A320 aircraft of varying age, but has plans to take on more aircraft in line with its ambitions to compete head on with local and regional giant AirAsia.
I had the chance to fly MYAirline on a recent trip to Kuching, the capital of Sarawak, and here is a review of the outbound flight from Kuala Lumpur on this 9 months old airline.
Update: MYAirline has suspended operations effective 12 October 2023. There is currently no indication if or when operations will be resumed.
Booking my tickets
I booked my tickets on MYAirline’s website. The site’s design is clean, modern, and quite easy to navigate. The red-white colour scheme does bring rival AirAsia to mind, and you’d be forgiven for thinking that you had accidentally clicked on the AirAsia home page instead.
MYAirline has two departures per day from KUL to KCH at 10:50 am and 8:20 pm respectively. I wanted a departure that didn’t require me to wake up in the early morning, so MYAirline’s 10:50 am departure was very convenient for my plans.
This ticket for this single outbound sector cost me RM 142.99 with no frills purchased. I later pre-booked a meal and reserved a seat on the inbound flight back to KUL, which pushed the total cost of my return ticket RM 441.49. Prior to adding on the frills on the inbound flight, the base fare of RM 411.99 at the time of booking was slightly cheaper than an equivalent timing on AirAsia.
As MYAirline is a low cost carrier, this cheap basic fare excludes meals, seat reservations, check in baggage allowance and other frills. Passengers have the option of purchasing these separately via the Manage Booking option. You do get a pretty standard allowance of 2 pieces of cabin baggage – dimensions not exceeding 56cm x 36cm x 23cm with a combined weight limit of 7kg.
Flights between Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo can get notoriously expensive, so cheaper tickets are always a welcome option for the budget conscious.
MYAirline online check-in
Online check-in for MYAirline flights open 72 hours prior to departure. I found the process quick and convenient, and my boarding pass was emailed to me within a matter of seconds.
I was left a bit surprised when the airline’s check-in process did not include steps to buy additional frills, as is the usual practice for airlines in this day and age. As it turns out, all additional purchases are handled through the separate Manage Booking tab, and after the online check-in passengers can still purchase Meals up to 24 hours before departure time, and reserve seats and purchase check in baggage allowance up to 4 hours before departure time.
Departure experience from Kuala Lumpur International Airport – Terminal 2
MYAirline operates out of KUL’s Terminal 2 (formerly KLIA2), the designated hub of low cost carriers at KUL. The departure concourse was buzzing with activity when I arrived at 08:50 am. Check in counters for domestic flights open 2 hours before departure. With no check in baggage for this leg, I could head right through security. I did check out the crowd at MYAirline’s check in counters at Row Z, though, and it seemed pretty light.
Our flight was departing from Gate J11 in Pier J, the domestic pier at Terminal 2. While the rest of Terminal 2 has questionable and sometimes claustrophobic design choices, Pier J is comparatively airy and pleasant, but it still suffers from long walking distances without fast travellators and through corridors hemmed in on both sides by retail outlets.
Boarding flight Z9 8103
Pier J was rather quiet at that time of day as it was just past the morning domestic rush hour. There were only 2 or 3 departures awaiting boarding at the pier when we plopped down at Gate J11. I hadn’t used Terminal 2 in a while, so the sight of the somewhat…interesting choice of carpet caught my attention.
A quick check on Flightradar24 revealed that our flight would be operated by 17 year old 9M-DAJ, an Airbus A320-200 formerly with Easyjet and the now defunct Air Berlin. 9M-DAJ had operated a run to Kota Bharu that morning, but had made its way back on the return sector to KUL as the gate filled up. In a bit of a coincidence, I have actually met 9M-DAJ before back when it was D-ABDK with Air Berlin – I spotted it departing Berlin’s now defunct Tegel Airport (TXL) on a visit in June 2017.
With our aircraft on stand, boarding soon commenced for priority boarding passengers, followed by a call to board via rows. I found it interesting that MYAirline’s turnarounds are apparently very tight, as the boarding call commenced even as arriving passengers from Kota Bharu were still alighting.
The boarding process didn’t take long, and with all passengers onboard the doors were closed for an on-time 08:50am pushback from the gate. KUL unfortunately had a bit of a queue for departures that morning, so it took another 10-15 minutes for us to finally take off from runway 14R.
Cabin & Onboard Amenities
MYAirline’s A320s carry 180 passengers in a typical 3-3 layout. Being a low cost carrier, there is only Economy Class onboard.
MYAirline Economy class seats
MYAirline uses Geven superEco seats onboard its aircraft in a red-gray colour scheme. These slimline seats come with 29 inches of pitch and a pre-recline angle of 109.4 degrees. That’s right, MYAirline’s seats do not recline per se, but are already welded in place with a preset angle. You don’t feel uncomfortably upright, but you do notice the fixed angle when you try to stretch.
Now how do MYAirline’s seats compare with AirAsia’s? According to their own website, AirAsia’s regular seats and Hot Seats feature 28 inches and 29 inches of pitch respectively. This gives MYAirline a slight leg up over AirAsia’s seats, but do bear in mind that AirAsia’s seats can be reclined and a good number of their aircraft still feature the older leather seats with thicker padding.
The seats themselves also have pretty thin padding which is adequate for domestic runs and shorter regional hops. It’s not a very plush seat back, but the plus side is you get decent legroom and knee room where padding would have been. For best results, put your backpacks in the overhead lockers instead of under the seat in front of you.
The seat back pocket contains a safety card, an inflight menu for purchase, a generic air sickness bag, and an advertisement for Flavettes Vitamin C tablets. Yes, they actually do sell the tablets onboard.
For the eagle eyed: MYAirline’s safety cards heavily resemble AirAsia’s, only with modified colours.
I do have a bit of a complain though, in that the seat back tables are quite small. This is quite noticeable when you start putting cups of tea or coffee on them, but even more when you put meal servings on them. Perhaps a bigger table could form part of a cabin refresh some years down the line?
This was all pushing me into deja vu territory, as the onboard experience was already more reminiscent of the experience onboard European budget airlines – like a certain very familiar Dublin based airline and their blue-yellow slimline seats and cheesy trumpet jingle.
MYAirline A320 onboard toilets
There were toilets onboard the aircraft in the standard legacy A320 setup – 1 in the front and 2 at the back. Owing to the age of the aircraft, it didn’t come fitted with Airbus’s new SpaceFlex layout for the rear galley and toilets.
The toilet was clean when I visited, and I noted that the flight attendants do actively clean the toilet during the flight.
Inflight meals are available for purchase both before and during the flight. Passenger meals are pre-booked via the “Manage Booking” tab on the website up to 24 hours before departure. The menu can be viewed on MYAirline’s website, and is currently limited to 5 dishes that are quite similar to what AirAsia serves.
Buying your meal onboard will set you back RM 17.00 – the same as on AirAsia, while pre-booking them online gives you the meal and a bottle of water with prices starting from RM 15.90 and depending on your selection, giving you more for your money. I didn’t pre-book any meals for this sector as the flight was only a short while after my usual breakfast timing. I did, however, purchase a cup of coffee which cost me RM 5.00.
Arrival at Kuching International Airport
The rest of the flight passed uneventfully and we made an on time arrival on runway 25R at Kuching International Airport. MYAirline uses the jet bridge at KCH, making for a seamless arrival into the terminal building. This is of course a step up from some other low cost carriers who insist on using stairs everywhere in the name of cost savings.
Our flight was joined on the tarmac soon after by an arriving Malaysia Airlines flight, and the end result was some 300+ passengers queuing for arrival immigration.
Note: Sarawak and Sabah maintain immigration autonomy. All passengers arriving from out of the respective states have to clear arrival immigration. Non-Malaysians are required to present their passports, while Malaysians can present either their NRIC or Passports. Similar arrangements apply for Labuan. I personally recommend using your passports – You get an immigration stamp instead an easily misplaced slip of paper issued when presenting your NRIC.
With no bags to collect, we were out of the terminal in 5 minutes, some 20 minutes after deplaning.
MYAirline successfully provided a standard budget carrier experience on this flight, and from a passenger’s perspective I felt it was quite smoothly run. The only snag is that the airline hit financial woes not long after this flight and has ceased operations.
Click here to read my experience with the return flight from Kuching to Kuala Lumpur.