Would You Fly with Malaysia Airlines?

Malaysia Airlines onboard

To say the last few years for Malaysia Airlines has been difficult is an understatement.

Many airlines fold after one tragedy (like Pan Am) but two in the space of a year – unheard of.

With the 24-hour Media cycle, we haven’t been allowed to forget the tragedies which saw MH370 mysteriously disappear and MH17 shot down in Ukrainian territory on a popular flight route over Eastern Europe within a few months of each other in 2014.

Again, the airline was thrust into the spotlight and across Australian Media last month after an onboard incident involving a mentally ill patient saw a plane return to Melbourne.

Yesterday marked three years since the MH17 tragedy.

Recently, when I began planning a trip to Asia with friends, Malaysia Airlines had some great sale fares and I suggested we fly with them as opposed to a much more expensive in-direct full-service carrier or one of the low-cost airlines on the same route, but I was met with some hesitation.

In particular, one friend was anxious about flying them more than others. I let her know I had flown Malaysian Airlines since these incidents had taken place and had a perfectly pleasant experience. Her response: I was risking my safety.

I understand her trepidation but don’t see it that way as I feel the incidents were isolated and could have happened on any airline, but, unfortunately, it’s all fallen on one. I’m steadfast in my decision to fly with them and I want to share with you why.

Here are 5 Reasons Why I Fly with Malaysia Airlines:

Note: I was not approached by Malaysia Airlines to write this but felt it is an important narrative to share.

why you should fly Malaysia Airlines

Malaysia Airlines is one of the best carriers in the Australasian region

Each time, no matter what class of ticket I hold or how long the flight is, I’ve had really good experiences on board Malaysia Airlines.

Sure, sitting in the comfortable Business Class cabin enjoying a second helping of their famous satay skewers with rich peanut sauce is the best place to be; but their Economy cabins, both internationally and on short-hauls, still offer a comfortable experience.

Malaysia Airlines is a full-service airline. Like OneWorld partners Qantas or Cathay Pacific, check-in baggage is included in your ticket. As is an in-flight meal, snacks and drinks and in-flight entertainment.

Their crews, especially the women who wear traditional batik print skirts, are immaculately presented and go out of their way to assist you with any of your needs. Service is quick enough, if not better, than other international carriers, and the seats are comfortable. Sounds okay so far, right?!

Malaysia Airlines (MAH) Business Class flight from Jakarta to Kuala Lumpur

You can grab a bargain flight price and maybe an upgrade

With new A380 planes in 2011 showcasing new cabin designs and revamped menus, Malaysia Airlines had worked hard to become one Asia’s top rated airlines.

Today, Malaysia Airlines strive to continue offering an exceptional in-flight experience. Most recently by announcing new A350’s are being leased and coming to routes like Auckland, Tokyo (a new route!) and London from late 2017.

With improved service across their whole fleet, what better time to snap up a bargain priced flight, that includes check-in baggage, drinks and meals. All this for little more than the cost of rival low-cost carriers where these items come at a premium cost which can really add up fast!

Better yet, if you are ranked high enough with the Malaysia Airlines Enrich frequent flyer program or with a OneWorld partner (like Qantas), you may be one of the lucky ones to receive a complimentary upgrade, like I did on my Jakarta to Kuala Lumpur flight recently.

Or if you have some air miles and feel like treating yourself, be sure to see if you can use your air miles to upgrade to the Malaysia Airlines Business cabin – spacious seats, in seat power and the delicious satay are worth it!

There are only two airlines on the AUS – KUL route

Whether you are exploring the metropolis of Kuala Lumpur or just stopping by; KLIA is one of Asia’s biggest hubs for travellers yet there are only two airlines serving the Australia to Kuala Lumpur route.

Malaysia Airlines is the full-service airline on the route and the other one is low-cost AirAsia X.

More recently, low-cost Malindo Air (soon to be rebranded as Batik Air) has begun flying from Perth to Kuala Lumpur and are considering adding flights to Brisbane soon.

Full-service Malaysia Airlines vs. two low-cost airlines? I’ll take the creature comforts of Malaysia Airlines every time!

Malaysia Airlines Training School

Safety really is their priority

Having talked with the Regional Senior Vice President at Malaysia Airlines, he made it clear that both he and the company knew the reaction of the airline’s name among the public.

They had considered rebranding. Shortly after the MH370 incident, faced with the prospect of going into administration, there were calls for the airline to rebrand to MAH – one of the airlines used by lesser known handles.
Yet they have persevered, even rocked by a second tragedy, and have instead taken the chance to really focus on making sure passengers and the public know that safety is their number one priority.

When I was in Kuala Lumpur shortly after the first incident, I spent some time at their crew training school learning about the drills and taking part in cabin crew training. Every skill is practised regularly to ensure that no matter what the situation is the crew will know how to respond, right down to how to call in-flight announcements.

We took part in cabin evacuation drills and watched as current crew members took mandatory skills refreshers to ensure their knowledge on safety and first aid are up-to-date.
That’s just what I saw in just one day, imagine what is taught across the whole length of the training program!

Many of the teachers at the training academy had a personal connection to those who were lost onboard the two ill-fated flights. Some had met them briefly, some had worked with them extensively.
Our Senior Crew Instructor tasked with teaching us on the day of my visit had even trained some of the crew and her voice cracked as a journalist asked her about it. She told us she had become even more passionate about safety training since.

While Malaysia Airlines record isn’t as impeccable as Qantas, they are far better off than many Asian carriers trying to enter the Australian market.

German company JACDEC who publish annual safety rankings of airlines around the world consider Garuda Indonesia, who currently operate multiple daily flights from around Australia to Indonesia, and low-cost Indonesian carrier Lion Air, who are hoping to break into the Aussie market in the coming years, have a lower safety ranking than Malaysia Airlines.

Currently, they don’t rank Malindo Air (soon to be Batik Air) who have recently commenced flights from Perth to Malaysia or AirAsia Indonesia; both carriers have previously had issues getting approval from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to fly to Australia due to their poor safety records.

B3A Flight crash data 2000's

Data captured on 18 July 2017 and reflects year to date. (Data from B3A)

Furthermore, despite a number of high-profile airline crashes in the past few years, data actually shows that aviation incident rates are decreasing.
The Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives (B3A) collects, tracks and monitors all information relating to aviation incidents (both commercial and private) around and their data shows a steep decline in incidents worldwide.

It has never been safer to fly.


I can appreciate travellers being cautious about their safety when choosing to travel, but do your own research, consider the facts, look past the Media hysteria and then make your judgement on whether you’ll consider giving Malaysia Airlines a go on your next long-haul flight.

I’ve flown with airlines with far worse safety records than Malaysia Airlines. Sometimes it’s because I’ve had to for work, sometimes because they’re better than the other options available. Regardless, the decision ultimately comes down to you and what you are comfortable with.

For me, my considerations when buying a ticket are safety history and what I get for my dollar.
Malaysia Airlines offers the best bang for my buck. For around the same price as a low-cost airline, you’ll get a comfortable in-flight experience, including baggage, a meal (just look at the options!) and in-flight entertainment with an attentive and safety conscious crew. Oh, and you can earn frequent flyer points and status credits within the OneWorld network.

Best of all, Malaysia is a great stopover destination. Whether it’s taking in the sights of Kuala Lumpur, beach hopping in Pangkor, getting cultured in Penang or exploring tea plantations in the Cameroon Highlands, you’re bound to find the perfect adventure for you in Malaysia!


Let me know in the comments below

Have you flown Malaysia Airlines?

Where would you like to explore on a Malaysian getaway?


Go behind the scenes at Malaysia Airline:

Behind the Scenes at Malaysia Airline’s Crew Training

Behind the Scenes at Malaysia Airline’s Catering Facility

Read these for awesome things to do in Malaysia:

72 Hours in Kuala Lumpur

Where to go to get the BEST views of the Petronas Towers

Sky High Dining at Marini’s on 57

Hanging out with Orangutans and Sunbears in Malaysian Borneo

Finding Eden’s Garden on Pangkor Island

Pin me! Share me!

Malaysia Airlines has had a tough couple of years, but they've persevered and it's paying off. For a similar cost to flying a rival low-cost carrier you can fly Malaysia Airlines with baggage and a meal included in the price of your ticket - bargain! So, would you give Malaysia Airlines a chance? I have and would do again. Click here to read on and find out why I still choose to fly Malaysia Airlines. | #MalaysiaAirlines #MAH #KualaLumpur #Malaysia #Asia Malaysia Airlines has had a tough couple of years, but they've persevered and it's paying off. For a similar cost to flying a rival low-cost carrier you can fly Malaysia Airlines with baggage and a meal included in the price of your ticket - bargain! So, would you give Malaysia Airlines a chance? I have and would do again. Click here to read on and find out why I still choose to fly Malaysia Airlines. | #MalaysiaAirlines #MAH #KualaLumpur #Malaysia #Asia

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  • Reply
    Caroline Eubanks
    July 20, 2017 at 12:41 am

    I would and have flown Malaysian since the tragedies. I had a great experience. And I would be much more worried about budget airlines like Tiger.

  • Reply
    July 20, 2017 at 4:55 am

    I’m actually one of those people that would never fly MAS since all the issues. But this has actually given me a lot to think about. Thanks for publishing.

  • Reply
    August 27, 2017 at 8:50 am

    I like your blog but i wish you could put dates on your post.

    • Reply
      August 30, 2017 at 12:08 am

      Hi Mae,

      Thanks for the feedback! I will look for a way to code them into this new design. 🙂

  • Reply
    Ross Tomkins
    December 4, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    After our hassles getting a refund from Malaysia Airlines because they cancelled all flights out of the city we were flying from, I don’t think we will ever book with Malaysia Airlines again. We were promised a refund within 3 weeks to 3 months. Well… we had five months of emails that were never answered, many phone calls where they either told us they tried to pay us in another currency or promised to phone us back the next day with a solution but they never phoned back. When they eventually paid us, they didn’t refund our seat upgrades that we paid for.

  • Reply
    December 31, 2017 at 5:00 am

    I’ve flown MH and will never do so again until they sort out the poor baggage handling at KUL, from waiting for 3 hours for baggage to turn up on the belt to baggage not turning up at all due to mishandling of baggage when transiting in KUL which resulted in 28 hour delayed receipt of baggage for multiple passengers, can you imaging walking around Singapore wearing the same clothes for nearly 48 hours? Malaysia Airlines really need to sort out the baggage handling issues in KUL until that’s done Malaysia will NOT be my gateway to Asia.

  • Reply
    Oran Putih
    January 15, 2018 at 10:56 am

    It doesn’t matter how dedicated to safety the crew are, if the pilots are crazy, or make poor navigation choices just to save some fuel, (the reason one of them got shot down in a known war zone) it won’t make any difference. I used to fly with MAS all the time on frequent trips to Malaysia, but after having my own judgement confirmed in talks with other pilots ( who flatly refuse to get on any Indonesian or Malaysian aircraft) I will never fly with MAS again.

    • Reply
      January 17, 2018 at 12:58 am

      Hi Oran,
      Thanks for sharing your point of view.

      There have been no confirmed reports that this pilot was, as you put it, “crazy”. At the moment, it’s all hearsay as the official reports are speculative.

      Furthermore, people tend to forget that other airlines did fly the exact same route that MH17 took (the flight that from some reports is said to have been shot down by the Russian military in Ukranian territory). This is NOT a war zone… there is no war there. There is a high level of political instability in that area.
      The flight path taken by MH17 was approved by the International Civil Aviation Organization, and by the countries whose airspace the route passed through.

      Regardless of what facts you choose to believe, I wish you all the best with your travels to Malaysia and around the world.

    • Reply
      Frank Seow
      February 13, 2018 at 1:30 pm

      There were also planes just before and after MAS weren’t there? Same route, so they were all saving fuel?
      Pilot friends spreading rumours? I want facts.

      • Reply
        February 15, 2018 at 10:01 am

        Frank, I feel the same way. I hope a conclusive report will be made public soon so we – the public – can find out what really happened.

        To answer your question: yes, there were other flights on this exact same route. It was why it was initially speculated that the reason MAH was shot down was because it was mistaken as the Russian Presidential Aircraft as they share similar markings.

    • Reply
      July 13, 2018 at 4:04 pm

      Actually pilots have nothing to do with the route they fly that’s up to the flight dispatcher.

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    February 2, 2018 at 2:09 am

    Hi Nicole,

    Me My girlfriend and a close friend are travelling with MA in march from hong kong to KL T=than onto langkawi and ive been very worried ever since we booked it but since reading your blog it has made me feel little eat ease BUT i still cant help thinking of the worse maybe you can give some advice?

    • Reply
      February 6, 2018 at 5:12 pm

      Hi Mus,

      Thanks for commenting! It sure sounds like you have an exciting itinerary planned. 🙂

      Are you typically a nervous flyer? I personally am not an anxious traveller, but a blogger called Solo Sophie has some good advice in her post here, and there’s a lot more written online. I really recommend the tip about keeping yourself distracted. Plus, having your girlfriend and a close friend there to help you through the experience is a huge plus!

      I have just flown from Singapore – Kuala Lumpur (return) with Malaysia Airlines and assure you that I haven’t had an issue. Air travel is one of the safest methods of travelling, and the crew is attentive and vigilant. If you need any help, be sure to ask them and they will be happy to assist you.

      Let me know if I can be of help in any other way. 🙂

  • Reply
    March 3, 2018 at 2:55 am

    Thanks for your encouraging words Nicole. I am flying to Borneo in Sept for my friends 50th and was looking forward to it till I saw that she’s booked with Malaysian airlines. I’m sure all will be fine. I think I just need something to make me feel at ease too.

  • Reply
    David Astley
    March 4, 2018 at 12:02 am

    I was based in KL for 13 years and flew MH more than 300 times during that period, both short haul and long haul. I have not flown MH since the MH370 and MH17 incidents, but that’s because I have been mainly flying routes not served by MH in the last couple of years, rather than because of those two MH crashes per se. However, I tend to avoid MH these days –
    if there are alternatives – because I have become nervous about how well trained the MH cabin crew are after a number of other incidents where MH aircraft have lost engines in flight and the crew have panicked, and not provided the necessary reassurance to passengers as their training should have taught them to do. And the comments by the pilot on the flight out of Perth that lost an engine over the Pilbara suggesting that they may not make it back to Perth was also unprofessional.

    I don’t have any issues though with the arguments you have put forward as to why people should still consider flying with MH (except perhaps your confidence in the cabin crew training) because I’m not saying I wouldn’t fly with them again – just that if there are alternatives, MH would not be my first choice. I would choose an Australian or Singapore budget carrier any day over MH, but then I would choose MH over any Indonesian airline if there was no other airline to choose from.

    I agree with you that ultimately it comes down to what you are comfortable with and what the alternatives are in terms of airline, service and price. And like you, I’ve flown on airlines with far worse safety records than MH (Air Koryo for example), but if one of the alternatives is CX or SQ, then the price of the MH ticket would have to be half CX or SQ before I would consider MH.

  • Reply
    March 21, 2018 at 6:28 pm

    We flew with them 4 weeks after MH17 as we had booked 8 months in advance and I have to say they are the worst airline I have flown. You would think after the debacle that was still going on they would have lifted their game but sadly not so.
    We were one of the first people to check in at Sydney and were given seats in the middle right at the back surrounded by a dozen familys and they refused to change them,that is why we arrive at the airport 3 hours prior and book 9 months in advance.
    Coming home we were delayed on the runway for over an hour and no aircon on,was so hot and when I asked for some water they told me I would have to wait till take off, we were not allowed to take any water on board,I was coughing from a dry throat and really uncomfortable,then when we finally set off and drinks came around it was orange juice or champagne,I just needed water,they still made me wait till they finished their rounds before they gave me a half little cup of water,by then I needed a litre I was so dehydrated. Really bad service and I wouldnt ever fly with them again.

  • Reply
    March 25, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    Thanks so much for your post, Nicole, which was detailed and informative.

    I was booked to fly Malaysia Airlines Business Class, but opted last minute, for Air Asia instead, as we wanted to fly from Bangkok to Bali, the journey was far shorter and didn’t have a stop-over. And then a few days later, the crash happened, and chaos at the airline occurred.

    I travel a lot, however, when I’m in developing countries, I’m usually more cautious as to the type of transportation I use as sadly, safety regulations are not as strict as they are at home, or adhered to. I learned my lesson the hard way when I fell off the ski lift in the Czech Republic! That could never happen today of course due to EU regulations, but that wasn’t the case in those days…

    I wouldn’t discourage others from using Malaysian Airlines, but for now, not likely. Nevertheless, as my motto is “Never Say Never,” who knows whether I won’t change my mind in the future.

  • Reply
    August 1, 2018 at 11:14 am

    I am currently in the booking phase of my trip to Japan, and whilst I love Qantas and Singapore and I am trying to keep cost downs. I was the friend that was hesitant when a fellow traveler showed me a Malaysian Airlines flight sale. Safety concerns rang through my head as I am a very nervous flyer. I guess I am worried as well as I have heard some negative reviews about their service and baggage handling.

    But I do say that reading articles like these helps put the other safety concerns at bay… for now at least! Thank you for providing some good insight and reasons for flying Malaysian Airlines.

    • Reply
      August 6, 2018 at 11:08 pm

      Hey Claudia,
      Just want to say thanks for taking the time to comment and doing your part to be an informed traveller while planning your next trip.
      Have a marvelous trip!

      Best wishes,

  • Reply
    Jacky Bushell
    September 26, 2018 at 2:02 pm

    We are planning a holiday to Malaysia in February 2019 and the Malaysia Airlines flight is the cheapest and arrives at the best time for us but I am really worried about the safety aspect. The article started to help a bit until I read the comments. Now I’m worried about service and baggage handling! Either the service is good or it isn’t. I need to research more otherwise this trip is going to haunt me.

    • Reply
      September 28, 2018 at 1:46 am

      Hi Jacky,
      I’m sorry to hear that the comments of this article have led you to feel anxious about other facets of the airlines service.
      You’ll find that people in the comment sections of many articles often come to vent and share their frustrations, and I let them as I feel it’s only right for travellers to hear other experiences. I just wish more people would share their positive or neutral experiences rather than just those who feel negatively.

      At the end of the day, every traveller – regardless of if they are travelling with a low-cost airline or full-service carriers – are at the mercy of poor baggage handling and varying levels of airline service as they are interacting with humans.
      While I’m not able to help you with the airline service aspect of travel, I can highly recommend trying to use a device such as Tile Mate or another luggage tracker. These devices can be used to track your luggage and will assist in you being united with your baggage in a timely manner.

      I wish you all the best on your trip. I have flown Malaysia Airlines a number of times over the past five years and am yet to have a bad experience with service or baggage. I will be flying with them next month (should the flights line up!) and I trust they will provide me, and my fellow travellers, a safe and enjoyable experience – and hopefully some of their famous satay! 🙂

      Safe travels,

  • Reply
    October 3, 2018 at 10:45 pm

    I don’t care about the issue. I care more on the rate. Since those tragedies happened, they were always on sale. MH is not bad at all. Still a good full-service carrier though I wish it could’ve been better. I guess maintenance of aircraft (interior only) and service were not maintained. Maybe because of the unfortunate events? Like they don’t care anymore? I wish it wasn’t like that. Not sure though coz I only flew with them after 2014. I’ve flown with them many times since the incidents. And flights are still always full! AND their safety video is super new. Don’t worry people! Nice write up by the way. 🙂

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