After living it up on board the beautiful Malaysia Airlines A350 in first class from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur, I found myself stuck. No points redemptions were available to get me to Perth, so the options were: pay economy or pay for business class.
After enjoying way too many Ryan Air flights in 2018, I vowed to never fly economy on flights longer than 3hrs.
With that in mind, I researched my options which boiled down to 2 choices: Malindo Air 737 business class or Malaysia Airlines 737 business class. Malaysia clocked in at around $900 for a one-way ticket while Malindo Air business class was only $442. Considering both aircraft were the same (and the seats very similar), I decided on the cheapest option. For cheap Malindo Airline flights make sure to use an Aunt Betty promo code to save around $25 off your flights, alternatively check if a BudgetAir promo code can get you a bigger discount!
Malindo Air Business Class Check In
Checking in at Kuala Lumpur international was a breeze, and 1 minute later I was on my way through security.
Even though Malindo Air is a budget airline, you can gain access to the Priority Passport control when arriving and departing by showing your business class boarding pass. Especially when arriving, this can save you a considerable amount of time, Malaysian passport check queues can be huge.
Malindo Business Class Lounge
Malindo Air gives business class passengers access to the Sama Sama Express lounge which is part of an airport hotel. I spent a total of 2 minutes in the "lounge" which is a dingy, dark room with a buffet that would give you food poisoning by just looking at it. On top of that, there was a weird smell, and the bathroom facilities are probably worse than what's on offer in the local prison.
I took one picture on my cell phone as the lounge was dead quiet and there were a few other passengers whose privacy I didn't want to invade. However, the marketing team of the lounge have done a great job creating some beautiful images; I can guarantee you it's nothing like this in real life.
If you hold a Priority Pass, there are better lounges on offer in KLIA, but unfortunately, I didn't have time to check them out.
The 737 Business Class Cabin
The seats are similar to those found on board Virgin Australia and Qantas's 737 with one difference: more recline!
In total there are 12 business class seats in a 2-2 configuration. The cabins were clean, and the seats, upholstered in a light beige leather were well maintained.
There were a total of 2 passengers flying business (myself included) which didn't surprise me considering most people flying budget airlines do so to save the maximum amount of money possible.
The Malindo business class seat also features a footrest which is just more comfortable compared to the recliner found on Virgin Australia for example.
The spacing between the seat rows seemed generous as well, and even in full recline, there appears to be ample room for a person sitting in the second or third row.
Best Seat on Malindo Air B737 Business Class
Personally, I would recommend any seats in the first row. The space between the seat and the bulkhead is big enough to stretch your legs, and it's just easier to move in and out of your seat if you're sitting next to someone. The added benefit is that there's no one in front, so it's just less claustrophobic.
Service & Food
Malindo Air had a young crew working the business class cabin on my flight, and both flight attendants were attentive and friendly.
I opted for the nameless white wine which was drinkable, and the crew kept it topped up for the duration of the flight.
For dinner there were 2 options (and since there was no physical menu I totally forgot what they were), in any case; I opted for something with chicken which was very delicious considering this is business class on a budget.
Malindo Air Amenity Kit
To my surprise, the crew handed out amenity kits to the business class passengers along with slippers and a blanket. To be honest, I think the kit is a waste of resources in this instance, so I didn't use any of the products which were very basic, toothbrush eye mask, socks etc. The kits were branded Batik Air which is the sister airline of Malindo.
The Malindo IFE unit is a fold out situation but the screen itself was rather good and the touch functionality responsive. The size clocks in at an acceptable 11.1 inches. Since it's positioned in the middle of the armrest, there's plenty of space to eat or work and watch movies at the same time.
I always use my own Bose QC35 II instead of the onboard headphones so I can't comment on the quality of them. If you're a moderate to frequent flyer, I recommend getting your own headphones that sit over your ears as it's just way more comfortable.
Movie wise, the selection was acceptable although nothing groundbreaking (which was to be expected).
Malindo Air B737 Business Class Conclusion
If you're a self-funded business traveller on a budget or a leisure traveller wanting to upgrade your level of comfort, I think Malindo is an excellent choice. Sure it's still a budget experience so don't expect any fancy champagnes or 'dine on-demand' food options, but considering the price, it's fantastic value for money.