Recent experience with airlines serving Malaysia

The free Expat magazine recently had an article (Travel Tidbits p33) on the ratings of airlines and airports. I don’t know how these ratings are achieved – for example, from how many flights / passengers these evaluations were gleaned, which class or all classes, etc.

In the past three of months Mrs Tropical Expat and I flew on a few airlines, so I will briefly comment.  These were all in economy class.

Malaysia Airlines, short haul – PEN – KUL – PEN.  Both myself and Mrs TE.
Ground staff are friendly and helpful.  Slight shortage of staff on flight, so they are busy.  Only a juice and a small packet of peanuts served.  I always ask for two, but on the most recent flight I was told he would return if there were any left over – so a few minutes later I was given another. They seem to be getting very tight

Malaysia Airlines, long haul – KUL – KIX (Osaka)
Ground staff are friendly and helpful. Shortage of flight attendants on board. Food not good.

Qatar Airways – KUL – DOH – OTP (Doha, Bucharest). Ground staff friendly, as were cabin staff. Food quite reasonable.

Turkish Airlines – SKP – IST – KUL (Skopje, Istanbul) – Ground staff very friendly and helpful, as were cabin staff.  Food was good.

Japan Airlines  – short haul – ITM – NRT – ( Itami = Osaka, Narita = Tokyo) rice crackers, miso soup,  sandwiches, juice, friendly staff on ground and in the air. Amazing service for such a short flight.

Japan Airlines – long haul – NRT – KUL.  Again, very good staff. Excellent food.

Disclaimer – I used to work for JAL – but I have to admit that during their financial problems a few years ago I was not so satisfied with them on board. I am very pleased about the improvement.

The article had Qatar Airways as number 2, and Turkish as number 7 – a different order than I would choose, but both are good.  It mentioned that Malaysian Airlines had dropped from 24th place to 34th place this year.  As noted, JAL’s service deteriorated during its financial problems, but now is back on form.  MAS is trying to solve its financial problems, but also unfortunately its sevice is suffering.  As recently as 2012, the article noted, MAS was in the top 10.  They were better in the past in my experience, and I hope they also return to favour.



  1. so does it mean u prefer JAL? is it the same as all nippon airlines? they are no 6 in that list. i see singapore airlines is no 3. emirates is the big gun here. from 6th last year to first this year.

    1. Hi. I haven’t flown on ANA for years, but when I did they were very good. I am glad to see they still are.

      I was just about to edit the blog a little to add in more of that article, which I had forgotten to do.

      I worked for JAL for a number of years in London, and still have friends who work there. The JAL staff are generally very nice too, so I would choose JAL in part out of loyalty if there was a choice on my route. And my wife was very impressed with them this time, in comparison to when the company had financial problems. As for Emirates, I haven’t flown on them recently, but they must have improved a lot to reach number one.

  2. Thanks for a cool blog. I read your Update on the missed Christmas events. I was wondering, what options is there for Christmas in Penang, if you want a sort of ‘Western Christmas’ with family? What are your plans?

    Thanks, Lars Otto –

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