In October 1937, Malayan Airways Limited was founded for the purpose of flying between Penang and Singapore. In April 1947, nearly 10 years later, Malayan Airways Limited flew their first commercial flight as the national airline. The company changed its name to Malaysian Airlines Limited in 1963 due to the formation of Malaysia. In less than 20 years, Malaysian Airlines Limited grew from a single aircraft operator into a large, thriving company with over 2,000 employees. Malaysian Airlines Limited became a bi-national airline in 1965 when Singapore separated from Malaysia, and the airline was renamed Malaysia-Singapore Airlines. This name lasted seven years until the partners ended their professional relationship, which resulted in yet another name change for the evolving company, Malaysian Airline System. This title was later branded Malaysia Airlines. After receiving its first Airbus A380-800 in June 2012, Malaysia Airlines anchored its position as one of the leading airlines in the world.


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The Good

  • Destinations
  • Frequent flyer program
  • Awards
  • Meals

Since Malaysia Airlines is a member of oneworld, as of February 2013, they are connected to approximately 850 destinations in 150 countries within the oneworld network. Needless to say, that’s a lot of destinations!

Eager to provide rewards to loyal customers, Malaysia Airlines offers a frequent flyer program called, Enrich. Enrich Miles can be earned on each flight with Malaysia Airlines, oneworld member airlines and Enrich partner airlines. Enrich Miles can also be earned on everyday purchases made on your Enrich credit cards.

Malaysia Airlines has an impressive list of positive recognition over the last 15 years—over 100 awards since 2001. Some of the most notable awards include:

-World’s Best Cabin Crew (Skytrax UK 2001-2004, 2007, 2009, 2012)

-5-star Airline (Skytrax UK 2005-2007, 2009, 2012)

-Best Airline Signature Dish (Skytrax UK 2012)

-World’s Leading Airline to Asia (World Travel Awards 2010, 2011)

-Asia’s Leading Airline (World Travel Awards 2010, 2011)

If you’re worried about getting hungry while in the air, then Malaysia Airlines has you covered. Feel free to upgrade your complimentary Economy Class meal with one of six Western and Japanese courses that include an appetizer and dessert. Prices start at $18 (70 MYR). First and Business Class passengers also have the unique capability to order from a special menu of authentic Pahang dishes and favorites from the Royal household of Princes Tengku Puan Pahang. Although only on selected flights, Malaysia Airlines also offers around 20 Special Meals in an effort to meet most religious, medical, and dietary needs and requirements. As if that wasn’t enough, Malaysia Airlines even offers celebratory cakes! Their On Air Celebration service makes it possible to provide your loved ones with an in-flight surprise that is sure to make their getaway just a bit more memorable. Cakes are available for $65 (250 MYR).

The Bad

  • On-time percentage
  • Negative situations

Punctuality is one of the most important aspects of a good airline. So the fact that Malaysia Airlines was on time with only 80% success is not very appealing to busy, schedule-oriented travelers. It’s true this percentage could be much lower, and is for some airlines, it is still an area that needs improvement.

Although the airline has many extraordinary awards in the past, their positive recognition seems to have come to a screeching halt around 2012. The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 on March 8, 2012 seemingly ended their streak of growth and positivity. A short time later, on July 17, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down in Eastern Ukraine. Not only are these incidents completely heartbreaking and tragic, they were also fatal. Malaysia Airlines seriously dropped the ball in terms of communicating with the family members and loved ones of passengers on the downed flights. In regards to Flight 370, for instance, the airline sent an apologetic text message to said loved ones just before the Malaysian Prime Minister made an announcement to various media outlets. The announcement stated that Flight 370 most likely went down in the Southern Indian Ocean, far from any possible landing site, and confirmed that all lives had been lost. Surely families and friends dealing with this kind of loss should be confronted with the utmost courtesy and gentleness, not with a generalized text message. Needless to say, it makes sense why positive reviews for Malaysia Airlines are no longer forthcoming.

The Bottom Line

Malaysia Airlines has a resilient start up story and loads of impressive awards in the past, but the company just isn’t maintaining the standard of excellence consumers had come to expect from the airline. The cessation of positive recognition, the downing of Flight 370 and Flight 17 and the company’s lack of transparency on these issues are more than enough reason to book your flight elsewhere.

Bag Check Prices

Each passenger is allowed two free bags. First Class bags are not to exceed 110 lbs (50kg) total; Business Class bags are not to exceed 88 lbs (40 kg) total; Economy Class bags are not to exceed 66 lbs (30 kg) total. Bags for all Classes may not exceed 62 linear inches (158 cm). Fees for excess baggage are calculated based on zones and depend on the distance flown in one single itinerary.


Passengers are able to select their own seats online from $3-$40 (11-150 MYR) depending on the type of seat selected (premium/standard). Passengers may select their own seats during the check-in period (48 hours prior to departure) for no fee; however, their choices are limited to any remaining seats with no promise of sitting next to travel companions.


Being a member of the oneworld network is a great benefit to Malaysia Airlines. With this partnership, they are connected to 850 destinations in 150 countries.

Daily Flights

The number of daily flights operated by Malaysia Airlines is unknown at this time.


From May 1, 2015 to June 30, 2015 Malaysia Airlines arrived on time with 80% success. Late arrivals took place 9% of the time and only 1% of flights were cancelled.


In-flight entertainment—including movies, TV shows, games and critically acclaimed album releases—is available via audio video on demand and overhead screens. Portable players are available for Business Class only. In-flight entertainment availability is dependent upon the aircraft type and routes. Free Wi-Fi is available in Malaysia Airlines’ exclusive Golden Lounges before takeoff.


A complimentary meal is available but only on certain flights. Meals can be upgraded for a fee of $18 (70 MYR). Passengers may also order an in-flight celebratory cake using the airlines On Air Celebration service. Orders must be made 24-hours prior to departure and cost $65 (250 MYR). First and Business Class have the option to order From the Royal Kitchen, a special menu of traditional Pahang cuisine and favorites from the Royal household of Princess Tengku Puan Pahang. The From the Royal Kitchen menu is only available on certain flights.


Contact Information

24-hour call center: +603.7843.3000


Founded in 1937, Malaysia Airlines has been in business for 78 years.

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    June 9th, 2017

    Could be a lot better. It was difficult to get any assistance from the flight attendants, and when they did help, they were rather rude. There is a lot of room for improvement.

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