Do you remember before 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic, when finding cheap flights, sometimes real bargains, was extremely common? Living in Malaysia, a real hub for Southeast Asia and international aviation, I got many dirt-cheap tickets in the past. AirAsia has long been the top local player for unbeatably low-cost flights to China, India, Australia and even the Middle East. Paying 30 dollars to fly from Kuala Lumpur or Penang to India was normal back then — now, most of us wish it was still true.
Fewer people affording flights is not bad, given how carbon emissions are a big problem for today’s global warming. But things are changing fast in Malaysia, where since the end of 2022, another national low-cost airline, MYAirline, started sparking new hopes for a future of very cheap Asian travel.
We have finally flown MYAirline, and this is our honest review of a new Malaysian low-cost carrier to keep an eye on.
READ MORE: Flying Penang to Singapore on SCOOT
Is MYAirline comparable to AirAsia?
Headquartered in the Malaysian capital’s budget flight hub, Kuala Lumpur International Airport Terminal 2 (KLIA2), formerly dominated by AirAsia, MYAirline seems hellbent on surpassing the national budget competitor. One of their promotional taglines is “fly the new red” — a direct hint to the AirAsia brand’s bright red colour when MYAirlines’ planes are painted a darker shade of red.
MYAirline had its maiden voyage to Kuching International Airport on 1 December 2022. After a mere seven months working with a tiny fleet of six Airbuses, MYAirline has carried over a million passengers and is emerging as a valid and equally cheap (if not cheaper) alternative to Malaysia’s stalwart budget airline AirAsia. Even if it’s so young, MYAirline was already voted one of the world’s best airlines.
I had read positive comments about MYAirline and its punctuality (a genuine issue with many AirAsia flights, especially after the spike in demand because of the reopening of most Southeast Asia countries in mid-2022). It was just a matter of time before I had my opportunity to try MYAirline, and at last, I flew it from Kuala Lumpur to Miri on 14 June 2023.
A Review of my experience flying from Kuala Lumpur to Miri with MYAirline
For starters, my ticket price was incredibly low, and if I didn’t have to wait longer to hear about my travel arrangements in Sarawak, it could have been even cheaper.
I booked tickets two weeks before my flight and paid an incredibly low price of 59RM (USD12.65) one way from Kuala Lumpur to Kuching and 79RM (USD17) for the return leg. Like most regional low-cost air carriers, both tickets included the standard free 7kg hand luggage, no in-flight meals, and no check-in luggage allowance. It was OK for me, for I only had to be away for 10 days, and the flight between KL and Miri was approximately 2 hours long.
Booking on the MYAirline website was easy, and so was paying with a VISA credit card.
The punctuality of both flights and the smooth boarding procedures surprised me. Both planes departed on the dot, and we landed a few minutes earlier.
I was also pleasantly surprised at my return flight from Miri to Kuala Lumpur when I was automatically upgraded to express boarding (which costs RM48/AU$15 extra) simply because I arrived at the check-in counters two hours before my flight’s scheduled time.
This is quite an improvement from my most recent experience flying with AirAsia in 2022, when my plane from Bali to Kuala Lumpur was rescheduled ten hours later in the evening, disrupting my onward travel plans — I won’t start telling about the many other friends who had their flights delayed or outright cancelled by Airasia… with no refund!
MY Airline’s hassle-free check-in
Even the check-in procedure was smooth, regardless, I made a slight mistake. After checking in online and printing my boarding pass, I thought the paper was enough to board a domestic flight within the Malaysian states. I did not visit the check-in desk to verify my documents before approaching the gates. But because Sarawak requires a new immigration procedure for all travellers flying from Peninsular Malaysia, I was reminded at the gate to return to the check-in desk, where I was fortunate to find no queues and very polite and cooperative MYAirline ground staff.
If that’s something you are asking yourself, then yes — our hand luggage (a 40 litres backpack and a camera bag filled with lenses) was not weighed or double-checked. We were travelling very light. However, the price of MYAirline’s luggage upgrades is very reasonable compared to AirAsia’s.
MYAirline Seating Arrangement and legroom
One of the most common complaints about AirAsia is how seats are cramped, and legroom is sacrificed to slot in more seats. MYAirline has more space, but it must also be noted that to save on fuel costs, the company opted for flat, thinner, and unadjustable titanium and carbonium-fibre seats that help save up to 30-40kg of fuel per each hour of flight. This may not be ideal for some people, but I swear I did not suffer much when getting from Kuala Lumpur to Miri.
Speaking of the crew, the main difference is the uniforms. Compared to AirAsia’s tight-fitting stewardesses’ clothes – which have often been judged as “too sexy” by the most devout Malaysian Muslims — MYAirline crew wears a gender-neutral pair of black trunks and a red jacket coordinated with white sneakers.
MYAirline Verdict: A New Favorite in Malaysian Skies
If you are Malaysia-bound, consider MYAirline for your internal flights, especially when travelling between Kuala Lumpur and the Borneo states of Sarawak and Sabah, as the company offers unbeatable promo fares. To be frank, MYAirline doesn’t always beat Airasia’s best prices, but it’s a much better value when it does.
What surprised me most was the punctuality of their flights on both times — something worth shelling out a few more dollars for rather than risk using other less punctual Asian low-cost carriers.
Keep your eyes peeled on MYAirline, as the company will become even more attractive for Southeast Asia-bound travellers after 28 June 2023, when it starts spreading wings internationally and offering daily direct flights from Kuala Lumpur’s KLIA2 to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang airports. The fleet will reach 20 planes by the end of 2023, flying to Vietnam, Indonesia, and Singapore. Keep watching MYAirline; it will definitely go to many more places sooner than we think.