Our Globetrotters are reviewing 30 of the world’s leading international airlines for their family-friendliness. Our reviews cover the airline’s policies and service offerings that the average family will deal with when flying standard economy class. For more details on the Globetrotters reviews and ratings referenced, please see the lead airline review article.
Malaysia Airlines has been through a few harrowing years of aviation disasters and financial woes. Has the airline been able to win back the hearts and minds of its loyal customers? Is it still delivering on what family travellers need?
Base: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Skytrax Rating 2018: 34
JACDEC Safety Rating 2018: >20
Malaysia Airlines Pregnancy Policy
If you are travelling during pregnancy, you will be required to fill up the Release and Indemnity Form (R&I) during check-in. The following are general guidelines for expectant mothers:
- For normal single pregnancy for Domestic/International travel, Malaysia Airlines does not accept any pregnancy cases after 36th week to travel on their flight.
- For complicated or multiple pregnancies for Domestic/International travel, Malaysian Airlines does not accept any pregnancy cases from the beginning of the 32nd week to travel on their flight.
Passenger are advised to check with the embassy of your country of destination should there be any local restrictions into the country for expectant/pregnant mothers.
Related Reading: The Ultimate Guide to Flying Pregnant
Malaysia Airlines Newborn Policy
Air travel is not recommended within 8 days of giving birth.
Flying Malaysia Airlines with Infants (under 2 years)
Infants under the age of two may travel as a lap infant. Amenities packs and bottle heating and washing facilities are available “on certain flights” but they do not specify what these are.
Extra carry on baggage is allowed, we detail this below.
Baby Bassinets on Malaysia Airlines
There are a limited number of baby bassinets available on long-haul flights which must be pre-booked. They make it clear in their terms that when you book with a lap infant you are only entitled to a standard seat. Extra legroom seats (which include the bassinet row) are chargeable, so expect to pay a fee to guarantee your bassinet seat with Malaysia Airlines.
Flying Malaysia Airlines with Children (2-11 years)
There’s nothing in the Malaysian offering that will have your kids over excited. We understand children’s activity kits are handed out, appropriate to your 3+ crowd and children’s meal options are available on long-haul services. These must be pre-ordered at least 24 hours in advance.
Kids entertainment on Malaysia Airlines is called their Audio Video on Demand service. Note, it’s not available on all flights and no indication of what services do carry the entertainment system. It’s an airline I would recommend having a backup plan for, we have been caught short with no back of the seat entertainment on an 8-hour leg with an older aircraft.
Use of sleep devices (eg Bed Box) on Malaysia Airlines
We cannot find any specific advice from Malaysia Airlines as to whether sleep products such as the Bed Box or Kooshy Kushion can be used on their aircraft. Manufacturers Jet Kids have announced they are allowed but we cannot find a decisive policy from the airline confirming this – let us know if you have had a personal experience!
Unaccompanied Minors on Malaysia Airlines
Children from 5 to 14 years old can fly as unaccompanied minors under their YPTA policy. This must be booked at the time of booking your ticket and comes at extra cost. Flight must depart from KLIA, service not available from KL Sentral.
We cannot find any further explanation of what service parents should hope to receive.
Baggage Allowances on Malaysia Airlines for Families
There is a checked baggage weight allowance of 30kg for international economy class tickets (adults & child). Domestic flights only have a 20kg limit.
Hand luggage you are allowed 7kg each in economy.
Travelling with an infant you are allowed one extra bag of not more than 5kg OR a carry cot OR a collapsible stroller (seems to suggest you can only take 1 item but their terms go on to say the combined weight must not be more than 10kg). If cabin space is full, parents will be asked to move their stroller to the hold even if it’s a collapsible stroller.
Malaysia Airlines Frequent Flyer Programs
Flyers with Malaysia Airlines can join for free their Enrich Frequent Flyer benefits scheme. As you earn tier miles you can move up to be a Silver, Gold & Platinum Enrich member. They are also a part of the Oneworld alliance, so points can also be earned and spent with partners including British Airways, Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific and many more.
They do not appear to have family pooling. Points can be transferred to someone else at a fee, and no more than 50,000 in a year.
Note, even if you are not a frequent flyer or Business Class passenger, you can separately purchase Golden Lounge access passes for Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) – if you have more than a few hour layover this can be an excellent idea. It is one of the better lounges we have experienced and includes wash facilities and a family room, as well as lots of food, Malay and western dishes. Read more about flying Business Class with Malaysia Airlines.
Got a long layover at Kuala Lumpur International Aiport? Try staying at Sama Sama Express hotel at KLIA1 (airside)
Our Globetrotters View
It was several years ago now we flew with Malaysia Airlines with kids. I call it our baptism of fire flight – not that there was anything particularly wrong with the airline or the service we received – in fact, quite the opposite service was excellent – but we were utterly inexperienced family travellers.
We didn’t know that children’s meals needed to be pre-ordered. We didn’t know that the particular aircraft for our flight would NOT have seat back entertainment (this was 2013 so this could well have changed, but I would have thought entertainment screens were standard on an 8 hour plus flight?) Had we of known this, we would have brought our own tablets – back in the day before every family had a tablet PER PERSON!!
Related Reading: 10 Toddler Flying Mistakes We’ve Made (and I bet you have too)
It was also the first time we realised that the bassinet did not come automatically with an infant ticket. We thought we would get this seat on both legs we flew with them KUL to MEL, but instead, they allocated us seats further towards the back with an empty seat next to me for the lap infant. This was an absolute blessing in disguise and became our new favourite place to sit when travelling with lap infants. See this post for more on our favourite seating strategies.
Whilst, unfortunately, they have had two of the worst aviation disasters of the last decade with the disappearance with Flight 370 in early 2014, followed only 5 months later by the shooting down of Flight 17 over the Ukraine, they were previously considered one of the safest airlines in the industry. Financial woes have plagued them for over a decade, however, with the introduction of several very successful low-cost carriers in the region and there’s always an underlying concern if that will impact on price and service.
It’s not Singapore Airlines, but it’s not half bad. Pleasant, hospitable, nice airport we would certainly fly with them again – much better prepared!
Have you flown Malaysia Airlines with kids? Would you like to add a review? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or leave your comments below!
Looking for what to do when you get to Kuala Lumpur?
Disclaimer: The information provided on this page should be used as a guide only. It has been gathered from public sources and correct at the time of publishing October 2018. Please consult the airline’s own website before booking any family travel with this airline. This review is not an endorsement of Malaysia Airlines services and I am in no way affiliated with the airline. This post does contain affiliate links to third-party goods and services which may earn us a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can see our full disclosures policy here.
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Before you go! Have you seen our guide on what to pack for family air travel or how to get the airport with kids?
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