Malaysia Airlines Refuses to Transport Checked Bags on Europe Flights, Already Partly Rolls Back Policy

oneworld member Malaysia Airlines had posted a notice that they weren’t going to accept checked bags on European flights due to unusual headwinds.

In the interest of safety, Malaysia Airlines currently operates a long route to Europe, which combined with temporary unseasonably strong head winds, is limiting the airlines’ ability to carry baggage in cargo.

This longer flight path consumes more jet fuel and for safety reasons, Malaysia Airlines has had to impose temporary limitation on checked in baggage allowance. From tonight, 5 January 2016 (until further notice), the airline will only be able to accommodate cabin baggage of up to 7kg – one piece totalling 7kg per Economy Class passengers and two pieces totalling 14kg (up to 7kg per piece) for Business/First Class passengers. Passengers who wish to check in their luggage will be able to do so, however their baggage will only arrive later.

Malaysia Airlines regrets the inconvenience caused to passengers and will deliver stranded baggage as soon as the situation permits. Guests are welcome to contact 1300-88-3000 for enquiries on the status of their checked in baggage.

Connecting passengers travelling on oneworld member carriers with through check in may also have their baggage offloaded due to this operational constraints.

Malaysia Airlines will continue to assess the changing situation over the region and will update passengers when operations are back to normal. Safety remains the centre of the airline’s operations.

It’s hard to imagine taking a European flight with only carry ons, let alone with an economy allowance of ~ 15 pounds. And it’s unclear what it means for checked baggage to “only arrive later” (perhaps in a few days when the headwinds die down?).

Already they’ve:

  • Changed their mind for London flights
  • Determined that the limitation on Paris and Amsterdam flights is for two days only

Temporary Limitation on Checked In Baggage Allowance for Kuala Lumpur-Europe Sector

Normal baggage allowance on Malaysia Airlines’ flights to London, operated by the A380 aircraft, has been restored with immediate effect.

Baggage limitations however, still apply for flights to Amsterdam and Paris on 5-6 January 2016.

In 2014 Malaysia’s flight MH370 went missing and then MH17 was shot down, a victim of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

The financially troubled airline can’t seem to catch a break. The airline is doing what it can both to be financially viable and to improve its product.

Most airlines are still overflying Russia (and thus Russia has received a financial windfall). Malaysia Airlines is not.

In avoiding both Russian and Ukrainian airspace, they’re “taking the long way around.” The longer flight, combined with heavy winds, caused the airline to effectively weight restrict their Boeing 777s.

Here’s the ‘normal route’ from Kuala Lumpur to Europe.

And here’s what Malaysia Airlines is doing on Kuala Lumpur – London.

The British Airways Kuala Lumpur – London flight is scheduled at 13 hours 40 minutes. The Malaysia Airlines flights are scheduled at 14 hours 5 minutes. The past few days they’re actually taking about 15 hours 30 minutes:

It’s not often you see weight-restricted widebody aircraft on long, but not inordinately long, flights.

(HT: One Mile at a Time)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Is this true? are they actually flying over northern Iraq and northern Syria? that’s ISIS territory…

  2. They are flying so far south to avoid flying over Russia and Ukraine. Still surprised they are going over northern Iraq and Syria, but I guess any further south and they’d have to do a fuel stop.

    I shan’t be including MH in my travel plans any time soon.

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