Malaysia Airlines: New Business Class Seats and Lounge Improvements Coming

Malaysia Airlines has deep financial problems and is going through a restructuring. They’re largely focusing on regional routes rather than ultra long haul travel. And they’re offloading some aircraft and laying off thousands of staff to lower costs.

At the same time, they recognize that they need to offer a competitive product — and in the region, competition over product is fierce.

So they’re going to introduce a new fully flat business class seat for their A330s and Boeing 777s.

The new Malaysia Airlines business class seats will be “a world-class leading lie-flat seat”, says Mueller, with “very large dimensions, and be positioned above the industry standard for business class.”

Hopefully they’ll go with reverse herringbone seats and all aisle access (like oneworld partners Cathay Pacific, US Airways and American Airlines).

They’re also going to revamp their lounge strategy — closing some lounges, generating revenue through contracts with partners for access for others, and closing lounges as well.

Malaysia Airlines will close some of its Golden Lounge airport lounges around the world and redirect travellers to the lounges of Oneworld partners.
However, the lounges which remain open – including its flagship lounges at Kuala Lumpur – will receive a much-needed upgrade as MAS works to woo premium travellers.

Kuala Lumpur lounges, London Heathrow, and Melbourne will get renovations.

While the international lounges are tired, the domestic lounge is in desperate need of a refresh.

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. Sad series of events have humbled this carrier, though it was crippled by the type of crony capitalism SQ has managed to avoid and in doing so becoming the leader in, and benchmark for, quality airline service in the region/world. In this it also clearly shows the barriers in Malaysia that has held the country back since the split with Singapore…and propelled the tiny island state to unprecedented levels in all areas — business, social stability, prosperity — Malaysia is still striving for. I’ve had some comfortable flights on MS, including the A380 (a plane it never should have bought, but ego and politics overwhelmed common sense) in F and J, though nothing impressive. Even took the vanished flight a week before. FAs have been less obsequious than those on SQ, NH and even CX…which I prefer. The KUL lounges are quite boring and the restaurant for F travellers could use a decent chef (hardly up to the standards of the one in the SQ private room for F flyers). Here’s hoping the new regime gets it right, and can do it without political interference. It certainly won’t be easy. Thanks for the update report.

  2. It is great to hear that they are planning to fight their way out of this by getting better, rather than simply pinching pennies. I had a couple great flights with MH earlier this year; service and catering in J were as good as any I’ve encountered on CX or the like. It would be great to continue to have MH as a OW partner for AA mileage burn – the more options the better.

    The only thing I disagree with in this article is the suggestion of a reverse herringbone seat. I’m just not a big fan of them. I would hope that MH would go with a 4-across suite-type seat like SQ.

  3. Good to see that MH wants to recover and “come back”. Flew with them on short-haul (Phuket to KL and back) a couple months ago and the flights in economy were fine. Attendants were very pleasant and friendly.

    But the lounge in KL was probably one of the worst I’ve ever been to (I was Emerald with Cathay hence access to the lounge). It’s the same one in the pics in the article but nothing like the inside. Old, dreary, dust accumulating. Food was poor, lounge was empty, soul-less. No staff around. Drinks were basic and you had to fetch them from near the entrance. Just very very depressing and uncared for. If I was a J or F passenger, I would be horribly disappointed.

    Did leave comments with the staff at reception – not to criticise but to hopefully give encouragement to “come back”.

    Good luck to MH – would be good to see them return to their glory days!

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