From flexible fares to changes in onboard service, Madeleine Barber visits Heathrow to investigate how Malaysia Airlines has adapted its customer journey to ensure passengers can fly confidently during the pandemic
Malaysia Airlines, the national carrier of Malaysia, teamed up with Heathrow Airport on 1 November to showcase to UK media its new protocols put in place to help curb the spread of Covid-19. This comes as the airline is promoting its recently launched Fly Confidently campaign, designed to present these new measures in an easily digestible format for customers and position the airline as a caring and vigilant business.
Before Malaysia Airlines passengers step onboard for their flight to Kuala Lumpur they must pass a temperature check at the boarding gate and, as with UK airports and the majority of airlines, travellers must wear a face covering at all times too.
Malaysia Airlines customers are also encouraged to check in via the carrier’s app or online before departing for the airport to reduce face-to-face interactions during their journey. At Heathrow in particular, there have been a number of additional hygiene measures implemented with the same aim.
Once onboard with Malaysia Airlines passengers will be warmly welcomed by the crew, who are kitted out in personal protective equipment such as overalls, gloves, masks and goggles. Travellers also receive a hygiene kit containing a disposable face covering, a sachet of hand sanitiser and an antibacterial wipe, while headphones, pillows and duvets or blankets remain hygienically packed. Malaysia Airlines continues its in-flight meal service, but has implemented a few tweaks such as switching to single-use cutlery and napkins to ensure there’s no cross contamination.
“Generally I think customers do feel safe, because it’s everyone’s responsibility – the passengers, the airline, the airports – to practise these extra hygiene measures such as regular sanitising and hand washing. So as long as that is being practised, everyone can feel safe.”
Jessmine Ket, Malaysia Airlines flight stewardess
Meanwhile, there’s no need for passengers to feel apprehensive about sharing an aircraft with other travellers thanks to the A350-900’s high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. These systems are in place across the Malaysia Airlines fleet and were upgraded in February to provide an even higher level of filtration than they were offering previously. The filters remove 99.97% of airborne viruses or bacteria, with the cabin air replenished every three minutes. In addition, high-touch points such as lavatories are cleaned every 45 minutes and all cabins are thoroughly disinfected after every flight.
Clients needing even more reassurance that they can fly safely with Malaysia Airlines can benefit from the carrier’s Economy Flex fare plan, which offers passengers unlimited date changes free of charge and cost-free refunds. Plus, travellers choosing the Flex fare receive extra perks such as priority check in, priority boarding and priority baggage.
While Malaysia Airlines is currently operating a reduced number of flights across its vast network, the carrier hopes to ramp up services into Kuala Lumpur and beyond in future.