Firefly is a small subsidiary of Malaysian Airlines. The airline operates domestic flights in Malaysia and a few international routes to Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore. I flew Firefly in May 2014, from Penang, Malaysia to Ko Samui, Thailand.
I found the Firefly flight on Kayak, where it was listed as a code share with Malaysian Airlines. I ended up booking through the Malaysian Airlines website because it was cheaper (ongoing impacts from the MH370 disaster?) and I could collect One World miles. I’m starting to get the hang of this travel hacking thing.
Check In And Boarding
We flew Penang-Ko Samui on a 76 seat propeller plane. The propellers prevent the plane from connecting to an airport skybridge so the flight boarded via a staircase to the rear plane door. If my life were a movie, boarding the plane would have been the slo mo glamour shot – me, walking across the tarmac in dark sunglasses, my long hair blowing in the tropical breeze – until the camera panned to the bright orange aircraft.
The ground crew loaded the mostly full flight in less than 15 minutes and we pushed off about 10 minutes ahead of schedule.
The flight was staffed by two young Malaysian flight attendants in bright orange Jackie O dresses, chignons sprayed into place. I think they smiled for the entire 90 minute flight. Perhaps they were after Firefly’s Miss Congeniality award. I learned from the inflight magazine that this honour is currently held by Nur Diyana bt Izzudin, a relatively new staff member at Firefly, who likes swimming and reading and says, “I will never stop believing that everyone is special”.
Once we reached cruising altitude the flight attendants came through the cabin with plastic-wrapped chocolate danishes, packs of peanuts, coffee and mango juice. It wasn’t much, but it was a lot more than many low cost airlines. Small touches like free snacks and garbage collection using trays instead of plastic bags and rubber gloves puts the Firefly inflight experience above other budget carriers (and economy class on many North American airlines).
Landing And Luggage
Ko Samui International Airport looks like a Thai beach resort, with open air buildings and palm-thatched roofs. The plane unloaded quickly onto the tarmac and passengers were bussed in a sort of theme park shuttle the few hundred metres to immigration. I cleared immigration in less than 10 minutes and walked a few steps to the small baggage carousel, where my 15kg of stuff was already going in circles on it.