Malaysia Airlines (Temporarily) Banning Checked Bags On Europe Flights

Update: Malaysia Airlines has updated the travel advisory to indicate that normal baggage allowances will be permitted on the London flights, since they’re operated by A380s. I’m guessing this was an oversight on their part. I’m still curious to see how long the flight times are to Paris and Amsterdam.

While probably not applicable to all that many of you, I do find this to be interesting. Malaysia Airlines posted a notice on their website indicating that they’re not accepting checked bags on their flights to Europe (London, Amsterdam, and Paris) until further notice:

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.

MH-Europe

Wow! Can you imagine booking a trip to Europe (especially in winter, where you might want to pack more heavier/clothes) and being told you can only carry on a bag of up to 7kg?

Of course safety is the top priority, and I think Malaysia Airlines is especially careful to avoid any potentially “dangerous” airspace given their history, but I’m just trying to figure out the math behind it.

What makes this especially interesting is that Malaysia’s flight to London is operated by an Airbus A380, while their flights to Amsterdam and Paris are operated by 777s (which are soon to be retired).

Malaysia-772
Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777

These routes are all in the ~6,500 mile range. Their Kuala Lumpur to London A380 flights are ~2,000 miles shorter than the world’s longest A380 flight, which is Dallas to Sydney.

Malaysia-A380
Malaysia Airlines Airbus A380

Are the headwinds combined with the detour to avoid dangerous airspace going to add several hours to the flight time? I’ll be carefully watching the Flightaware pages for MH2, MH4, MH16, and MH20.

Bottom line

I commend Malaysia Airlines for prioritizing safety, of course, but this is the first time I’ve seen airlines tell passengers not to bring any checked bags onto longhaul flights (well, other than the recent scare in Egypt, which was for different reasons).

Anyone have an explanation as to why an A380 would be that weight restricted?

I’m curious to see if other airlines follow.

Comments

  1. Lucky, they’ve rescinded the limits on the A380 flights to LHR. The restrictions on the CDG and AMS flights are still in place, though. Latest announcement is below:

    http://www.malaysiaairlines.com/my/en/travel_advisory/limitation_checked_in_baggage.html

    ————————————————–

    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.

    Please refer to our travel advisory section for further updates. Next update expected at 0100GMT/0900 Malaysian local time.

  2. So does this mean that SQ are risking it? I think there’s something more to this! MH trying to scrimp on fuel???

  3. Why did you edit the statement? They clearly stated in the update that: “In the interest of safety, Malaysia Airlines currently operates a long route to Europe *via Egypt airspace*, which combined with temporary unseasonably strong head winds, is limiting the airlines’ ability to carry baggage in cargo.”

    “and I think Malaysia Airlines is especially careful to avoid any potentially “dangerous” airspace given their history, but I’m just trying to figure out the math behind it.” but the answer was clearly in their update and you edited it out…?

    Why’d you leave out the Egypt airspace part and leave us with a half-story?

  4. New update from MH Ben! On their KUL-LHR flights, the normal check in baggage allowance is being given back to passengers only their KUL-AMS and KUL-CDG flights are still affected

    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.

    Please refer to our travel advisory section for further updates. Next update expected at 0100GMT/0900 Malaysian local time.

    Updated at 6.44pm (GMT +8), 5 Jan 2016.

  5. Lucky, another typo:

    “I comment Malaysia Airlines for prioritising safety …”

    I presume you mean “commend”.

    (Still hoping you’ll change the other blog post that suggests NZ is part of the continent of Australia.)

  6. Maybe take less cargo? I would be so angry not having my luggage arrive with my flight and wouldn’t use them again. Has any other airline needed to do this?

  7. Why are they selling so many seats if they cant even accomodate the luggages?

    Are they allowing free cancellation when they barred checked luggages?

    For a struggling airline trying to turnaround its credibility, this is a big step backwards. Imagine how many people’s travel plan is foiled.. no checked luggage.. how do u bring ur winter clothes amongst other things?
    Freeze or dont fly?

    Why not limit the sale of seats or place passengers on alternative flights there?

    I wun buy tickets fr an airline who can pull such a thing on me at the very last moment.

  8. I cannot think of anything worse than travelling with my two year old and two month old and not being able to check any baggage!

  9. Just checked the page, and they’re definitely detouring a LOT. If there are headwinds too, I can see jt being a problem

  10. Which brings up this point:

    Malaysia Airlines flights to Europe are consistently late. Check FR24 or Google Flights: every single one has been at least an hour or two or even three late, the closest it came to on time was MH20 last Tuesday with 40 minutes behind schedule. The planes are flying west, then north, instead of northwest: they’re routing via Saudi Arabia and Egypt! Basically the equivalent of flying LA to New York, but first going north and flying over Canada first.

    Can anyone explain why? No one else is doing it.

  11. @Tex unlikely. SQ’s long haul work horse is the 777-300ER which is significantly more capable than the -200ER jets operated by Malaysia.

  12. @W I assume the routing is due to MH being overzealous in regards to flying over politically unstable areas….i.e. Ukraine. The route they take considering is not all that crazy considering.

    They are flying old school 777’s that are barely able to handle that distance – the routing would be better served with ER’s. But, it seems that for the perspective of avoiding chaos at the airports they would choose to not load cargo instead and at least allow business and first customers to check bags. I have never heard of this before and it is an odd choice of how to handle it. The only thing I have ever experienced relating to this was a need to stop in Fiji once for fuel given strong headwinds on a LAX-SYD routing in an old school United 747.

  13. For an already struggling airline, it’s very unfortunate that they have to do this. But it’s still unclear to us all as to why they have to reroute their flights away from the usual one? (I wanna take a wild guess and it’s the tension between Iran and several GCC states) And if they HAVE to do so, why did they not shed weight by reducing commercial cargo instead of passenger cargo? Why didn’t they just take SQ’s usual route or Garuda’s? Why are flights operated by Royal Dutch Airlines, flying between the same cities only 5 minutes behind Malaysia’s schedule, with the same type of aircraft (today is the 5th and KL operates a 772, just like MH), not disrupted?

  14. It states that you can check luggage but that it will come later… how is MH getting the luggage to AMS? Are they shipping it via one of their cargo flights? This would eat into their Cargo Profits – taking up valuable space there. Thus – I think that – although the way they are approaching things is odd (I would have dropped passengers rather than drop luggage in order to manage the negative customer sat and media attention this move obviously drives) – it seems that they are doing it out of a sense of caution…

  15. Sounds like a very strange policy indeed, they have enough problems already without driving away passengers with this kind of BS. Just do a scheduled fuel stop in Cyprus or Malta instead.

  16. Yeah right. This has nothing to do with safety. All other airlines flying Asia to Europe face the same headwinds.

    Given the financial situation of Malaysia Airlines they probably can’t pay their ground handling fees in Europe and come up with this totally stupid excuse.

  17. Why not just take less passengers (they can’t be near full anyways) or do a fuel stop like UA anyways does.

  18. So MH is happy to deliver many hundreds of pieces of luggage to its passengers at some point after their arrival? How can this be cost effective? And what about passengers who have early connections to elsewhere~ will your luggage be chasing you all over the globe, with the very real possibility of it going lost at some point? This bizzare arrangement is another example of this airline’s incompetence, hastening its death spiral. Expect dramatic announcements in 2016.

  19. @Stuart H
    Agreed, it’s a very strange decision, and if I was a passenger, I’d much prefer we divert somewhere such as Dubai. It’s also strange that they don’t communicate the arrival delays given their magnitude – their schedule still shows the regular arrival times.

    @Tom
    Routing via Cairo is also over 1000 miles south of the shortest flight path.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *