Air Malta » User reviews
All-class rating 6.8
- Boarding 6.4
- Seat for sitting 6.8
- Seat for sleeping 2.1
- Service 7.0
- Entertainment 1.2
- Food & drink 6.9
- Punctuality 8.2
- Baggage 6.5
- Of course, your ratings vary widely for different classes. Choose one below for full details.
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KM490 MLA ZRH 2h10m
Nothing much to say about this flight, except it operated on time and was an average short haul flight in every respect.
Air Malta charges 3€ for wine or beer in Y class, which is a bit mean IMHO, but a decent salad with cold cuts was offered (and declined, as I'd eated in the lounge.)
Boarding at Malta was efficient, as usual and that was that.
Flying economy in Europe is so undifferentiated that it is difficult to remember who you flew with.
The return fare MLA_ZRH-CPH-ZRH-MLA was £431, which represents pretty good value for money, IMHO.
Prior to the flight had spent 7 hours in the Etihad lounge (used by Air Malta) in Terminal 4 at LHR (we had flown in earlier from Vancouver), which to my mind, is by far the most intimate and professional of the lounges at the Airport. Staff were professionally attired and food offerings were top notch. Had an excellent shower and leg and foot massage in the lounge spa as well. Free phone calls within the UK are also offered.
Boarding to the flight was punctual and prompt, though we were delayed for 50 minutes due to an ACT failure at LHR. Drinks were offered to ease the wait (the first time I have seen this happen on Air Malta). Service throughout the flight was excellent with a delicious pasta (An Air Malta staple) and a packed tray of other food. Drinks flowed very freely throughout the flight especially to the row on front of us, though we did pretty well ourselves. Champagne and wine still are served in a tumbler, which diminishes the effect somewhat and it would also be good to get some nuts with the pre-dinner drink and even a solitary chocolate with coffee at the end of the meal. The cost of this to the airline would be minimal.
Hot towels were provided post take off and prior to Landing and my two nine year old children were made extremely comfortable with extra pillows provided. Nothing was too much trouble for the crew.
The couple in front of us were ecstatic about the service, with one of then having never experienced Air Malta before.
Arrival in Malta was marred by the wait for all passengers to get off the plane and board one of the two buses, which then drove no more than 150 yards to the terminal building. Baggage reclaim was prompt.
All in all, an excellent flight, with all signs that Air Malta is beginning to move in the right direction.
As a previous poster (DoS and Formerly DoS) always had a high opinion of Air Malta I decided to try them for a recent break in Malta. This flight was LGW to MLA in Club Class.
Travelling with the family so checked in at the airport - dedicated line for Club Class, straight to the desk, and boarding cards received with correct seats allocated (row 2). Proceeded upstairs and used the Premium channel for security. Security personnel were pleasant and efficient and we were through to departures in no time at all.
Air Malta use the Servisair lounge at LGW which has been renamed Aspire, although if this lounge is what one aspires to then you need to set you aspirations a bit higher!! Its a fairly small lounge, although it has a great view over the runway. Fixtures and fittings seem a bit old and tatty and the selection oif food and drinks is not great, but it is adequate for an hour or so before your flight.
Flight left from one of the satellite gates so it was a long hike down to the gate where boarding commenced just after we arrived with priority boarding for Club Class. Welcomed on board by the purser who assisted with hand luggage and offered orange juice or water when seated.
Seating is 2-2, with the back of the middle seat folded down to create a table. Legroom was more than adequate and the seats quite comfortable for a short flight. Shortly after take off orders for drinks were taken and these were served on a tray to your seat rather than by trolley. Fairly decent champagne was offered (and accepted) and shortly after lunch was served.
This consisted of an excellent mozzarella and tomato salad, followed by a choice of chicken or salmon, and then profiteroles for dessert. This was accopmanied by two different types of freshly baked maltese bread rolls. I had the chicken (my wife had the salmon) and the quality of the meal was very good - it certainly beats anything I have been served in Club Europe on BA in the last few years. Trays were quickly cleared and hot drinks and liquers were then offered. The Purser was on hand throughout the flight, and made regluar trips into the cabin to offer further drinks etc.
Landed on time in Malta, swiftly through immigration and although the priority tagged baggage wasn't first it was at least in the first third of bags which were delivered quite quickly and we were on our way to our hotel within 20 minutes of landing.
All in all an excellent flight and I would highly recommend anyone flying to Malta to use Air Malta. Their Club Class was how flying business class in Europe used to be (at least where BA is concerned).
It was the first time I flew with air Malta, they were on time leaving, all the staff were very helpful and cheerful, I was not expecting a in-flight meal as i was told by my travel agent they were not supplied so I was very happily surprised when they started giving out meals. The meal was very nice and tasty with free soft drinks and tea or coffee. the flight over all was great.
The early morning Heathrow flight is one of Air Malta's flagship operations and, as is usual, was very full for our recent trip. I had tried to check-in on line but the system, while recognising my name, looked for me to spell it differently!! Not aure this made sense. Anyway I checked-in on arrival at the airport (there were no queues) and made my way through security which took about 10 minutes. Once upstairs, a coffee was called for before the flight was called and we were bussed out to the aircraft.
I was in Seat 10D and again enjoyed the relative comfort of the legroom on offer. Take off was on time and service commenced soon thereafter. Breakfast was a 'modified English' (frankfurter sausages) plus extra rounds of drinks and tea and coffee en route. Dutiful rather than sparkling service but it was fine!!
After a ten minue circuit over Biggin Hill, we landed just ahead of schedule and taxied to T4 where disembarkation was into the Terminal. I overtook most of my (somewhat elderly) fellow passengers to find the Immigration/ Passport area devoid of passengers, giving me a choice of about 6 desks plus 4 e-scanners at which to present my Passport. With no luggage to collect, I was on the Heathrow Express connector within 15 minutes of landing.
I joined this lare evening flight from Heathrow to Malta flight after taking a connecting (but seperately ticketed) flight from Glasgow. I made my way to T4 via the Heathrow Express and arrived at the Air Malta check-in (serviced by Alitalia) where there was no queue. I was given my seat of choice (forward aisle) - strangely, Air Malta do not offer on-line check-in from Heathrow although this is available from Gatwick.
Security was a breeze and I settled down to some work in the public area (having no Lounge access for this flight). The gate was announced in good time and I made my way to Gate 22, where the in-bound service had already arrived. So far so good.
Boarding time came and went and, eventually, an announcement was made about a delay for 'operational reasons'. Over time, this was narrowed down to a computer glitch which engineers were addressing. We were given regular 'no further news' updates and I was mentally planning a major re-scheduling of my commitments in Malta the next day. However, close to two hours after boarding time, we boarded in a somewhat chaotic way and pushed back soon after.
The flight was very full but legroom on the A319 is not bad. The friendly crew commenced service very soon after take-off. Alcoholic drinks, normally charged for, were offered free - a nice touch. The hot meal, as usual, was excellent - pork fillet, duchess potatoes and brocolli, followed by fig roll and coffee. Trays were quickly cleared so most of us could get a couple of hours sleep.
We landed some 90 minutes behind schedule at 02.10 but, despite this, parked remotely and were bussed a long way back to the terminal. Passport formalities were rapid and i was soon in my waiting taxi and en route to my hotel and bed!!
The aircraft was out of comission for most of the next day, causing considerable delays to schedules. So I consider myself lucky to have made it through to malta at all. Notwithstanding the delay, a good service in th traditional mode/
I flown with AirMalta from Valletta to Rome Fiumicino on 10th June 2012.
I reserved (paying) row 2E and 2F but at the check-in give me the boarding pass for 5A and 5B.
The airbus 319 was configured as business class (first 3 rows) but actually during the flight none of the passangers were sitted there so I still do not understand why they move me on the back rows.
The pitch is so small that I could neither strech my legs completely. Fortunately the flight was just 1:05 hours.
I strongly recommend to take sit on the overwings exits.
We arrived at Luqa Airport in Malta in plenty of time for our 08.45 flight to Gatwick. We had checked in on-line the day before and so were able to skip the long linr by progressing straight to Bag Drop where there was no queue.
Likewise, we were through Security in a couple of minutes, allowing plenty of time for my beloved to browse the airport shops. We went through Immigration from the Schengen area into the small area reserved for British, Russian, Lybian and Israeli flights (probably others as well) where boarding to a bus started promptly and without fuss.
We boarded from the tarmac and found our seats a couple of rows behind the curtain - Row 8. This was fine as legroom allowed reasonable comfort. The flight was about 60% full and pushed back bang on time. Service was a hot breakfast plus a second drinks service about an hour out of Gatwick.
We arrived at the south Terminal about 15 minutes early and deplaned before a long walk to the welcoming arms of the UKBA.
Queues were long but not horrendous. We opted for the 'slow' route via the electronic passport readers - the system really does not work at present and perhaps investment in more gates would make sense?
Once through, our bags were on thr carousel. We were then able to transfer to the North Terminal for our BA flight onwards on a separate ticket. despite a longish wait, the tranquility of the First Lounge more than compensated....
I flew from Gatwick to Malta, having connected from a BA flight from Glasgow. For a variety of reasons, I travelled on two tickets for this journey, not least of which is KM's continuing code share with bmi, which made interlined tickets via Heathrow difficult to purchase at the time that the booking was made for me.
My BA flight was early so I was able to collect my luggage and head to south Terminal at my leisure. Check-in for Air Malta opened three hours in advance of departure so I checked in without queues and without challenge to my (marginally) over-weight suitcase!
I headed through the fast and efficient security system in South Terminal - the shape of things to come with barcode reading gates rather than human checking of boarding cards. Having done this, I settled myself down for coffee and preparation for my working week ahead.
I made my way to the gate when it was posted. The inbound was a bit late and boarding commenced in leisurely fashion with FF elite card holders invited forward first. As this was a bmi code-share, I jumped the queue with my Gold Card (perhaps its final practical use) and was seated in 9C before the on-rush of silver haired couples. Seating is tight and I was glad that I am medium height rather than tall!!
Push-back was some 15 minutes behind schedule and we were airborne shortly after. Service commenced relatively quickly - free soft drinks, paid-for alcoholic beverages and a very acceptable hotel meal (chicken), a fig-roll and tea/ coffee.
On a three hour flight a second drinks service would have been nice but was not forthcoming. Service otherwise, generally, was fine but lacked smiles and warmth from a mature (age-wise) and tired-looking crew.
We landed some 10 minutes behind schedule and deplained to the tarmac shortly afterwards. Immigration and baggage were both quite quick and I was headed for my hotel within 20 minutes of landing.
I flew Heathrow to Malta on the late service, arriving in Malta in the wee hours. It was a real curate's egg of a journey, great bits but also some lows. We hear a bit about the wonders of Air Malta Business on this site and i am sure that they are valid - on my flight, only a couple of the seats up front were occupied. This was my first experience of Air Malta - although I go there regularly for work, living in Scotland, the only direct option is Ryanair.
Air Malta uses Terminal 4 and its some time since I have been there - nowadays, the layout feels old fashioned and cramped as if the old T2 was the design template. Without Lounge access, I enjoyed wonderful people watching opportunities given the diversity of airlines that use this Miscellaneous Terminal.
Alitalia provide ground services for Air Malta at heathrow and we were informed in somewhat comical English of a delay with boarding due to the late arrival of the flight into Heathrow - fine except that reference to the BAA website showed that the inbound had arrived some 15 minutes early and compounded when the Purser on board explained that the delay was due to cleaning problems. If only folk would co-ordinate their excuses.
Boarding was a total fiasco and getting passengers on board (the flight was about 65% full) took considerably longer that your average 747. I was among the last to attempt to board and the air bridge queue took 15 - 20 minutes to clear. Part of the problem would appear to be with the perennial issue of the quantities of hand luggage. Alongside this, Mediterranean culture and elderly Brits provided a lethargic mix which meant that things moved incredibly slowly. By contrast, Ryanair with their 25 minute turnaround would have had everyone aboard and way before Air Malta had boarded Business Class..... The cabin crew showed no interest in speeding things up - indeed, they looked tired and bored and did not seem particularly interested in anything to do with passengers throughout the flight. Maybe the pressure on the airline is getting to them.
The aircraft was a modern 320 and relatively generous in its Economy seating space. I was half way back in 15D which was fine. Take off was 45 minutes late which was not great given a scheduled 00.40 arrival and work at 08.30 the next day. Soft drinks service is complementary but anything alcoholic is charged in Economy - not many passengers seemed to be buying. The hot meal was wonderful - a large, succulent pork steak, scalloped potatoes and broccoli were on par with many long-haul Business Class meals I have eaten. No choice, however, for anybody who does not eat pork and had neglected to book a special meal in advance. The meal was kinda undermined by the fig roll for afters! Coffee was served but I had to ask a couple of times to get my service. No further drinks on the longish flight.
Arrival was about 20 minutes late but passage through the airport was rapid and I was in my taxi by about 01.20 and in my hotel by 01.45.
Check in a Heathrow terminal 4 was fast, with a dedicated business class queue, followed by a fairly quick security clearance using the fast track channel, slowed down because two passengers in front were very disorganized and slow.
The Holideck lounge, where Air Malta business class pax are accommodated, used to be very good, used to be very good; unfortunately, they have lost a lot of business and shrunk (physically), but it is still better than sitting outside, with a full range of complimentary alcoholic/soft and hot drinks and free internet.
Boarding was the usual short haul mess, although Alitalia (the handling agent) did board by seat row and also called for business class passengers first, requiring a bit of nifty footwork to get through the scrum by the gate.
As soon as I boarded the aircraft and saw purser A*****e, I was confident we would have a good flight, as he works very hard to deliver a good service. Club class was completely full, with 24 seats.
I had 1A and found adequate space in the bins to stow my large computer bag.
The seats are 3 x 3, blue leather and a panel in the middle seat folds down to form a useful tray, with two drinks holders - it does not clip on, as erroneously reported in another review recently.
Legroom is adequate for a 3 hour flight and the seats are comfortable, with a decent recline.
The flight pushed back a couple of minutes early, which is good for Heathrow on a Friday evening.
Sure enough, pre dinner drinks orders were taken just over 20 minutes after take off and arrived swiftly, in my case a mini bottle of champagne.
Dinner was a quite acceptable smoked salmon starter, followed by a main course of beef, washed down with a nice Emmanuel Delicata red wine.
The service continued in the same vein until well into the descent and south of Sicily, when the crew prepared the cabin for arrival.
There was some in flight entertainment, featuring some short documentaries and humorous programmes, but I don't watch these as I prefer to read.
On arrival at Malta, we parked on a stand allowing us to walk a few metres into the non Schengen arrivals area (it is not true, as reported elsewhere that all arrivals use coaches), where passport formalities were rapid, with me getting a 'welcome back' from the passport officer, who has seen me many times over the years.
The luggage arrived in about 10 minutes, which allowed me to take a quick espresso in the arrivals lounge, collect my case and pick up my car from the parking lot. From landing to arriving at home took about 35 minutes.
This was approximately my 250th flight with Air Malta, I can count the bad ones on the fingers of one hand.
To be honest, it's got 'mid-life crisis' written all over it.
For in the past few months, Continental Club seems to have been reprising travels of yore with some regularity.
On this occasion then, our mind is cast back to the middle of a sultry 1981 night; a night further laden with excitement and expectation, as CC took to the skies for the very first time.
Destination: Malta. Airline: Air Malta. ETD: 02:00hrs.
In the thirty years that have passed since, much has changed in the world of commercial aviation. Fares have plummeted as fast as the frills have vanished from our ever-more-frequent flying. Airlines have come and gone, destinations have waxed and waned in popularity, high-speed rail has been touted as the future of shorthaul travel and soft, cuddly branding with Jackson Pollock-esque fuselage colour-schemes have become the norm.
Malta itself has, in the same time period, joined the European Union (2004), signed up to the Schengen Agreement (2007) and entered the Eurozone (2008).
And yet little Air Malta, flag carrier to this seventh most populous country in the world, seems to have remained an aviation constant; a barely changed livery, sporty nocturnal schedules and, almost unbelievably on the booking confirmation page of the carrier's website, the words 'Economy' and 'Meal' included together under the flight information. Now that doesn't happen very often any more.
However, if there's one memory of that 1981 flight that overrides all others, it was in fact the catering. And, more specifically, the sausage. At no time before or since had something so monumentally awful been offered up to the CC tastebuds. The combination of the consistency of a rotten grape and the taste of an infantryman's hosiery is one that has rendered itself unforgettable these long years past.
The question might therefore be: had the food changed as little as the colourscheme?
First though, online check-in: available from 23 hours prior to departure. Clearly, it was unlikely that an alarm call for 03:20 the previous day would be set but, at a more sociable 07:30, the system was given a whirl.
'Reservation not found.'
Same at 08:30, and at 09:30. At 12:30, the Swissport-operated system finally deigned to enliven itself and seat 4F was selected, in the first available row of this economy-only flight. Natty boarding card duly printed too.
So then, to Manchester Airport T2 for flight KM3149 to Malta's Luqa airport, ETD 02:20. At this hour of the night 'T2' could easily stand for 'Twilight 2one' as not a single solitary other flight, nor check-in desk is operating. No landside concessions are open. The Radisson SAS next door has got sick of passengers nursing coffees and has booted them out and into the void of the terminal.
That said, there are only 64 of us and at least the desks are opened a bit early. Our lovely laser-printed boarding cards are presented for bag-drop, and unceremoniously trashed to be replaced with traditional airport ones. Printers: 1. The environment: 0.
Unsurprisingly, ther's no queue at security, although it's just as well as the whole system, a combination of Heathrow Terminal 5's trays and rollers, combined with body scanners that may or may not have been operational. A wanded pat down and then a separate shoe scan either suggested bored staff, a clear and present danger or just the most inefficient system yet devised.
Airside, one duty free shop and one cafe were lit and serving. Security announcements echoed trough the building, the bodies of 64 close-to-zombies absorbing few of the decibels.
Boarding is by way of jetty, but downstairs from the gate lounge. The crew, waiting at the door of the Airbus A319, could not have looked less pleased to see us. Neither the Purser, eyes bloodshot, nor his colleague, seemed the slightest bit interested in verifying boarding passes, nor seat assignments nor, well, the presence of their own pulses, it seemed.
Doors closed, pushback came early and the overhead screens unfurled in preparation for the safety demonstration. Which, truth be told, looked like it had been filmed on Cine8 and copied a few times on to VHS. The crew paid no attention to whether anyone else was paying attention, other than a final cabin walkthrough and seatbelt check.
At which point, the Purser, who would normally have been expected to take his seat on the crew jumpseat at the front passenger door, harnessed and rear-facing in the best possible position to observe, assist and direct in case of emergency, came into the empty forward Club cabin, took seat 1C, reclined it and stayed there until after takeoff.
Pam Ann would be so proud.
Once airborne, the screens were lowered again to show the moving map, and the cabin service began. The much-anticipated meal was proffered, along with complimentary tea, coffee and soft drinks.
And, there it was, lurking behind the loft insulation egg and next to the 37 beans:
The sausage of 1981.
Seats are arranged three-three in Economy, with just a touch more legroom in Club but a removable table which clips into the middle seats of the latter, to provide a buffer between the aisle and window seats.
The colour scheme is broadly blue, grey and red, with blue leather seats looking a bit worn but otherwise reasonably comfortable and with passable recline.
Unfortunately, the otherwise relatively classy design is let down by some seriously tacky (and limp) advertising antimacassars flapping forlornly from each seat top.
The meal service included the bar service, followed by tea and coffee and then a top-up run. The coffee was, by all accounts, a reasonable foil for the sausage; instant and all that would be expected from that, with the added horror of 1980s powdered-creamer.
Landing at Luqa, a former military base that struggles to disguise it, was almost half an hour early, and disembarkation is by stairs and bus for all.
Immigration was thankfully deserted - unlike it had been thirty years ago when we'd been herded into a huge shed, behind the occupants of previously-arrived 707s and 737s, with lazily swirling fans doing little to move more than a wisp of air.
It's a short walk along twisting corridors and down an escalator to the baggage hall, where the screens proudly proclaimed the imminent arrival of our trunks on belt three, whilst the handlers sent everything on to two instead as it was presumably ten yards less for them to drive to.
This, from the airport recently 'awarded' ACI Europe Best Airport 2010: Up to 5 Million Passengers Category. The other winners, rising through the sizes, were Lyon Airport, Manchester Airport and Barcelona Airport. The uncharitable might speculate that no other airports in the respective categories had been inspected in 2010 given that none of them are generally noted for outstanding operations.....
Once through Arrivals, it's easy to spot your waiting driver - or to visit the taxi office to arrange a pre-paid and fixed-fare ride to your ultimate destination. And, outside, your first view of dawn in Malta is one that's extraordinarily representative of an island that seems constantly in a stated of reconstruction; dusty, chaotic, industrious, historic, civilised, proud, hideously ugly in part and splendidly beautiful in most.
Even the Air Malta tailfins lined up on the retreating apron seem to reflect something of those island's paradoxes - a stylish counterpoint to the pages of each morning's The Times of Malta, with its regular stories alluding to (if not actually reporting in full) the airline's financial woes, the island government's petitions to the EU for an approved state-supported restructuring, the tales of lamentable customer service and the tides of former passengers boarding Ryanair and easyJet's services - not just to the UK but intra-Europe too.
Which seems such a shame, as this could be one of Europe's great little airlines again, based on an island which has been a crossroads and a bridgehead for the meeting of cultures for thousands of years.
Hopefully then, its current troubles prove not to be terminal, and rather an aviation mid-life crisis.