Flying With MASwings ATR 72

Posted on: March 6th, 2013 by Adrian No Comments

Flying With MASwings On The ATR 72

On our trip to Tawau on 13th February, we flew with MASwings on their new aircrafts, ATR 72-500. We decided to go with MAS wings as the departure time was better for us and we have never been on the ATR-72 before.

Personally, I like flying on turbo-props as it is more of a fun ride and I love the sound the propellers produced. The actual flying time is about the same as is your luggage limits.

Just be sure that carry-on luggage does not exceed 115cm or 45inches. The space is a lot smaller on an ATR 72 compared to an Airbus od Air Asia.

Mas Wings ATR 72

Mas Wings ATR 72-500, flying from Kota Kinabalu to Tawau.

I am not sure my 6 year old Princess liked the aircraft as much as a jet engine but the in-flight refreshments made up for that. With the flight time about 40 minutes, the kids do not have much time to get bored.

View of Sabah From The Air

Shangri La Tanjung Aru Resort just on the top left

Flying With MASwings: The ATR 72 500-600
Flying on the ATR 72 feels just like a jet engine, especially during the flight itself, take-off and landing. The seating is 4 abreast, 2 on each side of the aisle. The leather seats are spacious enough unless you are a lot bigger than I am. Here is another reason why I like propeller plans, it is more susceptible to turbulence. My 3 year old Angel was seated next to me and we had fun riding the little bit of air turbulence our pilots managed to find for us.

I guess the ATR 72 makes a lot of sense for MAS to operate on domestic flights within Sabah. Low noise, low fuel consumption per passenger and lower CO2 emissions, plus faster turn-around times. It does loses out in freight capacity which is a consideration for aircrafts flying from Tawau.

Many people are put off by turbo-props and think that it is not as safe as a jet airliner. I do not know where they got that idea from. The ATR 72 is a state of the art aircraft that delivers a comfortable and fast flight.

Flying With MASwings: Our Tawau Trip

We spent 3 days and 2 nights in Tawau, hanging out with my in-laws and just generally just taking it easy. Most family gatherings in Tawau revolves around food and games like Mahjong or Gin Rummy. Of course, my kids are there for the ang pows and the mischief that only a gang of kids can achieve.

On the 3rd day, I would be driving us into to Semporna in a Toyota Camry. Most times, I end up driving a Toyota 4WD, so I was happy to drive a car for a change. We stopped by for lunch and I met a friend in the coffee shop. He asked me where I was headed, so I told him we were heading towards Semporna.

Then he pulled me aside and asked me if I heard the news. Hundreds of gunmen from the Philippines had landed in Lahad Datu the previous evening. The intruders said they were here to reclaim the land for the Sultan of Sulu. Reports were sketchy and they were expecting up to 1,000 armed individuals. Looking around, I could see a YB in his field uniform along with other agency heads at my friend’s table.

We went to Semporna anyway and listen to the radio during the drive there. For once, my friend was not kidding when he said they were armed intruders. But we made in without incident and spent a safe night in Semporna. Things would not start to escalate until 2 weeks later.

For more news on the incident, read

Driving A Saloon Versus A 4WD
It used to be said that Sabah has the highest number of 4wd vehicles in Malaysia and this used to be true. Before the popularity of SUV and good roads, we needed 4wd to get to places like Semporna. The road trip to Semporna takes the same amount of time whether you are driving a Toyota Land Cruiser or a Camry.

The thing to consider though is driver and passenger comfort. I would say that it is more comfortable for passengers in a large saloon while it is more comfortable for the driver in a 4wd. The larger wheels and higher field of vision makes it more comfortable to drive. On our trip, all the passengers fell asleep during the trip leaving me the odd one out.

Flying With MASwings: My Return Flight

Having made a safe trip to Semporna and we went directly to Tawau airport for the flight home. My brother-in-law dropped us off and I went to check-in while my wife and kids explored the airport. Check-in took longer than normal, and after a couple minutes, the guy at the counter looks at my ticket and asked me if I wanted to fly today. A odd question, I thought and I looked at the ticket date again. It read March 2013….that meant my ticket was booked for next month instead.

Inside MasWings ATR72

Inside the cabin of Mas Wings ATR72

I headed over to the ticketing office and discovered that my wallet and handphone was with my wife. So I had to go search for them. When everything got sorted out, we managed to buy 4 tickets for the last flight out of Tawau and called my brother-in-law to come pick us up again.

Needless to say, the person (it wasn’t me) who booked the tickets had a new chapter added to their life history. Overall, it costed us almost RM850 for the flight home but gave me a new travel misadventure story to tell.

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