One explanation for the nickname “flying coffins” – formerly attached jokingly to the Rejang express boats – is that they are indeed long and narrow, and feature aircraft-like seating. Otherwise they are serviceable, if not massively comfortable or user-friendly: boarding means stepping off the jetty onto the boat’s rim or gunwale and walking around until you reach the entrance hatch. You may also have to fling your luggage atop the roof yourself, although sometimes staff are on hand to help load and unload.
Several companies operate the boats, but look out for people selling Bahagia and Husqvarna tickets at the boat terminal; both stand out for having more comfortable boats that are also more likely to leave on time and to have windows through which you can see clearly – though the jungle views get monotonous after a while. Otherwise you’ll have to be entertained by the onboard DVDs of Hong Kong soaps or gory Hollywood action flicks.