A bucket list is a term used by some English-speakers to describe a list of adventures they want to have before they die.
The "My Ultimate Bucket List Campaign" asked customers to come up with suggestions, the best of which would win prizes including flights on the airline.
All references to the bucket list have been scrubbed from the airline's website but cached copies of the competition's terms and conditions are still visible in Google searches.
A statement from Malaysia Airlines said the contest in Australia and New Zealand was launched online Monday, but removed the next day after a barrage of public criticism.
The title was "found to be inappropriate at this point of time," it said Thursday. "The airline appreciates and respects the sentiments of the public and in no way did it intend to offend any parties."
A Malaysia Airlines jet with 239 people on board went missing March 8 while en route to Beijing and no trace of it has been found. In July, a Malaysia Airlines jet was shot down over Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.
The airline had a good safety record before the disasters and was once associated with high-quality service. But the twin disasters, and the airlines handling of the first one in particular, has badly damaged its brand.
The airline's majority shareholder, state investment company Khazanah, last week announced it would cut 6,000 workers at Malaysia Airlines as part of a $1.9 billion overhaul.
Danica Weeks, whose husband was a passenger on the vanished Flight 370, told the New Zealand Herald the promotion was "atrocious" and reflected the airline's insensitivity to families of victims.
The contest was reinstated on Wednesday and will run until the end of the year but without any new title as "the focus is on the prizes," the airline said.