KUL – BKK – KUL.
I had arrived earlier on a Malaysia Airlines flight from LHR and was already in possession of my boarding card for the onward flight to BKK. KL airport consists of two main terminals (known as ‘main’ and ‘satellite’) as well as a dedicated LCC terminal. The majority of longhaul flights depart and arrive at the satellite terminal as did mine so I had to take the airside shuttle train to the main terminal where my flight to BKK was departing. Security screening is done at the entry to each gate.
Malaysia Airlines operates Golden Club lounges in both the main and satellite terminals. The lounge in the main terminal was very aesthetically pleasing with water features and views out to the apron. It was quite busy at this time in the morning which I guess is a peak time for those connecting and departing.
I still found no problem finding a seat and perched myself at one of the bar stools over looking the apron. Food and drink options were good. Many hot and cold options, both western and Malaysian predominantly breakfast items at this time of day. There was also a manned bar with barista as well as self serve soft drinks.
One small thing I found really odd both in this lounge and the larger one in the satellite terminal was that there are absolutely no coke or Pepsi or their associated brand products, just local soft drinks. There was also a king of noodle bar with made to order noodles as well a showers and prayer rooms. Wifi was free and fast (code displayed on reception desk).
– boarding. Priority boarding was given to Business Class and top tier FFP’s. This was rigorously enforced.
Once on board I was greeted by delightful crew (much younger than on the longhaul flights) and offered a newspaper as well as welcome drink (apple, orange or guava juice). Menus were distributed as well as cold towels (welcome as the temperature in KL was sweltering). Menus were also distributed and drink orders taken for post take off. A welcome announcement was given by the captain which was oddly only done in English.
We pushed back ontime and were airborne within minutes.
The 737-800’s are configured 2×2 in Business class and take up rows 1 – 4 (AC EF) making a total of 16 seats. The seat themselves are very comfortable recliners with ample leg room and a decent recline for a short haul flight. The seats are upholstered in leather and each had a small blanket and pillow on it. MUCH better than anything you will find on a short haul European narrow body and even better than what I have experienced with US/Australian narrow body ‘fixed’ J class options.
It’s worth bearing in mind though that MH uses the 737’s in these configurations for ‘regional’ flights of up to five and a half hours. So while the cabin is a delight for a short hop it may not be ideal for a flight of say KUL-Delhi.
After take off the delightful crew delivered my post take off drink (coffee) and took orders for breakfast.
The starter was fruit and yoghurt with bakery selection as well as a choice of three mains:
Nasi Lemak with prawn sambal or mixed grill with scrambled eggs or Pancakes. I took the Malaysian Lemak (my FOURTH time eating that dish since departing LHR lol) and was again impressed. Further drinks were offered before the trays being cleared in. The views over the Andaman sea were sublime and in no time we had commenced out descent into BKK.
Crew: I believe it is the younger crew on the short haul flights whom MH can thank for their Skytrax ‘best cabin crew’ award. I guess there is a hierarchy in MH as the crew on both longhaul flights were of the more ‘mature’ variety and on the two short haul flights much younger. Without a doubt the younger crew on short haul flights ran rings around their longhaul counterparts. My name was used without fail. They were very enthusiastic and proactive unlike the longhaul crew whom I found a bit distant.
IFE: on this particular 737 there was none although the safety demonstration was played from screens that drop from the ceiling and there was headphone sockets so the capability is there. I believe that on some 737-800’s (I guess the ones operating the longer regional flights) have PTV’s with AVOD in J
There is true priority disembarkation for J class passengers. The crew rush to the dividing curtain when the aircraft pulls on stand and close it until J class passengers have disembarked. Unfortunately for me the speedy exit from the aircraft did not help me get out of the airport any quicker as my bags were literally last on the belt in baggage claim in both BKK and KUL despite being appropriately tagged.
An excellent service and one that runs rings around what we are used to in Europe. I’m not sure if I would want to fly all the way from KL to say DEL given the choice but for shorter hops 10/10.