6th February 2014 at 23:10 #581303
Anonymous6th February 2014 at 23:10 #581304
Kuala Lumpur – Melbourne
Booking and check in:
We booked online directly with MH at Malaysiaairlines.com as part of a Hong Kong – KL – Melbourne itinerary. You are able to choose your seats at booking and we choose a window/aisle pair at row 3. We arrived at KUL at 7:30am via the KLIA Ekspress train (which touts itself as ‘the fastest train in southeast asia). We proceeded to the First/Business Class check in island and were checked in swiftly. Using Fast Track departure cards we were once again through immigration within minutes. However directly after immigration there is a central security screening with no Fast Track. It was only a cursory screen though. I didn’t even need to take my laptop out of my bag. A second more strict screening takes place at the gate. We boarded the transit for the short journey to the satellite terminal where longhaul flights depart.
The main lounge complex is in the satellite terminal and consists of First and Business Class lounges and both had recently been reopened after some minor renovations. Using our OneWorld Emerald status we went into the F lounge. It was fairly quiet and the dining room was on the immediate right as you entered. Further down was the main lounge which was more ‘homely’ furnished than design like. There was a small buffet station opposite with a few items and some soft drinks. Further down there are showers and ‘slumberette’ rooms. We took a seat in the main lounge and were a little unsure of what to do to be honest. The place had quite a sterile feel about it and despite there being very few passengers and loads of staff no-one approached us. I normally prefer to help myself to a coffee or drink or snack but there was literally nowhere here to do it. No manned bar or food station. After being sat there for around ten minutes and not being approached (in fact the staff just kind of stood back and eerily observed) we made our way to the dining room. We walked in and it is all very nicely set up but had a little the feeling of a wedding reception room. Again it was very quiet. We took a seat and I counted six staff in the restaurant. We were offered a menu which seemed limited but some nice options. There were two noodle options, a ribeye steak option or baked lobster. Both myself and my partner chose the steak which was absolutely delicious. Again the staff kind of just stood there and watched us eat. No wine offered or top ups of water. They just watched. Despite the excellent meal we couldn’t wait to get out of there and we went next door to the Business Lounge instead. The Business Lounge was busy but not overly. It is a similar set up to the First Lounge. Light on design features, more substance over style. The dining options were actually much better in terms of variety than the First lounge. There was a hot buffet, a Bistro with sandwiches and salads, a barista station, a manned bar and a noodle station for made to order noodles.
Boarding/pre take off/first impressions:
We headed to the gate about 40 minutes before departure. There was another security screening at the gate this time laptops out, no liquids – so don’t buy a bottle of water in the terminal to take on the plane as you will lose it. There were separate airbridges for Economy and Business Class so boarding was very swift and organised.
First impressions of the Business Class cabin on the A330 were unfortunately not positive. In comparison to the A380 the A330 product is very poor and the cabin seems dated and cramped. The Business Class cabin has six rows of six abreast seating of the angled flat variety. If you have ever experienced the last generation American Airlines angled flat bed – this is pretty much identical. As we were taking a daylight flight it was OK for us although I would not like to fly with this product on a night flight as I find the bed position very uncomfortable. The seat can only be reclined to three pre set positions. A take off and landing one, a lounging one, and a bed one. You cannot recline the seat to a preferred position or raise the legrest independently. Storage space is virtually nil apart from the overhead lockers. Privacy between yourself and your seat mate is non-existent. PC power was available and the TV monitor is located in the seat in front of you. On this flight the IFE headsets, Tumi washbags and menus were already at each seat. Also a very comfortable duvet…let down by the smalled thinnest pillow I have ever had in long haul Business Class.
What is particularly disappointing is that this product is a relatively new product for MH being only a few years old. Why they went for a last generation product is beyond me. Although they do consider the Australian routes where the A330’s are rostered as ‘medium haul’. I would have placed an eight hour flight in the ‘long haul’ category myself. The whole cabin had a very cheap feel about it which you wouldn’t expect from a ‘five star’ skytrax airline. Ironically, the product that this had replaced (the older 777 angled flat product) was a lot more comfortable and spacious than this newer one.
Pre departure drinks of guava, apple or orange juice were offered and immigratin forms and arrivals fast track cards for Australia were also distributed. Our departure was delayed for around 45 minutes due to some cargo that had arrived late at the aircraft.
Which seat to choose:
The seat rows are 1-7 (there is no row 3). Row 1 offered slightly more legroom but had a galley directly in front. I would probably avoid the last row as it has the main galley directly behind it. If I was travelling solo I would probably go for one of the seats in the middle pair. WIndow seats will require you to climb over your seatmate in the aisle if they are in bed mode – and the aisle seat of the window pairs will have you climbed over.
This morning flight was a ‘brunch’ service with a refreshment before landing. Once again we had booked our meals online and I had ordered the Nasi Lemak (which was delicious) and my partner a lamb shank (also excellent).
After take off the cabin crew came through the aisles with thick hot towels and then laid our tables with table cloths. Our meal trays were then delivered with our starter and dessert on them and drinks were served at the same time. The mains followed. Kapiti ice cream and tea and coffee finished off the meal service. The food was ok. It was a little disappointing to have the starter and dessert on the same tray. The bread was horrible and dry. I would have though a ‘premium’ airline on a long haul flight would have offered dessert separately at the end of the meal. Perhaps this was because the meal was brunch. Trays were cleared away and the lights dimmed. The IFE was the same offering as our A380 flight from HKG and I watched a few TV programs. In the middle of the flight we had a rather alarming announcement asking everyone to switch off their electronic devices as there was ‘electrical disturbance in the flight deck’. Around two hours before arrival into Melbourne the second service commenced with the obligatory satay (again a massive portion) followed by a tray with the light meal although this was a tiny portion (one prawn and two scallops). The trays were all cleared away and we decended into Melbourne.
The crew were ok. They represented more of the type of service I am used to receiving on Malaysian. Slightly aloof, not many smiles. Very much ‘going through the motions’. The lady serving our aisle was in a great mood at the beginning of the flight but had descended into a very bad mood towards the end of the flight.
Starters: Fruit juice
Mains: Nasi Lemak – rice cooked in coconut milk served with spicy ikan bills and prawn sambal.
Vegetable Frittata with chicken sausage, buttered spinach & tomato
Mixed Grill – Beef touredos, lamb cutlet, chicken sausage.
Blueberry pancakes with maple syrup.
Dessert: Rhubard and apple crumble
Kapiti ice cream
Refreshment: Malaysian Satay of checken and beef skewers followed by
Wasabi prawn and grilled scallops
Dessert: Blueberry cheesecake.
We landed in Melbourne half an hour late. We were swiftly though immigration though with fast track and as it seemed that this was a quiet time to arrive. We waited about fifteen minutes for our bags.
The check in experience, lounge, food and inflight service are all fairly good. The ‘checf on call’ service is excellent. The biggest let down though is the seating on the A330. Malaysia does price keenly in J Class on it’s flights ‘down under’ but to be honest I would prefer to pay a little more next time and fly Cathay until Malaysian fits a new J product.8th February 2014 at 10:34 #581305
Interesting to hear about the mid-flight ‘electronic devices’ announcement, rferguson. I had the same on a recent MH flight, on an A380 as I recall. Far from the usual calm “ladies and gentlemen, would you mind awfully…” type of announcement, this was a far more abrupt “do it now, it’s an emergency” kind of tone.
It did make me wonder whether, for all the relaxing of rules and widening acceptance that electronic devices are probably ok in-flight, perhaps they’re not as safe as we think, and the announcement is part of MH’s troubleshooting procedure (bit odd to make it so alarmist though). Or perhaps MH pilots are encountering issues they have not experienced before or been trained for… Either would be a little worrying…
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