I arrived at Heathrow T4 at 0845 for my 1050 departure. Malaysia Airlines does not offer a chauffeur-drive service at Heathrow for first class passengers. I completed check-in quickly at the dedicated desk and used fast-track security.
The airline’s lounge was not far from Gate 6, where the flight was departing, and I accessed it via a lift. The business and first class sections were separated by a glass door. The first class lounge looked opulent, with its white and gold colour theme, and there was a good range of European and Asian dishes on offer, although I thought it could have had more staff to make it a truly luxurious experience.
I headed to the gate at 1025. First and business class passengers had their own airbridge. I was on board quickly, greeted by friendly staff and offered juice but not champagne, since I was told the bar only opened once the aircraft was airborne.
First class is located at the front of the main deck (see seatplan, right) and comprises eight seats in a 1-2-1 layout. I was in window seat 1A, which faces a companion seat, with a 23-inch TV screen above it. There is storage space beneath, although this must be left clear for take-off and landing. At the side was a small wardrobe with hangers and an amenity bag with Bulgari toiletries, pyjamas, socks and an eye mask. There was a menu under the central tray table. Upholstered in maroon fabric with a red and grey surround, the seat was wide and comfortable and, while not fully enclosed, felt private and spacious. A power socket and entertainment controls were under a shelf to the left, which were hard to use as I couldn’t see them. There were three pre-set seat positions and a footrest.
WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE?
I preferred the window seats as they give you more privacy.
We pushed back on time and took off at 1105. Noise-cancelling headphones were given out and a drinks service began – the champagne was Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2005. I ordered caviar and smoked salmon with blinis and melba toast. The main meal could be served at a time of my choice, and breakfast was ordered in advance (this was to be served two and a half hours before landing unless one doesn’t want to be disturbed). From the main menu, I had the Malaysian chicken satay, and for breakfast the nasi lemak (a Malay rice dish), possibly the best I’ve had on a flight.
After watching a film, I reclined fully-flat, opened my blanket and slept. I am five-foot five so there was lots of room, but even someone taller would have found the seat spacious enough for a good night’s rest. The bed cover was very comfortable and there were silk pillowcases. I only woke because of turbulence. Crew were quiet during the night.
We landed at 0735 local time and dis
embarked quickly. There was a five-minute walk to a shuttle transfer, which took me to immigration and baggage reclaim. Immigration was fast and it did not take long to retrieve my case.VERDICT Malaysian Airlines is working hard to offer a good-quality product, as expected from an Asian airline. I found the flight extremely pleasant. The food was excellent and the crew were attentive and polite. The in-flight entertainment could do with a wider selection of new films but the experience was comfortable and tranquil. Going straight to a presentation, I was pleased to feel fresh and alert on arrival. FACT FILE
- DEPARTURE TIME 1050
- JOURNEY TIME 13hrs 30mins
- AIRCRAFT TYPE A380
- CONFIGURATION 1-2-1
- SEAT WIDTH 26.1in/66cm; 40in/ 102cm when reclined
- SEAT RECLINE 180 degrees
- BED LENGTH 87in/221cm
- PRICE Internet rates for a return first class flight from London to Kuala Lumpur in June ranged between £3,862 and £9,232
- CONTACT malaysiaairlines.com