Tried & Tested

Malaysia Airlines A380 First Class

29 Apr 2016 by BusinessTraveller
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CHECK-IN

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 LOUNGE

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.

BOARDING

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.

THE SEAT

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.

THE FLIGHT

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.

ARRIVAL

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
 Rania Apthorpe
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