Photo review of Malaysia Airlines flight from Kuala Lumpur to Tokyo in Economy
The transit stop was only scheduled for a short 1h15m, which meant it was off the aircraft, a quick browse at the shops and boarding would be starting. Our flight to Narita would be departing from the Main Terminal Building as well, thus there was no need to take the train to the satellite terminal.
The famous aircraft model display at KLIA.
Our aircraft being catered. The aircraft scheduled for the flight was initially the A330, but was changed to a B772 slightly less than a month ago.
Departing from H4 for the red-eye to Narita.
9M-MRC. a B777-200, will be operating the flight this evening. With the 2 MH incidents involving B772s, there is no denying that a short wave of solemnness overcame me just before boarding the aircraft.
30 April 2015 Malaysia Airlines MH 88 Kuala Lumpur (KUL) - Tokyo Narita (NRT) B777-200 9M-MRC Economy Class
Boarding was called shortly after we cleared through security at the gate and again it was very orderly. Guess this is the norm for Japan-bound flights as Japanese, whom I guess made up at least half the passengers, are well-known for their orderliness.
Welcomed at the door and directed to the correct aisle. Economy class on MH's B772s are fitted in a not-so-usual 2-5-2 configuration. On each seat is placed a pillow, blanket and headset.
We took the 2-seaters at the second last row on the left. The seats are of the first-generation type with personal 6 IFE screens. Think SQ's non-retrofitted B772s. Even though the seats do not have the latest gadgets, they are very comfortable and legroom is awesome, boasting a 34 pitch!
We had brand new May edition of the inflight magazine.
A row of B738s beside us.
Boarding again is completed very efficiently for a 100% full flight. 6 cabin crew will be serving us in Economy tonight, with 2 stewardess and a steward at our rear economy cabin. Flight time was estimated to be around 6h30m.
Pushed back slightly behind schedule and safety video played. The video quality on these tiny screens was really quite bad…
Had a short taxi to Rwy32R and we departed in the darkness to Narita!
Climbing over Putrajaya.
Seat belt signs turned off and service announcement was made. All announcements were made in 3 languages, Malay, English and Japanese.
I switched to the interactive mode of the IFE system and surprisingly the screen quality improved dramatically. However, no touch-screen here and navigation is through the classic handsets.
Audio-video on demand is available and selections are more than sufficient for this mid-haul flight. Initially chose to watch the movie Horrible Bosses 2 but haing being very pampered by today's seatback screen sizes of 8 and bigger, it was not shiok (a Singlish term to mean satisfying) to watch the movie on a teeny weeny 6 screen.
Refreshment service commenced shortly after seatbelt signs were switched off.
No choices for refreshment. We were offered a huge tuna croissant, a pack of peanuts and choices of drinks. I went for an apple juice and a tea. The tuna croissant was not bad and sufficiently filled me up.
After finishing the snack, I decided to switch the IFE to flight map mode and call it a night.
Amenities in the lavatory.
Clearing the trash.
Immediately after refreshment service, cabin lights were turned off and I settled into bed. The seats are really comfortable with thick cushioning and generous recline (see picture below). I just prefer these old-style seats to the current slim-line and hard seats increasingly used by many carriers.
Slept for about 3hrs and woke up as we were nearing Okinawa.
Sun is gradually rising.
About 2.5hrs before arrival, the cabin lights were switched on in preparation for breakfast. It is not everyday one can have a breakfast while watching sunrise.
Breakfast tray was delivered, which consisted of a yoghurt, warm roll with butter, cut fruits and a hot dish (Nasi Lemak or Omelette with sausages). I had an orange juice with the meal. As the seat belt signs were switched on due to slight turbulence, crew were not able to offer hot beverages.
Fresh fruits (papaya, pineapple and melon cubes) and strawberry yoghurt.
My omelette selection, which came with potato wedges, a chicken sausage and a grilled juicy tomato. The omelette also contained spinach wrapped within. Overall, it was a pretty generous and delicious breakfast dish!
The other choice was Nasi Lemak with Sambal prawns, half a boiled egg and condiments. Pretty average and AirAsia can do a better Nasi Lemak than this.
Admiring the sunrise while having breakfast.
Skimming above a massive cloud layer with some turbulence. Guess the weather must be pretty bad down there.
After a while, turbulence subsided and seat belt signs were turned off. As the crew had already cleared the meal trays, they proactively came out with trays of pre-poured hot coffee/tea and offered to passengers. I chose a coffee.
Service on this flight was rather good, with friendly and efficient crew. Typical of an average SQ economy flight I would say, just in a different coloured kebaya. I think a couple of drink runs were conducted mid-flight as well as I sort of remembering seeing crew walking down the aisle with trays of drinks during my slumber.
A view of the fully packed Economy cabin.
Nothing but clouds out there.
About 40min prior to arrival, the pilot came on and announced the weather in Tokyo as well as the estimated arrival time. Cabin crew were asked to prepare for landing.
Preparations for arrival and headsets were collected.
Descending into Narita.
Video of the approach, with clear skies and nice rural scenery.
On finals as we approached from the north.
Smooth landing into Tokyo Narita International Rwy16L, 20 minutes ahead of schedule.
Taxiing to Terminal 2.
Passing the newly opened Low-Cost Terminal, Terminal 3. Guess the biggest operator out of the new terminal is Jetstar Japan.
Reached Terminal 2, which is the hub terminal for Oneworld carriers
Parked beside a JAL B763.
Video of the landing and taxi.
Disembarking, with crew thanking pax and bade farewell at the doors.
A rather messy business class cabin haha. But seat pitch is incredible!
View of aircraft after disembarked.
Narita's Terminal 2 is definitely a major hub for Japan Airlines.
Surprisingly, immigration at Narita's Terminal 2 was totally empty and we passed through within 5 minutes. I would have though that it would be the period of the morning peak arrivals from South-East Asian countries. Apparently, this was not the case, as the arrival board at baggage claim showed only 4 arrival flights around our arrival time. Guess with Haneda's expansion for international flights, many of the premium morning arrivals have been moved to Haneda instead.
Another 5 minutes for baggage collection and we were out of the baggage claim in record time! Bought tickets for the Airport Limousine bus service, which came with a 2-days subway pass, to Shinjuku my hotel will be located.
Stayed at Hotel Gracery Shinjuku, which was newly opened just a week prior to this trip! Spot the Godzilla!
Room size was Tokyo-sized and reasonable but bathroom was really huge with a separate shower/bath area!
View from room.
Godzilla! It was right outside the lobby of the hotel at the 8th storey.
Lunch at a popular katsu restaurant in Takashimaya Shinjuku.
Tempura for dinner!
Followed by oh-so-sinful-but-so-delicious cakes from HARBS to end the first day in Tokyo!
Hachiko, we meet again!
Shibuya pedestrian scramble!
Exploring the nooks and crannies of Shibuya.
A delicious warm bowl of Ichiran ramen!
Roadside stall with long queues selling ice-cream in crispy warm bread. Very nice!
Strolling through Yoyogi park. Spring has arrived and the greenery has sprouted.
Quaint shopping lanes in Harujuku.
Teatime at a floral-themed Aoyama Flower Market Café in Harujuku.
Even the takeaways from the local supermarkets are so tasty!
Highlight of the trip was the visit to the Fuji Shibazakura Festival. Booked a day tour as it was the Japan Golden Week holidays and public transportation is expected to be packed. However, the Golden Week rush was worst than expected with lengthy jams on the highways, resulting in our original 2hr drive to Fuji becoming a 4-5hr drive each way! Note to self: No more trips to Japan during the Golden Week.
After an almost 5hr bus ride, the first stop was Azaleas garden at Hotel de Yama, Hakone, overlooking Lake Aishi. The Azaleas were just starting to bloom and thus were not as colourful as expected.
Grabbing a bento set for lunch.
Along the way to Fuji Shiazakura, with the sun almost setting due to the constant jams.
Finally reached the site of Shibazakura, 1hr before closing! Better late than never! A few tour buses also arrived at this time due to the horrible jams along the way.
A field of pink, white and purple.
Mt Fuji decided to make an appearance just before sunset! And the view was spectacular!!
Another tiring 4hrs of jam back to Tokyo where I grabbed a cheap and tasty beef rice bowl and called it a day.
Cabin crew 8.0
Kuala Lumpur - KUL
Tokyo - NRT
I must say that MH offers a reasonably good service at a very competitive fare. Maybe I was lucky to encounter dedicated and friendly cabin crew (especially with stories of declining service standards and low morals of crew) but I did not find any difference in service standards from my previous flights with MH. Catering was good (maybe because Tokyo is a premium route?) and flight was comfortable even with the full cabin. Frills may not be as much as premium carriers, (such as no menus, hot towels or amenity kits in Economy) but they are of minor details. Overall, it was certainly value-for-money to fly with Malaysia Airlines!
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