Flight-Report

Review of Malaysia Airlines flight Kuala Lumpur Paris in Business

Airline Malaysia Airlines
Flight MH20
Class Business
Seat 10A
Aircraft Airbus A380-800
Flight time 13:00
Take-off 26 Jun 15, 23:40
Arrival at 27 Jun 15, 06:40
MH   #40 out of 126 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 172 reviews
marathon
By GOLD 8085
Published on 17th July 2015
This is the last leg in a four week vacation + business trip in China; I detoured through Kuala Lumpur on the way back. The flight to China was part of my vacation, therefore in economy, but the flight back home was part of the business extension, therefore in business class, as per my company’s travel policy.

I posted the reports on all these flights in economy in French (links below; you are welcome to post comments there in English, though), but I thought this flight in business was worth producing an English version, and that it could be posted first (you are welcome to post comments here in French, though^^).

CDG - PVG : MU370 (A332) Yixing's earthware
PVG - CGO : FM8389 (B738) the temples in Kaifeng
CGO - PEK : CA1326 (B738) MiG Alley
PEK - TYN : high speed train
TYN - PVG : MU2402 (B738) Best happiness wishes !
HGH - CTU : CA1741 (A319) The sadness of Hangzhou under the rain
CTU - XIY : CA8926 (B738) Chengdu by night
XIY - PEK : CA1232 (A320) The Great Wall from the sky
PEK - CSX : CA1363 (A321) Xinzhongjie survived!
CSX - PEK : CA1374 (A330) At home in Beijing
PEK - CKG : CA1409 (B738) The HongYaDong extravaganza
CKG - CGQ : CZ6460 (A321) Bad news in Changchun
CGQ - TAO : CZ3938 (A321) The Germans' Riviera in China
TAO - CAN : SC4675 (B738) We regret to announce that Flight SC4675…
CAN - KUL : CZ3407 (A319) Woody Island
KUL - CDG : MH20 (A380) Home, sweet home (you are here)

Like most of my Flight reports, this one is outrageously long, with lots of text and pictures. You have been warned !

There were two direct KUL-CDG direct flights at nearly the same schedule : AF and MH, and I guess that the MH negotiated fare was cheaper. The choice was not mine, but it was welcome, since this gave me a last chance opportunity to fly that route on an A380 : MH which is in deep financial trouble will scale down its offering on that line, and fly B777-200ER from August 4th. There may never be a second report on that airline, on that line, in that aircraft, in that class of travel. There are also rumors that AF will stop operating this line this winter.

My journey did not start with the OLCI the day before.

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Why wait in line when I could do it online?

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Simply because I could not do it online !

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The only thing I could do, which was unrelated to my ticket, was checking that the flight was confirmed on time.

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I had booked a car after my last meeting in KL, but I knew better than require to be driven all the way to the airport on a Friday late afternoon, and I was not going to the airport, but to KL Sentral station, the downtown end station of the KLIA Ekspres train link. It was indeed jammed on the lanes towards both the airport (KLIA) and KL Sentral,

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and the driver took the empty exit to the National Palace.

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See the bumper to bumper traffic below.

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That was an insider’s trick to gain a couple minutes : since the interchange lanes in and out of the expressway were empty, he merged back into the traffic jam further away, getting there faster than if he had stayed in the traffic, and giving me the added bonus of the view of the National Palace (Istana Negara, in Malaysian), i.e. the official head of state residence. The lighting conditions were unfortunately poor.

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Merging back into the traffic

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One day, there will be a subway line to alleviate the road congestion here

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It was indeed jammed towards the airport, where we left towards KL Sentral

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Once I had bought a one way ticket to KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport, a.k.a KUL)

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… I could check in directly there at MH’s counters

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The waiting time was minimal and in no time, my checked luggage was gone and I had my BP and a priority lane pass which was going to be of little use, because the BP turned to be enough to have access to the priority lanes in KUL. The non priority lines were hardly longer, anyway.

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A comfortable 31 minute non-stop ride to KUL

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By coincidence, they even provided the weather report at my destination

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A fleeting glimpse of the runway of Simpang Airport, KL’s original airport, replaced by SZB, and then by KUL. Simpang is now seep in the urban sprawl, and was targeted by real estate developers, but nevertheless survived, used by the air force, police and emergency services, and a small flying club.

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It was not that dark yet when I reached KUL, but the sun nevertheless was going to set soon
(The KLIA Ekspres station is below the terminal : you do not need to go outside)

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It looked more like a setting sun like this

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Inside the terminal, it was quite empty landside

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A foreign exchange booth, oddly advertised in French

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Since I was already checked in, I could go directly to the security and immigration checks. Both were fast.

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There was a priority lane for Business / Elite passengers, but it did not feel like an immense advantage, as the lines for Economy passengers were short .

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The layout of KUL’s satellite terminal is very simple : four perpendicular jetties out of a central core

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There is a miniature tropical forest in the circular core, but it was soon going to be night.

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Each branch of the terminal has bidirectional travelators

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There are luggage trolleys of course, but they are perilously close to tipping over when you only have a laptop case.

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Some plane spotting before the tarmac was dark.
AF 777, operating the competing flight to CDG

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VN A321

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TK A330

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A rarity : Iran Aseman Airlines’ sole A340 has the MSN #2 and was actually the second prototype built by Airbus. She has 23 years of operation and counting.

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An MH 777

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And an MH 380

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The people mover had brought me here

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Looking back from the mezzanine. MH’s lounge is at the far end

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No problem at the welcome desk ; a FIDS was close to the entrance

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I was very disappointed by the quality of the English language newspapers and magazines (the China Daily that I know exceedingly well does not provide much reading, due to its fastidious politically correctness).

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The lounge is split in two by a central buffet in the distance with light color walls (with a service area for storage, heating, etc. hidden it its core), and an area where hot soups can be prepared for you (extreme right, with black walls). The overall surface is therefore double what you see in the following two pictures, with the main area here.

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And an area next to the windows, a couple steps down, on the left.

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These windows provided a decent view of the tarmac, with again Aseman’s vintage A340, but by then, it was night, and there was little lighting on the tarmac. The heavily slanted windows should not be stained by the rain, and plane spotting should be good from there in daytime.

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There are power plugs here and there on the ground

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… but a significant proportion is out of order : the X marking on those was supposed to save me the time of checking their condition. Note that they are G type only : like in HKG, connecting passengers to and from countries using different types of plugs should remember to bring their adapters. This kind of detail is not very connecting passenger friendly.

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I don’t know why they chose to have this raised central area, which is marginally wheelchair accessible. This picture was taken is the exact opposite direction of that of the first picture, with the access into the lounge far right. You have a full view of the “hot soup” counter there.

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I did not try the made to order soups. Behind that counter, therefore nearest to the reception counter.

Vegetable pizza, cold but seemingly meant to be hot or at least warm.

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Beef tart

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Tuna puff

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Chicken sandwiches

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Vegetable sandwiches

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A do-it-yourself salad counter

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Miscellaneous sweet bites

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Quite frankly, I found the decoration much more inspired than the food proposed in that section. I tried a bite of most of them and they reminded of these parties when you made it late, and the food is leftovers which waited slightly too long to taste fresh, yet are perfectly edible.

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OK, let’s have look at the buffet. Both side were more or less the same, only there each was always out of something (some things, rather) at any given time.

There is no negative meaning in my use of quotes here : they identify descriptions which are the verbatim labels, capitals included (I also took a picture of each of them, for the accuracy of the FR).

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Chicken Tom Yam Soup (Chicken) (left) and Pumpkin Soup (right)

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“Chicken curry”

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Ginger beef

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A rice cooker, quite full

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Buttered boiled potatoes

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Buttered vegetable

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Pan fried fish with dill sauce

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Bubur lambok (Malaysian Porridge cooked with Spices, Ginger, Shoot and Coconut Cream) : overall view of the containers

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And the contents.

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This picture captures a rare instant when there were simultaneously knives, forks and spoons together in the same space. Staff did not replenish them fast enough, and I found that aggravating to go ¾ circle around the buffet each time to find a spare item of cutlery (the staff took away much too fast those I had at my seat, any time I left it).

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An example here where forks had vanished on that side of the buffet.

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A standard coffee machine

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Lipton tea bags are not the ones I rate top, but there was tea. Also chopsticks in the rear, for passengers who are unfamiliar with forks and knives.

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These juices are also of the cheap kind

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I do not drink alcohol, and I realize looking at my pictures that I did not even check the offering

This was my selection: rice and chicken curry and a try at the bubur lambok. I have yet to taste a chicken curry that I do not like, the latter was a pleasant surprise.

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I did find food that I liked, but I was unimpressed by the catering of this lounge. I felt like in a food court which would have dramatically improved its decoration and reduced its offering.

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I seated there because that was where there was space and a serviceable power plug. I would understand later why there was space : it was in the vicinity of a TV on a sports channel with the sound too loud for comfort. I should have moved away.

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Nothing special about the toilets. Note the very useful ledgers for personal items in case the floor is wet (it was not)

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The following screenshots are in French, but you will nevertheless get the idea.
Yes I could connect to the Golden Lounge wifi, but that did not provide me an internet access.

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I could not connect to Free_Wifi@KLIA

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Nor to Airport Wifi. In short, I had no access to the internet with my laptop

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I inquired at the small business center of the lounge. The clerk was obviously not a computer expert, but she made a commendable effort to try.

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She was fooled by the fact that MH’s home page was in cache memory, since I had tried the OLCI earlier that day.

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But finding that there was supposedly no flight MH0020 that night showed that something was amiss.

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Don’t you want to use the business center’s computers ?
There are only two of them, neither being used. Not only does everybody travel with a computer, a tablet or a smartphone, but there was no point in using these business center’s computers : they could not access the internet either.

Wired or wireless, the lounge’s internet access was actually down.

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They must have worked on it, because the wifi eventually worked, shortly before I had to board. I barely had time to read and send urgent answers, before leaving the lounge in a rush and walking at a brisk pace to my boarding gate. Some passengers were waiting in line on the left of the travelator.

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The funny thing is that if you took the said travelator (which I did), you naturally reached a much shorter line on the right, as seen here from above. There did not appear to be any priority lane for J/Elite passengers.

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I was directed after the BP check to the upper level

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There were sofas there, but boarding was starting as I reached it.

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It provided a nice view of the A380

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… and an overhead view of the security check area, with the much shorter line in the background for the passengers who ever knew it, or were simply lucky.

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Boarding had actually already started when I reached that upper level waiting room, so I proceeded to the jetbridge after taking the previous pictures.

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I liked the pattern of that carpet

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This is how my seat and that of my neighbor looked before boarding. (This is actually the mirror image of the seats on the opposite side of the aircraft; they were not occupied yet when I boarded)

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A380s offer deep storage bins below the windows

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The one immediately to the left of my seat contained a filter housing

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There are two other storage bins next to my seat, well enough to store the blanket, etc.

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And the other one for my laptop case and my belt pouch

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There are two storage bins under the screen. The lower one is convenient for shoes, the upper one for glasses and other small items.

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The controls of the seat are fairly easy to understand

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Neith IFE nor seat controls are fanciful, but at least there is no need to go through a manual to learn how to use them.

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The AC power supply was not on 100% of the time, but well enough to keep my laptop alive. Curiously, my Type G adapter would not fit (even though this is the type used in Malaysia), and I used my Type A adapter, which was somewhat loose : it did not take much to unplug it inadvertently.

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There was a USB outlet too

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The individual reading light

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Frequent readers of my Flight Reports know that
a) I seldom fly without a measuring tape to check how much space or food there was

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b) I always measure the seat pitch from the edge of my seat to the nearest obstruction in front of it.

No surprise in that there was ample space : nearly 1 m , vs. the typical 27 cm on my Chinese domestic flights in economy

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Seat width was comfortable too : 54 cm between armrests

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How wide was the screen ?

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About 17 inch diagonal : not bad, but it does not seem larger than a decent Economy class IFE, once you are deep in your seat which is one meter away.

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The safety information card, both sides

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Not a bad idea to provide a reminder that there is a mattress (the seat without it is too hard for sleeping comfort), but it is the picture which is a problem for me, even though it is for decoration purposes only.

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That picture is in line with standard travel magazine clichés. When you are young, you are not supposed to afford or get a chance to travel business class for your work, so the man has to be handsomely middle aged (he could not look above 50 either, because then he would look OLD and that is taboo). On the other hand, the retiring age for female models is around 27, so the lady looks hardly more than this age.

The result ? The lady is too old to be his daughter, unlikely to be his junior colleague, and is therefore presumably his wife. My reaction at this picture is that this man dumped his college sweetheart when he reached an international managing position, leaving her manage the kids, and remarried with a young handsome girl.

Maybe I do not like this picture because I did not dump Mrs Marathon when I reached 50 and got an assignment in China (and never planned to dump her). I do not fit standard travel magazine or airline clichés, but sorry, Malaysia Airlines, you lose half a point on that picture.

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The welcome drinks tray, all non alcoholic. The glass in the foreground contained MH’s signature drink. I was warned by the FA that it was very sweet and tried nevertheless. Yes indeed, it was way too sweet for my taste, but it was my responsibility to try it despite the warning. I did not research the recipe since I am not going to try and duplicate it at home.

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A prayer was then displayed on the IFE, without any sound. It did not last very long - I took that pictures a couple seconds before it disappeared. I do not mind prayers for the safety of a flight, as long as they do not replace pilots’ training and aircraft maintenance.

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The tarmac is quite dark in KUL – there is no waste of energy flood lighting it – so my only picture of another aircraft before takeoff is of that EK 777 parked next to our aircraft.

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The condensation trail above the wing as the plane lifts off.

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The amenity kit came in a hard and rather thick case

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These are the purely functional contents. The main reason for the thickness of the case is the pair of travel socks.

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The headphones’ design is not fancy, but they are OK. I am no expert on this kind of item, though.

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Distribution of the tablecloths for the dinner. A very hot oshibori was distributed before and after each meal.

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A semi-close up of the pattern of the female FAs’ uniform

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Later in the night, I chatted with the chief purser, who was identifiable by a different color. I asked to take a picture of the cloth : she agreed on the reasonable condition that she could not be identified. My picture is unfortunately somewhat blurry – the lighting was minimal. Too bad, because I liked the color pattern.

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I was wise to take pictures of the menu, because it was recovered at the end of the flight, obviously to prevent passengers from taking it as a souvenir. The lighting conditions were poor, and I enhanced the contrast to make it legible, but the paper and printing quality were actually good.

I am always suspicious of restaurants who use these kinds of grand words

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I did not know about this option (I did not have time to research this kind of thing), but since this flight was a first for me with MH, I could just as well try the standard menu.

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All that to say that they used one recipe from her cookbook, adapted to airline constraints.

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I may not have a second chance of eating a dish remotely selected by a princess, so I chose the so-called « signature dish ».

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For some mysterious reason, I failed to take a picture of the English version of the breakfast menu. Hopefully, you will get the idea. My rule is usually to select the dish of the country I depart from, on the assumption that the catering company will be better at the local dish, using local ingredients. I there fore chose the nasi lemak i.e. rice cooked in coconut milk, with a prawn and traditional accompanying stuff.

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People who met me IRL or through my reports know that I do not drink alcohol, so I have no comment on the selection of wines.

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The contents of the nuts pack. There are actually more than the picture promises

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The first dish consisted in a set of satays. This picture also shows the male FA’s uniform.

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I like satays, but I question the choice of that dish in an airplane. Both my neighbor and I could not avoid staining our shirts with the sauce.

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The offering of bread.

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The FA insisted that I take two

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This brand of butter is ubiquitous in France.

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This was the hot dish. It was good, no very different in nature and taste from what I ate in open air food courts in Kuala Lumpur.

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Two passengers in the center of my row decided to skip the dinner altogether. This is what the seats look like in the fully reclined position. The kit includes a thin mattress (just wide enough for the seat) and a generously sized blanket.

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I took the opportunity that my neighbor went to the toilet to do the same (the aisle access is easy in the upright position of the seats, much less so in the bed position)

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A fresh flower would be a good idea if it looked fresh, and this one did not

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The tap already shows signs of wearing

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Back at my seat, a bottle of water was distributed to each passenger, and then all passengers who had not already done so prepared for sleep.

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I slept only five hours, because there was a child slightly above two (she had her own seat) in the previous row. She had been noisy during the first hours of the flight, and was very loud again. MH had nothing to do with it : this was sheer bad luck.

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Since I was awake and it was obvious that this baby would not let me sleep any time soon, I decided to go and stretch myself a bit. The seats do not provide a full access to the aisle, but it was not big deal to pass above my neighbor.

There were various snacks available in the front of the aircraft, in front of the stairs to the main deck.

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The selection was not outstanding, but good enough if you felt hungry.

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What was really missing there were drinks, of any nature.

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The only magazine in that selection that I was interested in

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No difference about the supplies of the toilets located on each side of the stairs in the front.

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A small supply of useful items, such as combs, razors, etc. Not a bad idea to have them there, rather than needlessly give a complete set to each passenger in the amenity kit.

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But what really struck me was the sheer size of the toilets :

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They were a couple centimeters away from being 2 meters long.

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A nice discreet lighting of the front stairs

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Since all/most passengers were asleep and the FAs were not active either, I went down to have a peek.

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There was a single passenger in the first class cabin (2 rows of 4 seats), seat 1A. I took some pictures in the dark



And later in daylight, but of course, the lone passenger was awake and I did not venture in the cabin

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Back to the upper deck. There were the same snacks available in the galley closest to my seat

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That is where you could have drinks. I know nothing about wine, but non-alcoholic drinks being plain water only is what I expect in economy, not in business class. I asked for and got a coffee, but a selection of fruit juices would have been welcome.

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A handwritten PIL was taped in the galley, and I reckoned that there were 49 passengers for 60 seats in J, which was a decent load ratio. I should have asked how many passengers in economy (a FA later probably noticed my curiosity and removed that PIL).

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During the night, this door on the right was sealed off by a curtain for a while, until a male FA emerged and opened that curtain. The small rug on a hanger made it clear that this had been a discreet makeshift prayer space.

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The pattern of the floor is the kind which hides stains, but can do little about spilled water.

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The killer check is that of the low space under the sink furniture. There was more rubbish there than a thorough cleaning should have left. Or maybe I should blame the passengers who used that toilet earlier in that flight.

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I eventually woke up for good there

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My seat in the bed position

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It provided a 163 cm long flat surface, plus about 25 cm for the nondetachable pillow.

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The seat in reclined position

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Wing and wing tip shots

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I am not an avid user of IFEs, apart from the geovision. Occasionally, I listen to classical music

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The menus focus on the musicians, not on the works themselves, which I find inconvenient

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You needed to go into each recording’s track list to have the identification of the music.

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What I dislike about all individual IFEs I tried lately (admittedly not many) is that I could not listen to music AND use the IFE for any other use, like the geovision or games which do not provide any sound. (I know that some IFE systems provide PIP features, and I wish there were more ubiquitous)

That meant that I could not be on the lookout for some ground feature to be seen outside, and listen to music. It was cloudy during the daytime portion of the flight, so it did not matter all that much, but it is a handicap.

The mood lighting to prepare the passengers for breakfast

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The offering of drinks for the breakfast

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I do not remember what the fruit juices actually were; I chose the last smoothie, which no longer was on the tray when I took the picture above.

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The FA then brought this

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The choice of pastries

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I chose this one and expectedly found it too sweet for my taste

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No, there were no fresh strawberries in the cereals : this is only a « suggested serving », and MH did not take the suggestion.

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And eventually came this hot dish

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A distinct advantage of a window seat in an A380 is that you can easily get rid of you meal tray to resume the preparation of a flight report. If you had been careful not to store your laptop in the storage bin, that is.

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The wing shot in daylight

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Panoramic view of the J cabin in daylight. Some travelers do not like the lack of privacy; I dislike being enclosed in partitions.

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First view of a French countryside

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The IFE’s program had ended by then

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“Set your seat in the upright position, etc.”. Well, I never have an objection to that, but my seat did. No matter how I fiddled with the controls, the lower part of the seat which should have been vertical only reached a position about 30° off the vertical.

The FA tried to fiddle with the controls hidden below the seat’s cushion, to no avail. We mutually agreed that my safety or that of my neighbor was not going to be endangered and left it at that.

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Again, that condensation trail above the wing, close to the fuselage

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First sight of CDG (Terminal 2E, used by AF and Skyteam partners) :

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The core of Terminal 2

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The condensation was even more visible just after touchdown

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CDG’s ancient, iconic and somewhat infamous Terminal 1

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N69063, a United Airlines 767 without winglets

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An Icelandair 757 (enhanced colors)

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A Thai A380 (and an AF A380 which just landed, in the background)

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A UA 767, with winglets

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What was my first sight when I set foot in France in the satellite ? A rubbish container, a police car and CDG’s prison-like windowless Terminal 1. Welcome to France…

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Immigration was fast, thanks to the automated passport and fingerprint reading booth. Another go through the tubes inside the terminal to the luggage delivery room

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Flight MH20’s ETA was 06:40, but I was actually out of the plane at 7:26. Getting the first luggage 12 minutes later was OK, and yes, that was about the time it appeared. Mine appeared at 7:44, which was fast.

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In the mean time, I withdrew some cash, because it took Uber’s recent prodding of the market to make it mandatory for all Paris taxis to take credit cards… in 2016, a generation after it was standard in the Nordic countries.

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There was no waiting at the taxi stand; I took the last two pictures from the window of the taxi as it was leaving the airport : Brussels Airlines special Tintin shark submarine livery (I love it)

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And oddly enough, even though this was a split second shot from a moving car, this is the best picture I have from the aircraft which had flown me home; she had been impossible to see correctly from the terminals in both airports.

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Now is the time for an optional tourist bonus.

I did not have much free time in Kuala Lumpur and chose to focus on one of the most famous monument in Paris, as only a minority of visitors see it: Notre Dame Cathedral, located on an island in the Seine River, arguably in the geographic center of Paris.

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At the peak of the tourist season, there is a long line for entering the cathedral, but the waiting time is actually short.

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There is another considerably slower line on the north side of the cathedral to climb to the balcony located at the base of the towers, and from there to the top of the south tower, here on the right.

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Patience in a somewhat narrow street, effort to climb the steps, and the fee to get there have their rewards. You get to see several of the bells of the cathedral, in particular Marie, the second heaviest of Notre Dame’s bells at 6 tons. All were melted again in 2012, except the heaviest of all, 13 ton Emmanuel which was melted in 1685.

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More interesting to all, this central location provides one of the best panoramas of Paris, here with one of the cathedral’s most iconic chimeras in the foreground.

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(If you are an early riser, which I was not the day I took these pictures, you will have better lighting conditions, and possibly a shorter waiting time.)

In the foreground here, the incredibly thin and high Sainte Chapelle, built at the same time as the cathedral, whose wonderful stained glass windows are best seen in the morning to have the best lighting conditions.

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The buildings surrounding the Sainte Chapelle inconveniently house the Paris Criminal court (Tribunal de Grande Instance) and other judicial institutions; the former will move around in 2017 to another location in the north-west of Paris, in new buildings better suited to this purpose.

(the canvas structure in the foreground protected a temporary exhibit, the day I came)

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The skyline of La Défense business center, located just outside the limits of the City of Paris, built from the 1960s onward. Halfway, beyong the curve of the Seine River, the steel and glass roofs of the Grand Palais, built for the 1900 World Expo.

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Due south, this black monolith is not that of a space odyssey, but the much decried Tour Montparnasse, built in the early 70’s. Some people claim that its observation deck is the most beautiful place in Paris, because it is the only place in Paris where you cannot see that tower, and hoped in vain that it would be demolished rather than spend one billion euros to remove the asbestos used.

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This chimera seems to ponder whether it really a good idea to build an oil refinery in the heart of Paris. This is the nickname of the Centre Pompidou, a modern art museum built in the late 1970’s. Most tubings (air conditioning, water, electricity…) are external and color coded. The designers forgot about the maintenance : painting for corrosion control these pipes onto which you cannot fix scaffolding or safety harnesses is nightmarish. Some windows are said to be unreachable for cleaning, too.

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There are few noteworthy buildings to be identified in the north-east direction. Romainville Fort TV and radio tower was built in 1984. Both the fort (partly reverted to civilian use) and the tower are actually in the Les Lilas suburb, not adjoining Romainville.

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The lighting conditions are not good in the afternoon, but you cannot miss the iconic Eiffel Tower, which was supposed to be a temporary structure.

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The unfinished Saint Eustache church (one tower is missing), one of the largest and tallest in Paris.

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Visitors who see the Opera Garnier from the street level seldom realize that its is is much higher than the surrounding buildings, limited to a regulatory 37.50 m maximum height.

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The isolated tower Saint-Jacques is all what remains of an early 16th century church which was sold for its stones in 1797, during the Revolution.

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Three quarters of a century later, minds had changed, and the crushing defeat of France against Prussia was found to be a divine punishment for the moral decadence since the French Revolution, which justified the erection of a church for the atonement of these sins. That church was the Sacred Heart Basilica, which may have exhausted its potential for divine protection, but still provides a spectacular panorama of Paris.

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The Hotel-Dieu was the first hospital established in Paris, back in the year 651, but the present buildings were erected in 1866 – 1876.

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The Paris Business court building, erected around 1860

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The Saint-Sulpice Church received unwelcome publicity and visitors in 2013 when a very poorly documented best selling thriller novel used it as a minor location of the plot. Building this church (which replaced a much smaller one) took 130 years (1740 – 1870). Between the two towers, it is a helium balloon providing rides to visitors. It is anchored in the Parc André Citroën, in the south-west tip of the left bank of the city of Paris.

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Looking east, upstream from the top of the cathedral’s tower

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See the building to the right of the second bridge

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It is Institute of the Arab World, a museum whose architecture was much acclaimed. It contains a museum welcoming commendable temporary exhibits. The terrace (foreground, on the left) provides an excellent view of the rer of the cathedral; access is free. The modern building in the background is the Ministry of Finance, which vacated in 1989 ample space in the Louvre, allowing a major increase in space for display.

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The upstream tip of the island on the Seine River where the cathedral was built.
Notre Dame owes a lot to Eugène Viollet Le Duc (1814 – 1879), a talented architect who restored dozens of major cathedrals and castles in France wrote :

To restore a building is not to maintain it, repair or do it again, it is to reinstate it in a full status which may never have existed at any given time.

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This flèche is an illustration of this principle : it had never existed, but Viollet le Duc considered that this was how the original builders had meant to complete the cathedral.

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The statues of the twelve Apostles are at the base of the central flèche. One of them is special, turned towards the flèche when all others look towards the ground

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Viollet le Duc represented himself here as St Thomas, looking at his masterpiece.

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Visitors cannot see his face from the ground, need to be there in the early morning for good lighting conditions, and few know about it anyway.

Thank you for reading this flight report to the end, and no, I did not hide myself somewhere in a picture!
See more

Verdict

Malaysia Airlines

7.4/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew8.0
In-flight Entertainment6.5
Meal/catering7.0

Malaysian Airlines Golden Satelite Lounge - Business Class Section

5.4/10
Comfort6.5
Meal/catering6.5
In-flight Entertainment2.0
Services6.5

Kuala Lumpur - KUL

9.5/10
Efficiency10.0
Access10.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness10.0

Paris - CDG

9.0/10
Efficiency10.0
Access8.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

This was my first flight with MH, and I was not impressed. The lounge in KUL was a bad disappointment : below expectations on all criteria and downright unacceptable with regards to the internet access and newspapers offering.

I am less severe with the flight, but there was definitely no wow effect. In the open space category, the cabin is typical of what can be done on an A380 : nothing wrong, but nothing exciting. The IFE is several notches below the state of the art (and remember that an A380 can't be very old in 2015). Great words do not make a great meal : the catering was decent, period. Assuming that I was given the choice, I would not feel any incentive to prefer MH over another decent airline for a similar LH flight in business class.

KUL and CDG receive top grades on most criteria, because I spent minimum time in both (lounge excepted). Checking in at the downtown terminal of the KLIA Ekspres is a plus, but only MH offers it, as opposed to most companies in HK. CDG's lack of a decent rail link will always be a pain, but at least there was no waiting at the taxi stand this time.

Information on the route Kuala Lumpur (KUL) Paris (CDG)

18 Comments

  • Comment 141946 by
    ilyes GOLD 1788 Comments

    Thanks for this FR.

    Let's be honest : we all have seen much better business lounges than this one. And that is a flagship lounge - with a way too cheap-looking catering ;)
    Once you're abord, it seems to be way better, even if nothing really surprises the passengers - except the satays? ;)
    Saudia puts the butter in a small plate, MH keeps it in this Y-like packaging. But we cannot really blame MH, as Air France keeps serving the butter in First class in its packaging as well...

    That being said, the breakfast is a shame with the cereals in their packaging. Next step : MH will invite their J passengers to go to the galley and pick up the cereals :D
    I have to acknowledge they feed you pretty well though - in terms of quantity.

    How was the crew? I guess they were nicer than the ones we've seen in the previous FRs ;)

    Thank you for this great routing - and for the tour of my city :)
    Ilyes

    • Comment 321195 by
      marathon GOLD AUTHOR 9082 Comments

      You said it all about the catering both in the lounge and in flight.
      I forgot to comment on the crew. They were not exceptional, but all were good; I had a friendly chat with several of them. Each airline I have flown in J on Asian routes has a distinct crew identity, and I liked that of MH from that experience.
      Thanks for the comment !

  • Comment 142034 by
    eminere™ 268 Comments

    In KUL at the A380 gates the rightmost line is actually meant for first and business class passengers. Perhaps this queue priority wasn't enforced during your visit.

  • Comment 142055 by
    SMilano 1266 Comments

    Thanks for sharing !

    For a flagship lounge, isn't a really good lounge.

    The cabin look nice.
    I think it's a good J class we have here in the A380 of MH.
    Nothing special but a good one.

    Thanks for this nice routing :)

    See you

  • Comment 142084 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4603 Comments

    Wonderful FR as always!

    Like most of my Flight reports, this one is outrageously long, with lots of text and pictures. You have been warned! - Hahaha! No warning needed...it's to be expected. Took me two days just to read it :-)

    Aside from the internet issue, and some weird things here and there like the raised floor section, the lounge doesn't seem that bad to me. Actually it looks quite good--but then again, I'm used to crappy U.S. airline lounges...and all of those have internet issues and rarely have anything good to read.

    I did find food that I liked, but I was unimpressed by the catering of this lounge. I felt like in a food court -- I would be in heaven to have that many choices of food...or heck, any REAL food period.

    You are right that there seems to be no wow effect on board. The hard product is totally underwhelming for a 5-star airline's flagship aircraft.

    I think you should get a measuring tape with both cm and inches :-)

    Thanks for sharing!!

    • Comment 321256 by
      marathon GOLD AUTHOR 9082 Comments

      No apples, no carrots, and no alcohol because of Ramadan : US travelers would not even find their own basics in that lounge :)
      The internet issue in the lounge was all the more frustrating that I had been struggling for three weeks to bypass the tighter than ever Chinese internet censorship, that my VPN could could not always fool, and which meant sluggish baud rates at all times.
      Underwhelming was the word I was looking for. I expected the only flight in J of that exciting trip to be a grand finale, and it was not.
      Thanks for you comment !

    • Comment 321257 by
      marathon GOLD AUTHOR 9082 Comments

      Have a pleasant flight home !

  • Comment 142085 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4603 Comments

    P.s. it's cool to see a bonus of Paris. Makes me homesick, but luckily going to France in a few weeks!

  • Comment 142093 by
    nykeeo 345 Comments

    Hey Pititom !

    Thanks for this FR !

    Where are yours Nike Air Max TN shoes ? hahaha

  • Comment 142475 by
    airtraveladdict 119 Comments

    Hi, thanks for honest review of MH.
    Now I can see why they are selling the A380. their business class is just boring, it doesnt look premium enough.
    but I guess thats why they are doing badly even if they say they are 5 star airline, not many people are flying and paying the high price for business when its not good.
    the food looks like normal street food, no premium wines, entertainment is just okay, just nothing special. not like flying Singapore or Cathay Pacific.
    At least on A380 MH have real flat bed seat, not angled bed.
    Now that they are selling A380, MH will not have any fully flat bed at all!
    Its sad, but I don't know how MH expect to get more business if they are flying the hard angled beds.
    MH should look at Garuda indonesia as an example on how they turn their airline from bad to good to amazing, by introducing new products.
    Garuda was finished, but they changed their old ways and look at them now. big 360 degree turn.
    MH should now that having old product is not going to put the airline back into profit because more and more people will choose other neighbor airlines.

    • Comment 321630 by
      marathon GOLD AUTHOR 9082 Comments

      Boring is another adequate adjective to qualify this flight.
      I purposefully did not name competitors in my report, but yes, the experience was light years away from that on SQ and CX.
      How much angled the bed is in MH's 777 could make a difference : I never complained on AF, but found that of KL too angled for comfort (before the cabins were renovated). Whether reducing the capacity and the quality will turn red ink into profits remains to be seen.
      No, they definitely aren't 5 star, but in the lower range of 4 star.
      Thanks for your detailed comment!

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