Welcome to another of my chronicles, this time towards Tokyo, Japan. Although direct flights are aplenty towards either of Tokyo's airport, premium fares out of SIN are hardly appealing. However if you are willing to factor in a short transit, the savings will be worth all the additional time spent. Flying out of KUL in J cost less than a full flex Y ticket should I have opted to fly straight from SIN, hence the choice is obvious.
This would also be my first Business class experience in any OW carrier so it would be interesting to see how things pan out. The route had flights laid out as such:
SIN -KUL MH Short Haul Business KUL-NRT MH Long Haul Business……Post Crisis Recovery Vantage? (up next) NRT-KUL JL Long Haul Business……..The Apex of Japanese Obsession? KUL-SIN MH Short Haul Business …….. reporting this once is enough….
D-day and I made my way early to the airport to ensure sufficient time is dedicated for the OW lounges in SIN. The flight was scheduled for a 19:15 departure, however I managed to haul myself to the check-ins at around 14:00. Having flights that depart all day to KUL, you could literally check-in anytime you want for the day's flight. MH departs from Terminal 2 at SIN, where most *A carriers congregate. Its OW buddies on the other hand mostly operates out of Terminal 1 with the exception of QR who flies from Terminal 3. The reason for this arrangement was mainly due to co-share operations it has with SQ on the KUL-SIN shuttle flights that began back when the terminal only housed SQ flights, hence by having MH and SQ in one terminal made transfers easy. Once upon a time MH even had its own lounge in Terminal 2, but that has been sent to the pages of the history books.
Infamous flipboards of T2
MH has dedicated check-in lines for OW elites and F and J passengers.
Since MH ditched lounge operations in SIN, this was were they sent passengers to, which I had no interest of exploring.
Who goes to a contract lounge when you could go to this.
Though it was a long hike to Terminal 1, it was well worth the 'endeavour'. The Qantas Lounge Singapore is among the best in Qantas' worldwide lineup and dare would I say, better than SQ's SilverKris Lounge. The SKL was just hunks of marble joint to form a cold environment complemented by decent food. The Qantas Lounge on the contrary was warm and inviting, with warm wooden furnitures matched by the eye pleasing decor, its just a really nice place to kill time in SIN.
There is a full bar serving cocktails, really nice Australian still or sparkling reds and whites or if it tickles your fancy, some harder hitting beverages too.
It be a crime not to indulge in one.
Food situation was good too, with a dedicated salad stand, an ala-carte station, a dessert stand and another separate stand housing the hot items all decked out next to each other. Food leaned towards Aussie flavours which was appreciated and I am happy to report to everything tasted fresh and seasonings were pretty spot on.
The ala-carte station featured more local options which for the day consisted of 2 variants, an asian poached chicken salad and a Singaporean Prawn Noodle soup. The chicken was good stuff, smooth and tender white meat with a tangy asian dressing and a presentation to boast.
Done with food, I had to checkout the baths. There was a lady standing at the entrance to the shower area providing you with the necessary amenities. The Qantas Singapore Lounge does have quite a few showers available, but it gets real packed after 17:00 when the bulk of its passengers arrive.
Satisfied with the Qantas Lounge, its time to checkout what the other end of the world could offer.
The decor was much more 'formal' if there was such a description. It was definitely more of your gentlemen's club then the average lad's gastrobar that the Qantas Lounge was. Nevertheless it was just as inviting and enjoyable to be in. The furniture was definitely much better thought out and tastefully designed. The decor too gave the same feel to the place. That said, it was a significantly smaller place compared to down-under and felt a little too cosy at times which lost it some points. It was also a little too formal (similar to the SKL) for my liking.
Drinks selection was wider than even the Qantas Lounge, however BA offered a self service setup. Hot food situation was also better than it's neighbour though the salad's were conspicuously missing.
With my bounty full, its almost time for boarding and I adjourned towards that direction.
Security checks done, and, ………where's the plane?
Well it only crept in at 19:25, which means MH is at it again. DELAY. They only buffer 10 minutes for every KUL-SIN and vice versa journey the plane makes, making a delay inevitable should anywhere in the 5 return trips it makes a day screws up.
9M-MXO B737-800 Delivered Jan 2013 MH616 July7, 2017
Boarding commenced at 19:45, with the OW elites and J passengers. This was a pretty quick turn around, considering there was catering to be done. Greetings were provided by the friendly FAs at the entrance, but no individual names mentioned. Seats were typical in 2-2 configuration similar to the First Class setup back in the land of the free. 38" pitch and 19" width are the complete stats of these seats augmented with personal IFE screens. Pillows and a scratchy Y blanket was already in place on all J seats upon boarding.
PDBs were quickly brought along and usual non-alcohol practice of MH on ground being the case here. A guava juice then for me, and my wife followed suit.
At 20:00, about the time we were scheduled to land in KUL, boarding was completed and the BSI interiors fired up. We're outta here. A quick taxi and we rocketed down runway 20R into setting sun we go.
Keeping in mind that we were only in the sky for 35 minutes, look at what was provided for service.
Service was friendly but robotic at the same time. FAs also had limited hot meals, and instead of apologising for the lack of choice, the remaining passengers were just asked whether they wanted a snack and served this instead. A bad taste that lingers into the next flight. Stay tuned for that.
The remainder of the flight went by uneventfully and we touched down at around 20:45. We hooked up to one of the gates on the far side of KUL's main terminal, normally for MH's narrow bodies. A last look at the short haul J product of MH as I try to figure out were they stand in terms of soft and hard product. More on that in the next episode. Till then, happy travels guys.
Singapore - SIN
Kuala Lumpur - KUL
OW elites and J passengers are definitely spoilt for choice for lounges at SIN, both BA and especially Qantas are highly recommended. MH on the other hand still shows it has significant room for improvement on both the soft and hard product, but serving a hot meal on such a short flight definitely deserves commendation.
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