Review of Malaysia Airlines flight Kuala Lumpur Tokyo in Business

Airline Malaysia Airlines
Flight MH88
Class Business
Seat 5K
Aircraft Airbus A330-300
Flight time 06:40
Take-off 07 Jul 17, 23:35
Arrival at 08 Jul 17, 07:15
MH   #25 out of 94 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 216 reviews
JW19
By 5255
Published on 1st September 2017
Hi FRs,

Post Crisis Vantage Point

The last we touched base I was wandering about the arrivals in KUL. Since the setup at KUL has the security done at gate, arrivals and departures are mixed beyond the gate area. From the main terminal of KUL where the narrow bodies dock, I would have to take the aerotrain towards the satellite terminal where the big boys are at.
photo img_8483 - copy

First order of business, the MH Golden Lounge.
photo img_8504 - copy

This place is crowded beyond belief. Looks like everyone has access to this place and they definitely did bring the band along as well. The design of the lounge has a logic that is difficult to decipher. Firstly, you had the entrance where the lounge dragons verify access right (as though that was needed). Then a bar located outside the proper entrance lounge and after that the lounge proper. It literally was an expansive place with hardly any partitions. You could see all the way to the end from the entrance and the chairs were arranged as though no thought was given to it. To make matters worse, the sound proof was terrible with conversations emanating from every corner, you could actually hear someone here before seeing the person.


Most of the furniture seemed to be in their last leg and the wooden flooring starting to peel from its lamination. This coupled with the overall use of space of the lounge doesnt bode well with MH's flagship claims of this lounge. In all honesty it's embarrassing. Oh yeah before you ask, most of the charging ports became part of the non-functional decor as well. This place is in dire need of a major renovation.

Enough ranting, time to cool off a little. Thankfully the alcohol range still made the cut, some bubbly to commence.
photo img_8493 - copy

Food layout also produced some head scratching moments, with a corner dedicated to cold food hidden from view of the main space until you were curious enough to peek into that corner


The main buffet was located smack in the center of the lounge featuring hot dishes evenly split in between western and asian selections. This perhaps was the saving grace of the lounge as the bites themselves were flavourful, hearty and well executed. The local favourites were the highlight of the plethora of dishes available. An ala-carte station preparing local specialties (noodles ans soup) made up the remaining food option.



This point, I would have wandered into the showers. However they were in such deplorable condition that it would be insulting your senses to show it here. There was no hot water to start with, shower cubicles also had no separate dry and wet area and finally the wooden doors that separate you from spying eyes were so rotten that it beggars belief this lounge was still functioning. It screams renovation all over it.

Not worth reporting any further, its time to walk towards the gate. Due to glare produced by the angled glass, I was unable to muster a decent shot of the aircraft that was post worthy. A quick security check which by the way has no priority queues of OW elites and J folks and we were allowed straight on to the plane. Boarding had commenced about 10 minutes early.
photo img_8506 - copyphoto img_8507 - copy

MH 88 KUL - NRT
Airbus Industrie A330-300
9M-MTH
Delivered July 2012
Configured C27 Y263

Seats were of the Thomson Vantage variety with full lie flat and direct aisle access for 90% of the seats. The bones of this seat was the same as that adopted for most of the Lufthansa Group planes (ie Austrian and Swiss) but MH chose to go with the bare bones variety without any special features. The layout was alternating between 1-2-2 and 1-2-1.
photo img_8509 - copyphoto img_8523 - copyphoto img_8527 - copy
Also on the seat was a thin seat cover which functioned more as a hygiene cover than a mattress, pillow and a duvet. The duvet was really soft and comfortable and the kept me well shielded from assaults of breeze from the cool cabin. A porsche design amenity kit was also provided which came with the usual necessities sans a glare omission, slippers which you have to request to get one. Seat switches were located at the side of the seat along with all your needs like ports, holders and plugs. A further set of adjustment switches was also present around waist height for ease of adjustment while you are laid flat.

A pair of non noise cancelling headphones were also provided which I refrained from using on the short red eye.
photo img_8518 - copy
As I was travelling with my wife, we had the couple seat along the window on the 1-2-2 side. That had non-existent storage space and was really difficult for the person window side to get out should the one on the aisle be laid flat. However the case was much more compelling for the other seats, especially the throne ones.
photo img_8524 - copy
Service was to be a quick snack after take off and a full breakfast before landing, of which no announcement was made. Many were expecting a full dinner and knock out all the way till we commenced descent. A taster of service to come.

You do notice that I have not talked about the service so far. Well that's because it deserves a dedicated paragraph on its own. Is it staggeringly good, NO, not by a long shot. Professional and cold should be the right description. Never was anyone addressed by name, nor was anyone showed to their seats, however they executed what they were expected to do and nothing more. It definitely felt American in the service while not being rude at the same time. This was definitely not expected for an Asian carrier which legacy includes being a Skytrax 5 star airline once upon a time. The disappointing bit about the service was that they were actively avoiding interaction with passengers and forgetting requests. They were further hampered by the lack of thought MH put into service upgrades. Menus were not loaded due to the on-going food and beverage improvement process, hence we went in blind on that front. Neither did the FAs provide any description on the beverages available nor did they actively recommend a drink if you asked. Breakfast items was also drafted on a sheet of paper and passengers asked what they would like to after before landing, with no proper description of the meal. Oh yeah, no PDBs offered for this leg as well.

At 12:00 we buttoned up and headed towards runway 32R for takeoff. Despite a barrage of long hauls due for departure, we managed to head the queue and made a quick sprint towards the air. These PW equipped jets makes a low pitch whining noise that I dont normally find in RR equipped ones.

At cruising altitude, carts were rolled out and the infamous MH satay was presented, in both beef and chicken form. Whatever state you are in, please stay up for this as they were quite glorious. Hot skewers of spice marinated meat with charred bits served over spicy peanut sauce, the legend foretold doesn't disappoint. Frankly it was really good. A merlot and Riesling made an appearance for company.
photo img_8528 - copyphoto img_8531 - copyphoto img_8529 - copy
Service was wrapped up with about 6 hours left for the flight. I turned my bed up and quickly went to bed. The seat on its own is quite comfortable, and despite the numerous warnings on the narrow foot area of such a configuration, I found it alright. In fact i preferred this to the reverse herringbone type as my legs were kept straight rather squeezed to an angle.
photo img_8535 - copyphoto img_8536 - copy
The temperature of the cabin was kept very low, which was preferred as I was able to tuck in rather than having the urge to remove. Sleep however did not come easy, it took me almost an hour to fall asleep, none the fault of the hardware which was good. The next time i regain consciousness the house lights were brought up for breakfast. The crew did good judgement by waking us up only 75 minutes out from NRT.

The selections read out earlier in the flight included Omelettes, Nasi Lemak(Malaysian Breakfast) and Japanese Breakfast. Since no descriptions were given, I chose the omelette for the wife while I had prebooked my breakfast with MH's chef on call, similar to SQ's BTC system.

Breakfast started with the quintessential fruits and carbs. Juice and yoghurt was also provisioned for, no offers of cereals though despite seeing someone else having it.
photo img_8537 - copy
Recall me saying about being forgetful and non apologetic, the FA serving my side gave away the omelette leaving only the Nasi Lemak option available. Coconut steamed rice with a spicy anchovy relish might not be everyone's cup of tea for breakfast, but that did just fine for us. Though the sour taste of not having a menu coupled with forgetting what I have ordered and not being sorry for it did spoil the mood quite a bit. The Chef on Call option was a beef cheek and polenta with brown sauce, an even more inept breakfast option, but it tasted decent nevertheless.
photo img_8545photo img_8546
The crew did quite an amazing job serving and clearing breakfast in 45 minutes. With breakfast done, I browsed the entertainment option and completely jogged through it in a jiffy. The content was not up to date and lacking in breadth with only a few new movies standing out. Definitely in a different league compared to the industry leaders.

With the entertainment wrapped up as well, the captain came on the PA to announce descent. In all it took us only 20 minutes between dropping out of cruising height to touch down, however the landing was not to be at the first attempt. We proceeded for a go around in a pretty violent fashion and the captain apologised for that and explained that NRT had requested that action.

We circled and hovered at around 8,000 ft before commencing another approach to which it was graced by the softest touchdown that I have experienced. Kudos to the skill of the men at helm.

NRT is a very interesting airport with aircraft from all regions of the planet and I am glad to be finally in Japan.

We finally settled in at gate 99 and J class had a dedicated gate for disembarkation. A final glimpse at the jet that brought me to Japan which raised more question than it answered. MH is still a very compelling option to fly with the price they are charging and the hard product is definitely catching up with the game. However they are stuck in the decision of whether they would like to stay a 4-star at best airline or return to where grounds where they grazed. The soft product suggests that they still have a long and tough journey ahead however the sales figures present a scenario otherwise. Price will only get them so far before they need to have the USP to stand against the rest and Asia is not a friendly and forgiving playground for the complacent. Time to overhaul the soft product I would say.
photo img_8558photo img_8559photo img_8560
Till the next installment, happy travels guys.
See more

Verdict

Malaysia Airlines

7.1/10
Cabin8.5
Cabin crew5.5
Entertainment/wifi6.0
Meal/catering8.5

Malaysian Airlines Golden Satelite Lounge - Business Class Section

3.9/10
Comfort3.0
Meal/catering7.5
Entertainment/wifi2.5
Services2.5

Kuala Lumpur - KUL

7.6/10
Efficiency7.0
Access7.5
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.0

Tokyo - NRT

8.5/10
Efficiency7.5
Access7.5
Services9.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

The situation MH has put itself in is indeed puzzling. The improvements made on the hard product has definitely made it up to date with the industry and the price they are asking is simply unbeatable. Yet they could have done much better by having a crew that is much more Asian in its service standards. Catering standards were decent but the menu situation must be resolved fast. I would still recommend them should you need a cheap way to fly comfortably around the region, however beyond that do keep your expectations in check. The lounge on the other hand, please do yourself a favour and give it a miss, the CX lounge is nearby and would definitely serve the purpose better. MH needs that renovation done yesterday, and it hasn't happen yet.

Information on the route Kuala Lumpur (KUL) Tokyo (NRT)

Les contributeurs de Flight-Report ont posté 7 avis concernant 1 compagnies sur la ligne Kuala Lumpur (KUL) → Tokyo (NRT).


Useful

La compagnie qui obtient la meilleure moyenne est Malaysia Airlines avec 7.5/10.

La durée moyenne des vols est de 6 heures et 48 minutes.

  More information

5 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 411163 by
    Razza_Pr 216 Comments
    Greetings, JW19, and thank you for this FR. It’s great and comprehensive!

    I must ask, did they have any descriptions written in Malay for non-English speaking passengers at the MH Golden Lounge?

    Moreover, was this report written all in bold? Or is it just the new font on Flight-Report..?

    “This was definitely not expected for an Asian carrier which legacy includes being a Skytrax 5 star airline once upon a time.”
    -Shame. They too once held up the title of Skytrax World Best Cabin Crew.

    A Chinese friend of mine told me how, after not being able to hear the cabin crew’s (somewhat unclear) question about her food preference three times, the cabin crew straight up yelled at her, telling her not to be rude and ‘to take [my friend’s] headphones off (which she didn’t even have on) if someone is talking to her.. She was so displeased, she rebooked herself on Cathay Pacific for the return flight.

    One can’t help but wonder, what goes on during the entire training of their flight attendants? What corporate move was made to the extent that the once-smiley and warm Malaysian Hospitality crew became cold and sometimes sour?

    In any case, I think your report was quite spot-on. Are we to see any positive differences regarding the soft product on your return flight?

    Thanks again for this FR. Cheers!
    • Comment 411228 by
      JW19 AUTHOR 120 Comments
      Hey Razza_PR thanks for taking the time to read this report.

      I must ask, did they have any descriptions written in Malay for non-English speaking passengers at the MH Golden Lounge?
      I don't recall seeing one. With the amount of PRC passengers I was surprised no Chinese was on any labels and signs. It's mandatory for Malaysians to study English till they enter college anyway, so no Malay should still be ok.

      Moreover, was this report written all in bold? Or is it just the new font on Flight-Report..?
      Seems ok from my end both on mobile mac or PC.

      One can’t help but wonder, what goes on during the entire training of their flight attendants? What corporate move was made to the extent that the once-smiley and warm Malaysian Hospitality crew became cold and sometimes sour?
      I guess the fundamental problem is with attitude and the word legacy. There were old timers who think that MH were an airline of yore and continued to not acknowledge the fact that they are miles behind the game. My take is to get rid entirely of all senior staff and start afresh. Malaysia doesn't have those stupid unions that drags an airline to bankruptcy so technically MH can do whatever it wants to improve the airline and not face repercussions. Get someone in from ANA or JL and we shall see where they go from there. One of the Virgin group people wouldn't hurt as well.

      Are we to see any positive differences regarding the soft product on your return flight?
      Unfortunately I will have to disappoint. Great news is I will have another airline to report on the return, and that blows MH out of this universe.

      Stay tuned, oh can't wait for one of your reports too. It has been a long time coming.
  • Comment 412597 by
    arikevin 9 Comments
    I would like to further comment on the service of MH as of late.

    My trip was in the mid-of April 2017.

    NRT-KUL. It was an A330 aircraft where there were 2 sections of Economy class, I was advised by a steward to turn left for my seat but I thought he could have made a mistake and I took a wrong (right) turn, ended up in a main economy class section. I realized my mistake and walked back. In his Malaysia English tone and smirks in his face, "see, i told you to turn left, why you go and turn right?" He looked like a senior staff among the team.
    When the stewardess came to offer the lunch, she said it in a annoyed/disgruntled tone, "chicken or fish?". There was no greeting or whatsoever.
    Ah well, this is what one gets for paying cheap ticket.
  • Comment 412615 by
    AirCanada881 1616 Comments
    Thanks for sharing, I was literally on the same flight but a day earlier! (6th July 2017), sat in 7A & I actually quite enjoyed the flight, still need to publish the report, it was an absolute bargain from SGN R/T, 650€ in Business.
    • Comment 412728 by
      JW19 AUTHOR 120 Comments
      I guess the comparison will be relative. Unfortunately for MH it operates in a region where profit and service has a "symbiotic" relationship, unlike say in US of A where they are mutually exclusive. SQ and CX service culture needs no introduction, GA is among the best in the industry now, BR and CI are improving so rapidly that they make the aussies look outdated and don't forget the Japanese, everyone knows what they are capable of. Thing is MH is not bad per se, but they are relative to what money can buy in the region, and frankly prices are so competitive out of KUL, they ought to be worried.

Login to post a comment.