Review of KLM flight Kuala Lumpur Jakarta in Business

Airline KLM
Flight KL809
Class Business
Seat 1A
Aircraft Boeing 777-200ER
Flight time 02:05
Take-off 21 Oct 18, 16:20
Arrival at 21 Oct 18, 17:25
KL   #50 out of 131 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 628 reviews
Eric V P
By GOLD 1182
Published on 9th February 2019
Report #60: KL809 - Returning to the comfort of KL

This will be my report on flying on KLM business class from Kuala Lumpur KUL to Jakarta CGK, a short-haul international flight within SE Asia, on board its Boeing 777-200ER.

Here are the 6 parts of the trip:


Background


When it comes to flying within SE Asia, I found KL’s fifth freedom business class to be a comfort product (just like comfort food, but for business class product) - not only was it my first taste of true business class, they offered comfortable seats (even if it’s nothing cutting edge), decent food, collectible Delft Blue, and on KUL-CGK routes excellent lounge as well as decent price, so it was something I would pay up for.

To end the segment run I decided to book direct on KL’s website just within the 14 days cutoff before the flight, which meant a low fare of RM610 (US$150) one way. In theory, I was supposed to get in return 906 GarudaMiles award miles and 1 GarudaMiles segment (I didn’t use my credit card since KL would charge a 1.8% fee), but I wasn’t expecting that to come up quickly on my account since GA managed to take 4 months to credit the miles from my previous flight with KL and the miles hasn’t come up even until I wrote this review.
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Before the flight I also had done web check-in, where I selected the bulkhead window seat on the main cabin. One screw up I found was that while my frequent flyer was GarudaMiles Gold, the boarding pass sent on Facebook Messenger was shown as Flying Blue Gold.
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Departure to KUL and check-in


Like most of my ex-KUL flights, I went to the airport by bus, which costed me RM12 (~US$3).
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I arrived at the bus terminal in KUL ~50 minutes after the departure from KL Sentral.
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From there I walked along the linkway to the terminal building.
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The public check-in area was a tad crowded. Since I had no luggage to check, I simply printed my boarding pass on the self check-in machine.
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Boarding pass for the day consisted of a simple thermal paper which also printed my frequent flyer as Flying Blue again like the fiasco on the boarding pass on Messenger.
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I went through the ticket check first before going through immigration.
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While the immigration counters for economy class passengers were crowded, ….
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The counters for first and business class passengers saw no queue (and no, elite passengers flying in economy would still need to queue up with the rest)
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I also needed to go through the customs screening, which was fast.
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KUL transit area


After passing through the stores I went to the automated people mover station.
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View along the short hop to the satellite building.
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I then reached the satellite building - one thing I found a bit confusing is looking which lounge is located where as well as the escalators to the mezzanine, which were hidden.
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CI lounge still wouldn't admit me again this time (I had the chance to visit the lounge a few weeks after this, which I'll review in a couple of months - I had flown a few too many flights around this period), though that means ….
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More time in MH's lounge, of course.
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Lounge test #1: Malaysia Airlines Satellite Golden Lounge


The lounge reception. I showed my boarding pass and afterwards let through.
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As a business class passenger I was directed into the business class section of the lounge.
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The first order of business when visiting this lounge was getting a drink at the bar (the drinks inside the lounge proper are all non-alcoholic).
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MH had upgraded its sparkling wine offering in the lounge to De Venoge Brut champagne, which was better than what they offered before though still nothing special.
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This was already my 4th visit to this lounge so this felt very familiar for me - sort of my second home in KUL, perhaps?
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Reading materials could be found at a couple of places in the lounge
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FIDS is located at a couple of places in the lounge, and is limited to show only airlines that can use the lounge.
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Naturally, I moved aside to the more private seating by the window.
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I went to the noodle station, though they had just ran out of ingredients for laksa.
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In fact, it took them way more than 1 hour to get the laksa, between the ingredients issue and kitchen issue. The laksa wasn't that bad, but for sure I wouldn't want to queue > 1 hour for that kind of laksa.
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This lounge afforded excellent view of the apron, which included ….
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One of MH's abysmal 332. If you had recalled my flight a couple of months ago in its business class, yes, it's the one I flew on.
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Since I was quite hungry at this time I decided to get some meal, but unlike on my previous visits the display table facing the lounge entrance was empty.
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The main hot buffet area
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The buffet's offerings changed between lunch and afternoon tea, and here are the offerings for lunch period.
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What I had from the lunch hot buffet selection.
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Compare with the offerings during afternoon tea, which were more limited.
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Breads and hot soup selection.
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They also offered freshly heated sandwich (not freshly made as they called since they made the sandwich beforehand).
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Beside the sandwich counter is the serviced coffee machine, which also offered some other hot drinks.
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Ice cream and (on breakfast) waffles can be ordered at the counter beside the coffee machine.
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There were chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice cream available, for which I picked the chocolate ice cream. It was served almost ice cold, though.
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Cold meals offered consist of some basic salad and fruit cuts.
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Inside the lounge proper there were only non-alcoholic beverages available.
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A vacant family room was located at the end of the main lounge area.
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Though I didn't get to use it, the nap room looked comfortable enough to catch some sleep.
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Since the lounge offered a good view of the tarmac, I was also able to take a few shots of the plane of the day landing.
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She then took a short taxi to the satellite terminal, as it has been the case for KL's flights.
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The plane for the late afternoon was PH-BQK, a 13 1/2 years old 772.
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As the plane has arrived at the gate I went for shower first at their bathroom, which was fine if not a bit dingy and small.
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By depositing your passport (or boarding pass, if it's printed) I received body lotion and towel. Dental kit as well as shaving kit were also available on request.
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Lounge test verdict and departure


On overall, the lounge was quite decent by international business class standard - it's nothing especially luxurious, but still delivered the basics quite well with comfortable seats, showers, and (half-)decent meals. Added with the lounge's additional perks like champagne bar and nap room, this lounge was something I would look forward to before my flight.

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Security took me 10 minutes to clear, and there was no priority enforced.
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I had my ticket checked before entering the waiting room. At this time I also verified the load, which was quite heavy.
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By that time boarding was already well underway so there was only a couple of people at the waiting room.
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The boarding gate proper was also unoccupied.
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I was directed to go through the left corridor leading to the front aerobridge.
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The front aerobridge was only used for 30 or so passengers so it's almost expected to have it empty.
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It was time to board the plane and move to the next part.
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On board


Flight: KL809
Plane: PH-BQK "Mount Kilimanjaro"
STD/ATD: 16.20/16.16
STA/ATA: 17.25/17.34
Load factor: 91% J (31/34), 100% Y (285/284)
Seat type: Fully lie-flat offset business class (bulkhead window seat)
Details: https://flightaware.com/live/flight/KLM809/history/20181021/0820Z/WMKK/WIII

After I was welcomed by one of the cabin crews I went right to my seat.
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A standard KL pillow was provided, which was quite plush.
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A side view of the seats.
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Legroom wasn't bad, however I would be better off at the mini cabin since the fuselage curvature made the footrest slightly shift to the aisle.
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To make it worse, the IFE screen was also shifted to the right, which made it uncomfortable to look at.
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Welcome drinks were distributed on a tray.
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Naturally, I went for the champagne, which was distributed in KL's beautiful yet small glass. As expected, there was no refill provided.
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A customs form was also provided on board.
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Time for a seat tour: the armrest by the window (or aisle) can be lowered for sleeping.
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Beside my seat are the USB/AC plugs as well as headphone plug. A small storage area below it was also used to store the packed headphone.
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A centre armrest was provided, which also came with a cocktail table.
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The literature pocket and remote control stowage are both located below the centre armrest. Speaking of the literature pocket, it's a sure-fire way to quickly damage whatever is put there.
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Fortunately, the remote was still in good condition and in fact quite responsive.
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Contents inside the literature pocket.
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Seat control was easy to reach and offered quite a few different settings.
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A foldable tabe could be found from the centre armrest.
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The table, however, was still wet.
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I then asked for some tissue to clean the table, for which I received some KL-branded tissue papers.
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Since I had opted for a seat o the left seat, the view consisted of nothing but the aerobridges for now.
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Me on the seat with the headphone: the seat was comfortable enough, though the headphone felt a bit small even as it did its job.
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Newspaper was also handed out.
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Soon it was time for pushback.
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A safety video was shown at this moment.
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Our short taxi mostly featured views of the satellite terminal.
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There was no queue for departure so take-off roll followed the taxi.
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As we started the noisy take-off, I managed to capture a couple of photos of the terminal.
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KUL terminal 2 could be clearly seen as we lifted off.
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As we climbed the views mainly consisted of plants and expressways.


The entire KUL airport were in sight after we made a turn towards the Malacca strait.
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It was time to leave peninsular Malaysia.
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With multiple ships sailing along the Malacca strait at once, it's no wonder that it's considered one of the world's busiest straits.
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After the fasten seatbelt sign was switched off the curtain was closed to prepare for the service.
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Service started with a hot towel.
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After I lifted my table a tablecloth was applied by the flight attendant.
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There was unfortunately no menu provided, so as the trolley came I was offered between chicken or beef. I opted for the beef option, having tried the chicken option on my flight with KL a few months before, and after the meal was presented bread and olive oil was also provided. This time, though, the meal was brought to me with the aluminum foil still on.
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My early dinner after I opened the foil.
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To accompany the meal I had their signature Flying Dutchman cocktail.
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The early dinner consisted of:
Appetizer: Jakarta-style rice cake and tofu with vermicelli and bean sprouts in peanut sauce
Bread: Bread basket
Main course: Braised beef with vegetable medley and cut potatoes or chicken (didn't exactly remember the exact dish details since there was no menu)
Dessert: Nutmeg cake
Drink: Water / coffee / tea / milk / fruit juice / cocktail / wine / champagne

For reference, here is the menu from KL's website which showed different appetizer and side dishes for the beef option (though the dessert was still the same):
photo screenshot_20181021-180542_samsung internet

To start, though the appetizer wasn't exactly what I predicted, it turned out to be pretty fine (it's only a couple of weeks later that I had grown appetite for the dish on the ground). In terms of the main dish, while the beef was slightly chewy it was still quite tender and flavourful, and the vegetables weren't soggy either. The bread was a tad better than the usual roll, though the olive oil made it better, and to end the meal the dessert was quite good. On overall, I found this to be one of the better short-haul business class meals out there.

I also had the dessert wine during the second drink service, which I enjoyed.
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As the meal was collected another drink service was provided, which I partook by ordering sparkling water.
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Following the dinner service I tried the seat in bed mode, which was pretty fine.
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The wide legroom also helped a bit in this regard, especially since I found the cubby on non-bulkhead rows to be a bit small.
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I then went to the galley and chatted with the flight crew for a while while I waited for the lavatory.
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They also offered me Delft Blue-shaped post-meal chocolate as I waited (which would be distributed to the cabin afterwards), and I picked the dark chocolate one.
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The lavatory was nothing remarkable and otherwise the same as economy class lavatory apart from the additional toiletries.
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Naturally they had already prepared the miniature houses to distribute, and since this was only a few weeks after they released the #99 Delft Blue house (the small ones) they loaded quite a number of them.
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But first, some video for the launch of the new house design:


A view of the main business class cabin.
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While I waited for the houses to come I had a look at the IFE's music selection, which was decent.


Soon enough, the Delft Blue house was distributed and I picked the newest one (too bad it ended up in my friend's hands now).
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The view as we cruised.
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A couple of minutes later I checked the moving map, which was almost as good as it gets for a "default" moving map.
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It was soon time for descent, and as the sun started to set the view improved.
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As we neared CGK, though, it became a bit more dull.
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During the approach to CGK the view was initially dominated by rice fields.
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Occasionally the Tangerang - Merak expressway could be seen as well.
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As we got into our final approach the busier side of Tangerang started to appear.
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The airport rail branch could be seen around the airport perimeter.
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QG's 320 and JT's 739 queuing up for takeoff.
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It was time to start the long taxi all the way to terminal 3.
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ID's 320 landing at runway 7R.
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We also passed by the planes parked in GA's maintenance facility.
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After more than 10 minutes of taxi we finally arrived at CGK terminal 3.
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When we reached there the ground staffs were already expecting our arrival.
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We were finally parked beside PK-GIK, GA's latest 77W.
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As expected on a KL flight, an ad video of them was shown as we started to deplane.
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The business class cabin emptied in no time and it was also time for me to leave.
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After bidding farewell to the crews I walked to the terminal using the aerobridge.
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Last view of the -BQK.
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Arrival at CGK and post-arrival trip


It was time to walk along the interstitial corridor again, which this time was packed due to GA's flight from HND arriving around the same time.
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I then went down to the arrival floor.
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Fortunately we were already among the closest gates to immigration so it didn't take long for me to get there.
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This time the automated immigration gates happened to work, so I went for it. Also seen right beside the automated gates are the gates for GA's arriving elite/premium passengers (and GA only, doesn't apply for other carriers).
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After clearing immigration I went to the arrival hall.
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While the luggage claim area was crowded, I checked nothing so ….
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Instead, I went straight to customs.
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I had the misfortune of getting my bags checked even though I only brought my backpack, though at least it was fast.
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It was the time again to walk all the way to the other end of the terminal ….
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To the bus terminal, of course.
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I took the Damri bus and afterwards connected to a motorcycle taxi to get back to my proper bed.
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See more

Verdict

KLM

7.9/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew7.5
Entertainment/wifi8.5
Meal/catering7.5

Malaysian Airlines Golden Satelite Lounge - Business Class Section

6.9/10
Comfort8.0
Meal/catering6.5
Entertainment/wifi7.5
Services5.5

Kuala Lumpur - KUL

6.1/10
Efficiency5.5
Access7.0
Services5.5
Cleanliness6.5

Jakarta - CGK

6.8/10
Efficiency7.5
Access7.0
Services6.0
Cleanliness6.5

Conclusion

Like on my previous flight with KL on the same route, I especially enjoyed the flight and found it to offer good value as usual. Apart from the offset legrest and the discrepancy on the meal offerings, the flight was on overall quite pleasant. In terms of the airports, both KUL and CGK were relatively fuss-free and the lounge at KUL was quite decent (except for the long delay for laksa and the poor afternoon tea hot buffet selection).

On overall, at around this price point I would be more than happy to fly with them again.

Information on the route Kuala Lumpur (KUL) Jakarta (CGK)

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