It has always been on my wish list to visit Japan during the sakura season but however due to the expensive airfares to Tokyo, this wish has been on hold for quite some time. However late last year, Malaysia Airlines had this fantastic offer to Tokyo for a price of only S$534 return all inclusive from Singapore and after predicting the dates of the cherry blossoms, I immediatley booked my flights departing on 30th March to Tokyo. How lucky I was when the cherry blossoms did bloomed exactly on the same week I was in Tokyo!! It was also my first ever visit to the land of the rising sun and also my virgin trip on MH! Lets see how great is their Malaysian Hospitality service onboard.
Fast forward to 30th March and I proceeded to Changi Terminal 2 for my flight to Kuala Lumpur, transiting onwards to Tokyo Narita. My friend would be flying on SQ instead, departing later. Check-in was done online the day before (I was sequence number 1 for KUL-NRT sector) and baggage were deposited at the check-in counters and boarding passes collected for the flights. MH has 8 counters performing check-in for the single B737 flight to KL. Impressive!! As I had booked my trips using my Maybank Horizon Platinum credit card, I was allowed to use the Plaza Premium Lounges in Singapore and KLIA for free, something which I did maximize my usage of.
First stop is the T2 Plaza Premium Lounge for a light snack. The lounge was almost empty and the buffet set-up was decent. Has a healthy salad and some drinks in the lounge. Nothing too impressive about the lounge compared to the other airline lounges but a good place for some peace and tranquility.
Almost empty lounge
Had a salad and soup
Soon, I decided to proceed to the newly renovated Sunflower garden in T2 to catch the arrival of my aircraft from KUL.
Shot from sunflower garden.
MH607 just arrived from KUL. Slightly late arrival.
Soon after, I proceeded to the gate. The flight was code-shared with Singapore Airlines and Silkair. The flight seemed full with lots of pax in the gate. As usual, boarding had not started even though the screened showed Gate Closing. In fact, arriving passengers have just disembarked from the aircraft!
30 March 2010 Malaysia Airlines MH 610 Singapore (SIN) - Kuala Lumpur (KUL) B737-400 9M-MMQ Economy Class
9M-MMQ at the gate being serviced.
Probably as the plane was just a small B737, turnaround was quite fast and very soon, the boarding announcement was called. Boarding was conducted by row numbers from the rear of the aircraft and was orderly.
Soon, my first step into a MH aircraft.
Newspapers were available on a cart at the cabin door entrance ala SQ. Was welcomed onboard by 2 friendly crew members. There were 5 crew on this flight, 2 serving Golden Club Class and 3 in Economy Class. Along the way to my seat, crew were greeting assisting passengers with stowage of bags etc. Good first impression here. However, as noted by other trip reporters, the seats are horribly colorful!! Business class seats were upholstered in bloody red while economy was in a variety of smarties color scheme.
Proceeding to my seat. Note the colorful seats!
Seat pitch was quite tight but tolerable for the short 35min flight.
In the seat pocket was only a safety card and airsick bag. No inflight magazines in all seats. Hmm. Probably they are being replaced with the new issue?
Parked beside a SQ A333. We seemed so teeny weeny beside the A330.
During boarding, the boarding music played was interestingly kampong or traditional malay music. Sounds like what you would hear during a malay wedding reception. Boarding was still in progress and the plane was almost full. Seemed like most pax were connecting onto other MH flights in KUL as there were indians, japanese and chinese groups among others onboard.
Soon, doors were closed on time and the safety demo was shown manually by the crew as there was no IFE on MH's 737s. Lights were dimmed for takeoff but before dimming the lights, crew came down the aisle and switched on the overhead lights for pax who were reading. What great service! We had a quick taxi to Rwy02C and were off for the short hop to KUL.
Departure to KUL. You can hear the traditional malay music in the background.
Climbing to cruise.
Initially I was only expecting a drinks service similar as what SQ and MI offers and was pleasantly surprised when a stewardess came down with a basket of peanuts and started distributing them.
Stewardess distributing peanuts.
After peanuts were distributed, 2 crew reappeared with trays of a choice of either orange juice, guava juice or water. All were pre-poured into cups. However no coffee/tea was offered.
Salted peanuts and guava juice.
Crew serving drinks.
Very soon, we started our descend into KL. In fact, I think we did not even cruise. Just ascend and descend immediately. Trash were picked up rapidly and cabin was secured for landing.
Landing into KUL.
We had a long taxi to the main terminal where the plane parked beside more MH birds.
Last look at the smarties seats.
Overall, service was good for the short flight. However, it would be the longer haul KUL-NRT sector to see how MH performs. As the plane had arrived at the main terminal, I would have to transfer to the satellite terminal. It has been ages since I last stepped onto KLIA (LCCT not counted).
Departure screen. Note that there are significantly less departing flights than Changi.
Model airplanes exhibit.
The new KLIA jungle boardwalk.
Singapore - SIN
Kuala Lumpur - KUL
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