The flight to NRT, MH88 was scheduled to depart at 2330hrs from gate C1. Proceeded to the gate and went though security. Was observing the plane from the gatehold room and noticed something was wrong as the plane's engines were opened as if some maintenance were going on. True enough, an announcement came and requested all passengers to proceed to gate C17 due to an aircraft change. The current aircraft, 9M-MRJ, was experiencing some technical problems. Our departure time was also rescheduled to 0030hrs.
9M-MRJ with engine shell opened.
As I still had more than an hour of wait, I decided to visit the Plaza Premium Lounge (again courtesy of my credit card) for a bite. The lounge seemed smaller than Changi's but was decent enough for a short stay.
Light bite in the lounge.
Nearing the new boarding time, I proceeded to the gate where another B772 was awaiting.
31 March 2010 Malaysia Airlines MH 88 Kuala Lumpur (KUL) - Tokyo Narita (NRT) B777-200 9M-MRF Economy Class
Boarding was not done by rows but being a Japanese destination flight, the boarding process still remained orderly. Entered through door 2L (again newspapers at door) and greeted by crew and shown to the correct aisle. Passed the mini business class cabin and entered economy. Again, crew were friendly and assisting passengers with their luggage. The seat colours on the B772 were not as bright as the newly upholstered 737 ones and in fact looks quite similar to SQ's old 777 cabin interior colours. However, MH's 772s were configured 2-5-2 in economy. Good for me as I would only get pass 1 person from the window seat to the aisle but definitely horrendous for the person seated right in the middle of the block of 5.
The mini-business class cabin with only 1 row of seats, just before economy class.
Boarding in process
Legroom was quite good and I can actually cross my legs while seated!
Stuff in the seat pocket. Safety card, inflight mag and inflight shopping catalogue.
After boarding was completed, we had a short wait as our luggage was still being reloaded. Unfortunately, MH does not offer any hot towels now. Also no amenity kits nor menus were distributed. Guess all these frills were victims of cost-cutting. Safety video was shown, which was definitely better than SQ's current new video.
MH safety video from youtube.
Today, our inflight supervisor was a lady in fiery red kebaya, sort of like SQ's chief stewardess. We also had 3 Japanese stewardesses onboard, 2 in economy, 1 in business. Boarding music was some sort of jazz music (not the traditional malay music) which was similar to what SQ would play as boarding music back in history. Our flight time was announced to be a short 6hr 20min, which would make up for some of the delay. Pushed back and we had a short taxi to the runway for takeoff.
Takeoff from KUL
Soon after takeoff, the crew came down to distribute headsets before starting a light refreshment service. Our initial cruising altitude would be 35000ft, climbing to 39000 towards the end of the flight. Inflight entertainment was AVOD and was easy to navigate. Although the entertainment selection was less than SQ's latest IFE system and similar to the WISEMEN3000 system, it was still more than sufficient to while away the time. In fact, the latest movies selection were almost similar on both MH and SQ!! So who is spying on who here?
Light refreshment. Cheese and tuna sandwiches with coffee/tea/green tea/juices. Very substantial and filling snack.
Shortly after service, the trays were cleared. Seeing that I had finished my sandwiches, the stewardess along my aisle was actually nice enough to offer me a second helping! Additional drinks were also offered. Then the cabin was dimmed to allow everyone to sleep.
The flight was mainly smooth throughout. About 2hrs before landing, lights were on again in preparation for breakfast. A visit to the lavatory for some refreshing before breakfast too.
Amenities in the lavatory. Men/ladies cologne, aftershave lotion and hand lotion. The hand lotion smells much better than SQ's economy hand lotion
Surprisingly, combs and toothbrushes were also available!!
The sun is rising higher..
As MH do not distribute menus, they used a very innovative way to show the meal choices. The meal choices were flashed in the IFE screens. However, if your screens were switched off, you would miss it. Today for breakfast, we had 3 choices!! Salmon dill with potato, Cheddar omelette with potato or Nasi Lemak with chicken rendang and shrimp sambal.
Crew serving breakfast. Interestingly, the way MH crew conducts their meal service and how they interacted with passengers felt so similar to SQ that if they would to change their kebayas, it would be no different from SQ's service. This set of crew were mainly very good except for 1 stewardess who seemed that she did not want to be there. Luckily she was in the galley most of the time.
Chose the nasi lemak, which was accompanied with a warm bun, raisin danish, mixed fruits, jam and butter, musli bar, orange juice and coffee/tea. It was definitely a very filling breakfast. The nasi lemak was great but the mixed fruits was some canned cocktail fruits in syrup, which was disappointing. What MH lacked is in the presentation of meals, this is something which they can learn from SQ.
Nasi lemak breakfast.
Cabin view. Walking around the cabin, I discovered that there were magazine racks at the rear of the plane with various magazines to choose from.
After breakfast was cleared, we were nearing Tokyo and soon started our descent. Headphones were collected by the crew at this time.
Turning back to Narita
Landing at Tokyo Narita Airport! The landing was smooth!
Thank you for flying Malaysia Airlines
We landed about half hr late, but made up some time enroute. Parked at terminal 2 and disembarked. Crew were along the aisles, thanking everyone for flying with them and saying goodbyes.
9M-MRF at Narita
A sea of red-tails.
Overall, I felt that MH crew are as good if not better than SQ in their service delivery. Service procedures felt similar and crew were very attentive. MH is definitely up there at the top of the league in the software department, but what they lacked is the posh and class, which is mainly due to the inferior hardware. Lack of menus, amenity kits, hot towels, poor meal presentation (even though food is not bad) etc. This is what makes the difference between a SQ and MH experience.
Kuala Lumpur - KUL
Tokyo - NRT
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