The airline with the best average rating is Korean Air with 8.0/10.
The average flight time is 6 hours and 21 minutes.More information
I became a Qantas Frequent Flyer member since 2013. Every year since then, I aimed to renew my Qantas Gold membership; 2018 was not an exception. My dad, on the other hand, frequently travelled for work and was a oneworld Sapphire member too. In 2018, we discussed and decided to head to South Korea for a family trip and I was tasked to decide the flights. After much deliberation, we decided on travelling Malaysia Airlines (MH) Business Class.
There will be 4 reports in this series. While all 4 will be MH flights, I happened to fly on different Business Class products on each flight; and I hope this will make it a slightly more interesting series despite the lack of airline variety.
This is Episode 2 of a series of 4 reports, featuring four different Malaysia Airlines Business Class products.
On this trip, I actually did not expect to fly on MH’s A380. When I booked the air tickets, we were still scheduled to fly MH's A330-300 for both the flights to and fro Seoul. A week before departure, I noticed that the seat map became a 2-2-2 configuration, which was not what you should expect to see on MH’s newer A333. Initially, I thought the airline down gauged the flight to an A332. On closer look, I then realised that the aircraft type was showing as A380-800!
This was actually bad news for Business Class passengers because the seats on MH A388s were older than those on MH’s A333s. I was happy nonetheless, as MH only routinely scheduled their A388s on London routes back in 2018, and with no plans to visit London anytime soon at that time, it was definitely a bonus for an avgeek like myself.
Malaysia Airlines MH66
Aircraft Registration: 9M-MNF
Aircraft Type: A380-800
Origin: Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia (KUL)
Destination: Incheon International Airport, Seoul, South Korea (ICN)
Date: 25 May 2018 (Friday)
Scheduled Departure/Arrival: 2330h (UTC+08:00) to 0710h (+1) (UTC+09:00)
Actual Departure/Arrival: 2345h (UTC+08:00) to 0703h (+1) (UTC+09:00)
Estimated Duration: 6h 40mins
Actual Duration: 6h 24mins
Distance: 2,860 miles / 4,603 km
Seat: 16A (Window)
We start this report from where we left off previously.
After a short flight from Singapore, we disembarked from MH610, only to be blocked by passengers boarding their flights on the adjacent gate. After many instances of “Excuse Me-s”, we finally got through!
Our transit time was not long, so we headed directly to the skytrain station to go to the Satellite Terminal. There was no time for the lounge this time round; so we'll have to give it a miss.
We arrived at the Satellite Terminal at 10.30pm.
It was peak period at KUL at this time, the terminal was quite crowded.
Our gate was at C17, and the queue for security checks was super duper long, with no priority queues for Business Class, unfortunately.
As mentioned, we skipped the lounge at KUL due to the short transit time. Boarding was said to start at 10.30pm for our flight, 1h before the scheduled departure. It did not happen.
As we approached the end of the queue, I noticed a sign that stated “please give way to crew, handicapped passengers, as well as those travelling in Business or First”. But with so many people queuing up, I was definitely not going to “cut” the queue and become the centre of attention. Eventually, this queue took us 10 minutes to clear; not too bad!
As for crew members, everyone intuitively gave way to them. These were our pilots for this flight to South Korea.
Departing from an A380 gate in KUL was definitely a rare experience for me. Even though I frequent this airport a lot, most of the time I fly on regional flights when departing from or arriving at KUL, which you won’t usually see a demand for A380s.
Boarding will be from Level 3! So cool!
Wow how interesting was it to see a Qantas baggage weighing scale in KUL. It’s been ages since Qantas last flew to Kuala Lumpur; the final QF flights direct to KUL were suspended in the year 1999, as cited in this article dated 7 June 2002.
10.50pm, another ten minutes left to the “real” scheduled boarding time 11.00pm. The one stated on boarding pass was just to lure us to the gate earlier. As you can see, MH partners with Korean Air on this sector. Korean Air is an airline I always wanted to try, no chance yet, hopefully soon after COVID-19 goes away!
There were lesser people on the upper deck, and there were more space too.
This was the best angle I could find for a picture of our aircraft for the night. Bringing us to Seoul was MH’s newest A380 at that point in time: 5 years old 9M-MNF. This is also the 100th A380 manufactured.
11pm, boarding commenced “on-time”.
The only aircraft where you can board directly into its upper deck!! Very soon within the next few decades, this sight will be history as more airlines retire their A380s.
Business Class consists of 66 seats, spread across two zones. The main cabin has 8 rows, while the smaller one in front has 3 rows.
Seat configuration was 2-2-2 for the entire Business Class cabin; not amazing nowadays. Honestly, this really doesn't look like a 5-years old aircraft; it looks much older…
There’s also a small 72-seats Economy Class cabin behind Business Class on the upper deck of this A380.
If you do get to fly Economy Class on MH’s A380 in future, this is definitely the zone to select your seats from. (I wrote this in the first draft of this report, before announcement of MH A380's retirement)
I was flying with my dad and sister; we were seated on 16A, C, and D.
Amenities such as pillow, blanket, and seat cover were placed on each seat before boarding.
This was how the seat looks like with seat cover on. I placed it on immediately after departure.
Another unique feature on the A380’s upper deck would be the storage compartments for window seats. Anyone seated here would have an abundance of storage space.
This compartment was able to fit small backpacks, laptop bags etc.
The remote control for the IFE was mounted on the armrest. It looked pretty worn and definitely looks like it was there for more than 5 years. In fact, the whole interior vibe of this cabin felt like we were in a 10 years-old aircraft instead. (Remember: This aircraft was only 5 y.o. as at the time of this flight)
There was a small area beneath the armrest, in which passengers can place their belongings. Right beside that was the compartment consisting of the in-flight reading materials.
The arm rest can be raised like this, but it seems pretty useless to do so.
There was also a reading light at every seat.
Between each pair of seat, there’s a small platform where we can place our personal belongings or drinks; which was pretty convenient.
Time to take a closer look at the IFE system.
The standard “welcome” screen shows an A380. Very appropriate for this aircraft.
Nose cancelling headset was provided for each passenger, and was stored in the drawer directly below the screen.
This was a "no-brand" headset but its quality wasn’t too bad. I am not really picky anyway when it comes to noise cancelling headsets.
Beneath the screen was another compartment that was likely for storing shoes.
While this Business Class product is far from the most impressive available in the market nowadays, it is still generally quite decent. Especially if you are flying in a pair, this will be a product that is friendly to you, and also with quite a fair bit of storage space too.
For pre-departure drinks, my sister and I both took orange juice.
Apart from pre-departure drink, cabin crews also distributed a hot towel to each passenger.
11.30pm, at the scheduled time of departure, our captain announced a 15-30 minutes delay due to late arrival of incoming transit passengers. This is an evidence of the advantage of purchasing connecting flight itinerary with the same airline; most of the time if your first flight is delayed, the next flight will usually wait for you.
Here’s a recording of our captain’s announcement. It starts off with announcement in Malay, followed by English from 0:33 onwards.
11.40pm, the final batch of passenger finally boarded and the crews closed the cabin doors immediately after that.
(UTC+08:00, Kuala Lumpur Time)
2340h Doors Closed
2345h Push Back, 15 Mins Delay
2356h Announcement “Crew be Seated”
2359h Take Off
0005h Seatbelt Signs Off
Taking off in this massive aircraft is always an amazing feel. Honestly, it just doesn’t quite make sense to an ordinary people like myself how technology was able to make this happen. It’s pure wonder. It is really a pity the A380 project didn’t work out the way aircraft manufacturers wanted it to.
Decades later, perhaps many of us will marvel at the historical sight of the gigantic A380 appearing in an old movie or documentary, watched through the IFE screen of an A321neo at 35,000 feet… Future generations of avgeeks may not even get the chance to fly A380 anymore too. Sigh ):
Well, in actual fact, at the time of writing this report, Malaysia Airlines has already recently announced the confirmed retirement plans for its A380 fleet.
While the aircraft was taxiing, I decided on the movie for this flight: Our Shining Days (閃光少女). This is a movie about a group of high school students attempting to revive the traditional Chinese Orchestra in their music school. Quite an interesting film as I’m personally a leisure musician in Chinese Orchestras too in my home country.
By the way, it was possible for flight map to be displayed in the "picture-in-picture" mode for this IFE. Quite cool!
While it wasn’t an exceptionally wow-ing film, I finished watching it nonetheless.
11.45pm, pushing back finally.
In the picture below, you can see three parked MH A380s. The utilisation rates of MH’s A380s were really low, even back then (2-3 years ago in the pre-COVID era). When the A380s were just introduced into MH’s fleet, they were almost solely used on their London routes. Subsequently, the aircrafts were occasionally deployed on Hajj flights to and fro Jeddah and Mecca. In recent years, A380s were also seasonally flown on Incheon and Narita routes, possibly to cater to the high travel demands. As of now, it has almost been confirmed that MH’s A380s will not be used on revenue service again in the post-COVID era.
Safety video played while we were on our way to the runway. I’ve also included a YouTube clip below for this safety video, for those of us who really miss watching these videos in these unprecedented times.
Cabin view while safety video was playing, and while the aircraft was taxiing to the runway.
11.59pm, taking off from KUL. Here’s a video of the take off. Well… At least we didn't take off "the next day"? So the delay wasn't that bad actually.
We received the meal menu straight after push back.
Simple introduction about meals and satays onboard Malaysia Airlines.
Here’s the menu for our flight to ICN.
And the menu for the return flight. Our return flight was however on an A330-300 instead, not sure at that point if food served will be the same as the one stated in this menu.
My favourite drink choices on Malaysia Airlines: Teh Tarik and Guava Juice! Click here to find out more about Teh Tarik on Singapore National Library's website.
There was quite a commendable choice of alcoholic beverages too.
And, finally followed by the last page of the menu with Malaysia Airlines' logo.
12.05am, seatbelt signs were switched off soon after take off and many fellow passengers got up to put on the seat covers; we did the same.
After about another half an hour, a simple supper service started, and it began with a pack of very tasty Malaysia Airlines peanut.
Following which it was the signature Satay dish. Satay is a very common supper choice for us in Singapore, so it is always a special experience to try it onboard an aircraft too.
I ordered a cup of milk tea, which is called Teh Tarik on in Malaysia, together with the Satay. This combination is really unique only to a Malaysian airline.
Bottled water was also provided to each passenger.
That’s about it for supper service. The rest of the items on the supper menu were on demand and not served “by-default”. Anyway, most passengers didn’t even get the satays and went directly to flat-bed mode after take off. I was probably quite full at that point in time and so I skipped the rest of the supper too.
1.23am, cabin lights switched off.
I finished my movie and switched my IFE to the flight map in preparation to “go to bed”.
Before sleeping, however, I went to the lavatory to take a look and to brush my teeth too.
The lavatory on this flight was kept clean and tidy throughout the journey.
I slept only 2h+ on this flight. Whenever I get the chance to fly lie-flat in business class, I always wish for a much longer flight time. With only 2h of sleep on this flight, I was sure to look like at zombie the next day in Seoul.
4.40am, awake and ready for breakfast!
To cater to different taste buds / preferences, MH provided both strawberry jam and kaya spread for passengers to use on their breads. If you’ve been to Singapore or Malaysia before, I’m sure you will be familiar with what kaya is; otherwise, click here to learn more about this very unique jam.
For my breakfast, I chose the Korean option: beef roll with rice.
My sister chose the Malaysian option: Nasi Lemak, which a very popular national dish in Malaysia and very well-liked in Singapore too.
By the way, the dining tables for this business class seat can be rotated 90 deg like this, which makes it very convenient for passengers to leave their seats during meal services even if the trays have not been collected by the crew.
5.02am, we were nearing Seoul by then.
Got up from my seat to stretch a little before we buckle up for our descent into Incheon. While walking around the cabin, I noticed many people skipping their breakfast and choosing to sleep all the way till the last moment possible.
This isn’t really something I’ll do because whenever I sleep on a plane, I’ll almost always be awoken by the smell of food. Haha!
You can see from the photo below that the load (in Business Class) on this flight was very good too. No wonder a decision was made to equipment-swap from A330 to A380.
Here’s the flight info updates by our captain. The English announcement starts from 0:21.
(UTC+09:00, Seoul Time)
0626h Landing Preparation
0646h Crew to be Seated
0650h Very Smooth Landing
0703h Arrived at Gate
It was an early morning arrival at Seoul Incheon International Airport for this flight. We touched down around 10 minutes before 7am, which was more or less on time.
The landing into Seoul was extremely smooth and if I was asleep, I might not even know that we had landed.
Anyway, as you can see in the photo below, I was watching the descend and touch down from the in-flight TV below. Definitely a very nice feature to have in the IFEs; it was just a pity that the screen resolution for those on Malaysia Airline’s A380 was a little low.
Looking forward to the next few days of food & fun in Korea!
As we taxi to our gate, I saw EVA Air’s Hello Kitty themed aircraft (which is quite far away in the photo below). I have not flown on these aircrafts before, but I am not a fan of Hello Kitty either.
Arrived at our gate at 7.03am, and to our left were all South Korean registered aircrafts, but short of Air Busan (which does not have too many international flights out from Incheon Airport).
7.11am, disembarked and finally got another shot of our aircraft; though the angle was still bad, what a pity. Well at least we can see the nice MH A380 livery a bit clearer here in this photo.
This is an interesting feature in Incheon Airport, where the screens at the arrival gates will always show the “Welcome to Korea” message in the language of the flight’s origin. In this case, Bahasa Melayu was shown along with Malaysia’s flag. For Koreans, I think they can even take photos of these screens as a proof of their overseas travel - quite cool right?
The first impression that Incheon Airport gives travellers is that it has very bright, clean and spacious terminals. Full marks for cleanliness, definitely.
7.26am, we were faced with this long list of arrival flights on the FIDS after passing through immigration. It took us a while to finally find the details of our flight.
7.30am, we saw our bags just 5 minutes after that! Superb efficiency!
7.38am, passed the customs and entered the arrival hall.
It was still early and we were not going to leave the airport yet. My mother was flying from Taiwan to meet us at Incheon Airport that morning, and her China Airlines flight from Kaohsiung was only scheduled to arrive around 3.5h later.
So at that point in time, we went to search for somewhere to sit down. My dad and sister took a nap while sitting at a cafe, while I took the free time to rush out our itinerary for the coming few days. Work was busy and we came unprepared with almost no itinerary planned. xD
10.44am, after a few hours at the cafe, we went back to the arrival hall to meet my mom. She was scheduled to arrive at 10.30am on CI164 from Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
After meeting her, we headed to the airport railroad station to get our train tickets. I was surprised to see on the directional signs that Incheon Airport also has an airport maglev line; something I thought was only unique to Shanghai, China.
We missed an Express train and hence decided to catch a Local train bound for Seoul city centre. It took us one full hour to reach Seoul, and I was half asleep the whole way.
There were a lot of stairs within Seoul Station, but they do have this very cool luggage conveyor belt for each flight of stairs!
Our hotel was just a 5-mins walk from the station.
And that’s about all for this Malaysia Airlines’ A380 flight report. Hopefully it is a little nostalgic for friends here who have also flown on this aircraft type before, given that they are all going to be retired in the near future.
Do leave your comments to share your MH and/or A380 experiences too! Stay safe everyone (:
As concluding remarks, I was really glad to have the chance to fly MH’s A380 after this flight, even though for us, it was actually a “product downgrade” because their A330-300 Business Class products are generally much better than that on the A380s. If there are no further surprises, this will likely be my first and last MH A380 flight report on the website. Glad that I was able to experience a flight on this aircraft type before it gets strike off from MH’s fleet.
The product was generally very comfortable and F&B served on this flight was great too. I did not really observe the service from crew as it was a late night red-eye flight and crew had minimal service provided since most passengers were sleeping. As for the IFE, I recall that the selection was quite limited and the screen resolution was not that good. The noise-cancelling headset provided was also of an average quality, definitely a pass but nothing too wow-ing.
On my flight back to Singapore from Seoul, we flew on MH’s A330-300 and that should give us a clear comparison between their A380 and A330-300 business class product. Look forward to that review! Till then, stay safe, stay healthy!