My 4th Flight with Malaysia Airlines – One of The Best Meals in Economy!
Hi friends from all over the world! To those who still remember me, thank you very much~ And for those reading my report for the first time, welcome!
First of all, allow me to apologise sincerely for this extended delay in submitting this report after the first one. The past few months were extremely busy but I have managed to pull through. Alright, let’s go on to my second flight now! (Caution: this is a LONG report with lots of photos, please do enjoy even though it may take up quite a bit of your time)
Malaysia Airlines MH366 Aircraft Registration: 9M-MXD Origin: Malaysia Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) Destination: Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) Date: Friday, 09 May 2014 Boarding Time: 0810h (UTC+08:00) STD/STA: 0910h (UTC+08:00) to 1405h (UTC+08:00) ATD/ATA: 0910h (UTC+08:00) to 1350h (UTC+08:00) Estimated Duration: 04:55 Actual Duration: 04:40 Flight Distance: About 2,019 miles / 3,250 km
Early in the morning of 9 May 2014, I have already flown from Singapore Changi Airport on MH602 and arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) at about 7.40am. However, as you can see in the routing map below, KUL was not my final destination. I was just transiting there for a short period of time before continuing on to Taipei Taoyuan International Airport (TPE).
It’s been half a year since I last returned to Taiwan and this time, I was definitely looking forward to the trip back. In addition, we chose flights on Malaysia Airlines (MAS) mainly because of its extremely attractive price for its return air tickets; the trip to TPE and back cost about SGD437.20 only (surcharges and taxes included)!
Enough of introduction for this FR, let’s start on my flight experience, beginning with the transit made in KUL.
As a student in university, 8am on a normal day may still be part of my bedtime. However, on that day, I woke up at 4am and was already in a different country even before 8am. After confirming our flight details on the FIDS, we began making our way to the boarding gate - H10. (Our flight details can be found on the second row of the top right screen)
The transit duration we had that day was rather okay, standing at about 1h 15mins.
A location in KUL’s airside where you will see lots of people taking photos. (Incl. me!)
Look at all the aircraft models below! Which are the airlines that you’ve flown with before? (Very few for me, sadly…)
KUL has two terminals for its international departures and arrivals – Main Terminal and Satellite Terminal.
This is the area where you find duty free shops at the Main Terminal.
Both my flights that day – MH602 and MH366, arrived and departed from the Main Terminal. Hence, there was no need for me to travel to the Satellite Terminal.
The Main Terminal is directly linked to the public area of KUL. However, the airside area of the Main Terminal is rather limited, as most of the indoor area for the Main Terminal is dedicated to the public area. Nevertheless, the airport management has managed to squeeze lots of duty free shops in the small airside area.
Akin to Changi Airport in Singapore, departing and arriving passengers are not segregated onto different levels in the airside of KUL.
This photo was taken at 7.52am, and there were already lots of transit passengers. Fortunately we’ve already collected our boarding passes for the next flight in Singapore.
For passengers arriving on international flights that are transiting on to Malaysia domestic flights, arrival immigration clearance is required before proceeding to the domestic transfer area.
Domestic gates are prefixed with the letters ‘A’ or ‘B’, and these gates are actually one level beneath the international gate lounges prefixed with the letters ‘G’ and ‘H’. In other words, aircraft parking bays for the ‘A’ or ‘B’ gates are actually the same as those for the ‘G’ or ‘H’ gates.
Domestic passengers will be directed downstairs to the domestic gate lounges area; on the other hand, international passengers boarding or disembarking at ‘G’ or ‘H’ gates will be directed upstairs to the internal gate lounges area. (I know it may sound a little confusing, just try and decipher what I mean the next time you visit KUL’s main terminal. Alternatively, you can also look at the fourth photo above this paragraph and you will see that the 'G' gates are directly above the 'A' gates, while the 'H' gates are above the 'B' gates.)
Boarding pass for flight MH366, as you can see, I have keyed in my Qantas membership number for this booking. Unfortunately, I did not check the booking class properly and eventually could not accrue any mileage at all for these four MH flights.
Before entering the boarding lounge, I tried out KUL’s free Wi-Fi. The connection speed was acceptable, but definitely not as good as the one in Taipei Taoyuan Airport.
The login screen.
Golden Lounge – Malaysia Airline’s lounge in the Main Terminal of KUL. I remember reading some reports saying that the services and F&B provided in this lounge aren’t very exceptional. Well, I can’t say much myself since I don’t have the chance to enter these lounges as of now.
H10 is the last gate on the corridor of Zone H.
While we were on our way to gate H10, I observed that most of the flights at KUL’s main terminal that morning were operated by MAS’ B737-800 aircrafts, including the one I was about to board. (Note that there was a MAS B747 parked at the background of this photograph, this aircraft was supposedly being stored in KUL at that time, but there were rumours about MAS re-activating its B747s due to aircraft shortage resulting from the unfortunate loss of two B777s this year. However, I am unsure about how true this is.)
Arrived at gate H10 at about 8.15am, but security checks have not commenced yet.
For transit passengers, there aren’t any transit security screenings at KUL, since departing and arriving passengers are not directed to different areas of the airport’s airside. All passengers will go through common security screening prior to entering the airport’s boarding lounges.
No flights were operating from H8 that morning.
Soon after we arrived at the gate, passengers onboard MH366 began to queue for security screening.
Meanwhile, I found a location to take some shots of aircrafts on the tarmac. I am sure many of our Flight Reporters from France can recognize this aircraft? =P
The B737-400 that was originally in FireFly’s fleet. 9M-FZB had its first flight in 1992 and had Lufthansa as its first operator. The aircraft was transferred to FireFly in 2011, and currently it’s being stored at KUL.
With 56 out of 98 aircrafts in MAS’ fleet being B737-800, this aircraft type is definitely very easily spotted in KUL. Here, we see 9M-MXO resting on the tarmac for the day.
Finally, our aircraft for the day. No surprise, it’s going to be another B737-800, and the one operating MH366 that day is 9M-MXD – a relatively new aircraft that had its first flight on 25 February 2011.
Here’s some interesting information I found about this aircraft: This is the flight route of 9M-MXD’s delivery flight, which took off on 15 March 2011 from Boeing Field (BFI), and arrived at KUL on 18 March 2011 (total distance: 15,852km).
Finally entered the boarding lounge after security screening at 8.25am. Time for some photo-shoot for our aircraft, especially given the great weather that day at KUL.
A distance away at the Satellite Terminal – an MAS A380 bound for London, most probably, this was flight MH4.
I was surprised to find no water dispenser in KUL’s boarding lounge; couldn’t fill up my water bottle as a result. However, a good point about this airport’s boarding lounge is that there are a lot of seats within the lounges and the boarding lounges are also rather huge in size, which makes it more comfortable for passengers waiting to board their aircraft.
Final call was announced 20 minutes prior to the scheduled time of departure.
Here’s another observation I made about MAS from the four flights I had with them in May 2014: boarding sequence was typically ignored. Apart from priority boarding for business class and higher tier passengers, economy passengers mostly boarded at the same time and ground staff do not seem too interested to enforce the boarding sequence by rows.
Consequently, all my four MH flights witnessed the same situation – a long wait on the aerobridge, as a result of a “human jam” in the aircraft during boarding. I would think that MAS has to improve on its boarding procedures.
Looking on the bright side, being stuck on the aerobridge meant that I had more time to do additional plane spotting. Well, it’s still a MAS B738.
This is 9M-MXG, heading to Bangalore as MH104. Scheduled to depart soon after my flight.
MH366 on the left and MH104 on the right.
Part of the Malaysian flag and the oneworld logo on the aircraft body.
Passing by the purple-themed Business Class. The seats look relatively comfortable, but the seat pitch was probably just average.
We reached our seats at 9.01am – 23D and 23E. Boarding process was still going on at this time, and it still seemed rather slow.
Seat pitch for MAS’ B738 is a pathetic 30”. Definitely not what one would prefer for any flights lasting above 3 hours – like ours…
Furthermore, this obstruction on the floor made it even less comfortable when placing my leg on the ground sometimes.
Pretty winglet of this MAS B738.
This isn’t the most comfortable seat you would expect on a full service airline. Nevertheless, pillows and earpieces were already distributed on the seats prior to boarding.
Newspapers were also provided upon boarding at the aircraft door. I took this Malaysian Mandarin newspaper as I was interested with the article featured below the headline – it was an article describing the last night of operation at KUL’s Low-Cost Terminal on 8 May 2014. The day of my flight on MH366 was the first day of operation for KUL’s new terminal – KLIA2.
The lady seated here probably knew that I wanted to take a photo of the seat recline, and thus she tried to make herself comfortable by reclining her seat even before pushback. Well, she had to straighten it eventually, because an FA told her to do so soon after I took this photo.
Here’s the lighting of the aircraft cabin during boarding.
It would only be adjusted to the famous Boeing Sky Interior when the flight is cruising. The following photo was taken at 11.17am.
Selamat Datang means Welcome in Malay! We had a very punctual departure that day, pushing back at 9.10am exactly.
KUL is probably considered a huge airport by Asia’s standard. Even with very little traffic that morning, our aircraft took 12 minutes to taxi to the runway.
MH366 took off from KUL at 9.22am that morning. Soon after its KUL departure, 9M-MXD took a right turn and began its flight straight to Taipei Taoyuan Airport (TPE).
The aircraft seemed to climb at a rather fast rate. 5 minutes later at 9.27am, the captain switched off the seatbelt signs.
Cabin lighting has also changed to a warmer colour. However, the four “tubes” of white light right in the middle of the cabin’s ceiling look rather ugly, and I personally think they do not fit in to the mood lighting environment at all. Was wondering if those were some kind of emergency lightings?
In the following picture, the FA was confirming special meal orders with passengers. As she headed back to the galley, I requested for a cup of water from her (recall that KUL’s boarding lounge had no water dispenser) and she responded in a really unpleasant manner “wait a while” before walking away.
Still climbing at 9.30am.
Also! I was really lucky to have an empty window seat next to me for that flight!
At 9.31am, the aircraft was passing 17,750ft. On the flight information screen for MAS, the altitude is always displayed in “metres”, I wasn’t very used to seeing it in “metres”.
Definitely not a good headphone, but it’s still usable.
Also on the flight information screen in MH flights, the direction and distance to Mecca, Islam’s Holiest City, is always displayed, as Malaysia is an Islamic state.
The 9” PTV screen size in MAS’ B738 aircrafts is considered quite a big one as compared to smaller screens found in other airlines.
Our aircraft was still below the cloud cover at 9.35am.
Let’s take a look at the cabin. Even though 9M-MXD (the aircraft operating MH366) and the aircraft I took earlier in the morning (9M-MSF, flight MH602) are both B738s, the cabin interior of 9M-MXD certainly looked a little bit less clean as compared to 9M-MSF. This was probably because 9M-MXD was two years older in terms of the aircraft’s “age”. Some dust could be seen on this aircraft’s ceiling – looked like it was due for some major cleaning soon.
Nevertheless, each seat has USB ports – a great plus point for people like me who would need to charge my devices on the go.
That day on MH366, I decided to watch “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”.
At this point in time, how many of you still remembered that I requested some water from an FA just now? As I was really thirsty, I looked forward so much to getting a cup of water but seeing that all the FAs were extremely busy preparing meals, I hesitated to disturb them at the galley. Thus, I actually decided to quench my thirst only when the meals were served later on.
To my surprise, however, the FA remembered my request and served me a cup of water twenty minutes after I requested for it. It was nice that she remembered my request even though she and her colleagues were really busy. (:
Nevertheless, many MAS flight steward and stewardess looked very gloomy for that flight (and the other three flights). I sincerely hope that it was not because of the unfortunate incidents earlier this year (my flight took place two months after MH370 went missing), and I definitely think that all MAS staff members deserve the support from the world as their company go through a hard time this year.
Back to the flight. The co-pilot gave a flight information briefing before meal service. The main points he made were: aircraft currently cruising at 32,000ft, with a speed of approx. 800kph, and an ETA at Taipei of 2.05pm.
Meal service began an hour after taking off from KUL. The air steward in the following picture was the only one I saw with a good mood, out of all my four MH flights in May 2014.
Even though we ate a simple breakfast at Changi Airport Terminal 2 that morning at 5am, I was already super hungry at 10am onboard MH366.
Our meals were served at about 10.31am. There were two choices for main course: Nasi Lemak (Malay coconut rice with prawns) and Chicken Spaghetti. I chose the first one…
And it was surprisingly, really, really nice! (:
The taste and texture of the prawns were great! Seemed really fresh.
Usually, I dislike eating hard-boiled eggs. However, this one onboard MH366 was nice when I ate it with the extremely delicious and savoury sauce.
On the other hand, my mom selected chicken spaghetti. Similarly, it was extremely beyond my expectations. The spaghetti sauce was not too diluted, like what I had experience on other airlines before, and the spaghetti was cooked very nicely too – every single bit of it was cooked appropriately, no part was hardened as a result of over-cooking.
Nice, fresh fruits.
Yoghurt was okay too.
The bread was warm, which definitely is a good thing as well!
Plastic utensils were provided for the meals.
And a pack of wet tissue came with the meals as well.
From this photo of my meal tray, you can clearly see that I have enjoyed every bit of it – YES, even the butter. (: Good job to Malaysia Airlines! I really enjoyed your inflight meal in Economy.
After the awesome meal, the flight continued in clear skies!
With the Boeing Sky Interior cabin lightings switched on, the crew distributed a second round of hot drinks.
And also cleared our meal trays at 11.03am – the efficiency was high!
Did not manage to get a good shot of the cabin that day. This was the best photo I can find even though it’s still a little blur.
Now, it’s time for the lavatory visit.
Accessories were neatly placed.
And there were even flowers in the Economy Class toilets!
Passengers are advised to wipe dry the basin after using it.
Back to my seat. Now, for a closer look at the “ugly lightings” that I mentioned earlier.
At 12.05pm, the aircraft was about 1,183km away from our destination, TPE, more than halfway through our journey! It’s now cruising at an altitude of 36,000ft.
Speed was very close to 900kph.
And we were very near the capital of Philippines, Manila.
This flight that day was a relatively smooth one, with very little or no turbulence at all.
As mentioned earlier, I tried to watch a movie prior to the commencement of meal service. However, given that I woke up really early at 4am that day, I did not manage to complete the movie as I fell asleep soon after the meal service.
When I woke up again, we were already approaching TPE, and this meant that I definitely could not complete the movie. What I did was to record down where I paused the movie, and made a mental note to complete the movie on my flight back from TPE two weeks later.
This time, I experienced the true advantage of “Audio & Video On-Demand”! Now, I just needed to pray hard that the aircraft bringing me back from TPE to KUL will be a B738 installed with AVOD… (Note: some B738 in MAS’ fleet are not fitted with PTV, and thus no AVOD at all)
At about 1.16pm prior to descend, the co-pilot came back on the aircraft’s PA system for another announcement – aircraft now about to descend from 37,000ft; Taipei’s temperature was 24 degree Celsius; currently it is raining in Taipei; and the ETA was still 2.05pm (even though it was proven to be an inaccurate estimate because we arrived 15 minutes earlier, but since we were early, no worries about that).
An FA immediately translated the co-pilot’s announcement into Chinese.
The approach route was along Taiwan’s western coastline.
The aircraft’s location at about 1.30pm. We just passed Taichung, another major city in Taiwan.
As we approached TPE, the weather outside significantly became cloudier, even though I can’t really remember, I would assume that there were some slight turbulences while descending.
This is the approach route into TPE for MH366 seen on FlightAware.
At about 1.42pm, 9M-MXD touched down at TPE. Even with the rain, the landing process was relatively smooth.
Even though the weather wasn’t good, visibility was still sufficient for some plane spotting. This aircraft is Korean Air’s A330-300. Its registration number is HL-7702 and it was operating as KE692 bound for Seoul.
Another A340 from China Airlines, operating CI735 to Bangkok, and the aircraft was B-18803.
MH366 arrived at the gate 15 minutes earlier than the scheduled arrival time at about 1.50pm – full marks for punctuality!
A China Airlines B747-400 aircraft with special livery was being prepared for flight CI915 to Hong Kong beside us. This aircraft is rather famous in Taiwan because of its livery, and has a registration number of B-18203.
Even with the seatbelt signs still switched on, most of the passengers already stood up and waited eagerly to disembark.
Ground staff at TPE sprung into action immediately after the aircraft stopped.
Soon after, we disembarked as well and I took one last shot of 9M-MXD, now preparing to return to KUL as MH367.
Here’s a slightly clearer picture of B-18203. The pictures on the aircraft body are artworks done by the famous Taiwan artist – Jimmy Liao. Read more about him on Wikipedia, if you are interested. (Click the URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Liao)
We have now entered the terminal building of Taoyuan International Airport, and I am sure that Flight Reporter Marathon will be very familiar with these scenes! =P
The gate we disembarked from was rather far from the arrival immigration.
And we walked for quite a distance.
More travellators to go…
One last one!
And here we are, after a six minutes walk/ride on travellators, at the area for duty-free shops right before the immigration counters.
Immigration procedures were completed swiftly, and we were done by 2.18pm. Counters opened for foreign visitors had rather long queues, but my mom, who holds a Taiwanese passport, managed to persuade the immigration officer to process my Singapore passport at her counter as well.
Baggage collections for MH366 were to be done at carousels 3A and 3B.
It did not take too long for our luggage to appear on the belts. Another plus point for Taoyuan Airport’s efficiency!
Upon collecting our bags, I realized that they were tagged with an unfamiliar pink tag, which said on it “HOT TRANSFER”. This probably meant that our transit time at KUL earlier that morning was considered to be a very short one in terms of ground operations at the airport.
We stepped into the arrival hall at 2.30pm. At the same time, there were flights arriving from Hong Kong, Macau, Okinawa, Manila, Seoul, and Kuala Lumpur. Nevertheless, arrival procedures such as the disembarkation, immigration clearance, and baggage collection were still possible without any delays. I definitely think that TPE has got good systems in place for such high efficiencies.
Taoyuan Airport was recently renovated and has since become a really nice airport. Even though interior design wasn’t too splendid or exaggerated, the overall atmosphere was very good!
For arriving passengers, head to the left for taxis, buses, or coach services. And, head to the right for counters manned by telecom providers – you will be able to get a prepaid mobile phone card there.
This is the direction to the airport bus terminal – head straight down to the end, make a U-turn to the right, and down the escalators.
We did not, however, proceed immediately to the bus terminals, as I wanted to have a quick meal again before heading back to my grandparent’s place.
Lunch was decided to be at Ikari Coffee, situated within Taoyuan Airport Terminal 1’s Arrival Hall.
Lunch was good as well! (: (Even though I have not forgotten the awesome in-flight meal I had earlier!)
Had a cup of green tea latte as well.
And lunch was accompanied with some Internet surfing, given the great Wi-Fi connectivity in Taoyuan Airport!
These screens are not FIDS, even though they look like it. The tiny words on the screens are actually details of bus departure timings from Taoyuan Airport. Looking at the screen, we found that we’ve just missed our bus and had to wait one hour for the next one.
There are also souvenir shops within the arrival hall, which doesn’t seem like a place where arriving tourists will visit…
Finally, one last look before heading to the bus terminal to sum up my short introduction of Taoyuan Airport’s newly renovated arrival hall!
Finally, we have reached the last section of this report, which will conclude at the airport’s bus terminal.
Information of bus and coach services to Taipei can be found on the bus terminal’s wall.
To the left, another real time “BIDS” could be seen. (BIDS = Bus Information Display System… Hahaha!) Times at different parts of the world were also displayed below the local time at many locations within Taoyuan Airport.
Every bus/coach service provider has its dedicated ticketing counter.
We got our tickets at 3.33pm, and our coach service was only scheduled to depart at 4.30pm. The duration of the wait was definitely long, but thanks to the great Wi-Fi connectivity at Taoyuan Airport, the Internet kept us company during the one-hour wait.
More than 12 hours after leaving home in the wee hours of the day, our coach final arrived.
We took Service 1968 to San-Xia (??), which was operated by Da-You Bus Company (????).
The interior of the bus was simple, but the seats were very comfortable. Definitely good for passengers who have arrived on a long distance flight to continue napping on the coach.
Flight Map & Statistics
Note that there were some differences between the time I’ve recorded and those displayed on FlightAware.
And finally, thank you for your patience in reading this long flight report. I hope you have enjoyed it and do stay tune for more FRs from me! (:
This report was completed on 21 October 2014, in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
— End of Flight Report for Malaysia Airlines MH366 —
Next Flight Saturday, 24 May 2014 Taipei (TPE) to Kuala Lumpur (KUL) Malaysia Airlines MH367, B737-800 Coming Soon!
Kuala Lumpur - KUL
Taipei - TPE
Generally similar ratings have been given as compared to the previous flight on MH602. MAS crew needed to smile more. The cabin was still not as comfortable as it could've been, if the seat pitch was better than 30 inches. The meal that I had on MH366 was however much, much, much better than what I have actually expected. In fact, it was great! Entertainment choices were adequate and the AVOD system allowed me to pause my movie and continue it on future flights. (: MH366 performed exceptionally well in terms of punctuality, as you would have seen clearly from the timelines that I have introduced from this report onwards.
KUL has good efficiency in terms of security. Variety of shops and F&B outlets do look adequate too. It's okay to transit there and it won't get too boring if your transit time is just about 1 to 2 hours.
TPE is magnificent. As I have said, it may not be very well decorated and the interior designs of the airport may not be too exaggerated. Nonetheless, immigration officers were friendly, the entire airport manages to function efficiently despite heavy arrival traffic, and the restaurant choices provided in the airport have also improved significantly over the years. Generally, TPE is one of my favourite airports. Simple, clean, comfortable, relatively convenient to get there from the city, and most importantly, staffed by extremely friendly Taiwanese people. (:
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