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4 Trips LHR-KUL On MH And SQ  
User currently offlineMAS777 From United Kingdom, joined Jul 1999, 2935 posts, RR: 6
Posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 9160 times:

Comparison between MH and SQ on 4 LHR-KUL return flights in just over 3 months..

Flights taken...

MH001 LHR-KUL (twice)
and MH008 KUL-LHR
and MH004 KUL-LHR

SQ321/SQ118 LHR-SIN-KUL (twice)
and SQ107/SQ320 KUL-SIN-LHR (twice)



Booking

Booking on MAS is an absolute nightmare.
I don't trust their online booking as fares are often exorbitant when compared with the likes of Expedia or even on the first occasion by telephoning MAS directly.
I did however spend about 2 hrs trying to get hold of someone at MAS London who could issue me with a ticket - which was of the old-fashioned type only and had to be collected at the airport.
Get into the 21st century MAS!!!

SQ internet booking is a breeze and works well to include seat selection and meals too.


Winner - SQ




Rebooking

Having had to change flights on several occasions... MAS was again an absolute disaster.
2 trips to KL Sentral to alter flight dates were fruitless and the staff unapologetic and didn't seem to know what to do.
I was flabbergasted when I was advised that my ticket would have to be sent back to London for any change to occur - which the cost of course passed on to me. This on a 'C' fare???
No wonder MAS is unable make any more money than it does. The fact that I was in its homebase KL made even less sense for this ridiculour necessity.
I left the ticket office in a huff and went to a local travel agent who was great and sorted it all out - although at a cost of another RM400.

SQ - telephoned SQ in KL and they were great. "No problems sir, I will send you a new e-ticket confirmation for you to print out and take to check-in for your new flights. There is however a rebooking fee of RM70." Fine - and it all took 3 mins.


Winner - SQ



Check-in

It has to be said - MAS does have a bonus of a city check-in which is convenient at KL Sentral. No internet check-in - appalling for an international so-call '5-star airline'.
SQ really should look into having a city check-in counter at KL Sentral although SQ does have internet check-in which is great but you still need to lug your luggage on the train - and me being lazy...

Winner - Tie SQ/MH



Lounges

SQ LHR - wonderful staff and good food and selection of drinks/snacks. Nice chicken tikka massala pre-boarding.
SQ SIN - not bad. again nice food and showers - bonus.
SQ KUL - does the job although not as comfy as their other lounges. guess this is like a 'domestic' lounge for SQ so passes the mark.

MH LHR - nice staff and food ok. There is still often too much emphasis on local Malaysian food which can be a bit much sometimes.
MH KUL - no complaints about MH's Golden Lounge at KUL - still think its probably one of the best although staff could be a little more slick being their flagship lounge.

Winner - MH just



Boarding

MH slight delay on first flight but staff and crew very apologetic eventhough flight was only delayed by about 20mins. Boarding through new LHR gates at (Gate 5 i think) was impressive and nice of MAS to have selection of newspapers and magazines (including wallpaper*) as you enter boarding area rather than at the aircraft door. Boarding efficient on MAS with helpful crew to assist and settle passengers.

SQ - no mention of delay on second flight and boarding through Star Alliance gates at LHR T3 is a real trek away from the lounge. Holding area was too small to accommodate 747 load so lots of people had to stand and crowd the gate. Babies and kids crying as couldn't get comfy. Poor for SQ standards. Crew on boarding just as helpful as MAS though.
Boarding at KUL however was done by cabins which could be improved to speed departure as all shuttle flights taken were packed - which seems to have improved (loads-wise) from previous experiences when flights were often barely half-full.

Winner - MH



Departure

Nice new safety video on MAS - thank god the cheesy pilot in the previous one has disappeared. Professional video and pre-flight drinks all standard.
SQ still using ageing safety video - guess it still works and no necessary need to change but showing its age.

Winner - MH (and only really cause SQ delay was poorly handled)




Meals

MH meals have improved with their NSD (new service delivery). Good mix of local and western choices on board. No cheese board though which is a real shame. I also know many have complained about this.
MH wines - could be improved though and I still find it odd that MAS still serves wine with its breakfast!!!

SQ meals have declined over recent times. I was shocked on second LHR departure that maybe owing to a delay - half the meals seems to have been left behind.
Everyone seem to have got main courses but many were missing starters and desserts. Economy passengers didn't get either apparently. SQ handed out Ice-cream for dessert instead.
This is very very poor indeed.
Staff seemed somewhat apathetic but apologised when passengers asked as no annoucement was made to inform passengers.
SQ light meals on KL-SIN shuttle still good and better than MAS' selection of hot snacks.
SQ menus in general however was more international in flavour than MH which seems to work better.
On last SIN-LHR flight - despite a dayflight - for some odd reason dinner (2nd meal) was served about 7 hours after departure. Lights came on and woke me which I was non-too happy about. Meal was then very drawn out before cabin went back to sleep prior to landing at LHR. v odd and felt it interrupted my much needed rest on board.

Both airlines are great at offering drinks/snacks throughout flight.

Winner - SQ only because their menus worked better (I forgive the episode of mentioned above as there must have been some reasonable explanation and was v unlike SQ) and let's face it MH - there's only so many 'nasi lemak breakfasts that anyone can tolerate' (!!)




Inflight entertainment

Both MH and SQ seem to share a similar platform now so both are comparable.
MH's selection of films however i thought were better than SQ although this is of course personal but i couldn't fathom SQ's choices of odd films for its main films unlike MAS which at least tries to show some major films that I would have gone to the cinema to see.

Both airlines' music selection seemed almost identical. Interestingly - both had not changed during the last 3 months . I might have worn out 'the Killers' album on all sectors.  Smile
I stuck on the iPOD and noise cancelling earphones in the end.

I like MAS' new emailing facility on board though i didn't use it but good to know it was there.
MAS system also seems newer with a new interactive MAP and airshow from various angles. nice to play with.

IFE kept pausing on one KL-LHR (MH) flight every 2mins which was annoying but must have been a bug as it didn't happen on any others.
IFE on one SIN-LHR flight (SQ) flight crashed only for my seat and the seat next to mine. Crew were apologetic and reset the system 4 times before offering me another seat and giving up. I stayed and read a book.

Winner - MH




Seats & Cabin

Old SQ 747 cabins - so tried and tested. comfy but looking tired.
New MAS 747 cabins - much better than the old style GC seats although some seem to prefer the other. Nice brighter cabins and more modern feel to cabin ambience.

Both airlines have immaculate toilets - something ALL airlines should learn from!

Winner - MH




Landing

Nice videos on both carriers pre-arrival - although didn't need to watch them.
Preparation for landing were both standard on both carriers.
Although landing with a fleet of fire-engines following us at Changi on one occasion (SQ) may not have been standard though but crew made no announcement and most passengers were unaware.
Disembarkation was smooth with both carriers.

Winner - Tie



Baggage

All flights delivered my luggage promptly - even at KUL which has (or maybe HAD) a reputation for slow baggage reclaim.




Service

Note - I did not mention anything about the inflight service on both carriers as I feel they both offer the same great service in general.
Personally - I have always found MH crew to be friendlier than the SQ crew but that's a personal choice and the object of this was just to make some comparison with everything else both carriers offer on their London service.



Next trips...


Have decided to try LHR-FRA-KUL for my next trip just to compare notes with a European carrier.. now THAT should be interesting!

thanks for reading...

12 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4755 posts, RR: 26
Reply 1, posted (7 years 3 months 1 week 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 8450 times:

There are many plus and minus points for these 2 airlines that you are comparing. However, sometimes I feel that the minuses seem to tip over to MAS when their ground handling is concerned, which is manned by some of the worst, laid-back workers you can ever find.

And I agree with you 100% on the lack-of-slick of their staff at the Golden Club in KLIA. Sometimes I wish I could tell them that they are no longer in Subang, so for God's sake keep you chin up and be proud of your surroundings. The lounge is awesome, if not one of the best in the WORLD (IMHO, even surpassing SQ's SK Lounge in Changi). Plus what is with the MAS ground staff donning the same kebaya as the cabin crew? This cheapens the exclusivity of the in-flight service offerings somewhat.

Their saving grace always seems to be their cabin crew but we cannot be constantly relying on them to lift up the image of the airline.

The efficient ops of SIA (and Changi) in general works most of the time like clockwork. From downtown ticketing office, to ground staff at check in, to the cabin crew... One thing that is offered is a consistency in the quality of service. However, this clockwork has its drawback as the employees are frequently discribed as "clinical", "plastic", "lack of warmth"...

So I guess we cannot please everyone.



Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offline9MMAR From Malaysia, joined Jul 2006, 2110 posts, RR: 18
Reply 2, posted (7 years 3 months 1 week 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 8335 times:

First and foremost, thank you and bravo for this excellent 'comparison' trip report. I have never read such a comprehensive one in A.Net.  Smile

I have a few comments and questions to ask:

Quoting MAS777 (Thread starter):
I did however spend about 2 hrs trying to get hold of someone at MAS London who could issue me with a ticket - which was of the old-fashioned type only and had to be collected at the airport.
Get into the 21st century MAS!!!

Hopefully MH will get everything ironed out come September 2007, when their e-ticketing facilities fully integrated network wide.

Quoting MAS777 (Thread starter):
2 trips to KL Sentral to alter flight dates were fruitless and the staff unapologetic and didn't seem to know what to do.
I was flabbergasted when I was advised that my ticket would have to be sent back to London for any change to occur - which the cost of course passed on to me. This on a 'C' fare???
No wonder MAS is unable make any more money than it does. The fact that I was in its homebase KL made even less sense for this ridiculour necessity.

From the situation mentioned, I think the problem was caused by the ground staff who attended you. Did you jotted down his/her name and lodge a complaint to MH? The KL Sentral office (which are now the flagship ticketing office following the sale of MAS building in Jalan Sultan Ismail) actually has a reputation of providing poor service to passengers, especially among the male ground staff. I have experienced it myself on a few occasions, two of which very prominent that I decided to lodge a complaint immediately. MH did listen to it as the staff was later on sent back for training (I checked it out myself with the KL Sentral's Office Manager).

Quoting MAS777 (Thread starter):
SQ really should look into having a city check-in counter at KL Sentral although SQ does have internet check-in which is great but you still need to lug your luggage on the train - and me being lazy...

A Singaporean A.Netter once told me that SQ was 'forbidden' by an unspecified Malaysian authority for using this facility so that their service would be somewhat inferior than that of MH. Personally, I felt it was strange as Malaysia Airports Holding Berhad (who manage the check in facilities at KL Sentral) is trying to woo many airlines to use it. At the moment, only 3-4 check in counters (out of around 20 provided) were occupied in KL Sentral. One of the check in counter even became a 'luggage wrapping' counter and only recently, another check in counter was assigned as a place to hold the 'LAGs New Ruling's Brochures'.  tongue 

Quoting MAS777 (Thread starter):
SQ KUL - does the job although not as comfy as their other lounges. guess this is like a 'domestic' lounge for SQ so passes the mark.

The same Singaporean A.Netter also told me that SQ was (again) 'forbidded' by an unspecified Malaysian authority to equip their lounge in KUL to the best that they are capable of. This is based on the same reason as well, to make SQ's product (the lounge in this case) inferior than that of MH.

Quoting MAS777 (Thread starter):
MH KUL - no complaints about MH's Golden Lounge at KUL - still think its probably one of the best although staff could be a little more slick being their flagship lounge.

Agreed. It happened to me recently in the afternoon with very few passengers inside the lounge. I was using the business center and wanted to photocopy a document. No one manned the place. So I went out and found two male staff talking to each other inside the main area. I asked for their help and to my surprise one of them (the higher rank I supposed based on his dressing) told me that they are only in charge of 'Food & Beverages'. I asked them again and the same guy repeated the same reply. I stood there and was shocked! Maybe founding that I was getting mad at that time, the other guy offered to look for someone who can help me. I was like, the lounge is not a multi storey, multi departments organization that you'd need specific person to do specific petty jobs. And if they want the passengers to photocopy their document on their own, please disable the password at the photocopier!  no 

Also, before leaving the lounge, I asked another male staff, who manned the reception area to post two letters for me, both of which containing cheques. The whole event took place on 25 May 2007 and until this very second on 11 June 2007, 17 days later, the letters have yet to arrive to their respective recipients (as the cheques have yet to be cleared from my accounts). For the record, the normal snail mail within the Klang Valley should take only 3 days and there are a post office inside KUL. They are indeed going to receive yet another complaint from me, so for the (mentioned) staff concerned, be prepared!  Angry

Quoting MAS777 (Thread starter):
even at KUL which has (or maybe HAD) a reputation for slow baggage reclaim.

I think it is a 'HAD' since they installed the screen which recorded the time taken for the bags to arrive at the luggage conveyors.

Quoting MAS777 (Thread starter):
Have decided to try LHR-FRA-KUL for my next trip just to compare notes with a European carrier.. now THAT should be interesting!

Are you going to compare it with MH and SQ?

Final tally (excluding 'a tie'):
MH - 5
SQ - 3
Favourable indeed.  Smile

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 1):
Plus what is with the MAS ground staff donning the same kebaya as the cabin crew?

I am afraid it is not the same Mr. Soh. Flight Attendant's sarong kebaya are with 'pink' flower motives while the Ground Staff's sarong kebaya are with 'magenta' flower motives. Pink and magenta... well could confuse most of us.

Again, an excellent trip report and yet another testimony that MH is better than SQ!  wave 


User currently offline9VSIO From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2006, 717 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (7 years 3 months 1 week 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 8291 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting MAS777 (Thread starter):
SQ still using ageing safety video - guess it still works and no necessary need to change but showing its age.

Nice TR, but I thought SQ recently (say 1yr++) redid their safety video?



Me: (Lining up on final) I shall now select an aiming point. || Instructor: Well, I hope it's the runway...
User currently offlineMAS777 From United Kingdom, joined Jul 1999, 2935 posts, RR: 6
Reply 4, posted (7 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 7833 times:

Quoting 9VSIO (Reply 3):

not as far as i am aware.. same usual video as from previous years - with 'highlighted tabs' as 'chapters' (guess some might know what i mean).
could be wrong though as i have watch them over and over again umpteen times now - but it seems to be the same one as my SIN-DPS trip 2 years ago (i checked my video from the trip).??


User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4755 posts, RR: 26
Reply 5, posted (7 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 7699 times:

Quoting 9MMAR (Reply 2):
I am afraid it is not the same Mr. Soh. Flight Attendant's sarong kebaya are with 'pink' flower motives while the Ground Staff's sarong kebaya are with 'magenta' flower motives. Pink and magenta... well could confuse most of us.

You see, no one is going to look so closely to find the different coloured motifs, because the base of the uniform utilises the same batik pattern. And the design of the kebaya is also very similar. Needless to say, some of the ground staff need A LOT of training in their personal behavioural decorum.

You will NOT see an MAS Girl drag her feet and slouch, giving nonchalant replies to queries and not look you in the eye while doing it (some traits that I have observed in KLIA by these kebaya-clad ladies). At first glance, as these girls are walking to their stations, the difference between them and the actual MAS girls are very glaring simply by the way they walk and talk. And if 9MMAR didn't point it out, I wouldn't even know that the uniforms are different (which underlines the fact how similar they both are).

Thus, it is VERY important for MAS to give more emphasis to product differentiation by simply changing the uniform of their ground staff.

I didn't want to point this out but I felt compelled to. Some of the ground staff are also very "out of shape" that they really give the MAS kebaya a tainted image.



Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlineMAS777 From United Kingdom, joined Jul 1999, 2935 posts, RR: 6
Reply 6, posted (7 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 7462 times:

don't even get me started on MAS uniforms...

although i think the green kebaya is a classic for the stewardesses... the male FA uniform is simply ghastly.
i guess once they have enough money - and fewer staff to kit out (once the workforce is trimmed down further) - MAS should look into new ground uniforms and also new male FA uniforms (even bring back the old brown ones the guys used to wear maybe as even that was better than the current lurid green ones)!!!

ok - maybe i should add a marking sheet on uniforms...

Uniforms - winner SQ... (as discussed)


ps - i was curious to read in May's Silver Kris about SIA's 60th Anniversary that the Pierre Balmain uniform worn today by SQ was actually designed pre-MH/SQ split and was in fact the uniform designed for Malaysia-Singapore Airlines (MSA).
(My mother who happens to be ex-MSA concurs incidently) LOL!!!


User currently offline9MMAR From Malaysia, joined Jul 2006, 2110 posts, RR: 18
Reply 7, posted (7 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 7372 times:

Quoting MAS777 (Reply 6):
ok - maybe i should add a marking sheet on uniforms...

Uniforms - winner SQ... (as discussed)

Revised tally:
MH - 5
SQ - 4

MH still the winner.  tongue 


User currently offline9VSIO From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2006, 717 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (7 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 7348 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting MAS777 (Reply 4):
SIN-DPS trip 2 years ago

Psh! Thats new! Compare that to the old safety video with the 744 flying thru the air and the smiling f/a's who could never sync themselves - now that was around for ages! At least 5+ years!



Me: (Lining up on final) I shall now select an aiming point. || Instructor: Well, I hope it's the runway...
User currently offlineSQ772 From Singapore, joined Nov 2001, 1792 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (7 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 7206 times:

The current inflight safety video has been around for almost 3 years. The previous 'out of sync' videos were still around circa 2003. In any case, these safety videos still serve their purpose, and I do think it's nicely done compared to so many other airlines who have now replaced life characters with 'stiff mechanical' cartoon characters. I think using human beings and real crew in safety videos gives it so much more character.

As for the debate about MH and SQ uniforms, well here's my personal ranking:

SQ Female FA - 5/5 (classic. don't ever change them!)
MH Female FA - 3.5/5 (certainly not as classy as SQ's)
SQ Male FA - 3/5 (it's been almost 20 yrs since they last changed those awful suits)
MH Male FA - 0/5 (yes, the right adjective to describe them is ghastly)

Then again, it's all a matter of personal taste...

 Wink



There's always a better way to fly...
User currently offlineMAS777 From United Kingdom, joined Jul 1999, 2935 posts, RR: 6
Reply 10, posted (6 years 3 months 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 6050 times:

to be released soon...

SQ and MH reports in F - LHR-KUL (yes - i had indeed saved up enough money for both trips) LOL

watch out for it...


User currently offlineSIN7 From Singapore, joined Jun 2007, 171 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (6 years 3 months 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 5814 times:

Thanks for the TR.

Really enjoyed the replies and comments about MH kebaya.

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 5):
I didn't want to point this out but I felt compelled to. Some of the ground staff are also very "out of shape" that they really give the MAS kebaya a tainted image.

I posted this last year. Think the pics says it all. . .
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/P1010436.jpg
To be fair, she was a wonderful FA. She was very warm and absolutely great even in the almost full pax load flight FRA-KUL (Dec 2007).


User currently offlineAirpearl From Malaysia, joined May 2001, 952 posts, RR: 26
Reply 12, posted (6 years 3 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 5446 times:



Quoting SIN7 (Reply 11):
I posted this last year. Think the pics says it all. . .

Hey c'mon... I think that's a bit below the belt! (forgive the pun)


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