knightsofmalta From Malta, joined Nov 2005, 1408 posts, RR: 17 Posted (2 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 11468 times:
I would like to welcome you to my first trip report. After enjoying all the trip reports posted by the other a.nutters, I finally decided it was my turn to give it a go. This report covers the return leg of a weekend trip I did to Malta.
Date: 30. January 2011
Aircraft: A 320
Airlines: Air Malta (KM)
After two lovely days at the Phoenicia hotel in Valletta, it was time to head back to the airport and fly back to Switzerland, where I live. The Phoenicia really is a great hotel, it's centrally located and has this old fashioned charm. To get from the Valletta terminus to the airport, you need to take bus line 8. The buses in Malta are hilarious, some of them look as though they were built shortly after the war. But beware of the drivers. Although the Maltese are generally quite friendly, the bus drivers tend not to be and usually try to rip you off if they see you're a tourist.
And here's my bus from the inside, back and front - taken outside the terminal building:
Malta airport recently won an award for the best airport in the up to 5 mio. passengers category. The facility is small but it really is very nice and well run.
Check-in for my flight. At the airport check-in normally starts 2 hours before departure at dedicated counters for each flight. Club Class passengers however can check-in any time they like.
Air Malta ticketing counter:
The FIDS. Malta mainly is a tourist destination that comes to life in summer. As you can see there is not that much traffic during the winter months.
The check-in area, taken after security.
Here's a picture of the entrance to the lounge. I did not take any pictures inside as it was quite full, what with the EK A330 to Larnaca and Dubai leaving shortly after the ZRH flight. As I am still a trip report virgin I felt slightly inhibited to go snapping away with my camera!
The lounge is very well stocked. It has a large selection of drinks and some great Maltese food. There is Bigilla, which is kind of Malta's answer to Hummus. The Maltese version is made with broad beans and loads of garlic. You eat it with Galletti, traditional Maltese biscuits. There was also Ftira, a Maltese type of bread, with a tuna and tomato filling.
Flight departures are announced inside the lounge.
Our flight boarded from Gate two in the Schengen area:
We were driven to our aircraft by bus. This is hardly due to the distances at this small airport but rather a means of providing jobs to the population. Air Malta has been up to now a state run company and thus has an obligation to the state. A policy which, if you'll pardon my French, has landed the airline in deep s**t. Air Malta is on the verge of collapse. For the time being the airlines has been bailed out but unless they can come up with a realistic restructuring plan, the EU will demand that Air Malta pays back the money it received asap.
In any case, here are some pictures of the outside of the plane. As you may have noticed, Air Malta is keen on branding everything!
The compulsory leg shot:
A few cabin shots:
In Club Class the middle seat is left empty. The back of that seat folds down to provide a small table for glasses etc. On today's flight we were five passengers in C class. Not bad considering it was a Sunday and the low season.
More branded items:
Before departure one of the flight attendants came round with a welcome drink. I had still water.
Next are a few shots I took of Malta right after take off:
The island of Filfla, off the western coast. the RAF used to use it for target practice...
We took off from runway 13. Shortly after take off we turned west and flew westwards for a short while before doing another right turn, flying the length of the Western coast and then heading north for Sicily. From Sicily the route took us along the Italian coast. We made landfall over Genoa from where we crossed the Alps to Zurich.
After the fasten seatbelts sign had been turned off, the flight attendants came round with warm towels, which were much appreciated and very refreshing. At the same time they took orders for drinks. I ordered Kinnie, which is a Maltese soft drink made of bitter oranges and herbs. Service was done individually, with everything being brought from the galley, which I rather prefer to a service from a trolley in C class.
Then the table was set for lunch. Air Malta actually uses a sort of table cloth, which is placed on the table before the tray is brought out.
The refreshing towel after I'd finished with it:
The table cloth:
The meal was rather tasty. It consisted of a main dish, which was tomato and mozzarella, dried meat, black olives ans a mixed salad with a pesto sauce. On the side there was a slice of feta cheese with water melon. I thought it rather an unusual combination but it worked rather well actually. There were also two warm buns, whipped butter and a really tasty chocolate cake.
The flight passed really quickly. Not long after the meal trays had been removed, we started our descent to ZRH and the Alps came into view:
When we left Malta, the temperature was 17 degrees Celsius. When we arrived in ZRH it was -4, with a thick mist over everything.
This concludes my first trip report. I hope you will enjoy it. I have to say I was quite surprised with the level of service offered on board Air Malta in Business Class, their offerings were in fact a lot better than what I had been expecting.
Hi Sfflyer, apart from Air Malta and Emirates it's just Lufthansa, Egyptair, Alitalia, Iberia and Sevenair on scheduled flights. Then of course there's Ryanair, Easyjet and a whole armada of charter carriers that lay siege to the islands in summer.
Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 5): It feels KM provides a good service level on you´re flight, also the meal offers looking welcoming.
Hi Markus, I usually fly Economy class with Air Malta and to be honest, I've never been too impressed. I think the quality and quantitiy of the food served in Economy is fine, but the leg space is bad and the cabin crew are not consistent in Economy. If you're lucky you will have a great crew, but if you're unlucky: beware! In any case when I booked Business class, I was expecting more or less the same. As it turned out, I was really quite surprised by the difference! Both the inbound and outbound were great. The crews were really fun and kept making jokes with the passengers.
abrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 4915 posts, RR: 55 Reply 7, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 8240 times:
Thanks for this report. Malta is the only one of two countries I have left in Europe and am excited to head there in May. I think I am booked in YCL, but reading your reports ... perhaps I should change ?
Well, with EK it's not really that much of a hassle from Oz, you know...
Glad you like the report.
Quoting EL-AL (Reply 11): Can't say I was very impressed from KM's business class, looks like all Y with an empty middle seat.
Well, the blocked middle seat is more or less standard on all European carriers on short-haul C class. However, you do have a lot more leg space on Air Malta in C class. And their Y seating is very tight. What I found most striking though, and also most enjoyable, was the difference in the service provided by the cabin crew. They were all so nice and friendly, anticipated passengers' wishes and interacted in a good way. I like that.
I missed this first time round too. It brings back happy memories of my trip to Malta in 2006, a very nice island.
Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed the report. It's also good to hear you had a pleasant stay in Malta.
Quoting infodesk (Reply 13): I don't often get to use the business lounges, but I agree, I feel a bit funny taking pictures in them. Although you do get used to the looks after a while!
I've written a few other reports since this one and I think I can say that I have well and truly lost all inhibitions of taking out my camera and happily take picutres infront of everybody.
Quoting infodesk (Reply 13): I love Kinnie! This alone is a reason to go back to Malta. I remember getting a good meal on my flights, although I think there Y-class offerings aren't as good as they used to be?
For me Kinnie is really where Malta and the holiday begin. It's not when the plane rolls onto the stand, it's not when you hear the cabin crew making announcements in Maltese, it's when the meal service starts and you get your first refreshing taste of Kinnie.
So far the food offerings on Air Malta are not that bad in Economy, by the looks of it though the new CEO is threatening to reinvent Air Malta as a low-cost carrier. Let's see what happens then.
Quoting infodesk (Reply 13): I read recently that Malta are getting rid of the old buses and replacing them with modern ones. What a shame.
Well, if you're a tourist it's fine. It's quite fun to have your intestines shaked about a bit on those rickety old busses. But if you have to commute every day it must be hell. I was in Malta in April and had three meetings in three different places in one day. If I would have had to use public transport I probably would not even have arrived in time for the last meeting!
Off to Malta again this Friday, but I think I shan't write a trip report on this one.