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To Asia’s Vegas With MH Business MEL-KUL-HKG (1/3)  
User currently offlinethemit9 From Australia, joined Apr 2012, 99 posts, RR: 0
Posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 16907 times:

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Welcome to my third A.NET trip report, or second trip report series. This series will cover flying between Australia and Asia- 13 days, 6 sectors, 6 different airport lounges, 4 countries, 2 aircraft types, 2 airlines and 1 aircraft manufacturer, not to mention around 200 hot towels.

There will be plenty of photos, a few videos, but taken with an iPhone 5 so apologies in advance about the quality. I tend to enjoy A.NET reports with plenty of detail, and try to provide that here. If you don’t want detail feel free to skip from picture to picture.

The full itinerary is MEL-KUL-HKG-BKK-HKG-KUL-MEL with MH Business and EK First. This report will cover the planning stage, reason for traveling, before getting into the air on MH with the MEL-KUL-HKG sectors.

Map of the series with this report in red, thanks to Great Circle Mapper



If you don't care about the reason for the trip or the planning which is more than likely, skip to the post below for the start of the flight.


Reason for the trip- unexpected miles waiting to be used

The end of the year was approaching, and things were going to be uneventful until I came across some unused DL SkyMiles- and not a bad portion. These miles were accrued on flights back in 1999-2002 with KLM and MH through Wordperks- when I was just 11 years old. Thanks to the generous expiry policies, they were still intact and just sitting in the system waiting to be used. I had wanted to visit Macau for some time, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. A good excuse for using them now was rumours that MH would be no longer in partnership with DL very soon thanks to MH joining Oneworld. Action was required now.

Planning- the fun of booking award tickets over the phone with Delta

Very quickly I had spreadsheets crunching numbers and was looking through airline timetables, accommodation and possibilities. Step 1 would be finding the award flights with MH, which wasn’t able to be done on the Delta website. While we're here, the Delta website looked pretty good but seemed to be very ‘half-baked’ and had a few bugs were present in letting me just access my SkyMiles balance. Lots of trial and error required. I think it's due to the Worldperks handover.

I was somewhat annoyed about having to call up to redeem flights, as like most here I like to play around with things, see what’s possible and get flights that work for me (day flights on a range of different aircraft types), whereas most just want to get to the destination.

A call to Delta went something like this…

ME: I would like to book flights from Melbourne to Hong Kong with MH on (date) and returning on (date).
CALL CENTRE: (date) is not available
ME: What about 3 days either side?
CALL CENTRE: Not available
ME: None of the sectors are available?
CALL CENTRE: Not available
ME: What dates are available, my schedule is pretty much open?
CALL CENTRE: You need to give us days to look up or we can’t help you.

This back and forth banter continued with me bringing out an entire calendar of dates. I tried calling MH but they couldn’t help even though what I wanted was available with Enrich (I checked). Does Enrich use a different booking class for awards in comparison with DL?

I probably called them around 10 times, and worked out an approach to get the flights- confirming them one by one. But it wasn’t that simple- first I was told flights were confirmed but then another agent said they had been done with the wrong booking class (I believe they put it in as M instead of U, whatever that means) and nothing was available.

My flights were somewhat confirmed but I have an aversion to red eye flights. I’ll do them if required but would much rather sit back during the day and sleep comfortably in a hotel. More shuffling and finally I had a booking I was happy with- except for the KUL-HKG sectors where I was hoping for a 772 but got the old A333, but you can’t win everything.

Very expensive taxes paid (I think I almost paid an economy fare in taxes and fees but never mind) and I had a booking and some tickets issued. I would be on MH 148, then overnight in KUL, then MH 78 the next day to HKG. I would return home on MH79 and MH 129. All day flights, nice long layovers (one is classified as a stopover), plenty of time and space to just enjoy the journey, and no fatigue as I didn’t need to sleep onboard. Isn’t that what flying’s about? Not for most, but for me, a strong believer that the journey is just as important as the destination, this was just right.

Planning- the MH Website melts down (almost)

With my eTicket sitting in my inbox (well it wasn't, but call #11 to DL soon fixed that), it was now time to look at seat selection. Delta’s website was confused by this as it tried to bring up seat selection for the MH A330 and failed. A simple message ‘Seat selection is not available for Delta partners’ would have been nice. I needed to get my PNR from MH, so called the MH hotline and managed to get it after being put on hold for a while then eventually called back. However, MH had just done a system upgrade which meant old bookings (pre-upgrade) were not available so everything had to be by phone or email. More calls, more emails and I finally had some selected seats that I was reasonably happy with. The call centre was swamped, and lots of unhappy people according to the MH Facebook page (I note EK doesn't allow the public to post on their page). It’s still a mess at the time of writing. So far the web side of things had been very disappointing with two different airlines having website issues over what should be a simple request- book my award ticket and let me select seats. My SQ award redemption back in April was much easier (and people complain about that).

Preflight Impressions (written before the trip to be fair)

My last trip back in April was also with MH in Business, and on the whole, a great series of flights. I’m looking forward to the new A330-300 again, the airport lounges, inflight dining (satay) and hopefully a great set of crews. With the package of the new aircraft and a great soft product, MH gives other top carriers a run for their money (even though the A330-300 seating is only lie-flat). The sticking point in my books would be the old A330-300 operating the Hong Kong sectors- these aircraft were considered old a long time ago, and this could be a real negative for MH on this trip and drag down the rest of the package offered.

I’m looking forward to seeing how everything stacks up and how MH fares on the trip, so with all the formalities out of the way, let’s go flying.

22 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinethemit9 From Australia, joined Apr 2012, 99 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 16875 times:

MH 148 - Departure Morning - Melbourne Airport

The one day I decide to fly in Melbourne, we get thunderstorms and a reasonable lightning show- the first thunderstorm in months. This created chaos on the roads to the airport, and the flights were also looking interesting. I was on MH 148 leaving at 3pm, but another family member was leaving for the USA at around 12:30pm, so I took that ride. The freeways were gridlocked and at crawling pace. Lots of mapping with the iPhone to find some back roads and alternate routes got us to the airport in 2.5 hours- a trip that should have been 1 hour. It was around 10:30am. After helping the other family member check in and sending them off to immigration I had some time to kill.

The old-style departures board

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Panorama of the scene- click to view full 12.3MB image

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QF First check-in area behind the honeycomb doors

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I changed some money and just took in the atmosphere, and before long, signs of life were visible at the MH check-in. It was 11:15am,some 3.75 hours before take-off.

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The staff began their team meeting and I joined a couple of others in the line. One person in the J line with me turned out to be in Y, so it was just me waiting, while the line for Y started to grow.

Check-in opened and I was checked-in efficiently. I was told the flight was full and was given a boarding pass for my Hong Kong sector which would be at 7pm the following day after a very long layover of 22 hours (classified as a stopover I'd imagine).

The paperwork- boarding pass, express pass, lounge invite, departure cards, and passport

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In less than 10 minutes I was through security, immigration and even managed to power walk through the mandatory duty free without being tempted into parting with my cash.

Wallet intact, once airside, the first thing to do was get some snapshots of the scene.

QF A380, with Virgin Australia 777 behind bound for LAX

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SQ A380, EK 777 in remote stands

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A UA 747 was pulling in, before being turned around for SYD

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It was actually quite busy- this seemed to be because aircraft were not landing in the earlier thunderstorm and were just arriving from diversions. I think every flight was delayed due to late arrival of the inbound aircraft. I said a quick hello to the member of the family also traveling today who was waiting at the gate lounge, their flight also delayed.

Next destination- the Golden Lounge. I was looking forward to seeing how MH stacks up for a lounge in an outstation.

Entry

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I was the only one in the huge lounge- when I say huge I mean that the A330 can only handle 30 or so J pax, so this was more than adequate. Although they may need to expand if the A380 comes to Melbourne.
It looked like there would be a gate change due to weather, but no big deal. With it being just me and around 3 staff members I was free to explore and snap away.

Bathroom amenities

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Shower- it was tempting after the stress of getting to the airport and just doing all the flight formalities

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Decorative touches

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I really love the style of the lounge- it's a snapshot of the KLIA Satellite Lounge. It's hard to describe it- but it's signature MH. I would say modern and minimalist, but with added touches like pots, pot plants (which may or may not be real), pebbles and the like.

A staff member informed me that light refreshments were available and that hot food would be out soon.

The light refreshments station

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Delicious chicken sandwiches, a selection of cheeses, small bowls of salad. Sure, it was not a huge selection but for me having not had much to eat that day it was perfect.

The 'discreet' drinks fridges

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Scenes of the lounge

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Lunch is served

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Sitting back in the comfortable armchair was very relaxing and having the whole space to myself was really good.

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Menu for dining

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The liquor station- time for some Baileys

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Out came the hot food at around 2 hours before scheduled take-off. There were four dishes but they were outstanding- prawn curry to die for, beef curry, rice, Singapore noodles and some samosas.

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I think this lounge is almost as good as what Thai offers at their home base, and I can't think of a better outstation lounge run by an airline (not one of their partners) that I've been to (although my upcoming flights on EK may change this sentiment). Without a doubt, a cut above the SQ offering at Melbourne, although they have an entire A380 load of pax to fill the lounge, meaning with the first class divider things get crowded. The design, the ambiance, the friendly staff- it was all here. The only thing missing was PCs in the business centre, but the WiFi login details were promptly given on request. Obviously some tarmac views would be the thing to complete the lounge but you can't have everything I guess.

Time was ticking on. Usually you enter a lounge, have some food and beverage, use the facilities then want to leave to get back to the action, but for some reason I was content just sitting and relaxing with the whole lounge still for just me. I saw a few people come to the front desk but they seemed to be turned away for some reason.

At around 2pm, 1 hour before scheduled take-off, a few other pax starting filing in, including one business man from North America who was making business calls at the top of his voice for the whole lounge's listening pleasure.

Keeping the lounge up-to-speed right before my eyes

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The boarding time on my boarding pass said 1:45pm, 75 minutes before departure. This is a ridiculous attempt to get everyone to the gate in time and I think all it does is create annoyed passengers. At MEL the boarding time used to be 1 hour before, now it's 75 minutes. This issue would in my opinion show itself again soon- more on that in a moment.

At 2:10pm (25 minutes after boarding was scheduled to start according to the boarding pass), I left the lounge and the lounge dragon (who was actually very friendly and helpful, but I just take that term to mean someone guarding their lair, not someone who blows fire, although I wasn't trying to bend the entry requirements) informed me that boarding was still about 30 minutes away. I can't say I was surprised.

SQ A380 had been moved to the gate

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I checked out the duty free shopping to compare prices for actioning requests from others- I don't buy in to the hype.

Departure gate moved to gate 6. Note the cabin staff for the flight at the desk.

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The ride to KUL, 9M-MTF

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Now where things start to get interesting, looking online the aircraft made an unwanted trip to Adelaide due to weather and hadn't got in until 1:30pm. I was still confident that we could leave on time, but a P/A announcement came on at 2:30pm announcing that boarding wouldn't be until 2:55pm (1hr 10 minutes after 'scheduled' boarding). In Asian airports the gate lounges are separated by walls, but in MEL it seems to be a free-for-all, and as such, there were airport staff putting up queuing ropes and shifting passengers out of different areas that they wanted kept clear. Somewhat disorganised.

Passengers were getting obviously annoyed at all the waiting, a trade-off for the early advertised boarding time. A line was forming even though staff were trying to get everyone to sit down and relax. Of course I'd done enough of that in the lounge thanks.

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Passengers needing assistance and kids were moved to an area 'inside the ropes' for priority boarding, and then boarding began for them. Suddenly, someone burst through the ropes with a Y boarding pass trying to cut the line with "I am an elite member". The staff were not happy as nobody had been called for boarding apart from those needing assistance, but they somewhat entertained his request until the computer revealed that he was only Enrich silver which I don't think gets you priority boarding in any capacity. I was happy when he was pushed back outside the roped off area to wait with everyone else.

Finally boarding began, and with no predefined lines, it was a little bit of a free for all, but they distinguished a line for J passengers and the staff member again held back a Y pax with 'elite membership' to let me in first. Well done- I think parting with a lot more money or miles for a flight entitles one to receive a little bit more treatment than loyal flyers who have decided to pay less.

Let the games begin

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I was allowed into the jetway- finally boarding at 2:55pm- a long time since leaving home at 8am.

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A330 entry

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THE FLIGHT



Date: 27 November 2012
Flight: MH 148
Route: MEL (YMML) – KUL (WMKK)
Aircraft: Airbus A330-323X
Registration: 9M-MTF


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Photo © Zengqingyi
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Photo © George Canciani



Quick facts: First flight was on 05/01/12. This aircraft is 0.9 years old. It's test registration was F-WWKO.

Scheduled / Actual Departure (gate): 3:00pm / 3:33pm UTC+11
Scheduled / Actual Arrival (date): 8:20pm / 8:44pm UTC+8
Scheduled / Actual Flight Time (gate to gate): 8h20m / 8h11m

--

I was directed to my seat- which was 1A making it easy to find

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I have already judged the new MH A330 in a previous report, so not much needs to be said. A little bit more wear was visible since April (even though this aircraft was newer) and some grime had built up in the hard-to-clean spots, but the cabin was still fresh, bright and airy. The walls are a clean white instead of the old-style beige.

View from 1A

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With only one aerobridge in use all the passengers were filing through. Can someone explain why the bridge goes to door 1L rather than 2L as seems to be the case on the 777?

Row 1

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About 60 seconds passed, and then, welcome drink time. It was a shame there was no guava juice, apparently this is only on flights from KUL. I'm guessing too expensive to buy in Australia and too expensive to dead head from KUL.

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Panorama- ignore the chopped kebaya floating in mid-air, such is life when your photo subject isn't still. Click for 11MB file.

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Hot towel number one for the trip- first of many. I like the scent they use.

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Newpapers were offered, so I tried to look the part of Mr. 1A with 'Financial Daily'

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There were 3 topups of my welcome drink, but it looks like the glasses used have really shrunk, even since April. I would love to see them side-by-side against the 2001 welcome drink glasses.

There was a sense that everyone just wanted to get out of here with the delay, and the doors were slammed shut at 3:20pm.

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I was grateful to have the seat next to me free, and with 17 pax in J today everyone could enjoy 2 seats to themselves if they wanted. Y on the other hand was pretty full as I discovered walking through later. It's great to see MH doing well on this route when many years ago they sent the second flight on a KUL-SYD-MEL-KUL route.

Amenity kits and the standard-issue noise cancelling headphones were offered- have they cut back on the slippers?

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Our new departure time meant conflicting traffic I believe, so we sat at the gate for another 15 minutes. The safety video started to roll, and it was good to see that MH had updated the video, axing the previous 'safety with children' edition.

The new video goes in the average category.

Pushed back onto taxiway uniform- Thai 777 departing for BKK in the distance, while the late SQ 238 was just about to pushback after us

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Tug leaving us

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Today's duty runway was 16. Sitting in seat 1A right over the nosewheel let me feel every bump of the taxiway.

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After waiting for more traffic, the red lights between us and the runway threshold were extinguished and it was time to go and leave all the problems behind.

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Great city views were had from the southerly departure sitting on the left of the aircraft. As a pilot I fly a lot in the area and know a lot of the landmarks.

Shortly we were on top of the clouds- I love this part of flying- finally seeing the blue skies

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The MH Select entertainment system is excellent and hard to fault- except of the bad editing of films due to censorship- lots of 'holy shirts' and 'holy spit' (could they be more creative with the subbed words???)

The best bit is putting on some music through the noise cancelling headphones while watching the landscape slip past below.

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The noise cancelling headphones even blocked out the screaming infants in my row (due to the bassinet facilities on the bulkhead- the perks of row 1).

Soon we were racing towards KUL at 830km/h, and on climb to FL360.

The beverage service began promptly

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Orders were taken for the lunch/dinner light meal. Let's look at the menu.

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And for those interested, the beverage list

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I decided on the chicken curry for the main event (dropping SQ terms in to this MH report)- you can't go wrong with Malay food on MH I've found.

To start, a scotch and coke (JW Black) with premium nuts- or so the pack said.

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Next- the world's best airline signature dish (Skytrax 2012)…MH satay

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It was the usual chicken and beef combo

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[Edited 2012-12-05 23:41:26]

User currently offlinethemit9 From Australia, joined Apr 2012, 99 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 16822 times:

The satay really needs no review- it never changes and is excellent. For the first time ever when flying MH no seconds were offered.

Meanwhile below we were abeam Bendigo and heading towards the outback. The landscape is very familiar on these afternoon flights to Asia.

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Legroom shot albeit washed out- fully extended

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Next came the rather interesting appetizer on a tray with the fruit plate- it was a Crab Timbale with aioli, cucumber potato salad and tomato salsa.

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The tomato salsa was visible, but the rest just tasted like potato salad…not that that's a bad thing but the crab and aioli were a fraction light on. Amend the menu to say 'potato salad with tomato salsa'.

MH is having identity issues as everyone would well know with about 3 different logos and 3 different liveries going around at the moment. There was no evidence on this flight that the logo had changed at all, except in one short clip about 'Change for Charity'.

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Around came the bread basket- I opted for garlic and this was outstanding

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It wasn't dried out and the garlic butter to bread ratio couldn't be beaten

Still keeping an eye on the landscape below which was drying out and emptying

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Next up, the chicken curry. Again it's hats off to MH as this meal was flawless.

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Flavour was good, generous with the chicken and the vegetables were cooked to perfection. More bread was offered, it was cold (fine for most breads but less desirable for garlic) by this time but this is to be expected and most airlines don't do seconds so you won't hear me complaining.

Getting cloudy past Broken Hill

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Now for the fruit- all 4 pieces were enjoyable

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And dessert- the 'Summer Delight'- some vanilla mousse with pistachio sponge and raspberry jelly. It wasn't what I'd naturally jump at on a menu but another flawless dish that wasn't stingy on the pistachio.

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Tea and coffee was served- a fraction late due to the weather but things were calm now. People say the MH mugs look cheap but I like the full-sized coffee mug. It doesn't matter how much it costs, just let me enjoy my airline coffee and don't restrict me to three mouthfuls a la SQ. Where was the cheese course? I can't recall if MH did/does this or not but cheese is a nice way to end a meal (slot it in before or after dessert, it doesn't worry me).

Water was distributed to stay hydrated throughout the flight

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The meal was over- every dish excellent. I could now kick back and watch some TV programs, with the moving map on next door's screen.

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The screens were a little bit too far away from the actual seat and there was an issue was glare, so it was a relief when the virtual sunset began. It was 5:30pm, around 2 hours after take-off. I liked that the meal wasn't rushed and there was a break between courses- it's a day flight and we're not going anywhere- let's savour the moment.

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The duvet-style blanket

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It was time for a walk. Out of the seat shot.

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Business class feature wall

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Door 1L

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Decorative lavatory touches

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Unlike some, I like the faux wood. It's not quite as orange as on EK.

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Cloud formations

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A short time later the ice cream in the form of a Weis bar was offered

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It was a little solid but soon started to thaw.

I was really impressed by how free-flowing the drinks were on this flight. The cabin staff continued to come around offering more refills. The cabin was today operated by two stewards, a male inflight supervisor (who is rarely seen in the cabin on MH) and two stewardesses. One steward was extremely friendly and was striking up conversation about my trip and giving plenty of helpful advice about KL. It's amazing how often you feel like you get to know the crew on an MH flight. They knew who just wanted to sleep and who was up for a chat. The other male steward was friendly but doing most of the galley work and wasn't seen. The two female stewardesses were interesting- the first was a typical MH F/A- all smiles and addressing me by name on every encounter. The second was a little more reserved- not always smiling but often making jokes with a dry sense of humour and very efficient. I think it was a great mix and everyone was able to show their personality. All-in-all nothing was too much for the crew and they were very helpful and answered call buttons in seconds. This is why MH won the 2012 Skytrax award.

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After watching some TV I tuned into 'Ray Romano live at Carnegie Hall' and relaxed for a bit.

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A steward saw this and offered to help adjusting the bed to make it more flat. Pushing the 'ZZZ' button on the control panel isn't the best- you need to make adjustments yourself on the individual controls. It's an example of where the soft product on MH comes in to save the shortcomings of the hard product.

More of a walk- interesting temp sensor on the door

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And back into Y.

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Impressions of Y were that it was a full flight and things were tight but I think the seats seemed good and hard product solid.

Back to J

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By this time we'd passed Uluru and were heading into WA and towards the west coast. We were 3 hours in.

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All the lights were hit and left only a trance of the dark blue night sky

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And we were over the coast an hour later

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Midflight Baileys promptly delivered with a ping of the call button

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Around 2.5 hours before landing, the sunrise sequence began

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Indonesia

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The seatbelt sign came on with the promise of more turbulence. With the lights coming on I couldn't see the harm of opening the window shades and was surprised to see that we were in IFR conditions.

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Who doesn't love the extended sunset of westbound flying?

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Working through the sunrise sequence

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The cost of Java I believe...could be Bali

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Over the Bali sea

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It was scotch and coke time to kick off the meal.

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What's on offer in the menu?

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I was promised a pie would be delivered shortly to go with my plate of lettuce/rocket

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I opted for the chicken over the spicy pumpkin pie

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It's amazing flying over the sea in clear skies and a sunset, but interesting at the same time when you think that the beautiful landscape outside would instantly kill you if you were on the other side of the window

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A sign of a great business class flight is having 3 or more drinks on the go at once

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And the sun leaves us behind

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Cabin panoramas are difficult to pull off due to the bouncing aircraft and lighting issues- click for the full file 12.6MB

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With the meal complete, there was some time to zone out for the rest of the flight. The lights wouldn't turn off with the flight attendant trying different buttons triggering a sunset, then a sunrise, then full lighting before she gave up and came out from the galley apologising for the fault.

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All too soon we hit top of descent and another great MH flight was just about over. Headsets were collected, and the stewardess came by picking up menus. She searched under the duvet and through the pile of items on the seat next to me for mine whilst I kept a blank facial expression- sadly the menu had already made it into my carry on bag.

With the headphones gone MH took over the screens to play some promotional videos- but not before the usual 'death for traffickers' announcement. First up was a song about Malaysia.

Somewhere in Malaysia

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I think they dropped the ball a bit on this one- if you want to sell me Malaysia tell me about it- you don't need to sing a tacky song. When I thought the song was winding down they went into one more full-voiced go at the chorus of 'Malaysia truly Asia' with the lyrics appearing on screen for those wanting to perform a little karaoke. The song was a real turn off, but I'm told by marketing experts that if you don't like an ad it just means you're not the target market. Was it necessary to blast over the PA system?

Next came the Asha Gill video about KLIA. Finally the screens were returned to the moving map, it was lights out and cabin crew were seated for landing.

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There were interesting lightning strikes as we passed through. At about 8:40pm local time we hit earth with a shudder, landing on Runway 14L. You could feel that it was a tough approach with seemingly changing wind conditions.



Thanks for flying MH- I'll fly with you anytime if you can operate flights like this.

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Passing some MH metal as the windows fog up

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We pulled into gate C25 and the cabin lights came back on.

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I was off within seconds after thanking the crew for another great flight.

All quiet at the satellite terminal

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Immigration was easy, thanks in part to not having any forms to complete and getting the orange tag for priority

My bag was one of the first off, and by 9pm local time I was through customs.

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KLIA is one of the most enjoyable airports to use in the world for me and they have to be again commended for making things easy. It's interesting when going through customs and seeing the staff more interested in reading the newspaper than checking for illegal trafficking.

Following the signs to the KLIA Ekspres was easy and there were plenty of staff on hand offering information. You buy the ticket at KL Sentral.

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Onboard the KLIA Ekspres

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With lots of time to kill before my flight at 7:20pm the next day I had booked a hotel near KL Sentral in Le Meridian. Somewhere simple to crash for the night, and this did the job.

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I had made it to my room in less than 1hr20mins after touchdown. It's all too easy in Kuala Lumpur. With the time approaching 2am back at home I was ready to crash.

IMPRESSIONS OF MH 148
Check-in: Efficient and friendly, well done to the team at MEL. They even opened early.
Departure: Late due to WX (so not MH's fault). More info earlier would have been nice, and boarding a fraction chaotic.
Lounge: Best outstation lounge operated by an airline I've been to thus far.
Onboard: New A330 offers a solid product. It's comfortable and new. The crew was MH at its best.
Food and Beverages: Couldn't be faulted really.
Arrival: KLIA efficient and the whole process was easy and flowed

Overall I think this flight was MH at its best and there weren't many things to pick out for criticism. MH. If MH can offer this on all flights- a brand new aircraft, reasonable seating, great catering and excellent crew while getting its financial house in order, they could rise from the ashes once again and become a force to be reckoned with.


User currently offlinethemit9 From Australia, joined Apr 2012, 99 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 16816 times:

Some KL sightseeing the next day

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Back to KLIA

At about 3:00pm I headed back to KL Sentral for the train journey back to KLIA.

MH ticket office here

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I checked my bags in at the station with a rather unfriendly check-in staffer at the First counter as Business was closed. A new boarding pass was issued, so you can decide if you prefer:

The KUL boarding pass

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Or the MEL boarding pass

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The train was ready to leave as I got to the platform and was very quiet. After an uneventful 27 minute trip I arrived at KLIA.

Scenes of the terminal

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Panorama- as people didn't stay still when I asked there's a few chopped up bodies. Click for full file of 12MB.

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The new First/Business Class check-in area is a bit scaled back on the previous offering which is a shame- it seems to be like regular desks but with a screened off area and a couple of couches dropped in for good measure. The beverage fridges had all but gone.

By 3:45pm I was airside. I couldn't understand the first security check point as nobody was watching the monitor of bags being x-rayed, the staff concerned were just using their phones.

FIDS

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There was lots of time to kill, but I had two lounges to try. First stop, the new regional lounge.
I was reminded that there was already a lounge in the satellite terminal, and that there would be no boarding call for my flight, then admitted.

First impressions were that the renovations had gone very well, nice water feature and a sandstone wall.

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It was interesting seeing flight crews here- apparently something to do with infusing the flight experience into the ground experience but it just seems like cost-cutting. MH are operating fewer routes but to keep these trained people in a job while not paying lounge staff, they must end up here. I wonder if the crew prefer working in the lounge to flight duties? My opinon only, not based on facts.
Something lounges elsewhere lack, floor to ceiling views of the tarmac with no dots or reflective glass.

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An interesting point is just how dead KLIA is at this time- be it in the lounges, the main terminals or even aircraft movements

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Beverage station

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Spicy beef, prawns and pasta with a Sprite. Good lounge fare.

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There was a diverse range of foods from oxtail soup to make you own salad facilities. I think MH gets the tick of approval for the lounge.

At 4:25pm, I headed over to the satellite terminal

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Time for the flagship- Golden Lounge Satellite Terminal

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There were a few noticeable signs of the renovations, while some things hadn't changed. The first thing was that the lounge seemed wider- I believe this is with cutting down of the first class / platinum area. There was also a light shuffling of food offerings. Lastly some new leather seats replaced the old-style ones. The lounge was a great place to while away the time. Something about this lounge made me want to stay for hours.

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Ice cream

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Make your salad and other selections of food

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Hot selections- almost the same as the regional lounge

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Almost every other time I've been here the tarmac view seats have been taken- not today

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Sandwich selection while looking at a KLM 777 in the Skyteam livery. I could only tell it was KLM from the PH rego.

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Seating area

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CX arriving

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Unfortunately it's not all fun and games and I reluctantly dragged myself to the business centre with a few things to do to keep business in Australia in order/

This doesn't look like work?

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The business centre had phased out the desktop PCs in favour of laptops. The reason was obvious, they were now sponsored by Samsung (there was even a price tag for the laptop). But for a traveller I'd much rather use a desktop over a laptop.

With business taken care of, I headed back and CX was departing

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Green tea ice cream. The first of many tea flavoured items to come as I was to find out.

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Egypt Air

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An SQ A330 arrived from its shuttle run

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TV

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Not wanting to miss the action, as gate opening time rolled around I left the lounge. One of the great features is the cloakroom where you get the keys to your cupboard, and can store items with peace of mind- much better than lugging two bags around.

A line met me when I got to gate C2. I was slightly annoyed about the lack of line for J- this was the first line of the trip so far. Also, this system doesn't seem to work as they try to feed a whole aircraft full of pax through one x-ray machine and one metal detector in a short window. Other airports don't seem to need screening at the gate (except SIN)?

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For once in an Asian airport I didn't beep, and didn't need to get undressed item by item to determine the culprit. What a relief, and the new shoes with less metal are paying dividends already.

My ride to HKG as the sun sets- 9M-MKJ

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Gate holding area

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Boarding was called- but only for kids and special needs pax, but that didn't stop some people. In MEL the first line they read out is 'PLEASE REMAIN SEATED' and I think this could work here. They started calling Y by rows, but I think it became a free-for-all.

Meanwhile J could board through door A…you can see the line building on the other side of the glass

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I would appreciate an answer as to why they only use one aerobridge on the new A330, but on the old A330 you get two?

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User currently offlinethemit9 From Australia, joined Apr 2012, 99 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 16807 times:

THE FLIGHT



Date: 28 November 2012
Flight: MH 78
Route: KUL (WMKK) – Hong Kong (VHHH)
Aircraft: Airbus A330-322
Registration: 9M-MKJ

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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © mutzair
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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Rayner



Quick facts: First flight was on 21/11/1995. This aircraft is 17 years old. Its test registration was D-WWKJ.

Scheduled / Actual Departure (gate): 7:20pm / 7:17pm UTC+8
Scheduled / Actual Arrival (date): 11:05pm / 10:50pm UTC+8
Scheduled / Actual Flight Time (gate to gate): 3h45m / 3h33m
--

At exactly 7pm I was onboard. I was preparing myself for the explosive chilli red seats, and made an interesting observation. The photos of the seats are much worse…in real life, while a calming blue might be better they were actually OK…almost nice. Not sure why the photos make them look so horrible- maybe under the hues of cabin lights everything looks better. The cabin was immaculate, and wear and tear wasn't too bad. The bulkheads were the MH 777 style with 'palm trees'.

The aircraft was interesting…it brought back memories of the old days of flying…where the cabin lights flicker- they don't go through sunrise and sunset sequences. For a 3 hour trip I was content.

View from my seat

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Cabin views

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Leg room view

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The seat pitch is noticeably less- on the new A330 you get 3 windows per row (and a little more), where here you get two. This is noticeable when the passenger in front reclines- when you get up you're pretty much standing over their head. It's a reminder of why these seats went out of fashion, but I think these seats were absolutely fine for the nature of the flight- 3 and a bit hours to HKG.

About 5 minutes after sitting down it was time for a guava juice

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Next came the newspapers, with the story on the front page being especially relevant to today's flight

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While all this was going on there was a minor issue in seat 1G ahead. The person assigned there was not happy as they don't like sitting in the middle of the aircraft. "I've never been assigned to the middle before so I didn't think of doing a seat allocation". Unfortunately the cabin staff found all window seats to be taken, and I found myself sending telepathic messages to the leading stewardess "please don't ask me to move or put this person next to me" as lines such as "I am flying business class" (Stewardess- "everyone is flying business class, this is the business class cabin") and "I always fly business class and am an Enrich member" (welcome to the club) were coming out. I couldn't see things ending well, but kindly Mrs. 1K saved the day by opting to move to the middle. I think the crew handled this situation very well. I take the time out to do seat allocations to pick where I am comfortable sitting (window, alone, preferably not in row 1) so why can't everyone?

"Hot towel Mr Themit9?"…alright, if you insist

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Moments later at 7:15pm doors were closed, and it was time for departure. We pushed back and watched the safety video. This was the same new one, which showed all the seats and features of the new A330. Since the last flight it has grown on me, and apart from some bad dubbing, it now goes in the 'very good' category. The old aircraft meant lots of crackles and lines going through the video- at what point does this become unsafe?

Out we headed to the runway passing some interesting action on the tarmac.

MH A380. Odds are it's bound for LHR at some stage.

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We were just behind an LH A340 (last flew on one in Y back in 2000) and passed the EK A380 (counting down to that experience)

Without delay we arrived at Runway 32R and took off into the night.



This was the view for most of the flight

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This was the first time since pre-1999 of flying on a widebody without airshow, so I could only imagine what we were passing below.

The climb seemed very long, but soon the fasten seatbelt sign was off and we began to settle down for the cruise. It was now 7:45pm.

This aircraft was a blast from the past in more ways than one- haven't seen the old-style "stripy" blanket in J for a while

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As this was an old aircraft, AVOD let alone personal screens hadn't been invented at the time of construction (maybe some slight hyperbole), so the compromise was the Select media player. Before you complain think of Y- who gets the main screen movie as decided by MH.

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I'd seen it in pictures and was underwhelmed but in real life it gets the tick of approval- of course it's no replacement for a real screen, especially in turbulence, but what you have is a functional handheld unit loaded full of enough content to keep one entertained for the 3 hour cruise. The thing that struck me with it compared to consumer electronics was how robust it was- it felt like you could throw it against a brick wall.

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It came with a handy stand that fitted perfectly onto the cocktail table- as long as you don't have a seat neighbour. Luckily loads were so light everyone had at least two seats to themselves if they wanted.

This safety message doesn't beat around the bush- but finally a solution to paused entertainment during lengthy announcements in 3 languages with lots of urms and ahhs.

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Music

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The music was a little annoying- you couldn't put on a track and then go and browse the movie selection. You couldn't even browse other tracks on that album as it would cause the music to stop. The headphones weren't noise cancelling but were a tier above Y headsets.

By 8pm, it was time for a casual meal service to begin, so let's see what's on today's menu.
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The remainder of the menu was exactly the same as the previous sector. It was an oriental themed meal tonight (maybe it was a feature month, or maybe this was always on offer).

Basic control unit

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Table out for the meal

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First up- drinks. Why not try my first ever bloody mary?

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Well that's off the bucket list, not sure if it will quite be on the favourites list though

Next up- what else in MH J?

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What impressed me was the old-style shell dish for the hot towel that they used to use on all flights back in the early 2000s- the aircraft was like a time machine

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For the second time ever on MH (first time was last flight) no satay seconds were offered. I think the other aisle got some more, but the message appears to be that satay uplift has been drastically reduced as this was in a lightly filled J cabin. Either that or satay is now the crew meal.

The starter

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I didn't read/take in what the starter was on the menu, so I was tasting blind. The first item tasted like ham, which surprised me for an airline with halal catering. Turned out to be duck. The next item was a tomato stuffed with something strange- it was like tasteless slimy tentacles. According to the menu this was jellyfish- first time for everything and possibly the last for me. Last up- the mango. I don't think you could complain about the starter as it was exactly what the menu promised.

The bread basket came round and I had the usual

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A bit overcooked on the sector- had the consistency of croutons. Still edible.

The salt, pepper and butter

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Every so often the IFE unit pops up with a reminder to pause it during announcements, and to not let it become a weapon during turbulence

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Panorama of the cabin during the meal- any issues are due to aircraft bounces. Click for the full version.

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The seatbelt sign came back on and we had to get strapped back in due to turbulence. It was light so no dramas.
The main- tea leaf chicken

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Presentation was a Y meal dressed as J, but that's MH on these sectors now. The chicken was great and went well with the dipping sauce.

Dipping sauce

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The rest was fine, although I decided to pass on most of the big pieces of spinach.

On to the fruit plate- you can't stuff these up and they didn't.

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Dessert was a green tea cake

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Between the green tea icecream in the lounge, tea leaf chicken and green tea dessert I was starting to get tea-ed out but it the dessert was still flawless.

Coffee and tea wasn't served- probably due to the seatbelt sign still being on. The meal all over at 9:25pm, nearly 2 hours after takeoff. Where did all that time go?

Time to chill with the Select unit for what was left of the flight

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The cabin after the meal

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Passenger service unit

http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/asianov/part1/IMG_2741.jpg

The main screen movie came to an end and what came up on the screen was a reminder of the age of the aircraft…and a trip down memory lane to analogue TV

http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/asianov/part1/IMG_2742.jpg

At 9:55pm the seatbelt sign was finally turned off, so I could get up and explore. Duty free came by- I've never seen anyone buying duty free onboard but someone must to make it worthwhile.

I went down to Y first to get a snapshot…here I think the seats did look as bad as the pictures I've seen and it really is a poor colour combination for a 5 star airline.

http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/asianov/part1/IMG_2743.jpg

http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/asianov/part1/IMG_2744.jpg

I couldn't go down the back much further as I was blocked by people buying…inflight duty free. Blows my previous thoughts out of the water.

With the lavs occupied, probably due to the seatbelt sign coming off I was able to look around the galley with a lone crew member consuming the remains of the satay from the oven.

IFE controls from what I could gather

http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/asianov/part1/IMG_2745.jpg

Exit door

http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/asianov/part1/IMG_2746.jpg

In contrast to the faux wood

http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/asianov/part1/IMG_2747.jpg

Galley

http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/asianov/part1/IMG_2748.jpg

Carts

http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/asianov/part1/IMG_2749.jpg

Back to the sharp end, in search of the free lav up the front
http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/asianov/part1/IMG_2750.jpg

I was surprised by the striking similarity between this and the new A330- I guess not much has changed in 15 years in some aspects.

http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/asianov/part1/IMG_2751.jpg

http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/asianov/part1/IMG_2752.jpg

Back to my seat, it was 10:05pm. Without airshow we could have been heading due south for all I knew, but the captain announced 10:50pm as landing time.

Thoughts on the crew- not quite up there with the standard set by MH148. Some great touches but a little impersonal and lacking in warmth. However they did what was asked of them as efficiently as possible then retreated to the galleys. I liken it to the experience on MH789 earlier this year. I think to see MH at its best you need to be in long haul business or first.

New Age Renditions of Coldplay

http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/asianov/part1/IMG_2753.jpg

Always time for inflight tetris- thought I was doing OK until I remembered I was only on level 1.

http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/asianov/part1/IMG_2754.jpg

I could feel the engines powering down and the descent starting, but the cabin remained unaware. Late into the piece it was flight over and Select units were collected. The P/A was way too soft when the leading stewardess made an announcement, so a male F/A, probably in another spot took over. Is this a safety issue on an old aircraft?

Despite 'cabin crew seats for landing' being called it was a mad rush to get everything set for landing. Once the headsets were taken back a video started on immigration in Hong Kong. It was played 3 times- once for each language. There were a few interesting lines, and I thought it was quite amusing how smiley the immigration offers discovering contraband were, and the passengers seemed equally happy to be getting a fine. We were well into the ILS approach to Runway 07L when everyone sat down and the lights went out.

Roughly on time we landed on Runway 07L, then braked quite hard to get down to taxi speed before taxiway A7- not sure why they wanted that on one in particular…perhaps other traffic behind us requiring an immediate vacation?




We were thanked for flying MH, and arrived at gate W47.

Disembarkation

http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/asianov/part1/IMG_2762.jpg

http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/asianov/part1/IMG_2763.jpg

http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/asianov/part1/IMG_2765.jpg

http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/asianov/part1/IMG_2766.jpg

Hong Kong airport (my first time) was somewhat mind blowing- huge distances, and lots of floors. It was a long walk that kept on going.

http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/asianov/part1/IMG_2767.jpg



An interesting point is no immigration express line. I could see a crowd about to converge on the line so I power-walked to get in first. It was all smooth and my bag had arrived before me, priority tag respected.
I then found the bus to the Novotel Citygate hotel.

http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/asianov/part1/IMG_2770.jpg

http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/asianov/part1/IMG_2771.jpg

http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/asianov/part1/IMG_2772.jpg

IMPRESSIONS OF MH 78

Check-in: Check-in agent not very friendly but a great service to be able to check-in at the railway station.
Departure: KLIA easy to pass through, but security at the gate could be reviewed to shorten lines.
Lounge: Two to select from and both to a high standard. It's rare to find a lounge I don't want to leave but this was the case here.
Onboard: Aircraft old and tired really needs replacement ASAP. But immaculate and what was offered for J was adequate for the flight. Chilli-red seats were OK, but not sure about Y. Crew did everything they had to but where's the Malaysian Hospitality?
Food and Beverages: Meal excellent except the main a little too much like Y with big pieces of spinach just clumped together. Tea and coffee would have been nice once turbulence relaxed.
Arrival: Lots of walking but Hong Kong was efficient and organised, immigration easy and my bag beat me to the carrousel.

I think the fleet renewal is underway meaning these old A330s are on their last legs (no pun intended). For this flight an updated A330 would have been just the ticket. It would be nice to have the crew offering a fraction more on these shorter flights. A couple of holes but MH got me to where I needed to be on time and in comfort so I can't complain, the service just wasn't dazzling.

Isn't this report about going to Macau?

Yes, Hong Kong wasn't my final destination. As an exclusive 'bonus bit' let's do a quick look at the ferry to Macau even though it's outside the bounds of airliners.net

I travelled by MTR to the China Ferry Terminal, then proceeded to the ticket counter to purchase a ticket for the Cotaijet to Macau. For a small amount more, you could upgrade to first, so I took this option.

Ticket to Macau

http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/asianov/part1/IMG_2789.jpg

FIDS- Ferry Information Display Screen

http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/asianov/part1/IMG_2790.jpg

I killed some time in the lounge- actually Starbucks

http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/asianov/part1/IMG_2792.jpg

At about 1pm, I checked in and cleared immigration and customs. I was seaside.

http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/asianov/part1/IMG_2794.jpg

Boarding commenced, and I was ushered upstairs into first class.

http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/asianov/part1/IMG_2814.jpg

http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/asianov/part1/IMG_2815.jpg

The first class attendant helped stow my bags, and I sat in my allocated seat in 4Q. I had a seat neighbour who was friendly enough.

The seats were wide and comfortable, and legroom generous. The seats were very similar to what you'd find in regional business class.

Leg room shot

http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/asianov/part1/IMG_2795.jpg

The perks of First Class sea travel

http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/asianov/part1/IMG_2797.jpg

Safety demo- I wouldn't be as happy if the vessel was filling with water

http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/asianov/part1/IMG_2799.jpg

Views of Hong Kong on departure

http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/asianov/part1/IMG_2800.jpg

No smoking or gambling allowed onboard

http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/asianov/part1/IMG_2804.jpg

After departure orders were taken for the meal- it was either seafood or corn instant noodles

http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/asianov/part1/IMG_2809.jpg

By the time the meal was over we had nearly arrived at Macau. On arrival First Class was allowed to leave first, a big help in beating the lines for immigration. As soon as you arrive you are hit by the competing casinos.

http://mdtravelblog.com/airreportpics/asianov/part1/IMG_2816.jpg

On the way back I took Turbojet- that's on my blog, but I suggest you take Cotaijet- it's cheaper, newer and better. Turbojet is like a low-end premium Y, while Cotaijet is like an ultra low-end regional J.

Thanks for reading

If you've made it to here, thanks for reading. Please leave a comment- let me know what you liked, what you didn't like and your thoughts on my thoughts. The next part of the series will be posted in the coming days.

Video Reports

You've read the report, now watch the video- includes announcements and more:





Read more about the trip

My new travel blog has reviews on some of the non-aviation aspects of the trip.
Feel free to view and comment here: http://mdtravelblog.com/macau-trip-2012-from-a-net

Previous reports

SQ Vs MH | MEL – SIN – BKK – KUL – MEL In C Part 2 (by themit9 Apr 13 2012 in Trip Reports)
SQ Vs MH | MEL – SIN – BKK – KUL – MEL In C Part 1 (by themit9 Apr 8 2012 in Trip Reports)


User currently offlineCarfield From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1886 posts, RR: 9
Reply 5, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 16689 times:

Thanks for the wonderful trip report!

Sorry to hear about the troubles you have to go through with Delta to book this set of ticket.

MH looks like an average Asian airline... the satays look good but I guess the new J is disappointing and MH is really behind in the premium game. But at least the soft aspect of the service is good.

With MH joining OW in Feb, I can see myself flying MH again. This is definitely a good preview.

Thanks,
Carfield


User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3203 posts, RR: 12
Reply 6, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 16341 times:

Looks like you had some nice flights with MH. I wonder how much longer those old A330s will be flying around for? Nice that you were able to use some of your old forgotten DL miles for the trip. I hope you enjoyed Macau!


http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights: LHR-GVA-LHR-TXL-LHR-VE-PRN,SPU-OSL-LHR, LGW-DXB-BKK-DXB-LHR
User currently offlineCalebWilliams From United States of America, joined Dec 2008, 305 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 15644 times:

Nice report. One question though, why did you blur out some faces, but not others?


Caleb Williams MSP AUS STL AMS CPH LGW YYZ
User currently offlinethemit9 From Australia, joined Apr 2012, 99 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 14773 times:

Thanks to those who have taken the time to read and comment.

Quoting Carfield (Reply 5):
Thanks for the wonderful trip report!

Hi Carfield, thanks for reading and I have to say that your trip reports are always a highlight of my A.NET reading.

Quoting Carfield (Reply 5):
Sorry to hear about the troubles you have to go through with Delta to book this set of ticket.

I would say most people would have given up, but if you're on A.NET you're prepared to give more time to aviation and try whatever you can.

Quoting Carfield (Reply 5):
MH looks like an average Asian airline... the satays look good but I guess the new J is disappointing and MH is really behind in the premium game. But at least the soft aspect of the service is good.

I think they offer good value for money, at the moment on the MEL to Asia routes they are probably in the middle. If you look at SQ, I believe they still have some older 777s and 777s with lie flat operating, the A380 J product is probably the best hard product there is on the route. SQ is now updating it's flagship J product which will be interesting. TG has lie flat but not for much longer, they are going to EK J class style seats. CX has a mix of herringbone and the new type, so at the moment MH is still in the game but they will be left behind very quickly with the competition mostly moving to full flat.

Quoting Carfield (Reply 5):
With MH joining OW in Feb, I can see myself flying MH again. This is definitely a good preview.

Looking forward to that deal being done- I think they have great value and the flights are reasonably comfortable, just don't expect to be blown away.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 6):
Looks like you had some nice flights with MH. I wonder how much longer those old A330s will be flying around for? Nice that you were able to use some of your old forgotten DL miles for the trip. I hope you enjoyed Macau!

I believe the old A330s are on their last legs and are being replaced by the new type which are being rolled off the line very quickly. I saw on your TR with MH that you got the new A330- although I would have thought HKG would be a flagship route ie. get the new A330 there ASAP. Would have liked to have tried the MH 777 for one final time but never mind. Macau was like no place I've ever been to and I'm glad I went. It was fantastic and I can't wait to return.

The TR part 2 featuring my flights on EK First will be out shortly.


User currently offlinethemit9 From Australia, joined Apr 2012, 99 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 14765 times:

Quoting CalebWilliams (Reply 7):
Nice report. One question though, why did you blur out some faces, but not others?

Thanks for reading CalebWilliams and good observation. In the perfect world of trip reporting I would take the time to blur all faces out of respect to the fact that most people don't want to end up in a trip report on a site they've never heard of. Due to time, I only blurred faces where I thought the people were doing something that they wouldn't want the world to know about, or if they were showing a really awkward facial expression. To avoid drawing attention to that person in the photos concerned I blurred all the faces of people in the relevant photo.


User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 15
Reply 10, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 13707 times:

Hello

Wonderfull report, thanks for sharing.
Malasian looks to have a great product!
Decent catering and seating on the MEL-KUL flight however the 330 on the KUL-HKG leg looks dated! Thankfully it wasn't a long flight

Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlinethegivenone From Austria, joined Jan 2008, 192 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 13065 times:

That was a truly fantastic report the mit9. I appreciate the detailed with which you described your trip. I actually started by opening the EK First sector, but then decided to come back and read this first to get the back story.

I hope you enjoyed your travels. Hooray for leftover miles  


User currently offlinethemit9 From Australia, joined Apr 2012, 99 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 12955 times:

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 10):
Wonderfull report, thanks for sharing.
Malasian looks to have a great product!
Decent catering and seating on the MEL-KUL flight however the 330 on the KUL-HKG leg looks dated! Thankfully it wasn't a long flight

Hi Marc, thanks for your kind words and for reading.

MH should do OK once they update all their fleet and if they can get their financial house in order. I hope they do.

Quoting thegivenone (Reply 11):
That was a truly fantastic report the mit9. I appreciate the detailed with which you described your trip. I actually started by opening the EK First sector, but then decided to come back and read this first to get the back story.

I hope you enjoyed your travels. Hooray for leftover miles

Thanks for taking a step back thegivenone and hope you enjoyed the back story. The leftover miles were a great discovery and there is still some leftover, so it's time to put pen to paper and plan the next trip.


User currently offlineglobalflyer From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 925 posts, RR: 3
Reply 13, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 12941 times:

HI. What a wonderful TR! This really did give MH a positive review. The 330 from MEL looks fantastic. I am so happy that MH is joining an alliance. Whilst I wish it had been SkyTeam I am just happy that MH is aligning with a grouping. Thanks for sharing!


Landing on every Continent almost on an annual basis!
User currently offlineCalebWilliams From United States of America, joined Dec 2008, 305 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 12239 times:

Quoting themit9 (Reply 9):
Quoting CalebWilliams (Reply 7):
Nice report. One question though, why did you blur out some faces, but not others?

Thanks for reading CalebWilliams and good observation. In the perfect world of trip reporting I would take the time to blur all faces out of respect to the fact that most people don't want to end up in a trip report on a site they've never heard of. Due to time, I only blurred faces where I thought the people were doing something that they wouldn't want the world to know about, or if they were showing a really awkward facial expression. To avoid drawing attention to that person in the photos concerned I blurred all the faces of people in the relevant photo.

That makes sense. I'm so used to taking photos (nothing to do with trip reports) of people that it never occurs to me to blur faces.



Caleb Williams MSP AUS STL AMS CPH LGW YYZ
User currently offlinethemit9 From Australia, joined Apr 2012, 99 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 12054 times:

Quoting globalflyer (Reply 13):
HI. What a wonderful TR! This really did give MH a positive review. The 330 from MEL looks fantastic. I am so happy that MH is joining an alliance. Whilst I wish it had been SkyTeam I am just happy that MH is aligning with a grouping. Thanks for sharing!

Thanks for reading and commenting globalflyer. Hopefully MH can keep flying and with all the fleet upgrades things are looking up.

Quoting CalebWilliams (Reply 14):
That makes sense. I'm so used to taking photos (nothing to do with trip reports) of people that it never occurs to me to blur faces.

I believe the law at least in Australia is that it's all good in a public place, but I mainly did it thinking "would I want to be in someone else's trip report looking like that?". If no, face blurred.


User currently offlineflightsimboy From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 1231 posts, RR: 5
Reply 16, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 11607 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hello themit9

Firstly let me start of by saying MH is the number one airline for me!! Flew them in 2004 and 2005 and absolutely fell in love with the crews. Now MH crews are what cabin crews are all about and what cabin crews in general should be!! I did a trip report on the flights out of LAX. Don't mind me sharing it here

http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/trip_reports/read.main/178320

Quoting themit9 (Thread starter):
These miles were accrued on flights back in 1999-2002 with KLM and MH through Wordperks- when I was just 11 years old. Thanks to the generous expiry policies, they were still intact and just sitting in the system waiting to be used. I had wanted to visit Macau for some time, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. A good excuse for using them now was rumours that MH would be no longer in partnership with DL very soon thanks to MH joining Oneworld. Action was required now.

Glad you were finally able to put them to use.

Quoting themit9 (Thread starter):
ME: I would like to book flights from Melbourne to Hong Kong with MH on (date) and returning on (date).
CALL CENTRE: (date) is not available
ME: What about 3 days either side?
CALL CENTRE: Not available
ME: None of the sectors are available?
CALL CENTRE: Not available
ME: What dates are available, my schedule is pretty much open?
CALL CENTRE: You need to give us days to look up or we can’t help you.

Very frustrating when you were actually giving them dates to begin with!!

Quoting themit9 (Thread starter):
Delicious chicken sandwiches, a selection of cheeses, small bowls of salad. Sure, it was not a huge selection but for me having not had much to eat that day it was perfect.

Sometimes less is more! Like EK's ICE inflight entertaiment with so many choices, I land up not watching anything, and I am sure in their J class lounge with so much I'd be equally confused lol (by the way loved your EK A380 report, will be commenting on it soon)

Quoting themit9 (Thread starter):
SQ A380 had been moved to the gate
Quoting themit9 (Thread starter):
while the late SQ 238 was just about to pushback after us

That SQ 773 explains the one seen in your take off video, when actually I had seen the very prominent A380 pic in this report.

Quoting themit9 (Thread starter):
Suddenly, someone burst through the ropes with a Y boarding pass trying to cut the line with "I am an elite member". The staff were not happy as nobody had been called for boarding apart from those needing assistance, but they somewhat entertained his request until the computer revealed that he was only Enrich silver which I don't think gets you priority boarding in any capacity. I was happy when he was pushed back outside the roped off area to wait with everyone else.

Is that what is referred to as DYKWIA on here at a.net lol?

Quoting themit9 (Thread starter):
About 60 seconds passed, and then, welcome drink time
Quoting themit9 (Thread starter):
There were 3 topups of my welcome drink

That is impressive drink as as soon as you are seated, and then 3 top ups!!

Quoting themit9 (Thread starter):
Panorama- ignore the chopped kebaya floating in mid-air, such is life when your photo subject isn't still

Loved all the Paranoma shots and had you not to mention the chopped objects I might have even overlooked it lol

Quoting themit9 (Thread starter):
As a pilot

Good to know!!

Quoting themit9 (Thread starter):

Next- the world's best airline signature dish (Skytrax 2012)…MH satay
Quoting themit9 (Thread starter):
It was the usual chicken and beef combo
Quoting themit9 (Reply 2):
The satay really needs no review- it never changes and is excellent. For the first time ever when flying MH no seconds were offered.
Quoting themit9 (Reply 4):
For the second time ever on MH (first time was last flight) no satay seconds were offered. I think the other aisle got some more, but the message appears to be that satay uplift has been drastically reduced as this was in a lightly filled J cabin. Either that or satay is now the crew meal.
Quoting themit9 (Reply 4):
I was able to look around the galley with a lone crew member consuming the remains of the satay from the oven.

Nothing like eating Satays in J or F on MH! Not that I have personally experienced it, but it must be a wonderful experience. I almost thought you were making an assumption that the crew very having the rest of the satays, but looks like you saw it for yourself lol

Quoting themit9 (Reply 2):
Next up, the chicken curry. Again it's hats off to MH as this meal was flawless

I would have gone for the chef's recommendation but only because I love seafood.....hmmm lobster sauce!!!

Quoting themit9 (Reply 2):
Tea and coffee was served- a fraction late due to the weather but things were calm now. People say the MH mugs look cheap but I like the full-sized coffee mug. It doesn't matter how much it costs, just let me enjoy my airline coffee and don't restrict me to three mouthfuls a la SQ.

I think that coffee mug gives a homely touch, like waking up to one on a sunday morning!! Very amusing comparison to SQ!!

Quoting themit9 (Reply 2):
The cabin staff continued to come around offering more refills. The cabin was today operated by two stewards, a male inflight supervisor (who is rarely seen in the cabin on MH) and two stewardesses. One steward was extremely friendly and was striking up conversation about my trip and giving plenty of helpful advice about KL. It's amazing how often you feel like you get to know the crew on an MH flight. They knew who just wanted to sleep and who was up for a chat. The other male steward was friendly but doing most of the galley work and wasn't seen. The two female stewardesses were interesting- the first was a typical MH F/A- all smiles and addressing me by name on every encounter. The second was a little more reserved- not always smiling but often making jokes with a dry sense of humour and very efficient. I think it was a great mix and everyone was able to show their personality. All-in-all nothing was too much for the crew and they were very helpful and answered call buttons in seconds. This is why MH won the 2012 Skytrax award.
Quoting themit9 (Reply 4):
While all this was going on there was a minor issue in seat 1G ahead. The person assigned there was not happy as they don't like sitting in the middle of the aircraft. "I've never been assigned to the middle before so I didn't think of doing a seat allocation". Unfortunately the cabin staff found all window seats to be taken, and I found myself sending telepathic messages to the leading stewardess "please don't ask me to move or put this person next to me" as lines such as "I am flying business class" (Stewardess- "everyone is flying business class, this is the business class cabin") and "I always fly business class and am an Enrich member" (welcome to the club) were coming out. I couldn't see things ending well, but kindly Mrs. 1K saved the day by opting to move to the middle. I think the crew handled this situation very well

Once again I'll say the MH crew are in a class of their own!!

Quoting themit9 (Reply 2):
Onboard: The crew was MH at its best.
Quoting themit9 (Reply 4):
Onboard: Crew did everything they had to but where's the Malaysian Hospitality?

Sorry to hear your second exprience was not that good!

Quoting themit9 (Reply 2):
Midflight Baileys promptly delivered with a ping of the call button
Quoting themit9 (Reply 2):
A sign of a great business class flight is having 3 or more drinks on the go at once

Service at it's best!

Quoting themit9 (Thread starter):
Who doesn't love the extended sunset of westbound flying?

Especially heading west over the Atlantic....sunset for a long time lol

Quoting themit9 (Reply 3):
Spicy beef, prawns and pasta with a Sprite. Good lounge fare.

Beef Rendang was it? Again simple and nice.

Quoting themit9 (Reply 4):
At exactly 7pm I was onboard. I was preparing myself for the explosive chilli red seats, and made an interesting observation. The photos of the seats are much worse…in real life, while a calming blue might be better they were actually OK…almost nice. Not sure why the photos make them look so horrible- maybe under the hues of cabin lights everything looks better. The cabin was immaculate, and wear and tear wasn't too bad. The bulkheads were the MH 777 style with 'palm trees'.

The seats don't really look so bad....but not as bad as Y....see comment at the bottom.

Quoting themit9 (Reply 4):
About 5 minutes after sitting down it was time for a guava juice

Glad you were able to get it on this sector....I guess it made up for the slightly less stellar service.

Quoting themit9 (Reply 4):
Presentation was a Y meal dressed as J, but that's MH on these sectors now. The chicken was great and went well with the dipping sauce.

It does look like a Y meal...terribly presented.

Quoting themit9 (Reply 4):
I went down to Y first to get a snapshot…here I think the seats did look as bad as the pictures I've seen and it really is a poor colour combination for a 5 star airline.

Wow those seats are screaming loud!! What were they thinking? I quite prefer the colour of the old seats.


User currently offlineadamspotter From Netherlands, joined Feb 2011, 1118 posts, RR: 4
Reply 17, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 11256 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Great trip report, thanks for sharing!
Looks like you had a couple of enjoyable flights with MH. Quite interesting to see the big interior differences between the new and old here. Nevertheless the food looks good, the staff sound friendly and the lounges look fantastic!

Quoting themit9 (Reply 1):
KLM 777 in the Skyteam livery

My favorite livery!

Quoting themit9 (Reply 3):
Other airports don't seem to need screening at the gate (except SIN)?

We have that at AMS too

cheers,

Brendan


User currently offlinethemit9 From Australia, joined Apr 2012, 99 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 10637 times:

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 16):
Hello themit9

Firstly let me start of by saying MH is the number one airline for me!! Flew them in 2004 and 2005 and absolutely fell in love with the crews. Now MH crews are what cabin crews are all about and what cabin crews in general should be!! I did a trip report on the flights out of LAX. Don't mind me sharing it here

Hi flightsimboy, thanks for reading (very closely!) and for your detailed comments. I'm sure I've read your report before as I'm always on the lookout for MH, but back then I wasn't an A.NET member. I will always have a soft spot for MH due to some great trips long haul with them in the early 2000s.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 16):

Very frustrating when you were actually giving them dates to begin with!!

The feeling was, just let me in front of Armadeus or whatever the booking system is for a few minutes and let me have a go! But not possible with DL.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 16):

That SQ 773 explains the one seen in your take off video, when actually I had seen the very prominent A380 pic in this report.

Good observation- I believe SQ 238 left at around the same time as us (773), and SQ 228 (A380) must have been shortly after. I had the pleasure of flying on SQ 228 back in April.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 16):

Is that what is referred to as DYKWIA on here at a.net lol?

Had no idea what you meant but a quick Google search brought me up to speed. That was the exact feeling, but it's even more of a satisfying feeling when the person has status on a very minor level, then they have to join ranks with everyone else.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 16):

Nothing like eating Satays in J or F on MH! Not that I have personally experienced it, but it must be a wonderful experience. I almost thought you were making an assumption that the crew very having the rest of the satays, but looks like you saw it for yourself lol

Do yourself a favour and get on MH J to try it! I made the assumption then clearly observed it while hanging out in the galley waiting for the lav- so they must be saving on crew meals...

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 16):

Beef Rendang was it? Again simple and nice.

The name rendang sounds familiar...sorry, not familar with Indonesian food. Either way it's the sort of thing that really hits the spot after going through all the preflight formalities and the general rush of getting to the airport.

Thanks again for your comments flightsimboy and be looking out for the final report- going home with MH, coming in the next 24 hours.

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 17):

Great trip report, thanks for sharing!
Looks like you had a couple of enjoyable flights with MH. Quite interesting to see the big interior differences between the new and old here. Nevertheless the food looks good, the staff sound friendly and the lounges look fantastic!


Hi adamspotter, thanks for reading and for your comments. MH will be in a good place once they get rid of the old A330s.

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 17):

We have that at AMS too

That's right- it's been too long since I was at AMS but I do recall that. Back there soon hopefully...


User currently offlineCXB77L From Australia, joined Feb 2009, 2596 posts, RR: 5
Reply 19, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 10097 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
CHAT OPERATOR

Hi there, thank you for sharing your trip report.

Quoting themit9 (Reply 1):
Shortly we were on top of the clouds- I love this part of flying- finally seeing the blue skies

That's one of my favourite parts of flying too, especially when the crew do not enforce a window shades down policy, watching all the interesting cloud formations go by below.

Quoting themit9 (Reply 2):
The satay really needs no review- it never changes and is excellent.

I've never tried it. I've never flown with MH before, but based on what I've read here, they might just be worth a try one day, if only for the satay. From the pictures alone, they look delicious.

Quoting themit9 (Reply 3):
Green tea ice cream. The first of many tea flavoured items to come as I was to find out.

Ah, Häagen-Dazs, my favourite ice cream brand. In my opinion, it's the finest of ice cream. Seeing a freezer full of different flavoured Häagen-Dazs ice cream is my idea of paradise. It's a shame that they're not available anywhere in Australia that I'm aware of. How did you find your green tea flavoured ice cream?

Quoting themit9 (Reply 3):
My ride to HKG as the sun sets- 9M-MKJ

It's a shame to see that there's such a massive product difference between MH's new A333s and their old ones. I know a lot of airlines have a difference between their long haul and regional products, but the contrast couldn't be more stark at MH, considering that it doesn't even have a PTV.

Quoting themit9 (Reply 4):
Hong Kong airport (my first time) was somewhat mind blowing- huge distances, and lots of floors. It was a long walk that kept on going.

HKG is my former home town and I've been to the new airport several times, and the size of the place never ceases to amaze me. Which gate did you dock at? Last time I departed from HKG, I departed from Gate 68, which was a good 20 minute walk and a 1 minute train ride away from immigration.

Once again, thanks for sharing. I enjoyed reading about your trip.



Boeing 777 fanboy
User currently offlinethemit9 From Australia, joined Apr 2012, 99 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 1 day ago) and read 9393 times:

Quoting CXB77L (Reply 19):
That's one of my favourite parts of flying too, especially when the crew do not enforce a window shades down policy, watching all the interesting cloud formations go by below.

Thanks for viewing and commenting again CXB77L. On MH it seems to be loosly enforced in J but in Y when I have walked down they have always been open.

Quoting CXB77L (Reply 19):
I've never tried it. I've never flown with MH before, but based on what I've read here, they might just be worth a try one day, if only for the satay. From the pictures alone, they look delicious.

Do yourself a favour and do it. With you flying CX and MH joining OneWorld it sounds like the perfect redemption?

Quoting CXB77L (Reply 19):
Ah, Häagen-Dazs, my favourite ice cream brand. In my opinion, it's the finest of ice cream. Seeing a freezer full of different flavoured Häagen-Dazs ice cream is my idea of paradise. It's a shame that they're not available anywhere in Australia that I'm aware of. How did you find your green tea flavoured ice cream?

We do have it in Melbourne but not mainstream- in very hard to find places. It's a really nice touch at the MH Golden Lounge. As for the green tea, I really liked it (had it in the lounge again on the way home) despite not liking tea in general very much. Although sometimes you can't go past that luxurious vanillia flavour.

Quoting CXB77L (Reply 19):
It's a shame to see that there's such a massive product difference between MH's new A333s and their old ones. I know a lot of airlines have a difference between their long haul and regional products, but the contrast couldn't be more stark at MH, considering that it doesn't even have a PTV.

Not sure on the longest route of the old A330, but I believe they are being replaced ASAP with the new one, just not to HKG yet. Although when I was on the SQ 777 earlier in the year I had the old-style recliners from SIN-BKK, a real difference to their 77W or even their regional refurbished 772s.

Quoting CXB77L (Reply 19):
HKG is my former home town and I've been to the new airport several times, and the size of the place never ceases to amaze me. Which gate did you dock at? Last time I departed from HKG, I departed from Gate 68, which was a good 20 minute walk and a 1 minute train ride away from immigration.

I think it was quite a long way away, on EK we docked at 64 I think, then on MH it was 47. HKG is just missing something for me in the airport- KUL for example has the wooden roof and indoor rainforest, but HKG just lacks a little character. Although it's an amazing size and it runs well for how big it is.

Thanks again for your comments CXB77L.


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6714 posts, RR: 78
Reply 21, posted (1 year 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 8217 times:

Hi themit9,

great first part of this series, well done! I have finally found time to have a closer look at your reports.

MH's new J CLass looks nice, I like the food in particular. I agree about the old seats' colors, they look weird.

Quoting themit9 (Thread starter):
Decorative touches

Some plants would have been nice here.

Quoting themit9 (Thread starter):
The satay really needs no review- it never changes and is excellent. For the first time ever when flying MH no seconds were offered.

That looks delicious!

Quoting themit9 (Thread starter):
And dessert- the 'Summer Delight'- some vanilla mousse with pistachio sponge and raspberry jelly. It wasn't what I'd naturally jump at on a menu but another flawless dish that wasn't stingy on the pistachio.

This one looks rather artificial...

Quoting themit9 (Thread starter):
Impressions of Y were that it was a full flight and things were tight but I think the seats seemed good and hard product solid.

I'm wondering about the seat pitch on MH's new A330s and the A380. Any idea?

Quoting themit9 (Thread starter):
With lots of time to kill before my flight at 7:20pm the next day I had booked a hotel near KL Sentral in Le Meridian. Somewhere simple to crash for the night, and this did the job.

I also stayed there some years ago, I liked it.

Quoting themit9 (Thread starter):

This doesn't look like work?

Writing reports is hard work...


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlinethemit9 From Australia, joined Apr 2012, 99 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (1 year 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 8138 times:

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 21):
great first part of this series, well done! I have finally found time to have a closer look at your reports.

Thanks so much PlaneHunter, I really appreciate that you took the time to read in detail...makes it all worthwhile.

[quote=PlaneHunter,reply=21]MH's new J CLass looks nice, I like the food in particular. I agree about the old seats' colors, they look weird.

The food is definitely one of the big selling points for them, and seems to beat SQ as I found out on a previous series. The old seats were OK in J (don't look at the pictures though as they do look awful- I was skeptical but like the EK wood, it looks much better in real life) but Y just looks off with the multicolours. The calming blue on their 772s, 744s and 333s would be much more desirable.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 21):
That looks delicious!

Other airlines shouldn't do the satay as I've never seen it done as well. They have really perfected it over the years.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 21):
I'm wondering about the seat pitch on MH's new A330s and the A380. Any idea?

According to the MH website, you get 60 inches on the new A330s (with a reasonable footwell under the seat in front- see my legroom shot from my other report:

http://md-media.com.au/~fr/apr2012/part2/IMG_1913.jpg

This is fine until the need to get out with someone next to you as there isn't a lot of breathing space between the centre console and the back of the seat in front, as I found out in part 3. The bed is 75.9 inches so you can work out the angle to the floor. This compares with the old A333 at 45 inches.

As for the A380, I've not seen the seat pitch although the bed length is 72 inches full flat, so at least this. No seat pitch figure is given on the MH site.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 21):
Writing reports is hard work...

Good point...but it's all worth it in the end when you can go back and review previous flights.

Regards,
themit9


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