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Singapore-Kuala Lumpur On MAS, First Class  
User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4755 posts, RR: 26
Posted (10 years 9 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 7205 times:

Singapore-Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia Airlines
ETD: 1725H
ETA: 1820H
MH 608
A330-300 (9M-MKG)
First Class
Seat 1A

19 Dec 2003
==========================================================

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Another trip to KL, another trip on MAS, and I was not complaining. This was an unplanned trip as I needed to rush up in a day’s notice to the Malaysian capital so frenzied bookings over the phone was normal. This is the holiday week leading up to Christmas and New Year, so you can imagine it was no point being out on the wait list.

The weather was definitely not for the fain hearted on that afternoon. It traditionally rains non-stop during the Christmas week in Singapore so this year was no exception.

Check in at Terminal 2 Row 11 for First Class was painless and boarding passes issued within a minute. And up to the viewing gallery, the scenery outside was rather quiet and it was pouring cats and dogs! So much so that photography was definitely not recommended.

Taxiing on the wet ramps that afternoon for take off included the Lion Air MD80, an unidentified F50 (it looked like Riau Airlines but the rain was making it almost impossible to see the titling), KLM 747-400 Cargo in the new livery and a Garuda 737-300. They all took off one after another and immediately disappearing into the clouds after flying pass Concourse F, just to give you all an idea how low the cloud base was that afternoon.

Several Silkair A320s were docked at E1 and E2, with another SIA 777-200 at F31, which was operating a shuttle to KL as well.

The rain was making plane spotting difficult so I decided to proceed to immigration. The immigration officers are now wearing new uniforms. Dark blue tones, looking very much like police officers..

Despite an invitation to the Golden Lounge, I decided to skip it as the lounge is pathetic (for the want of a better word). Walking around the departure hall was more interesting. Since there was nothing much to do, I headed to Gate F42 which was at the extreme end of the concourse, and the journey was completed in about 7 mins from immigration. Phew! Quite a walk, I must say!

The departure lounge was full! Well, at least it looked that like it was, but the load factor on this flight was only about 60% or so. 9M-MKG stood outside among the mess of ground vehicles in the relentless shower. That dirty A330 looked like it needed one too! Fuselage was as dirty as hell with grey patches at every imaginable white.

Boarding was announced at 1710. While there was no call to board by row numbers, it was nevertheless and orderly event. First Class passengers were invited to Board through Bridge A, while the rest of the passengers went through Bridge B.

Flight Stewardess Pooi Leng greeted me with a smile so wide, it would have melted the hardest of hearts.

“Welcome on board!”

Took my boarding pass… “Hello Mr Soh, your seat is here. Not too far, just behind the wall…” and she gestured behind the bulkhead.

I found my way to Seat 1A, just 3 steps away from the door, while another stewardess said hello to me from the other aisle. She then ambered over and took my drink order and asked if I would like to have dinner after take off. Another charmer of a female specimen, Farisha smiled as she disappeared into the forward galley to prepare my usual pink guava juice. That was served to me in a minute and the glass discreetly cleared soon after.

The inflight supervisor for MH 608 was Kamal Singh. A fierce looking Indian man, popped over from the Golden Club cabin from behind me and smiled.

As the rain continued to pour, the boarding process continued and at 1725H, we were still sitting at the gate despite the completion of the process. Or at least I thought it was completed as I saw no other passengers filling in. First Class had another 3 more passengers. So there were 4 of us in a cabin for 12 passengers.

I last flew First Class on the A330 in 2001. Seats are still the same. All fully automated, unfortunately without the moveable headrests and lumbar support that we have all got so used to. Upholstered in the similar orange-pink-golden hues found on the First Class cabins of the 737-400s. Pitch is thankfully wide enough to kick your feet around without hurting anyone in front.

1727: Doors closed and armed.

FO Chng came on and welcomed all on board and introduced the IFS Kamal, and Captain Tan Yew Kim. How unusual for an FO to make welcome announcements, isn’t it?

1730H: pushback

1735H: Flaps deployed

1736H: Taxi begins.

Pitter-pattering on the windows as we taxied to runway 02R. Towards the end as we held in position for take off, the other end of the airport was totally invisible. Runway lightings were turned on to their maximum intensity too. A small yellow van followed a distance behind us and a SIA 777-200 behind it, presumably to perform the runway imspection after the departure of the latter aircraft.

After holding for an SIA 777-200 and a BA 747-400 to land, we lined up and rumbled down the active platform. Rotation was at 1753 after a 25 sec roll and up we went.

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Expectedly, severe chops and buffet immediately greeted us as soon as we entered the clouds. All in all, the seat belt sign was turned off and on several times during the short flight. An announcement was also made that no hot beverages would be served on today’s flight due to the adverse weather.

Levelled at 1758H at FL200. Immediately, Pooi Leng laid the linens on my table in what has to be the fastest dinner service ever. Dinner trays with a bowl of fruits and my glass of guava juice, plus an empty plate was placed on my table.

“Hot savouries, Mr Soh?”

Farisha who appeared out of the galley smiling quickly dished out mini-quiches, spring rolls, and chicken drumlets. It seems like I was the only one eating… I know, what a PIG! The view outside consisted of an over cast scenery for the country side, with many layers accompanied by several mountains of Towering Cumulonimbus (TCu) monsters.

Suddenly, the seatbelt sign pinged on and the Captain came on the PA, “Cabin cew, please strap yourselves in as soon as possible. Thank you.”

Without warning, the A330 suddenly lurched upwards and suddenly down again. This went on for about 3 times before all was normal again. Meanwhile, Farisha and Pooi Leng let out several audible screams in the galley.

Farisha composed herself and came out to continue serving the drinks. I asked if she was ok and she replied that during the turbulence, the were in the midst of securing the galley items when the lurches occurred. This sent the jugs of juices into the air momentarily and the 2 girls managed to grab on to it before they caused any danmage. Such occupational hazards!

Descend commenced at 1810H, which signalled the end of the silent cruise of the A330. The FO came on and apologised for the delay at Changi, which was due to weather and traffic congestion. The bumps then started again as Pooi Leng struggled to clear my trays and the glasses from the rest of the cabin.

Approach was done from the coast, over the palm plantations and a track for runway 32L.

1823H: Flaps deployed

1824: gears lowered

The bumpy descend continued with vortex trails trailing beautifully from the wingtips, and we finally sailed onto terra firma at 1825H. Full reverse thrust was used to stop the aircraft on the extremely wet runway.

Visible aircraft at the satellite terminal was an Iran Air 747SP, 2 MAS 747-400 and a MAS A330-300. The main terminal has 2 MAS 737-400s and that was it. Very quiet so immigration should be quick, or so I thought!

We nosed into Gate C35 at 1832H so priority disembarkation was ensured for First Class. Walking out into the air side terminal, I saw that the holding lounge for C35 was full of passengers for MH 607 bound for Singapore. So the A330 was returning to where I just flew out from.

Arriving at the immigration some 5 mins later after the train ride, the counters were all full. Even the 2 Premier Lanes for First and Business Class passengers were full. Sigh… there were flights arriving on MAS from London, Hongkong, Singapore and Jakarta, as well as a China Eastern flight from Kunming and a Thai Airways from Bangkok. So I took about 45 mins to clear customs.

Overall, this trip was rather exciting with all the weather throwing the aircraft around. The MAS girls were friendly as usual so no complaints in that department. But I just wished that MAS would reinstate their flight frequencies to Singapore. It was drastically cut back during the SARS period and it has remained so.

Rating:

Check in: 8/10… painless

Departure: 7/10… despite boarding without row numbers, passengers were seated quickly.

Inflight: 8/10… Farisha and Pooi Leng were very friendly and it showed that they loved their jobs.

Catering: 4/10… very, very sad. Greasy fare.

Arrival: 5/10… if Singapore can have customs expedited so quickly, makes you wonder why can’t KLIA do the same. They looked ill-equipped to handle the influx of a few flights arriving at one time. Premier Lane, in this case, was of no use to me as we still took a considerable amount of time.

Overall: 64%


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11 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineOdie From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 1641 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (10 years 9 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 7045 times:

I flew with MH last Thursday from SIN to KUL on MH 604 (9M-MKI) and the aircraft was returning to Singapore as MH 603. I believe MH use a single aircraft for its Singapore flights. Only OJ, coffee or tea and optional salted peanuts was served in Economy and I was amazed how fast the FAs were able to serve the entire Economy cabin in 30 minutes.

I was really surprised that my flight was 90-95% full. There weren't much connections available at KUL for my flight (arrival into KUL at 11 am). However, I am surprised that they are still using a B734 for the MH 609/602 flights. MH generates a lot of connecting traffic on these two flights.


User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4755 posts, RR: 26
Reply 2, posted (10 years 9 months 2 days ago) and read 7036 times:

Yeah... with this MH 608, this flight connects with the over night long-hauls to Australia, Europe and South Africa. However, one would have to endure a transit of 3-5 hours. Actually, I bumped into a friend when i disembarked and he was connecting to the Johannesburg flight that left at 0100H! I wonder why didn't the travel agent put him onto a later flight??

On a side note, the Golden Club Class cabin was completely empty during the flight. And for those of you who are still collecting headrests covers, don't bother with the ones from MAS because they have since changed it to just a white paper flap without any patterns or motifs.

I actually typed this report in the Golden Club in KLIA. It is seriously empty as I am the ony one here!  Laugh out loud Still am!




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User currently offlineOE-LDA From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (10 years 9 months 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 7005 times:

Great trip report! Just a remark on the weather report: It is either a Towering Cumulus (TCu) or a Cumulunimbus (CB), cann't be both. TCu is the earlier stage.

Regards, OE-LDA


User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1740 posts, RR: 38
Reply 4, posted (10 years 9 months 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 6991 times:

Excellent as usual report Ryanair.

I am dying for some Asian service, but I guess Emirates will have to, even though they are very different from the likes of CX/MH/SQ etc... KLM just dosn't cut it anymore.

8/10 for the cabin crew? Come on. LOL. You should see my recent trip report on NW, I actually gave the crew a 9.  Big grin Hard to beleive MAS would be anything but a 10/10.

SR 103


User currently offlineMas777 From United Kingdom, joined Jul 1999, 2935 posts, RR: 6
Reply 5, posted (10 years 9 months 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 6976 times:

Am booked on MH608 in a few weeks time. I noticed that MAS also now places its KUL-JHB flights on the Singapore timetable with BUS connections added. Quite odd to see the number of flights on the Shuttle route dwindle down in the last couple of years. Should it still be called a 'Shuttle'? (- since I wouldn't really fancy taking chances with the few flights operating today - many years ago it was a breeze since there were so many flights throughout the day).

User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4755 posts, RR: 26
Reply 6, posted (10 years 9 months 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 6953 times:

Great trip report! Just a remark on the weather report: It is either a Towering Cumulus (TCu) or a Cumulunimbus (CB), cann't be both.

Urgh... oh my God... This just shows how current I am with ATC procudures. I am thoroughly embarrassed. Thanks fo rbrining it up though!

I noticed that MAS also now places its KUL-JHB flights on the Singapore timetable with BUS connections added.

The inclusion of bus connections in the timetable on has always been there. I did have some problem trying to fit my schedule into those 5 flights they had for the day. Not too convenient. The fact that SQ has reinstated their SIN-KUL shuttle frequencies, you would have expected MAS to follow suit. But unfortunately this is not so.

On a side note: MAS is re-configuring their A330-300 to a 2-class one. I returned on 9M-MKD and they had a LARGE Golden Club Cabin (8 rows). But the seats are still the old GC seats found on the A330-300. Very narrow and really not worth the money. Looks like the 737-400's F Class seats with footrests! Apparently the refurbishing process started early this month. So no more First Class cabins for the A330-300s!!




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User currently offline9V-SVC From Singapore, joined Oct 2001, 1797 posts, RR: 10
Reply 7, posted (10 years 9 months 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 6941 times:

I flew on MH's 9M-MKE from KL to Singapore 2 months ago and the flight had a lot of turbulence and as a result , no drinks were served and the captain didn't switch off the seatbelt sign until the plane touches down Changi airport .

Great trip report anyway . By the way, where does A330-200 flies to normally ? Heard that MH may be acquiring another 3 more -200s on lease , is this true ?


Charles



Airliners is the wings of my life.
User currently offlineTrintocan From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2000, 3238 posts, RR: 4
Reply 8, posted (10 years 9 months 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 6852 times:

A great trip report Ryanair. Personally I give MH's crew 10/10 but as you use them a lot more frequently you may be noticing variations each time, so fair enough. Yes, that region can have some very spectacular weather - when I flew into KUL last month the plane descended through a storm and lightning flashes were everywhere!

Above all, I still wish that KUL gets more service - after all a large part of KUL-SIN traffic represents Malaysians flying further afield by connecting in SIN.

TrintoCan.



Hop to it, fly for life!
User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4755 posts, RR: 26
Reply 9, posted (10 years 9 months 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 6820 times:

Great trip report anyway . By the way, where does A330-200 flies to normally ? Heard that MH may be acquiring another 3 more -200s on lease , is this true ?

When they first got the a/c, they flew it on famil flights to SIN, BKI etc... Now they are flying it further afield like North Asia



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User currently offline777MAS From Malaysia, joined Sep 2003, 197 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 6702 times:

Quite odd to see the number of flights on the Shuttle route dwindle down in the last couple of years. Should it still be called a 'Shuttle'? (- since I wouldn't really fancy taking chances with the few flights operating today - many years ago it was a breeze since there were so many flights throughout the day).

Previously, MAS operated plenty of flights a day, using the B734. Now that they're using the 333 (with double the capacity of the 734), it'll of course mean that frequencies are reduced. But I wouldn't complain - when you pay the steep fares on the SIN-KUL route, you at least deserve to fly in widebody comfort!! That's what SQ had been offering on this sector all this while, so it was about time MH upgraded their product!!


User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4755 posts, RR: 26
Reply 11, posted (10 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 6722 times:

Lets not forget that in addition to the 737-400s shuttle flights, sometimes an A330 would creep in as well depending on the time of the year on flights to Kota Kinabalu and Kuching from Singapore. So you still got the widebodies involved.


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