Tuesday 16th August 2005
Depart: 2000 (Actual: 2015)
Arrive: 1530 (Actual: 1445)
9M-MPA B747-4H6 "Ipoh"
After a morning of frantic packing, running errands, taking our rabbit to the pet shop for his 'holiday' and suddenly realising Australia was in winter at the time, we finally arrived at MAN at about 1515. Our taxi dropped us outside T2, and we walked into the terminal to find ourselves facing the Malaysia check in. We waited less than 2 minutes for an available check in agent, and we were eventually assigned 60 DEFG, though I had attempted to get the AB seats in 60 and 61 so we could have windows and aisles. Sadly, despite our early check in time we were still 90-94th to check in, so naturally the prime seats had gone. We did a little shopping, where I bought the book 'Air Babylon'and a Top Gear magazine. We were boarding at gate 212, and so we took our purchases to some seats facing the gate.
At about 1930, boarding was announced first for those requiring assistance, followed by those in rows 41-62 as well as Enrich Gold members, and passengers travelling in first or business class. We were among the first to board through the B door, and we made our way to row 60, where I took seat D. We soon started playing with the IFE system, which sadly wasn't Malaysia's new 3000i AVOD system, though it had a decent selection of games and movies. On the ground the games were available, and so I spent the time until we pushed back playing the aviation trivia quiz. Cold towels were handed out by the crew, and the safety video was played.
We pushed at 2015, and taxied to 24L. There were plenty of people watching our departure from along the length of 24L. We started our roll, and rotated just beyond the turnaround point 2 thirds of the way along the runway. This was followed by a slow climb out over Knutsford, and east over Norwich and Amsterdam, though I couldn't see as it was going dark, and I had no window seat. Orange juices were served prior to the dinner. I chose the lamb for dinner, which was served on a bed of egg noodles, with a warm roll, some smoked salmon for the starter, some fresh fruit and a chocolate cheesecake-style desert. We could choose from a choice of drinks with the meal; red or white wine, Pepsi or orange juice, with a larger selection served later along with tea and coffee. The meal was of excellent quality, and was very filling.
The drinks trolley was wheeled round, and just as it reached my row and I had recieved my coffee, we hit some turbulence. The turbulence was quite severe, to the extent that the water in the jugs on the trolley was jumping out of the jugs and landing on me! The captain turned on the seatbelt signs, and the crew retured to their seats. The turbulence continued for about 45 minutes, during which time I continued to watch my movie, 'Madagascar'. The seatbelt sign was finally extinguished, and drinks service was resumed. Once the service was finished, all cabin lights were dimmed to enable sleeping. During this time, the crew responded to the call button and were very obliging, bringing gin and tonics and whisky colas throughout the flight, as well as serving 'skysnax' to those who still had an appetite!
I spent the majority of the flight sleeping, and was woken a few times due to more tubulence. I woke up again just before breakfast, still tired, and returned my seat upright for breakfast to be served.
I received my breakfast, and was suprised to discover I had been given a steak with potato wedges - not quite what I was expecting, though I suppose it was in keeping with our arrival time. With the steak was more fresh fruit, which was delicious, another roll and a KitKat biscuit. The meal was nice, but not hugely enjoyable, most likely due to my body expecting a breakfast!
I spent the remaining two hours playing the trivia game, and attempting to win 'Who wants to be a millionaire?'. Other games included hangman, solitaire, minigolf, bowling, chess and checkers among others.
We made an approach to KUL, runway 14L. All I could see from the window was forest with the occasional swarth cut through for power lines.
We made a smooth touchdown, and taxied to gate C32 on the international satellite. KUL itself is a great airport - clean, airy and modern. We had to catch a Maglev thing to the main terminal, where we were swiftly dealt with at immigration before collecting our bags - typically our three were some of the last off the conveyor - and collecting the shuttle to our hotel; the Renaissance New World.
Friday 19th August
Depart: 1000 (Actual: 1020)
Arrive: 1930 (Actual: 1925)
After a 2 night stop in Kuala Lumpur, we arrived at KLIA at 0730 after a 5am wake up and 6am collection. We made our way to check in zone E, where all international flights are checked in. The queue was quite short, and we were soon checked in, this time being assigned 38FGHJ.
We proceeded directly to the international satellite, despite my request for a visit to the viewing deck, and were soon enjoying a coffee in the satellite. We then moved to gate C34, where our flight had just opened for security screening and pre-boarding checks. We were X-rayed and had our passports checked at the gate, before proceeding to a small lounge from where we could see our aircraft, 9M-MRA, Malaysia's first 777. We were first in the lounge and took seats nearest the gate. Finally, the flight was announced for boarding. Our row was among the first, and so once again we were among the first to board.
I took seat 38J, the window, and again started playing with the IFE. There was no difference to the display, so I assuned we were using the old system once again. However, the entertainment magazine listed only the AVOD system. I started playing again, and discovered to my delight that our videos and TV were AVOD. We also had more games and the systen was much quicker to load, making the games more enjoyable to play. We also had the interactive skymap, which I spent some time testing.
The captain came on to announce a slight delay due to slot restrictions, and said we would now push about 1020. The FA's jumped into action, providing drinks during the delay as well as refeshing towels again. Luckily we also had the IFE to play with, which killed more time, though movies and music were unavailable.
We finally pushed, and taxied to the runway, 14R IIRC. We held next to another MH 777, which departed behind us, and an MH A330 took its place, behind which was an SQ777.
We lined up almost bang on 1030, and performed a rolling takeoff. We made quite a slow climb, during which the headphones were handed out. My set were broken - the bass from films caused a crackling noise - so I asked for another pair and quickly received these. I kicked off my IFE watching the movie 'Sahara', based on a Clive Cussler novel, which I quite enjoyed. I mistakenly stopped the movie as I pressed the wrong button while my meal was served, though it was possible to fast forward - a huge advantage of the AVOD system!
The meal was a spiced lamb dish with potato wedges, fresh fruit, a roll, a tub of orange juice and an almond tart desert. The meal was again tasty.
Once my movie had ended, I watched 'Hitch hikers guide to the galaxy' which was a good movie, but must be difficult for those who have never read the book to understand! Drinks were brought round again, before I watched another movie - Chicken Run. Luckily my return flights are in September, so we should have a different selection of movies to watch.
After this movie, I played the games. I got up to the million pound question on 'Who wants to be a millionaire', but answered it incorrectly. Later in the flight, my dad rubbed salt in the wound by announcing he had won a million. Still, I pasted him on the aviation trivia. Heh heh.
Another meal was brought round two hours before landing - this time a sandwich. I can't remember what was with it for the life of me though! at this point we were flying over central Australia, and the light was fading. I decided to put some music on, and selected a Ministry of Sound compilation from the AVOD menu, which had an excellent selection. I then put the screen on Skymap and read my book - 'Bill Bryson down Under' which I thought was an appropriate choice!
Before I knew it, we were descending into MEL. The descent was fairly turbulent, with one bump causing a few squeals from some passengers. We landed on runway 27 at a (very wet!!) MEL, and were disembarked rapidly. Immigration was easy, and thankfully the sniffer dogs at baggage reclaim didn't go for my bag!
We caught a taxi to the Hotel Lindrum on Flinders Street, wghere we spent two nights before meeting some Aussie relatives who took us to an AFL game at the MCG (Essendon -v- Carlton) before the drive to Bendigo where we were to stay with our numerous relatives.
Still to come - MEL-SYD with QF, and SYD-KUL-PEN-KUL-MAN with MH again.