Well this is my first posting on A.Net and what better way to start than to report about my recent European odyssey.
My friends and I have been planning this trip to Europe for many years and since I was finishing my university degree in June what better way to celebrate than with a big holiday. I had originally hoped that we would be flying with Singapore Airlines (SQ) or Qantas/British Airways (QF/BA) from Perth to London. This is because at the time we were booking Malaysia Airlines (MH) was operating their 747-4H6s into Perth and with SQ I would have a chance of flying on my very first 777. Plus it has been a long time since my last SQ experience (1989 on a 747-312 “Big Top”). With the QF/BA option I would have a chance on flying on my first A330 as well as flying on one of my most favorite carriers British Airways. Also both options would take me through my beloved Singapore Changi International Airport. Well when it came down to booking the tickets we had three options. Being very price sensitive students we could fly with either Gulf Air or Royal Brunei or for and extra 100 bucks and without a second stop MH. So MH it was and as my luck turned out MH started to use their 772s for their Perth schedules for the Northern Hemisphere Summer 2005 so I guess Iwould get to fly on a 777 after all.
We checked in 3 hours early to help secure good seats. Perth’s International Terminal was absolutely busy at 1:30pm. This is because there was a Garuda flight to Bali leaving at about 3, a Qantas Flight to Singapore at 3:35pm, a Singapore Airlines flight to, well, Singapore at 4:00pm as well as our flight. The International terminal at Perth has been undergoing a multi million-dollar refurbishment. As a result we where checked in one of the new desks, which looked a lot better than those ugly outdated desks they used before. Even though we had checked in 3 hours before departure 30 other people had decided to do the same thing and were in front of us in line. After a lengthy wait we were finally processed and discovered that both our flights were full and that I had only a window seat for our first flight. Not to worry as our second flight, MH2 (which will be in another trip report) was a night flight so I was not going to miss much anyway. After checking in we met up with our family and friends and headed upstairs to the café to waste some time before we had to pass through immigration. The airport was really busy (as mentioned before) but with lots of school kids. I was praying that they were not on our flight, as they all seemed a little highly-strung and I had a long 24 hours ahead of me. I know I sound like an old grumpy Grandpa but I am only 23. As it turned out the school kids where flying to Singapore on Singapore Airlines for a Band competition or something.
After saying goodbye to everyone we passed through immigration and security very quickly. In fact we did not have to wait for more than 30secs for passport control and security, well done Perth Airport. We arrived at the departure lounge and saw that 9M-MRK would be taking us to Kuala Lumpur. Parked next to us was a SQ772 reg: 9V-SRQ about to operate as flight SQ226 to Singapore in bay 55 and on the other side in bay 53 was a QF333 pushing back operating flight QF71 to Singapore. We were told boarding was to commence at 16:10 so we had some time to kill. While sitting around waiting I noticed our cabin crew were sitting waiting to board the aircraft too. I thought it was a bit odd, as we would be boarding in 10mins. It was quite a large number of cabin crew approximately 15 or so. The SQ flight was delayed due to a late passenger boarding and once he turned up the ground-handling agents publicly scolded him. Very rude I thought since it was obvious he could not speak any English.
Before we knew it was time to board. We were initially supposed to board by rows but when the first call came up for First and Business Class everyone got up and out went the orderly boarding system. After a lengthy wait we were finally aboard. We were greeted at door 1L by a friendly flight attendant who politely directed us to where our seats were located. I definitely noticed that the 777 cabin was a lot roomier than other wide-bodied aircraft I have flown (past 5 being QF 767s). Sure initial perceptions was one of a cramped cabin because all the overhead bins were open but once stowed the whole cabin looked very airy. I am still making up my mind whether I like MH’s configuration for Economy on their 777s with it being 2-5-2. I would hate to be in the centre seat of the 5 in the middle especially on a long haul flight to Vienna or Zurich, which these birds fly to. Once everyone was seated the crew started handing out hot towels. These things confuse me when you first get them they are so hot you can hardly hold them then they go cold all of a sudden and what is their intended purpose. I looked at my friend and around the cabin to see many confused faces on what to do with the hot towels. As the hot towels were being distributed we received announcements from the leading flight attendant as well the Captain on today’s flight details. The Captain though was hard to understand as he sounded to muffled to be heard properly. I did how ever find it interesting that because this was a code-share flight with KLM that announcements welcomed everyone onboard on KL4202 saying Royal Dutch Airlines instead of just saying KLM (I guess it sounds more professional that way).
After pushback we taxied for quite a while before reaching the holding point for runway 03. We held for quite some time because we were waiting for a Skywest F50 to land. Once the F50 had cleared the runway the captain lined up the 777. Again we held for about 30 seconds and before we knew it we were hurtling down the runway. Rotation seemed very late, probably due to our full load of passengers and cargo today. We banked to the east (right) just after takeoff. I guess this was to help us avoid Pearce Air Force Base. Because of this the view was not that terribly exciting as we were climbing over wooded bushland. After a while we banked to the west (left) to eventually cross the coast just south of Geraldton. I believe we were intercepting the POKIP intersection as most MH124 flights that I have listened to on my scanner do this.
The seatbelt signs turned off and the crew set immediately to work. They came around distributing immigration cards headsets and I was looking forward to my first PTV experience. I flicked through the entertainment guide and started to plan what I will be watching for not only this flight but also my connecting flight to London. The crew also came around handing out menus. I thought this added a touch of class and probably made the work load for the cabin crew easier and quicker by not having to explain what is in each dish. The captain came over the PA and informed us on our flight information. We were cruising at 38,000ft, which one could of easily had seen if they were watching the flight plan channel on their PTVs. Today’s routing would see us fly towards Christmas Island and then through Sumatra towards Singapore then along the Malay peninsula before landing in Kuala Lumpur. The weather in Kuala Lumpur was forecasted to be fair and more information about our arrival would be given to us before descent
About an hour into the flight the dinner service began. Today’s dinner service was as follows
Chicken Salad with Lime and Coconut
Pan-fried marinated Chicken with Roasted Pumpkin and Broccoli
Grilled Salmon with Penang Sauce
Accompanied by Steamed Jasmine Rice and Stir-fried Eggplant and Zucchini
Mushroom Ravioli Paired with Tomato and basil Sauce Topped with Parmesan Cheese
Bitter Sweet Chocolate Cake
I was planning to have the salmon but by the time the dinner service came to my section of the cabin they had run out and the only selection left was the Chicken as the Ravioli ran out too. The flight attendant asked if the chicken was ok since all the other options were taken. I thought that was a fairly stupid question since what was I to eat if I had said no. The chicken was boring and was quite salty. After dinner the meal trays were cleaned away and we were then handed out ice cream. I have never received ice cream on a plane before. Ice cream was this long vanilla bar with chocolate coating and tasted very much like a Magnum. The dam thing was frozen solid and was huge in fact it was probably larger than my main course.
After eating the crew dimmed the lights and let the pax settle down to watch some movies. I decided to play who wants to be a millionaire and got up to 14 000 pounds (it must have been the British version). I then wanted to try the interactive quiz tournament but I guess it was too much for the system as it crashed just I pressed the select button. The screen froze and after about 5mins I pressed the crew assist button for them to reset the system. A nice steward said he would reset it and that it should be working again in about 5mins and if it didn’t don’t hesitate to call him. Very nice I thought but after 5mins the system wasn’t working. I did not even have to ask the steward to reset it again since he had come over to check if everything was working ok. The steward reset it again and this time it worked I decided to watch Robots instead since I thought the glitch was with the game as my friend (who was sitting next to me) PTV was working just fine. Because 9M-MRK is not fitted with Audio Video on Demand (AVOD) I had to wait 15mins for the movie to begin (very annoying). The crew was very good and came around every 20 or so minutes with beverages such as Pepsi, juice beer and small snacks on small trays.
It was now dark outside and half way through the movie I swore I kept on seeing small flashes of light out of the corner of my eye. I looked out the window and it was clear that we were flying next to a thunderstorm. I quickly switched from movie to flight plan mode on my PTV and saw that we were over Sumatra (and still at 38,000ft). For the rest of the flight I peered out of the window. I could see Palembang quite easily and latter I could also make out the lights of Singapore in the distance. Just as we were approaching Singapore we started our descent into Kuala Lumpur. The lights came on and the headsets were recovered and again hot towels distributed (again many confused faces). While the crew was doing this, a nice small presentation was shown on the PTV s showing the sights and activities of beautiful Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur. Another presentation was also aired on using Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).
Looking out the window I could not make out Downtown Kuala Lumpur (probably because it is miles away) but I could make out KLIA as we were flying adjacent to it. I switched the PTV to flight plan mode as they never did turn off the PTVs and you don’t need headphones to see it either. We were still at 4000ft and descending. Looking on the flying map it was clear we would be landing facing the south because we were flying from the south and we were adjacent to KLIA. The whole decent was smooth except for some mild buffeting when passing through some partly cloudy weather. We turned inland (east) and got ready to intercept the localizer. The plane then banked very gracefully and lined itself up with runway 14L whilst doing this the flaps and the gear were lowered very nosily. Final approach gave us some spectacular views of some Motorways and even a train heading to KLIA. I wondered what all the passing motorist must be thinking seeing this majestic piece of machinery about to plant itself on terra firma. What followed was possibly the most smoothest and graceful landing I have ever experienced. It just felt like 9M-MRK just floated down onto the runway. Minimal reverse thrust was used I am assuming as the engines seem to remain fairly quiet for the entire braking process and we rolled a long way down the runway before exiting it. It was then probably the shortest taxi time to a gate that I have experienced because our assigned bay, C25 was right there. We parked next to another MH772 and we could see a JL 744 on a different arm of the satellite building getting ready for pushback. We docked at C25 and disembarked. Disembarkation seems to happen more smoothly with dual aero bridges as oppose to single ones (something to think about Perth Airport). The crew stood along the aisles and thanked us for flying nice touch I thought. I had to transit in KLIA for two hours, which should give me some time to explore.
GROUND HANDLING: 7/10
Check in lines at Perth moved too slowly and the boarding process in Perth was a shambles either people can’t understand the concept of numbers and orderly boarding or they are just plain stupid. I mean the damn thing isn’t gonna leave without them if they are at the gate before boarding.
Immaculate is all I can say MH keep their aircraft very clean inside and out. My first 777 ride was fantastic and I am a real T7 fan now. Loses a point for loud flap movements.
Polite, but not very personable. Though I really liked how they came around the cabin every 20mins with snacks and drinks
The main meal was disgusting and I am sure if I had had one of the others they would of scored higher. The side dishes such, as desert was their saving grace. Ice cream was nice but too frozen. It took ages for it to get soft
It crashed, the movies are not as up to date as on some carriers (no Will & Grace) and 9M-MRK is not equipped with AVOD. I do like the PTVs very much and I can’t believe I have always flown without them. I guess it is kind of like the internet or your mobile phone, you just can’t imagine life without them now.
X FACTOR: 4/5:
The whole Malaysia Airlines package really works well the crew, cabin and aircraft look good, good service, good food (allegedly), great aircraft and the best landing I have ever had really makes Malaysia Airlines an experience redefined.
Mhodgson From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2002, 5047 posts, RR: 24
Reply 1, posted (9 years 5 months 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 13236 times:
Nice report - MH flights are so much better with AVOD though. I think the AVOD does have Will and Grace on, or at least did in September.
The MH 777s are certainly spacious. My window seat had plenty of space down between the seat and the window due to the shape of the fuselage. I dread to think what it would be like in a middle seat though!
No trees were harmed by this message. However, several million electrons were terribly inconvenienced
MAS777 From United Kingdom, joined Jul 1999, 2937 posts, RR: 6
Reply 4, posted (9 years 5 months 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 13110 times:
glad you enjoyed it but having decided to leave KLM's Flying Blue (since the nasty AF debacle) - I won't be experiencing MAS for quite some time now and will surely miss it although sneaked in a short SIN-KL-SIN hop at Christmas!
Chrisrad From Australia, joined Dec 2000, 1074 posts, RR: 8
Reply 5, posted (9 years 5 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 12984 times:
Great to hear you enjoyed the famous MH service, sorry to hear the food wasnt up to scratch, I have always had good meals when departing from MEL, maybe its's the PER catering? Looking forward to hear your experiences of your next flight
Welcome aboard Malaysia Airlines! Winner of Best Cabin Staff 2001,2002,2003,2004,2007,2009,2012
KrisworldB777 From Australia, joined Nov 2000, 571 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (9 years 5 months 23 hours ago) and read 12857 times:
Excellent report - glad to hear that you liked your MH experience.
The menu, on paper at least, looks significantly better than what I usually get on my SQ flights, let alone my flight on Qantas to and from Singapore in J earlier this year.
I actually work at PER and echo your sentiments with regard to the excessively long check-in lines - MH is actually one of the worst offenders - SIA one of the best.
MH loads have certainly been good since they moved to 744s from 772s on October 31 - the average has been around 360 which isn't a bad achievement at all, which, one would hope, is testament to their excellent inflight services.
Out of interest, what degree have you recently finished and what part of Perth are you in? Not too many of us Perth folk around (at least under 90!)
Looking forward to reading the next section of your report.
BA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8644 posts, RR: 54
Reply 7, posted (9 years 4 months 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 12220 times:
Nice report, thanks.
Quoting 9MMPD (Thread starter): MH’s configuration for Economy on their 777s with it being 2-5-2
-Only any good if you are with friends/family on the '5' section or manage to snag a '2' seat section if travelling alone.
Quoting 9MMPD (Thread starter): The flight attendant asked if the chicken was ok since all the other options were taken. I thought that was a fairly stupid question since what was I to eat if I had said no. The
-Yes, pretty stupid question really.
Glad you enjoyed the flight.
I dislike 777's myself, I find them noisy and hate the layouts, either 3-4-3 or 2-5-2 , EK have even more seats on the HD layout!! - Nasty!
SR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1741 posts, RR: 38
Reply 8, posted (9 years 4 months 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 12204 times:
Excellent report. Glad to see you enjoyed MH. I had the pleasure of flying them to LAX earlier this year and found them fantastic. However I found the food to be rather disappointing and I was in Business Class. Their breakfast options were a disaster on my flight! I have a trip report posted if you want to read the details.
Quoting 9MMPD (Thread starter): The flight attendant asked if the chicken was ok since all the other options were taken. I thought that was a fairly stupid question since what was I to eat if I had said no.
Actually I have been on airlines were this has happened. Normally if you say "no," they try to re-accommodate by getting something from Business or First Class for you. I mean suppose you are allergic to something in the dish or are a vegetarian and are left with meat only. Knowing Malaysian, I have no doubt that the flight attendant would have gone out of her way to find you something from F or C.
9MMPD From Australia, joined Oct 2005, 289 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (9 years 4 months 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 11949 times:
Thanks everyone for you feedback and comments.
My second report has just been posted and continues my journey to London. It is MH 2 KUL-LHR Malaysia Airlines (aboard 9M-MPD).
Krisworld 777 I have just finished my bachelour of business with a double major in Marketing and Tourism Management at ECU.
SR103 I had no idea that they could of given me a better meal. Next time they run out of something I will see if they can arrange for me to have a spare F or J class meal.
TNboy, sorry I should have been more specifc. Yes you are perfectly right Gulf Air does not fly to Perth but Perth passengers can connect with them in Bangkok with Thai Airways. Thai Airways (at that time) had no PTVs, Bangkok's Airport is not as nice HKG, SIN and KUL and an extra stop over in in Abu Dhabi did not appeal to me at all.