Routing: Melbourne-Kuala Lumpur-Amsterdam-Chicago
Date: Dep MEL 11/24/03, ARR ORD 11/26/03
First Segment: Melbourne-Kuala Lumpur
Flight Number: MH148 Malaysia Airlines
Class of Service: First Class, Seat 1B
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200 registration unknown, aircraft name unknown
Having had experienced the outstanding level of service on Malaysia Airlines on my outgoing trip , I no doubt was looking forward to my flight back. Australia and New Zealand was definitely a trip of a lifetime and what a great way to cap off the trip with a great flight home. As much as I was aware that the trip (Australia to US via Europe) would be quite grueling, I was reasonably confident that I would be well taken care of. After all, it was 8 hrs to KL, 13 hrs to AMS, and then 9 hrs to ORD, not to mention 90 minute transfers at both Kuala Lumpur and Amsterdam. To make matters worse, I was beginning to feel pangs of the flu, including the inherent upset stomach.
Check in Melbourne was formed by Qantas ground staff. No line at the First and Golden Class counters, though there was a non-rev princess in the Golden Club line that thought she deserved more attention. Qantas staff was courteous and efficient and unlike their NW counterparts at Ohare was able to check me through the entire itinerary. Melbourne Tullamarine is a nice, compact airport so getting through check in, immigration and security took all but 10 minutes. Not sure if it was time of day, but premium lanes, though there were not available for use. Just steps from security was the access to the airline VIP lounges. Didnt remember if it was up or down, but before I knew it, I was at the Golden Club Lounge.
For a non-hub location, I was surprised by the sheer size of the Golden Club Lounge at Melbourne. It was expansive with about four separate areas, including a secluded middle area for snoozing and quick naps. The lounge looked newer, if not recently opened. There were three generous self-serve areas offering small sandwiches, hor d'ouvres, fruit and dessert. There was a ramen noodle bar, a liquor buffet, and refrigerator of countless other beverages. Under normal circumstances, I would have been all over the free drinks, snacks, and mini-meals. Instead, I found myself downing couch medicine and other medicine. I plopped myself on a super comfortable couch and asked the attendant for some hot tea. Quite endearing when they ask you to select from a dozen types. If I wasnt feeling so 'achy', I would have laughed.
Boarding commenced 15 minutes prior to scheduled departure, which meant that the flight would push back slightly behind schedule. Load was respectable, I believe around 70%. First had 3, Golden Class had 12 and the rest was Economy. The 777-200 was nicely appointed, with First seating in green and blue hues. Like my incoming trip, the seats were the old fashioned FC seats in 2x2x2 layout. I believe they are the same seats as the ones Im now familiar with in their 747-400s. I was greeting warmly at the door by head purser Chris and introduced immediately to the other three attendants assigned to the First Cabin. Same drill-- personal greeting, eye-level interaction, etc. Newspapers, amenity kits, headsets and pillows/blankets were distributed as was the printed menu for the segment. Immediately, I was served my choice of pre-flight beverage, which was Oolong tea.
Immediately, it was noticed that I was feeling under the weather. They picked up on that without me having to say a word. Felice, the lead in FC, offered a punctuated service so I can get some sleep. That was really appreciated. A quick glance on the menu indicated that the other 2 pax in first would be well fed.
The menu included:
Signature Satay dish
Sevruga Mollasol Caviar
Cream of Cauliflower/Chicken Consomme
Choice of Baked Lobster Au Gratin
Grilled Beef Steak
Seasonal Fresh Fruit
Wish I would have experienced the meal service. Poor Felice. Im sure I deprived her of the usual serving routine.
Forty minutes into the flight, I was zonked like a light. Five hours later, I awoke to a complement of beverages on the seat tray next to mine-- a fresh glass of water, a cup of green tea, and mango juice. Unsolicited. That was a nice touch. As soon as they noticed I was awake, they were seat-side awaiting for my next request. If you read my last post, I raved incessantly about the build to order ramen noodles. Of all the things to ask, that was what I requested. Felice, the good sport that she is, accomodated my request without batting an eye.
The rest of the flight was uneventful. Every opportunity, the crew came by to ask if I wanted to eat anything substantial, being told that the kitchen was at my beckon call. I had a good laugh at that. I mentioned to them that my tummy was still acting up so they concocted a pretty impressive fruit plate. Again, they never stop to amaze me. I skipped the light snack offering (second meal service) offered on the MEL-KUL segment, again to my ailment.
Arrival in KUL was fifteen minutes ahead of schedule. Throughout the taxi to the gate, staff was looking after me to make sure I was in good enough shape to make my connection. They advised me of the clinic facilities at KLIA and offered to make arrangements to provide transit accomodations at the Airport Hotel to pass the time away. Again, a very nice gesture. Mustering enough strength (the five hour nap helped a lot), I said goodbye to a wonderful group of attendants and deboarded.
Next report will be the KUL-AMS segment. Sorry if this one was a tad bit non-eventful. Cant help feeling under the weather. Just one more testimony that Malaysia Airlines staff knows how to take care of its passengers.