Facing a very long wait between the end of our GCE A levels and the coming of the results, my friend and I decided to take little holiday. My friend who like most of the people I know, wants to get out of Singapore. He has relatives in Perth and his parents are rather keen on him to migrate there. Initially I managed to pick up a good deal with one of SIAs EZ
holidays. It was for 5 days and 4 nights with accomadation at the Perth Sheraton and flights on SIA all for S$1050, however the only condition was that both passengers had to fly in and out of Perth on the same flight. All very good until, my friends father wanted him to stay longer in Perth. I however, did not want to so we had to abandon our plans and instead I had to do all the flight and hotel bookings myself. MAS was by far the cheapest, it was some S$200 cheaper than either SIA or QANTAS. For my accomodation I booked an apartment in Mount Street, a stones throw away from Kings Park.
Date:Mon 23rd Feb 2004
To:Kuala Lumpur KLIA-KUL
Getting to the airport
I set the alarm for 0400 and planned to go to bed at 2100 the night before. However I only made it to bed just after 0200 in the morning. My friend opted to stay up all night and not sleep at all. I got up at 0400 bang on as the alarm went. I straight away called my friend, who within two rings picked up the phone and informed me that he had kept awake by downloading pornography and by chatting on a ICQ gay and lesbian chat room.
I quickly had my shower and went and had a final check of my bags and travel documents before ordering a taxi at around 0445. The taxi came some 5 minutes later and made staight for Tampines where my friend stays. I made it to his place and found him waiting under his HDB block with a suit case and a big plastic bag with something poking out of it. It turned out that he had somethings to carry to Perth for his reletives. The list included dried shitake mushrooms, dried fish and a mop.
The entrance concourse of terminal two was deserted as it should be at 0545 in the morning with only a few armed guards present. The check in queue was short and I went straight to one of the counters. Unfortunatly there where no window seats left on the KUL
flight which was full, but I managed to get 22F and my friend 22E on the SIN
sector. We were checked in all the way through to Perth with our boarding passes on that sector being presented in a envelope giving transfer information at KLIA.
From there I went through immigration of which there was no real queue. Straight away I went to the money changer to get some Australian dollars. The rates at Changi are better that downtown Singapore in this case. After that I had a look around the duty free shops and purchased a litre bottle of Baileys, before my friend decided he need a smoke to keep himself awake. So we headed straight to the open air smoking gallery which was packed full with smokers. He had a quick puff and headed straight to F30, the usual MAS 737 gate to board our flight.
I cant quite remember what time we made it to the boarding gate, but most of the passengers were already boarding. We were greeted by a cheerful steward and made our way through the first class section which was empty. The economy class section, however was full. The cabin crew came around with their cold cloths with what seems like washing up liquid on it. Some were smiling, while others were not. Generally the men where more cheerful then the females.
Take-off and climb to cruise level
We pushed back from F30 and made our way to 02L via taxiwasy B3
, WC8, W8. We held at WC8 to allow a UA
747-400 on WP
to taxi into position at 02L. It immediatly took off and we held short again this time at W8 to allow a SIA 777-300 to land. Soon it was our turn to leave, we rotated early and climbed into the rather misty air. Down below there was plenty of aricraft such as a UA
777 among others. Passing the west cargo apron I noticed a USAF
B-1 bomber, no doubt there for the Asian Aerospace Airshow. Our departure routing was the normal northly route to KUL
, the VJR 3A departure. This involves flying runway heading and turning left to intercept the 297 radial for the VJR VOR which is next to Senai Airport in Johor.
Our cruise level was 24000 feet and the cabin crew quickly came around with drinks after the seat belt sign went off. The seats on this 737 seemed new, but the legroom was slightly cramped along with the width of the seat itself. The interior looked rather old and worn with the side panels having a rather yellow-brown hue. The cabin crew it seemed rather dull and hardly looked like they were the best in the world for the past three years running according to Skytrax.
Descent and landing
The captain came on the air to inform us about the weather condions at KLIA, which was rather cloudy and bumpy. Our STAR this time around seemed to be the Malacca TR
for a landing on 32L. A blast of reverse thrust followed as we made our exit from 32L and taxied to gate C33 on the satelitte. KLIA was its usual, nothing but MAS planes everywhere.
Check-in:3.5/5-Rather cold, I noticed that MAS ground staff are not as friendly as their counterparts in the air or SATS staff.
Seat and interior:3/5
Cabin Crew:3.5/5-Maybe it was an early morning departure
Date: Mon 23rd Feb 2004
From: Kuala Lumpur KLIA-KUL
Duration:5hr 20 mins
KLIA was quite busy at this time in the morning. My friend who had not had dinner either wanted to eat something so I took him to Burger King on the upper level. We found a table by the very big windows and I odered the usual Whoopers and fries to fill ourselves with. We had some 2 hours to burn, so we took our time munching away.Now my friend needed another cigerette so he went down to the smoking lounge, while I read Macbeth and gobbed down more fries.
He was gone some 20 minutes having lightened his load of cigerettes by three. Our gate was C12, outside which there was a long queue mostly full of returning students. Upon entering the lounge, everyone had there passport inspected and where asked questions by what looked like to be members of some special branch.
Passengers were of course boarding by rows, but this time they started boarding from the front. We were greeted at the door by the steward and directed to our seats. the flight was full in economy, while Golden Club Class was empty. I found my seat which is all but three rows from the back. The 2-5-2 seating that MAS employs sure is cramped. I feel sorry for the person stuck in the middle. The seats had changed since my last trip on a MAS 777, SIN
. This time around the seats had lumber support and the much needed flexible supports on the headrests. Thankfully the seats do not have that annoying thing on the seat that juts out like those found on the SIA 777s.
Takeoff and climb to cruise level
We pushed back some 20 minutes late, thanks to some passengers that some how did not turn up, so for security reasons they had to remove their baggage. The taxi to runway 32R was very short via B10, A and A11 and since we were rather light wee rotated just past the control tower. Unfortunatly I do not have the SIDs for KUL
, so I cant tell what departure path he took. Shortly after takeoff the cabin crew came around with the complimentry hot towels and the usual orange juice, coffee and tea; unfortunatly peanuts were not given out. I dipped into the seat pocket and took out the inlfight magazine, Going Places. I had a quick skip thorugh it, reading articles on Beijing, Kuala Lumpur and Sri Lanka. Thankfully the headphones and menus were now given out. Good to see that menus have made a come back to MAS. it gives the airline a more professional look.
While the pilots were busy climbing to 35000 feet, I was busy making myself comfortable. There was nothing good on the MAS PTVs. The short programs did not interest me and the only movie really worth watching was the latest one by Russell Crowe, Master and Commander. The music selection was good however, I tend to listen to the music programs in planes to find out what the latest songs are. From this flight I have added Shut Up by The Black Eye Peas, Hey Ya by Outkast and My Immortal by Evanescence to my mp3 collection. My friend by now had dozed off with this head hanging in front of his chest. I took the opportunity to program his PTV to the Airshow, while I continued to listen to the music channel.
After about an hour in the air the lunch cart came around and I dipped into my menu to have a look what was cooking.
Kuala Lumpur - Perth
Croissant with Jam and Butter
Seasonal Fresh Fruits
E-Fu Noodles with Ginger, Mushrooms and Pak Choy in Garlic Oil
Beef in Chili Plum Sauce with Buttered Rice and Green Beans
Mocca Berry Cheese Tart
I went for the noodles since I cannot stand buttered rice. My friend by now had woken up and went for the noddles as well. The presentation was the usual. The croissant was warm and since I hate warm bread I did not eat it. However I must give credit to MAS where it is due as most carriers only serve cold buns which I prefer, but most others do not. I started first on the fruit salad , which was the starter. The fruits tasted rather dry and old. The noodles were great, moist but not too moist and the dessert was out of this world! Even my friend who does not have a sweet tooth like me told me to shove off when I tried to take his for a second helping. Overall MAS remains my favourite carrier in the food department. The menu also listed the choices for the return flight, PER
. So for those interested here it is.
Perth - Kuala Lumpur
Fried Egg Noodles with Marinated Chicken
Penang Chicken Curry with Bok Choy and Steamed Rice
Roasted Lamb Loin with Mashed Potatoes, Zucchini and Pumpkins
Ricotta Crumble with Anglaise Sauce
It looks good and to put icing on the cake, the cabin crew came around with sticks of ice cream in addition to more drinks and wine.
With my full stomach I settled down to get some shut eye. I woke up some 2 hours later with the northern part of Australia just passing by. My neck was aching as I normally sleep against the window with a pillow, but instead this time since there was no window to sleep on I slept on some wierd position. Seeing that there was no point going back to sleep again, I decided to play some of the Nintendo games on the PTV. The tried playing Tennis, Go -Karts, Soccer and eventually Street Fighter II
before giving up as I am useless at all of them. The only game I play today is FS2004. My friend also tried his hand at Street Fighter II
, he found the keypad to be too insensitive although at one point in his life, he was the Tampines (area in singapore) Street Fighter II
Descent and Landing
We started our descent some 120 miles north of Perth. I managed to get a peek out the window and noticed that burnt brown and yellow were the only two colours. The only thing green must have been my face, because I could not get a window seat. The descent was bumpy with plenty of turbulence although there were no clouds. Even near terra firma there was heavy turbulence with lots of ooooohs and aaahhs from the passengers as we went up and down before bumping down on runway 21 bang on time at 1515. With a short blast of reverse thrust we exited the runway and parked next to an SIA 777 at the international terminal. As usual everyone got up and had to wait and my friend was worried that someone would steal his up. Naturally I thought someone might nick my Baileys. In the end after a few minutes we left the aircraft mop and all and made our way into the terminal.
There was a long queue at passport control for the international passports, while those for Australians were empty. As such they opened up the aussie counters for us. Since my friend had mentioned that he had some foodstuffs and medicine in his bag we were held up abit before making our way down to bagage reclaim and another long queue in the red channel of customs. As usual for all arrivals in Australia we got the full baggage check by a very nice customs officer. My friend had his dried mushrooms and other food stuffs which were not confiscated for some reason. I had a fruit cake and dried bananas confiscated on my last trip to Sydney. By the time we got out it was already past 1630 in the afternoon and the whether was plesent as we got a taxi to our apartment near Kings Park.
Seat and interior:4/5-Could recline more, also some of the seats were a bit worn.
Cabin Crew:4.5/5-A league ahead of the stuck up SIA barbie dolls.
IFE:3.5/5-Let down by the not so good choice of programs, but good music selection though.
A great flight on MAS and all this at a price that is some S$200 cheaper than SIA! No doubt MAS still remains my prefered carrier out of SIN
. I will write up the return which is PER
on the A330-300s within the next few days.