I had some flights in mind for January but because I had work commitment, I wasn't able to take many days off. Initially, I wanted to go to Taipei and fly on Transasia A330 inaugural flight on SIN
sector but I decided to do what I always wanted to do and that is to fly on the 5th freedom flights between KUL
. At this time, there are a few interesting operators flying on this route, they are Royal Jordanian, Egypt Air, Lufthansa and Ethiopian. I had previously flown with Ethiopian on BKK
route and it was on a leased 767-300, ET
. I wouldn't have mind flying the airline again hoping to get the airline's own aircraft. After considering all the factors, I went ahead with my booking for SIN
and then KUL
For my SIN
booking, there was only one choice for me and that was Air Asia, I wanted to get into another special livery aircraft. I booked the 0845 flight which meant that I would arrive there at 10am. After arriving, I would have one whole day to spend before catching my evening flight to Bangkok. I decided to go with Egypt Air to Bangkok. The air ticket may be more expensive than the others, but flying the Boeing 777-300ER and adding another African Airline to my flight logbook, it was a bargain. Departing KUL
at 10pm and arriving at Bangkok at 1115pm. From there, I would have an airport shuttle to take me to the hotel.
Later on, I browsed through some of the airlines' websites that were flying on BKK
sector, I got myself attracted to the idea of flying on Kenya Airways to Hong Kong. My original plan was to do SIN
and return and booking Royal Jordanian on the BKK
which also meant that RJ
would have been my 40th carrier! Because Kenya offered an attractive S$185 one way, I took a few days to think it through before booking it. Flying with this airline had also been in mind for quite sometime, it's good that I can get it done now! The only thing that would change BKK
at this moment was for Ethiopian to change the current 767 equipment to 787 Dreamliner, but that didn't happen.
Anyway, for my return sector, I wanted to do PIA to Bangkok and then Scoot back to Singapore from there, but decided to leave it for my next trip and instead stayed one more day in Hong Kong. PIA flies on BKK
sector on certain days only.Booking on-line
Both Kenya and Egypt Air's websites are using the Amadeus system and one would expect both to work flawlessly on whichever platform you use. I used my Ipad to do the booking with Egypt Air no problem but had problems with Kenya, the click button to continue on one of the pages couldn't take me to the next page (before payment), so I had to use my laptop to complete my booking. Changing the seats and updating your profile on your itinerary were not an issue for me, but my overall booking experience with both carriers was a bit disappointing. I hope for a more user-friendly type of website for passengers.
1st flight: Air Asia SIN
Just another routine shuttle flight with this airline, as usual it was good.
The flight took about 1 hour 5 mins, it must have been the headwind as usually it takes only around 45 mins. My record flight from SIN
is 35 mins and that was also on Air Asia! Anyway, I took this flight timing because I could spend more time at KUL
viewing mall for some plane spotting session in the afternoon until my evening flight to Bangkok Airport.
My original seat was taken up by an Caucasian kid with her mum, I decided not to make a fuss about it since I had done this trip many times and instead moved to the empty seats at the rear. The set of crew was great and they had no problem with a few of us who decided to move so that we could get more space for ourselves. >
Once at KL
's LCCT airport, I took a shuttle bus (Near the Coffee Bean) to KLIA, this cost only $2.50 Ringgit. The ride takes about 30 mins if I am not wrong, but the other passengers and myself were pretty pissed off with the driver for playing his Indian music so loud!
The sight of Egypt Air's Boeing 777-300ER probably excited me more than any other passengers.
Looking at the number of passengers at the gate, I was expecting a full flight, most were heading home to Cairo I reckoned. One lesson I learned about this is to select the back rows, usually they would be empty or at least a couple of seats would be.
Carrier: Egypt Air Flight number: MS961Date: 25th January 2013Routing: KUL-BKKSeat number: 48A, changed seat to the last rowAircraft type: Boeing 777-300ERDeparture Gate: C22Engine type: GE 90-115BMy 10th ride on this aircraft, 7th airline to have flown on this aircraft typeDeparture runway: 34RArrival runway: 19R1st time on SU-GDOLine number: 907Plane delivered: 15th Dec 2010Configuration:C49Y297Registration: SU-GDOFL: 350Flight duration: 2 hours 5 minsSchedule departure time: 2200Actual departure time: 2158Schedule arrival time: 2315Actual arrival time: 2250Load factor for Y class: 95%
Because the announcement system was down, the Malaysian staff had to do it raise his voice and make the necessary announcements. I was one of the first few Y class passengers to board the Triple 7! The first impression was positive, once again the 777 wide cabin never fails to impress me, making my way down the long fuselage only to find that I already have seat companions. I excused myself and sat down soon after putting my personal belongings up the storage compartment. From then on it was exploring time, checking out what Egypt Air has to offer.
Pushed back was on time, looking around me at that point it was like almost full. Most passengers were Muslim and as Egypt Air is from a Muslim country, a special prayer was done just before the safety video was shown. It was a new and interesting experience for me, watching the others around me reciting the prayers shown on the screen. Didn't take video or photo as I wanted to respect their privacy. Once the safety video started, the lovely GE90 engines were started, one by one. The whole cabin vibrated and the noise level suddenly increased by 2 to 3 times for that period. I looked around me and I saw many were covering their ears! Anyway, we taxied to the runway and took off quite powerfully into the darkness. Another observation of mine, the flight crew didn't talk at all on this flight. When the plane started rolling, I saw a few cabin crew rushing to their seats. What a sight it was!
It was initially bumpy but once we left the Malaysian Peninsula, the ride was smooth and it was time for me to explore the cabin. Since there were a few empty seats behind, I decided to move there and I enjoyed the rest of the flight observing the cabin movements and of course the 777 ride!
The system is definitely one of the newest out there, not sure what system was it using. However, passengers on board was not able to enjoy the movies or music as the headset was not distributed. I wondered whether was it because of a complaint by àn Egypt Air a few days before my flight. >
Legroom space is reasonable
Seats: The seats are comfortable with ample legroom space. If I get stuck in that window seat for a 12 hours flight, I may get a bit uncomfortable but still not as a bad as a 3-4-3 configured 777 aircraft. Overall, I feel that the airline has gotten a decent Y class product.
No-electronic device sign instead of the usual no-smoking sign
That's what aviation enthusiasts like myself like to do, watching the map of our aircraft's location
I had a choice between this and chicken. This is the beef noodles from KL
catering and its surprisingly good. I ate up everything within 15 mins I think. I guess being hungry also played a part.
The initial climb was quite smooth and seat belt signed was off until turbulence came in and it was only switched off after the meals were served, even though the flight was smooth way before that. Make sense if you ask me, makes the job easier for the cabin crew. Anyway, they were fast in serving and collecting their trays back was equally as efficient. Before I knew it, the plane started descending, all standard checks were made and the plane touched down Bangkok early. Got to say the passengers on board this flight have been pretty well-behaved and it seemed that I was the only Chinese on board.
This system is used on some other airlines like Etihad. The problems are similar to one another. One of them is the touch screen, you have to press very hard to get to the page you are looking for. Using the keypad can be a bit tricky but once you get the hang of it, its not that bad. There is no camera installed on the tail or landing gear, so the only view you can get is from the windows. Looking at the movies and music variety, I think that is good enough for long-haul flights. Overall, I give a rating of 7/10.
The crew may look aggressive and unfriendly at first, but when the service started, they were actually OK. Of course you can't compare the service to the top airlines such as SQ, EK, QR, OZ, NH, JL ...etc, but overall I find this set of crew pretty alright. One of them was kind enough to help me get my card signed by every member of the crew on board. A big thank you to them!
My ratingWebsite: 7/10On ground service : 7/10In-flight service: 7/10seat comfort: 8/10
PTV: 7/10Punctuality: 10/10Cabin ambiance: 10/10Aircraft Cleanliness: 10/10Food: 9/10
Overall ratings: 75/90
I paid only US$153 for this one way ticket, it might be more expensive than the others but it is certainly worth every cent of it. The flight time may not be ideal but just for the flight experience on this exotic airline (at least to me) is worth it. I highly recommend anyone who wishes to do this, its great that this airline has 5th freedom rights on this routing otherwise you would have to fly to Cairo just to experience it. The in-flight product is great, as for service don't have high expectations of it but at least you know that the airline is heading towards the right direction, like Garuda Indonesia. So do I recommend this airline? Yes, this may just be my only flight with the airline so far, but I feel its not as bad as some of the major airlines out there.
Charles Ryan Teo
[Edited 2013-02-21 18:25:02]
Airliners is the wings of my life.