Date: 24 July 2011
To: Kuala Lumpur
Airline: Malaysia Airlines
Cabin: Business Class
Aircraft: Boeing B. 737-800
Getting to the Airport
I just arrived in Bangkok on SWISS flight LX180 from Zürich. A representative from the airline is expecting me as I get off the plane. She takes my carry-on and bids me to take a seat in some kind of electric golf mobile. After waiting for three further First Class passengers we are whisked away. Our first stop is at the Fast Track immigration counter for passengers whose final destination is Bangkok or who are continuing on a domestic flight. Next stop is the fast track security check at the beginning of the G concourse. I am accompanied through the check, which is very quick – there’s just two of us – and then from there I am taken one floor up to the Malaysia Airlines transfer counter (which is in fact operated by Thai on their behalf). Here I receive a lounge invitation for the Thai Airways Royal Orchid Lounge. To be honest I do find it rather confusing in Bangkok: there’s the Royal Orchid Lounge, the Royal Silk Lounge and finally the Royal First Lounge.
The Thai Airways Royal Orchid Lounge
The SWISS representative drops me off in the lounge and bids me a safe onward journey. The lounge is rather nice, but definitely too small for all the passengers it has to accommodate. Furthermore, seating is very tight and not very comfortable.
Eventually I manage to secure a seat by the window. Unfortunately it is only when I try to take a photo that I notice there are these pesky dots all over the window. Who ever comes up with dumb ideas like this? So no pictures in the lounge then.
As the departure time draws nearer, I leave the lounge and head for gate D5, the designated gate for this flight. On my way there I come across a Viking and think it might be an old acquaintance from my trip to Beijing in June. Turns out it wasn’t.
Bangkok uses a closed gate system. When boarding for a flight starts, it means that everybody is made to enter the lounge and then when every passenger has been accounted for, the actual boarding process starts.
For sure the Kebaya the females wear at Malaysia Airlines is elegant and a complement to the female figure. But only one ounce too many round the bum or the waist and you’re in trouble.
Upon entering the aircraft I am rather impressed that MH has in fact a dedicated Business Class cabin on the B 737 with a proper C class seat, as opposed to the European system of just blocking the middle seat in a row of three seats that would otherwise classify and Economy seats.
While we’re still on the ground a welcome drink of either orange juice or guava is offered. I opt for the guava, it brings back fond memories of a trip I did with my sister to Fiji many years ago. We used to drink guava juice every day during out stay in Fiji.
Next cold jasmine scented towels are distributed, together with the menu for the flight.
And then we depart.
As soon as the fasten seatbelt sign is turned off, the crew start to prepare the meal service. First of all, they place a real tablecloth on every tray table.
Dinner on this flight consists of:
The First Course
Green Mango Salad with fresh lettuce, lime and cherry tomato.
The Main Course
Poached Chicken Breast, with rice, garden vegetables and ginger sauce. The meal is rather tasty and in fact quite spicy. Not overly so, but you can certainly feel a slight tickle in your throat as the food goes down.
After the meal the tray is cleared away and I ask for a coffee, which is duly brought to me in a big white mug. Usually on planes they insist on giving you these puny little but very elegant cups with enough space for not more than one mouthful of liquid.
The lavatories are checked and cleaned every time after they are used. Obviously by this time I’m really quite impressed with the level of service provided by MH. When I visit the toilet myself I am surprised to see quality cosmetics there at the disposal of the passengers, even for such a short flight of only two hours flying time. The toilet is also decorated with flowers, which is a nice touch.
The flight attendants on this flight are very elegant, very professional and very friendly. After I came out of the toilet one of them asks me why I’m taking all the pictures. When I explain, she asks me if I want to have my picture taken. To which I reply that I would prefer to take a picture of her and her colleague, a request to which they both agree. What happens next, in my view, shows just how professional these two ladies are: just as I take the picture, a passenger appears from behind the curtain to go to the toilet. Rather that ignoring him for a second while I take the picture, the flight attendants immediately go back into work mode, show the elderly gentleman the way to the toilet and open the door for him. Once that is taken care, of I am able to take the picture. And these are the results:
Shortly thereafter we start our descent. The crew pass through the cabin with more hot jasmine scented towels. By the time we arrive in Kuala Lumpur I am well and truly exhausted. After all I left the previous day and travelled all the way from Athens via Zurich and Bangkok to KL. Fortunately there’s a dedicated arrivals counter at immigration for Business Class passengers, so I’m through in no time.
Getting into Town
I then head down to the basement to catch the KLIA Ekspres, as they call it, to Kuala Lumpur Sentral. Tickets for the KLIA Ekspres can be purchased online on the railway’s website, the trip into town is 35 Ringgit. During my visit to Kuala Lumpur I stay at the Hilton, which is right opposite the main entrance to the railway station, thus in close proximity to downtown and at the same time only one stop away from the airport.
The next day I continue to Langkawi, also on Malaysia Airlines