Airline: Malaysia Airlines
Aircraft: A 380
Cabin: First Class
From: Kuala Lumpur
To: Hong Kong
Date: 25. August 2013
Getting to the Airport
I spent the night at the Hotel SamaSama at Kuala Lumpur airport, which is connected by a walkway to the main terminal building. In its previous incarnation, the SamaSama used to be the Pan Pacific Hotel.
Malaysia Airlines have a dedicated row of check-in counters for their First Class passengers and platinum members of their frequent flyer programme. It’s quite busy when I arrive, so one of the check-in agents asks me to take a seat while I wait.
The Malaysia Airlines First Class Lounge
From check-in I head one floor down to immigration and then from there to the security check. For some reason there are two security checks in Kuala Lumpur – one immediately after immigration and another before you enter the holding area of the gate.
The Malaysia Airlines lounges in the satellite are located right above the station of the shuttle train. There is one entrance to the lounge. Business Class passengers are then directed to the left of the counter, while the First Class section is located to the right. There are some good apron views to be had, but at this time of day the place doesn’t appear to be too busy.
The selection of hot and cold dishes in the lounge is great. I haven’t had a proper breakfast yet, so I decide to have some Nasi Lemak (rice cooked in coconut) with Chicken Rendang.
Half an hour before departure I leave the lounge and head for gate C27, where the big bird is expecting me. Passengers in Business Class are instructed to head one floor up for boarding. On the lower level there are two airbridges, the B bridge for Economy Class and the A bridge for First Class passengers.
Wow! I definitely like the Malaysia Airlines First Class cabin. The colours are rather dark, but the cabin is very beautifully appointed and sumptuous. The seat provides ample space and privacy. It all looks very elegant.
So far when I’ve travelled on the A 380 with Thai, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines it’s always been on the upper deck. So this will be my first ride on the lower deck. Two things strike me from down here. First, the engines and wing look even more enormous than they do from one floor up. Secondly, there’s more noise on the lower level. The good news is, we’re only two passengers on the flight today.
What can I say? Today’s crew really are deserving of Malaysia Airlines’ reputation for the best cabin crew. They are truly excellent and very professional. There are two ladies and one gentleman in charge of the two of us. They take their time to provide a very personalised and utterly charming service. They soon realise I have a bit of a thing about planes and we get talking. Very obviously the crew are very proud of their product and the A 380 and competently answer all my questions.
I am offered a drink and choose an orange juice, which is brought to me with a hot towel. The menu is already at my seat.
Departure is the same sluggish affair as it was yesterday with Thai Airways from Hong Kong to Bangkok. Well okay, fair enough. I suppose with this big bird take-off will never be sprightly.
I start writing this trip report. It’s quite bumpy as the flight attendant comes to dress the table for the meal service. So I place my MacBook Air on the side, on the rail in the space between the seat and the cabin wall. Suddenly there is a bum from the turbulence, followed by a thump. It takes me a moment to realise that the thumping sound came from my laptop, which has managed to slip through a small gap.
It’s so tight I can’t get my hand down there. The flight attendant suggests I move seats to the other side to give her more space to manoeuver while she tries to get a hold of my laptop. Eventually though she gives up and informs me that the captain has been advised and that he has requested engineers to come on board upon arrival in Hong Kong to retrieve the laptop. How embarrassing!
The meal starts with a plate of amazingly fresh and juicy fruit – grapes, dragon fruit, melon and papaya.
This is followed by a selection from the breadbasket. I just have a croissant.
Next I have the Nasi Lemak with spicy shrimps. The dish is served with peanuts, boiled egg, cucumber and dried fish.
And then for dessert I have some vanilla ice cream.
With the coffee the crew serve a bowl of warm nuts and another with chocolates.
After the meal I take a tour of the cabin and the loo.
After we land, the purser comes to my seat and asks me to wait for the engineers to arrive to retrieve my Mac. We pull onto the stand and wait for all the passengers to disembark. It’s amazing how long it takes to unload a nearly full A 380. Once everybody is gone, the engineers arrive. It takes then about 20 minutes until eventually, with the help of one of the flight attendants and her slender hands, they manage to get the laptop out. I’m really embarrassed about the whole thing, which is only highlighted by the fact that all the crew were really very friendly about the whole thing.
I collect my belonging and thank them for their service and their kindness. My next flight will not be until this evening. So I head to the hotel bus shuttle stop and catch the shuttle bus from gate 29 to the Novotel City Gate, which is located about 10 minutes away from the terminal.