With social distancing still in force in Switzerland and much of the global aviation industry having come to a grinding halt, I obviously haven’t been travelling at all since the beginning of March 2020. On a positive note, that has given me ample time to make a few changes and update to my blog. In the process, I also stumbled across a few previously unposted reports of past trips. And so, for your reading entertainment, I have decided to add them here.
I’ll start with a trip I took to Langkawi in Malaysia back in 2011. Nonetheless, I will keep to the usual style of writing and use the present tense.
Getting to the Airport
I arrive in Kuala Lumpur the evening before on a flight from Bangkok. The next day I’m on my way back to the airport for the flight to Langkawi. I suppose I might have stayed at the airport, given that it’s quite far out from the city. But then I figured it would still be nice to be able to go into town, which is why I eventually spend the night in KL at the Hilton Sentral Stesen, which sits right above the railway station.
The KLIA Express train is not full at all. In fact, I think every time I’ve taken this train it hasn’t been full. The price for a oneway ticket is MYR55.
Malaysia Airlines and most of the legacy carriers operate out of KLIA1 or Terminal 1. There is also KLIA2, but that wasn’t even open in 2011.
My boarding pass for the flight to Langkawi was already issued the day before when I checked in for the flight from Bangkok to KL, so I can head straight for security.
Strangely enough, no distinction appears to be made between international and domestic passengers as far as the flow of passengers is concerned. Also, there seems to be a general security screening for all passenger, the point of which eludes me. And then there is a second check before entering the gate.
Irrespective of whether they’re domestic or international departures, short-haul flights tend to use gates at the main terminal concourse, whereas the widebodies tend to use the satellite terminal.
The flight to Langkawi is operated by a Boeing B 737-800. An announcement is made for passengers in Business Class passengers to board first, but this is not something anyone ever seems to pay much attention to in KL and the gate staff don’t enforce it either.
The seats on this aircraft are slightly different to those on the previous flight I took from Bangkok. It’s not just that they have red covers, as opposed to the blue ones on yesterday’s aircraft, it also seems to by a different type of seat. It looks more like an old fashioned Economy Class seat but with a wider armrest in between.
While we’re still on the ground, the crew pass through the cabin with English language newspapers and a glass of fresh guava juice.
The flight time to Langkawi is short at only 40 minutes. The service starts with the distribution of scented cold towels that are nice and thick.
Despite the short flight time, the Malaysia Airlines Business Class service includes a small snack, a dessert and some Cadbury’s chocolate biscuits. And they insist on using a table cloth.
The main dish consists of two canapé sandwiches. One is with cream cheese, while the other is with pieces of chicken in a spicy curry marinade and lemon.
I have no idea what the dessert is and when I suggest pumpkin, the crew aren’t sure what that is in their language either but are too polite to say so. One way or another, it’s very good and has a spicy aroma combined with saffron.
No sooner as the tray been removed, we start our descent into Langkawi. What I remember most about this flight is how calm and unrushed the whole service by the cabin crew is.
Langkawi is a fairly small facility and I’m only travelling with hand luggage anyway. So once the doors open, I’m out fairly quickly. The hotel has sent a driver to pick me up. And so I resist the temptation to take photos of my aircraft as I walk across the apron to the terminal.
Getting to the Hotel
In Langkawi I’m staying at The Datai, which is about 40 minutes away from the airport. That’s not necessarily because Langkawi is that big, but rather because it’s a fairly circuitous route and there are no fast roads on the island.