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10 days 7 flights - from FR to SQ F (Inc AB, MH & AK)

10 days 7 flights - from FR to SQ F (Inc AB, MH & AK)

Old Mar 20, 07, 8:05 am
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10 days 7 flights - from FR to SQ F (Inc AB, MH & AK)

Well after reading all the great trip reports on Flyer Talker I thought I would contribute a small one back to all the Flyertalkers who have helped me in the past. I first must apologise as it won’t be as detailed or with pictures as with some of the great ones that appear on this section. However, I thought as it is was quite a varied trip it may give some info on some airlines which aren’t mentioned as often.

Basically my trip was both business and pleasure and includes the following airlines:

Ryan Air – STN-SXF
Air Berlin – TXL – STN
Singapore Airlines F LHR-SIN
Singapore Airlines F SIN-KUL
Malaysia Airlines Y KUL-KBR
Air Asia KBR-KUL
Malaysia Airlines Y KUL-LHR

As you can see I had quite a varied itinerary over a 10 day period. First a short jaunt over to Berlin for the ITB (Tourism Fair) on low cost carriers (ouch) and then on to KUL in SQ F (Woohoo).

FR 8546 STN – SXF 18:45-21:00

Well as you can imagine I wasn’t looking forward to this flight – I truly dislike Ryan Air and their whole approach however with BA charging £700 for Y on the dates I needed I had no choice but to use FR and AB.

OK with Ryan Air it is a gamble – when things go well it is not too bad and it gets you from A to B without much hassle. However, when things go wrong it just leaves you stranded. Anyway there I go straight after work praying to the LCC god that he won’t delay my flight. I arrived at Liverpool Street Station to catch the Stanstead Express. Now I have been on the Gatwick and Heathrow expresses and they are generally newish and clean – the Stanstead express was horrible, dirty old and tatty what a joke I thought – well going on one of the worst airlines means I need to get start by getting on one of the oldest and dirtiest trains.

I arrived at STN with an hour to go and I have to admit I like the fact that I don’t have LHR lines and I am through security within five minutes. STN is fine and modern, well actually a bit odd not being able to go to a lounge before a flight, but as I was on expense account I went to the restaurant had a burger and then made my way to the gate.

The flight was full and the line was extremely long I had purchased a priority boarding pass (£2 when travelling with hand luggage only). However, at first it seemed that the LCC god was not playing ball and flights around which were departing at the same time were boarding apart from mine. ‘Damn’ I thought this is going to be hell. Luckily after a short 10 minute delay priority boarders were allowed through.

Now I like to sit at the front of the plane – it is not a status thing but rather a weird ritual I have developed over the years where I feel more comfortable as I am not the best flyer in the world. Walking out the terminal as one of the first passengers I thought I would have that privilege of sitting towards the front. However, at the same time a lady in the wheel chair was approaching the front stairs and we were all asked to board the back. I asked if I could wait and climb up in front after the lady had boarded but was shouted at to move to the back (Ryan Air – service is extra). Well by the time I had gone to the back and moved my self towards the front of the plane people were already entering the front of the plane and I couldn’t get the seats I want. Well it is Ryan Air.

The flight loaded quickly and we actually left on time. The seats on Ryan Air are quite tight and the seat does not go back which is no bad thing on a such a short flight. The stewardesses were very unfriendly and they seemed to want to sell as much junk as possible all the time including unappetising overpriced food and lottery tickets? I just closed my eyes and dreamt of my upcoming flight on SQ317 in F – Krug or Dom – Oh what a day dream.

We landed on time at Schonefeld airport I jumped in a taxi to get some sleep before my long meetings day at ITB.

Overall, my flight on Ryan Air was surprisingly smooth and on time. The stewardesses were unfriendly but for this short sector it was adequate and also found myself sitting next to an interesting person which is also a bonus. Will I use them in the future? Not if I can help it they did the job but I like the option of lounges and being fed when I don’t necessarily have the time. Also being a nervy flyer I prefer the more established airlines. Though if there is no other option I would probably use them again.

Coming Tomorrow – AIR Berlin not bad for an LCC
Later SQ317 – I think I have died and gone to heaven
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Old Mar 21, 07, 7:37 am
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AB 8448 TXL-STN 19:00 – 19:40

After a long day of meetings and presentations at the ITB (where I also popped to the Malaysia stand to get some tips before my trip there) I finally finished at 17:30. I started feeling a little panicked as the Berlin fair ground is huge and takes a good 20 minutes to walk where I was to the entrance and my taxi to Tegel airport. Well I ran in ten and then joined the not to long taxi line. Luckily Tegel airport is only 10 minutes away from the fair grounds and I make it with 50 minutes to spare.

Now people were telling me that Air Berlin is not you typical LCC and is more like a regular airline which serves food and drink and where you can get a seat. I had bought my ticket online and paid an additional expense of £6 or £8 pounds for a seat (yes expensive but not on the old expense account) I had bagged 2c, aisle and in front, just what I like.

Check-in was smooth and quick, though security was far more intense and reminded me of flying to Israel. The security guard actually spoke some Hebrew and tested me out (my passport shows that I was born in TLV). Anyway following that put my bag through x-ray only for it to be stopped and my small clear bag full of under 100ml liquids was picked out. OK I really hate the fact that I can only take one bag on the plane in the UK and I can only take liquids under 100ml. Apart from that I don’t put it in a sealable clear bag and in the UK they don’t pick up or care. But here in Berlin they did and pointed out that my bag was not sealable (what difference would that make?). Anyway they agreed not to throw all my stuff away and next time I go to Berlin I will take a sealable plastic bag (someone should write a book of rules for each country).

Boarding was called and I entered a really nice and clean A320 leather style seats and smiley friendly stewards. Wow what a differences from the dragons on Ryan Air. Upon boarding we were offered sweets and I had the seat I like. We took off on time and I was ready with some change to buy some over priced garbage (this is when it is important to fly a regular airline that serves food as I was starving following my meetings and did not have time to buy food).

However, to my shock and surprise I was given a free sandwich and a soft drink – well done Air Berlin. Ok it wasn’t the best sandwich but in my state I would eat anything and it was much appreciated. Air Berlin even has inflight entertainment ‘Mr Bean’ was on but they do charge you for the headphones and I couldn’t see myself paying to see Mr Bean. Air Berlin also has a loyalty programme which offers free flights, seat choice and priority boarding.

The flight was very smooth and uneventful apart for quite a bump when landing. I do like the A320s they are really quiet in the cabin. Overall Air Berlin was a nice surprise which I will fly again (if I have to).

After landing Stansted was a joy to pass through immigration I was first through and jumped on the horrible and dirty Express. This time however I changed at Tottenham Hale and took the underground to Victoria which is much quicker than going to Liverpool Street and getting to Victoria from there.

Well the first part of trip went smoothly no delays and all on LCC. However the best was yet to come and I could almost taste the Krug the night before flying SQ to SIN.

Tomorrow – SQ heaven
Later SQ to KUL why is it First and not J?
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Old Mar 21, 07, 7:56 am
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Originally Posted by jonnny View Post
Tomorrow – SQ heaven
Later SQ to KUL why is it First and not J?
Nice report jonnny. The next one is the one I am waiting for.
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Old Mar 21, 07, 7:56 am
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You write so well. I'm looking forward to the rest of your tr.
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Old Mar 22, 07, 11:16 am
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I think I have died and gone to F heaven

There I was back in the UK only 12 hours away from a flight I had been looking forward to for ages. I first need to thank the BMI board for informing me of the Mastercard deals they have and how by taking out two credit cards I had the option of flying SQ F for very little money.

Anyway I am a flyertalker and I thoroughly researched all my options before this flight. Yes I will go to the Virgin Club House, Yes I will start with Krug and than have Dom, Yes I will book the Lobster Thermidor through book the cook and Yes I will go for seat 3a as I read somewhere on the SQ board that is quite a good seat when travelling East.

My flight was at 11am. I had chosen that flight on purpose – I know that people said that you suffer from jetlag and so on. But I didn’t care I wanted the full experience I didn’t book this flight just to sleep on it. I booked it to savour it and I SURE DID.

I had a sleepless night before the taxi came and picked me up at 6am – I asked to go to Terminal 3 (a terminal I am not familiar with as I usually fly BA T1 or T4). I arrived at the airport at 7am and walked over to check-in. Oh what a disappointment the terminal looked old and first class check-in was no different than check-in Y. On top of that there was a couple in front of me that were checking in Y. Why are they in my line?!?

I reached the check-in lady. She was pleasant and welcomed me and passed my nice F class boarding pass 3a. I asked if the flight was full and was told that it was practically empty (woohoo first class in an almost empty cabin). She then instructed me that I could visit the Kris lounge but after all the negative comments I decided to head straight over to the Virgin Club House. Fast Track security was surprisingly quick and painless and I was through airside.

Now I have never been to the Virgin Clubhouse but have heard good things about it and I wasn’t disappointed. First thing I noticed was how big and modern it looked. I headed over to the Cowshed and asked for a wetshave and massage I was told I had to wait till 9am – hey no problem my flight was at 11am. I then found a seat near a computer and was quickly asked by a waiter what I would like – well being a BA flyer I went straight for some smoked salmon and champagne. The salmon was nice but I didn’t much care for their champagne – oh well I knew I had another few hours before I got the good stuff. After eating I took around the lounge which was practically empty and even went out on the balcony on the second floor to watch some planes land. I also took the opportunity to pop over to the Kris lounge and can understand the disappointment following the wonderful Virgin lounge. I was also surprised to see quite a lot of people in the lounge – I just hoped that they weren’t all flying F with me today and why were they waiting here and not in the Virgin lounge?

Anyway quickly back to the Virgin Club House and I arrived just in time for my shave and massage. It was pleasant though they used a Mach 3 for the shave not quite the standard of a proper shave in Jermyn Street. Following the treatment I had a few more nibble and champagne and wondered back to the Kris lounge before boarding the flight.

SQ317 LHR-SIN 11:00-7:40

I left the lounge just before boarding to make sure I got on the plane first in first. The boarding area was quite full though when the announcement was made I boarded first. Upon reaching the door I was welcome by a male steward who welcomed me on board by my last name and showed me to my seat 3a. I was quickly approached by Sheila a strikingly beautiful Singaporean who introduced herself and told me that she was basically there to service me and that I will be joined by only two additional passengers in F today (woohoo) . OK I have never flown SQ before and I read stories of the Singapore female flight attendants but she was really great and then things just kept on getting better.

Sheila asked what I would like to drink I asked for Krug and the male steward quickly came by with the bottle and explained that they have been trained to pour the champagne slowly at an angle as not to lose any of the bubbles. The champagne was nice and then Sheila came round with the goodies.

First off was the really nice Salvatore Ferragamo amenity kit. Quite nice with a nice little bottle of aftershave. Next the Givenchy Pyjamas different colours I went for dark grey. Next some socks and eye mask. By now I was running out of places to keep all these goodies. Sheila also asked what I would like to read and I asked for travel related magazines which she brought straight away.

Now we are still on the ground (boy I am happy I boarded early) and Sheila passes me the menu and goes through the options and must be on my third glass of Krug (as the other two passengers are not drinking alcohol – woohoo). I have already booked my BTC the lobster thermidor.

As you can imagine I am feeling great after three glasses of Krug, a beautiful lady taking care of my every whim and a practically empty F cabin. Have I died and gone to heaven?

The F seat is comfortable and the TV screen is quite large. There are several nooks and crannies where you can keep magazines and bits and bobs. I also like the fact that I can actually fully stretch out when the seat is in bed mode which for a person my height makes a change.

Well after a hot towel we take off and very quickly Sheila is by my side again. This time I decide I want to move over to the Dom which the steward quickly brings over and fills my glass. Tasting the two champagnes I think I preferred the Dom but I wouldn’t say no to any of them. Sheila then asks if I am hungry – well to be perfectly honest I was feeling a little drunk and had certainly started having the munchies – so I said yes and some satay was brought over. The satay was nice – I especially like the sauce which was nice and not too peanuty.

Now you must excuse me if the details of my lunch and the time around lunch is not to detailed as I must have been on my six glass of champagne as I thought it would be a waste not to finish them (the other two passengers weren’t drinking).

For first course I was offered Caviar or Lobster. I don’t like caviar (never found the appeal) and went for lobster. Boy was it good, slightly citrusy, but very good. I then got some kind of soup that was average and a Caesar salad which was good. I also decided to try a wine of their list as they looked really nice and went for an excellent Chablis which accompanied by thermidor perfectly. I also had several helpings of garlic bread.

The lobster thermidor was really delicious and came with rice and asparagus with a light sauce. I liked the fact that they made an effort with the placing of the plates that the ‘F’ stamped on each plate and glass pointed in a certain direction – though I can imagine if F was full that it would take forever to eat and get your food.

Dessert was an apricot or peach tart followed by cheeses. Unfortunately the cheeses were a bit of a disappointment and not a great selection. As you can imagine I was pretty stuffed and quite tipsy by the end of this meal – it wasn’t my fault and I eventually managed to finish off the Dom though I just couldn’t drink anymore Krug.

Well with the meal over I changed into my Givenchy PJs which I found were only 65% cotton and the rest polyester – is that the norm? I usually find that polyester makes me sweat but no such problem on the flight. Unfortunately, I was starting to develop one hell of a hangover and decided to stick to water for the rest of the flight.

Another good thing about SQ over BA is there entertainment system it is quite a good AVOD system though I though MH AVOD was much better. I can’t believe that BA are still stuck with there antiquated entertainment system (ok they are replacing it – but still). Sorry I can’t remember what the films were but nothing that great on this flight and I mostly listened to 80’s music.

I noticed a few interesting occurrences on the flight. One is that every time I went to the toilet (there were two for F but no window like in BA) someone would come straightaway and clean it. Second, the person behind me had a flatulence issue (yes GAS) and every time he would let one rip Sheila would come round and spray some perfume in the cabin (I just hope she didn’t think it was me).

Towards the middle of the flight I took a short walk to the back of the flight and noticed that raffles and Y were looking quite full and I felt a little guilty with all the space and service that I had (well only a little guilt which vanished quickly when Sheila asked if I needed anything). To be honest Y looked very cramped and one of the reasons for flying back MH Y to LHR (which I will discuss later).

During the flight there were a lot of options for snacks but I was very full from lunch and did not try any of them. Another thing I noticed was with the large screens at night if they were all turned on it may cause a problem when trying to sleep. As the cabin was mostly empty this wasn’t an issue here. Both Shiela and the steward were always on hand throughout the flight ready to serve.

With the flight coming to an end I was asked regarding breakfast. I chose the veal sausage (very tasty) and some fruit along with a croissant. I did notice that at this time the stewards and Sheila were getting a little tired – not surprising.

The good thing about 3a is that you have four windows so on our descent to SIN on a very clear morning you get to see the hundreds of tankers that are located around Singapore harbour – it is quite a site.

With landing I got off first and was first at Immigration however my bags were not first and I did have to wait a few minutes for them. Though as a BA flyer it was still quicker than BA.

So how would I rate the flight?

IT WAS FANTASTIC – the best flight I have ever taken the combination of empty Virgin Clubhouse, SQ F, empty cabin and the wonderful Sheila made this the best flight I have ever taken. I actually cannot believe how great this flight was the service and the little touches really made this great. I now have a BA F flight coming up but I doubt it will be as good – this doesn’t matter though as I did die and go to F heaven already.

Next – SQ F to KUL – well ok
Later MH – not too bad

Last edited by jonnny; Mar 22, 07 at 11:26 am
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Old Mar 22, 07, 11:44 am
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Originally Posted by jonnny View Post
I noticed a few interesting occurrences on the flight. One is that every time I went to the toilet (there were two for F but no window like in BA) someone would come straightaway and clean it. Second, the person behind me had a flatulence issue (yes GAS) and every time he would let one rip Sheila would come round and spray some perfume in the cabin (I just hope she didn’t think it was me).
Wait, there is a window in the bathroom on BA F? Wow!

Your reports are fascinating! I am ready for the next one already!
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Old Mar 22, 07, 3:17 pm
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So does LH if I remember correctly.

Thanks for sharing this interesting report and taking us for a ride up front with SQ, jonnny.

Last edited by aw; Mar 22, 07 at 5:52 pm
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Old Mar 23, 07, 7:18 am
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With the end of this great flight it was off to the Intercontinental to meet Mrs J. who was also on a business trip (and the reason for arranging to rendezvous). The hotel was nice especially as in Asia the service seems to be always better. I was initially planning to be at the hotel 4 nights and take advantage of the quick Ambassador status (thanks to the IHG board for that one) but my plans changed but got Mrs. J. to apply. It did take almost two weeks for the ambassador status to kick in following the 3 qualifying nights.

Singapore was good had some crab at Jumbo in the East Coast Seafood Centre and some drinks at night at the Swissotel Stamford which has a good view from the high floor and the weather was dry and sunny.

Well back to the airport the next morning – Changi is very close to the centre and it only took us 20 minutes. We were both flying first to KUL (there is no J just Y and F on these flights)

Check-in was easy at the first class check-in area with its own entrance to security and near the escalators to the lounge area. The flight was full though and we only managed to bag the middle seats on row 12. I must admit that Changi airport looked nice and comfortable with lots of shops and a pond with fish.

Anyway following security up we went to the First Kris lounge it was quite early so the bar was closed (no champagne) but they were making some really nice pork noodles which I of course ordered. I still think the Virgin Club House is better with more choice.

SQ 108 SIN-KUL 12:35-13:30

We boarded the flight a little ahead of schedule and found out that we were on a 777-200 (why have such a plane service such a short destination?). Seat configuration was 2 2 2 and the seats were quite large and roomy but only the seat moved forward and backward where as the back was static. Regardless it has much more room than BA J intra-Europe. I do not understand why it is F and not J as it is a short flight and it is not like you have the need – though maybe they can charge extra for it.

On the short flight we had lunch but as the cabin was full the stewards were under a lot of pressure and stress to serve everyone before the plane landed. Here I go back to the fact they tried to arrange your plates and glasses in a specific way and it did hinder service. There was no champagne on board this time as well though I thought to myself that maybe in Malaysia alcohol was not that prevalent. We were served for lunch either a cold turkey salad or a tuna sandwich (not particularly exciting).

Another point that concerned me slightly was the fact that while holding a British Passport I was born in TLV and did not know if this would cause problems at KUL immigration. Malaysia does not have any diplomatic ties with Israel.

The flight itself was very short and we were given fast track immigration passes which I used. At immigration I noticed that the people did not particularly care nor paid any attention to my place of birth so that wasn’t a problem.

Our bags (five in all) came out quite quickly and we bought a taxi ticket just before exiting to the welcome area as to not have to deal with the taxi touts. A budget taxi to town (not really budget at all) cost 67 Ringgits or £10.

So not to much to comment on this flight however Mrs. J ticket cost £180 which seems like a lot but is comparable to BA I fares in Europe and her ticket was fully flexible.

LATER Air Asia – how old is this plane?!?
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Old Mar 26, 07, 6:16 am
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In KUL we were staying at the Crowne Plaza one stop away from the Bukit Bitang station and only a 5-10 minute walk from the Petronas Towers. The hotel is fine we stayed in a club room on the 24th floor and it was clean and comfortable. On our first stay we had a room facing the opposite direction to the towers and on our second stay we were facing the towers. Club area is fine with alcoholic drinks served between 5pm -7pm and a nice selection of snacks (savoury and sweet). The breakfast is ok – it was busy downstairs and they charged for making smoothies without letting people know before hand. After that we had breakfast on the club floor which was much quieter though with less food choice. We took the opportunity to play squash and swim in the smallish pool as well.

After two days we were back on our way to the airport to catch a MH flight to Kota Bharu a town in the northeast corner of Malaysia. This time we went to central station where we checked in and were given exit row seats on the 737-400. The good Y seats were given to us by a proactive agent who commented that because I was tall it would be more comfortable (why can’t all agents be proactive). We then hopped on the KLIA Express and made it within 28minutes. The KLIA express was nice, new and efficient not like the Stansted express I took a few days before.

KUL Airport itself is fine not as nice as Changi but I noticed that they have won an award for the best 15m-25m passenger airport. The domestic side of the airport was quiet and our flight to KBR was a quarter full.

MH 1388 KUL-KBR 10:15-11:05

The boarding area was very quiet and we boarded on time. This is the first time I have flown MH and it was perfectly fine. The female stewards have a similar outfit to SQ while the men wear bowties (which I thought was a little odd). Y was only a quarter full while J was mostly full. The seats were configured 3 3 and leg room seemed better than equivalent European airlines. The flight itself is very short so didn’t feel the need to splash out on especially as I had bought all my tickets a couple of months ago at a very low price during the MH sale (including my £190 KUL-LHR in Y).

On this short flight we were served juice or chocolate milk (no alcohol) and some peanuts. The plane looked fine even though it is a slightly older 737-400 and the good think about these airports – no real waiting times to take off or land. We happened to be the only Westerners on the flight and all of the women were covered due to flying to a more religious part of Malaysia.

Actually one thing that really annoyed MRS. J, especially following her business trip where she was alone and in charge, was the fact that most people in Malaysia would ignore her and direct any questions or remarks to me. This included in the hotel – now I am sure that if she was on her own they would address her it just seemed that when you are with a man they tend to ignore the woman (this is only based on our short time in Malaysia).

The flight landed early and we stepped of into the small airport of Kota Bharu on our way to the Perhentian Islands.

Next Air Asia on an old plane
Later MH to LHR a long flight in Y ok but probably not again

Last edited by jonnny; Mar 26, 07 at 6:22 am
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Old Mar 27, 07, 6:14 am
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The Perhentian islands were great with the best part being the journey getting there. Once you leave the airport you catch a taxi to Kuala Besut and from there a speed boat. As it was getting towards the afternoon the sea was quite choppy yet the boat did not slow down leading all of us to get extremely wet – lucky it was hot outside. Mrs J. thought it was like the scene in Miami Vice where they take the speed boat to Havana. I was just happy it only took half an hour.

On the islands one can snorkel with turtles and sharks and every night a fresh seafood BBQ was offered with lobsters, prawns and fish all at low prices.

After two days we were back on our way to the airport. We had a 3pm flight with AK 6325 and had to get from the island to the airport within two hours. Now I know that island time is always slower than city time and it was very touch and go for a while but we made it to the airport 14:15 just in time for check-in. On our way to the airport we gave a lift to another fellow Brit who had a much later flight but tried unsuccessfully to change her flight. According to the check-in staff the flight was full (which we found out on board was not).

KBR airport is small as the only flights that day were KUL flights going back and forth either with MH or AK.

AK 6325 KBR-KUL 15:00-15:55

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Air Asia apart from the cheap tickets they were selling. Boarding was divided in two with those with children and the elderly boarding first. As I am neither a child or too elderly I was in the second group boarding which turned out to be a very small group as most of the passengers were either old or with children.

Another point Mrs J. noticed was that the only people talk to her is to ask her if she is married and if she has children. As an experiment she gave differing answers and got different responses. For example, being married for a while without children = sympathy. Not married = shocked. Married with children = a smile as if you are one of us.

Ok back to the journey – with boarding I noticed that the plane looked old and tattered from the outside. Lots of patches on the wings and joints as if makeshift repairs had been made. Inside was not much better with a few broken lockers, paint peeling, bits of broken plastic and flickering lights. The plane itself was a 737-300 I cannot guess how old it was but I can tell you it has been well used. Now Air Asia is in the process of upgrading their fleet to A320’s and also looking to buy a few long-haul planes for their new service to the UK. However, we got unlucky and were on one of the old planes they had leased with the start of operations.

The configuration is 3 3 but the seats were very tight for me and I stood most of this short flight talking to the stewards in the back. The flight did leave on time and of course no hold-up as we were the only plane at the airport. During the flight I chatted with the steward and he told me that AK are looking to expand internationally and also looking to retire the old planes that were left my the middle of this year. He even went as far as to suggest that these planes should not be used in their current state. Though I always think that with good maintenance planes can last a long time.

The flight itself was super quick only 35mins and the usual crap were offered for purchase on board. I did notice that many people were buying teddy bears and toys on the plane. We landed very early back at the LCC airport in KUL and jumped in a taxi to the Crowne Plaza.

One event of note, when arriving at the hotel, was that there were lots of people picketing/striking with boards stating that the management of CP were being unfair with wages etc. They were very vocal and were controlled by the police. However, every time somebody entered the grounds of the hotel they became more vocal and a little intimidating.

Lastly – 14hrs in Y – yes why
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Old Mar 28, 07, 8:06 am
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Well the trip was coming to an end and I have to report that it was the smoothest business/pleasure trip (in terms of flights, connections & capacity) that I have ever had. The last few days in Kuala Lumpur were good – the weather was hot and humid as usual with the typical short lived thunderstorms in the afternoon. We had great food on Jalan Alor in Bukit Bitang with some really nice BBQ chicken wings and some spicy and tasty prawns and pak choi. One thing I did find interesting in the food department was that most shopping centers had good local food in there food courts which makes a change from the usual unhealthy fast food joints one gets in the West.

Other attractions I can recommend would be the Islamic art museum and Mosque though less so the butterfly and bird parks which were near by (not that interesting). A walk around China town and little India is also good as it is quite hectic but one can buy good bargains on shirts and fake goods. Finally, one of the most interesting places to walk around is the area just north of the Petronas Towers - Kampung Baru. This is the old Malay part of Kuala Lumpur - it is very atmospheric and looks relatively poor but not in the dirty ugly sense. There are lots of markets and food places and a really interesting mosque – try to go when people are on there way to the mosque as it is an interesting site and the call for prayer adds to the atmosphere. One can also take a great picture of the contrast of the poor neighbourhood with the backdrop of the Petronas towers.

Anyway Mrs. J had left the night before to catch her BA J flight from SIN to LHR while I opted for a cheap Y ticket purchased during the MH sale at £190. Ok I wasn’t looking forward to this trip as 14hrs in Y sounds like slow torture to me. However, I did do my research before hand and chose MH on purpose as they do have 34in seat room as standard and an excellent AVOD system. I also took the day flight as I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep on the plane and chose to have a good nights rest at the hotel beforehand.

My flight was scheduled for 11:15 so left the hotel at 8:30 and checked-in at the Central station once again. Again no one in the line so check-in was quick – I found out from the agent that there were still 150 seats available as most people take the night flight (another reason for taking the day flight). I also had a good choice of seats and went for the first bassinet middle row position in the Y section as was told that no babies were scheduled for the flight (yes that can be risky).

Now I would like to pass on a tip I was told – if you are travelling in any class and would like to upgrade (with payment) then one can put in a request and depending on availability you can get an upgrade for a fixed fee of 3500RM which is around (£500). I was tempted but decided to go Y once I found out it was quite empty.

I then hopped on the fast and pleasant express and reached the airport within half an hour. Now I am guessing it is low season as the airport looked and felt empty. I quickly passed by security (WHY CAN’T LHR AND LGW BE THIS WAY) and had to take a train to the satellite terminal. One thing I noticed about Changi and KLIA is that arrivals and departures mixes together and when arriving at KLIA one does not understand that you are in a satellite terminal needing to take a train – signage needs to improve.

At airside I had an hour to go and not having lounge access I just wonder around the terminal which is not that interesting and wonder towards the gate. The boarding area was quiet and there was additional immigration personal checking if the non EU passengers had a proper visa to travel towards the UK.

MH 004 KUL-LHR 11:15-16:50 in Y

Boarding was called on time with children and elderly boarding first and the rest second. The plane was a 747-400 and I quickly got to my seat. The seat itself was narrow or maybe I am not? And I took out all the things that were in my pockets as to maximise room. I was at that moment tempted to rush up to the CSD and demand an upgrade but the leg room was fine and a relatively empty cabin calmed me down along with the cold towel handed out.

We were on the ground for quite a while as the usual late straddlers took there time boarding but finally pushed back and after what seemed an unusually long run up took off.

One of the reasons for choosing MH was due to their AVOD system and I wasn’t disappointed. It is much quicker and more responsive than the SQ version and had much more content. Though March is never a good time to fly if you want to watch movies as it seems to be the in-between time in Hollywood and the movies were not that exciting.

On this flight lunch and lunch would be served and the quality was not that good. The first lunch I was served Beef and the second Venison – both over cooked and the usual Y long haul disaster. Service in general was good but that may be to the low capacities on this specific flight.

However, what does one do in Y on a 14hr flight – I managed to watch four movies before burning out and listening to two cds – I read two magazines and one newspaper and took lots of walks around the cabin. It was long and quite boring – I much prefer getting drunk on champagne and then fighting the hangover. Though overall bearable and I would do it again if I needed too – and for £190 a real bargain.

Now how does one know you are back at LHR? Well the plane landed almost an hour early, only to be told that there was no stand available. I have to say that there isn’t much worse than landing after a long flight and needing to wait for half an hour for a stand to be freed up.

After disembarking I took my time to get to immigration and baggage as I knew I was back home and it would take a while for the bags to be returned. In fact it only took about 45mins for my one bag to be spit out – I guess I should be thankful for the speed.

Ok – Final Thoughts

The 10 days of travel worked like clock work. All the flights left and arrived on time and everything went smoothly. Luckily this was partly due to good weather and low season travelling mixed with mostly reliable airports.

I would also like to highly recommend Malaysia as a travel destination. There are a lot of things one can do from cultural through nature to lounging on the beach. It is like Thailand just easier, less crowded with tourists, good food and very easy to travel around. Actually scrap all that I think I would like to keep Malaysia under wraps as I think I will be going there again in the near future.

Well that’s the end of my trip. I hope some of the information was useful and do let me know if there is anything you would like to know which I didn’t cover.

jonnny is offline  
Old Mar 28, 07, 8:32 am
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Thanks for posting - I've enjoyed following your travels for the last week or so.

Must admit though, couldn't quite see why anyone would punish themselves by doing SQ F one way then coming back in Economy. Those daytime flights back from SE Asia are a long haul and it's a good few years since I've done it in Y......
Swiss Tony is offline  
Old Mar 28, 07, 9:00 am
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Yes it is quite a shock to the system. The reality is that I couldn't find a reward flight back on the date that I needed and then found the cheap deal on MH.

Only later did an award flight open but by then I was mentally flying Y back anyway.

Also with work I tend to fly anything going so I am used to going one day up front the next day in the back.

jonnny is offline  
Old Mar 30, 07, 1:30 am
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FYI: elderly in Malaysia is anyone 50 and over. This is a great benefit on AK for those of us who qualify because we get first choice of prime seating on the aircraft.
opushomes is offline  

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