It is only right for me to start by first thanking all of you for the warm response on my previous article on the welcoming ceremony of Malaysia Airlines Airbus A350. The blog post received thousands of views within a few days and was quoted in forums, blogs and websites in Malaysia, Germany, Australia and Japan.
Just 9 days after arriving in Kuala Lumpur, the first Malaysia Airlines Airbus A350 enters into commercial service. Scheduled to only operate the KL – London Heathrow route starting 15th January 2018, Malaysia Airlines decided to first deploy the brand new plane on selected regional and domestic routes starting 9th December 2017 possibly for crew familiarization purposes. It was a golden opportunity for #AvGeeks and travel enthusiasts to experience the A350 first hand at a much affordable fare. So affordable that I was able to secure a one way business class seat for less than RM600.
But it is worth the RM600? Read on.
On the morning of 9th December 2017, my social media timeline was filled with updates on the Malaysia Airlines Airbus A350. It was the talk of the town among the enthusiasts. 9M-MAB’s first day of service with its inaugural flight from KL to Penang.
I arrived at KLIA around 12:30pm, a good 2.5 hours before my flight and just as I stepped into the airport terminal, the SMS notification from Malaysia Airlines came in as the flight got retimed by an hour. Looks like the folks in the earlier flight to Penang had a bit more time to enjoy the new bird. Good for them.
And with extra time in hand, I finally had the chance to check out the new attraction of KLIA, the Anjung Malaysia. Launched less than a month ago, the area near the observation deck is supposed to reflects the unique Malaysian culture and flavour through the display of local architecture, products and cuisines.
Unfortunately, with the exception of some nice Instagramable “street art” walls, there wasn’t really anything interesting. No one manning the area, no TV screens with info on Malaysian culture and to be honest it is not as what I had imagined when I saw the launch photos online. Perhaps there is a schedule to the activities there and I shall check it out again next time I’m in KLIA.
With not much to do, I went straight to check-in and got my passes sorted out.
The friendly Malaysia Airlines ground crew was excited when I told her that I’m going to Bangkok just to try out the new plane. She even took the extra mile to see whether I could get a better seat knowing that I was “shifted away” from my original seat of 1A. For these regional flights on the A350, the airline had earlier allowed those who travel on Business Class to choose the first class seats. However something must have happened as seats were later blocked and those affected re-assigned to a normal business class seat. It makes sense though, I paid for Business Class so i should fly on business class and not first. 🙂
Confirmation of the delay on KLIA’s FIDS.
A quick trip to the newly refurbished Regional Golden Lounge.
The airline did a good job as the lounge looks more up-to-date despite still missing a business centre (there is one at Satellite lounge though). I particularly love the clean praying room, the nap room and the family area. That little pillow though reminded me of some other airlines I have been on 😛
Finally, the A350 arrived from Penang and this new kid on the block still attracts quite an attention among the passengers.
A family photo. The A350, 737-800, A330 and A380.
With 6 flights daily, a flight from KL to Bangkok would usually be on a Boeing 737-800 or occasionally on an Airbus A330 so quite a few passengers were delighted to see a modern cabin of A350, the moment they stepped into the plane.
The smell of a new plane along with nice bright cabin lighting gave us a nice welcoming ambience.
The first class section. I have mixed feelings about these 4 seats.
They seem to be premium enough but with only a single row it gives a bit of sense of being in a confined section. Plus readers of my blog has been highlighting that seats on competitors first class products and even business class are a level ahead of what is being offered on this new A350. It doesn’t help when the friendly rival down south just recently revealed a range of premium products that are quite impressive.
Nevertheless, this is where the soft side of Malaysia Airlines premium offerings should come into the picture. The amazing crew, the delicious satay, the smart price point.
A quick glimpse at what was supposed to be my seat at the First Class cabin. Perhaps next time to London (hint2 MAB!)
Settling down at my seat 11A, the last row of the business class section.
For frequent travellers on board the airlines’ business class, it is a familiar sight. The same kind of seats as per the A330 business class seats with some enhancements – a slightly wider and longer seat.
Push back was slightly behind the re-scheduled time but I was not complaining, more time spent with this brand new bird.
Also brand new is this safety video (duh!) showed on the crystal clear HD in-flight entertainment screens.
The safety card. No I did not take one home.
Thank you Malaysia Airlines for retaining this as well.
One of the best parts of the flight, the take-off roll. Sure we were quite light considering the load and distance but it was amazingly quiet and smooth.
While waiting for late lunch/tea to be served, I was like a little kid in a playground exploring the features of the seat.
The seat can be reclined all the way to become a lie-flat bed.
It might feel a bit narrow especially at the leg but it is something that one could adapt accordingly to get a good sleep.
One thing I love is the ample storage area available to passengers.
And the much more cleaner and responsive interface for the in-flight entertainment. No more clicking lots of pages to find that one movie you want to watch.
A nice small remote control for the IFE. Photo by Tn Hj Norman Yusof.
Whether first, business or economy, power supply for your own devices would not be an issue. Both USB and power point.
Another good news is that this aircraft is equipped with WiFi services that can be purchased on-board. Perfect for those who must stay connected and must share live updates and selfies during a holiday!
Lunch. Delicious but I think I had this option of Nasi Minyak quite a few times already this year, need to try something new next time.
Passengers at economy class enjoying their flight. Few that I spoke to enjoyed the brighter and more spacious cabin and of course the bigger IFE screen.
A quick stop at the galley to say thanks to the awesome crew.
Approaching Bangkok. They say time flies when you are having fun. Very true.
Notice the on-board camera feature which is super cool. However it is currently set only to down-view which I hope will be enhanced moving forward.
Smooth touchdown by either one of the 3 captains who flew us.
Last light. Welcome to Thailand.
A huge advantage if you fly premium to Bangkok especially during peak hours, a VIP pass for the immigration clearance.
Within less than an hour, we were already in our taxi heading to the City for our Tomyam fix.
So whether it is worth the RM600 spent for the KUL-BKK flight ticket? I would say yes. Besides the unwritten satisfaction of being one of the earliest few to fly on Malaysia Airlines Airbus A350, it is nice to experience first-hand what the new plane has to offer to its business class passengers.
Hopefully with this blog post, it would also help others who are planning for a trip to London on-board the MAB Airbus A350 to set their expectation right.
Would it be a game changer as far as customer experience is concern? To some extend yes but I guess only time will tell.
What do you think? Leave a comment below. Thanks!