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Lemuel Tay

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  1. Good news, though we should probably only celebrate "when the fat lady sings the entire aria"... I asked MH whether the J seats on the A388 will be reprogrammed/updated/retrofitted to make them a full-flat seat. This was their reply: The question to ask out of all of this is, who was responsible for the initial procurement and why wasn't this either specified or checked earlier as to whether the seats were a full lie-flat? Or upon delivery, was there no further acceptance testing or quality checking?
  2. Renovation, schmenovation!! What also needs to follow is decent housekeeping. Our last visit on 26-Sep to J side and there were dead insects, dust bunnies and dried leaves on the windowsill of the viewing windows. Just plain skanky So many places & facilities in Malaysia start out great, but due to poor maintenance and upkeep degenerate into something awful. The Hokkiens have a saying, "Tiger head and mouse's tail"... maybe that can be the new airline logo. Well, we live in hope, but then again, "endless possibilities".
  3. Can anyone definitively confirm that the J seats on MH A380 have been fixed so that the legrest part also goes horizontal? Previous photos showed that the backrest & seatpan were fully 180-degree flat, but the legrest sloped downwards. I understand it's only a software update for the Zodiac/Sicma Majesty seats to reprogram them to extend fully flat, but has this been done for all six A380s? TQVM.
  4. A330-300 review KUL-BNE vv Sep-Oct 2013, J Class There have been heaps of reviews since these aircraft were launched in April 2011, with Brisbane as its first launch destination. We flew with MH shortly after the launch, and did two return trips in 2011, but were left wondering "what if" - so much more potential, so much more that could be done. Come 2012, I decided to give D7 a try in their PremiumXL, and the seats were every bit as good as those on the B772 and B744 (old) aircraft that MH are retiring (aka BE Aerospace 171-degree recline seats). Thought I'd give MH another go in 2013, as there was a special fare in conjunction with Hari Raya Adilfitri, making the price more in-line with that of D7. Was this being optimistic with a Five-Star Airline with Six-Star Hospitality? KUL-BNE MH135 26-Sep-2013 Check-in facilities: I thought these had been revamped about 2-3 years ago, they look different again at KLIA. Indifferent check-in staff at Business counter, never greeted nor acknowledged us as passengers. It was all "matter of fact-ish", neither warmth nor sincerity. Look at monitor, scowl at monitor, look at passport, look at paperwork, don't look and smile at passengers. C'mon, we're not "Medusa" - a look and smile at us isn't going to turn you into stone! Golden Lounge (Satellite), Business: While the seats have been updated, it seems a whole lot more densely seated. No more table service for their congee/noodles - unlike previously, the staff would ask where you were seated and bring you the dish when ready. What was worst was their housekeeping - the aluminium window ledge for their panoramic windows had dust bunnies, debris and dead leaves (!). Does anyone do any inspection of the standard of cleaning, or do the cleaning staff just do as they please? Carpet also very dirty - I know it's always busy in there, but you can always use a mechanical carpet sweeper to give a little touch-up during the day, and a thorough clean at night. Aircraft: While the general condition of the J cabin was quite good, what had deteriorated was the standard of housekeeping. I always make it a policy to check the armrests, seat control panel etc., so after the wet towels were handed out and I'd wiped my hands, I always "test" those panels. Ugh! Dirty, dirty, dirty! Especially the grey leather armrest - a whole layer of grey grime just came away. Maybe the laundry staff will think a coal miner cleaned his face on the wet towel! All it needed was a mild leather-friendly detergent and protectant spray - a good wipe and elbow grease - to get it clean. And this was seat 1A (not that I was any kind of VIP), but you'd think this seat that is usually reserved for "Datuk-Datin" would be immaculately clean. The airplane toilet had grime near the mini flower vase (next to the toiletries), and on closer inspection, was the slimy-mouldy type near the mounting on the wall panel. Yucks! Brunch: I thought I'd try their book-the-chef, opting for the "Lamb Shank". While it was quite tender, it wasn't cooked with wine for reasons that the food has to be Halal - completely understand and agree with that. But in its place, it needed to have more herbs and flavourings added, as food often tastes bland in the air, compared to sea level. Sure, the rosemary sprig looked nice lying on top as a garnish, but I'd rather have the flavour in the sauce!! Dessert was some kind of stodgy pudding - took two bites and that was it, not nice! Seat Comfort: Two years of "bums on seats" didn't seem to soften up those cushions! The Recaro seats were as firm as ever, and the feeling you're giving yourself a "wedgie" still hasn't gone away, thanks to the steeply raked flat-bed. Thanks to my own earplugs and the fact I only had three hours sleep the night before, I did have a good daytime snooze. KUL-BNE MH134 8-Oct-2013 Check-in facilities: BNE staff accepted four of the five items between us (total of 81 kg), but the oversized box had to be brought over to the oversize baggage drop. MH staff didn't stick a priority tag, so I had to go back and get one and stick it on the box myself. Amazed at the attitude of the fellow manning the oversized baggage, as to whether a priority tag would speed baggage collection, he seemed to think these meant nothing so shrugged his shoulders. Then the check-in agent forgot to give us the lounge passes and express customs passes, and had to come running after us. QANTAS Lounge: The food has improved quite a bit since I can't remember when - once the BNE Golden Lounge closed and one was shunted to the Qantas lounge, it seemed like "slim pickings" and "dieters delight". At least the offerings were edible and the soup was hot. Aircraft: After our experience on the outbound to Brisbane flight, I knew the plane would probably be still just as dirty. I managed to get the attention of one of the stewardesses, showed her the clean wet towel, then lightly wiped the armrest. Black!! Ditto for the side walls - there were marks/stains on the wall panel, that came off merely with a gentle wipe, no detergent needed. This clearly showed that the housekeeping was simply careless. Lifting up the velcro-attached seat pan cushion, there was all kinds of debris down there including toothpicks, crumbs, serviettes, wrappers - it seemed like one day an expert could do an "archeological dig" and just discover what kinds of foods were served in the plane. All the crevices and gaps on the seat had dust or crumbs, and looked as if hadn't been cleaned since the plane was delivered. Yes, those nooks and crannies are not easily accessible, but if the passenger can see through the gap, then it must be cleaned somehow. Breakfast: I thought I'd try their "Trio Grill" (Mixed Grill), but it turned out tough and dry. I'm sure the meat purchased was fine, but somewhere between initial cooking and reheating, something had gone rather wrong. Very disappointing for another "Chef On Call" meal (I called that the "Chef On Leave" meal, where untrained kitchen staff just bashed it together). Seat Comfort: An overnight flight is where a non total lie-flat seat really doesn't cut the mustard - a totally wasted opportunity to bring the airline up to date and deliver better J seats than their previous B772 and B744 aircraft. So, the revamp in 2005 (marketed as "An Experience Redefined") and 2011 (for the new A333) results in the same type of seat, except for the seat manufacturer. Six years down the track and no better? What were they thinking?! Cabin Crew: The crew were very mechanical and went through the motions without any emotion. We are always polite passengers and treat cabin crew like we would like to be treated, so when we say "Thank you", shouldn't the crew say something in return? No, nothing, on a number of occasions, when they took dishes away. Ditto when serving. Hint: here's some phrases you can use: "Here's the .... hope you enjoy it" or, "Did you enjoy that? Is there something else I can get you?". No, they were silent, seemingly unwilling and unhappy to be there. There was no spark, nor initiative, nor warmth, nor sincerity from the heart (that supposed last bastion of MH hospitality) on that flight - I got the distinct vibe that once MH lost the "Best Cabin Crew" status, they gave up and weren't going to try to regain that award. Nor did I sense any fighting spirit and earnestness to regain that award. And at this rate, are they likely to ever see that award again... Overall feeling? Supposed to be a five-star airline? All I can say is one can only hang on to one's laurels for a period, coast on built-up goodwill, then the rest is based on current performance. Don't be surprised to see a downgrade, given the product and service. Postscript: Was sent a survey from the "VP Products and Services, Commercial Division" post-flight asking about 6-star Hospitality. Firstly, the survey wasn't open for responses from SurveyMonkey, so that fell down at the first hurdle. After asking MH to re-open the survey, I got some kind of mealy-mouthed response why the survey wasn't active, something to do with the selection of names blah, blah, blah. None of the questions were even the Net Promoter Score type, the sort that tells you whether your customers are going to recommend your product and as a predictor of future growth. Really surprised that they don't use this type of questionnaire, so all I can surmise is maybe they want to do a survey, but don't really want the customers to tell them what they REALLY think, just the sort of answers that they'd like to see so they get their performance bonus!
  5. Folks, if there are 50% off Enrich redemptions coming up, will redemption rates for BNE-KUL-LHR in Business Class one-way likely be: 40,000 + 55,000 Miles = 95,000 (Regular, counting each leg separately) 51,000 Miles (quoted via Enrich currently) 47,500 Miles (if 50% off is offered from Regular rates) What has been the lowest rates offered in the past? Also, for the same number of miles, is it possible to fly BNE-KUL-AMS-FCO, with the last leg flown with a codeshare partner?
  6. Hello fellow-flyers on the (not so new now) A333 Recaro seats, I discovered a more comfortable seating position quite by mistake. Remember the photo with MAS chairman Tengku Azmil looking quite ungainly in the seat? Well, as I said, photos make you put on 10 pounds more, and the current seat position for "takeoff" is set to make one look very dumpy. Problem is, it is neither reclined nor upright, with a very uncomfortable lump in the small of one's back - quite awful actually. So, what did I do? I pressed the "M" (Memory) button, then lifted the armrest cover to access the secondary control panel. Press the button to raise the seat back further upright, then seat pan down. This adjusts the seat back forward by some 4 inches (10cm), tipping the seat more bolt upright. When compared with the seat next to me in the "take-off" position, this position was far more forward. I actually find this upright position far more comfortable, and I recommend it if one is sitting still for a long period without wanting to put tension on any of the joints. This position resembles the "Take-off and Landing" preset button on the B773, which is very comfortable. Maybe you engineers / aviation specialists can advise why these Recaro seats behave in this way too... pressing buttons in certain sequences can make seats articulate to an entirely different position.
  7. The headphones resembled a Philips noise-cancelling design. I did try it just to see what they were like... definitely an improvement over the old cheapie ones with foam pads. These cupped around your ears and did block out noise better. However, I ended up using my own QC2s, which have served me very well over the years. You still need the "F" shaped plug on your headphones to use the sound system. The dishware looked the same, the design launched as part of "an experience redefined". The mug in particular is very plain, no insignia or logo, it looks awfully bland. At least the dishes have some contour lines on the edges and look better. The only piece that looked very different was the wet towel dish for the satay course - the old ones were stainless steel dishes looking like a scallop shell; this has changed to a square glass dish with footed legs, with the airline's name etched on the clear glass. Honestly, don't know how these will stand up to wear, I heard more than one clang of a tray being dropped in the galley! OK folks, here's the lowdown on the airline, after the flight on 15-May. Pluses: * New plane, so as expected, very quiet especially during take-off and landing. The B777s are getting quite noisy, and the rattling, juddering and vibrating can be quite startling at times. * LED lights are very soothing; I liked the use of the pink colour scheme during the (night) take-off and landing, giving it a warm, cozy and reassuring atmosphere. * Toilets with the wood panelling, moulded counter-top and LED lights made it more welcoming and less stark and clinical. Don't know how long the shiny counter-top will remain so, it would probably show scratches very soon. * Headphones given were of higher quality than before, with noise-cancelling effect. Not bad, but not comparable to say, the Bose noise-cancelling QC range, which combined with the quieter plane, made for a good sound reproduction. Minuses: * The Recaro seating as expected is very firm. Good for safety though - prevents the "submarining" effect of passengers that could result in slipping under the seatbelt. Perhaps a compromise in seat comfort could be made... it had almost too much of a no-nonsense feel about it. * The standard take-off/landing preset position was very strange, a peculiar angle indeed. The B777's position is more a "bolt upright", where all your joints are at a 90-degree angle, seat in its lowest position, intended for a "quick getaway". The A333's instead slightly leans back, neither upright nor reclining, with a strange "thrust your tummy out" position. Warning: do not let anyone take photos of you in this position, they say photos add on 10 pounds, with this, you'll definitely look like a fatty-bom-bom! It could be my imagination, but it felt like there was something sticking in the small of my back, so I couldn't wait to alter this position as soon as the seat-belt sign went off. * Recline bed mode. Uhm, definitely not as comfortable as a full-flat. Despite others not liking the herringbone design, I would have liked to see this onboard, as it means a full-flat with more privacy. It would depend on passengers whether they can sleep on an angle, lucky for me, it's no big problem, I got a decent sleep and was fine the next morning. With the reduced seat pitch, you need to be careful where you stack your shoes, otherwise they'll be crushed by the footrest. * Privacy factor. With the low seat back shells, it gave a more open feeling, but loses out on privacy. You can definitely study the hairstyles of your fellow passengers (!). * Secondary control panel. This is located under the centre armrest console - so if you have a magazine or reading material or whatnot on the armrest, you have to remove it to access this. Ditto for the traytable. I still prefer the quick-deploy system of the B777, where a separate side panel conceals the tray table, so it's quicker to deploy and store. * No flight mode information?? Select that option and it's still "under development". Very strange. Also, the IFE only reads jpg, png, mp3, pdf formats (from what I can remember), no own video playback option (e.g. your own divx, avi etc.) * The screens are high-definition / wide-screen, but material is still low-definition? I hope MH will make it a priority to update its material, espcially their own ad (short trailer) when selecting each option. The graininess and poor quality makes it feel as if one were trying to watch VHS on a modern display panel! * Poor design of the drink-bottle holder. MH provides their own bottled water (500ml) when settling down at bed-time. It's meant to go in the strange "stubby cooler" holder near the leg rest, but this holder seems so small and tight, after struggling with it for a minute, I gave up. So, the only place is on the centre console, which creates its own problems. So, overall, not a great improvement on the previous B777, I think a bigger stride forward would have been good, "must try harder".
  8. A short travel report, in the style of the news.com.au reviews that we see syndicated here in Australia. Aircraft Malaysia Airlines Airbus A330-300 (A333) Route: Brisbane to Kuala Lumpur, MH134 Class: Business seat 2H Seat pitch and width: 60 inches between seats (seat pitch) and 20 inches between armrests, with a bed that reclines to a 12-degree angle. Seat Configuration: 2-2-2, for a total of 36 business-class seats. Every seat is either a window or aisle seat. Luggage Allowance: Checked-in luggage up to 30 kilograms and one carry-on piece up to seven kilograms. Scheduled flight time: Eight hours, twenty minutes. On-time performance: Spot-on for take-off, push-back exactly as scheduled. Landed in KLIA ten minutes early. Aircraft condition: Immaculate as the aircraft has only been in service for less than three weeks. The quietness of the aircraft makes for a much more pleasant flight. Lounge Access: As Malaysia Airlines has no lounge of its own in Brisbane, it uses the Qantas International lounge. Today, the lounge was very crowded until the call was made for the QF flight to Hong Kong. Comfort: The Recaro Comfort Line 6510 seats are reasonably comfortable. There are a number of pre-set positions for landing, lounging, dining and sleeping. Additional adjustments are available under the panel in the centre arm console. Drop-down armrest in recline mode extends bed width from 20 inches to 25 inches. Service: Warm and attentive, service is always with a smile, nod and "You're welcome". It's no wonder this airline has been awarded "Best Cabin Crew" numerous times in the past decade. Console/Entertainment: The 15.4 inch touch-screen high-definition screen and handset makes navigating the entertainment options easy. There is a USB port for listening to own music or browsing photos, a great way to review those holiday snaps. Food and beverages: There is a light supper featuring the signature dish of satay; whilst it is a little messy to eat, a wet washer is available to clean up. A full hot breakfast with a choice of three hot mains makes waking up that much easier. Amenties: A Clarins toiletries bag is provided. The toilets on-board are in sparkling clean condition, the wood panelling and LED lights make it a pleasant experience. Flight frequency: Malaysia Airlines flies from Brisbane to Kuala Lumpur five times a week (Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat & Sun). The Airbus A333 is the newest fleet addition for Malaysia Airlines, and is currently exclusively assigned to Brisbane. Arrival: KLIA is one of the leading airports of South-East Asia; passengers on Malaysia Airlines Business Class can use the airlines' Golden Lounge at the Satellite Building to freshen up, useful if dashing off to a meeting or there is a connecting flight ahead.
  9. Not quite yet, coming up on 15-May, BNE-KUL. Wait for it, my pretties, you don't want to experience "premature elucidation" do you???
  10. I couldn't agree with you more Mushrif. After the "Mengecewakan Harapan" (disappointing one's hope) in the seating, let's hope the catering doesn't go any worse. Here is my view on what the situation has been. Of course prior to the refurbishment that saw "An Experience Redefined" with lie-flat seats installed in the B772 and B744, catering was something that came from the trolleys. One peered into the large china dishes and said a bit of this and that and it was dished up, neatly or otherwise as the case may have been. With the launch of the "fine dining" concept", there was a lot of publicity and photos showing smart plated-up meals, complete with Wedgwood china, silverware and Italian glassware. So what's happened since then? Particularly for the Brisbane to Kuala Lumpur route? Cue, exhibit A, which I compiled to show the rise and fall of catering: In case you're wondering, these are photos I took of the food, and just as well I had a record of the good things from times past. Again, I wonder if it's the standard from the last picture they're trying to compare the said improvements from, when the plane downgraded from the B772 to the (old) A330. The standard of catering also went backwards to match the ambience and amenities! In the words of Mushrif, anyone can improve on that one, even your local kopitiam if they tried a bit!
  11. Dear, oh dear, after the long-awaited build-up, the product is revealed officially. All I can say for Brisbane is "two steps back and only one step forward". Up to approximately the middle of last year, we had the B772 serving us seven days a week. This plane had adequate amenities in C, particularly the seat pitch and angle of the lie-flat seats at approximately 172 degrees. Then in an attempt to remove the tag-on arrangement with Sydney, it reverted to just five days a week, with an ancient A330. It was anticipated this replacement would be better than previous equipment, but I guess that's relative to which standard they're comparing to. The seat pitch for the new A333 looks very cramped indeed, I think it would be difficult to step around a sleeping passenger if you were seated in the window seat. You'd need to "take one giant step for mankind" to step over the extended seat and into the aisle, when previously, you could walk around, albeit sideways and avoid bumping and waking your fellow passenger. Also, I hear the angle of the lie-flat is even raked even more sharply than previous, and may be 10 degrees or more off horizontal. There were already complaints that the previous 744 and 772 lie-flats weren't horizontal enough and the sliding feeling was somewhat disconcerting - well, definitely don't wear anything slinky or you'd be playing slippery slide all evening. With the other Malaysian rival flying from Coolangatta with lie-flat seats in "premium economy" even though they are supposedly a low-cost airline, MH had a real chance to introduce a game-changer and up the ante. Particularly if it wants to tout itself as a full-service five-star airline. Wanting to be first in Asia, well, seat comfort is so very vital to the quality of sleep, one of the most important factors of how premium passengers feel when they arrive at their destination and be productive. CX for example have set an ambitious fleet refurbishment, and whatever you might say about herringbone style lie-flats, they do offer a generous space and privacy for sleep time. Particularly when they are coupled with full-sized pillows, crisp cotton sheets and a quilt, it does feel moreso like your regular bed would. Brisbane to KL is an 8.5 hour flight overnight, so sleep quality is very important, a regional jet like this really is for shorter-haul missions. I guess for now, MH means "menyelaraskan harapan" - get ready to adjust your expectations...
  12. Alamak, I've just been told by a reliable source that the seats in "C" will be lie-flat, but NOT 180-degree lie-flat. While not completely "Musnah Harapan" (destroyed all hope), it certainly is "Mengecewakan Harapan" (disappointing one's hope).
  13. I've been told it won't be herringbone configuration, but conventional front-facing. The 64K question is will they be 180-degree lie-flat??
  14. Newsflash from Brian Egan, Sales Manager, Malaysia Airlines, Brisbane: ----------------------- 9M-MTA arrives KUL on April 5 and will commence KUL-BNE-KUL April 20, 3 weeks ahead of schedule 9M-MTB is on the line as F-WWYX ----------------------- Thank goodness for that, our "salvation" draweth nigh! No more flights on the old A332 after this - hooray! I do wonder though, what the C seats look like...
  15. When the aircraft departs Brisbane at 2320, you can barely see the livery. During the flight, you certainly can't see the livery. The important part for me is the cabin comfort, seat comfort (pitch, width, total lie-flat etc), AVOD, in-flight service and cuisine etc. Believe you me, five sticks of tasty satay just about beats the prettiest livery!
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