The return trip from Singapore was once again with Malaysian Airline, but this time I was treated to First Class. Frank managed to find an excellent deal, which meant the price was far from exorbitant and it gave me something to really look forward to.
Singapore to KL
I had a couple of hours to kill in Singapore airport, having arrived straight from my wonderfully relaxing session at the onsen. Malaysia Airlines have shut down their executive lounge at Singapore airport, but I was directed to a shared lounge to wait for my flight. It was if I’m honest, a bit chaotic. Screaming children and people shouting into their phones. Far from the chilled out environment I was looking for. I waited long enough to charge my phone and my iPad and made my way back out into the terminal to find somewhere else to relax.
It took the form of an Irish-Amercian sports bar! Why? Well, Friday 17th March was of course St. Patrick’s Day. And what sort of Irishman would I be if I didn’t partake of a Guinness on this special day?! You won’t be surprised to learn that Guinness is a bit thin on the ground in Singapore Airport, but a quick online search revealed “O’Leary’s Sports Bar” and I took a punt they’d have some.
And they did!
Even though the first leg was an hour-long flight, from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, it was marked by the good humour and friendliness of the cabin crew. They dealt really well with a couple of fellow business class passengers who didn’t seem to want to follow the rules about seat belts, baggage storage and generally sitting the fuck down when told. They were completely indifferent and quite rude, but the cabin crew used charm and smiles. And it worked!
Kuala Lumpur Airport
Arriving in KL, I had an hour between flights, so quickly swung by the Golden Circle lounge to use the bathroom before heading to the gate. No time to stop for a meal, but I knew there was quite a bit of food ahead of me and so wasn’t too worried I’d go hungry. I had quite a long walk from my arrival gate to departure gate, including a trip on the transit train between terminals.
Unfortunately, my flight to London was delayed, but this was only after I’d gone through the security at the gate, so it wasn’t possible to leave the secure area and head back to the lounge. Security itself was a bit of a shambles – a combination, I think, of too few staff and lots of tired passengers forgetting what was in their bags, pockets and hands! Thankfully, the delay to boarding wasn’t too long and I was (once again) the first passenger on board.
The First Class cabin is really nicely laid out on Malaysian. Seats are wide and comfortable and convert into flat beds quickly and simply. I could easily sit on it with both my legs folded up to the side, more like lounging on a couch than sitting on a typical airline seat.
I got changed into my favourite sweatpants just as soon as I could and sat back, planning to stay awake for a few hours, in an attempt to reset my body clock.
But before I could even check out what films were available, I was offered some champagne. I had read that Malaysian Airlines won’t serve alcohol on the ground, instead offering fruit juice. This had been the case on my short trips between KL and Singapore. But I guess different rules apply in First Class? Anyway, I was more in need of some water but didn’t pass up the opportunity for a glass of bubbly while I waited for take-off.
The captain announced that because flight time had been estimated as slightly shorter than usual (no idea why) and we weren’t allowed to land at Heathrow until 6am, we had to wait on the ground in KL for another 30mins or so. As I had no pressing engagements in London (except for a shower) and the champagne was on tap, I responded to this news with a lot more calm and acceptance than I might have in other circumstances.
See – flying First Class is good for your mental health! (Citation required)
The comfort of the seat (and my sweatpants), combined with the apparently bottomless glass of champagne that the crew kept providing, meant that I actually dozed off long before I’d planned. I woke up to find one of the cabin crew and the purser ready and waiting to confirm I was ready to receive dinner. It was a little spooky and I wonder how long they’d been standing there, waiting for me to wake up…
The food was really excellent, made all the better by the superb service. I think I was one of only two passengers sitting in the First Class cabin, which may go some way to explaining how it was that I virtually had my own private member of the team waiting on me hand and foot. She was incredibly friendly and attentive and nothing was too much trouble.
As it was a night flight, I only watched about 20mins of TV before changing into my Malaysian Airlines pyjamas. Super comfortable and, amazingly for me, a perfect fit! I was sure to hold on to them and may re-use them when I next fly to Tokyo.
When I came back to my seat, my bed had been made up for me (I was gone all of 5mins) and so I quickly got comfortable, switched off my lights, pulled on a sleep mask and was almost instantly asleep.
I slept for a solid six and a half hours, waking only once to use the bathroom (all that champagne, no doubt). Breakfast service kicked off at about 4am UK time, but as I’m not much of a breakfast person, I stuck with a smoothie, some coffee and some fruit.
Apologies for the lack of food pics! I was so tired by the time I chose to eat, I’d completely forgotten to grab my phone. But here’s a photo of the menu, which I took before we left KL. Mouthwatering…and every bite was delicious!
I chose the Daging Masak Hitam, a delicious beef dish, with one hell of a kick!
All in all
I’d definitely fly Malaysian again if I got to go First Class! I’d have to be mad to pass up the opportunity. Really, for such a long journey, a bed is a must. The food and excellent service were just the icing on the cake.
It was a lower-cost alternative to British Airways, with comparable First Class service. The only thing is the need to stop at KL Airport, which I personally find to be disorganised and a bit stressful. If Malaysia Airlines offered a direct Heathrow to Singapore flight like BA do, I’d be there in a heartbeat!