The flight was LHR-AMS-CPT and the Economy Comfort on the long-haul sector gives you a handy 35" leg room and is definitely worth the extra money plus you get out the aircraft ahead of the masses. As usual with KLM, a good all-round service apart from the baggage which, along with 17 other peoples effects, was left behind and arrived the next day on the Air France flight from Paris. According to the handling agent in CPT, this is happening quite a lot nowadays......are they perhaps prioritising well paying airfreight ahead of passengers baggage ?
Excellent service but it's time the B777 had a refit. The seats are looking jaded and worn.
My wife and I were on a long-haul Manila - Honolulu flight. Boarding was average and despite being a new A330, the seating was cramped and uncomfortable but wait for it...The stewardess that served our section stood chewing gum with her mouth open during the safety briefing!
After take off an announcement was made that supper would be served shortly...well if you call over an hour "shortly" when it's already gone 11pm and everybody was starving and wondering what was going on. Then after the meal the seatbelt sign went on for at least an hour after one minor shake due to high winds.
Now personally I think this was a plan hatched to get everybody to sit down whilst they tidied up the cabin and removed the dirty trays. The only really positive comment I can make is it arrived on time. Never again!
IAD - LHR Business
This trip was interesting for the drama encountered at IAD before take-off, but it might be of interest to others so is recounted here. I changed my ticket two days earlier from an overnight flight to the one day flight back to LHR.
I had never flown back from the US during the day, and wanted to see if the day flight was easier on jet lag (it is). Anyway, I was able to change my ticket, but only after paying an additional £400, as I had a fully flexible, but corporate ticket.
On the following day, I tried to check in 24 hours before departure. I was not able to choose a seat. At that point I wondered if there was a problem, but phoned United and they confirmed that I was on the flight, no problems.
At check-in at Dulles, the same thing happened. Check-in is extremely impersonal; you complete all formalities yourself and the attendant simply tags your luggage and off you go. I am rather surprised that this is how they also treat their premium passengers (either business or star gold, it makes no difference).
I had to wait about 10 minutes as I could not be issued a boarding pass and staff did not really know how to react, and in the end simply directed me to the gate for a seat assignment with a blank boarding pass. Again, I was assured I was on the flight.
Beginning to be a bit concerned, I made my way through security (slow, but not as bad as I expected) and to the gate. At this point, my fears became reality. I was told that there were no seats available and that I would not be flying, as there were no more seats for stand-bys. I corrected the agent, pointing out that I had a flexible business class ticket, one that I had just changed two days ago at an additional cost of £400 (on top of the £3000+ for the original ticket).
By now two agents were staring at their screens trying to figure out what happened. I was told that I would have to wait until boarding, and that perhaps there would be a seat in economy for me. I was also told that all 3 evening flights were fully booked as well, just in case I wasn't concerned enough as it was. I asked if I could go to the lounge, as I had not eaten and if I was going to be back in economy, I might want to have something.
Once in the lounge, I explained my problem to the staff there (once I could get in: at this point I had no boarding pass, but at least I had my star alliance gold card). I expressed my surprise at being sold a seat two days earlier that clearly did not exist. Staff here were much more pro-active, and liaised with the gate.
I was told that indeed the flight was oversold completely with every seat taken by a fare paying passenger. Not good news. I was also told that I may be able to get a seat in economy, and be given the difference in fare back, plus $1000 in vouchers. I mulled this over as I waited until departure, thinking that the voucher would only come in handy if I chose United in the future, which was doubtful given the events.
About 30 minutes before departure, I was called back to the gate and told that I was going on the flight, although I did not hear where. At that point, another woman was called forward and told that she was being downgraded. She was offered the same package and was clearly not happy. I was not offered this myself, which I thought a bit odd, given the fact that the woman was travelling as part of a pair, and her companion kept her original seat.
I was given my boarding pass, seat 1B, and I asked what had happened. I was told that because her ticket was a lower class business fare, she was the first to be downgraded. I can now see that this costs the airline less, as the differential in fare is less. However, it took nothing into account that she was travelling with someone, and I was alone. Worse, I then had to sit next to the companion the entire flight. Not the most comfortable situation.
So in the end, I was in my business class seat, as planned, but only after a stressful hour. What no one seems able to explain is why a seat was sold only 2 days before the flight, which was already full. I know airlines oversell seats all the time, but one would have thought that the computer at this point would have said "no." I should point out that the 757 only has 15 business class seats, and no first class. Therefore, the margin for error is small.
The rest of the flight passed uneventfully. I just kept myself to myself after apologising to the woman sitting next to me, even though I had done nothing wrong myself. The flight was similar to the flight I took out: excellent and plentiful food offerings (delicious turbot), a good level of service with friendly crew, and excellent IFE (although not as good as the 777 on the number of film offerings, but still plenty). The seat had a bit more room than the 777, but was in a similar aisle/window configuration (in a 2-2 formation rather than 2-4-2 on the 777). I did not try the sleeping position, but it does go fully flat.
Some find the 757 a bit clausterphobic for a transatlantic flight, but I actually like the small cabin. It was very quiet, except for the crew who carried on in the galley right in front of me. But this was only really ever annoying when the cockpit door is open and the galley is barricaded with trolleys, as is the rule on US airlines.
I would definitely take the day flight again. Although you lose your day, it is much less disruptive in my opinion than the overnight flight. Again, in terms of food, service and IFE, I would rank United's product ahead of BA, and would probably choose it over BA (in particular as BA does not offer the day return flight from IAD). I would just be careful if you check in and there is no seat available!
London Heathrow - Kuala Lumpur
Departure: 12:00 (actual 12:15)
Arrival: 07:35 (on time)
Introduction: This was the first of a multi-sector trip from London to Bangkok via KUL. I purchased my tickets on expedia.co.uk and if anyone happened to read my 'mistake fare' thread on Businesstraveller.com they will know the background to what was literally a steal of a fare.
Malaysia Airlines operates two daily flights from London to Kuala Lumpur. Both are using three class A380's with First, Business and Economy classes. The first flight MH003 which I was taking departs at midday to arrive in Kuala Lumpur the following morning. The latter departs LHR at night and arrives in KUL the following late afternoon.
Check in: Malaysian Airlines operates from Terminal Four at Heathrow. I had checked in online via malaysiaairlines.com the night before and printed my boarding cards for both LHR - KUL and KUL - BKK. I still had a bag to drop though so
I proceeded to the MH Premium Check In desks at Zone B and was swiftly seen to by the handling agent (Alitalia). She said that she would need to print new boarding cards for me to get through security anyway. Not sure why, but was not an inconvenience.
I was checked in within a matter on minutes, issued both my boarding cards and directed to Fast Track security and the lounge. Security was really quiet. In fact the longest line at the xray machine was the Fast Track line. So I just went through a regular lane.
The Lounge: Malaysia Airlines operates it's own Golden Club lounge one floor up from departures towards gate 6. It is an impressive facility with loads of natural light and floor to ceiling windows. As it is located several floors up and is on a corner of T4 it offers unrivaled views over Heathrow - and the MH A380 herself parked a few doors down. It really is a plane spotters paradise.
There were separate Business and First class sections to the lounge, but bizzarly they are separated only by a completely see through glass door. I could understand opaque or frosted glass but its weird just this whole panel of clear glass seperating the two sections. The First Class lounge and offerings looked identical to the Business Class lounge and decor fairly similar except with some more designer like chairs etc. Anyway, back to the Business Class Lounge.
The lounge seems relatively new and this is obvious. It is very much a bamboo/wood theme with comfortable chairs and sofas. Food and beverage offerings were extensive and generous. The lounge at this time catered mainly to breakfast and offered a buffet featuring hot dishes - scrambled eggs, sausages, baked beans, Malaysian noodles and (the delicious) Malaysian Nasi Lemak with prawn Sambal. There were also fresh fruits, bakery items, a cold fish platter, yoghurts etc.
There was a manned bar with barista. He prepared me one of the most delicious cafe lates I have had - anywhere. Champagne and a full liquor range were also available. The bar was not self service and I kind of wish that you could at least help yourself to water and juices etc. I begin to feel like a pain in the neck every time I wanted a single glass of water.
The washrooms were beautifully appointed and immaculate. I'm not sure if showers were available. There were also some dining tables close by the buffet station. Three pc's. And free fast wifi provided by BT. Tables were promptly cleared and as they were cleared the staff asked if you would like a refill.
Anyway, I enjoyed my time in the lounge. The food was great. It was an oasis of calm (I got there early and nabbed a great solo window seat overlooking the active runway). Boarding was called and I proceeded to gate 5 just a few minutes walk away.
Boarding/pre take off: Boarding commenced 40minutes prior to departure through two doors. 1 door was for the lower deck (first class and economy) and the second door for the upper deck (Business Class and the small upper deck economy cabin).
I was welcomed at the door and directed to my seat, 7K. There was already a duvet and pillow on my seat as well as the menu and wine list in the seat pocket. Soon after taking my seat one of the crew offered me a choice of drink: OJ, water or 'ruby passion' which I learned was a tea/juice fusion with fresh mint.
There were no bubbles on offer. I tried the ruby passion. It was delicious. Big thick hot towels were then distributed, followed by newspapers. We closed up and pushed back at 12:15.
The seat/cabin: Malaysia Airlines A380's have 64 seats split across two cabins on the upper deck. Starting from the front of the upper deck there are two (huge!) bathrooms and a small area where snacks were later set up as well as a magazine rack.
Then there was a small J class mini cabin of just three rows (6-8). Behind the mini cabin is a large galley/bathroom complex. Then a much larger J class cabin (8 rows). Behind this larger J cabin is the upper deck economy cabin. And as MH have their controversial no kids on the upper deck' policy in Y you can be guaranteed there will be no screaming kids in the cot sets behind in the first row of economy.
I wasn't really sure what to expect with the seats as I had read quite a lot of reviews with some quite negative about them. For example, claiming it is not a true lie flat bed. Alas, I discovered the seats were indeed comfortable in both sitting and bed mode. They are upholstered in a calming blue/mauve/purple cloth and configured 2x2x2 with ample leg room.
There is a large fixed cocktail table between each two seats. The IFE screen is large and fitted in the setback in front of you with the control in the armrest. The tray table is located in the armrest and is of a good design, allowing you to move it forward, backwards and even outwards and to the side so you can still leave your seat easily if you have a tray in front of you. The other armrest has a mechanism where you can push a button and it raises fully to allow a couple extra inches of room at shoulder level when in bed mode. There is also a manual dividing screen that can be raised between the two seats.
Storage space is ample. In fact so many little nooks about I was worried I would forget where I put everything and leave something behind. There were large side lockers (though not large enough or a trolley bag) a small storage draw just below the IFE screen for specs, documents, water bottles etc. As well as a larger draw at the bottom of the seat in front for shoes, handbags, etc.
The controls for the seat are straight forward touch buttons near the cocktail table. There are pre set selections for take off/landing mode, flat bed mode and a lounging mode. There is also a memory button so you can program your own ideal position and store it. The seat was comfortable in the flat position and the surface felt smooth - no bumps or creases. I was comfortable in flat bed mode and managed a few hours sleep.
Now for the drawbacks. It is true that the seat can feel a little narrow. For myself, this was mainly caused by the size of the fixed cocktail table in the centre of the seats. It is really large and always seemed to take up quite a lot of leg space if you have your legs crossed. It was probably psychological too. It just makes the seat look narrow. It would have been much better if they had opted for a cocktail table that perhaps folded up to use and then could be clipped down.
Others have mentioned in their review that although the seat reclines to a fully flat position, the leg rest does not continue totally flush with the seat and tapers down slightly at an angle. This is true, but the angle is really tiny. Why they did not make it completely flush with the seat I cannot understand. There is room there for it to be completely flat and obviously the mechanism is available.
Anyway, the seat in the bed mode was completely dreamy compared to the horrendous AA angled flat seats I was in a couple weeks ago.
Which seat to choose: I would definitely go for a seat in the front 'mini cabin' of three rows. It feels more intimate than the larger J cabin. My personal preference is for window seats generally, however that means when traveling next to a stranger I have to climb over. This didn't prove to require herculean efforts or advanced contortionist skills unlike my recent AA flight. Window seats also have more personal storage (the side lockers).
Service flow and catering: Post take off headphones and a decently stocked amenity kit was offered. The IFE was then switched on but first a L O N G Malaysia Tourism advertisement was played complete with an annoying theme tune over the aircraft pa.
Lunch orders were then taken. I had already pre ordered mine having used the 'book the cook' facility. It is available to all passengers in J and F and the options really are extensive (around 15 main meal choices). Top tier MH frequent flyers get an even greater variety of choice.
My meal selection of cod was confirmed by the flight attendant (the first and only time my name would be used during the flight). For those whom hadn't pre ordered the choices were:
Starter: smoked salmon with salmon roe.
Mains: braised chicken thigh in sweet tomato gravy. Grilled rib eye of beef. Pan fried salmon fillet. Or lamb biriyani.
Dessert was banoffee pie, cheese or fresh fruit.
Drinks with packaged nuts then followed. I had another 'ruby passion'. Champagne was Tattinger Brut Reserve NV. Wines a 2010 Montagny Chardonnay, a 2011 NZ Sauvignon blanc, a 2009 Chatea Puygueraud Merlot or a 2009 Serego Alighieri Possessioni Roso. There were ten coffee options (yes 10) and nine tea options.
Then came the infamous 'satay service'. It was a really lovely touch and the presentation was flawless. A choice of chicken, beef or a combination of the two were offered. Portions were generous (I received five sticks) and they were served with the traditional accompaniments and another big thick hot towel.
Once the satay remnants were cleared away the main meal service began with linen lined on our tray tables followed by our starters and a side plate of fruit. A selection of breads were offered as well as a choice of wines. The starter plates were then cleared in and the mains served. My main was fantastic. The portion was large, it was perfectly cooked and it was quite unique and daring in ingredients. It really was a taste sensation. A dessert and tea and coffee service followed but I did not partake.
Everything was cleared in and bottles of water distributed. The duty free carts passed through the aisles then it was lights out. There was a selection of self service snacks set up in the galley areas or more substantial snacks were available on request (noodles etc).
The bathrooms were spotless every time I went in. Approximately two and a half hours before landing in KL the cabin became a gentle orange colour thanks to the mood lighting and breakfast was served.
Again it was a substantial offering. Fruit, museli and bakery items to start followed by a choice of four main options. I chose the Nasi Lemak. It was excellent.
Once breakfast was cleared in we had about an hour to run. I watched a little more tv and before I knew it we were on final approach to KL. A quick taxi and we pulled onto stand at the satellite terminal ontime.
IFE: Being a new aircraft the IFE was pretty top notch. The screen is very large and offered a massive amount of new releases and tv programs including some interesting documentaries. Picture and sound quality was excellent. There was also a tail mounted camera which gave amazing perspectives on taxi, take off and landing.
Crew: Given that Malaysia Airlines has won 'worlds best cabin crew' for the last few years as voted by Skytrax, I'll admit my expectations were high. The crew on the whole were good. Excellent? I'm not so sure. They all looked immaculate, were all slim. None of the fatties or unkempt types you can encounter in the west.
There was a 50/50 male to female ratio and they seemed to be 'mature' by Asian airline standards with the average age probably in the mid 40's. They were polite and friendly but I'm not sure they were all what I would have wished from 'the worlds best cabin crew'.
They were not particularly engaging, didn't introduce themselves. My name was used only once unlike say CX where they use it throughout the flight. The smile looked a tiny bit plastered on. Yet, you couldn't fault them either.
They went through the motions and I must admit were extremely patient with the belligerent seat mate I had (an embarrassment to the British).
What I found particularly disappointing was the lack of any role their 'Cabin Chief' played. He was not involved in the service. He did not greet or speak to any passengers (not in the cabin I was in anyway). Every time I went to the washroom or to stretch my legs he was sat in his 'office' by the galley, curtain closed. The only time I saw him carry a service item was a cup of coffee - his own - from the mid galley, through the cabin to his curtained off den.
I think it is in this area where MH could really pick up it's game. When I fly Cathay or SQ I really do get off the aircraft feeling I was a 'valued customer'. I don't expect anyone to come kiss my butt but I enjoy the little bit of banter with the Chief when they come and greet top tier FF's for a little chat.
I'm guessing (maybe someone closer to MH ways can confirm) that there is a hierarchy in place in terms of crew working on which aircraft and routes. The crew on my connecting short haul flight from KL to BKK were flawless. And seemed much younger (and probably newer). Maybe those working on the A380 long haul routes are very senior and just a little more subdued and relaxed with the whole thing?
Conclusion: Given some of the fares I've seen MH advertise from the UK to the likes of Australia (c£2700 rtn) they not only offer a superb service but also great prices for a premium product.
The lounges are great, the seats very good, service very good, food excellent. I would definitely have no hesitation in flying MH again and would chose them over any European airline I have ever flown.
We recently had the unfortunate experience of flying 10 hours on this terrible plane to Jamaica, like others we were conned by Thomsons who advised our original plane needed routine maintenance and they had cancelled our Premium seats.
ShlomiLevy flew Norwegian
To who ever it may concern - I booked a flight with Norwegian for my grandmother and grandfather to visit Israel. It was their dream for 30 years to see Israel and they were very excited. 4 days ago my grandfather passed away in an accident and my grandmother decided she cant go on the trip because she is too hard broken. When I turned to Norwegian to request a refund for the tickets they stated that the tickets are "low fare" so they cannot be refunded in ANY CASE.
I asked the nice person on the phone who are they going to fly exactly? the person has PASSED AWAY and the answer I got was "I am very sorry but even if the person died we cannot refund the tickets".
My grandparents have been using Norwegian airlines for 30 years, they have spent more then 100,000 KR in tickets from Spain (where they live) and Norway (where they were born) and not to mention other destinations around the world. And the thanks they get from Norwegian? they wouldn't refund them 2000 KR because they bought "a none refundable ticket".
I hope you can sleep soundly at night knowing what you have done, my grandmother has been left without anything after her husband of 38 years has passed away and she is fighting for ever penny she can get to live and you hold on to your "none refundable".
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED DO NOT BOOK TICKETS WITH THIS COMPANY BECAUSE EVEN IN DEATH YOU WONT GET THAT MONEY BACK IF YOU ARE IN NEED.
Most unfriendly and lousy airline that I have ever traveled in. Flew from Rome to Toronto on 14th May
SERVICE - MOST RUDEST FLIGHT ATTENDANTS. They do not respond to any individual calls. You have to get up and walk to the front or to the back of the airplane if you need water, and serve yourself. I travelled with an infant, when I asked for some milk, one Attendant bluntly said no. But another attendant was good enough to accept the bottle and asked for my seat no. However, most of them are grumpy and look annoyed.
Entertainment - No personal entertainment, No power, No USB. There are TVs at the center which plays some videos. Most of those TVs are not functioning properly, some screens are in mono color.
Transport to Airplane - In crowded buses. So unorganized that passengers were asked to stay inside the bus for a long time after the bus had reached the plane.
NOT RECOMMENDED, CHEAP DEALS THAT YOU WOULD REGRET FOR TAKING.
As the Premium Economy concept is still relatively new, I have to compare my experience with those I had flown in the past, namely Qantas and Virgin Atlantic.
The check in and boarding at Cathay Pacific was fast as they had dedicated counters for Premium Economy. However, the cabin crew are shared with Economy, hence they never appear between services; this is appalling compared to the other airlines who have dedicated crew for Premium Economy and cost much less.
There is no menu provided to Premium Economy passengers, who have to rely on the heavily accented speech of the cabin crew. I ended up ordering something I was allergic to, but because the crew then all went to serving Economy passengers, I could not bring my problem to their attention until they were removing the plates, by which time it would have been embarrassing to order something else.
The wine service is non existent unless you ask for it. On a Qantas flight, it flows freely. I seemed to be the only one in the Premium Economy enclosure who wanted wine between meals but it would have been nice to be offered some without having to press the call button for it every time.
Overall, this service is nowhere near that of Qantas. It is better than Virgin in that they don't run out of food as Virgin do, but I would not recommend it over Qantas, who charge marginally more. I chose to fly Cathay only because many people recommended it over Qantas, but having flown both, I would always go with Qantas in the future.
Flew A380 of AF for the first time in CDG-IAD sector. The boarding was smooth/ fast and the in flight service was excellent (Looks like AF choses staff for A380 services selectively, as the experience in other AF were different!!!). The food and beverages were also excellent.
The only drawback was that IAD airport appeared not equipped to handle these many passengers at a time. Had to wait in the queue for around 2 hours to go through emigration. But since it was not a fault of AF, I would definitely recommend this flight service to anyone!