The return flight of MH 78, this was a morning flight from Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur in Business Class on a Malaysia Airlines A330-300. The plan was to make the 6am shuttle bus from the Novotel Citygate, which was the first of the day, but checkout took a little longer than expected so the bus left without me. Instead of waiting I just shelled out the HKD $45 for the taxi to the airport mainly because there was one free and ready to go, plus having plenty of Hong Kong currency to burn helps.
The ramp to departures at 6:15am- things were reasonably quiet but picking up slowly
I proceeded direct to check-in as I was a little later checking in than usual (I usually check in right on opening). There were no other people for the Golden Club Class line so I jumped straight in.
The agent was very efficient. Apparently there was someone sitting next to me (not sure why they would choose a seatmate in a lightly loaded flight) but she helped move me to another window seat very quickly. I was given an invite to ‘The Traveler’s Lounge’ and my thoughts were here we go, another cheap and basic lounge that’s probably crowded.
Check in scenes
Boarding pass issued
I got to the Traveler’s Lounge entry at about 6:40am, and you can read the review for The Traveler’s Lounge here.
I proceeded to the gate at around 7:55am, 10 minutes before boarding.
Dragonair being pushed back with the tail of my ride to Kuala Lumpur International visible
9M-MKE, take me to KUL
These old A330s have really grown on me since the end of the trip. Lots of shortcomings, the new A330 would be just the ticket, but there’s definitely some nostalgia to them which doesn’t make them overly unpleasant to fly in.
If we were at MEL 5 minutes before boarding time the gate would be empty, but at HKG you have to admire just how organised they are
I got into my usual spot of #1 for the J line, while the Y line started to build
A sign was put up (not easily visible due to the glare) to invite priority boarding for those needing assistance.
Then I was ushered to board
Date: 8 December 2012
Flight: MH 79
Route: HKG (VHHH) – KUL (WMKK)
Aircraft: Airbus A330-322
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Photo © XiaoYuEr
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Photo © Edward Zhu
Quick facts: First flight was on 21/03/1995. This aircraft is 17.7 years old. It was delivered on 2/4/1995.
Scheduled / Actual Departure (gate): 8:45am / 8:46am UTC+8
Scheduled / Actual Arrival (date): 12:35pm / 12:38pm UTC+8
Flight Time (gate to gate) / Scheduled: 3h52m / 3h50m
I was directed to my seat by the team
Onboard and seated in 5K
The classic view from my seat shot
Coming around to determine welcome drink preferences
Menu for last night’s flight from KUL
And for today
It appeared that most cargo wasn’t on yet
I was surprised at 8:27AM, 18 minutes prior to departure to see the forward door being closed.
Then a quick count- only 6 in the J cabin today with 4 cabin crew and an inflight supervisor (now called cabin crew in charge- does that subtle name change mean that more ‘helping out’ is expected?). Love a light load.
Right on time we started pushback, and the safety video was played. The screen was in a bad way, the people in the video would go from being black and white to having skin with a nice blueish hue. And plenty of crackles and pops in the audio. If you don’t believe me watch the video report for this flight (embedded from YouTube below) where I’ve included a snippet of the new video. The new video has really grown on me, and I now rate it very highly- streets ahead of the old one. The third viewing is lucky it seems.
On the way to the runway
Hong Kong Airlines, with an American Airlines jet in the hanger
We soon departed on runway 07R and the views on climb out were pretty good
Cabin during climb
And above the clouds
From recent travel, there is nothing like flying on a morning flight with the sun streaming through the window, while in a near-empty and silent business class cabin where you can’t see anyone else. Moments like this remind you why flying in a premium cabin is a much loved pastime by so many. The Select media players were given out individually today (rather than on a trolley) and I was called by name on all encounters. The crew had really brought their A-game to the flight, although the light load helps.
Sadly, nobody had bothered to update the content for December (it was the 8th) so I’d already watched the best of the system
Putting on some music
The brunch service was pretty casual which is good on a 3 hour flight when you have no bars to visit or showers to use. Or even built-in AVOD freshly updated for December to be viewing.
Orders were taken and I opted for the pasta
Starting with some tea or coffee- I like the plunger that MH uses
And then came the tray with some fresh fruits and yogurt
The bread basket came around with all your favourite breakfast pastries
Then came the drinks trolley- I decided to make it a champagne breakfast, so they needed to go back to the galley for to pop the cork or something
During the meal
The cabin crew member in charge came to my seat and said “Mr. Xflksjflksdfkl?” I was somewhat confused. “Oh hang on, you’re Mr. Themit9. Unfortunately we don’t have any servings of the pasta left, can I offer you something else?”
It was a shame but I had my other eye on the Deep Fried Basa Fish noodles, which were promptly brought over
Champagne, coffee, noodles, all in an empty J cabin. Life complete.
The noodles were first class, from the perfect fish to the delicate flavours of the ginger mushroom oyster sauce- it tasted fantastic. I was glad to have these over the pasta actually.
Putting on the TV- seeing the same Modern Family episode on MH for about the 3rd time.
Of course, some of the best IFE is out the window- but we all know that
Pudding for dessert- I don’t think it was the rice pudding so not sure what it was. It could have been the rice pudding I guess. My knowledge of Asian desserts is poor at best. There was a vague mention of beans- leftovers from last night’s menu maybe?
Either way it was delicious
The meal service was out of the way, so I could watch the IFE and enjoy my beverages.
The cabin after a quick lav trip
As we got closer to Malaysia, it was ice cream time
The crew constantly kept topping up drinks right up until the top of descent- and I was even offered more juice as the headsets were being collected for landing
Premium lane cards came around
As close to time as possible, welanded on Runway 32R and taxied to the terminal building. All in all, what a great flight.
KLIA would have to just about be my favourite airport experience, and the justification for this was on display again today.
Passing through the premium lane was a breeze, and my bag was, as usual waiting for me on the carousel. From there it was a short walk to the meeting point for the Pan Pacific hotel- where I would be staying until MH 129 to MEL tomorrow. You can walk easily to the Pan Pacific, but with my 3 bags getting heavier with airline goodies and other purchases I took up the offer of a golf buggy transfer.
IMPRESSIONS OF MH 79
Check-in: No line, agent friendly and gave me a new seat without a neighbour. Top marks.
Departure: HKG needs to get a premium lane but otherwise efficient, smooth and organised
Lounge: Ticked the boxes, a comfortable place to relax that wasn’t too over the top
Onboard: Old aircraft that should be on its way out. Otherwise the crew did an excellent job.
Food and Beverages: First order not available despite light load, but the whole meal was excellent.
Arrival: KLIA could be my favourite airport
MH did a great job- of course the light load made life easy but if every flight could be at this level I’d be happy.