Back to Adelaide on MH139 (again) and Malaysia Airline route losses
It feels like I’m being banished back to Adelaide yet again, so like the film Groundhog Day, I am left to again depart Kuala Lumpur on MH139.
Flying back late in from Singapore on the only flight I could get (!), I had to make my way from KLIA2 to KLIA using the train. Recent long queues at immigration and customs security were non-existant this evening. Straight through to the satellite terminal and into the MAS lounge complex.
There would just (and only just) be time for a quick, single course dinner and a much needed shower. The platinum/first class lounge dining room tonight was as full as I had ever seen it. Service did appear to be slipping slightly with some patrons but I was busy messaging away so hardly noticed. In retrospect however it would have been quicker and wiser to make a visit to the business lounge and help myself to the buffet on offer.
Tonight’s lounge menu was cycle B.
A few good options on here. Kashmiri Lamb with rice and Malay acar sounded good and would hopefully be a bit spicy.
Well I wasn’t disappointed, the lamb was tender and tasty (I want to say succulent but that would be too much) and the acar rampai was good, but it felt like being back in Japan again with the ratio of meat to vegetable far too carnivorous. Oh but definitely had some spices in it, finally!
I ran off for a quick shower, change of clothes then hiked back to the main the terminal while frantically texting people. I timed it well, getting back within 10 minutes of the gate closing. Of course being KUL they will wait for stragglers. Boarding only began after I passed through gate security.
So exactly like a few weeks earlier… MH138 KUL-ADL, on an Airbus 330-300 9M-MTC in business class (yes same exact airframe as the flight in March!). This time with daylight savings timings were a bit different, but 7:10 hour long flight over 3,530 miles.
Was allocated seat 2D but upon boarding absolutely last (to use the terminal wifi) the onboard crew immediately suggested I sit elsewhere. I had been allocated next to someone when the front 3 rows were half occupied and the back 3 completely empty. So I moved to the fourth row, seat 5A.
Within a minute the untouched IFE had already rebooted itself (just mine).
And behold the wifi still worked at great distance… just. Even after we pushed back!
Prior to take off they offer a selection of Malay, Australian and international papers like most carriers do in a premium cabin. I must say I usually decline but today I felt like reading something. I thought by picking an international publication I’d avoid any depressing MAS news, however apparently it is always unavoidable.
Having come from DXB I suppose it is understandable. I’m not about to make claims or predictions particularly with the experience of loadings of a single flight. If they really are trying to reduce losses quickly then unprofitable routes – which only they really know as far as yield and cargo – then anything it possibly up for speculation. I sometimes wonder since Adelaide has the largest Enrich award promotions (regularly 50%) which suggest poor yields, or at least in the business cabin. Dubai they’re facing Emirates. Personally having just flown with them to KIX and from DXB I suppose I’d be looking at flying them to IST & AKL before they drop the routes… alternatively you can book them in advance with the knowledge that the routes will be dropped in anticipation of alternate arrangements. AMS is an odd one, to my understanding they still do well to/from there, particularly cargo, I had even heard galley talk of them upgrading it to an A380, something I had thought possible considering my own observations on how poor the F cabin was used (on my flight – just me!). AMS would be handy for me the coming year if I’m based there but then that’s the internet, as an individual pax of course you want what works for you. I wish they had kept KUL-ARN-EWR which they dropped a few years back even with the Swedes trying to persuade them, flying to LAX was a good award and losing the option to South Africa and onward to South America before they joined oneworld was also disappointing. You would expect they’ll especially reconsider destinations they’re already not daily to (such as FRA ending shortly) and have codeshares to read:IST. The idea that they can just throw spare 777-200ERs onto new routes however is fanciful. If it happened that quickly and was that easy then aviation was be a hugely profitable business for everyone. Further cuts simply seem inevitable, hopefully in a few years they can bounce back.
So back to simpler matters, like the guy on my flight down to ADL who was still wearing his baseball cap with his bling headphones over the top. No I’m not judging. But seriously he left the cap on even through the dinner service!
Did notice a distinct change in apparel boarding a flight to Australia. Besides one well dressed girl who was highly juxtaposed against her boyfriend, it certainly felt very casual. Probably below the new requirements of the Qantas Club.
Years ago I decided flights of this length KUL or SIN to SE Australia which are overnight were best to just sleep through. But reality is in the first 90 minutes there’s little sleeping as a fair number of the cabin are eating and the lights are up.
No more photos of their satay however I did enjoy them as usual along with the regular 3 courses. One slight change was there were more bread options tonight.
After the apparent good reception of Poh Ling Yeow’s signature dishes (according to some travel news sites at least), MAS has introduced seven different ‘royal’ dishes from crown princess of Pahang, Tengku Puan Pahang. If you’re expecting ‘royalty’ then you’ll have it wrong as she comes across as being simple, pragmatic and down to earth, highly respectable qualities and I expect some hearty Malay comfort food out of the meals.
Tonight on offer was Ayam Panggang Johor or Spicy Roasted Chicken. I felt it was somewhat underdone but still quite tasty. Maybe not entirely to my liking but I will certainly be trying the other signature dishes as they’re offered this year.
After dinner I went back to get changed for bed. Today they were helping people convert their seats to sleeping position. Definitely a small but positive service improvement. Didn’t need the help myself but I have often seen people on MH longhaul flights not put the underlay on the seats before they sleep.
I had asked not to be woken for breakfast. On these flight durations it really isn’t worth it, besides I know their mid-morning snack is a huge catering let-down, nobody is suggesting it is breakfast. Unfortunately for me I awoke when they were in the middle of serving a few people so I opted to take a bite at a tray of the usual ‘sandwiches’. Really quite a poor offering, I wish they would just dumb it down more, at this time of the day simple would be better.
I had another nap and then left getting changed and cleaning up until about 20 minutes prior to landing.
Oh and he still had his hat on…
As always it’s good to sit on the port side for most approaches into ADL. This morning wasn’t an exception.