Flight Date: 08APR2013—This is quite a long post as there are so many things about the new Malaysia Airlines A380 first class service I want to tell you about. I was happy to hear Malaysia Airlines had joined the Oneworld alliance. With this addition, Oneworld is shaping up to be a formidable opponent to the larger Star alliance. I’ve flown MH many times in the past, but never in first class so I was excited at the prospect.
I arrived at the funky Terminal One at Charles de Gaulle and checked in for my flight. The clerk told me that I was the only passenger in first class…yes! Passport control was quick, but the lines to enter the passenger area of the terminal were incredibly long: babies crying, people yelling, various aromas—some good and some not so good—were wafting through the sea of humanity…basically your typical day in Paris. After about 10 minutes or so I noticed I guy trying to swipe his boarding pass at what looked like a supermarket barcode reader. He was not successful, but I thought I would have a go at it and lo and behold the turnstiles opened and I was able to bypass the motley crew waiting in line.
Malaysia Airlines do not have a dedicated lounge at Paris CDG and offer passengers in business and first to use the Salon Icare lounge instead. This lounge looks like a room where your grandfather would sit and play chess with his pals. Better than milling around aimlessly in the terminal building I guess, but not by much.
Since I knew I was going to be alone I pulled out my camera and started snapping away. An amused flight attendant noticed my enthusiasm and asked if I would like a tour around the plane before it got really busy. This was really fun and informative as they not only showed me the economy and business class cabins but inside the crew rest area (crew bunk), pilot’s rest area and let me try out all the seats too.
I went back to my seat and was presented with a nice bag of in-flight goodies: amenity kit, pajamas, slippers and headphones.
The flight manager dropped by to say hello and he also said I should go upstairs and check out the restrooms in business class. They are actually a lot bigger (due to the curvature of the plane at the nose) than the first class lavatories.
I was presented with the menu and wine list and started opening up all the storage areas in and around my seat. Malaysia Airlines decided against overhead bins in first to give the cabin a spacious feel.
The seats are advertised as the widest in the world; however I didn’t really get that impression at first glance. The flight attendant told me in bed mode the arm rest and storage areas become flush with the seat so evidently they are adding these areas into their calculation.
The cabin is finished in off-white and dark grey with maroon upholstery and a stylized floral print at head level. There are eight seats in first class in a 1-2-1 configuration. The suite-type seats are similar in design to those found on Japan Airlines, Korean and others. They do not have closing doors like Singapore or Emirates, but you do get a feeling of privacy nevertheless. Each seat is equipped with 115VAC PED power supply and USB port.
When we were taxing for take-off I noticed an Air France Concorde on display. Now that was a plane! I was lucky to fly on Concorde (British Airways) twice right before they retired the planes in 2003. Maybe I’ll do a retro-trip report one day!
As I have noted in other posts regarding the A380, it’s always amazing how such a huge beast of a plane can be so quiet. As we reached cruising altitude the flight attendants came by with a glass of Dom Perignon and canapés.
The lunch menu was impressive.
Service began with satay and all the condiments followed by soup and caviar.
For the main I chose the stuffed chicken.
The wine list was surprisingly meager though: only two whites and two reds along with one champagne and port choice each. I’m not much of a chardonnay fan so I asked if they might have a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc in business; they did and I was content. Everything served today was delicious. I especially enjoyed the soup and caviar.
Although I’m not a big dessert eater, in the spirit of carpe diem and all that–I had both the mango cake and cheese.
And then this shows up on my screen! 🙂
The flight from Paris to Kuala Lumpur is a long one: 12 hours and 25 minutes.
With no one else in the cabin, the flight attendant offered to make up the bed in the seat next to me.
The Malaysia Airlines A380 first class seat is one of only a handful out there truly built for tall people like me. Even at 194cm, my feet didn’t touch the wall in front of the suite. This is a major plus and along with the copious amount of wine; a major reason I slept like a baby. So comfortable in fact, I slept right through breakfast!
I’m only nitpicking here as there really is little to fault, but the addition of a mattress (like JAL’s Tempur-pedic) would make this the best first class bed in the skies today.
Well what can I say? The new Malaysia Airlines A380 first class experience was superb. The in-flight crew were fantastic, the cabin is spacious and nicely designed, and everything I tried from the menu was fresh and delicious. The seat is comfortable and well-built for tall travelers with plenty of storage space. The in-flight entertainment system was easy to use and had an extensive array of films, music, TV programs and games to keep you occupied. Malaysia Airlines currently operate their A380s on the KUL-LHR, KUL-CDG and KUL-HKG routes only. If you’re looking for a truly memorable flight experience, give Malaysia Airlines a try—you won’t be disappointed.
Check back in the coming days as I will be posting the second half of my journey with Malaysia Airlines: a 11 hour layover at Kuala Lumpur Airport
For more information on Malaysia Airlines’ First Class
Malaysia Airlines A380 First Class Trip Report CDG-KUL Photo Gallery