[Airline Review] – Malaysia Airlines (MH604) / (MH607) – Economy Class, SIN-KUL, (5 Sep 15) / KUL-SIN (6 Sep 15)

MH uses 737-800 for the SIN – KUL route
Above the clouds
MH logo on the wing tip
Sunset

On The Ground

Changi International Airport

Malaysia Airlines (MH) departs from Terminal 2 in Singapore Changi Airport. The Airlines check-in is located in row 9, which is situated towards the end of the terminal. However the location of the check-in counter is right in front of the second immigration entrance of the terminal building. MH has a mobile check-in service for its flights and there are delegated queues for passengers who have done their check-in online or through their mobile web. At the time my checking in, the queue was thin and I hardly have to wait to get my boarding passes. I requested for emergency seats, the staff happily gave me the seats that I wanted. Checking in was fast (I did not have any luggage to be checked in anyways), after printing the boarding passes, the staff briefed me on the standard gate number and time for boarding, before sending me away with a smile towards the immigration gate.
Row 9 for MH check-in in Singapore Changi Airport
MH counters
Check-in queue for Business Class passengers
Check-in queue for Economy Class passengers. The load seemed to be light on this leg
Delegated counter for web.mobile check-in
Empty line at check-in counter

The flight to Kuala Lumpur departs at gate E1 in Singapore Changi Airport. The gate is located fairly close to the duty free shopping. There isn’t any view of the aircraft at the boarding gate as the aerobridge blocked the view of the aircraft. By the time we arrived at the gate, it is practically empty as the load for this leg is rather light.

Gate E1 for boarding
Rather empty waiting area
Seem like boarding has almost complete
Aerobridge towards the aircraft
MH 737-800

Kuala Lumpur International Airport

The check-in rows in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) for MH spreads across 4 counters from rows A to D located at the first few rows of the terminal. For mobile or internet check-ins, passengers are free to choose between rows B or C depending on the queue. There was a queue at the check-in counter for internet/mobile check-in, however I only have to wait for around 5 mins for my turn to check-in as there are plenty counters opened for checking in. The staff at the counter was friendly and serviced with a smile. Check-in process is pretty fast for a party of 4, the staff did the standard fair of briefing us the boarding gate and boarding time. After immigration in KLIA area is pretty boring, not too many shops or restaurants around. If one has the time, one can consider taking the train to the satellite terminal, where one can find more shopping and restaurants.

MH counters at KLIA
One of the counters in KLIA for MH
Row B is delegated to web/mobile check-in, there is a short queue at the time I reached the airport
Check-in counters at row B
Check-in counters at row B

The flight from KUL to SIN departs at H8, located at the far end of the terminal building. There was a long queue getting into the gate as the flight was operating on full capacity due to few airlines code sharing the same flight. The boarding area is nicely and cosily decorated. Boarding commenced shortly in an efficient way soon shortly after we arrived at the gate.

Gate H8 is located to the end of the terminal 
KUL-SIN route departs at Gate H8
Large and comfortable waiting area
Waiting area in Gate H8 of KLIA
Aerobridge towards the aircraft in KLIA
MH 737-800
Aerobridge towards the aircraft
Flight attendants welcoming passengers at the door during boarding

The Cabin

MH operates 737-800 for the SIN-KUL route, with 2-class cabins namely Business Class and Economy Class. The aircraft has 16 seats in Business Class and 150 seats in Economy Class. The Economy Class is decked out in earthy brown tones. The single alley Economy Class cabin is configured in 3-3 abreast seating. I find the Economy Class cabin a tad cramp with the number of seating MH has cramped onto this aircraft. The bulkhead of the cabin features the Boeing Sky Interior lighting.
Economy Class Cabin with brown earthy tone
Sky Interior with White lighting
Sky Interior with Blue lighting

There are only 2 lavatories in Economy Class situated to the rear of the aircraft. The lavatories felt a little cramp with little room for one to turn about too much. The amenities in the lavatory is limited only to hand soap, toilet paper and tissues. The opening of the trash bin in the lavatory is situated on the side of the sink instead of the usual top.

Lighting in lavatory
Someone littered in the sink
Toilet paper and location of the trash bin
Toilet bowl
Mirror
Only liquid soap is available
Empty rack

The Seats

Seats on MH is decked out in brown leather with fresh red headrest. The seats are comfortable enough for a short under 1 hour flight. As the flight is short, additional amenities such as pillows, blankets and headphones are not available. Each seat comes with a USB port on the seat in front. The seats have a single seat pocket, located on the back of the seat in front, where the aircraft information card and magazines are stored. I opted for 2 types of seats on both legs of my journey. Headphone jacks are located on the right armrest.

Seats in Economy Class
USB port in front of the seat
Seat pocket
Inflight Magazines
Aircraft information card
Seats in Business Class comes with pillow and blanket and are decked out in blue tones

MH604

For the SIN-KUL leg, I opted for row 14, which is the emergency seat. The seat on Economy Class measures 17″ in width and the seat pitch for the emergency exit seats measure a whopping 39″. It is so wide that I can stretch out my legs. The extra leg room is need for emergency purposes. Due to the width pitch, the tray table in front of the seat is locked, instead additional tray tables are installed onto the armrest. Due to the location of the tray table, the armrest are not movable. There is no recline for seats in this row.

Emergency Exit
Loads of leg room 
Power socket at the base of the armrest
Tray table storage
Tray Table folded out

MH607

For the KUL-SIN leg, I got the “normal” Economy Class seats. The seat pitch measures 30″ which I find it quite alright, however for someone who is taller might find it to be a little cramp. The standard width of the seats measures 17″.  As with the usual Economy Class seats, the tray table is stowed on the back of the seat in front. This seat is able to recline for about 5″ and the recline button is located on the inside of the arm rest.

Leg room would be tight for someone who is taller
Seat recline button
Tray table folded down
Tray table folded up

In-Flight Entertainment

Each seat has an In-Flight Entertainment system, which plays movies/shows on demand even for a short flight. Each Economy Class seat has a large 9″ screen with responsive touch screen function. MH shows the latest movies such as Terminator Genisys, Inside Out to name a few. Passengers will be spoil for choices when it comes to the library in the IFE. I had to split Inside Out into 2 parts due to the short flight. As mentioned earlier, headphones are not provided for the SIN-KUL leg, to enjoy the IFE one is advised to bring along a set of headphones. The controller for the IFE is located on the back of the seat in front. Unlike some airlines, the IFE on MH is turned on the moment when I boarded the flight, hence I was able to start browsing through the movie options and watch movies in the midst of boarding once I settled on my seat.
9″ personal touch screen TV which was already on when I boarded
There are a number of options available
The IFE controller is stored under the TV screen
Rather new IFE controller, stored on the back of the seat in front of mine
The back side of the controller

Meal Service

Meal service commenced shortly after the seat belt sign is turned off. Due to the short flight time, meal service can be challenging as the flight attendants have to pour the drinks in advance before serving to the passengers. However I do find the meal service onboard to be pathetic. Passengers were served with a small packet of peanuts and a glass of orange or apple juice. Perhaps due to the short flight, there is nothing much they can do. I think MH can learn from other airlines, which also operate short flights, by distributing snack boxes and packet drinks which were already being pre-packed in advance, all they need to do is just to distribute.

Flight attendants distributing peanuts
Each passengers get one packet, the other packet is for my friend
Meal service consisted of peanuts and fruit juice
Meal service

Service

I thought MH has rather good service. Prior to the flight, I contacted the call centre to change seats as the seat change options was not available when I did check-in on mobile app. Not knowing which button to press on the audio menu (there is no option for change of flight or seats), I was connected to an agent. I apologised to her for pressing the wrong option. Instead of brushing my request aside, the agent assured me that it is alright and she will help me change seats. She even explored the seating with me patiently and helped me secure the best seats for my flight.

In the aircraft, due to the short flight time, the attendants were busy with preparing the peanuts and drinks to distribute to the passengers. There are very little time for them to engage the passengers. The only time is during boarding and deplaning. I do find the service (with the limited interaction time) to vary with who you met onboard. On the same flight, I got a (male) attendant who behaves like a diva, and another attendant who was always smiling when she go around doing her pre-flight checks. I engaged in a short chat while boarding with a stewardess in the KUL-SIN leg, despite flying the whole day (the attendants, as I understood from her, fly throughout the day shuttling between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur) she still kept her smile and asked how was my day.

Overall

For a short flight, I found MH to be very comfortable. The availability of IFE for such a short flight is a plus. On top of that MH grants a generous 30kg of check-in baggage for those flying in Economy Class. Despite the pathetic peanuts served as meal, I thought MH is rather good. Service is great generally, with attendants welcoming passengers and bidding passengers farewell at the door. The flight and landing was a little rough, perhaps due to turbulence and the small aircraft.  I would consider MH the next time even on longer flights.

[Accommodation Review] – Fraser Place (2 Bedroom Deluxe Suite), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (5 – 6 Sep 15)

Location

Fraser Place is located about 5 minutes walk from KLCC, where the Petronas Twin Towers are located. It is also around 10 minutes walk from Pavilion Shopping Mall and the shopping malls around it. The property is situated in a place whereby major shopping malls in KL is found. The hotel is located in between Bukit Nanas and Raja Chulan Monorail Stations, making it an ideal base for guests to explore the capital city of Malaysia.
Hotel Facade
The lobby for checking in is located on 2nd Floor
Decor behind the check-in counter
Lobby

The Suite

We checked into a suite 2704, 2-bedroom deluxe suite in the hotel. The 93m² suite comprises of a main hall, a master bedroom and another smaller bedroom. Entering the suite, one will find the living room and the kitchenette area.

Kitchen

Just to the right of the main door is where one will find a full equipped kitchenette, complete with an oven, a stove top and a full size fridge. There is a toaster, an electric kettle and a coffee machine (coffee powder is not included) on the counter top of the sink, next to the stove. A full set of cutlery for four, complete with bowls, plates, glasses, mugs were found in the drawers and cabinets below and on top of the sink area. To the right of the sink area is where one will find a washing machine and the microwave oven. I thought including of washing powder by the hotel was a very nice gesture, showing how well they have thought out on the needs of guests staying in this suite. In front of the stove is a dinning table and four chairs. Complementary soft drinks and instant coffee and tea were placed on top of the table.
Full functional kitchen in the suite
The suite comes with a washing machine and washing powder provided by the hotel
Full set of utensils
The suite comes with toaster, electric kettle and coffee machine
Full set of utensils
All you need for cooking
All you need for cooking
Full set of cutlery and cooking wares
Dinning table in the suite with complementary drinks for 4

Living Room

Further into the living room is where one will find the couch area. A 3-seater sofa placed by the wall, provided space for the suite’s occupant to move about. There is a coffee table in front of the sofa, decked out with magazines for guests’ reading pleasure. A swivel arm chair was placed next to the sofa, in front of the door to the balcony. The LED TV is mounted at the corner where the balcony door is located. It is well thought out on the angle of the TV mounting as it allows guests to watch TV both from the couch and the dinning table. The suite we have gotten has a huge balcony that stretches across the entire width of the suite. When I looked down and up on to the other suites, I realise this is one of the few suites that has a balcony. The balcony looks into the city and is a great place to chill with a cold drink. The entire living looked contemporary and lively mainly due to the bright colours that the hotel chose to decorate the living in.
The couch area is a nice place to relax, watching TV while having some snacks
3 seater sofa
View from the balcony
A large balcony
Large balcony

Bedrooms

Master Bedroom

There are 2 doors inside the suite. The left door leads to the master bedroom, which has a wooden and earthy theme. The master bedroom gotta be the largest room in the suite, even bigger than the living room. Entering the master bedroom, one will be greeted by the study area, with a large work desk and several powerpoint outlets by the wall, this is an area where one can work on. Opposite the study desk is a huge walk-in wardrobe. There are ample space for one to store even up to 1 month of clothing in this wardrobe. Other than the area for hanging cloths, there are no lack of drawers and cabinets for more storage spaces. The only safe in the suite is found in this walk in wardrobe. An artificial wall separates the study area and the sleeping area in this suite. Passing the artificial wall is where one will find the sleeping area. The centrepiece of this area of the suite is the king size bed. The bed is tucked all the way into the room and has a lot of space for one to even dance in the bedroom. Facing the bed is another LED TV and a swivel chair. However the placement of the TV is a tad too far from the bed. Beside the bed is where one will find the entrance to the bathroom. Decked out in yellow marble, the huge bathroom can be further segregated into the toilet area, the sink and the shower/bathtub area. I like the idea of separating the wet and dry areas in this bathroom. The bathtub and the walk-in shower are placed behind a glass door.
Study desk in master bedroom
Walk-in wardrobe and access into the sleeping area of the master bedroom
Walk-in wardrobe in the master bedroom, providing ample storage area
Walk-in wardrobe in the master bedroom, providing ample storage area
Walk-in wardrobe in the master bedroom, providing ample storage area

 

King size bed in the master bedroom
TV in the master bedroom facing the bed
Bathtub in master bedroom
Wet area in the master bedroom bathroom, where one can find a rain shower and a regular shower head with the bathtub behind the glass partition
Toilet area in the bathroom in master bedroom
High quality toiletries

Second Bedroom

The right door in the living room, from the main entrance is where the smaller bedroom is located. When comparing to the master bedroom, the size of this room is a mere fraction of it. Despite being small, this room has its own bathroom. The room, as with the master bedroom is decked out in wooden and earthy tones. When entering the room, a queen size bed takes centre stage. The sleep quality on this bed is superb. I was able to catch a good night sleep on this bed, coupled with the firmness of the pillow, I was well rested on this bed. Opposite the bed is the work desk. There is a TV mounted on the wall beside the work desk, compared to that in the master bedroom, the distance from the bed is ideal (perhaps due to the size of the room). As mentioned there is a toilet in this room, which only has a walk-in shower area and a toilet, other than the sink. Despite the size, the size of the bathroom feels sufficient. There is a wardrobe and some cabinets mounted onto the wall of the room, next to the entrance to the bathroom. The space in the wardrobe is sufficient for one to store up to 1 week clothing, however one can always utilise the walk-in wardrobe in the master bedroom should one requires more space for storage of cloths.
Queen size bed in the second bedroom
Queen size bed with side tables in the second bedroom
Desk area and TV in the second bedroom
Wardrobe in second bedroom
Ample of storage even in the smaller second room
Wardrobe in the second bedroom
Toilet in the bathroom of second bedroom
Quality bath amenities
Sink area in the bathroom of the second bedroom
Walk in shower with rain shower and regular shower head in the second bedroom bathroom. No bathtub in this bathroom though
All in all, the chic design of the suite, coupled with the use of bright colours brings life to the suite. There are amenities that are well thought out that can be seen throughout the suite. The sleep quality of the bed is superb, and one can be assured of a good night rest. The air-conditioning in the suite is excellent and is capable of providing the cool air in midst of the humid climate in KL.

Swimming Pool

The hotel has a roof top infinity pool facing KL Tower, located on the 18th floor of the hotel building. The pool is rather small in size, but provided a great spot for guests to soak in during a hot day. There are, however, limited number of sundeck chairs around. The hotel also has a jacuzzi pool and steam room inside each male and female changing rooms next to the swimming pool.
The gym and swimming pool is located on 18th Floor
Infinity pool on 18th Floor

Gym

Located on 18th floor, one can find a mid-sized gym, housing the standard gym equipment such as treadmills, wights and dumb bells.
Gym in the hotel

Breakfast

Breakfast is served in Swatches Restaurant, located on the 1st floor of the hotel. The hotel serves mainly western and Malaysian cuisine during breakfast service. One can also find fruits and various squeezed fruit juices as well as salads and yogurts during breakfast. Do try the Nasi Lemak served during breakfast, I find the rice very fragrant and the chili sauce for Nasi Lemak very tasty. I also thought the on-the-spot freshly baked croissants available during breakfast service to be very refreshing. The dinning area in the restaurant is large, which seemed to be able to handle the crowd at the time of my visit.
Breakfast is served in Swatches Restaurant located on 2nd Floor
Huge spread for breakfast service
Salad and fruit section
Gluttonous rice
Huge spread for breakfast service
Nasi Lemak
Huge spread for breakfast service
Freshly on-the-spot baked croissants
Coffee machines
A variety of bread
Dinning area in Swatches Restaurant

Service

The service was overhyped and mediocre particularly with the check-in. Despite being early, our check in was processed very slowly and we did not managed to get to our suite until 4pm in the afternoon. We arrived at the hotel at 12.45pm and asked if we could check in. The staff at the reception assured us that we would be able to check in as soon as the suite is being cleaned up and the hotel is in the process of turning around the suite. 30 mins passed that there were no updates. Every time we went up to the staff at the check in counter, we were met with the same answer. Seeing that we were wasting our time at the lobby, we decided to head out to KLCC with our luggage. The staffs, at that time were not interested in rendering any assistance, other than asking us to wait. There was no help in taking care of luggage nor any suggestions to leave our luggage in the left baggage facilities. We went back to the hotel at 3.30pm and checked if our suite was ready, and we were told it wasn’t ready!
I requested to speak to the duty manager regarding the delay. The duty manager at that point was Maini. Maini was very defensive throughout the conversion. She even blamed us for requesting for a high floor suite and would not give us any updates regarding the status of the suite. She insisted that we wait until the suite is ready or if we can’t wait, we would have to put up with their staffs coming into the suite to fix some defects. That is as good as not giving us a choice. As a duty manager, she has to audacity to hand us a suite that is not ready. It appears to Maini, standards is not important, and it is important for her to get rid of us. As a duty manager she did not offer alternate solutions nor was she willing to do service recovery. During our heated discussions, I told her that the least she can do is to upgrade us to the next category (which is 2 Bedroom Executive), but Maini insisted of not doing that and continued to ask us to wait. Throughout the conversion, Maini is not empathetic about our situation and how the delay had screwed our plans for our trip. She is just wanting us to solve her problem instead of her solving our problem. At one point in our discussion, I told her that I wanted to speak to GM, since as a duty manager, the one with the most authority in the hotel at that point in time, wouldn’t do her job. That was the last time I saw Maini. The next staff who came to update us of our room is the Housekeeping Executive, whose job was not to interface with the guests but to ensure that the suite was in good condition. It appeared that Maini as the duty manager pushed her job to someone else. Throughout the conversion, Maini was not apologetic about the delay and gave me the impression that we are posing on her! As a duty manager, Maini failed to understand what it is about service. When Maini was missing in action, one of her staffs at the reception must have felt embarrass that the manager was treating the guests so poorly that she apologised to us on Maini’s behalf. The poor staff had to whisper the apology to us, which clearly shown the disapproval of the manager’s attitude in handling our case. Of course, I never get to speak to the GM as the duty manager was not seen since.
I believe Mani was a one off case. When she pushed her responsibility to the housekeeping executive, Hidayah, things were different. Hidayah displayed empathy with our situation and listened with an open heart. She was shocked that we were not given an alternate suite and were told to wait without any updates. Hidayah told the pains to take over a job which was clearly not in her job scope and exceeded what the duty manager could have done. Hidayah was sincere in her apology about the delay in the checking in and escorted us to the suite. She even showed us where the problem area was and assured us that things were fix. She even told us to give her a call should we need anything. At this point I felt Hidayah has taken over the function of what a duty manager should be doing. Hidayah also took the trouble to show us around the suite and briefed us on the facilities in the suite. When I brought up the issue regarding a late check out, Hidayah arranged a complementary late check out for us almost immediately. Hidayah displayed what is service all about despite not part of her job, instead of pushing the bucket to another person.
The other staff I spoke to the next day when checking out was Danny. Danny was the duty manager on the day of my checking out and took the time to listened with an open mind on my encounter with Maini. He was embarrassed by Maini’s attitude and even highlighted that Maini should have done some service recovery. Danny was empathetic to our situation and mentioned that such things should not have happened. As a duty manager, Maini should have listened to us and help us solve our problem and not keep us in suspense regarding the status of our suite. Despite not his fault, Danny took the responsibility and apologised on behalf of Maini and the team. It is apparent that Danny internalised what is it to be service oriented and thanked me for bringing this feedback to his attention.
Other than the Duty Manager Maini and some of the staffs at the check-in counter, the staffs that we met were fantastic. The housekeeping staff that I met along the corridor smiled and greeted us whenever we walk past. There was an instance I approached her for some bath amenities, despite being interrupted with her work, the staff smiled and acceded to my requests. She even asked if we need more water. This shows that the staff does her job with a heart (of taking care of the guests). The staffs at the Swatches Restaurant were friendly as well. I approached the egg station the staff there were smiling and asked if one egg is enough. Plates were cleared almost immediately by the observant staffs whenever we finished our food. Even when we leave the restaurant, the staff greeted us and bid us farewell.

Overall

The hardware in the hotel is fantastic. We had a good night sleep and the suite is clean and comfortable. The suite is large and very self sufficient. The facilities in the hotel is great (it is a pity that we did not get to use them as our plan was disrupted by the late check in saga). However the service needs to be improved tremendously. Our check-in was way past the stipulated time, the attitude displayed by the duty manager Maini is to be frowned upon. The service lapse and the attitude of the duty manager dissuaded me to recommend the hotel to others. I would think twice about staying at Fraser Place Kuala Lumpur.