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I remember the first time I flew business class. It was back in 1996 when I had to make an unplanned trip from KL back to Penang due the fact that I had contracted dengue. When checked in at Subang Airport, I was bumped up a class as the flight was overbooked, and obviously I did not complain.

It was a pretty sweet journey, but that 35 or so minute flight was way too short to enjoy a proper Business Class experience. Thank fully some two decades later, Malaysia Airlines came calling and offer me a chance to experience what business class has to offer today on a flight to from KL to London.

Malaysia Airlines Golden Lounge at KLIA
Malaysia Airlines Golden Lounge at KLIA

We flew on MH 04, the morning flight departing from KLIA. The business class check in was quick and painless with only a few minutes spent on the line. This is probably due to having only 66 business class seats vs 420 economy on the A380 we’re flying in.

Travelling on business class also entitles one to access the Golden Lounge in KLIA where you can get your stomach filled with proper breakfast, juice, and the all important cup of morning coffee while waiting for departure. There are two such lounges at KLIA.

Business Class seats on board the A380, MH04
Business Class seats on board the A380, MH04 to London

Then we got on the Airbus 380, turned left to the business class section, and life on 36,000 feet was never the same again. Instead of row of 3 or 4 seats, it’s a couple, and with leg room for days. Going to the loo doesn’t mean you have to “excuse me” to the guy happily snoozing in his seat closest to the aisle.

Each passenger were also given pillow, blanket, and premium headphones to use throughout the flight.

more adjustments than a fancy car, goes totally horizontal too
more adjustments than a fancy car, goes totally horizontal too

Then there’s the adjustment the seats offer. You get to tilt the head rest, adjust the angle of the seat on your back, bum, and leg. Additionally you can also extend the leg rest, fiddle with lumber support, and there’s even a massage function built in to give you a gentle rub on your back. Imagine a bed + the most comfortable cinema seat + the fanciest car, and that’s the Malaysia Airline business class seat aboard the A380. It was truly a luxury.

the famous Malaysia Airlines satey, a must have!
the famous Malaysia Airlines satey, a must have!

And then there’s the food. While Malaysia Airlines generally serves some of the best foods in flight, their business class offer a menu that’s a step above the usual.

First of all, never say no to the satey. These are the very same satey that is sometimes flown to our embassies in other countries (as I heard years ago), and they were really as good as I thought they would be. It was succulent, juicy, flavourful, and with peanut sauce that’s not overly spicy but yet so satisfying.

the scallop starter for the first meal was superb
the scallop starter for the first meal was superb

Fist and business class customers are also entitled to book meals in advanced via chef-on-call. We didn’t do so and just went with the flow.

Real cutlery were used, and the food was definitely a step above any I’ve experienced while flying. The scallop starter was memorable, while the beef was more than decent if not slightly too done for my liking.

fish or lamb? take your pick
fish or lamb? take your pick

For the second meal we had the choice between fish and lamb, both were beautifully plated and tasted as good as they looked.

The best thing though, is that if you are hungry in between meals, there’s a little pantry by the front where chocolates, fruits, drinks, and even cheese platter can be found.I certainly took advantage of that.

want some snacks in between meal time? you're covered
want some snacks in between meal time? you’re covered

A few movies from the personal entertainment system and a couple of naps later, we reached Heathrow Airport at London. Instead of a drag, it was a rather enjoyable long haul flight. I wouldn’t mind an even longer flight if I was treated this way on air every time.

Oh, by the way, Business Class customers got the priority queue at immigration check in in London too, so that was another surprise in a good way.

I’ll share the experience at London in subsequent posts. Stay tuned.

Note: This UK – Malaysia Influencer Exchange programme was organised by Malaysia Airlines.
However, opinions are of my own. Malaysia Airlines flies between London and Kuala Lumpur
twice a day on the A380. There are 8 seats in the First Class, 66 in Business Class and 420
in Economy. Make your flight reservations today on www.malaysiaairlines.com.

Earlier this month on the 1st of September 2015, Malaysian Airlines officially welcomed the start of its new company Malaysia Airlines Berhad. As with many of you, my first ever flying experience was with our national carrier, with what has happened in the past 18 months or so, I personally felt that this is a significant step to the right direction for the company to once again proudly graze the Malaysian skyline.

Flying with Malaysia Airlines Berhad on the first day of business
Flying with Malaysia Airlines Berhad on the first day of business

Together with a few other writers, I was invited to take a short day trip with the new MAB to Penang.

To be honest, last I flew back to Penang was almost two decades ago when I took a flight (and was upgraded to business class, my first business class experience!) back to my hometown, down with dengue.

To commemorate the occasion, the customers on this particular flight was given a cute little pilot bear.

Malaysian Airlines Berhad CEO Christoph Mueller on Sept 1st, 2015
Malaysian Airlines Berhad CEO Christoph Mueller on Sept 1st, 2015

The CEO of Malaysian Airlines Berhad, Christoph Mueller, was on location to make sure everything runs smoothly, and to salute the aircraft before we take off, it was a proper sent off, albeit only to a location 45 mins away.

breakfast at 1977 kopitiam, Paya Terubong, Penang
breakfast at 1997 kopitiam, Paya Terubong, Penang

Upon touch down in the Pearl of the Orient, we first took care of the most important business – breakfast!

We headed to Paya Terubong and jumped right into 1997 kopitiam. The restaurant is named after the year in which it was established. To be fair, I’ve never been here (as I left Penang in 1996 for college).

The loh mee I ordered turned out to be more than satisfying, I particularly love the super spicy sambal. and of course the availability of those soft & smooth pork skin didn’t hurt at all. The char kuih teow we shared was pretty decent, and kuih teow soup received positive remarks too. It was a pretty good start of the day.

heading up to Penang Hill
heading up to Penang Hill

After breakfast, we went up to the highest peak of the island – Penang Hill.

There are two ways to head up to the hill – by the new & improved cable car from Ayer Itam, or use the Number 11 bus (your 2 legs) and walk your way up from the road next to Botanical Garden. Of course, we chose the easy way up.

Not to be outdone by Paris’ love locks, Penang Hill has our very own section of the same thing too, I found it pretty cute. If you didn’t bring your own locks, they’ve got a stall manned with traders who are quite eager to sell you a few models of locks, rather enterprising.

the old cannon's still there, but the cable car is now much faster
the old cannon’s still there, but the cable car is now much faster

I walked up to the highest peak and made sure to take a photo next to the cannon, reminiscing a similar picture taken at the same spot when I went up there with classmates at the age of 10 or so, time flies man.

Oh, make sure you take the lowest car on the way down, the faster speed makes for quite a pretty thrilling ride, I love it.

the famous Ayer Itam asam laksa
the famous Ayer Itam asam laksa

After Penang Hill, it was time for lunch, and since we were already at Ayer Itam, the famous laksa right next to the morning market made for an obvious choice.

I’ve had this laksa from when it was sold for RM 1 per bowl, and glad to say that it still tastes the same as it was from decades ago. Check out this old blog post of the place from almost 10 years back.

Fort Cornwallis, where Sir Francis Light first stepped foot on Penang
Fort Cornwallis, where Sir Francis Light first stepped foot on Penang

Fort Cornwallis was our next destination. This was the place where Sir Francis Light, the founder of modern Penang first set up camp on the island. The historical site isn’t overly interesting to be perfectly honest, but if you’re hungry (unfortunately we weren’t), the mee sotong at the adjacent food court is excellent.

Rumah Peranakan, I've never been to this place even though I'm from Penang
Peranakan Mansion, I’ve never been to this place even though I’m from Penang

We then moved to Peranakan Mansion, a typical mansion for affluent Baba & Nyonya from a century ago. This mansion was super impressive and definitely worth every sen of the entrance fee. There are over 1000 pieces of antique & collectibles on display. I am quite embarrassed to be a Penangite who only stepped foot in this building for the first time.

If you go to Penang, be sure to pay a visit to this place.

Masjid India, the oldest mosque in Penang, and the nasi kandar next to it
Masjid India, the oldest mosque in Penang, and the nasi kandar next to it

Continuing the tour of Georgetown, our Muslim tour-mates took the opportunity to pray at the oldest mosque on the island – Masjid India.

As for the rest of us, it was an excuse for nasi kandar. I had nasi tomato from the Nasi Kandar Masjid stall (next to the famous Nasi Kandar Beratur which opens only at night). As with most nasi kandar in Penang, the curry was thick and flavorful, but it didn’t have as much umph as I had wanted, I guess I expected just a bit more.

Penang road cendol and rojak
Penang road cendol and rojak

For tea break, we headed to Penang road to have some cendol. There are two stalls operating across the road from each other, and to be honest, they both tasted as good as each other. Some may argue that one is “definitely better”, but I can’t tell.

Oh, the rojak is pretty good as well.

a visit to Chew Jetty before we head back to KL
a visit to Chew Jetty before we head back to KL

Chew Jetty was our last destination before heading back to the airport. The famous residential jetty now has about half the houses converted to make-shirt shops of sort. In a way it was perhaps slightly less charming? I don’t really know what to make up of it.

My grandparents stay very close to one of these jetties at Weld Quay, so as a kid I used to roam around the different jetties with no shoes, carelessly side stepping open nails and barely secured planks. There was definitely a sense of nostalgia.

Oh, by the way, I also tapao 10 packs of laksa back to KL, and happy to report that airport security did not think it was a bad idea. 😀

Best of luck, Malaysian Airlines!