AMS-KUL (Malaysian - 13/02/06)

Member for

20 years 7 months

Posts: 920

Amsterdam - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian Airlines MH017, Boeing 747-400 9M-MPL, Monday 13th Feb 06

This flight was going to be my first long haul flight in business class. As you can imagine, I was eager to see what all the fuss was about and experience a little bit of luxury on my travels for once. I was also hoping to get some sleep on the 12 hour flight, which is something I have never managed to do in my life, despite numerous attempts using various methods.

Left home @ 5am bound for Durham Tees Valley and caught the first KLM feeder flight into Amsterdam. The flight that morning was being operated by KLM Cityhopper, KL1530, Fokker 70 PH-WXA, an aircraft I had been on once before on this route. Flight was smooth and uneventful and we landed on the new runway ahead of schedule.

Headed immediately up to pier F to see if my main flight was in and sure enough she was. The Malaysian 747 was parked on stand 8, still some 3 hours away from departure. Tried to see the registration but could only make out the PL on the nose gear flap (she turned out to be 9M-MPL a Boeing 747-400 manufactured in 1998).

At 11.40, I prepared myself for boarding. I learnt that my seat would be on the upper deck (a nice bonus) and that I would be seated in Row 9 (an emergency exit row). After climbing the short spiral staircase, found myself in a wonderfully cosy cabin, a feel you don't get anywhere else on a 747. Obviously the seating was 2-2 up there, and the seats were made out of cloth.

A number of features and gadgets lay before me, many of which I had never come across before. Firstly, there was a personal locker store next to my window seat; this was ideal for placing my books, passport, wallet etc... and a hell of a lot easier than my usual storage space of "the seat pocket in front of you". Secondly, there was the almost flat bed with a full instruction card. Once I figured out which buttons did what, I had a little play and found myself in several comfortable positions ranging from almost horizontal, dining position, laid back relaxed and many other variations. There was a dividing panel between myself and the next seat for privacy as well as my own individual pull-out TV screen with interactive TV, films & games.

At bang on noon, we pushed back and headed off for our departure runway. I've always loved take-off on the larger planes; you just don't feel you're moving sometimes and the power used is so shy in being heard. This was even more so upstairs where you could hardly hear the roar of the engines. A short while later we lifted off and banked immediately to our left and headed out towards Eastern Europe.

The routing took us over Amsterdam & Germany and down over snow covered Eastern European countries such as Hungary & Slovakia. Further south & east we crossed Afghanistan, Pakistan & India before landing in Malaysia's capital of Kuala Lumpur a scheduled 11 hours 25 minutes later.

The dining service on board was very much like being in a restaurant. Food was hand served onto your plates in front of you with you picking your choice of menu from a good selection. Real knives and forks as well as authentic crockery were the utensils on display. Red wine was my order of the day, though many other alcoholic and non-alcoholic pleasures were readily available. Throughout the entire flight, your water glass was being continuously topped up and you could always help yourself to drinks & snacks. I have to say the service was perfect (though I have no other business class service to compare it against).

The interactive service was respectable, though strangely not as good in my opinion as that used on KLM's 777s in economy. I decided (for the shear hell of it) to send a couple of text messages from my individual screen to Mrs Pembo back home. I also settled to watch the "Exorcism of Emily Rose" (a film worth watching if you haven't seen it).

I wasn't planning on doing much else for the flight. As the trip was work rather than pleasure, I really needed to sleep as when I landed at 7am, I would be straight into the office for a full day's work. As it happened, despite the wonderfully almost flat bed; the juke box music I had selected and the more than comfortable surroundings did nothing to aid my sleep. I just knew my first day in Kuala Lumpur was now going to be exhausting.

The flight itself was smooth and non-eventful. The seat-belt signs remained off except for take-off and landing. We passed some thunderheads & lightning strikes on the way down, but never actually passed through the storms on descent. Landing was text book, a little ahead of schedule at 6.30am.

All in all, I couldn't have wished for a better flight except for maybe wishing I'd have succumbed to sleep for at least a couple of hours. The airline, the service and the product were faultless - its just a pity I can't travel in business class more often; it will be a shame to go back to economy when I fly again next month.

I have the day off today before continuing my trip tomorrow to Perth in Australia. Again, I'll be flying 'c' class on a Malaysian 744. I return to Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday on a Malaysian 744 again before changing planes and jumping on a KLM 744M Combi back to Amsterdam and the feeder back to Tee...sorry Durham Tees Valley. From door to door, my journey home will take me just under 30 hours, all after I've been at work on Tuesday. I suspect if I don't sleep on the way home, it'll be a matchstick job on Wednesday!

Bye for now folks....

Next flight; Durham Tees Valley to Houston, via Amsterdam on F70's & 744M's of KLM in March

Original post
Profile picture for user LBARULES

Member for

17 years 3 months

Posts: 9,401

Excellent report as ever mate, you are a very lucky man travelling the world!

Member for

14 years 8 months

Posts: 1,645

Durham Tees Valley to Houston, lol! I was wondring there for a second...!

A great informative report!

Profile picture for user philgatwick05

Member for

15 years 2 months

Posts: 1,614

Great report - thanks for sharing!

Member for

20 years 7 months

Posts: 920

Thanks for the replies guys.

Remaining legs of the journey were satisfied by:


And yet again, PH-WXA on AMS-MME.

MPI (a 744) had the old interior so the business class product wasn't as good. Though much better than KLM's ageing 744s. All flights were on time and pretty good (just long). The full stretch coming back was pretty tough, made more tedious by it mainly being overnight flying with nothing to see. Fairly bumpy on the KUL-AMS leg, and took off into an electrical storm from Perth; never done that before but thankfully, no harm done.

Member for

17 years 3 months

Posts: 12,842

Nice report