1. Introduction: Constructing — and Re-constructing — the Award Trip
  2. American Eagle DC – New York and the New Nicest JFK Airport Hotel, the Hilton
  3. Cathay Pacific First Class, JFK – Hong Kong
  4. The Wing lounge in Hong Kong and Cathay Pacific Business Class Hong Kong – Kuala Lumpur
  5. Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur
  6. Malaysia Airlines Business Class, Kuala Lumpur – Langkawi
  7. The Andaman Langkawi
  8. Malaysia Airlines Business Class, Langkawi – Kuala Lumpur
  9. Intercontinental Kuala Lumpur
  10. Things to See and Do in Kuala Lumpur
  11. Korean Airlines First Class, Kuala Lumpur – Seoul and the Korean Airlines First Class Lounge Seoul
  12. Korean Airlines First Class, Seoul – Washington Dulles

It was a half hour’s drive from the resort. We pulled up to the terminal and it seemed larger than I remembers from my arrival five days earlier.

Upon entering the terminal there’s a line to screen checked baggage. This isn’t like some airports that do a security screening at the entrance, or that screen bags only, this is strictly for checked bags and not carryon — presumably it’s the only baggage screening that takes place and they place a sticker on the bag once it’s through. You then take the bag up to the checkin counter yourself. (At this point you yourself have not been screened.)

The Malaysia Airlines checkin counters were mostly deserted except for a passenger in the business class line taking an inordinate amount of time to complete check-in, and with substantial luggage. I checked in at economy.

The airport is full of shops, food options, and a Starbucks. The departures hall is far more substantial than the airside operations, probably strikingly more so than any airport I’ve been to.

I proceeded to security and just beside the checkpoint, and pre-security, is a Plaza Premium contract lounge that I could have accessed with my Priority Pass card. I never asked — and wasn’t informed — if I could access it as a Malaysia Airlines business class passenger.

Instead, I went through security and made an immediate right turn to use the only lounge that’s actually airside — the Westin hotel lounge.

I had been given a pass at checkout by the Andaman to use it, as they’re sister properties through Starwood. I wouldn’t have the same privileges as a Westin guest, however. I was informed that I would have to pay for internet access if I wanted it (although the other guests in the lounge, who had checked out of the Westin, offered the password to me unprompted).

Food in the lounge is available, also at a cost. Otherwise, it’s just a nicer place to sit and a very small lounge. A nice respite from the terminal itself and with restrooms but hardly a special place.

After about 20 minutes it was time to board, so bid the lounge adieu and waited the remaining minute or two before they called for boarding. They didn’t make a separate call for business class, and there was no separate queue — just a mad rush for the gate. I was in no mood to push or shove so plenty of people made it past me. When I made it to the front the gate agent seemed aghast that everyone would be pushing by a passenger in business class, though of course had done nothing to stop it. We’re all going to the same place anyway, there was going to be plenty of overhead space, and I was in no rush. Just an interesting boarding procedure is all.

There’s no jetway here of cruse so boarding was a walk across the tarmac and up covered stairs.

Once again we had an older style first class cabin, though the seats were more than comfortable enough for the scheduled 55 minute flight. This time the cabin was full to 7/16.

Predeparture beverages were served and I again had a delicious juice. Quickly enough we were on our way, and in the air service began with a bag of peanuts and then we were served a choice of meals that were more or less indistinguishable from each other and from the food on the flight to Langkawi days before.

The dessert was different and tasty though, as were the Lindor truffles.

By the time trays were collected there was only about 20 minutes until landing. It was a bumpy descent, but we taxied quickly once on the ground. All in all a smooth enough experience, though AirAsia would have been tolerable (and even from the low cost carrier terminal) on this route.

Once again, and largely to see the comparison and contrast between the hotels for their service, I arranged for airport pickup from my hotel. This time it would be the Intercontinental…

  1. beachfan said,

    Wish I knew whether Malaysian would be for sure in One World by February 28. That’s when I fly the same route, and I bet that the Malaysian and Air Asia fares would be very similar if I didn’t have to pay baggage and seat fees on MQ.

    Thanks again for a valuable trip report!

  2. Gary said,

    @beachfan I’m betting that by Feb 28 they will be

  3. AndrewP said,

    Gary,
    How can I find award space on Malaysian to LGK? I’ve looked on both AA and BA and they say they don’t fly to that destination? Thanks!

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