Malaysia Airlines invited me down to Heathrow last week to take a tour of their new Airbus A350-900.
I am hoping to do a proper review of Malaysia Airlines in the next couple of months, but for now you’ll have to do with this brief overview.
If you want to know more, there is a special A350 section on the Malaysia Airlines website which you can find here.
Malaysia Airlines is not usually ‘front of mind’ for people who are travelling to Asia and beyond and who want to earn Avios and British Airways tier points. Cathay Pacific, yes. Qatar Airways via Doha, yes. Malaysia Airlines is, along with Japan Airlines, SriLankan and Royal Jordanian, one of the oneworld partners we seem to forget about.
This is a mistake. Malaysia Airlines has recently switched its A380 fleet for brand new A350-900 aircraft on the London Heathrow route and the product looks very good.
I put together a short video, see below, which shows you around the cabin in detail. Here are the three options:
First up is Business Suite. Until recently this was First Class, but a push back against First Class by local Government officials led to the rebranding.
There are just four seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. The seat is an interesting design, with the IFE screen right at the back, quite a way from your head.
Business Suite is no longer available for Avios redemptions. You could book it when it was branded First Class but this is one of the casualties of the rebranding. What you can do is book Business Class with Avios and then enquire at check-in for a cash upgrade, which will be in the region of £500-£600 each way I was told.
Business Class consists of one small cabin of 35 seats.
The layout is a mix of 1-2-1 and 2-2-1. On the ‘A’ seat side you only have solo seats, alternating between ‘next to the window’ and ‘next to the aisle’. This is allow your feet to slot under the seat in front when the seat is reclined.
In the centre block, you always have two seats. As the seats face fully forward – this is not a herringbone layout – you are nearer to your neighbour than you would otherwise be with, say, BA’s new Club Suite. The middle block is best for couples whilst solo travellers are better taking a window seat.
On the H/K side of the plane, there is a mix of two seat rows and one seat rows. The solo seats are ‘throne’ seats, in the centre of the row with storage areas on both sides.
Here is a view looking forwards which lets you see the footwell and IFE screen:
Economy is not a big focus on Head for Points, but I wanted to point out one thing. As you can see from the image below, the front three rows of Economy seating are a different colour. This is because these are extra legroom seats.
There are 27 of these. This is how much legroom you get:
Here is the smart thing. Because these are standard Economy seats at the end of the day – just with extra legroom – you don’t pay any additional Air Passenger Duty. One of the reasons that Premium Economy is always noticeably pricier than Economy is that it attracts the same Air Passenger Duty as Business Class and First Class.
This isn’t a problem here. You get Premium Economy legroom but an Economy seat and service. The upside is a saving of around £100 on Air Passenger Duty compared to calling these rows Premium Economy and upgrading the food, IFE etc.
Finally, just because I could, I went into the crew rest area. Six crew members can sleep in here at any one time. As well as the three berths at the front of the picture and the two to the sides, there was an additional one behind me. You can see more in the video.
A video tour of Malaysia Airlines A350-900
I shot a short video showing the three cabins – click the image below to view it. If you can’t see it, click here to visit the Head for Points YouTube page. You can also subscribe to our channel via that link.
I also visited their lounge in Terminal 4 as part of the same tour, which was a very pleasant surprise. My review of the Malaysia Airlines lounge in Heathrow Terminal 4 is here.
Thanks to the Malaysia Airlines team for arranging the tour.
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