Flight Review – Malaysia Airlines MH1: London Heathrow Terminal 4 to Kuala Lumpur by Airbus A350-900

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While there could be 10,000 different flight numbers possible for use, the flight bearing the number 1 tends to be the airline’s flagship route, which is exactly why I’m choosing to fly Malaysia Airlines MH1 from London back to Kuala Lumpur this evening for the prestige in flying on Malaysia Airlines’ flagship route on its flagship flight. With the great experience I had on MH4 on my onward flight from Kuala Lumpur to London, let’s see if Malaysia Airlines can maintain the consistency of their service on this flagship flight.

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Checking for my flight information on the screens just as I came out of the lift from Heathrow Terminal 4 Railway Station.

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What struck me was how little flights were being flashed on the screen. This is Heathrow after all, where the world’s airlines would love to converge at for prestige. But then again, the screen was showing just Terminal 4 flights rather than the entire airport, so runway capacity might still be full after all.

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Heading to Zone D to check in for Malaysia Airlines.

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The check-in screen at Zone D for MH. Despite there being just one flight at the moment, the screen did not specify the flight number of MH1. Not sure if this is a format by Malaysia Airlines or Heathrow.

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As I just had a 1 hour 20 minute transfer in KLIA, my bag was tagged with a Hot Transfer label to speed up the baggage transfer to my onward flight to Singapore.

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Interestingly, my Ryanair small bag was tagged as cabin baggage after checks by the check-in staff. Hmm, considering that I wasn’t checked by Ryanair on both legs to Dublin and back, does this mean Malaysia Airlines is stricter with hand-carried bags than Ryanair?

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Surprisingly, there wasn’t a queue at the check-in desks. Hmm, is this a good sign of a flight that’s not full?

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My boarding passes issued at Heathrow for my flights to KL and Singapore.

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My boarding pass for the Malaysia Airlines MH1 flight from London Heathrow to Kuala Lumpur. Notice that the boarding pass has a remark on the bottom which says “ONE hand carry not more than 7kg/SATU beg bimbit tidak melebihi 7kg”. Hmm. That’s even lesser than AirAsia.

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My boarding pass for the connecting Malaysia Airlines MH607 flight from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore.

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After checking in, I headed out of the terminal building to breathe in the cold London air (as it was evening time) for the last time before I’m stuck with the hot and humid temperatures back in Singapore.

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Heading back into the terminal building of Heathrow Terminal 4.

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Heading for security clearance. Bye London, Oxford and Dublin, you’ve been great.

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Entering the transit area of Terminal 4. As with my flight to Dublin from Birmingham, there is no exit immigration here too. The flight to KL (or anywhere else for that matter) is just like another domestic flight from London.

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Reconfirming my gate number in the transit area.

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My flight would be departing in 80 minutes from Gate 5, which means I had about 50 minutes to walk around the terminal before being seated for 14 hours.

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My gate would be on the left after security screening.

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However, I headed to the right instead.

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I wanted to go check out View Heathrow, the only observation deck located in Heathrow Airport, and is open for passengers departing from Terminal 4 only, since it’s located after security.

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View Heathrow is located between Gates 15 and 16.

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The entrance to View Heathrow.

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Heading up the stairs to the observation deck.

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As it was already 8.15pm, the sun had started to set, so it was slightly difficult to take photos.

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View Heathrow is essentially an elevated room with windows to spot planes.

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View Heathrow claims to offer 270 degree views, but it’s probably theoretical with glass on 3 sides of the room some some obstruction outside of the glass room.

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The airport layout for easy referencing when spotting planes.

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The Heathrow Airfield Map.

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The location of View Heathrow on the map.

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A satellite view is also available.

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An Oman Air Boeing 787 and an Air Malta Airbus A320 at Terminal 4, with the British Airways Concorde resting in the distance.

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The rather empty pier for Gates 22 to 25 at Terminal 4.

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A Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 parked at Terminal 2.

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A Eurowings Airbus A320 taking off from Heathrow.

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Big aircraft of British Airways, Emirates and Qantas at Terminal 3.

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The control tower as pointed out by View Heathrow.

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Once done with a little bit of spotting, it’s time to head to the gate. View Heathrow isn’t a very pleasant place to spend a long time at anyway as it was hot and stuffy. Thankfully I was alone most of the time.

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I could take the stairs again…

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… or I could walk down this corridor with an interesting door to the lift.

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The side of the path is lighted up like emergency lights on an aircraft.

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Aircraft window stickers are also pasted along the passageway to the lift.

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The lift to head back down to the departures level.

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Heading back across the entire length of Terminal 4 to my gate at Gate 5.

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Heading on my unintentional tour of Terminal 4.

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Finally on the right side of the terminal.

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The MH Golden Lounge is located near Gate 5. I guess this side of the terminal is where Heathrow assigns Malaysia Airlines flights then.

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Passing by a Pret A Manger, I thought of heading inside for one last sandwich to take on board the plane.

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Unfortunately almost everything was sold out at Pret. Oh well.

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The concourse for Gates 1 to 6.

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Finally at Gate 5, which can be split into 2, presumably a MARS gate.

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Goodbye Beefeater.

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Rather than saying something along the lines of “Please wait”, the signs at Gate 5 said “Take a seat” while the gate was still being prepared for boarding.

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My aircraft for my Malaysia Airlines MH1 flight from London Heathrow to Kuala Lumpur. Unfortunately, the view of the aircraft was blocked by the aerobridges.

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A queue magically formed before any announcements were made for boarding.

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As boarding was done in groups, I was called forward first, thus skipping the line.

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Heading to the aerobridge. Bye London.

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Heading onto the aerobridge.

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9M-MAB, Malaysia Airlines’ first Airbus A350, taking me from London to Kuala Lumpur today.

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Heading down the aerobridge to the plane.

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Boarding the Airbus A350 with the stewardess at the door greeting passengers exactly as how advertisements portray it. My first time actually seeing this done on MH.

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WiFi is available on this aircraft.

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Walking past the Business Class section. The window seat towards the aisle look nice on pictures, but may not offer the best privacy.

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Walking past the Economy Class with Extra Legroom section.

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The legroom on the Economy Class with Extra Legroom seats. Not good enough for me if I’m going to pay for a seat. Let me show you what is extra legroom.

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Walking past the first Economy Class cabin.

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Entering the rear Economy Class cabin.

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Oh, what’s this?

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A window seat with no seat in front? That means it’s a window seat with an aisle access in Economy Class?

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Welcome to my Seat 27A, probably the best Economy Class seat on Malaysia Airlines’ Airbus A350.

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Ah, fantastic legroom. This already feels like my seat selection cost of S$61.40 (~RM187.89) was super worth it to be getting this for the next 14 hours.

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As there wasn’t a seat in front of me, the safety cards were located in a side pocket.

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The view of the aircraft from my seat. The downside of this is that you would be awkwardly face-to-face with the crew members during take-off and landing, but it’s just a short time for this 14-hour flight back to KL.

To explain how valuable this private window-and-aisle extra legroom seat is, even the makcik in front of me already in her own unlimited legroom seat requested a seat change with me because her daughter who was in the unlimited legroom aisle seat was pregnant and needed to go to the toilet often so it would be easier for her to access.

Er… Aren’t you guys already in your own unlimited legroom seats for direct aisle access too?

After I explained to her that I paid for my seat, she said “saya pun bayar”, but sorry, definitely not letting go of my prized seat since your explanation to change seats with me about aisle access was totally illogical.

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The view out of the aircraft from my seat.

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As with all Economy Class seats without a bulkhead or seat in front of it, the entertainment screen was stowed between the armrests. This made the armrest immovable since it was a solid piece of plastic and metal, but no need to worry about lifting it up since I have unlimited legroom.

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Interestingly, a small side remote control was placed at the side of the seat, which is an additional feature as compared with regular Economy Class seats. Nice to have, but in the end I didn’t use it at all throughout the flight since the IFE was touchscreen.

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Very satisfied with my purchase so far, but slightly marred with that annoying request to change seats. This isn’t the bus to klia2 yo.

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The legroom on the regular rows of Economy Class, also for the seats beside mine.

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The makcik’s daughter in 26C would later move back to 27C, so that means I don’t get a private row from London to KL.

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This sticker was placed on the bulkhead for me.

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Pushing back from the gate. Bye London.

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The familiar LED signs on the Airbus A350.

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The reading lights and air-conditioning nozzles above my seat.

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As I didn’t have my monitor folded out due to taxi, I watched the safety video from the common screen.

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I wish Malaysia Airlines would have used the Airbus A350 in the safety video though. After all, it is their flagship aircraft.

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Only the animated part was edited in with the A350.

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The evacuation slides in the event of an emergency landing.

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The evacuation slides in the event of an emergency ditching.

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The slides slipping off from the aircraft.

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Yup, I definitely feel very safe on this flight since I’m located just in front of the emergency exit door with two crew members going to be seated there.

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The Islamic Journey Prayer was flashed after the safety video was played.

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Headsets were distributed after the end of the safety video. No free SIM cards on this leg of the journey.

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Taxiing out of Terminal 4.

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Terminal 3 in the distance.

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The cabin lights were dimmed with Malaysia Airlines’ purple hues bringing the brightness down with it.

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Passing by a Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

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Turning towards the cargo area.

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Looking back at the Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

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Passing by the British Airways Cargo Centre.

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Passing by an Esso on Southern Perimeter Road.

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Looping around at the end to get on Runway 09R.

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Taking off from Runway 09R.

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Goodbye Heathrow and London. I’ll be back.

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Goodbye Singapore Airlines. See you later.

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Flying over Hatton Cross.

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#flyinghigh over London.

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Flying past Battersea.

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The signature Airbus A350 winglet with the Malaysia Airlines logo flying high above London.

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Looking at the Palace of Westminster, Big Ben and London Eye in the distance.

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Flying past Canary Wharf.

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Flying past Greenwich.

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Flying past The O2.

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For the last time this trip, bye London. See you again.

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The cabin lights were lit up through purple hues.

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A oneworld video was played before the start of services.

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Flipping out my entertainment screen.

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The screen feels more comfortable here than at the seat back since once the person in front reclines, the screen would pretty much be in your face. Also, I can easily touch the screen while resting my arm on the armrest.

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The usual audio and visual stuff in the IFE. I didn’t watch much since this was a night flight.

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The table is also in the armrest on this seat. This is half the table folded out.

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As a welcome refreshment, peanuts were distributed first.

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The usual orange juice, apple juice or water selection came on the second round after the peanuts.

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Surprisingly, a third round of alcoholic stuff came around, with the stewardess targetting service towards non-Muslims. I decided to get a Tiger among other beer selections since I haven’t had it in quite a while. The irony of drinking something packed in Tuas while flying over the English Channel.

During this third drinks service, another stewardess came around to look for the passenger who is in Seat 26C,who’s now in 27C beside me. Apparently she was an Enrich Platinum member so she could have her meal served first.

Eh, does this mean that the makcik didn’t bayar for her seat after all since the privilege of free seat selection would have been given to Enrich Platinum members?

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Shortly after, the crew came around with dinner. There was a choice of chicken with rice or fish with potatoes. Definitely the Western option for me. The crew were friendly, but I’m not sure if it’s because I’m sitting together with 2 Platinum members.

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Here’s my dinner of Cod Fish in Butter Sauce. The actual label according to the meal box was Beurre Blanc though. Hmm. I’d assume there’s no white wine involved in the sauce since this is Malaysia Airlines.

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The meal actually tasted pretty good, though I may be biased since this is something that I naturally like already. Plus I was getting hungry already with this late dinner since my last meal was Five Guys in Oxford for lunch before last-minute grocery shopping and Pret sandwiches were sold out in T4 while waiting for boarding.

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Time for a toilet break before heading off to sleep.

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The typical sink layout of the A350. No other amenities available in here aside from paper cups.

And off I went to sleep in my unlimited legroom private aisle-and-window reclining Seat 27A.

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I woke up to the sounds of breakfast being served.

WAIT, WHAT?! THAT WASN’T MY PLAN TO SLEEP THAT LONG. This might screw up my real sleep later on.

I actually had 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep on Malaysia Airlines Economy Class. Can you believe it? This is probably the best sleep I’ve ever had on any Economy Class, ever.

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Getting a shot of MH’s A350 winglets as I groggily prepared for breakfast at 3pm Malaysia time. See how that deep perfect night’s sleep might screw me later on?

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Two breakfast options available – Nasi Lemak or Spanish Omelette. The choice was too easy and obvious.

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This being breakfast, I got a coffee and orange juice to go with my meal.

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This was actually a very flavourful breakfast with the omelette, creamed spinach and chicken sausage tasting exactly as they would have on the ground. In fact, I think the creamed spinach tasted just slightly off from the Flat Iron standard. The hashbrowns were understandably soggy though.

Great job whoever catered these meals from Heathrow, though I guess the Western option would be considered local food there.

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The big A350 windows with Malaysia Airlines’ winglets flying high.

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As the flight was approaching Malaysia and I didn’t have anything else that I wanted to watch on the IFE, I played around with the information systems instead.

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Oh, that’s fast to know my gate already.

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That’s fast to know my connecting flight’s gate too. Hmm, but will this hold up till the actual flight?

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An arrival into Malaysia should commence with this.

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Hello Malaysia.

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Flying past Taiping.

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Before arrival, the KLIA arrival video was played.

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A guide for international transfers.

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No lounge for me to relax in though.

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Unfortunately not a counter that I will be using on this trip.

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Not a train that I would be using too.

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Flying past the Perak River.

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Unfortunately, when trying to zoom in to the exact location, I just ended up with a very big plane blocking the view on the screen.

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Descending into Kuala Lumpur.

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A little bit more towards Singapore? No?

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34 minutes till arrival. Felt quite fast, probably because of the long time I spent sleeping.