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Grahame Hutchison 19th March 2008 10:32 PM

Trip Report - MH122/123 First
MH122 Sydney - Kuala Lumpur

All times are Sydney local and (altitude) relative cabin

I knew today was going to be hectic from wake up at 0630. I had planned a Harbour Scenic flight for the morning in the Archer II, checked the Area 21 and Bankstown weather on NAIPS then submitted the flight plan from home on the laptop. Arrived at Bankstown at 0900, had the aircraft refuelled and completed the pre-flight. Departed Bankstown at 0945 and there was initially some scattered cloud at around 2000ft on the way up to Patonga and it was also a little misty or hazy. Called Sydney Terminal at Hornsby only to find out there was four other aircraft ahead on me in the queue. A clearance still was not available at Long Reef and I had to complete four orbits from Long Reef to Mona Vale before a clearance became available ( I followed a Cessna on one orbit and it felt a bit like aerial combat with all the aircraft in the area). I did three orbits at the Harbour Bridge then headed back to Bankstown via Mona Vale, Hornsby and Dural. On approach the aircraft ahead of me took a long downwind and wide base so I ended up very close on final. Instead of the expected go around the tower offered me a very late change to 29C which I was able to accept. I had the aircraft refuelled, put on the cockpit cover and headed home for a quick shower and lunch, before dashing straight out to Mascot for this flight. Hardly a second to take a breath, but a great morning. This Archer II is just in from the US, has a new prop and an engine that performs much better than any other Archer II have flown.

Date 9/3/2008
9M-MPD Boeing 747-400
Temperature 23.9°C
Barometric pressure 1024
Weather - Fine with clear skies
Scheduled Departure 1540
Scheduled Boarding 1510

1505 Boarded

Seat Allocation 4A in First which is right beside the forward cabin door. The First cabin is setup for 12, with rows 1 and 2 configured 1x1 and rows 3 and 4 configured 1x2x1 with the middle two seats set back significantly from the window seats.

A glass of Dom Perignon Champagne to start, I think I must have drunk the rest of the bottle during dinner.

1540 All passengers on board and door closed.

Yolanda took the dinner and drink orders for after takeoff.

First Officer Kamal
Main Cabin Supervisor Rasi
First crew today are Yolanda

Track today is Alice Springs, Denpasar, and weather should be fair to Bali then turbulence over Indonesia.

1548 Pushback Terminal 1 Gate 53 and by tug to the entrance of INTL 5 onto Golf.

British B777 G-YMML and B747-400 G-BYGD were at gates 38 and 36.

Taxiway Golf is closed between Alpha and INTL 5 as they are relaying the pavement.

1602 Taxi via Yankee, Hotel and Alpha to the Alpha 1 holding point. The nose wheel on this aircraft makes a loud groaning noise every time the aircraft turns.

1609 Rolling Runway 16R with a 40 second takeoff roll.

Wheels up and the combined retract and air noise from the nose wheel is quite loud in the First cabin as you sit right above the wheel bay.

Right to 190° as we climb out.

1615 Right heading 270° and tracking back across the Illawarra coast north of Wollongong. Looks like a Katoomba departure as we tracked overhead Warragamba Dam.

1616 Seatbelt sign off.

1625 270° 28700ft 26°F, 32mph tailwind and 6484km to Kuala Lumpur

1631 overhead Orange and a great view of the open cut gold mine where my niece works as an electrical engineer.

The three windows for my seat have electric blinds with controls to operate just the first window or all three at the same time. The first blind to come down is translucent and the second blind opaque.

The screen for the in-flight entertainment is about 32cm wide and 24cm wide and it pops up from the side table between the seat and the window.

The seat controls are comprehensive with five presets for sleep, recline, slight recline, takeoff and landing and dinner service. There are also controls for a massage in the back area. The foot stool has its own controls to move it towards and away from the seat.

The headset provided is very average and I used my own noise cancelling set.

1640 The crew set the cabin for the dinner service. The fold out table is about 900mm square in two sections and made of solid polished timber.

1645 Bar service started and another Dom Perignon to start sounded good to me.

1656 Dinner served.
- Malaysian Chicken and Beef Satay served with Cucumber and Raw Onion in a Dipping Peanut Sauce.
- Seared Marinated Baramundi Skewers
- Grilled Prawns with Egg Fried Rice and vegetables.

- Fresh Fruit Pavlova.
- Brazilian Santos coffee, black no sugar.

The menu selection was quite good however the quality did not quite compared to Qantas or Cathay Business Class. Presentation and crockery were also only fair by comparison, however the cabin service was excellent.

The coffee choices were interesting, Ethiopian Virgacheffe, Jamaican Blue Mountain, Kenyan AA, Brazilian Santos, Local Malaysian and Nespresso Grands Crus Blends.

I watched "Michael Clayton" with George Clooney, a law firm drama/thriller which was really quite good.

2027 310° 38000ft (6360ft) 909kph -18°C 15kph headwind over the Timor Sea heading for Malang and 1752km to KL

2313 Top of descent, cleared to 28000ft

2338 Touchdown Runway 32L

Taxi via D5, Hotel and Sierra 4

2347 Shutdown Terminal Gate C2

2047 Local Kuala Lumpur

MH123 Kuala Lumpur - Sydney

All times are Kuala Lumpur local and (altitude) relative cabin

Checked in at the First counter by Rosli who was very helpful and gave me seat 1K, so no complaints.

Date 12/3/2008
9V-MP Boeing 747-400
Temperature 21.2°C
Barometric pressure 1007
Weather - Overcast and showers

The taxi ride to the airport was amazing, I have never seen such heavy rain, even for Kuala Lumpur. There were torrents of water running down all the streets and the taxi driver had the emergency blinkers on and was only driving at 50kph on the freeway as visibility was minimal.

Scheduled Departure 2240
Scheduled Boarding 2210

2210 Boarded

Seat Allocation 1K First
Sector time 7hr 25min

Row 1 has three windows which allow a fair amount of forward view because they are so close to the nose. Seat 1K is excellent for me as a right hander, with all the seat and entertainment controls at hand on the right console. The view from the three windows on both sides of the aircraft is about as close as you will get to a cockpit view, just a small centre section missing.

The cabin on this aircraft is in quite good condition, with the leather trim looking like new. The aircraft was delivered in 1993 but would have been refurbished more recently.

Waiting on one passenger and will need to unload the bags if they are not located. We also have a technical problem which needs to be resolved, so there will be a 10 to 15 minute delay.

2250 All passengers on board and door closed, armed and cross checked.

Apart from the personal video screen, row 1 has a large flat screen on the front bulkhead which is very handy for the Flightpath system.

Captain Ahmed
First crew today are Renarta, Lakanshy

Track today is via Surabaya, Curtin and Leigh Creek.

2258 Pushback Terminal C Gate C22
Iran Air B747-238B J2-LBB was at gate C24, interesting as this was the old Qantas VH-EBJ.

2305 Taxi via Hotel, Bravo, Bravo 13 to the Runway 32R holding point.

2309 Rolling Runway 32R with a 40 second takeoff roll. We made a left hand turn after takeoff and tracked down the Straits of Malacca.

2321 Seatbelt sign off.

2335 110° 34990ft (5640ft) 865kph -10°C with a 56kph headwind - passing Singapore and 6654km out of Sydney

2340 Bar service started

Dinner served
- Malaysian Satay with Cucumber, Raw Onion and Dipping Sauce.
- Ossetra Caviar.
- Venison Stew with Roasted Sweet Potato wit herbs and Roasted Mixed Vegetables.
- Moist Dark Chocolate Torte
- Brazilian Santos Coffee

0054 Lakanshy made up my bed while I changed into the blue Malaysia Airlines pyjamas.

0517 A wake up call from Renarta, so a quick freshen up and back into normal clothes.

0529 Breakfast served
- Coffee
- Fresh Fruit
- Croissant and Jam
- Yoghurt

0530 070° 39000ft (6700ft) 1015kph -20°C 109kph tailwind. We were north of Swan Hill and I could see the Murray River winding its way to the east.

0610 070° 39000ft (6700ft) and 5 minutes to top of descent and overhead Yass. The captain announces they were not expecting any ATC delays and we should be landing at 0936
There is a layer of cloud at around 30000ft and a dense cloud cover down low to the east, maybe around 5000ft to 8000ft.

0612 Top of descent
0621 left to 050° just west of Mittagong and Bowral as we track along the Hume Highway.
0625 spotted Wedderburn airfield to the right as we level out at 8000ft with 76km to run.
0627 right to 130° over Waterfall.
0630 left to 070° over the coast at the Royal national Park.
0631 left to 360° to intercept final approach for Runway 34L.
0633 left to 340° to line up for final.
0634 wheels down over Kurnell with lots of air noise from the bay doors and mechanical noise from the undercarriage itself.
0636 Touchdown Runway 34L and vacated via the A2 Rapid. There was quite a bit of nose wobble as the brakes were applied hard and along with the reverse thrust.
Taxi via Alpha, Juliette, Yankee and INTL5.
0642 Shutdown Terminal Gate 51

0942 Local Sydney

Malaysia Airlines First Class has an excellent cabin layout with seats that go fully flat for sleeping (connecting to the electrically operated foot stool) . At meal time, another person can sit opposite you on the foot stool, which has its own seat belt (a bit like dining at the table together). The crew cover the seat with a thin fitted sheet with holes in it for the seatbelts. The bed is very comfortable and the doona very warm. The cabin crew on both sectors were excellent, and just did everything before you asked.

The let down for me was the food quality, which did not come up to Qantas or Cathay Business Class standard. The Champagne, wine and coffee were all excellent.

Robert Zweck 21st March 2008 07:45 AM


As usual, very interesting

DJones 21st March 2008 08:30 AM

Excellent report. Thanks for sharing :)


Grant Smith 21st March 2008 09:18 AM


I did notice a change from your usual photos, are you off the white wine for awhile, or have you upgraded your taste buds to the delights gained from drinking Dom Perignone?


Grahame Hutchison 21st March 2008 02:34 PM

Grant, I would have to say that the Dom was pretty good, so I decided to have a change from the Chardy.

Adrian B 21st March 2008 03:46 PM


Originally Posted by Grant Smith (Post 204)

I did notice a change from your usual photos, are you off the white wine for awhile, or have you upgraded your taste buds to the delights gained from drinking Dom Perignone?


Nice report and I think your photos are a lot better as well (nothing wrong with the old,)

David M 21st March 2008 05:39 PM

Food looks great Grahame, was there nothing to see outside the window?? :D



Grahame Hutchison 21st March 2008 05:48 PM

Hi David, There was a 4 photoraph limit on the new Board when I uploaded the report, so I just included the interior and food shots. I try to keep the images to 80-100k so they load quickly but I have seen some posts on the old Board where multiple high res shots were loaded, and it becomes painful to read. This limit has now been increased to 10 by the Admins, however I am looking at using thumbnails as hyperlinks to the full size photograph.

James Herbert 21st March 2008 06:08 PM

Thanks for the report.

Not often we see MH's first class seating here ;)

Grahame Hutchison 21st March 2008 06:34 PM

Hi David,

I have worked out a simple way to use thumbnails that hyperlink to the full sized image. Here are a few more images from the Trip Report, however the new 10 image limit still applies.

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