I recently flew Malaysia Airlines First Class on an A380 from Paris to Kuala Lumpur. The service and food were incredible on the flight. The seat and bed were extremely comfortable and spacious, and the entertainment system on the huge television made the flight pass quickly.

I went into the flight with very high expectations. It was my first flight in First Class on an East Asian carrier, and I’ve heard the service is just better on the top Asian carriers.

I had never been to Southeast Asia, so I decided to fly Malaysia Airlines First Class on an A380 to Southeast Asia for two weeks, returning to Europe on a Thai A380 in First Class.

Having completed that trip, I can say that I am very happy I took two weeks off from Europe to travel in Southeast Asia and that the flight in Malaysia Airlines First Class is my second favorite flight ever, only behind Emirates First Class.

What was my take on the service, food, entertainment, seat, bed, and A380?

Malaysia Airlines 21
Paris (CDG) – Kuala Lumpur (CDG)
Depart: noon on Tuesday, August 30
Arrive: 6:25 AM on Wednesday, August 31
Duration: 12hr25min
Aircraft: Airbus A380
Seat: 1K (First Class)

After a trip to the most underwhelming contract lounge I’ve ever been in–ever!–I got to the gate just before boarding started on time at 11:15 AM.

Get out of the way, jet bridge. We want to see that beautiful plane!

Three gates were set up to speed boarding onto the massive plane.

Multiple jet bridges to speed up boarding

First and business class boarded the main deck in the front left.

The premium entrance on the lower, front of the plane for First/Business/elites

When I showed my boarding pass, I was greeted and escorted to my seat. Here’s how the seat looks upon arrival.

The picture doesn’t do justice to just how wide the seat is at 26.1″–more than 4″ wider than United Global First for instance.

The entire First Class cabin is very small and private. In front of the cabin are the stairs leading to the second deck and the bathrooms, and behind the cabin are the galleys.

View of the Cabin

View of a Window Seat

I had chosen a window seat in the first row. Malaysia has eight first class seats on their A380 arranged 1-2-1 in two rows. The seats are incredibly wide and spacious, but they don’t feature any sort of sliding doors to enclose the seats for extra privacy.

View of the First Class cabin
View of the Stairs in Front of the First Class Cabin

As I was seated, I was offered Malaysia Airlines signature drink–the Ruby Passion.

The drink turned out to be a red, flavorful tea, and it was served with water and a scented towel.

Not that I was in the mood for anything stronger, but it is Malaysia Airlines policy not to serve alcohol on the ground. The tea sufficed. It was delicious, and when I informed the flight attendant how much I liked it, she beamed and offered me more.

As I sipped my tea, I got acquainted with my domain.

The television was very large and out of reach. It was controlled by a seat-side remote.

Just below the television was the ottoman. It doubled as a seat for companions to dine together–hence the seatbelt. Underneath the ottoman, I stored all my luggage for easy access.

There were ample storage compartments around the seat. Built into the side panel of the ottoman was a closet to hang your clothes.

Beside the seat was a perfect storage area for a laptop and books. And there were other storage areas to keep all of your cabin baggage within easy reach.

Beside the seat were the intuitive seat controls. For dining, the required take off and landing position was the most comfortable. For watching TV, I alternated between a reclined position and the bed position. And the fully flat bed position was the most comfortable for sleeping.

My seat controlled two windows, which just had traditional shades–none of the fancy automatic buttons that some A380s and 787s have.

The seat also featured storage for your magazines and the duty-free offerings.

At the seat, there was a headphone jack for the noise cancelling headphones we were given and a USB port.

When I was reading or watching TV at my seat, I found it comfortable to stretch out to the ottoman, though shorter people might have a hard time reaching it.

When dining or working on a computer, the large table came out of the side panel on my right.

 

After the flight attendant cleared my tea, she brought around the amenity kits, which were presented in a bag you might expect to get for your purchases from an upscale boutique.

Inside the bag was a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, slippers, pajamas, and an amenity kit.

My headphones didn’t work, and they were promptly swapped out for a new pair that did.

The slippers were very comfortable, and I wore them for the rest of the flight when I would walk around.

I slipped into the pajamas after dinner and wore them until just before landing. I was glad to have them, so I could hang my clothes while I slept, but I didn’t like them enough to take them with me when I deplaned.

The amenity kit is Bulgari branded.

As I looked through my goodie bag, a selection of newspapers was offered.

After the newspapers, the menu and drinks list were distributed. The coolest thing is the Story of Satay, which is the airline’s signature dish, and Malaysia Airlines is justifiably proud of its satay.

As the flight attendant handed out the menu, she also explained that Malaysia Airlines First Class passengers have an opportunity to “Book the Cook” and pick their meals up to 24 hours before departure. She excitedly explained that it meant you could have dinner for breakfast, which she charmingly described as one of the craziest things she could think of.

A few minutes later, the flight attendant returned and asked if I would be changing into my pajamas now. When I said I would do it after lunch, she hung them in my mini-closet.

Before departure, two flight attendants were busy making the passengers comfortable and acquainted with the onboard offerings. Other than me, there was only one older Malaysia couple, so we all got plenty of attention.

It’s this level of service that sets apart First Class from Business Class and First Class on good airlines from not-so-good airlines.

I especially loved the technique that the flight attendants employed of kneeling down by your seat when they were talking with you, so that both of you were on the same level.

As take off approached, I took a look at the entertainment options available, which were vast. I liked that they were available before takeoff, since we were on the plane for about an hour before we got in the air.

Right on schedule at noon, we taxied back from the gate. At this point, the A380’s tail camera was put on all the TVs until after takeoff.

Fifteen minutes after takeoff, my table was set and my drink order was taken.

A flight attendant brought me my Tiger beer (excellent) along with an amuse bouche of duck and scallop. The only meats I like come from cows, chickens, pigs, and turkeys, so as usual, MileValue is not the best place to go for a food review.

After the amuse bouche came the part of the meal I was most excited for: Malaysia Airlines’ famous satay cart.

As you can see, there are over 20 sticks of satay on the cart and only three passengers, so we could have as much of the chicken and beef satay as we wanted.

I was served three chicken skewers and two beef skewers along with cucumber.

On the side was a chunky peanut sauce and a chili-based hot sauce.

I regret not asking for more because the satay was absolutely fantastic, and my favorite part of the meal. The flight attendant suggested mixing the sauces if I liked spicy food, which I do, and the chili gave the satay a nice kick.

After the satay, a bread basket was brought around, and I snagged some tasty garlic bread.

I ate my two pieces of garlic bread very quickly, and the flight attendant proactively offered me more. This is one of several examples throughout the flight of a small gesture of great service. On some airlines and in some cabins, you get adequate service, but you know the flight attendant is offering you the bare minimum to head off any complaints. In Malaysia Airlines First Class, you get great service that goes beyond merely going through the motions.

The table setting was completed with an overturned glass containing an orchid, which was a nice touch.

The appetizers continued with a choice. I suspected I would like the cream of potato soup the most, but I was not going to miss out on my first chance to try caviar. I asked the flight attendant if I could have both, and she happily agreed.

The potato soup was good–nothing special, but a nice opener.

The caviar was interesting. I found its texture, not its taste, to be the defining characteristic. I can pretty safely say that I won’t be buying any caviar at what I understand its price to be, but that’s kind of the point of using miles for First Class. I wouldn’t buy the seat either, but miles put the once-in-a-lifetime experience within reach (quite a bit more often than once in a lifetime.)

After the caviar, the flight attendant offered me Dom Perignon, and I thought: “What’s caviar without Dom?” 😉

After sampling from the caviar plate, the main course was served. I went with the chicken, which is a safe if uninspiring choice.

After the meal, I was stuffed but I can never turn down a cheese plate!

After the cheese plate, I was more stuffed, but I can never turn down Haagen-Dazs!

My plate was cleared at 1:46 PM, 1hr8min after the service started. I think the flight attendants normally go at a more leisurely pace, but I had asked for my plate to be cleared after each course because I wanted to speed through the meal and get to sleep.

I grabbed my hanging pajamas and went to the bathroom to prepare for bed. As I passed a flight attendant, she offered turndown service.

The bathrooms are nothing special. They’re slightly larger than economy class bathrooms, but nothing lavish like the Emirates First Class Shower Spa or even the larger bathrooms offered on the Thai and British Airways A380s.

If you forget your amenity kit, the bathroom is stocked with toothbrushes and razors and adorned with flowers.

The pajamas were comfortable (and stylish?)

At 1:55 PM, less than two hours after takeoff and just over Eastern Europe, I was ready to get in bed.

The bed is fully flat. A thin mattress pad, a thick duvet, and a large pillow are placed on the bed when you’re ready to sleep.

I found the bed more comfortable than any other flying bed I’ve had the chance to try so far. I liked the size of the bed quite a bit. The width and length were both superior to anything I’ve experienced on a plane, and it made it quite easy for me to sleep 4hr40min as an afternoon nap, waking up over India.

I woke up and headed to the bathroom, and when I returned to my seat, a flight attendant was immediately there to see if I needed anything.

I took a look at the snack menu and asked for the noodle soup and a water, which were brought in a few minutes.

The soup was tasty, but I was still hungry, so I ordered every other snack on the menu in the name of research: cookies, a cheese platter, and the steak and fries baguette.

I most highly recommend the sandwich, though all were tasty, and it’s just so nice to have all the options.

Having not planned my time in Malaysia at all, I spent the next hour and a half reading a guidebook. When I tired of that, I flipped on the TV and looked at my options. I ran across The Americans, which I had been meaning to watch and ended up watching three straight episodes. I highly recommend it!

At about 11 PM Paris time, and an hour and a half before landing, breakfast was served.

The service started out with juice and a hot towel. I think I was given five hot towels on the flight, but I lost count.

Next was a fruit plate and the table settings.

I was given a bread basket and a parfait.

Next came my entree selection. I had ordered the Egg Roll, which I thought would be like the appetizer in a Chinese restaurant. It sounded like a strange breakfast item, but a tasty one.

But by “Egg Roll,” Malaysia Airlines meant “omelette,” which makes both more and less sense to me. The breakfast platter was OK, but I’m not much for breakfast. I picked at it, but I hoped something more substantial would be available upon arrival.

After breakfast, we were given a Fast Track card for immigration, which proved wholly unnecessary because there was no line for immigration in Kuala Lumpur.

Plates were cleared just after 5:30 AM Malaysia time. At 6 AM, all the TVs started to play a cheesy Malaysia tourism video.

When it ended, video service resumed until landing.

For the last ten minutes before landing, the inflight manager excitedly drew me a map of Malaysia with all his top recommendations after I told him I didn’t have my week planned yet. Another example of the personal and above-and-beyond service.

We touched down on time at 6:27 AM after 12hr3min airborne. At 6:35 AM, I was the first person off the plane, looking for a place to shower and grab a bite to eat before I left the airport.

Recap

Service: The service was incredible. It rivaled the service I got in Emirates First Class. With only three passengers, the flight attendants–I remember four at different times–could offer truly personal service, which seemed to give them great pleasure.

Seat: The seat was very large and comfortable for working and relaxing. I wish it were enclosed by suite doors, but that’s my only complaint.

Bed: The bed is the largest and most comfortable flying bed I’ve had the pleasure to sleep in. Some plane beds are narrow, so you feel like you are in a coffin, but not this one, which was wide with nothing constricting your shoulders.

Entertainment: There was a great selection of TV and movies, way more than enough to pass 12 hours.

Food: There was fancy stuff like caviar, Dom, the cheese plate, and the duck amuse bouche. That was all OK. The star was the satay, which you can buy on Malaysian streets for 50 cents a stick.

The meals and snacks offered good quality and choice, so I definitely recommend the food even though this is one of the least important considerations for me when selecting an airline.

Overall: This was my second favorite flight ever. Two weeks later, I flew Thai First Class on an A380, and I definitely preferred Malaysia Airlines First Class.

How to Book

How to Redeem Miles on Malaysia Airlines

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