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Saturday, March 10, 2012

MAS brings new Airbus A380 to Sydney-Kuala Lumpur flights

Malaysia Airlines will introduce its brand new Airbus A380 onto the Sydney-Kuala Lumpur route later this year, following the superjumbo's July 1st debut as a thrice-weekly KL-London service (MH002/MH003) before going daily in August.

The A380s will carry a dashingly revamped livery, combining the airline's iconic 'wau' (kite) symbol with modern fonts.

MAS' final A380 layout is similar to that of Qantas and Singapore Airlines – first class in the nose downstairs, business class upstairs and economy spanning both decks.

Eight 87 inch lie-flat beds with a generous 85 inch pitch (compared to 80 inches on MAS' Boeing 747) and massive 23 inch video screens will occupy first class at the front of the main deck in a 1-2-1 configuration.

And as Australian Business Traveller reported last year, babies will be banned from MAS' first class on the A380.

Business class gets a boost

66 business class seats on the upper deck will stretch out in a standard 2-2-2 layout. Each will have a 74 inch pitch (well beyond 58 inches on the Boeing 747), fold out into a 72 inch lie-flat bed and sport a 17 inch video screen.

MAS' ‘Chef-on-Call’ facility, currently exclusive to first class passengers, will be extended to business class on the A380.

(As reported last year by Australian Business Traveller, in what was at the time seen as a vote of confidence in the economy, MAS has boosted the number of business class benches from its original configuration of 52.)

Premium economy gets the axe

Notably absent from the A380 is premium economy, which MAS previously planned for the superjumbo as what one airline exec described as a "super economy" with more legroom and just 26 seats in a dedicated upper deck cabin.

An MAS spokesman confirmed with Australian Business Traveller that premium economy is no longer on the airline's A380 roadmap, saying "the 3 class configuration is final as per the announcement today."

The A380 will pack 420 seats in economy: 350 downstairs in a 3-4-3 layout, and 70 in a 2-4-2 mini-cabin upstairs at the rear of business class.

Frequent travellers whose travel policies don't spring for business class will prefer the upstairs economy cabin since it's smaller and there are fewer people to clamber over to get out of window seats.

There'll be AC outlets for every seat in first and business class, of course, while passengers in economy will need to share one power outlet between every two seats.

However, every seat from tip to tail will include a USB port for recharging iDevices and other travel tech en route.

We're hopeful that Malaysia Airlines will have begun frequent flyer point sharing with new chum Qantas by the time Australian flights begin, if not MAS' formal entry into the oneworld alliance.

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