Malaysia Airlines Is (Finally) Refreshing Their Airport Lounges

In addition to cutting costs through layoffs, retiring planes, and greatly scaling back their route network, Malaysia Airlines is also trying to refresh their product so that they can actually be competitive.

Last November Malaysia Airlines announced that they’d introduce a new fully flat business class product on their A330s, which is now available on select routes.

Malysia-New-Business-Class-1

That’s good news if they want to improve premium yields, since their old angled product just doesn’t cut it when the competition is mostly offering fully flat beds with direct aisle access.

Fortunately it looks like Malaysia Airlines will be upgrading their premium ground experience as well, as they’re refreshing their lounges at Kuala Lumpur Airport and London Heathrow Airport.

Per Malaysia Airlines’ press release, the airline’s regional lounge in Kuala Lumpur should be refreshed by late 2016, while their satellite lounge in Kuala Lumpur, as well as their lounge in London, should be refreshed by mid-2017:

Malaysia Airlines today announced an extensive redesign of its Golden Lounges for an exciting new pre-flight experience for guests. The new design will combine elements that are uniquely Malaysian with the modern functionality for a truly enhanced travel experience.

Passengers will be able to get a first taste of the new features in late 2016, beginning with the Regional and Domestic Lounges at KL International Airport. This will be followed by the Business and First class lounges at the KLIA Satellite terminal and London Heathrow, expected to be completed by mid 2017.

What’s interesting here is that it looks like Malaysia Airlines will be keeping their satellite terminal at Kuala Lumpur Airport. There have been rumors that they’ll consolidate all their operations in the main terminal, but apparently they’re keeping both lounges.

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Main terminal at Kuala Lumpur Airport

From a cost perspective it’s also interesting that they’re keeping the first class lounge, which is open to oneworld Emerald members and first class passengers on the airline’s two daily flights to London.

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Malaysia Airlines Satellite Lounge Kuala Lumpur Airport

Here’s what you can expect in terms of the lounge features:

The key feature of the new Golden Lounge is a demonstration kitchen concept, allowing guests to interact with chefs, which will be a focal point for an upgraded offering of Malaysian and international gourmet specialties. Guests will have the option to indulge in a bistro service or have a quick snack on-the-go, with the additional option for a fine dining experience in the First Class Lounge.

The improvements also entail an upgrade to our WiFi services to enable faster speeds along with the addition of universal power sockets for the convenience of our guests.

Malaysia Airlines’ Chief Commercial Officer, Paul Simmons said, “Delivering a holistic experience for our guests which starts from the lounge lies at the heart of the redesign. We want the space to encapsulate the richness of travel with the airline, a luxurious contemporary Malaysian style that our guests will be able to experience when they enter any Malaysia Airlines Golden Lounge around the world.  The new design will feature an expansive lounge where guests will find a world of amenities to help them recharge, relax or catch up with work”.

“We are extremely excited about the project which marks the next phase of an exciting products and services roll-out to provide our customers with an enhanced travel experience,” concluded Paul.

This refresh is long overdue, as their lounges in Kuala Lumpur are pretty lousy. I reviewed their international first class lounge late last year, and it was one of the most underwhelming oneworld first class lounges I’ve visited. The decor is dated, and the food selection is pretty bad as well.

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Malaysia Airlines First Class Lounge Kuala Lumpur Airport

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Malaysia Airlines First Class Lounge Kuala Lumpur Airport

Bottom line

Malaysia Airlines is headed in the right direction, as they recently turned their first monthly profit in years. While their great CEO recently resigned, at least he set the airline in the right direction. It’s great to see Malaysia Airlines is investing in their premium product while also trying to control costs.

Comments

  1. I am looking forward to their improvements.
    Some years ago Malaysia Airlines was one of the best Aurlines in the world.

  2. Hello Ben!

    If I would book a hotel room on a site like hotels.com then how would it affect my loyalty status with that particular chain? If I’m correct I’d not get any points but what about the status since it’s based on the number of nights?

    I’d prefer it this way because with hotels.com and with another cashback site I can get back 17% not including my credit card. I do not want to commit myself to one chain and I’m not an expert like you so I value cashback more than points but some status would be still be beneficial because of the free wifi, breakfast, etc.

    Thanks:
    Thomas

  3. While the FC lounge is underwhelming, I had a great experience in their dining room. I was the only person in there for the sit down lunch and I received amazing service and very high quality food.

  4. I had a similar experience as JJ re: dining room, and I found the lounge quite peaceful and well maintained.

    Certainly upgrading it is better, but it was still better than any US lounge, including the Amex Centurion lounges I’ve been to (with the exception of the liquor).

  5. Their neighbour to the North – Thailand has done a great job with their lounges at their home airport. Why has MA failed in doing the same? The answer is poor management.

  6. @Thomas
    Not Ben, but nope; you don’t earn status as it is based on the number of nights booked on official sites; but you can book on Virtuoso, FHR etc.

  7. @Danny. I assume your comment re Thailand is tongue in cheek as the ROP lounges in Bangkok are notoriously pathetic. The current Malaysia lounges are 10 times better without any refreshing. You might be referring to the TG F lounge but that is only accessible when actually in F or as a TG Platinum.
    The everyday J and *Gold lounges are abysmal: overcrowded, woeful food, no wine at all. Disgraceful.

  8. I’m surprised they’re keeping their lounge in LHR. Since MH is part of oneworld, why not get rid of that lounge and just use partner British Airways’s lounge?

  9. Oh ok I didn’t know that as I’m not a oneworld flyer. Isn’t there an AAdmirals club lounge in T3? My point is it’s probably cheaper to have a contract lounge with a partner rather than have their own dedicated lounge.

  10. No point in flying Business with them from Australia, 5-6 hour flight for $3-4-5k to fly over to KL… rather spend that money on a longer haul flight… if they could tidy up their Economy class and the tired interiors of the planes then sure.

  11. To save a few cents on wine they have lost me as a customer on the KL-Bkk flights.
    There are other options and not Air Asia, it’s not convenient flying into Don Mueng.

  12. Any idea when the renovation of the First class lounge will commence? I have an overnight stopover in October and was planning to just use the bedroom in the first class lounge to have a good night’s rest.

  13. Sorry, I forgot to mention that I’m a One World Emerald member and I’ll be flying with Malaysia Airlines, so I have access to the first class lounge.

  14. Hi
    I am coming Malaysia at economic class on 23 2016, than going to Lanka wye and may the transit time 1 and half hours

    How can I get free lounge facilities

  15. Not enough time to get from your gate, take tram to lounge and find your gate, lots of walking at KL terminals.

  16. The Regional and Domestic Golden Lounges are now scheduled to be refurbished by 15 August 2017 and will be closed from 12 May and 2 June, respectively. I guess this means that the satellite lounges won’t be completed until late in the year.

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