A bit over a week ago, Malaysia Airlines took delivery of their first Airbus A350. Over the coming weeks Malaysia Airlines will be operating the brand new plane on some routes within Asia, in order to familiarize crews with the differences and work out any kinks. Then in January Malaysia will begin flying their brand new Airbus A350s between Kuala Lumpur and London. The airline will take delivery of six of these planes by 2018, at which point they’ll get rid of their fleet of Airbus A380s, which offer more capacity than the airline needs.
Malaysia operates two daily flights to London Heathrow, and we’ve known that one frequency (MH4/1) will be operated by the A350 as of January 15, 2018, while the second frequency (MH3/2) will be operated by the A350 as of March 5, 2018.
Well, we now know the next two routes that will be operated with the A350 (and since they only have six A350s on order, I wouldn’t expect many routes beyond this). In 2018 Malaysia Airlines will be flying the A350 to Tokyo Narita and Auckland.
Specifically, as of May 5, 2018, one of Malaysia Airlines’ two daily Kuala Lumpur to Tokyo Narita flight will be operated by an A350, rather than an A330. That flight operates with the following schedule:
MH88 Kuala Lumpur to Narita departing 11:30PM arriving 7:40AM (+1 day)
MH89 Narita to Kuala Lumpur departing 10:30AM arriving 4:45PM
Meanwhile as of August 5, 2018, Malaysia Airlines’ daily Kuala Lumpur to Auckland flight will be operated by an A350, rather than an A330. The flight operates with the following schedule:
MH133 Kuala Lumpur to Auckland departing 9:05AM arriving 11:00PM
MH132 Auckland to Kuala Lumpur departing 12:15AM arriving 7:40AM
So, why is this significant? Not only is the A350 a brand new plane, but it features an improved onboard experience. Malaysia’s A350s have the same general type of staggered business class seats that the A330s have, but they’re more spacious, and have some additional features.
Malaysia’s A350s will also feature a single row of first class, consisting of a total of four seats in a 1-2-1 configuration.
There’s more good news. First class award availability is wide open to both Tokyo and Auckland. Like, wide, wide open. Many flights have all first class seats available for awards, so you could basically charter the whole cabin!
The best value for booking these flights is through American AAdvantage, as they charge the following number of miles one-way:
- Kuala Lumpur to Tokyo: 30,000 miles business class, 40,000 miles first class
- Kuala Lumpur to Auckland: 40,000 miles business class, 50,000 miles first class
- Tokyo to Kuala Lumpur to Auckland: 40,000 miles business class, 60,000 miles first class
It’s great to see Malaysia Airlines operate the A350 on more routes, as it features a superior business class product, has wifi, and also has a first class cabin, unlike the A330s. I’m looking forward to checking out the MH A350.
(Tip of the hat to @airlineroute)