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Kuala Lumpur - International Airport
- Power points at almost every seat
- Located near gates used by flights to Australia, London
- Nap room for longer transits
- Signage to lounge needs improvement
- Slow WiFi speeds
- Cooked-to-order food trumps the typical buffet fare
Malaysia Airlines’ new business class Golden Lounge in Kuala Lumpur’s Satellite Terminal brings travellers a modern feel and new amenities to enjoy during their journey: not least, a plentiful supply of power points to recharge their tech in transit, in a space that only reopened in March 2018.
Located near the gates typically used by flights to Australia and London, this is the lounge most travellers will experience during their time in Kuala Lumpur – so step inside as we put it to the test.
Location & Impressions
Situated in KLIA’s Satellite Terminal, you’ll find Malaysia Airlines’ business class Golden Lounge directly above the inter-terminal train stop, in the airport’s international departures zone…
… or, at least, you can try to find it, as the signage in this part of the airport isn’t particularly clear.
As you step off the train, the first sign is clear enough – airport lounges being ahead and upstairs…
… but the next sign points you left, forwards and upwards all at the same time, which is confusing.
Continue walking forward, and for a moment, you think you’re in the right place, but you’ll quickly notice that the already-hard-to-see Golden Lounge sign has disappeared from the boards above…
… which means backtracking and trying a different path: this time, up an escalator tucked away behind a shop that’s all boarded up, back where the earlier sign is located.
Once upstairs, the signs still aren’t clear: if you’re seeking a public male restroom, there’s a big lighted sign pointing you the right way: but if you want the Golden Lounge, you’ll need to squint and read the small dark print on the sign behind…
… before eventually locating the lounge at the very end of the walkway:
While I might expect this of a regional airport or a smaller airline, this is the flagship international business class of a country’s national carrier, at its home hub airport: so if anything, this should be one of the easiest things to find inside the entire terminal, and making this signage clearer would make a big difference.
- Business class and first class passengers of Malaysia Airlines, other Oneworld airlines – in KL, that's British Airways, Cathay Dragon, Japan Airlines, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian and SriLankan Airlines – plus Biman Bangladesh Airlines, China Airlines, KLM, Korean Air and Vietnam Airlines
- Qantas Gold, Platinum, Platinum One and Chairmans Lounge frequent flyers prior to Malaysia Airlines and other Oneworld flights
- Malaysia Airlines Enrich Gold and Platinum cardholders prior to these same flights
- Other Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald frequent flyers prior to Oneworld flights
- SkyTeam Elite Plus members prior to China Airlines, KLM, Korean Air and Vietnam Airlines flights only
- Vietnam Airlines LotusMiles Gold (SkyTeam Elite) members prior to Vietnam Airlines flights only
- Malaysia Airlines Enrich Silver and Blue members choosing to purchase lounge access with miles or money (costs vary)
Malaysia Airlines also operates a Platinum Lounge next door, which first class flyers, Platinum-grade travellers and other Oneworld Emerald passengers can access.
Guests can choose from two types of dining options here – standard buffet fare – great if you’re in a rush – and cooked-to-order dishes if you have time to wait.
Beginning with the buffet, my morning visit saw cereal selections…
… chilled items like cheeses, salmon and salads…
… fruits and yoghurts…
… fresh pastries…
… hot dishes including baked beans, hash browns, chicken Rendang and onion sambal…
… the ingredients for a DIY Nasi Lamak:
… and dim sum:
Beyond these, there’s an egg chef and a waffle counter where you can order these up…
… and a noodle bar, from which my freshly-made wonton noodles with chicken dumplings were tasty:
That noodle bar is separate from the main buffet zone: you’ll find it closer to the lounge’s entrance, near the coloured chairs (which match the patterns in the tiles):
On the beverage front, a sports bar towards the front of the lounge opens later in the morning…
… but you can grab your own drink from the fridges…
… make a latte using the espresso machine…
… or order from the barista counter for something a little nicer (although certainly not on-par with most Australian cafes):
You can enjoy your meal at one of the dining tables…
… or at one of the many other comfy seats throughout the lounge, if you please.
Tackling your business tasks can be done at one of the laptop benches – with useful reading lights on top and access to both AC and USB power below…
… or over in one of the other chairs…
… where you can also plug in – but note that the outlets alternate between international AC…
… and USB, so you may have to choose a different seat to access the plug you need when the lounge is busy.
Power points can also be found along the skirting of the bench seats…
… tucked away underneath some of the other chairs (just flip open the metal hatch)…
… and if you still haven’t found anywhere to work, look to the far-right corner of the lounge, where there are extra laptop benches which are easy to overlook, and thus can be quieter than others.
Wireless Internet is available throughout the lounge, but download speeds varied between 3.9Mbps and 21.3Mbps during my visit, with uploads in the realm of 3.4-3.7Mbps – fast enough for basic tasks and SD video streaming, but not reliable for watching Netflix in HD, for example.
The WiFi was also quick to disconnect, and the nature of the password protection found me keying in that password over 20 times during my four-hour stay just to remain online: seemingly after the connection had been idle for only a couple of minutes, which means unless you’re constantly monitoring your device’s WiFi status, you could miss important emails or alerts if you’re pushed offline.
With no boarding calls made here, the lounge has a rather calming atmosphere, with plenty of options to avoid the usual bustle of an airport…
… whether that’s to socialise with others...
… take a nap during a long transit…
… keep the kids entertained in a dedicated family area…
… sit back and read the paper or a magazine…
… or unwind in your own little space…
… before the flight monitors throughout the lounge signal that it’s time to head to your gate and board: but it never hurts to set an alarm on your phone or watch, just in case you find yourself too relaxed during your visit.
Overall, this space is a solid improvement to the previous business class Golden Lounge, retaining many of the familiar favourites like the noodle bar and the overall ‘feel’ of the area, but adding much-appreciated power points throughout, a modern design, and removing the pay-in spa (which often went unused on quiet days) in favour of extra seating.
However, making the lounge easier to find would be a big plus: particularly for jetsetters in transit between long international flights such as from Australia to London, who may not be as ‘awake’ as those starting their journey fresh in Malaysia.
Chris Chamberlin travelled to Kuala Lumpur as a guest of Malaysia Airlines.
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