Kuala Lumpur - International Airport
- Refreshed design
- Privacy with tarmac views
- Hidden room for VIP-tiered passengers
- Limited space to work
- Lounge needs better exterior directional signage
- A la carte dining in a dedicated dining room
Malaysia Airlines' new Platinum Lounge at Kuala Lumpur International Airport's Satellite Terminal offers top-tier frequent flyers – including Qantas Platinum cardholders – an exclusive space in which to await their flight, utilised also by the airline's first class passengers.
While it's not loaded with extras like a day spa or nail salon, there's still a la carte dining, and the lounge itself tends to be much quieter than the business class lounge next door, owing to the more restrictive guest list and limited first class service out of Kuala Lumpur.
Australian Business Traveller stopped by following the lounge's recent revamp to bring you this review.
Location & Impressions
You'll find this lounge in Kuala Lumpur's Satellite Terminal, to the right of the airline's business class Golden Lounge.
Signage towards this area from the terminal concourse isn't too clear – as we've covered in our review of that neighbouring business class lounge – so we won't go into this again.
However, once you do find the entrance, the first class lounge is clearly signed, along with its basic access rules, and you'll be pointed in this direction by the staff at reception if you're eligible.
Beyond this, there's a small lobby which is really just for passing through...
... followed by a seating area that's ideal for short stays:
Nearby, a dining room where passengers can enjoy a la carte meals...
... with other fine touches throughout the lounge, such as artwork and fresh flowers.
- First class passengers departing on Malaysia Airlines and British Airways (Oneworld) flights, along with first class passengers of Korean Air by special arrangement.
- Passengers in transit between a Oneworld first class flight and another Oneworld flight where that first class flight is over five hours in length. This includes passengers arriving from London in first class and connecting onwards to Australia or other destinations in business class (or economy).
- Qantas Platinum, Platinum One and Chairmans Lounge frequent flyers prior to Malaysia Airlines and other Oneworld flights, such as with British Airways, Cathay Dragon, Japan Airlines, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian and SriLankan Airlines.
- Malaysia Airlines Enrich Platinum cardholders before these same flights.
- Other Oneworld Emerald frequent flyers prior to Oneworld flights.
In the dedicated dining area, an array of tables topped with linen and silverware...
... and a menu you can order from.
In the mornings, the options given are essentially the same as you'll find in the business class lounge next door (either at the counters or the buffet), except that these are delivered to your seat in the dining room, and can be more easily customised to suit your personal tastes.
During a morning visit, I kept things simple and ordered wonton noodles with chicken dumplings, which I enjoyed...
... served with a range of breads and accompaniments, along with your choice of water, juice and tea or espresso coffee:
During the day and in the evenings, a more refined dining menu becomes available which offers a range of appetisers, mains and desserts.
When I returned to the lounge later the same week for a night-time visit, I ordered up a grilled sea bass with sauce vierge, steamed potatoes and garden vegetables, which was perfectly cooked and a healthy choice...
... which made me feel less guilty about dessert: a tropical fruit trifle – the lounge's signature dessert – being a light sponge with kaya jam and diced fruit in calamansi syrup, topped with pandan custard and fresh cream.
In one word, 'yum'.
Otherwise, feel free to help yourself to the buffet, found in the lounge's main space...
... offering the expected selections of cereals, fruits and yoghurts in the mornings...
... along with breads and pastries...
... and for travellers who may still be living in a different timezone (or simply want a start on lunch), the salad bar opens early, with bites like cheese, too:
Later in the day, a range of desserts appear...
... along with soups, breads, snacks and more fruit:
Alcohol isn't on display in this lounge but can be ordered from the wait staff, including from your seat if they're passing by.
In the Champagne department, Comte Audoin de Dampierre Grand Cuvee Brut NV is poured: a step above the sparkling wine served in the nearby business class lounge.
Most of the seats here are better-suited to relaxing than working, but if you don't mind using your laptop on your lap, there are plenty of clairs throughout with tarmac views...
... and with access to power: either behind the seat as above, or via the cocktail table (where there are also USB outlets) for those closer to the windows:
While these are 'international' AC outlets which accept a range of pins, my Australian chargers unfortunately wouldn't fit in the outlet, so I had to dig out an adaptor anyway.
This was also required at some of the other window seats which don't have cocktail tables, where the outlets only have UK/Malaysia-style inputs via fold-up panels on the floor:
These panels are also spring-loaded which puts pressure on the cables, which isn't good for their long-term lifespan.
Otherwise, you can certainly work on your laptop at the dining room tables, but when it's busy, you can't help but feel 'in the way', when there are others wanting to dine.
Wireless Internet is available and is shared with the business class lounge next door, with typical upload and download speeds of around 3.5Mbps, aside the occasional higher-speed spurt.
If you've arrived early or have plenty of time in transit between flights, you can kick back anywhere that takes your fancy: whether nearby reception where there's artwork to admire...
... on the upper level near the buffet, if you'll be enjoying a few snacks, or the sunlight coming in is a little strong...
... by the window, as you watch the world fly by...
... or if you're travelling in a group or as a family, you won't need to move the furniture around to sit together:
The lounge also features a nap area...
... and private shower suites, located within each gendered bathroom.
However, there's one more feature to this lounge that most passengers won't even realise is there, as it's tucked away in a corner which people don't often venture past.
Hidden behind a subtle (and usually locked) door marked "first class suite"...
... is a private lounge space, with its own tarmac views, sofas, other seats, fresh flowers and a television...
... and a private washroom and shower.
Despite the name, a first class ticket won't necessarily get you inside: it's generally offered only to Platinum Plus members of the airline's Enrich frequent flyer scheme – the airline's secret VIP tier, on-par with the Qantas Chairmans Lounge.
(In fact, this tier is so secret, we're told that many of its members don't even know that they are members, because there isn't a separate 'Platinum Plus' Enrich frequent flyer card: so their membership card looks just like any other Platinum member's, but the staff here can tell the difference.)
On the whole, this lounge certainly isn't as lavish as the Qantas First Lounges or Cathay Pacific's The Pier First Class Lounge in Hong Kong, but it's a significant step above the business class lounge next door in terms of comfort and privacy, particularly when it comes to dining at lunch or in the evenings.
Given that most passengers entering this space will be frequent flyers as opposed to actual first class passengers – except for a small handful on flights to London each day – many travelling regulars will also appreciate the extra touches here on their journeys through Malaysia.
Chris Chamberlin travelled to Kuala Lumpur as a guest of Malaysia Airlines.