Reviews

Review: Malaysia Airlines first class Platinum Lounge, Kuala Lumpur Satellite

Overall Rating

By Chris Chamberlin, March 22 2018
Malaysia Airlines first class Platinum Lounge, Kuala Lumpur Satellite
Country

Malaysia

City

Kuala Lumpur

Airport

Kuala Lumpur - International Airport

Alliance

Oneworld

Airline

Malaysia Airlines

Cabin-class

First

Notes
The Good
  • Refreshed design
  • Privacy with tarmac views
  • Hidden room for VIP-tiered passengers
The Bad
  • Limited space to work
  • Lounge needs better exterior directional signage
X-Factor
  • A la carte dining in a dedicated dining room
Location
Dining
Work
Overall

Introduction

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.

AusBT review: Malaysia Airlines business class Golden Lounge, Kuala Lumpur Satellite Terminal

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.

Access

  • 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.

Dining

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.

Work

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.

Relax

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.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

MarkJohnSon Banned
MarkJohnSon Banned

19 Jan 2018

Total posts 90

The colour palette and theme of this lounge is all over the shop. I counted at least 6 different styles of chairs!

04 May 2015

Total posts 234

Oh no, Malaysia Airlines didn't fit out the entire lounge with a single type of chair to please you, and instead introduced some variety... and for that, you whinge. Pretty predictable!
MarkJohnSon Banned
MarkJohnSon Banned

19 Jan 2018

Total posts 90

I never said it had to never a single type of chair. For a flagship first class lounge, there should be a consistent motif.

In any case, please keep your comments on topic.

MarkJohnSon: We remind you that you are not a moderator on this site, so can suggest you take your own advice, as we won't remind you of the comment policy again.

Deanr: Some users are more critical than others, but we'd also ask you to keep your comments on-track. :)

QFF

13 Mar 2013

Total posts 8

Basically the same layout as before, BUT .... a big BUT ....
There were 5 ROOMS for nap in old days (Excellent Privacy) and now just a few beds in an open area.


Just a heads-up: the nap area is divided into male and female zones - the photo shows the zone for the gents, so there are a few more day beds available for women at the other end.

QFF

13 Mar 2013

Total posts 8

Yes Chris, but comparing to the old "Room" style, IMHO still a downgrade.
I travel to KUL every month, and the room was very useful when transiting, especially more than 4 hours :(
Besides the room, generally speaking it is the same as before with new furniture
Oh yes, someone may miss the cigar room too.

Not arguing with your comparison, just highlighting that there are more beds than pictured above.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1380

I'd assume it also means more beds. From memory the rooms were quite large and there were only 4 or so, so you could miss out.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Feb 2017

Total posts 13

Chris, like what’s sometimes allowed in say the Emirates first lounge in Dubai and even the qantas first in Sydney , did you ask at breakfast time if any of the all day dining items could be ordered?
I had a chat with the wait staff and you can order what's shown on the menu you're given: during breakfast, that's breakfast only, and then the 'normal' menu is available throughout the rest of the day and remains the same for lunch and dinner.
OJA
OJA

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Feb 2015

Total posts 10

The lounge was officially opened with media and dignitaries. I enjoyed the lounge and the food and service was very good.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

17 Feb 2016

Total posts 47

I visited the lounge last week. It was a Wednesday afternoon and I shared it with only two other guests, it was great.

I was on a cheap Firefly Kul-Sing flight. When booking the flight (operated by MH) I only had the option to enter my MH Enrich number (Blue) however I asked the check in staff to enter in my QFF (Platinum) and was then able to access this lounge. A great start to an otherwise ordinary flight !

21 Apr 2016

Total posts 22

@Booster were you awarded any SC for the flight?

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

17 Feb 2016

Total posts 47

Hi @ScottB , alas no SC or Miles/Points..

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Oct 2017

Total posts 4

As a Platinum member am I allowed to take my wife into this lounge? She is Silver but flying on my booking?

10 Jul 2018

Total posts 84

Yes, Oneworld Emerald entitles you to bring one guest in to lounges.

25 Feb 2015

Total posts 25

Interesting discovery of some shortcomings as I visited this lounge late at night (around 11pm) last week. There was literally no food at all in the first class lounge (other than a soup that had been bubbling away for what seemed like hours, and some rather stale bread rolls). I asked a staff member and she let me through a swipe access side door into the business class lounge (where food offerings were again quite limited and certainty not fresh or hot). I managed to pile up a few plates and balanced them (along with a glass of very average white wine), then had to chase down another staff member to swipe me back into the F lounge.

Totally get that it's a quiet time of the day and I wouldn't expect the laksa chef to be on shift, but given this is indeed a “24 hour lounge” shame that they couldn't design a bit smarter “late night dining” menu and system.

In saying all that, the lounge ambience is very pleasant and peaceful. Then again maybe too quiet....some gentle background music would be an easy, free way to add some warmth during late night hours.


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