Kuala Lumpur - International Airport
- Easy to find, with better directional signage than the Satellite lounges
- Staffed cocktail bar
- AC, USB power near most seats
- Relatively slow, problematic WiFi
- Barista coffee station not open bright and early
- Upgraded look and feel with a variety of zones
Recently-revamped in 2017, Malaysia Airlines' Regional Golden Lounge at Kuala Lumpur International Airport's Main Terminal caters primarily to business class passengers and Gold and Platinum frequent flyers departing on shorter flights within Asia, being separate to the airline's flagship Golden Lounge and Platinum Lounge in the Satellite Terminal.
With barista-made coffee, a tended cocktail bar and also a Laksa Bar open later in the day, Australian Business Traveller puts one of Malaysia Airlines' newest airport lounges to the test.
Location & Impressions
Located beyond international passport control in the Main Terminal building, you'll find the Regional Golden Lounge near the first aerotrain stop: so rather than getting on the train, veer left and up the escalator:
If you're instead connecting between flights, want to access this lounge and you've landed at the Satellite Terminal, jump on the aerotrain to the Main Terminal, exit the station area and take a sharp right to reach the same escalator.
Inside, you'll find a large open space with high ceilings and a variety of zones, whether your aim is to get some work done at the laptop benches...
... relax beside views of the airfield (when the sun is up, at least)...
... kick back with a drink or snack...
... or casually check emails and the like while recharging your device via one of the many power points located throughout the space:
None of the seats are too far from the buffet dining area...
... and although this lounge is closest to the gates used by short flights within Asia (such as to Singapore), you can use this lounge regardless of your destination: just as I did, bright and early at 3:45am before an onward flight to London.
- Business class and first class passengers of Malaysia Airlines and other Oneworld airlines – in Kuala Lumpur, 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 by special arrangement
- 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 purchasing lounge access with miles or money (costs vary)
For Australian travellers, we'd expect this lounge to be most popular with those arriving from a long-haul flight and connecting onto a shorter flight within the region, and as many of Malaysia Airlines' services from Australia run overnight, that puts breakfast front row centre.
It begins with a selection of fresh fruit, yoghurt, juices and cereals...
... and the expected pastries, breads and condiments:
Being Malaysia's national dish, there's no surprise in finding Nasi Lemak available too, which you can assemble to suit your own tastes (not everybody likes anchovies, for example)...
... but you'll also find Western favourites like baked beans, hash browns and scrambled eggs, joined by onion sambal further along, which was quite tasty:
As this lounge caters to international travellers who may still be living in a different time zone, there are a few things more 'lunchy' available too, even early in the morning: smoked salmon, cheeses and a salad bar with a choice of dressing all make an appearance:
Barista coffee is available too, but the station didn't open up until I was preparing to leave the lounge at around 6am, moving over to the Golden Lounge at the Satellite Terminal nearer to where my flight would later depart.
Instead, there was an automated espresso machine on the buffet counter for my morning caffeine hit, with other drinks available from the fridge nearby:
Most appreciated is a proper dining room near that buffet, so you don't have to balance your plate on your lap or on a cocktail table as so frequently happens in many other airport lounges...
... and opening later in the day, a staffed cocktail bar:
As you'd expect, it wasn't open during my early morning visit – nor would I have wanted it to be – but I returned during an evening transit on my way home to try it out, and was happy with my Martini, served with a lemon twist:
Other options at the bar were as you'd expect, although there's no Champagne here – instead, a Redbank Chardonnay Pinot Noir Brut Cuvée (sparkling) from the King Valley in Victoria.
The lounge also features a Laksa Bar where the featured dish changes from week to week to keep things interesting, although I didn't have time to try it out on this visit.
Planning to work on your laptop? Look no further than these high benches. The lamps here can be turned on or off as needed...
... and there's easy access to both international AC and USB power, just below the edge of the bench:
Elsewhere in the lounge, you'll also find power available near some of the dining tables – just make sure your cord isn't sticking out or the chair doesn't crush your power adaptor, as the outlets could be a bit better-placed...
... near many of the window seats, which put the outlets in a better location out of the way and out of danger...
... and on the front of the cocktail tables throughout the space, with some offering AC power...
... and others, a USB outlet:
Tests of the lounge's WiFi connection revealed download speeds of around 3.4Mbps and uploads just shy of 4Mbps, although the service is password-protected, and as in the Satellite Terminal Golden Lounge, the system kept booting me off every time the connection was idle for more than a moment, which meant constantly re-entering the password to get back online.
For smartphone users in particular who are relying on that data connection, that could well mean missing important emails, iMessages or alerts as soon as your phone is locked, which isn't great in a lounge designed for business travellers.
If work isn't your priority, there's plenty of space to kick back...
... whether you're flying solo and want your own zone...
... are travelling in a group and want to hang out together...
... or if you're not fussed either way:
This lounge also features a kids room with toys and games...
... a nap area, with separate rooms for ladies and gents...
... and shower facilities, too:
Overall, for Gold-grade frequent flyers and business class passengers on shorter flights – particularly the popular one-hour hop from KL to Singapore – this lounge is more than sufficient, ticking most of the boxes for business travellers: aside from the WiFi, of course.
Passengers seeking more also have the option of the Satellite Terminal Golden Lounge where there's a wider variety of hot food, and for Enrich and Qantas Platinum frequent flyers, the Satellite Terminal Platinum Lounge offers premium extras like a la carte dining and Champagne.
Even if your flight departs from the Main Terminal, there's nothing stopping you from taking the aerotrain to the Satellite Terminal for some 'upgraded' lounge time, and taking the same train back to the Main Terminal to reach your boarding gate, so the next time you're flying through Kuala Lumpur International Airport, take your pick!
Chris Chamberlin travelled to Kuala Lumpur as a guest of Malaysia Airlines.