A350-900, BUSI­NESS CLASS, LON­DON HEATHROW-KUALA LUMPUR

Business Traveller - - MALAYSIA AIRLINES - By Tom Ot­ley

This was the in­au­gu­ral flight of one of Malaysia Air­lines’ new A350 air­craft on the Lon­don Heathrow to Kuala Lumpur route

The A350-900 has four new first class seats, 35 busi­ness class seats, and 247 econ­omy class seats. First class is in a 1-2-1 con­fig­u­ra­tion at the front of the air­craft. There is then the larger of the two busi­ness class cab­ins (22 seats), then a gal­ley, and then a fur­ther, smaller busi­ness class cabin of just 13 seats which is where I was, in a win­dow seat in the mid­dle of the cabin – 10A.

The seats are all stan­dard in the sense they are the Thomp­son XL Van­tage seat. The cabin has quite a few quirks in its lay­out, not least the 1-2-1 and then 1-2-2 con­fig­u­ra­tion of each row.

The seat colour is grey, and the cabin it­self is quite neu­tral. There are blue du­vets and seat cov­ers at the seat.

The seats have dif­fer­ing stor­age space, de­pend­ing on where you sit, but all have full au­to­ma­tion with pre-sets for sit­ting, re­lax­ing or sleep­ing. There is a power point in the seat for EU, US or UK plugs, and, of course, wifi on board, which costs US$20 for the en­tire flight.

It’s rare to have such a se­lec­tion of seats in busi­ness class that have such vary­ing qual­i­ties. It isn’t just a ques­tion of which seat is near the wash­rooms or gal­ley and so likely to be dis­turbed. Nearly ev­ery seat on this air­craft is dif­fer­ent, from the win­dow seats, which al­ter­nate their po­si­tion be­ing ei­ther close to the aisle or more se­cluded.

In the rear cabin the best seats are 9K, which is a throne seat with stor­age on both sides, then 10A, which is a win­dow seat but with the side ta­ble be­tween it and the aisle. For the seats in the cen­tre of the cabin, these have al­ter­nat­ing side ta­bles, so one pas­sen­ger loses the ta­ble while the other gains it. In the back row – row 11, it’s slightly more eq­ui­table, since both of the pas­sen­gers lose out and have to make the best of it by shar­ing a cen­tre con­sole.

The meal was served with­out any fuss, and since I wanted to work, I liked the way the flight at­ten­dants were ready to take the tray away as soon as I had fin­ished.

At seat 10A I had suf­fi­cient room that when the food was served I could place my lap­top back into my bag at my feet and eat, while still keep­ing my var­i­ous de­vices charg­ing on the side ta­ble along with the drinks. In be­tween cour­ses, which are brought sep­a­rately, I could get the lap­top out and con­tinue to work, plac­ing the tray on the side ta­ble and the de­vices in the locker to one side of the arm­rest. This was im­por­tant be­cause I had work to do, but I also wanted to eat so I could then re­lax and sleep for the max­i­mum length of time.

Once the meal was fin­ished and I’d done my work, it was around mid­night and time for sleep. The seat re­clines fully flat, and also comes with a seat cover, which you hook over the head­rest be­fore re­clin­ing the seat to keep it in place. There is also a small pil­low and a blan­ket, al­most du­vet-like but not too thick.

This is a very good busi­ness class with de­li­cious food that raises it above many com­peti­tors. It’s dif­fi­cult to make a com­par­i­son with the A380 be­cause it is so dif­fer­ent.

Left: A350-900 busi­ness class seats

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