Trying out the new BA from Heathrow to Murcia

On our trip to Alicante this week, we booked the new BA service to Murcia, just south of Alicante, as the ticket worked out a lot cheaper and better timed than going into Alicante’s main airport.

Despite originally being booked into economy, we opted for an upgrade on departure for this 2 1/2 hour flight, which turned out to be a great decision.

BA has recently changed their catering, removing their afternoon tea service, which were lovely scones with clotted cream with jam. Instead we got a beetroot salad, which we thought was the only dish. However, this turned out to be the starter, luckily and we were later served a nice chicken and risotto meal.  We almost complained..

Overall the new food menu was okay, if not a bit strange.  We agreed that we would have still preferred afternoon tea, which was nice and a good option for afternoon travel.

 

 

 

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Flying Cathay Pacific, but not to Hong Kong…

Continuing my quest to fly “Fifth Freedom Routes”, I flew Cathay Pacific to get me down to Singapore from Bangkok, despite visiting Hong Kong a few days earlier, I did not fly Cathay at the time and flew Sri Lankan Airlines, which was a great experience. I needed to fly back to Singapore to catch my Malaysia Airlines flight.

The flight was operated by a new Airbus A350-900 (Reg. B-LRA),  a type I flew with Cathay’s OneWorld partner Finnair from London to Helsinki.  I had high expectations from this flight, which I again took in Business Class in aide of maintaining my British Airways status.


Having boarded, I discovered the seat is identical to those of Finnair on the A350, however, the colour scheme is inline with the Cathay branding. I was in solo seat 18A facing the window.


The seat was very comfortable, providing privacy, space and a direct view out the window, as when you have a window seat, you want to look out the window.

Following take off, I quickly discovered Cathay Pacific staff fully recognised my BA OneWorld Emerald status and two senior cabin crew came to introduce themselves. Very impressed, as this rarely happens on BA these days. I was even addressed by my surname. (Which is a challenge for most people to pronounce).

The food menu looked nice and I selected the prawns.

Thanks to my status, my food was served before other passengers too, I am liking Cathay Pacific!

Overall the flight was uneventfull. There was onboard Wi-Fi, but this was not free, unlike with Finnair. As the flight was relatively short, I did not bother.

Cathay is a great airline and I was impressed with the seat, the service and the food.

 

 

And now for something more exotic

Sri Lankan Airlines is the choice of my flight from Bangkok to Hong Kong. Got a great deal on the flight only £220 rtn in flat bed business class and 80 tier points.

Todays plane is a bit older. According to Google it is 17 years old and named “City of Pulasthi Pura” reg 4R-ALD.

Just board and here is my seat 2A
Comfortable enough for the 2hr flight.


I did not use the reclining features for this short flight, but my fellow passengers did. The noise of the chairs motors showed their age. Can’t imagine hearing that in the middle of the night.

Promptly after take off we were served lunch. I had a lovely Chicken Teryaki with rice accompanied with some Piper champagne, when offered you say: Yes!


The flight was good, with lovely service of the cabin crew, whom were all wearing saris with an exposed mid section. Traditional, but wonder how cold they get during the flight.

Verdict: would  fly again, maybe even on long-haul.

*UPDATE*

I flew back with Sri Lankan to Bangkok to spend 2 days in the chaotic city, that is really the only word I can use to describe Bangkok.

The return flight was operated by the exact same aircraft, and again the service was great and very attentive with again good food.  The flight attendants, again wearing their Saris were so kind to passengers whom did not speak English and could make a selection from the menu due to the language barrier.  To solve this, two flight attendants brought out the 4 options to show them.  First time I have seen that!

 

Even after 20 years, Flying Royal Jordanian continues to be an interesting experience.  

The first time I  flew RJ was between New York JFK in 1997 on another fifth freedom flight. I was in Uni in the US and there were some super cheap deals flying from Boston via New York on TWA and on to Amsterdam.

Now 20 years on, I am again getting settled into a super cheap seat on RJ on a fifth freedom route. Instead of a Lockheed TriStar L1011, I am on. New Boeing 787, in Business Class. KL to Bangkok was a mere £120 one way. I could just not pas this up. (Also as I get 40 tier points with BA toward my status renewal).
Having flown my share of Business Class flights, the seats are not dissimilar to those on older Finnair planes with a 2 2 2 layout with all seats angled in pairs to create room.

Service on this flight was okay. It started with a UHT O, but ended on a high with nice champagne and a light meal.


Only thing I am not sure about is the comfort of sleep I would have gotten, as the seat was narrow ending in a point with very little room for feet.

Whilst suffering from Jetlag, a quick review of Malaysia Airlines (MAS).

IMG_6714
Spacious Cabin Aboard 9M-MNA

Our flight from Heathrow to Kuala Lumpur was totally acceptable for the amount paid in Business, especially considering it was pretty last minute and BA and Singapore Airlines were charing 3 to 4 times as much for a non stop flight.

The cabin aboard the top deck of the A380 was very spacious, but considering that our plane was only 5 years old, the seats were dated and not as good as BA’s 10 + year old Club World cabin.  No surprise the overall condition was poor as MAS is planning to start replacing these to large A380 in the coming years with smaller A350.

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Our A380, as seen from the inter terminal tram

Not repeated on what I previously mentioned on the seat, the service was overall okay. There seemed to be a very high ratio of crew vs passengers and service was pretty swift.  The food was nice, especially if you enjoy Malaysia / Indo cuisine, as I do, having grown up in a household with lots of Indonesian Cuisine due to the historic links between the Netherlands and Indonesia.

In Kuala Lumpur, we had a fairly easy connection on to one of MAS’ regional B737-800’s 9M-MXT to be exact.  We were seated in the business class section, which was very similar to US First Class cabin.  On the flight we got our second helping of Chicken Sate, with a nice peanut sauce.  Very impressed the crew managed to serve 16 passengers on a 40 minute flight.

The Verdict on MAS, Good Food and drink selection, okay service from the crew, but dated hard product, the seats need desperately to be updated and fixed, as was the case with my inflight entertainment handset.

IMG_9412
IFE Handset held together with tape