My thoughts on the Perth to Kuala Lumpur flight on Malaysia Airlines?
On booking my business class flights on the Malaysia Airlines website, I explicitly specified a vegan meal (VGML). This was clearly in my booking and was clarified again upon check-in. My VGML was loaded. First hurdle passed!
Still not feeling too great after yesterday’s conference catering fail, so I was hoping the food woudn’t be too much effort for my stomach to deal with.
Not off to a great start when I got to the gate and the MH gate staff said to me:
“…this line is for our business class passengers only, the economy class line is over there.“
This an incredibly bad assumption to make. The days of business class passengers being middle aged men wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase are long gone. Plus, it’s not like I was dressed badly. Skinny jeans, a dressy singlet top and my trusty Chucks. And I was carrying a backpack. The assumption that I am not a business class passenger because I don’t fit some stereotype pisses me off. There is no stereotypical business class passenger these days. Billionaires come in all guises. I might not be that rich (or rich at all to be honest), but I can afford business class airfares most of the time. You can find cheap business class fares on sale from time to time. That’s how I do it. Either that or I use my frequent flyer miles to upgrade. Regardless, it is really poor form to assume anyone isn’t a priority status passenger.
Anyway, the pre-flight drink offerings were champagne or some sugary preservative laden long-life fruit juice. I asked for water, and had to ask again multiple times before someone got me some. Firstly, I no longer drink alcohol. And secondly, I never drink that dodgy bottled long-life fruit juice. If it was freshly squeezed or something like Daily Juice (comes in a bottle, but made fresh daily) then I’d drink it. But not the long-life stuff. Just because it has fruit in it, does not mean its healthy. That’s like saying pumpkin pie is healthy because it has pumpkin in it. No. Just, no.
After take-off the drinks cart came around. No Coke products 😦 I am admittedly a bit of a caffeine snob. Had to drink Pepsi Light. It’s a little sweet for my usual taste, but it was what was on offer, such as it is.
Shortly after, the appetizer was served. It was some grilled vegetable skewers. Not a bad effort actually. A little soggy, but decent for airline food. They were served on top of a drizzle of sweet chilli sauce, which in general is not gluten free (some brands are, most are not), and they couldn’t clarify for me one way or the other. So I just cut off the bits that had touched the sauce (not much) and ate the rest of it without the sauce. Tasty! And clearly just eating the bits that hadn’t touched the sauce was fine, because I didn’t get sick.
The grilled vegetable skewers…
The main meal tray was placed on my table after a while. Had a small fruit bowl and the entree to start with. And holy crap! We have a winner! The entree was a pineapple, avocado, onion, tomato and chilli salsa. It was good! The bread basket was brought around at this time as well, and as usual had no gluten free option. I had a mini pack of rice cakes in my backpack, so I was fine. My hopes for the main were now raised considerably though! Was crossing my fingers it would be gluten free…
The epic vegan entree!
Turned out to be fine. The main was grilled/steamed Asian vegetables and steamed tofu with sesame seeds, and steamed rice. Was pretty standard. It was good, but not quite up to the same level of awesome as the salsa I got as an entree.
The main meal…
The dessert was some jello-type pudding with strawberry and lychees. Had no idea if the jello thing was gluten free or not, and I didn’t want to tempt fate. Also, I hate lychee. Just one of those things I didn’t like as a kid and never got over. But I ate the strawberry! Not the end of the world, the rest of the meal was edible. And I packed a few pieces of gluten free red licorice in my carry-on. BYO dessert!
The dessert that I was unsure about. Might have been gluten free, might not…
Also including a photo of the standard business class menu just in case anybody is interested.
The left hand side is for the Kuala Lumpur-Perth morning flight, and the right hand side the Perth-Kuala Lumpur afternoon flight.
So in summary?
The ground staff Malaysia Airlines employ at Perth Airport need some customer service training. Badly.
No inflight amenity kit? I realise at only 5.5 hours it isn’t a long flight, but it still surprised me not to get one.
The vegan food on Malaysia Airlines is actually pretty good, at least based on this flight. Not necessarily gluten free, but I was able to find a way to deal with that regardless. Let’s just hope I haven’t spoken too soon!
The customer service and the seats on MH might not be quite up to the same level as some other Asian carriers like Cathay Pacific or Singapore Airlines. But in my opinion, the VGML food on MH is better. Came as a bit of a surprise to me, but it was a pleasant one!
And that pineapple salsa I got as an entree is quite honestly the best vegan meal item I’ve ever been served on a flight.