My return business class flights to Australia meant that I had lounge access in Kathmandu. However, Malaysia Airlines does not operate its own lounge there. They have an arrangement to use the Executive Lounge, which is effectively a shared lounge for the business class customers of the airlines not in Star Alliance. Thai Airways operates its own lounge which provides access to the relevant passengers on Star Alliance flights.
The Executive Lounge was fairly quiet during my late evening visit. My flight was at 11:50 pm, so was in the lounge from around 9. There was never more than maybe 20-30 people in there, despite having the capacity to deal with over 100 quite easily.
The lounge is actually pretty spacious and well designed. Except for the lack of power points to plug in chargers. That is something that truly drives me mad in airline business lounges. Surely they must consider the fact that people in business lounges might want to do business while they wait and have their laptops, tablets or phones plugged in? And for the record, the wi-fi is really tempremental – and even if you can get it to work for more than 5 minutes, it’s really slow. Really. But I digress…
The lounge managers also strictly enforce the guest policy – one guest per passenger, and the guest must be on the same flight. I found it somewhat amusing that this the first business lounge I’ve been in where noone was wearing a suit. The dressiest anyone got was a North Face jacket and jeans. I love the lounge for that alone. Because what was I wearing? A North Face jacket, jeans and my Chucks. I totally fit in rather than looking too casual!
The food and beverage offerings in the Executive Lounge are not serve yourself as in just about every other airline lounge on the planet. Everything is kept behind glass cabinets and you tell the wait staff what you want so they can get it for you. Suppose it stops people being pigs, but it’s still a little annoying.
The food options were extremely limited to start with. But the vegan option consisted of apples or mandarins. There was cake, sandwiches (all contained butter, but they were off the cards due to gluten anyway), cheese plates, or chicken nuggets, battered fish pieces, battered and fried cheese pieces, etc. I got an apple and a Diet Coke. After cutting into the apple with the supplied knife, it turned out to be pretty nasty (looked like it had potential from the outside). Past ripe, although not quite at the rancid stage. Good thing I’d gone snack shopping earlier in the day and had a bag of dried mango in my backpack!
Although I no longer drink alcohol, I did once upon a time, so took note of the drink offerings. Not sure on the quality of the beers on offer, but they had a half decent collection of spirits on the shelf. Gin, whiskey, bourbon, rum, vodka, various liqueurs. The usual airline lounge suspects really.
All in all, not the worst airline lounge around, and if they had better food offerings (not just from a vegan perspective, but in general), I think it could actually be a pretty good lounge!
Addendum: I wrote this while sitting in the lounge. They kicked everyone out half an hour before they even called the last two flights of the night (the Cathay/Dragon Air flight to Hong Kong and the Malaysia Airlines flight to Kuala Lumpur). Nobody was particularly impressed. Lounges should remain open until last departure, not shut early because the staff want to go home.