Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur on Lufthansa

Even though the trip was several weeks ago, I’m only now getting to posting my video trip report on YouTube for the trip to Kuala Lumpur. The flight was on Lufthansa, the German airline. They fly it as a tag-on segment to the Frankfurt-Bangkok flight and it is currently the only Boeing 747 being flow between Bangkok and KL.

Here is the nine-minute video trip report for your viewing pleasure. Pictures and brief highlights of the flight are provided below.

Since I had a mid-afternoon departure and was traveling light, I decided to take the Airport Link train to the airport. Since it opened in the second half of 2010 (blog entry about it here), the service has been a money-loser. Ultimately, it isn’t very convenient and the main in-city terminal is located near a subway station but is not connected to it. (In fairness, they are a month or two away from finally opening an elevated walkway to connect the two.) The system has a notable lack of down-direction escalators, making for a lot of heavy lifting or waiting for the single elevator at each station is you have heavy bags. The State Railways promises to add escalators at key stations but no timetable has been provided.

The airport itself is a wonder of glass, steel, and concrete. In many ways, it is hard to distinguish from any other major international airport, although as you can see, some Thai touches have been snuck in. This is a Buddha image that ostensibly contains a relic from the Lord Buddha. It was set up with a large display of flowers right in the middle of the departures hall as a temporary display sponsored by some company.

Hidden upstairs, high above the ticketing counters, is an observation deck. The view is largely obstructed by roof and wall support structures and a scale model of the airport, which has seen better day, is displayed there. Looking closely, I noticed that it had suffered much damage while being moved. It seems a jumbo jet has crash landed on the entrance road to the airport connecting from the expressway!

Before the flight, I visited the Singapore Airlines Silver Kris lounge. One of the luxuries I allow myself is a Star Alliance Gold tier membership, which provides me with lounge access when flying Star Alliance carriers. Having a quiet space away from the bustle of the airport makes air travel a lot more enjoyable. This lounge, in particular, is very nice with views of a large garden area.

The beverage and food selection surprised me with its breadth. In addition to a variety of cold cuts, cheeses, and desserts, there were several different types of proper food including soups, a salad bar, Chinese steamed dumplings, and a few main courses.

I was especially impressed that they had set up a make-your-own “khao chae” bar. Khao Chae (I wrote about it here last year) is a Thai hot season treat, rice served in cool, fragrant jasmine water with a selection of condiments. Not the type of thing you would expect to find in an airline lounge and something that was not on offer over at the THAI Airways lounge! Kudos to Singapore Airlines for their attention to detail.

A small selection of desserts, including a traditional Thai dessert cooked in a pandan leaf box, served with a cappuccino. While the desserts were not breathtaking, they were tasty and a wide variety was offered.

Our bird as seen through the dirty windows of Suvarnabhumi International Airport. This Boeing 747-400 is nicknamed Duisburg after the famous steel-making city in Germany. It entered the Lufthansa fleet on June 5, 1991 but the interior was in remarkably good shape for a plane quickly approaching its 22nd birthday. 

Quick review of the safety demonstration card before departure. You can never be too careful, right?

If I had to sit in these tight economy class seats for ten or twelve hours, I would not be happy, but for the short flight to KL, it was fine. The seats have large touch-screen monitors playing an extensive selection of films and TV shows. One thing I like about these seats is that the magazines are moved to a pouch behind the tray table, freeing up a little more room for your knees. Still, seat pitch was just 31 or 32″, comparable to economy class on most US carriers. 

Our “meal service” was a snack box with a sandwich that contained the thinnest slice of chicken and the saddest looking leaf of lettuce I have ever seen. A muffin and a KitKat candy bar rounded out the meal. Beverage service was the small bottled water. I think you could go to the galley and request a juice or soft drink but no beverage cart was rolled through the aisles. While it is a short flight, this seems a pretty sad offering for an airline that claims to be full-service.

Beginning our descent into Kuala Lumpur on a beautiful late afternoon with high clouds. Closer to the ground, though, the skies were hazy and visibility was limited. Overall, the flight was smooth and reasonably comfortable. The crew, while being pretty senior, was friendly, professional, and seemed to genuinely enjoy working the flight.


0 thoughts on “Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur on Lufthansa

  1. So sophisticated. You have afternoon high tea even on an airplane :)I originally thought the first two pictures were the same thing… until I noticed they weren’t.Btw… you’re very good at speaking in a video… confident, good eye contact, no stuttering… I should take notes from you

  2. I did that exact flight in 2005. The meal service got sadder since then. However, when I took that flight I paid 120usd return and I was one of 35 people on a 747! Really surprised that they didn’t axe that flight yet.

  3. The meal service on these tag flights is considered “continental service”, so along the lines of what you would get when you fly FRA-BCN with LH. The target audience of these tag flights is different for LH than for the regional legacy carriers, such as TG or MH. @stevew918 – True, true. I had some bad experiences in lounges.

  4. Unreal how much the services has changed on planes. From the cramp quarters to the meals. You were lucky to get that sandwich and drink, I’ve been on flights where a bag of oeanuts and a soda can be a big thing. Other than that, thanks fir the report on your trip, it allows me to see other worlds and what they can offer

  5. I enjoyed this video, especially the sky train portion. Reminded me of the hot and humid BKK weather, and walking up those steep stairs to catch the train. Nice lounge, by the way. I think it’s nicer than the ThaiAirways business class lounge in terms of food choices, and cleaner too.Have you thought of naming your video series, “Christao in Asia”, like those “Rick Steve in Europe”? ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I agree with Steve above. Totally spoiled by the fancy lounges. I think Singapore Airlines and Emirates are probably the best ones I have been in.

  7. I agree sad meal served in flight. I wish our public and private systems looked as well as the ones you use. Our public transit system is terrible and I think the airlines have cut their budgets and made the waiting area drab. Even the stores at the airports are not up to par.

  8. I’m not looking forward to the flight to Portland, OR in 2 weeks. If we are lucky there will be at least some water… the last flight we took you could get water but it cost $3 for a one bottle!! Thankfully it was a direct flight and not too long.

  9. @stevew918 – @beowulf222 – Some lounges are better than others, of course. SQ’s in BKK is small and located out of the way, and since I visited during a slow part of the afternoon, it was particularly comfortable. Even in the worst case, the lounges are usually more comfortable than the gate area.@Devilzgaysianboi – Would be happy to share public speaking notes with you. I know it is something you don’t enjoy. I used to not like it, either, but it is such an important skill to have.@LostSock21 – From what I hear, the BKK flight is in danger of being cut and I’d imagine the KUL portion would go away as well.@beowulf222 – Sure, in the grand scale of things the service isn’t bad for a 2-hour flight. The lack of a beverage trolley seemed like a miss, though. Or, at least, ask passengers if they would like anything else, they can request it directly.@Nostra_Damus – It is interesting to note that Egypt Air flies the exact same segment – BKK to KUL – and offers a full, hot meal service.@rudyhou – Wouldn’t be surprised if KUL and BKK go away eventually, too.@CurryPuffy – Actually, my company name is Christao Asia and I have the Christao.Asia web address rented. Just haven’t done anything to build it out.@ZSA_MD – I’ve heard that Turkish Airlines has an amazing lounge in Istanbul. Would love to try that.@Fatcat723 – Air travel in the US has become very sad, indeed.@Wangium – Let’s plan a trip together, then. Will take you in. LOL@Inciteful – That’s true. I guess the question is, when you have multiple airlines providing the same flight at about the same price, why are service levels so different?@Grannys_Place – @Grannys_Place – You are so welcome. Wish I could have brought you along in real life, too!@murisopsis – Exactly! Air travel in the US has become so unfriendly to customers. Everything is about nickel and diming you.

  10. You’re a pro at making these videos. It’s amazing the plane was about 10% full. They must have lost $ on this flight. The lounge looks very good. And I’m glad you picked up some free postcards.

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