Flying as a part of any trip is pretty easy; turn up at the airport, wander through security, be tested for explosives, sit about, get herded onto a plane, sit about, get herded off a plane and emerge from the casino like environs of the airport in a new locale.
If only it really worked out like that.
Leg 1: CBR-MEL
For me every international flight involves taking a short hop on one of the two domestic airlines (Virgin Australia or Qantas), deplaning, scurrying from a domestic terminal to international and going through the same motions again.
For the flight to Kuala Lumpur Malaysia Airlines had me riding with their Oneworld Alliance partner Qantas.
As I’d been able to select the departure timing from Canberra I had very consciously made sure I selected flights to Melbourne on Qantas that utilised their jet service, these tend to fly on schedule irrespective of the Canberra weather and also make the journey a little quicker than the Dash-8 or ATR72s do.
Unfortunately over the months between me buying the ticket and the flights happening my seats were bumped to the bug-smasher.
This left me sitting in Canberra Airport for quite some time – eating up precious minutes I had to transfer to International in Melbourne. At least I was already checked-in for the flight to KUL so they’d at least try to find me.
As it turns out I was “this close” to missing the flight to KUL!
If you’ve ever had one of those “tight” connections you’ll know the fear that floods through your body as you hear your name being butchered via the airport PA. In my case I had made it through security of the International terminal and had just entered the twilight zone of Duty Free. While I may have been walking briskly at that point I broke into a run to the farthest reaches of the terminal to present myself to the staff at the Gate. 10 minutes to boarding, and if I had’t run, I probably wouldn’t have made it!
Leg 2: MEL-KUL
With the crazy rush over and my heart slowing to a more sedate pace I quickly snapped a picture of the Boeing 777-200 that was to be my ride to Kuala Lumpur. Grabbed a bottle of water and waited 10 minutes to board.
My seat, 12A, was comfortable enough without being generous in the allotment of space. Without a doubt it’s an economy class seat but it doesn’t feel like being crushed into cattle class like some can.
Once flying the weather was largely clear with only a few minutes of bumps and thumps of turbulence.
The inflight service was efficient and friendly – a generous meal was served along with enough beverages to meet my needs. Some may feel that the beverage service is not generous enough but I did see other passengers requesting and receiving additional drinks over the flights duration.
On the Ground
The end of every journey is the wait for baggage, the queues for Customs/Immigration and finally emerging into the destination. Here I tend to find Kuala Lumpur International Airport to be pretty good. There’s plenty of space so you don’t feel crowded in, and even the longer walks through the terminal are appreciated after the flight.
As one of the worlds best airports it does a good job of being efficient and welcoming, without many of the annoyances that can be found elsewhere.