Saturday, November 16, 2013

4th July Getaway: Penang to Macau (via Hong Kong)


A friend was kind enough to drop us at the airport even with the super early morning Penang to Kuala Lumpur flight. With Malaysia Airlines just recently joining Oneworld and thanks to my British Airways Silver Status (complimentary of the demise of BMI), check in was a breeze. The Malaysia Airlines lounge in Penang (which we’ve visited before) was closed for renovations and we were instead provided invitations to the Plaza Premium Lounge that was only recently opened after the Penang airport upgrade.

I was having a really bad wisdom tooth infection at this point of the trip so I sadly skipped the nasi lemak and instead had some decent porridge for breakfast. The lounge itself was nothing spectacular but met all the requirements of a decent lounge. It had adequate seating, decent food, free Wifi and even a shower. 

The 45 minute hop down to Kuala Lumpur was nothing too interesting with the flight attendants doing a round of drinks. In transit in Kuala Lumpur, we were caught up in a line trying to go through immigration formalities. Similar to my last experience ages ago flying through Kuala Lumpur on trips back to college at USC. It was frustrating that there were no automated passport check gates for Malaysian passport holders to speed things up.

Colorful 737 seats
We did have time to quickly swing by the Malaysia Airlines Business Class Lounge in the Satellite terminal. Overall, we were overly impressed with the lounge considering the lounge was supposed to be Malaysia Airline’s flagship lounge. The lounge was huge with plenty of seating but it was still hard to find a place to sit. There was a bar but it wasn’t staffed in the morning we were there so I’m not sure what alcohol was available. There was a reasonable selection of food for breakfast but I personally preferred the food down south in Singapore Airlines Krisflyer Lounge.

I was pretty excited to try out Malaysia Airline’s Airbus A380 albeit in economy class. I had prebooked us on the bulkhead seats on the upper deck. The leg room was great but I did felt kinda squished with the door protruding outwards. This was not a big deal on the three plus hour flight to Hong Kong but would have sucked if I was stuck in this seat on a long haul flight to say London.

Brunch was served shortly after take-off and the food was rather good for coach. There was even ice-cream for dessert! 

Worried about the possibility of missing an earlier ferry that left only an hour after we were supposed to arrive in Hong Kong, we had another four hour wait in Hong Kong Airport to catch our prebooked  Turbojet ferry to Macau. I really wish there were more frequency on the Hong Kong Airport to Macau ferries! We provided our Malaysia Airlines luggage tags to the Turbojet check-in agent and we were told to confirm later on one of the kiosks that our luggage did make it on the ferry before proceeding to the ferry terminal.  We periodically checked the kiosks with the confirmation that our bags made it on the ferry about an hour before departure. I assume someone from the ferry company goes over to the luggage belt and picks up the bags? During this time, we were pretty bored since we were stuck in the waiting area but thankfully there was the free airport Wifi that I used to catch up on email.

Turbojet operates a two class cabin and we decided to not spurge this time and go for the cheaper cabin. The standard cabin was more than sufficient for the hour or so ferry ride over to Macau. There are no assigned seating on the ferry so by the time we did get on board, all the window seats were taken but we did manage to get some pretty good view of Hong Kong airport and a Lufthansa 747-8 that just landed from our seats. There was food and drinks for purchase which we skipped but I was tempted for a moment after smelling the fellow behind me with what appeared to be delicious instant noodles. 

HKIA in the distance
Our bags did take a while longer than we like to show up after we cleared immigration formalities in Macau and we were worried if the bags did actually make on the ferry. It would not have been fun if it did not. It was then an easy free bus shuttle ride from the ferry terminal to the Conrad Macau.

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