Spending time in great first-class lounges like the Pier and Wing or a Qantas first-class lounge can make an ordinary trip great. The ability to access the first class lounges of Oneworld airlines (except Qatar) even when flying economy or business class on Oneworld carriers is one of the best perks of being an Executive Platinum member of the American Airlines AAdvantage program. Because I do a lot of international travel, this benefit is one of the primary reasons why I’ve kept flying American rather than switching back to Delta, which runs a better airline operation overall.
Business-class flights on Malaysia Airlines between Beijing and Bangkok provided two opportunities to try the Golden Lounge, Malaysia Airlines’ first-class lounge at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL). This lounge has received mixed reviews over the years. My review gives this first-class lounge generally high marks. As stated below, the funny thing is Malaysia Airlines doesn’t have first class.
Location, Hours and Access
There are four Golden Lounges at KUL. The Golden Lounge for first class is located in the Satellite Terminal one level above the departure point for the inter-terminal train. The lounge is open 24/7.
Figuring out which Golden Lounge to go to and who has access is a little confusing. In December 2018, Malaysia Airlines rebranded international first class as “Business Suites Class.” So you have business class and Business Suites class (first class). To add to the confusion all four Malaysia Airlines lounges at KUL are named “Golden Lounge.”
These passengers can use the first class Golden Lounge:
- Passengers who are flying in Business Suites class on Malaysia Airlines;
- First-class passengers on other Oneworld airlines;
- Passengers with Oneworld Emerald status;
- Platinum Members of Malaysia Airlines Enrich flyer program;
- Members of the invitation-only level of the Enrich program;
- One guest per eligible passenger.
Malaysia Airlines sells access to Golden Lounges, but it appears that it is not possible to buy access to the first class Golden Lounge. I flew Malaysia Airlines business class. Access was by virtue of American Executive Platinum status which equates to Oneworld Emerald status.
The first class section is to the right of the check-in desk. After entering the lounge, the a la carte restaurant is on the right. More on the restaurant shortly.
Past the restaurant is a nicely decorated room for people preferring a setting that is more intimate than the main lounge.
Keep going to reach the main seating area.
The main seating area also has airport views. This area is best suited for relaxing and checking on your cell phone. The seats are ultra comfortable. Electrical outlets are few.
A small buffet with snacks, cheese, salad, coffee, tea and soft drinks sits opposite the window wall.
I spent eight hours in this lounge on one layover and about four hours there on the other layover. I appreciated the fact that the lounge was never crowded when I was there. One thing’s for sure, there can’t be many Business Suites customers. Malaysia Airlines only has six A380s and six A350s. There are eight Business Suites on the A380 and four on the A350. Both times when I was there the lounge was pretty deserted.
Bathrooms and showers and a nap room are located at the back of the lounge to the left of the main seating area. A Platinum Room is located at the very back of the lounge. This room reserved for members of the invitation-only level of the Enrich program. The room is inaptly named because Platinum members do not have access.
The small a la carte restaurant is the best part of this lounge. It is quiet. There are few customers, and service is excellent.
Ironically, I witnessed an epic meltdown here. A middle-aged woman with a British accent went off. She came in visibly upset and it got worse from there. She was yelling at the staff about the menu and some other problem while loudly proclaiming that Malaysia Airlines was the worst airline in the world.
It was impossible to ignore her rantings. She was spoiling my meal. I was thankful when she stormed out before ordering. After she left, I had to ask the waitress why she was so angry. She said the woman had been on a flight the day before that was cancelled. The staff was remarkably unfazed. Apparently, this lady had put on the same act in the lounge the day before.
I ate breakfast and lunch on the long layover and breakfast on the other layover. This is the breakfast menu:
Before the flight to Bangkok I went with a traditional western breakfast with juice and coffee over Laksa, my second choice.
On the return trip, a waitress persuaded me to try nasi lemak, which is known as the national dish of Malaysia.
The layover before the flight to Bangkok was long enough that I also had time for lunch.
Lunch started with a glass of wine.
Then what looks like some type of tomato soup and a bread basket.My entree was sea bass with steamed vegetables and sauce vierge.
Even though it wasn’t on the menu, the waitress accommodated my ice cream request.
The food was great. I really liked the sea bass. It was “melt in your mouth” good.
The nap room has several divans in a semi private setting. I slept here for a couple of hours on one layover. Blankets are furnished on request.
Bathrooms and Showers
Bathrooms are adequate if nothing to write home about.
Showers are also more than adequate if not over the top like the Cabanas in The Wing, one of Cathay Pacific’s first class lounges at Hong Kong. The nice thing about these shower rooms is you don’t need permission to use one. Just find an unlocked room. All necessary supplies are already there.
While the service and quality of food and beverages is not on the same level, the decor, setting, and peacefulness in Malaysia Airlines first class Golden Lounge reminded me of Singapore Airlines’ Private Room at Changi Airport. Kind of a Private Room lite. Both times that I visited the Golden Lounge, I had fairly long layovers but saw only a handful of other passengers. The restaurant is not on the level of the Private Room but it is very good. Because customers are few, I thought the restaurant experience here was equal to if not better than the experience in Cathay Pacific’s first class lounges at Hong Kong. All in all, I enjoyed spending time in this lounge and look forward to the opportunity to visit again.
Have you been to the first class Golden Lounge at KUL? How do you rate this lounge?