LATEST | Malaysia Airlines will commence 'A380 all the way' flights between Sydney and London in November this year, adding its own twist to Qantas' Kangaroo Route superjumbo service via Singapore, following this weekend's launch of its debut A380 service between Kuala Lumpur and London.
PREVIOUS | Malaysia Airlines will take delivery of its first Airbus A380 today, with the MAS superjumbo slated for London-Kuala Lumpur flights from July 1 and Sydney-KL beginning September 25.
The A380s carry a dashingly revamped livery, combining the airline's iconic 'wau' (kite) symbol with modern fonts.
MAS has six A380s on order, with the first three due before September and the final three by February 2013.
MAS' A380 will pack 494 seats using a layout similar to that of Qantas and Singapore Airlines – first class in the nose downstairs, business class upstairs and economy spanning both decks.
There'll be AC outlets for every seat in first and business class, of course, while passengers in economy will need to share one power outlet between every two seats.
However, every seat from tip to tail will include a USB port for recharging iDevices and other travel tech en route.
World's widest first class beds
At the front of the main deck, in a 1-2-1 configuration, are eight lie-flat beds.
Each has a generous 87 inch pitch (compared to 80 inches on MAS' Boeing 747) and is 40 inches wide – which gives MAS bragging rights to the world's widest first class bed, being 5 inches more than Singapore Airlines offers on its own A380 flagships.
Each set is fitted with a massive 23 inch video screen... and as Australian Business Traveller reported last year, babies will be banned from MAS' first class on the A380.
Business class gets a boost
66 business class seats on the upper deck will stretch out in a standard 2-2-2 layout.
Each will have a 74 inch pitch (well beyond the 58 inches on MAS' Boeing 747), fold out into a 72 inch lie-flat bed and sport a 17 inch video screen.
MAS' ‘Chef-on-Call’ facility, currently exclusive to first class passengers, will be extended to business class on the A380.
(As reported last year by Australian Business Traveller, in what was at the time seen as a vote of confidence in the economy, MAS has boosted the number of business class benches from its original configuration of 52.)
Economy class and the 'kid-free zone'
Each A380 also carries a total of 420 economy seats of 18 inches width, a six inch recline and 32 inch pitch. Each seat has a 10.6 inch video screen.
The lower deck has 350 economy seats in a 3-4-3 layout, with the 70 economy seats on the upper deck arranged in 2-4-2.
More noteworthy is that, as Australian Business Traveller exclusively reported in April this year, Malaysia Airlines has declared the upstairs economy section to be a kid-free zone.
All children under the age of 12 – including infants – will be banned from this cabin unless the downstairs economy section is completely full.
The move is aimed at ensuring a more restful and enjoyable trip for business travellers who have to fly in economy.
Premium economy gets the axe
Notably absent from the A380 is premium economy, which MAS previously planned for the superjumbo as what one airline exec described as a "super economy" with more legroom and just 26 seats in a dedicated upper deck cabin.
An MAS spokesman confirmed with Australian Business Traveller that premium economy is no longer on the airline's A380 roadmap, saying "the 3 class configuration is final."
Sydney-KL flights start September
An MAS spokesperson confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that from September 25 the A380 will run as the daily MH122/123 service, replacing the current Boeing 747-400.
The other daily MAS flight (MH140/141) will continue on a Boeing 777.
Although MAS spokesman Ismadi Yusuff told Australian Business Traveller that the airline "will join oneworld in Q4", we're hopeful that Malaysia Airlines will have begun frequent flyer point sharing with new chum Qantas by the time September rolls around.
In the meantime, here's an A380 promo video from MAS...
About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.