Malaysia Airlines looks set to bring its new Airbus A380 superjumbo to Melbourne.
Information in the global GDS reservations system, supplied by airlines for use by travel agents and tapped by the Airline Route website, lists the daily MH128/129 service between Melbourne and Kuala Lumpur as switching from the current Airbus A330 to an A380 beginning March 1st, 2013.
These flights will dovetail into the existing A380 service between Kuala Lumpur and London, so that MAS' Melbourne customers can enjoy the same daily 'A380 all the way' kangaroo route to London via Kuala Lumpur as the Sydney-KL superjumbo service commencing November 26.
Another note of good news for Melbournites: by the time March rolls around MAS will likely have officially joined the Oneworld alliance, allowing Qantas Frequent Flyers to earn points and status credits when travelling on MAS, redeem their Qantas points on MAS flights and also enjoy access to MAS airport lounges.
Late last month a Malaysia Airlines spokesman confirmed Australian Business Traveller that an A380 service for Melbourne was "being actively considered".
Responding to an enquiry from Australian Business Traveller this afternoon regarding the Melbourne A380 route, a spokesperson for MAS said "We will be issuing a media release in due course."
Inside the Malaysia Airlines A380
The MAS Airbus A380s will sport 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.
(That said, SQ's second raft of A380s sets aside the entire upper deck for business class.)
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), stretches to 89 inches in full flat bed mode and is 40 inches wide.
This 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.
All first class berths come with a massive 23 inch video screen and no crying babies within earshot – as Australian Business Traveller reported last year, babies will be banned from MAS' first class on the A380.
MAS' highly-regarded inflight dining includes the ‘Chef-on-Call’ facility, which is currently exclusive to first class passengers but on the A380 will be extended to business class.
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.
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 – travelling in economy will be assigned to seats on the lower deck. MAS says they won't be seated in the upper economy section 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.
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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.