Malaysia Airlines looks set to debut its new business class seats on the Sydney-Kuala Lumpur route from late March, and has also revealed the seatmap for the refitted A330's business class cabin.
The airline's schedule shows the new seats flying between KL and Sydney from March 23 as the MH140/141 service.
But with all 15 Airbus A330 jets going under the knife between now and August 31, according to the airline, there's a rapid roll-out to other cities.
Scheduling information entered by Malaysia Airlines into the global distribution system (GDS) used by travel agents and reported by AirlineRoute.net reveals the following routes from Kuala Lumpur (subject to change):
- MH122/123 to Sydney from April 6
- MH128/129 to Melbourne from April 18
- MH148/149 to Melbourne from April 30
- MH130/131 to Auckland from May 21
- MH132/133 to Auckland from June 7
- MH70/71 to Tokyo from May 27
- MH88/89 to Tokyo from June 18
Also slated in the second half of 2016:
- Osaka from July 2
- Beijing and Shanghai from August 3
- Adelaide from August 20
- Perth and Delhi from September 10
- Seoul from October 1
- Jeddah from October 15
Best seats in Malaysia Airlines new A330 business class
The seatmap details the unconventional layout of the revamped business class cabin and gives savvy travellers the chance to pick prized seats when they book on the upgraded A330.
There are six rows of seats alternating between four across (rows 1, 4 and 6, in a 1-2-1 line) and five across (rows 2, 5 and 7, which are 1-2-2).
This rudimentary seatmap doesn't illustrate how the seats are also staggered from row to row, however, as indicated in these PR photos below...
... and in an early mock-up concept (using Malaysia Airlines' typical cabin dress rather than the slick new-look styling) by seat manufacturer Thompson Aero Seating.
The best seats for travelling with a colleague or partner are obviously going to be the nine D/G or H/K pairs.
The single 'A' seats will be offset – one directly next to the aisle, one directly next to the window – as shown in this early Thompson mock-up below:
Seats 1A, 4A and 6A out you right at the aisle, with a bench between your seat and the window; seats 2A, 5A and 7A reverse that, so you're sitting at the window with the bench between you and the aisle.
Both of these locations provide a little extra room for snoozing flyers – especially around the hips and feet – when the seat folds down into a fully-flat 1.9 metre (76 inch) bed.
There will also be just three 'throne' seats – at 1K, 4K and 6K – where the seats are centred and flanked by two wide shelves on either side:
Expect these to be eagerly snapped up by solo travellers due to the extra degree of privacy and greater inflight workspace around the seat, although our experience with similar seats as flown by Swiss is that they're less than ideal for sleeping due to the confined quarters created by the bed being sandwiched between the two bench modules.
MAS is also revamping its first class and business class menus in collaboration with what the airline describes as a "five star Malaysian hotel", along with an updated wine selection and 'dine on demand' option.
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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.