Malaysia Airlines business class satellite Golden Lounge, Kuala Lumpur

Review: Malaysia Airlines business class satellite Golden Lounge, Kuala Lumpur

Country:
Malaysia
City:
Kuala Lumpur
Airport:
Kuala Lumpur
Cabin Class:
Business
Alliance:
oneworld
Airline:
MH (Malaysia Airlines)

location:

dining:

work:

overall:

What's Hot

  • Power points at almost every seat
  • Located near gates used by flights to Australia, London
  • Nap room for longer transits

What's Not

  • Signage to lounge needs improvement
  • Slow WiFi speeds

X-Factor

  • Cooked-to-order food trumps the typical buffet fare

Introduction

Malaysia Airlines’ new business class Golden Lounge in Kuala Lumpur’s Satellite Terminal brings travellers a modern feel and new amenities to enjoy during their journey: not least, a plentiful supply of power points to recharge their tech in transit, in a space that only reopened in March 2018.

Located near the gates typically used by flights to Australia and London, this is the lounge most travellers will experience during their time in Kuala Lumpur – so step inside as we put it to the test.

Location & Impressions

Situated in KLIA’s Satellite Terminal, you’ll find Malaysia Airlines’ business class Golden Lounge directly above the inter-terminal train stop, in the airport’s international departures zone…

… or, at least, you can try to find it, as the signage in this part of the airport isn’t particularly clear.

As you step off the train, the first sign is clear enough – airport lounges being ahead and upstairs…

… but the next sign points you left, forwards and upwards all at the same time, which is confusing.

Continue walking forward, and for a moment, you think you’re in the right place, but you’ll quickly notice that the already-hard-to-see Golden Lounge sign has disappeared from the boards above…

… which means backtracking and trying a different path: this time, up an escalator tucked away behind a shop that’s all boarded up, back where the earlier sign is located.

Once upstairs, the signs still aren’t clear: if you’re seeking a public male restroom, there’s a big lighted sign pointing you the right way: but if you want the Golden Lounge, you’ll need to squint and read the small dark print on the sign behind…

… before eventually locating the lounge at the very end of the walkway:

While I might expect this of a regional airport or a smaller airline, this is the flagship international business class of a country’s national carrier, at its home hub airport: so if anything, this should be one of the easiest things to find inside the entire terminal, and making this signage clearer would make a big difference.

Access

  • Business class and first class passengers of Malaysia Airlines, other Oneworld airlines – in KL, that's British Airways, Cathay Dragon, Japan Airlines, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian and SriLankan Airlines – plus Biman Bangladesh Airlines, China Airlines, KLM, Korean Air and Vietnam Airlines
  • Qantas Gold, Platinum, Platinum One and Chairmans Lounge frequent flyers prior to Malaysia Airlines and other Oneworld flights
  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich Gold and Platinum cardholders prior to these same flights
  • Other Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald frequent flyers prior to Oneworld flights
  • SkyTeam Elite Plus members prior to China Airlines, KLM, Korean Air and Vietnam Airlines flights only
  • Vietnam Airlines LotusMiles Gold (SkyTeam Elite) members prior to Vietnam Airlines flights only
  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich Silver and Blue members choosing to purchase lounge access with miles or money (costs vary)

Malaysia Airlines also operates a Platinum Lounge next door, which first class flyers, Platinum-grade travellers and other Oneworld Emerald passengers can access.

Dining

Guests can choose from two types of dining options here – standard buffet fare – great if you’re in a rush – and cooked-to-order dishes if you have time to wait.

Beginning with the buffet, my morning visit saw cereal selections…

… chilled items like cheeses, salmon and salads…

… fruits and yoghurts…

… fresh pastries…

… hot dishes including baked beans, hash browns, chicken Rendang and onion sambal…

… the ingredients for a DIY Nasi Lamak:

… and dim sum:

Beyond these, there’s an egg chef and a waffle counter where you can order these up…

… and a noodle bar, from which my freshly-made wonton noodles with chicken dumplings were tasty:

That noodle bar is separate from the main buffet zone: you’ll find it closer to the lounge’s entrance, near the coloured chairs (which match the patterns in the tiles):

On the beverage front, a sports bar towards the front of the lounge opens later in the morning…

… but you can grab your own drink from the fridges…

… make a latte using the espresso machine…

… or order from the barista counter for something a little nicer (although certainly not on-par with most Australian cafes):

You can enjoy your meal at one of the dining tables…

… or at one of the many other comfy seats throughout the lounge, if you please.

Work

Tackling your business tasks can be done at one of the laptop benches – with useful reading lights on top and access to both AC and USB power below…

… or over in one of the other chairs…

… where you can also plug in – but note that the outlets alternate between international AC…

… and USB, so you may have to choose a different seat to access the plug you need when the lounge is busy.

Power points can also be found along the skirting of the bench seats…

… tucked away underneath some of the other chairs (just flip open the metal hatch)…

… and if you still haven’t found anywhere to work, look to the far-right corner of the lounge, where there are extra laptop benches which are easy to overlook, and thus can be quieter than others.

Wireless Internet is available throughout the lounge, but download speeds varied between 3.9Mbps and 21.3Mbps during my visit, with uploads in the realm of 3.4-3.7Mbps – fast enough for basic tasks and SD video streaming, but not reliable for watching Netflix in HD, for example.

The WiFi was also quick to disconnect, and the nature of the password protection found me keying in that password over 20 times during my four-hour stay just to remain online: seemingly after the connection had been idle for only a couple of minutes, which means unless you’re constantly monitoring your device’s WiFi status, you could miss important emails or alerts if you’re pushed offline.

Relax

With no boarding calls made here, the lounge has a rather calming atmosphere, with plenty of options to avoid the usual bustle of an airport…

… whether that’s to socialise with others...

… take a nap during a long transit…

… keep the kids entertained in a dedicated family area…

… sit back and read the paper or a magazine…

… or unwind in your own little space…

… before the flight monitors throughout the lounge signal that it’s time to head to your gate and board: but it never hurts to set an alarm on your phone or watch, just in case you find yourself too relaxed during your visit.

Overall, this space is a solid improvement to the previous business class Golden Lounge, retaining many of the familiar favourites like the noodle bar and the overall ‘feel’ of the area, but adding much-appreciated power points throughout, a modern design, and removing the pay-in spa (which often went unused on quiet days) in favour of extra seating.

However, making the lounge easier to find would be a big plus: particularly for jetsetters in transit between long international flights such as from Australia to London, who may not be as ‘awake’ as those starting their journey fresh in Malaysia.

Chris Chamberlin travelled to Kuala Lumpur as a guest of Malaysia Airlines.

Chris Chamberlin
Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

23 comments

  • HugoDrax

    HugoDrax

    16 Mar, 2018 08:37 am

    I have never been to the J side of the lounge, but the photos suggest that it's more classy than the F side (which i liked!) used to be, so that augurs well.
    As for the signage, I've been to that airport easily over 100 times since opening and I have a 0% success rate of following the signs to the MH Flounge (or to the SQ/CX/TG lounges for that matter!). It's a one in four chance of getting the correct prong, but based on the signs, and no matter how much I think on it - and positively overthink it - I get it wrong. I guess that two minutes more walking and two minutes less drinking does no harm!

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  • Luke Self

    Selfie

    16 Mar, 2018 08:44 am

    Hi Chris,
    Aside from a brief mention of the removal of the ‘pay-in’ spa, there is no mention of the bathrooms and showers - have they been refreshed? Pre-renovation they were looking rather tired.
    Thanks!
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  • anonymous

    anonymous

    16 Mar, 2018 10:22 am

    I don't know what they looked like before but the bathrooms looked renovated. There were three shower rooms inside the bathroom. They looked private and spacious enough.
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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    19 Mar, 2018 06:10 am

    Hi Selfie, yes, there are showers, and along with the bathrooms, these have been refreshed. As they're located inside the bathroom proper, it didn't seem appropriate to wander inside with a big camera when there were others in there (although if shower facilities weren't available, we'd certainly mention it in the review). :)
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  • MarkJohnSon

    MarkJohnSon
    Banned

    16 Mar, 2018 10:34 am

    It’s good to see the Tandas is appropriately signed. I had the pleasure of travelling through KLIA with an associate a few years back; it was this chap’s first time overseas. Having never left the country (nor, evidently, acquired an intelligence quotient above double digits), he was shocked to see that they had a different word for toilet!
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  • kimshep

    kimshep

    16 Mar, 2018 10:56 am

    The pic of the pastries rings a few alarm bells for me, both in the 'style' and 'food safety' areas: pastries on a bare timber shelf (not plated) .. and accessible to touching by your best 3-5 year olds, as they walk by with parents.

    I can appreciate the concept of open food displays in an airline lounge but this looks a little too open. It adds nothing to the display of the food (style) and detracts from it from the point of hygiene IMHO. God (or 'allah') forbid that someone is wandering around sneezing .. that said, the rest of the pics look entirely pleasant.

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  • MarkJohnSon

    MarkJohnSon
    Banned

    16 Mar, 2018 03:09 pm

    Kim, have you never been inside an airport lounge or hotel buffet before? It's not uncommon in any way for food to be uncovered like that.

    Another minor point: God is Allah, so you had no need to clarify your statement.
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  • kimshep

    kimshep

    18 Mar, 2018 07:50 am

    Are you kidding me, Mark?

    I quite clearly indicated that "I can appreciate the concept of open food displays in an airline lounge". Perhaps you missed that?

    More importantly, have a re-look at all the pics with food in them. Open display or not, they are all PLATED with the exception of the pastries.

    Maybe you're comfortable with your food being dumped on a bare surface minus a plate? I certainly am not .. and would suggest in Australia, at least, this would earn you some level of retribution .. and a fine or two from food safety officers.

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  • anonymous

    anonymous

    18 Mar, 2018 03:22 pm

    You are missing out on life if you can only eat food off a plate. You won't be able to eat a cheese platter or burgers served on a wooden board.
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  • kimshep

    kimshep

    19 Mar, 2018 08:57 am

    The only thing I'm missing out on .. is a potential case of food poisoning or infection. My choice - and I'm more than happy with that, anonymous. 'FOMO' doesn't rate very highly in my parameters .. just as burgers don't either.
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  • moa999

    moa999

    18 Mar, 2018 02:28 pm

    Just think of it as a large wooden plate.
    It's well above the bench surface, although tongs would be preferred
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  • Simon Coveney

    Covvers

    19 Mar, 2018 09:12 pm

    I’ve really got to say I don’t see your issue Kim. It’s common place for pastries to be served in this way. Often, in fact, they are served in a basket.

    I get the sense you’re being overly critical because of some preconceptions about food hygiene in Malaysia. Whilst there may be some merit in such concern, I don’t think you’ll have any issues at all in the international business lounge.
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  • kimshep

    kimshep

    22 Mar, 2018 11:11 am

    au contraire, Covvers,

    I tend to bristle a little at the suggestion that this is a 'Malaysian' thing.

    Health and food safety issues are global issues. Ever had a look at the attendants in food malls wiping down the 15 or so tables with the same dishcloth in some of our Australian shopping centres? Uggh. Very few ever carry a spray water dispenser to do so.

    BTW, do you ever wipe down your tray table when on-board an aircraft ?

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  • Neil

    barecub

    16 Mar, 2018 12:03 pm

    like HugoDrax, on my previous visits I wandered about until I found the lounge the first few times

    Chris - for the non-coffee drinkers, did you notice if you still need to go the barista station for tea?

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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    19 Mar, 2018 06:13 am

    Hi barecub, I didn't spot any tea bags near the self-serve coffee (boiling water) machine, so I'd imagine so.
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  • Jason

    cooper81

    17 Mar, 2018 11:46 pm

    Hi Chris,

    Did you happen to visit the new F lounge too?
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  • David Flynn

    David

    18 Mar, 2018 04:05 pm

    Coop: Chris' review of the new first class lounge will be up later this week :)
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  • Ray McIntosh

    raymac

    18 Mar, 2018 02:00 pm

    Like others I used to have problems locating the Lounge but once I realised the Lounge was above and behind where the trains came in I had it sorted. I just head towards the train ( plenty of signage ) and once there you can't miss it.
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  • David Flynn

    David

    18 Mar, 2018 04:07 pm

    Yes, I used to transit through KL quite a bit some years ago (pre-AusBT) and I found that was the best way to peg its location too!
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  • Simon Coveney

    Covvers

    19 Mar, 2018 09:14 pm

    Likewise. It’s often a bit hard to find your bearings after an overnight flight in such a large airport. All in all, good to see MA Berhad pulling its socks up with its lounge offering. The old lounge was well past it’s used by date.

    As an aside, any insight into the shower situation? The old ones were few in number and decidedly grimy.
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  • Ian_from_HKG

    Ian_from_HKG

    25 Mar, 2018 03:00 pm

    The easiest way to get the correct "prong" is to remember the the MH lounge is above the shuttle train to the Main Terminal - but also to remember that the lifts and escalators are all near the hub of the circle. So go to the hub, near the shuttle train, go up an escalator or in a lift, and head towards the shuttle prong. Hey presto!
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  • Murray Allen

    Poolprouk

    31 May, 2018 03:09 pm

    If I'm arriving on an MH J class flight but connecting to an Emirates flight, can I use this lounge in between flights?
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  • brayds

    brayds

    9 Nov, 2018 06:15 pm

    Hi Chris - I headed to the satellite lounge at a Friday lunchtime, and there was no cooked to order food in sight (unless you count toasted sandwiches?) and the buffet food was cold. The lounge seems to have lost its “x factor.” So I decided to head across to the regional lounge instead where the food was fresher and the cocktail bar (well, only five cocktails on offer) was a bit more lively.
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Guest

26 May, 2019 09:33 am

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