Malaysia Airlines’ new flagship first class lounge at Kuala Lumpur International Airport will reemphasise five-star service with specially-trained, tech-savvy staff on standby to help passengers resolve any problems with their laptops, tablets and smartphones.
Whether there’s an issue connecting to a company’s VPN service or difficulties getting onto the WiFi itself, staff will be able to assist – as they will if you’ve lost or misplaced your usual charging cables and need a new one for the road.
Speaking with Australian Business Traveller at a media lunch in Sydney, Malaysia Airlines CEO Peter Bellew shares that the top issues travellers are expressing in lounges are that “my (charging) cable is broken”, “I’ve lost my cable”, and that “I’m having trouble getting through on my VPN”.
“These are very important issues... (particularly when) your transit passengers are relying on being able to send or receive an email… so we’re hiring new staff over the next few months: some fairly tech-savvy people,” which Bellow acknowledges are not unlike those you’d find at an Apple Genius Bar.
And, when it comes to the hardware itself, "we can source really good cables for around about US$0.50 each, so why don’t we have 10,000 of them ready… because often you forget your cable, you leave it in a hotel.”
With refurbishment works to be completed by the end of 2017, the first class lounge itself will become a brighter, larger and more lively space, with menus tailored more closely towards the tastes of individual first class travellers.
“We’re increasing our service for those customers at the top premium end… we’re going to start periodically calling them in advance, asking them if there’s anything they particularly want to eat in the lounge and on their flight, or that they don’t want to eat… and if they need an iPhone cable!” Bellow quips.
The current spa in the airline’s Kuala Lumpur lounges will remain, but will decrease in size as relatively few travellers use the facility. Treatments will continue to be chargeable for all passengers, including first class flyers.
These refurbishment works are part of a broader overhaul of Malaysia Airlines’ global lounges, with an upgrade to the airline’s London Heathrow facility set to be completed by February 2018.