Updated on August 24, 2017
Flight Log of Malaysia Airlines Flight 178 and 388 from Colombo to Shanghai Pudong with Transfer at Kuala Lumpur
After two weeks touring the nation of Sri Lanka, it’s time to head back home and get ready for the next chapters of my life.
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After an Uber ride to the airport, one of my friends wanted to send some postcards to her friends and families. The strange thing was that the Airport Post Office of Colombo was located outside Arrival Concourse, and there wasn’t any postcard shops nearby. Who wants to send postcards brought along in his checked bags?
Also strange was that it took two layers of identity check just to get to the check-in counters. One at the entrance to make sure you are actually flying (rather than tourist touts), the other just outside the counters, so that nobody would perform check-in way too early. This makes sense, but I don’t think it’s necessary for my bags too to make it through X-ray machines twice.
Before we arrived at the check-in counters, there were arrays of currency exchange stands, all of which offered similar unbelievably good rates. But only when you found their quotes suspicious did they tell you that they charge an extra fixed commission, reminiscent of the country I was leaving that appeared to be beautiful.
By the way, the majority of the shops charge 500LKR (3.26USD) commission, which wasn’t bad, given their rates were near perfect.
Just after immigration we saw a drinking fountain, so we happily filled up our empty bottles, only to find that its water had that tap water taste. (So we reasonably believe there’s something wrong with its filter, or more terribly, it may not even got one.) Our misery deepened when we saw water dispenser with bottled water further down passenger terminal.
When using the airport’s bathroom facilities, I found a sign written only in English that said free bathrooms and no tipping. A peephole into this nation’s practices of extorting foreigners.
Expectedly, our plane arrived late, so we waited in the terminal for some extra time before boarding.
The whole flight was over Indian Ocean in the middle of the night, so there’s nothing to talk about.
After we landed in Kuala Lumpur, we just proceeded to the gate, waited outside while I finished some work left behind during the holidays.
It wasn’t until way past boarding time did I found that the security queues for our gate never seemed to dwindle. I walked up and found that there were only two X-ray machines for one A333 bound for Shanghai and one B738 bound for Phnom Penh. Well, this was typical of bad management, either on Malaysia Airlines or on Kuala Lumpur Airport authorities. However, our gate agents seemed perfectly used to situations like this, as they did take their time in scanning my boarding passes and showed me the way onboard while it’s just 6 minutes to the scheduled takeoff time, no worries at all.
Oh by the way, now Malaysia Airlines parked some of its B738 on the Satellite building? I thought they belonged only to the main building.
When performing online check-in (I did this pretty early), I found that seat 10A on this leg was still available. There are 27 business seats in Malaysia Airline’s A333 under new configuration, leaving room for two rows of economy seats in front of the second door. The result was that, these two rows of economy got (in my opinion) extra seat pitch. The only disadvantage was that, seat 10A/K had a window missing.
By the way, I couldn’t get any recline on my seat, which I believe was unique to the specific aircraft. A sign of Malaysia Airline’s not-so-good maintenance.
And there’s something else to talk about before takeoff. During boarding, heavy tropical rain was falling. The jet bridge to door 1 survived pretty well, the jet bridge to door 2, not so lucky, as there were heavy leaks of rainwater into the cabin. The cabin crew attempted to clean all this with blankets but with little success. As I sat near door 2, I got to hear their scramble and confusion as entertainment before takeoff.
By the way, we waited on the tarmac for about an hour for local weather and South China Sea air traffic control. That’s probably why the gate agents never hurried us in the security lines.
It was mostly cloudy on the route back home, and I was sitting on a windowless window seat, so I took few photos along the way.
As usual, the whole cabin crew completely disappeared after the meal services.
As for landing, unfortunately, we landed on the wrong runway of Pudong Airport which was 35L. This meant we were given a 10 minute tour of Pudong Airport while taxiing East all the way to Terminal 2.
After the tour, there’s another 10-minute wait for taxiways to be cleared, so that we can reach our gate.
There was only one jet bridge at Shanghai Pudong Airport, so I was among the first to disembark from the plane, before the guys in business class.
Amazingly, this time, we got our checked bags pretty quick at the baggage belts, a stark contrast to my experience with Qatar Airways at Pudong last summer.
After this, we headed downtown for a farewell dinner (we hadn’t eaten since the brunch onboard), took a feast of Chinese dishes that we all long missed, and said goodbye to one another.
Flight Log of Malaysia Airlines Flight 178 and 388 from Colombo to Shanghai Pudong with Transfer at Kuala Lumpur by Huang's Site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.