Is it safe to fly Malaysia Airlines? One year on from the disappearance of MH370 and eight months after the downing of MH17, it's a question that remains on many travellers' lips despite the carrier continuing to fly more than 50,000 passengers on 360 flights per day and air travel being safer than ever.
After the high-profile disasters last year saw MH370 vanish en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing and MH17 shot down as it flew over the Ukraine-Russia conflict zone, there were reports of empty seats on flights and suggestions that the airline should change its name to help it recover. But Malaysia Airlines kept flying and continues to offer fantastic service and facilities to air passengers worldwide.
I flew from Bali to London via Kuala Lumpur on 8 March 2015, the anniversary of MH370, and spent a total of 15 hours and 20 minutes in the air with Malaysia Airlines. I arrived in Heathrow with high praise for the wonderful cabin crew, the spacious Upper Deck on the A380 and the superb service from the ground staff. The flight was full and it appeared no-one was unnerved by last year's tragedies. They remained loyal to the airline, which was not long before the disasters awarded 'Asia's Leading Airline', 'World's Best Cabin Staff' and one of 'The World's 5-Star Airlines'.
Its KL A380 service from Heathrow to Kuala Lumpur is luxurious, comfortable and a route I'll be happy to take again. I sat on the spacious Upper Deck which feels like a premium economy cabin, placed just behind Business Class and with only a handful of seats compared to the Main Deck.
The in-flight entertainment is excellent: the latest movies, flight tracker and games viewed on a large screen. The dining in Economy is on par with other world-class airlines and even invites you to upgrade to MH Gourmet for just £13 to enjoy one of six Japanese and Western meals which you can choose 24 hours before your flight. The flight attendants are extremely attentive, serving drinks throughout and bringing snacks with friendly smiles. The only complaints I had from my experience were for bottled water to be served instead of from a jug (but you could call me a fussy flyer!) and for Economy passengers to receive a toothbrush and toothpaste set, especially on overnight flights.
One of the best experiences before a long-haul flight is access to the airport lounge and the Malaysia Airlines Golden Lounge at Kuala Lumpur International Airport doesn't disappoint. It features day beds for resting before departure and a huge variety of food, from noodle soup made right in front of you to tasty desserts fresh out of the oven. The elegant space allows you to read magazines, charge your electrical devices and catch up with your flying buddies before departure. There is even a spa offering massages and short treatments.
With its 42 years of experience in the skies and some of the best pilots, cabin crew and support staff in the world, as well as its determination to keep flying despite the recent tragedies, and provide top-notch service in the skies I will continue to travel with Malaysia Airlines.