Tag Archives: trip report

Lounge Review: Amex Centurion Lounge Mexico City (MEX) Terminal 2

The Amex Centurion Lounge in the Mexico City Airport has been recently renovated and reopened. This lounge is accessible to those with an Amex Platinum or Amex Centurion credit card. There are Centurion lounges in both terminals, but this review is for Terminal 2.

Entrance to the lounge

The design of the renovated lounge reminds me of the Centurion lounges in the U.S. It’s pretty spacious with lots of different seating options. There are two floors to the lounge: upstairs, you’ll find the spa (and shower room), dining room, and tables; downstairs you’ll find a cafe/bar area, a small children’s area, and couches. There’s also a zen room tucked away (with a separate staircase from the rest of the upstairs). Centurion cardholders have access to a separate space.

Downstairs tables

Downstairs couches

More seating downstairs

Bar area downstairs

Upstairs dining area

Upstairs seating options

Upstairs seating

Zen room

Only self-serve refreshments in the lounge? Found at the zen room

Shower room

Shower room

Nothing is self service in this lounge, which means service can be slow(ish). There’s also potentially a language barrier (I am to blame for not speaking Spanish). But the hosts were generally attentive in offering drinks and food.

One thing that’s different about this lounge from Amex lounges in the US is that a lot of the food and drinks appeared to require payment. I was given a laminated card that said I was entitled to some food, but they have a more extensive paid menu of food options.

Complimentary menu

Fruit and granola

Overall, it’s probably the nicest lounge I visited in MEX in terms of sitting (although it did get quite crowded by the time I left), but I’m not a fan of the weird a la carte menu.

Review: Dan Lounge Tel Aviv Airport (TLV)

The Dan Lounge at TLV is accessible via Priority Pass (there are actually two of these lounges in different parts of the airport).

Entrance to the Dan Lounge

There aren’t very many airport lounges at TLV, which is why I think this lounge was so crowded when I visited. Tons of people, to the point where I had to wait a little bit to find a seat. It’s also not a huge lounge–it’s just a long rectangular room–given how many airlines it’s serving.

Busy lounge

The food options were not that extensive when I visited. There were a bunch of breads/pastries/cereals, there were a couple of cold foods like salads and yogurt, and that was about it. I had some oatmeal, which was about the only hot food I could find.

Food

Food

Food

Drinks

All in all, it might be marginally better than waiting in the terminal, but given how crowded the lounge was and the poor food options, this lounge isn’t really worth a visit.

Review: Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp Petra, Jordan

Over the summer, I took a short trip to Jordan from Israel. On this trip, I stayed at the Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp near Petra.

Entrance to the camp

Fire pit

The camp is pretty large. I was on a decently-sized tour (~30 people), so it’s not some boutique experience, even if you stay at this place yourself. That being said, it was pretty cool to stay out in the dessert, and the views were great.

Lots of tents

View

The tents are pretty basic. Just two beds with lots of blankets. I was there in July, so it was pretty warm and toasty most of the time. There is some electricity in the tents, but it cuts out pretty early in the evening, so you can’t charge things overnight. The tents also don’t have locks on them, except from the outside, so it’s actually possible to lock your companion into the tent. Make sure to bring ear plugs, as there’s very little noise insulation. That being said, because we were hiking in Petra all day, I slept pretty well.

Inside a tent

There are communal bathrooms with hot running water. You should probably bring flip flops/shower shoes of some sort. Also a flashlight/your phone to get to and from the bathroom at night. It is in the middle of the desert, so they have to get water delivered, so sometimes, there wasn’t any water. So you might want to wake up early to make sure you can use the bathroom before the water runs out if the camp is crowded!

Bathroom

Bathroom

Bathroom

We had breakfast and dinner at the camp. This was just buffet style food. The food was fine, but you’re not staying in the desert for the food.

Food

Food

The best part of the camp was the fire pit. A huge circular are with lots of pillows and blankets to chill after a day of hiking in Petra. There was tea and hookah available (and wifi! albeit slow wifi).

Nighttime

Would I stay here again? Sure, if someone else wanted to. It’s an interesting and kinda fun experience. It’s not really camping, and it’s not really a cultural experience, but it’s an easy, decently comfortable way to spend the night in the desert.

Review: Club Aspire Lounge London Heathrow (LHR) Terminal 3

On a recent trip to London, I had the chance to check out the Club Aspire lounge at LHR Terminal 3. This lounge is relatively new and accessible via Priority Pass (in Terminal 3, you can also visit the No1 lounge using Priority Pass).

Entrance to the Club Aspire Lounge

The lounge isn’t huge, but it’s got a variety of seating options. There are communal tables to work, smaller tables if you just want to sit with a traveling companion, and recliners if you want some rest.

Seating

Seating

Loungers

The food selection in this lounge isn’t extensive, but the food that was there seemed to be of decent quality as far as lounge food goes.

Hot food options

Cold food options

Snacks

All in all, I would probably choose the No1 Lounge above the Club Aspire lounge if you’re just looking for a Priority Pass accessible lounge (but I’d say that Cathay Pacific lounge is still my favorite lounge in Terminal 3 that I’ve visited so far).

Review: Cathay Pacific Business Class HKG to SFO

Although I’d flown Cathay Pacific long-haul multiple times, this was actually my first time flying them long-haul in business class.

My initial impressions of the cabin were not great. The cabin did not seem to be adequately cleaned before the flight, and some things seemed to be falling apart. Part of the armrest was coming off (and you could see wood underneath), there was a napkin left at my seat, there were stains, etc. It seemed like the plane needed a little love.

Business class seat

Business class mini cabin

Foot space and IFE screen

Controls and storage

Tape fixes all

I was seated in the mini-cabin right behind first class. This is just two rows of business class, so it feels pretty intimate and private. The bulkhead also has additional foot space since it’s the bulkhead. There was a pillow, blanket, and headphones already at the seat, and the flight attendants came around offering pre-departure beverages.

View into first class

In spite of my quibbles about the cleanliness of the cabin, it’s still an awesome hard product. There’s space to put things under the ottoman, there’s a shoe compartment, storage on the side, counter space, etc. The seat goes lie flat and has good privacy, and it feels plenty wide.

Business class bathroom amenities

This flight was catered as supper, snack on demand, and then breakfast prior to arrival. I’m not sure why they serve breakfast prior to arrival as the flight lands at 8pm. While the more typical lunch and dinner menus often have one vegetarian option, there was very little vegetarian food on this menu, so make sure to order a special meal if you’re a vegetarian on a supper flight.

Menu

Menu

Menu

Menu

Business class amenity kit

For my supper meal, I had pre-ordered a Jain vegetarian meal. The VJML supper consisted of a cold, spicy chickpea salad, fruit, rice, lentils, okra, and green beans. Pretty decent for a special meal.

VJML supper

After supper, I slept for about five hours. The seat was super comfortable, and the blanket was large and not too hot.

Breakfast was served prior to arrival. I started out with fruit and bread. One thing I noticed was that the VJML fruit plate was different from the fruit plates that other people were getting–not entirely sure why since fruit is obviously vegan.

Fruit plate

After fruit and bread, people were offered cereals and yogurt.

Granola

For my VJML entree, it was a main of Indian breakfast items. I honestly can’t believe it was meant to be served as I received it, since there was very, very little curry in the container. It looked like the curry had spilled out of the container, but there was nothing to replace it, so it was mostly just white carbs.

VJML breakfast

Overall, I was a little bit disappointed by this flight. While Cathay Pacific has a great hard product and can sometimes have amazing service, the service on this flight wasn’t very good. The service felt cold, I wasn’t welcomed on board, I was never addressed by name, etc. Heck, I’ve been addressed by name flying economy class on Qatar (and on Cathay for that matter).

Review: Cathay Pacific Regional Business Class Boeing 777 DPS to HKG

Boarding for this flight was a bit of a mess. The stated boarding time for the flight was 3:25pm, but they didn’t start boarding until around 3:45pm, and there were no announcements about anything being delayed. In addition, the terminal at DPS isn’t super well air conditioned at some of the gates, so some of the passengers were getting pretty testy…

Because of the late boarding, the business class cabin was mobbed quickly. It’s a 2-3-2 configuration for regional business class on this Boeing 777. The seats are perfectly comfortable, but for a flight that can approach 5 hours, it’d be nice to have something lie flat for sleeping.

Business class cabin

Business class seats

IFE screen and foot area

Seat controls and storage

There were pillows and headphones at the seat, and then they came around offering blankets, pre-departure beverages, and hot towels. I’m not really sure who wants hot towels leaving Bali, so I asked for a cold towel, and they offered me a not-hot (but not cold) towel a few minutes later.

The IFE screen for these seats is a little small and blurry. There’s a USB port and electrical outlet for charging devices. There’s limited storage at these seats: there’s not really any underseat storage, but there is a small slim pocket in the center between seats.

Menu

Menu

Menu

After takeoff, they offered drinks and mixed nuts to start. Then came the meal service. For my Jain vegetarian special meal, the starter was some sort of cold bean puree with black eyed peas on top. It reminded me a little bit of hummus, and was a large step up from plain cold vegetables that are usually served as vegetarian special meal appetizers.

VJML appetizer

For my main, I had chickpea curry, rice, spinach, peas, and cabbage. This was pretty delicious.

VJML entree

Finally, I had a fruit plate to finish off the meal.

Fruit plate

Overall, this was a pretty good VJML. The service was not particularly personable, but it was very efficient. There were Jurlique products in the bathroom, but no amenities were offered.

Review: Plaza Premium Lounge KUL

The Plaza Premium Lounge at Kuala International Airport opened up relatively recently, but it’s a pretty standard Plaza Premium Lounge in Asia (that is to say, pretty solid for an international lounge that you can access via Priority Pass).

Entrance to the lounge

There’s plenty of seating in the lounge, although the lounge was decently busy when I visited. There could definitely be more power outlets, as a number of the seating options don’t have anywhere to plug into. The showers were also out of service when I visited.

Seating

Seating

Bar

In terms of food, there was a decent selection. Some of the options were super Asian (e.g., Hainanese chicken rice, sweetened barley soup, kuih), which I appreciated. The kuih (a general term for Malaysian/Singaporean bite-sized desserts that are often made with glutinous rice flour and are often vegan) were located at the bar, and you couldn’t serve yourself–you had to ask the bartender to get you some. Maybe that’s to prevent people like me from bingeing on them.

Drinks

Drinks

Condiments for chicken rice

Fried noodles and vegetables

Made-to-order noodles

Salad

Soups and porridge

Kuih

Overall, this is a solid lounge offering, especially since it’s accessible via Priority Pass. I imagine the renovated Malaysia Airlines lounges will be nicer once they reopen, but this is a decent alternative in the international area in the interim.

Review: Malaysia Airlines Business Class A330-300 KUL to DPS

At KUL, departing and arriving passengers are mixed together, and there’s security at each gate. For this flight, there was only metal detector going for an entire A330, so we were actually delayed because people were still trying to get through security instead of boarding.

The flight was originally scheduled to be a 737, but there was an aircraft swap, which meant fully flat seats on this relatively short flight to DPS. I sat in 1A this time, which is a single seat closer to the aisle. The foot cutout in the bulkhead is enormous compared to the throne seats, so even though the seat feels a little exposed to the aisle and doesn’t have as much counter space, I think I would prefer 1A to any of the throne seats in the future.

Foot space for 1A

Seat controls and storage compartment

Storage compartment

View across cabin

A pre-departure beverage of juice or water was offered, and they distributed cold towels and newspapers. The IFE selection was the same as on my longer flight from PEK, but the headphones were much worse quality on this flight.

Menu

Menu

Menu

Menu

Menu

The flight was pretty turbulent after takeoff. I was actually a little worried about the flight attendants because they were trying to serve people drinks at the time, and my drink at my seat spilled a bunch. But eventually, the turbulence stopped and they were able to do a meal service. For this flight, the Asian vegetarian meal was a lentil curry with carbs in two forms. It was definitely better than the Asian vegetarian meal I had on the previous sector.

Asian vegetarian meal

Overall, it was a nice little treat to get to fly on an A330-300 on this flight to Bali instead of a Boeing 737-800, and the food was better on this flight than on the flight from PEK to KUL.

Review: Malaysia Airlines Regional Golden Lounge KUL – Renovated

Malaysia Airlines is currently renovating their main lounges in KUL, and on a recent trip, I had the chance to stop by one of these renovated lounges, namely the Regional Golden Lounge. If you’re departing from KUL and want to stop by this flight, go to the left right after you pass security. There’s an escalator with a sign to the lounge (don’t get on the train yet if you have an international flight).

Escalator up to lounge

Lounge signage

My first impressions of the lounge were very positive. The old Malaysia Airlines lounges in international terminal were large, but they just felt tired and old. This lounge was bright and vibrant in comparison. It was a tad crowded given that this is the main lounge that people are using, but I could still find a seat, and there were lots of servers around to help clean plates and offer drinks.

The lounge is pretty large and spacious. There are seats by the huge windows, counter seating, tables, gender-segregated nap rooms, showers, and a family area.

Seating

Bar

Seating

Seating

Dining area

In terms of drinks, there’s a coffee bar with a barista, an alcohol bar with a bartender, and your typical array of non-alcoholic beverages. People were also proactively going around and asking if people needed drinks.

Drinks

The food options were also pretty good. The buffet had a number of hot and cold food options, and there were also some made-to-order food options with a noodle bar and sandwich bar (the sandwich bar is easy to miss–it’s essentially at the coffee bar).

Food

Condiments

Food

Food

Food

Desserts and sandwiches

Salads

Fruit

Noodle bar menu

Sandwich bar menu

Coffee bar

Overall, I was pretty impressed with the lounge. It’s a huge step up from previous Malaysia Airlines lounges at KUL (although the domestic lounge is also pretty good for a domestic lounge), and I’m excited to see the main lounge reopen.

Review: Malaysia Airlines Business Class A330-300 PEK to KUL

I’ve flown Malaysia Airlines business class in the past, but this was a renovated business class cabin, so it was a huge improvement over the past hard product that I’ve flown.

Malaysia Airlines A330

Instead of angled-flat seats, these are forward-facing fully-flat seats in an alternating 1-2-1 and 1-2-2 configuration. For this flight, I was seated in 6K, which is one of the throne seats on the side. The cabin skips row 3 for some reason, but the throne seats are 1K, 4K, and 6K, while 2A, 5A, and 7A are the single seats that are closer to the window.

Business class cabin

Business class cabin

The throne seats have tons of counter space on both sides. There’s are also storage spaces on both sides of the seat. The seat itself is comfortable, but the foot cubby is super small. I probably would select a non-throne seat in the future. One slight novelty is that the seatbelts had shoulder straps. There were also air vents on this plane.

Bulkhead at 1K

My seat, 6K

Seat controls, IFE controls, and some storage

Tight foothole

There was a pillow, blanket, and headphones already at the seat. The headphones were not noise cancelling. IFE was started on the ground, and the selection was pretty decent, but there were ads played before every movie. Before departure, a flight attendant came around offering juice or water, and then hot towels and newspapers were distributed.

After takeoff, packets of unsalted mixed nuts were distributed, and then they came around with a satay cart. I had pre-ordered an Asian Vegetarian meal, and the AVML satay was just vegetable skewers (one uncooked, one grilled). There was no satay sauce to accompany these skewers. The satay service was the only after takeoff meal. Once they were done distributing the satay, that was it.

On this flight, there weren’t any amenity kits, no pajamas, and there were no menus. They also gave no indication that the satay service was the only meal service after takeoff. They also didn’t turn off the cabin lights even though everyone was sleeping. It was a bit strange.

Vegetable satay

I’m not a large person, but I did feel like the seat was pretty narrow. Just lying down on my back, my arms touched the sides of the seat. I think the throne seats may feel slightly narrower because they are enclosed on both sides.

I was woken up for breakfast two hours prior to landing, even though I wasn’t asked if I wanted to be woken up. For the pre-arrival AVML, I had a fruit plate and pastry to start (the thing in the corner is some sort of jello dessert). The fruit plate was pretty good.

Asian Vegetarian meal

The entree for the Asian Vegetarian meal was some sort of croquette with marinara sauce and paneer and pepper skewers. This was fine.

Asian vegetarian meal

Overall, the hard product on this flight was vastly improved from MH’s previous business class on the A330, but the soft product left a lot to be desired. Like I don’t understand why there weren’t menus, I wish flight attendants had asked if you wanted to be woken up for breakfast, I wish the flight attendants made it easier to sleep (e.g., by turning off the cabin lights), etc.