Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of an airline? Wendy McQueen travelled to Malaysia to find out …
I was feeling surprisingly good after arriving in Kuala Lumpur, despite being on the go for 24 hours. It was just as well, as our tour of the Malaysian Airline Academy kicked off first thing.
It was very impressive. Cabin crew undergo 69 days of rigorous training in all flight procedures, including CPR, safety and rescue, as well as grooming and deportment and flight announcement training. Female crew even face monthly BMI measurements and weigh-ins!
That afternoon we met with the delightful Poh Ling Yeow, MasterChef 2009 runner-up and host of ABC cooking show Poh’s Kitchen. She gave us a guided tour of renowned food street Jalan Alor—an overwhelming experience offering a glimpse into local cuisine and culture.
Here we sampled all sorts of regional delights including some that weren’t quite so delightful, like frogs on sticks!
We finished off with nightcaps at the SkyBar, located on the 33rd floor of Traders Hotel. This meant enjoying espresso martinis in front of one of the most sensational views of Kuala Lumpur. The cityscape at night was truly spectacular, and the twin Petronas Towers were an eye- catching landmark—we couldn’t get enough photos!
It was time for another foodie adventure, this time behind the scenes of KLIA Catering, the company that prepares airline meals. They produce an incredible 36,000 meals a day, including 26,000 satay sticks with 200 litres of satay sauce to accompany.After seeing how it all happened we enjoyed a buffet selection of the dishes, and I can definitely say they all passed the taste test.
During the afternoon we got a peek at the KLIA Hangar’s world-recognised plane servicing facilities. The six hangars host a hundred different airlines for servicing, including both international carriers and local airlines. Malaysian Airlines has taken a beating with the recent disasters, but its passionate workers clearly receive in-depth training and servicing at a world class standard.
It was time to shop up a storm. Our group headed to Central Market, a lively hub of local arts and craft, perfect for purchasing gifts for back home. Next on the list was the giant Pavilion Mall—a glittering mecca for shopaholics featuring everything from Burberry to Cotton On. We finished off the day with a spectacular dinner at Grand Hyatt restaurant Thirty8, accompanied by delicious cocktails.
I’m in love with Kuala Lumpur—it broke my heart to leave! But I’ll be back to do it all again, soon.