On my recent flight from Kuala Lumpur (KUL – KLIA) to Dubai (DXB) via Bangkok (BKK) with Thai Airways I was invited to use the Thai Lounge located in the satellite building of KL international Airport Terminal 1.
KL international airport is located some 50 minutes outside of Kuala Lumpur and can be reached by car/taxi or the KLIA ekspress train from KL sentral station. It is divided in two terminals, KLIA which is used by all full service carriers and features extensive duty free shops, restaurants and airport lounges and KLIA2 which is like a mall with an integrated LCC terminal (mostly used by AirAsia).
Since Thai Airways has an amazing offer out of KUL to fly to Dubai (DXB) via BKK for just around MYR3,500 (~USD800) return in business class (J) I prefer them over Emirates that charges significantly more and often uses their outdated 777 to KUL, which feature a very very disappointing product in J. The only downside of Thai Airways offer is the slightly longer flight with transit and they use terminal 1 in DXB, which is inferior to terminal 3 used by Emirates and Qantas.
Thai Airways as a full service carrier is using terminal 1 in KUL and their lounge is located in the satellite terminal that is housing the C gates. Lounges are all above the duty free shops in level 1 and the Thai lounge is right opposite the Plaza Premium lounge. When I arrived there was no lounge attendant to check boarding passes, so I just entered and found the lounge to be pretty much abandoned – no staff and just 2 other guests were inside.
While I was walking towards the buffet and further into the lounge one of the lounge attendants (as it later was revealed the only staff) came from some backroom and I handed him my boarding pass which he took and walked off to the counter for checking.
In the meantime I was having a look on the food offer, which was quite little. There was a coffee machine which was broken, then some soup and packed salat and sandwiches. Additional to that the usual selection of chilled soft drinks and self service alcohol (no champagne) as well as some rice and pasta. Not a single Thai dish was offered tho. It was by far the most underwhelming food spread I have seen in any lounge in Malaysia and only second in Asia after the infamous Vietnam Airlines lounge Da Nang.
The whole lounge stretches over one long room and has only lounge chairs, no separate seating for dining. There is one row directly at the windows where you can sit and have a good view on the gates and runways while eating (or relaxing).
Next to that row there are more chairs and tables that feature the same seating and style, the furniture was quite outdated and had significant wear and tear. There are 2 TVs which show news but no sound, next to the counter is a great selection of local, Thai and international newspapers as well.
Fast wifi was available throughout the lounge, the password was available at the check-in desk only, while that is standard and nothing to complain about it is worth noting that other lounges do that significantly better.
The big problem in this lounge seems to be service which is a result of the understaffed team. There was a total of one lounge attendants and one cleaning/kitchen staff. While the lounge including the solid restrooms was clean and nice upon arrival I presume that was mostly due to the fact that they just opened and cleaned everything before.
The buffet refills were very slow and there was virtually no service in the lounge, once our plates and glasses filled two tables I approached the attendant and asked him to send someone to clean. After a while he came and cleared our table himself but did nothing with the tables for the other guests that were quite in need of cleaning as well. That is also basically the only time I saw him in the lounge for the 50 minutes I spent there.
While I think the outdated style and furniture is still alright and the chairs were comfy nevertheless, as well the Thai lounge has a decent size and wasn’t too crowded even though our flight had all business seats sold out what bothered me here was the little food spread and slow refills. Also there was not only too few staff but the two they had did not seem to be specifically interested in doing their job. Out of all the lounges I have been to at KLIA this one is sadly the least nice.