Trip Report: Air Malta (A320neo) Business LHR-MLA

The Details

  • Flight: KM101
  • Aircraft: A320neo
  • Class: Business
  • Seat: 5A and C
  • Route: London Heathrow (LHR)-Malta (MLA)
  • Distance: 1,341miles
  • Duration: 2hrs 42min
  • Departure: 11:18AM
  • Arrival: 3:00PM

The Preflight

After arriving from Chicago onboard the British Airways A380 in First class, we had a four-hour layover. These two tickets were booked separately and we had to get from Terminal 5 to Terminal 4 during that time. After getting off the A380 at 7:30AM, we cleared customs entered the UK then took the Underground Picadilly Line from Terminal 5 to Terminal 2/3. At Terminal 2/3, we transferred to the Elizabeth Line which then brought us to Terminal 4. This entire journey took us roughly an hour to complete.

The Air Malta check-in counters in Terminal 4 were packed and it took us about 10 minutes to complete the check-in process without any bags to check.

Thanks to our business class tickets we were granted access to the Fast Track security lane which was a complete disaster. There was only one line open and the two agents working it were overwhelmed. Numerous passengers did not have their liquids packed in clear plastic bags or removed from the carry-on luggage and almost every bag that when through the scanner had to be screened. As the agent went to screen the bag, no other bags on the conveyor would move due to the lack of staff operating the scanner. It took us over an hour and twenty minutes to clear security. Multiple passengers tried to cut into the Fast Track line since they were going to miss their flights but the two security agents could not process them fast enough. There was a lot of shouting, frustration, and anger.

We finally made it to the Plaza Premium lounge at 9:51AM, two hours and twenty minutes after we got off our British Airways flight.

The lounge had a decent amount of table seating near the buffet area as well as a few couches and tables arranged along the window with nice apron views.

It a corner of the lounge were comfortable chairs and private desks.

Food options included both hot and cold options.

Hot options included hashbrowns, omelletes, sausages, bacon, baked beans, and scrambled eggs.

Cold options included fresh fruit, yoghurt, cheese, and bircher museli. There was also some bakery items and turkey sausage.

There was also soda and coffee available.

The large windows in the lounge gave us a great view of the A320neo taking us to Malta today. Air Malta has a total of eight aircraft in their fleet, four A320s and four A320neos. The A320neo today, registration 9H-NED, was leased from GECAS in November 2020.

Boarding began at 10:24AM and was incredibly disorganized. No annoucements were made for business class flyers. Instead, agents just began scanning everyone’s boarding pass who made a queue.

The Flight

Air Malta operates their A320neos in the standard European business class configuration of 3-3 with a blocked middle seat. The business class was adaptable and a small cabin divider could be moved forward or backward in the cabin based on the size of business class. Today, there was six rows of business class and 100% full with a total of 24 passengers. We were seated in 5A and 5C. While thin, I found the seat to be satisfactory for a less than three hour flight.

Air Malta has Recaro slimline seats similar to the BL3520 model that can be found onboard many carriers today. Each seat had a simple tray table, literature pocket, and storage pouch.

Between the seatbacks were two USB ports. The window and the aisle seat both had ample legroom without any restrictive boxes.

We pushed back five minutes late at 10:55 and had a twenty minute taxi to runway 27L.

Service began 45 minutes into the flight with a drink service. I went with a Gin & Tonic served with a fresh lemon.

After the drink service, the cabin crew came through the cabin and provided the lunch menu. There was a single option for each course at it was all served on one tray.

The meal was fantastic, tasty, and beautifully presented. The appetizer was a game terrine which was intresting but good. The main course was a Maltese style beef bragioli with mashed potatoes, peas, and carrots cooked well. For dessert there was two profiteroles and a cheese platter with Maltese style cheeses. The “Maltese” fresh bread was warm, soft, and delicious as well.

Throughout the flight, the cabin crew made multiple rounds down the aisle offering re-fills for drinks and collecting waste. Soon, we were cruising down to Almafi Coast of Italy into the Mediterranean.

There was a single lavatory at the front of the aircraft for business class passengers. It was fairly generic.

An hour before landing, I asked for a cup of coffee which was also beautifully presented.

On approach into Malta, we had a sweeping view of the island of Gozo.

We also had a great view of the island of Comino where the Blue Lagoon could be easily identified.

On final approach into runway 13, we had views of the cities of Bugibba, St. Julian’s, and Sliema along the coastline.

We landed at 3:00PM local time and quickly taxied to the gate area where we deplaned by airstairs.

Thanks for the ride!

I was very pleased with the Air Malta business class experience. The seat was as expected for European business class but the catering and food were above average.

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