Thursday, March 31, 2016

Malaysia Airlines - New Business Class Seats on A330 Aircrafts

For the past 12 months, I've been travelling a fair bit and was fortunate (very in fact) to experience flying on Business Class (BC) for flight more than 4-hours (in total) due to company policies. Happy to report that I am a big fan of Malaysia Airlines (MH), choosing to fly on the National Airline as first choice. Only when the route is not supported by MH, I will opt for the One World alliance airlines so I could continue to enjoy the benefit as an Enrich member. 
My first Business Class experience - MH16 March 2015 onboard B777-200
Most recent Business Class experience - MH002 March 2016 onboard A380-800
My regional travel are mostly less than 4 hours (Manila, Hong Kong, Chennai is a 3:50, 10mins short of 4hours to experience BC ;-)) and I will not likely to experience the new A330-300 Business Class. However, the good PR people in MH has shared with me a short write up so I could share this with you readers in return. My thoughts on the new seats, based on my limited flying experience will be included as TS - [Comments] in the write up below. 

Hopefully, that will help you understand the differences. For comparison, I will pull the two planes I've flew BC with MH, the A380 and the B777.

Please also bear in mind that the other two planes services longer haul aka >10hours. The business strategy for MH has now focused more towards regional travel, hence, the introduction of A330.

Malaysia Airlines - New Business Class Seats on A330 Aircrafts
On Tuesday, 22nd March 2016, Malaysia Airlines unveiled its first A330-300 aircraft fitted with the new Business Class seats at its Engineering Complex in Sepang. The new seats has taken off on its first flight, MH141, from Kuala Lumpur to Sydney on 23 March 2016.

The launch event was officiated by Malaysia Airlines’ Chief Commercial Officer, Paul Simmons, who was joined by the airline’s staff, invited guests as well as members of the media. All guests were given the opportunity to experience the fully revamped Business Class cabin.

Here are some cool facts on those seats;
· Measures at 44 inches, with a width of 20 inches, and a length of 76 inches when it’s laid out flat. 
TS - A380 is 72inches (pitch), 22inches (width) and 74inches (flat). B777 is 62(P), 18.5(W) and angled seat (meaning not real lie flat, but the seat comes with an attachment to raise the leg rest up, appearing to be laying flatter. 

· One of the best received business class seats in the industry. 
TS - A few frequent traveler says it reflect the Aer Lingus BC ;-)

· Come with increased working space, with 90% of all seats having direct aisle access. 
TS - from the PR photos, it appear to have more space compared to both A380 and B777, Hopefully with more privacy too. The forward facing seating doesn't allow much privacy, and it's evident if you are seated at the Aisle. Even with the  privacy screen in-between the seats up, your work are still visible by the person across the aisle.

· 1-2-1 and 1-2-2 seat layout. 
TS - A380 is 2-2-2 and B777 is 2-3-2. All are forward facing. A reverse herring bone would be nice for privacy and space. This will reduce the numbers of seat by at least 10 and potentially raise the price of BC significantly.

· Extra stowage space for personal items. 
TS - hopefully, as both the A380 and B777 is not as generous if you sit on the aisle side. Window seats has ample, in fact too much storage on the A380.

· Each seat is equipped with a 16 inch touch screen inflight entertainment system. 
TS - A380 is 17, B777 is 10.4
The new Business Class seats are available on Malaysia Airlines’ A330 flights between Kuala Lumpur and Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, China and India from March 2016 onwards.

Some photos taken from the MH page, specific to the A330 new BC configuration of 1-2-2 seating. 

MH has uploaded a video of the BC as well. Enjoy.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Skechers GoRunRide5 Review

GoRunRide5 - January 2016
Apologies for the long silence as I've been busy with work and travel. Currently trying to recover from a recent +2GMT trip, returned back to +8GMT and now at GMT. Lost many weekends of solid training and many more races that I've wanted to sign up and race. 

I now consider myself to be in semi-sabbatical when it comes to racing - BUT, training continues; because it's an active lifestyle I've committed and very much ingrained with the family. The lapse of blog entry also meant my writing skills are getting bad. Pardon the lesser than usual details. 

This time, a long overdue review of the Skechers GoRunRide5 (GRR5) which was given to me around Christmas last year and never seen the light until mid-January. Since then, this pair which precedes GRR4 (duh!) has been my mainstay running shoe as I work the miles (or KM if you are SI-inclined). No less than 150miles on these babies since January and here is the report.
GoRunRide5 Profile
The GRR5 was a total change from GRR4 both outsole and upper. To start with the upper, the new diamond mesh provide both medial and lateral support. Coupled with a 3D printed overlay it provides support to toe box. here is a closer look of the overlay and the diamond mesh. Note the silver thingy is the reflector and the blue crash pad has been made bigger/higher when compared to GRR4. 

The 3D synthetic overlay runs around the shoe providing support to critical part. This include the heel and the mid portion where it provides very good and secured fit.

As mentioned, the outsole has been revamped. Evidence of the differences between GRR4 and GRR5 is seen in the photo below. You can see that the GoImpulse pods has been moved to be more centric around the forefoot and the mid-sole received larger area to counter wear and tear for mid-foot strikers. The GoImpulse pods at the back of GRR5 has been moved slightly further downwards nearer to the heel-strike area. This may (when I received the GRR5) help manage premature wear of the GoSeries and it was convincing (now, after 150miles) that Skechers does some change to ensure wear and tear is lesser of a worry for runners. (Scroll to the bottom to see condition of the GoImpulse pods after approx 150miles)
Outsole differences between GRR5 (left) and GRR4
From the photo above you may noticed that the pods has been re-designed as well to resemble a 5-petal shaped instead of the chevron(<<) style in GRR4.

No changes to the midsole as it is made with the same lightweight flexible proprietary Resaltyte® injection molded compound for impact protection and response. However, you may noticed that the thickness has been increased as shown in the photo below. Despite this, GRR5 is very much a 4mm drop shoe (without the removable insole). Stack height is 16-20 Fore-Rear configuration.
Obviously taller, by a fraction
Increase to the Resalyte® compound made the outsole look a lot bulkier than its predecessor. What surprises me was that the GRR5 is a much firmer feel shoe compared to GRR4, and surprisingly more responsive as well. Those of you running on the GRR (original) to GRR3 will know the shoe to be less than responsive. The previous GoRunRide series main purpose was to offer better cushioning compared to the GoRun series. 
Thicker Resalyte. A 16 mm front and 20mm rear gives a 4mm drop 
I may not be the only one that say this, the GRR5 gave me the feel of the GoRun series (in this case, GR4). The firmness and responsiveness was very GR4 feel. Makes me wonder if it was the same shoe sometimes.

Continuing on the review is the presence of the Quick Fit loop at the back that functions to allow you to wear the shoe a bit faster without unlacing. I find it to be useful after doubting the function in the GRR4. While it caused the rear part to be higher than usual, some user does complain (of the GRR4) to cause some chaffing when they run at the Achilles area. Lucky for me, it's not an issue.
One nice touch I noticed on the GRR5 is that this same area where the Quick Fit loop were has a new material treatment that potentially may reduce your chances of chaffing at the heel area. It was microfiber like when compared to GRR4. As you all may know,l I run sockless and has no issues with Skechers running sockless. 
If you noticed from the photo above, the GRR5 has a very breathable upper. Those of you worry about hot shoe when running in mid-afternoon will be happy to note I've not had that feeling when running. But when wearing socks (in-flight, during travel transit) does heat up a little. When compared to GRR4, the tongue of the GRR5 is slightly thinner (not noticeable in photo, but it's obvious when you feel the material in real life)
GRR4 on left vs GRR5 tongue thickness
No changes were the lace type that is flat (not-round). A second pair (white) was included with the GRR5 with the blue-black as standard to match this pair of GRR5. Weight wise, the GRR5 comes in not anymore heavier than the GRR4 despite the additional cushioning material. 240grams or roughly 8.5oz for US11. No issues as it is still light compared to many traditional trainers.
On the run, the shoe did not disappoint as it provide quick response and good grip in various weather. I've so far ran the GRR5 in typical Asia weather (rain or shine, and hot), cooler Johannesburg with loose sand/gravel conditions and colder London where it can get wet and slippery when you least expected it. it has been holding well and my mainstay for this quarter. 
Skechers for Work and Leisure

After 150miles, the condition of the outsole/pods is per what you can see below. Pretty impressive I would say with even wear all around. Skechers could had gotten the formula right this time around with good balance of everything a runner would want - support, weight, durable and nice color ;-)
Noticable more wear on the heel portion - a reality check that I am not mid-fore striking as much as I should be. 

Note: This pair of Skechers GoRunRide5 is sponsored by Skechers Malaysia via collaboration with 2ndSkin Asia Athletes program. Thank you Skechers Malaysia and 2ndSkinThe Skechers GOrun Ride 5 retails at RM439 for the men's and RM399 for the women's. It is available in store (Malaysia) now. Last checked, not launched in Manila until May 2016.

Opinion in this write up is my own and not influenced by Skechers Malaysia or 2ndSkin program.