Test published in April 2006 (route inspected: Prague- Budapest)
The quality of an airline should show up before take off. In the recently refurbished Budapest Ferihegy airport, after a quick priority check-in, Sky Club passengers flying from Budapest to any European or long-haul destination (Malev flies as far as Bangkok, only in Spring and Summer time) receive invitation to the comfortable and well equipped Malev Business Lounge. We found there a very complete choice of soft drinks, fine Hungarian wines and any kind of alcohol (from Campari to Tio Pepe sherry) the distinguished traveller might like to have before departure. Snacks are displayed on a self-service desk. International newspapers are available free of charge. There is another lounge we like very much: the Duna Lounge. Smaller and therefore more cosy than the Malev Business Class Lounge, it is now accessible by Malev Duna Club frequent flyers only. Ferihegy airport tends to be over populated, and this is actually an enjoyable privilege to be offered the intimacy of a lounge.
We boarded our Boeing 737- 400 exactly on scheduled time. With a 860 – 930 km per hour cruising speed at an altitude of 11,000 meters, this is a perfect aircraft to cover a short distance. For such a purpose Malev also operates new Fokker F-70-s, which are popular among the business travellers flying to such original destinations covered by the Hungarian Airlines like Tirana or Rhodes.
Our lunch came immediately after take off. If on such a short flight (only one hour) the menu cannot be as wonderful as the one we enjoyed on their long-haul flights, it was still delicious. We have been served the same Törley Dry like on the Bangkok-Budapest route. More limited, the selection of Hungarian red and white wines (French and foreign labels are also available, of course) remained most interesting. For many passengers flying Malev is a very first contact with Hungary: everything has been made a perfect way to introduce them the Hungarian gastronomy aboard the aircraft. The Malev Sky Club menu includes Salmon Tartare Canapé, Spring Roulade (chicken breast stuffed with pineapple, and cooked in an almond sauté) and light cool yoghurt-based desserts with fruit flavour. With our coffee we received some chocolate packed inside a small suitcase. On the wrapper, as a way of reminding passengers with elegance and humour of the airline rules, the authorised dimensions for pieces of hand luggage are clearly featured.
The stewardess performed an efficient and smiling service. Far superior to the one we had on the same airline some years ago. There is a global and very impressive change of Malev quality, and therefore image, which need to be emphasized on this in-flight test.
Malev made us feeling like
being in Hungary before reaching our destination on best comfort and