As I had to make a trip down to Kuala Lumpur, I decided to try out the KTM ETS Business Class. ETS stands for Electric Train Service, if you didn’t know. I have read of the many hypes that come with it and I was excited to experience it for myself.
What is ETS Business Class?
KTM ETS Business Class is similar to KTM ETS Platinum in which that it makes minimal stops. It only stops at key stations, allowing for the journey to be shorter as compared to the other ETS classes. However, unlike all the other ETS classes, the KTM’s ETS Business Class is supposed to be unrivalled in terms of comfort.
In the ETS Business Class, the seats are bigger and each row features a 1+2 configuration instead of the normal 2+2 configuration as can be found in the other ETS classes. In the ETS Business Class, the seats are rotatable, allowing for the layout of the seats to be flexible. The seats are also able to recline up to 45 degrees.
Each seat comes with each own personal entertainment system which is a small screen that you can surf the web, watch movies or even order food from the train cafe. Meals are provided and depending on the timings, each meal would be tailored to the time of the day. There are also power points provided for each seat that features two USB and one 3 point plug socket.
ETS Business Class is not a separate train. It is the first Coach of the ETS Platinum train. So seats are very limited.
Getting on the Train
At first glance, the KTM ETS Business Class coach did not seem at all different from the other coaches from the outside. However, when you step into the coach, the first thing I noticed was how spacious it was. As compared to the other ETS classes, the leg room for the ETS Business Class was ample.
There was one problem though. The luggage rack that was meant for the whole train is a bit too small. When I got on the train, it was already filled to the max! There were overhead bins for small bags but the bags that I was carrying was too big to fit up there. I was prepared to cram all my bags into my seat and just tolerate the loss of ample leg space for the rest of my journey.
Lucky for me, the stewardess saw my problem and told me that I could place my bags in the seats beside me as no one had bought tickets for those seats. Hooray! I had my space back again!
As I took my seat, the stewardess quickly distributed lunch to us. Apparently the menu changes from time to time so the meal that you get on that particular trip would not be the same meal that you get on another day. For me, the menu for lunch that day was Nasi Hujan Panas Ayam and a bottle of mineral water.
The meal was quite tasty. It came with chicken that was smothered in sambal and acar. The sambal was quite sweet and not too spicy which was perfect for me as I have quite a low spicy tolerance. Despite being a microwaved meal, the acar was still crunchy.
Exploring the Business Class Coach
After I finished my meal, the stewardess cleared my containers. They were all plastic. KTM might want to look into whether such a practice is sustainable and projects a responsible corporate image though.
I decided to walk around the Business Class coach after my lunch. There were still a lot of empty seats as not many people had bought tickets. As I got to the end of the coach, I realised that that coach had no toilet. If you want to go to the toilet, you have to go to the Platinum class coach.
Seeing how costly the train ticket was for the Business Class, it was quite a letdown to find out that one has to go to another coach to go to the toilet. The toilet was not so clean as well. There were tissue papers overflowing from the dustbin and bits and pieces of toilet paper stuck to the toilet bowl. There were also stains on the sink.
Experiencing the Features of Business Class
As stated before, the seats of Business Class are larger than the other ETS classes. Having taken the train multiple times prior to this and in various ETS classes, the comfort of the seats in ETS Business Class is truly unrivalled. Space is a luxury when in public transport and there is plenty in the Business Class.
I was excited to try out the personal entertainment for myself. To my dismay, the movies and music that was supposed to be provided as part of the Business Class package was unavailable. The page where I could order additional food from that personal entertainment screen indicated that all food was all out of stock as well. All I could order were drinks. I could still surf the web through the personal entertainment screen but the WiFi was really slow.
The seat also comes with a foldable table that folds right into the arm rest of the seat. The way they designed the seat is quite clever actually. The personal entertainment screen is neatly tucked into the arm rest, leaving it out of your way when not in used. There is also a button at the seat that enables you to call for the attention of the steward/stewardess.
At around 5:00 PM, the stewardess distributed snacks to each and every one of us. We were served 1 pineapple pastry, 1 mini chocolate muffin, 1 box of orange juice, 2 KitKat chocolate wafer, 1 can of Pringles, 1 mango pudding and an option of either coffee or tea.
I went with tea as I’m not much of a coffee enthusiast. The pastry and chocolate muffin were so-so.
For about half of the journey, there was this elderly gentleman that kept coughing non stop. With Omicron strain of Covid raging right now and cases hitting above 30k, even the slightest indication that someone in proximity is exhibiting flu symptoms is worrying. This gentlemen started coughing ever so often not too long after the journey started.
Upon getting in touch with KTM, I found out that the steward/stewardess were supposed to check all of us to ensure that we have been fully vaccinated by showing proof of vaccination. But they did no such thing. All they checked was my train ticket.
To add fuel to the fire of worry, the stewardess walked pass that elderly gentleman multiple times when he was coughing uncontrollably, while without his mask on and not once did she stop to do something. Adherence to the SOP of not allowing passengers exhibiting symptoms aboard doesn’t seem to be a thing with KTM. I certainly did not have the peace of mind throughout my journey.
Conclusion – Worth It?
| ✓ Spacious – Ample leg space & larger seats.|
✓ Meals provided.
✓ More power points provided.
| ✖ No dedicated toilet for Business Class.|
✖ Personal entertainment had lots of things unavailable.
✖ Small luggage rack.
I had paid RM167 for my ticket to sit in the Business Class. The food for our meals was plenty and quite tasty. For me, the only difference that the Business Class and Platinum Class had were the meals provided and the space. The personal entertainment had nothing much except for surfing the web with slow WiFi.
Is it worth it? It’s a resounding no. It is just too overpriced. For a rail journey that took 5 hours to cost more than a flight is a tad too pricey. Space is premium on any form of public transport, I get it. But what I don’t get is there was no entertainment to go with it. KTM gave the excuse that they were facing a glitch with their system and offered a RM10 discount on the next ride in the Business Class. I think that’s just a lame offer.
In conclusion, the Business Class offer is just not worth the amount paid. The issue of space is not really a big deal on a train you can always just take a walk along the coaches to stretch a bit, or just to the food coach to grab something to eat.