Topic: HKG-ICN-NRT/HND-ITM/KIX-DXB-CMB-BKK-HKG In F/J
Posted 2006-08-25 20:36:55 and read 8058 times.
Here is my other trip report and basically involves flying the rest of an award ticket on OZ F from HKG to NRT via ICN, and then finishing up my EK F from KIX to DXB and then UL back to CMB, and then to BKK, and then CX to HKG. Since it is a real time report, I am writing along the trip, and I will end with a general evaluation.
August 21, 2006
OZ 722 HKG-ICN 1315 1740 Boeing 747-400 Combi HL7414
Well the first leg of the flight involves the good old reliable Asiana Airlines, and as usual, check-in at the Airport Express Station went smoothly and the KA agent checked me in quickly and then also gave me the Dragonair lounge pass. I arrived at the airport two hours ahead of time and proceeded to walk around the newsstand, and then a quick visit to the Dragonair Lounge. The lounge has been described many times, and I finally tried a bowl of local Hong Kong style noodles (wanton style noodles with dumplings and fish balls) from the stall style noodle stand. Other food includes Danish (warmed), fried noodles, sandwiches, fruit plates, and peanuts. There is a full beverage bar.
Plane-spotting includes Korean Air Boeing 747-400 HL7494, Air China’s Boeing 767-300ER B-2558 to Beijing, Dragonair’s Airbus A330-300 B-HYI to Shanghai, China Eastern’s Airbus A340 B-6122, Air Mauritius?Airbus A340 3B-NBE, CX’s Airbus A340-300 B-HXC (MNL), Airbus A330-300 B-HLT, and Boeing 747-400 B-HOT Asia’s World City (SFO bound).
The aircraft arrived early from Seoul Incheon, and boarding began on time at 12:45pm, and there was a separate F/J and Y line. Once on board, I was led to my seat and then a glass of champagne for me (not to mention a few refills), and mixed nuts were offered (but I declined due to the noodles in the lounge and better food later). A pair of burgundy-colored cotton slippers was already placed at each seat with a headset. The flight was fairly full, but F had 7 passengers and most of us got a pair of seat to ourselves. Two F/As were in charge of the serving and one stayed at the galley. Pushback happened at 1:18pm, and we slowly taxied towards R/W7R. After a CR Airways?Boeing 737-800 with winglet took off, we lifted off at 1:39pm. The hazy condition (that seems to become the norm these days) did not allow much great viewing, not to mention photography opportunity.
Seat belt sign was turned off at 1:46pm, and flying time was a quick two hours and fifty-six minutes, with a cruising attitude of 37,000feet. The routing was pretty direct: Hong Kong ?Taichung –Taipei –Jeju -Gwang-ju -Incheon. Service started immediately with F/A taking beverage and food orders, and also trying to collect menus. It is just a pet peeve of me: why do the F/As have the collect the menus right the way? I like to keep my menu and don’t mind F/As doing it, but they can do them towards the end of the flight. Unfortunately, I don’t get to keep the wine list, but will try again tomorrow morning from ICN to NRT.
Selection of Canapés
Parma ham with cantaloupe, smoked salmon on rye toast, and cream cheese on toast
Grilled Prawn, Vegetable Skewer and Black forest Ham melon ball
There is actually a hors d’oeuvre tray, and F/A placed your selection onto the plate. I chose to try everything, like most passengers.
Breadbasket includes soft poppyseed rolls, mini French rolls, garlic bread, and wheat rolls.
Creamy Pea and Mint Soup
I had the creamy pea and mint soup, but it tastes more like cream of asparagus soup, especially the few stalks of asparagus on top of the soup.
Seasonal Mixed Salad
Served with Mustard Mayonnaise or Coriander Dressing
The salad wooden boat was used to toss the salad. The selection of vegetables include Mesclun greens, endives, red onions, olive, and asparagus bottoms.
Beef Tenderloin Steak Served with Chanterelles Mushroom Cream Sauce
Grilled Lobster tail served with Lobster Sauce
Steamed Rice, chateau rosemary potato, Carrot, Yellow Squash, Sugar Pea, and Stir Fried Mixed Vegetables
“Mixing and Harmonizing?
A Famous Korean Royal Cuisine “Bi-Bim-Bab?
Steamed rice mixed with various kinds of vegetables, accompanied by hot pepper paste, sesame oil, assorted side dishes and soup
The lobster entrée was really nice, as usual. I highly recommend it.
Selection of Cheese
I only chose the fresh fruit plate, which featured cantaloupe, melon, watermelon, kiwi, and grapes.
Assorted Petit Fours
For entertainment, television was turned on with short subjects and movies running in one cycle, and at the same time, KBS, CNN News, Sports News, and “Friends?are shown in the main screen. After the meal, nothing much was going on. To be honest, the service seemed to be a bit lukewarm, compared to my last set of HKG to ICN, and ICN to LAX flight. The F/As served the meals efficiently, and was polite, but the F/As are as personable as on other flights. Descent began 5:02pm, Seoul local time, and then after passing Seoul, we landed on R/W33R at 5:35pm, and parked at gate 10 fourteen minutes later. We parked next to the Chicago bound Asiana’s Boeing 747-400 Combi HL7421, Boeing 777-200 HL7732 to Seattle, and then an Airbus A321 HL7735 to Nagoya.
August 22, 2006
OZ 102 ICN-NRT 1000 1205 Boeing 747-400 Combi HL7414
After an evening at the Hyatt Incheon Airport, I took the 8am shuttle back to the airport, which was quite busy early in the morning. However, Asiana’s first class counters were wide opened and fully staffed, and the agent checked me in within minutes, and sent me away to the Asiana first class lounge. The immigration and security were not too horrible, and I had some times at the Asiana First Class lounge, which was pretty busy for the morning flights to Narita, Beijing, and Shanghai all with F services. Food includes the usual snacks and a breakfast buffet featuring hotcakes, sausages with mixed vegetables, and a mushroom and vegetable porridge. I went on line and chatted a bit before heading to the gate.
A few planespotting notes: all OZ planes ?333 HL7741 to MNL, 321 HL7731 to Miyazaki, 744 HL7413 to PVG (9:50am), 772 HL7595 to PVG at 10:45am, two OZ 772s heading to various Asian cities ?HL7700 and HL7742.
My aircraft was the same as I flew in last night from HKG, and I guess it got an overnight at ICN as well, or maybe another quick RT to HKG. Anyway, the plane was towed in around 8:50am to gate 9 (after the Star Alliance 767-300 headed to CheungChun). Boarding began at 9:30am and there was a separate F/J and Y line, and the flight was pretty full, and F loading was better than yesterday and I had a neighbor, when went straight to sleep after takeoff.
The F/As were a bit more courteous this time and as usual, pre-takeoff beverage was offered, and a pair of slippers and the brand new Sennheiser folded headsets was placed at each F seat. I had a glass of OJ to start the morning as well as mixed nuts spooned individually into a small dish ?very classy. Push back happened at 9:59am and we took off from R/W33L at 10:12am. Seat belt sign was turned off at 10:18am after passing 10,000feet. Flying time was a short hour and fifty-eight minutes with a cruising attitude of 39,000feet. The routing took us over to Gangneung, and entering Sea of Japan, and then Izumo of Japan, Kyoto, Nagoya, Hamamatsu before turning back to Narita from the coast.
The meal was more extravagant than KE. Asiana offers a full three course Western meal, or a two course Korean meal (KE offers two course and only fruit as dessert on similar routes). Entrée was served in a casserole dish and not plated in the galley, which were understandable due to the short flying time. I had the Western meal and the appetizer was delicious, especially abalone. Breadbasket features soft roll, garlic bread, and wheat rolls. The lobster entrée is once again delicious and very filling ?good job, Asiana. After entrée is picked up, a piece of cake was offered, as well three pieces of fruits ?pineapple, kiwi, and melon. Tea and coffee are offered. Here is the wine list and menu, and I include the return menu, and wish I could try the Japanese Kyo-Kaiseki meal sometimes in the future.
1995 Tattinger Comtes de Champagne
2001 Chablis 1er Cru, Fourchaume
1999 Chateau Leoville Poyferre, 2e Cru Classe, Saint-Julien
1998 Vougeot 1er Cru, Domaine Bertagna
Port Sandman 20 Years Old Tawny Porto
2003 Jackson-Triggs Vidal VQA Ice Wine
Poached Abalone with Italian Dressing, Salmon Gravlax, Black Forest Ham with Melon
Beef Tenderloin Steak
Served with Button Mushroom Sauce, accompanied by Baked Potato, Boiled Zucchini, Boiled Carrot
Accompanied by Boiled Linguine Noodle, Green Asparagus Spear
“Mixing and Harmonizing?
A Famous Korean Royal Cuisine “Bi-Bim-Bab?
Steamed rice mixed with various kinds of vegetables, accompanied by hot pepper paste, sesame oil, assorted side dishes and soup
Orange Cream Cake with Fresh Fruit
Tokyo to Seoul
Parma Ham Slice, Honey Dew Melon, Smoked Salmon with Cream Cheese, Smoked Scallop, Asparagus
Beef Tenderloin Steak
Served with Madeira Sauce,
Accompanied by Grilled Potato, carrot, broccoli
Served with Red Pepper Sauce,
Accompanied by Mashed Potato, Snap Pea, carrot, Baby Corn
Mousse Cake with orange sauce
A Traditional Japanese Cuisine “Kyo-Kaiseki?
For our Tokyo flight, we are pleased to offer the most famous Japanese formal cuisine, “Kyo-Kaiseki? When Kyo-Kaiseki is served, the host and guests are required to practice good manners.
Kyo-Kaiseki is a first-rate dish that represents Japanese artistic yet simple culinary culture.
Enjoy traditional Japanese cuisine together with tea and old-fashioned liquor, as well as hors d’oeurvres, main course, and dessert, only at Asiana.
Entertainment wise: short subjects were played in cycle on the PTV, and main screen entertainment features Just for Laugh Gig, FIFA World Cup Highly, and some pre-arrival in Japan video. I watched an episode of “Friends? Descent began at 11:38am to 37,000feet before further down at 11:42am. We landed on R/W16R at 12:10am and parked at gate 35 six minutes later, next to SK343 OY-KBA to CPH. The immigration was a bit long due to lots of problems with the group of Turkish tourists just arrived from the Turkish flight. Nonetheless, I have some time to spend before heading over to Haneda, for my connection flight to Osaka. Asiana definitely got a few points back on this short flight and thanks to a more dedicated crew, and no need to fight for the menus.
For the rest of the day, I did a bit of spotting at both Narita and Haneda, and folks can find all the registrations from the picture link. I also flew an ANA domestic flight from Haneda to Itami, which was uneventful. ANA’s signet lounge was much larger at Haneda, as expected, and cool to see beer machine and a few more liquors. Haneda is a great airport with a great food and shopping mall, and I had a nice meal at one of the soba joints. Spotting is great and it is nice to see the Pokemon’s Domestic 747 up close and Itami was an interesting experience ?very outdated compared to Kansai, but sill very user friendly and the ride to Kansai was nice especially with only three passengers over a whole bus. Here is the picture link to the ANA flight, so don’t want to bore you with details (also I don’t know many details because I don’t speak Japanese), but I truly appreciated the F/A’s kind attention to bring me two copies of English papers and the ANA International English magazine, once she knew I did not speak Japanese. That is service, if you ask me. You don’t need to ask and the F/As just immediately address your needs.
August 22, 2006
EK 317 KIX-DXB 2315 0500+1 Airbus A340-500 A6-ERH
So how does Emirates fare on the return flight from KIX to DXB? Yes, it offers a more substantial ?almost full dinner after takeoff (no caviar for those who cares)?yes, the suites are still comfortable and nice to look at?yes, the catering ex-KIX is good?yes, the ICE entertainment system is amazing?yes the flight was too short?but the F/A service is not as good as the inbound ?not terribly disappointed, but just no stellar?No amenity kit was offered to me, due to forgetfulness of F/A (I just realized that they skipped me, when I saw another passenger packing his black amenity kit into his bag)?The ground service at DXB left much to be desired especially transit desks?the codeshare between EK and UL is just “paper? here is the full report:
My bus arrived around 9pm from Itami, and Emirates check-in was placed around Japan Airlines area, and I believe JAL also helps out with ground handling but I noticed some Emirates?own staff in charge of mostly ticketing and premium check-ins. The line was pretty busy. One strange thing is that every piece of check-in and carryon bags has to go through the X-ray. I don’t know if it is a new procedure or an Emirates?specific policy. I received a lounge invitation to JAL First Class lounge, as well as a Business Class lounge invitation at Dubai. I was surprised that only J invitation was given, especially mine was an F fare ticket. The agent asked again, but the supervisor said that it was only J. Of course, the F and J lounge did not differ much except the bedroom, but I booked a room at the Dubai International Hotel (inside the sterile area). So it did not matter to me. The agent tried to issue my onward boarding pass, but she could not do it. She tried a few more times and thought possibly it was just too early to check in. She tried to persuade me to take the real EK flight at 3am?no thanks?five more hours! Anyway, she told me that I had to get my boarding pass at Dubai.
The airport was very quiet and a warning ?most shops were closed early and restaurants closed around 10pm and I imagine most final order will be taken around 9:45pm. Of course, the shops and the few cafes were still open in the sterile/restricted areas. The JAL First Class Lounge was not busy, but was shared by all F, J and Skyward elite members. There is lots of seating area, free wifi, but snacks are limited to cookies (one type) and Japanese crackers?not even a plate of sandwiches or cheese and crackers. That is very poor in terms of any first and/or business class standard. But at this time of the night, I don’t have the choices of plane-spotting and/or walking around the few shops. So I decided to upload my photos and just did some work. Well there were two TG’s Boeing 777-200s HS-TJG and TJH next to my Emirates?flight. TJG is used for the 1:25am flight to Bangkok and Phuket. I also saw a Japan Asia Airways?Boeing 747-300 JA8185 with Yokoso Japan livery, which was used as JAL’s flight to Brisbane and Sydney.
Boarding began at 10:43pm at gate 27, and there was a separate F/J/elite line. F was pretty full with about two empty seats, and one of them was next to me. I got to store my roller bag at the empty 3D, as well as two boxes of water bottles for Business class. The F/As were pretty rushed, as they had to deal with lots of carry-on bags and ran out of storage spaces. After much discussion, the F/As just raised the divider between 3D and F and closed the door at 3D. PJ and slippers were offered immediately, but the amenity kit was not passed out. I did not ask for it because I thought it might only be loaded on ex-DXB flight, but of course, I was wrong. I noticed someone with an amenity kit when I deplaned. I am going to write Emirates, and let see what will they do. Headsets and a snack basket have already set up at the console in front of me. The purser then came around with the menus and wine lists. We pushed back at 11:09pm and took off from R/W6 at 11:20pm.
Flying time was nine hours and twenty-one minutes, and the routing took us to Takamatsu, Kitakyushu, and climbed all the up to 36,000feet, and then after crossing Sasebo, and then descent to 28,000feet, and then back up to 35,500feet, as we entered Chinese airspace and cities of Shanghai, Suzhou, Nanjing, Wuhan, and Kumming. The plane climbed back up to 36,000feet and then crossing the cities of Mandalay and Kolkata, and then up to 38,000feet, and then Nagpur, North of Mumbai, Gulf of Khambhat, and then into Arabian Sea.
Seat belt sign was turned off at 11:27pm, and then F/As came around to take food and breakfast orders. Here is the full wine list and menu transcript.
Dom Perignon Vintage 1998
Chateau Fuisse Pouilly Fuisse Vielles Vignes Vintage 2001
Kim Crawford Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc Vintage 2005
Chateau La Louviere Pessac-Leognan Vintage 2003
Chateau Lynch Bages Pauillac Vintage 1996
Philip Shaw 17 Merlot 2005
Domaine des Perdrix Nuits-St-Georges, 1er Cru Aux Perdrix Vintage 2001
Croft Vintage 1998
Osaka to Dubai
Duck Pastrami and Steamed Herb Chicken
Accompanied by marinated artichokes, mushrooms, leek, garnished with grilled King tomato
Seafood Escabeche with Gazpacho
Filled of John Dory, scallops, and shrimps served with tangy gazpacho coulis and garnished with caviar and green asparagus tips
Seasonal Salad with a Choice of dressings
Japanese Main Course
Assorted Sushi accompanied by pickled ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce
Shrimp paste cake with sea urchin miso, marinated squid and okura with fish roe, fried Japanese sweet fishamiage style plum ball, fried octopus and pumpkin skewer
Fried flat fish, served with black vinegar sauce, bamboo shoots, carrots, Shiitake mushrooms and steamed rice with black sesame seeds and green peas
Vinegared eel and cucumber uzaku
Simmered Vegetables wrapped with fried bean curd and ginan sauce
Tsukemono and Wagashi
Japanese pickles and sweet
Japanese Clear Soup
Western Main Courses
Sautéed Sliced Beef
Served with stroganoff sauce, accompanied by pumpkin noodles, glazed Chateau Carrots, green asparagus tips and buttered cauliflower
Grilled Chicken with Rosemary Tomato Sauce
Served with creamy mashed potatoes, zucchini, red and yellow pimentos, eggplant and white scallion
Penne Pasta in Cream Sauce
With diced vegetables, cherry tomatoes, and Parmesan Cheese
Pineapple tart, green tea souffl? chocolate chestnut cake, and cremets d’Anjou
A selection of cheese including Parmesan and Camembert served with crackers and grapes
I stick with champagne most of the times, and then decide to have the light meal. I started with the seafood appetizer, which was quite nice and the seafood selection include fish, shrimp and scallop topped with fish roes (not really caviar). The breadbasket features garlic bread, soft milk roll, French roll, and wheat roll. Twenty minutes later, my salad was brought to me, which featured most Mesclun greens and endives. The choices of dressings are all presented to me at the upper tray: Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinaigrette, Honey vinaigrette, or Caesar dressings. Then my entrée was brought to me twenty minutes later. The beef stroganoff was okay ?the beef was sliced into thick slices, not stripes?the pumpkin noodles were a bit dried out. Not an impressive entrée, but good enough! Then for some strange reasons, no one came clear my tray till forty minutes later. And then out of nowhere, I was offered a hot towel, before I even had my dessert. The F/As seemed to be a bit disorganized and overwhelmed today. I only have a plate of pastries ?everything was presented except the pineapple tart. I like the green tea souffl?the best. After the meal, I had a cup of tea and the whole silver pot was presented to me. Then nobody really checked on me until I pressed the F/A button.
I don’t know if I really like the room service concept. In theory, it supposes to work well, but then if the F/As only came as you pressed the call button, it seems to inconvenient the passengers by calling F/As for everything. I still think F/As should still do their normal rounds and if our doors are opened, maybe they should ask if we need anything. I think the outbound crew did a better job because they always asked if I need anything whenever I headed to the restroom. They are a bit more proactive, rather than reactive. Those little things really make a different. I also am surprised that the F/As do not offer to “make?my bed after collecting my teapot. You seem to have to request every “little?thing. Although I ended up doing myself, which I had no problem and was really easy, the service just seemed to be less stellar.
Maybe the room service is good during the mid-flight aspect and the super long haul flights, but Emirates should perhaps stick with the more traditional meal service, especially most people will have a main meal after takeoff and just go with the traditional trolley service just to make thing more efficiently. It will help the staff organize the service better. I understand for a 3am departure, the room service is good because most people will skip dinner and/or have snacks at various times, and same with breakfast. But for more traditionally timed flight, the more traditional service should be carried out. Just a suggestion!
Instant noodles and assorted snacks will be available on request
Fresh Seasonal Fruit
Fruit or plain
Selection of Seasonal Fruit
Grilled eggplant with yam potato
Simmered bean curd, Shiitake Mushrooms, string beans, pumpkin, carrot julienne
Hoso Udon Noodles
With egg julienne and simmered sliced Shiitake Mushrooms
Grilled Spinach Mackerel Teriyaki
Accompanied by simmered vegetables and steamed rice with red pellina
Assorted Japanese pickles
Filled with fresh spinach, served with creamy mushrooms, fried potatoes, sautéed red onion, asparagus and cherry tomato
Accompanied by grilled veal sausages with onion sauce, green peas, gratinated potatoes with parsley
Selection of bread, croissants, and pastries served with butter and preserves
Tea ?Japanese green tea, Ceylon, China, Earl Grey, Camomile
During the flight, I watched mostly situational comedies through personal television and the ICE system is amazing. Then I took a nap at the very comfortable bed/seat. Snack basket includes Pertz, Kit Kat, potato chips, Milky Way, Snickers, Crunch, Breathe Mints, Tobelerone, and Walker’s Shortbread cookies. The F/A came around an hour and thirty minutes before arrival, as I requested, and took my breakfast order. I went with the Western breakfast. Hot towels and juice were passed around 7:13am Osaka time/02:13am Dubai time, and then the fruit plate featured papaya, watermelon, grapefruit, melon, and strawberry, and then I have a bowl of cornflakes, as well as strawberry yogurt. Bread basket features croissant, soft rolls, wheat rolls, and Cheese Danish. For entrée, I had the second one, which had scrambled egg ?really good because it was not overcooked and dried out. Then the veal sausages on the side were nice as well. The sauce was a bit sweet for my personal taste, but the potatoes were good. A cup of tea ended the nice breakfast. Due to tail wind, our flying time was cut by an hour, and we began our descent at 3:12am, and we landed on a very busy Dubai airport at 3:41am. Unfortunately, we had to use a bus gate, and due to the inability of the KIX agent to issue my boarding pass from DXB to CMB, I had to go to the transfer desk. But the strange thing is that no transfer desk is available at the bus depot, where we were dropped off. There were signs for separate F/J, Skyward Gold/Platinum lines, but no one followed the sign, and/or enforcing the different lines. Also I had to go back to the transfer desk B again to go for my boarding pass, which means I have to go through another security checkpoint. The transfer desk was a nightmare, as there was only one line opened, and the F/J lines were closed. There were lots of non or limited English speaking passengers around, as we can expected from an International airline like Emirates. There were misconnections and nobody seemed to offer these poor passengers any additional help. The sole agent was overwhelmed, and when it was my turn, she was unable to issue my boarding pass. Then she tried to call various people, and told me that since I changed the date, UL had to revalidate the electronic ticket. Then I asked her that I was booked through EK, not UL, and you guys were partners, and I don’t understand why their systems do no allow them to validate each other. There is no penalty and price differentiation. So she told me to come back again around 7am, when the UL staff went to work (thankfully there was a 9am flight that morning). I was frustrated and was tired, but thankfully I had a room at the Dubai International hotel. So I went to check in immediately and then just stayed in my room till 7am. I repacked my bag and started typing up the menus and a letter to Emirates.
Finally at 7am, I went back to the transfer desk with only my electronic ticket printout and tried to be as simple as possible. This time, the premium line was opened, and the agent was once again not sure what to do. She tried all kinds of ways and finally after calling UL and playing with the computer, she just checked me in and gave me a boarding pass and a lounge pass. I was very thankful?no need to come back a third time. But the EK/UL codeshares seem to go less smoothly than they want you to know. I don’t mind the codeshares, but airlines should be held responsible about having a concrete set of process in dealing with changes and situation like this. I also don’t understand why the lounge staffs cannot do check-ins like many other airlines. SQ has its own check-in staff at its Silver Kris Lounge, which is more reflective of the premium experience. Emirates has two Skywards staff at the lounge, and why not use the resources better and staff a ticketing and check-in person. So I can rest in the lounge, while the staff working on the check-in. This whole ordeal really makes this trip end in a rather sour note.
August 23, 2006
UL 228 DXB-CMB 2245 0445+1 Airbus A330-300 4R-ALD
I used the Emirates Business Class lounge, which was very quiet today. The lounge was a bit bigger than the F lounge, but designs were similar. Burgundy-colored sofa was used, instead of more gold-colored. The dining area was large with another bar and food court upstairs. I guess I don’t want to say much, as there are lots of pictures of various food/drinks offered, as well as décor. I had a bowl of the Korean Spinach Bean Paste soup, as well as some beef stew, pasta, salad, sandwiches, and chicken kebab, as well as some bread. One can easily get a full meal out of the buffet. For the rest of the evening, I read some US papers, as well as uploading the pictures and working on this report. Dubai airport is amazing in every aspect, but when it comes to plane-spotting, there are just no windows for me to glue my head to the window and to take pictures of all these interesting Middle East and African airlines. I was happy when I was able to take a few pictures of this Sudan Airways?Airbus A300B4, which happened to park in front of the J lounge.
I checked from the Internet that the UL flight was coming in from Kuwait a bit late. Yes, UL ran a couple of the DXB flights with further connections. The routing was CMB-DXB-KUW-DXB-CMB tonight. When I left the hotel earlier, I noticed that KUW flight seemed to run on time, but I guess things got hold up at Kuwait. So I timed myself arriving at gate 17/F9 at 10:30pm. Then the agent told me to go back to the lounge, as they were not ready yet and the incoming a/c had not arrived yet. I had spent enough time at the lounge already, so I headed to the food court next door and saw when my plane would arrive. Of course, the UL flight arrived from Kuwait at 10:36pm, and then I decided to head down to the duty free shop and walked around the bookstores.
Boarding finally began at 11:03pm and the scene was quite chaotic, but the agent made sure families boarded first, as well as the few J passengers. Six in total this evening?nobody from Kuwait! Pre-takeoff beverage was offered and there was a tray of orange, apple and mango juice. Newspapers, headsets and menus were offered next, as well as a pair of socks, eyeshades, and earplugs. Door was closed at 11:22pm, and we pushed back at 11:24pm. We took off from R/W30R at 11:44pm.
Flying time was four hours and five minutes, and the routing was very straightforward from Dubai to Colombo ?a straight line and we climbed up to 37,000feet for a while, and then further to 39,000feet. We began our descent after passing the Indian cities of Cochin and the Southern coast.
A full supper was offered to my surprise, which was good. Champagne and mixed nuts to start first, and then our tables were set up individually like traditional first class service. We had a choice of appetizer and chose the non-vegetarian option. The roast duck slice was really nice, as well as the nicoise salad ?tuna fish with egg and green beans. Bread selection includes garlic bread, soft rolls or wheat rolls. Entrée was offered next and I had the steak, which was not overcooked. Followed by entrée, the dessert tray was passed out, as well as a full fruit plate, which featured watermelon, cantaloupe, kiwi, strawberry, and pineapple. There were also two choices of desserts. I have the Hazelnut Gateau.
Honey Roasted Duck Breast with Nicoise Salad
Fresh Vegetable Salad with a choice of Dill Yogurt dressing or Curry Vinaigrette dressing
Fillet of Beef in madagaskar pepper sauce with sautéed spicy vegetables and castle potatoes
Chicken Chilli Fry
Cornfed chicken cooked in chilli and tomato paste, served with peas masala and steamed rice
Fillet of Hammour
With sweet and sour sauce, served with braised Chinese vegetables and fried egg noodles
Sweet Corn & Potato Bhaji
Sweet corn mixed mash of potato, served with tempered dhal and onion braised brown rice
Raspberry Pear Charlotte
Hazelnut Praline Gateau
Freshly brewed Ceylon Tea and Coffee
After supper, lights were turned off, and I put on my eyeshades and took a nap. I got up a few hours later, and then the lights were turned on after the pilot made her arrival announcement. Hot towels were offered and the F/As asked if we needed a final beverage. Descent began 4:52pm Colombo time. We landed at a still dark, but busy Colombo airport at 5:19am, and parked at gate B10.
August 24, 2005
UL 422 CMB-BKK 0710 1210 Airbus A330-200 4R-ALB
Colombo Airport has become a familiar sight and I headed to the Sri Lankan Business Class lounge, which definitely resembled Emirates?Business Class lounge. A full breakfast spread was offered, but I was not too hungry so I had a cup of hot tea. With an anticipated full flight, I decided to head to the gate a bit earlier. Of course priority boarding did not matter at this airport and the gate agent did not seem to be able and/or care about boarding the J folks first, and his sole job was not to let everyone go at the same time and made sure the crowd at jet bridges dissipate before allowing more people in. It was hard enough to board families first. Fortunately dual bridges were used on this particular gate (not all gates have dual jet bridges). I was smart enough to be near the door and got in fairly early. I was the first one on, and the plane was filled up. J went out 100% full. Juices were offered before takeoff, as well as the usual menus, newspapers, and hot towels. We pushed back at 7:30am due to delayed of cargo loading. We took off at 7:45am and flying time was three hours and twenty-minutes with a cruising attitude of 41,000feet.
Breakfast was offered on this flight, and the food was the same as my CMB-KUL flight a few months, and there was a report on that, so no need to repeat it. I selected the second entrée now ?not so good compared to the Spanish Omelette. But the F/As made a few passed of the bread and had a few croissants.
Colombo to Bangkok
Spanish Omelette served with Broiled chicken sausage, grilled mushrooms, tomato and rissole potatoes
Scrambled egg filled in a herbed pancake, served with sautéed mushroom with onion, grilled tomato and hash brown potatoes
“Kiribath?& Fish Ambulthial
Rice cooked in coconut milk, served with fish in a gambage & pepper marination and “Seeni Sambal?a tempered onion relish
A savory vermicelli crumble, accompanied with black eye bean masala and paneer achari; a mildly spiced cottage cheese, perfected with aromatic spices
A selection of bread & preserves
Freshly Brewed Ceylon Tea and Coffee
The F/As passed out bottled water after dinner, and then made a few passed in the a/c. It was a good set of F/As. UL is a pretty good airline, if you ask me. I watched the comedy channel, as well as finishing up a book. The flight was a bit longer than normal because of strong headwind. Descent began at 11:48am BKK local time, and hot towel and juices were offered again. We landed on R/W21R at 12:35pm, and parked at gate 22 ten minutes later.
Plane-spotting at BKK:
KU 343 9K-ANC to MNL
KL 74E PH-BFD to TPE (KLM Asia)
SU IL-96 RA-96005
SQ 772 9V-SQE -- 1pm flight to SIN
AY MD-11 OH-LGA (see you again)
SQ 772 9V-SQN ?SQ 995 from NRT
CX 2704 BKK-HKG 1425 1825 Airbus A340-300 (34D) B-HXG
Well I was able to use the CX F lounge a bit, but then due to some reparation, the agent invited me to use the J lounge. Not a big deal! The lounge did not look too busy. I had a ginger ale and worked on my computer a bit. Boarding began at 1:53pm, and the pier was very busy as usual. Our flight went out 100% full in J and Y. Back on CX, the F/As went into the familiar routine and I do not think I need to bore you with the details.
Flying time was two hours and twenty-one minutes, but then due to ATC delays and weather, our flying time was extended to two hours and forty-nine minutes. We cruised up to 37,500feet. We took off from R/W21R at 2:48pm. The meal was catered from Hong Kong because the special menu cover was used and a Lei garden’s entrée was featured. The food was also very good today, so not likely the creation of the BKK kitchen used by CX. The appetizer was nice, and I had the fish entrée. The dessert was magnificent. Good, consistent CX meal, but the service was very slow today due to the heavy load. Hot towels were passed out after descent was commenced. The F/As worked straight for two hours.
Here is wine list and menu:
Billecart-Salmon Brut Champagne
Arthur Barolet & Fils Saint Veran 2004
Climbing Chardonnay 2005
Laboure Roi Aloxe Carton les Hautes Tours 2000
Vieux Chateau Landon, Cru Bourgeois Medoc 2002
Dow’s Late-Bottled Vintage Port 2000
CX 702, 708, 754 (BKK/HKG) 1-6-2006
Crunchy Needle Beans wrapped in Salmon and Halibut with Mesclun Salad and Raspberry Dressing
Beef Fillet with Red Wine Shallot Sauce
Potato Gratin, Carrots and Zucchini Ribbon
Braised Fish with Bean Curd Sheets and Mushrooms
Steamed Rice and Stir-fried Oriental Vegetables
Banana Chocolate Tartlette
Tea and Coffee
Breadbasket features garlic bread and sesame rolls. Descent began at 4:47pm, but due to ATC delays and weather, we did not receive our final approach approval till twenty minutes later. After passing through Macau and turned left towards CLK, we landed on R/W7R at 6:37pm. Very unusual to have a R/W7R approach except for cargo planes, and that runway was mostly used as takeoff. I guess the traffic was pretty heavy on the landing side, and both runways were used for landings today. We parked at gate 63 a few minutes later. Our a/c would continue onto Auckland later that evening.
Asiana ?a much weaker performance on HKG to ICN, but a brief recoup on ICN to NRT segment. Food is great as usual, and the lobster never disappoints everyone. Entertainment system is very weak, but then Asiana tries to show some short subjects on every flight even ICN to NRT with two hours flying time.
ANA ?Domestic flights were good as usual, despite the F/As had to stay seated after rushing through the bento service and one round of beverage (with no hot beverage offered). The bento was really good and fresh. The seat was a bit like US domestic F, but for a forty minutes, it was more than sufficient.
Cathay Pacific ?average flight and pretty good for a full flight. F/As were definitely eager to please all, and maintain a good attitude even though they worked the full two hours. CX may want to staff another F/A in J.
Emirates ?the return KIX to DXB was a bit let down due to disorganized F/As, poor transfer experiences, poor lounge at KIX, and not getting an amenity kit. Just what to clarify, they are not rude or impolite, but things seem to be disorganized and maybe the room service requires more staffing up front. Maybe for the main meal, the traditional trolley and meal services seem to make more sense and help the staff to organize a bit better. But the catering is a bit better with a more formal supper served after takeoff (well with that JAL lounge’s food offering, EK has to serve a substantial meal?I guess?. The seat itself is as good as ever, but the storage problem needs to be addressed. Hopefully overhead bins will make a return on the larger Boeing 777 flights and future Airbus A340-600s.
Sri Lankan ?a very pleasant small airline, and the meals are very good. The amenities offered look awful though?that pair of socks looks skimpy and too thin to allow warmth. Nevertheless the small J cabin made the service very personable and both flights have good F/As, who did actually check on passengers consistently. The sleeper seats are good enough for regional flights ?good enough recline and legroom.
Another successful roundtrip, and I hope you guys will enjoy it. The next report will be my return Thai Airways flight from Hong Kong to LA via Bangkok on another super deal. I will report on that flight.