We last left off I had finally landed at HKG on CO 99 and were now enjoying a nice long taxi to Gate 21. People did remain seated while we taxied to, I believe, Gate 21. Once the captain turned off the fasten seat belt sign, it was the typical mad rush to get up and out of the seats with bags removed from the overhead bins and out of the plane. The elder Filipino-Chinese couple sitting next to me ran to L2 so they could make their PR connection to MNL. I am not sure if they made it in time to check in and go through security. At the end of the jetway on the arrivals floor, HKIA staff directed passengers either to the Immigration Hall or to designated transfer check-in desks. These ladies held various signs for different flights. I saw one holding a sign for the EK flight to BKK and inquired where to go. I was surprised when she asked if I was Mr. C and if I would need an escort to the West Wing transit area. She mentioned that there were two more passengers who were connecting onto KQ to BKK, but they had missed their flight and were put on the EK flight. I told her I wanted to go ahead and walk in the general direction to the West Wing. She nodded and off I went.
After leaving the arrival gate area, I utilized the various moving walkways to the West Wing transit area. It was definitely a long walk, and the HKIA agent did not have the luxury of having a golf cart to take us to the check in area. Overall, I finished with my check in when I recognized one of the passengers on my CO HKG flight who was to have been on the KQ flight and now be on my EK flight.
HKIA getting into the Olympic Spirit! Arrivals floor in the direction towards Hong Kong Immigration & Customs.
More Beijing 2008 signs going towards the West Wing Transfer Area.
Promotion of Hong Kong as a venue city for the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympic Games.
Hong Kong is riding high as the host city for the equestrian events for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
I arrive at the transfer desk with under an 1.5hr layover, hopefully enough time to get a quick peek in the EK lounge. The check in counters in the West Wing were nicely arranged with agents wearing HKIA uniforms, except for those manning the CX counters. There were two agents working the EK counters, one for J (aka Miss J) and one for Y (aka Miss Y), and both working on paperwork or something before I arrived. When I approached the J counter, both agents stopped what they were doing and smiled as I handed over my printed EK itinerary, passport, and my CO ticket jacket that had my baggage tag number. Miss Y helped her counterpart and minimizing my wait time at the counter. From the previous report, I had checked in for EK 385 online and received an email with a PDF containing my confirmation that I was checked in. On that PDF file, it states that the confirmation does not represent an official EK boarding pass and I would need to check in with an EK agent at the airport. This was fine with me since I usually request trading in my home-printed boarding passes for the traditional cardstock versions, and a bonus if it comes with the shiny magnetic strip on the back. Miss Y wanted to confirm my window seat at 6A. I gave the affirmative with both agents replying "Yes, sir." As Miss J checked me in and proceeded to print out my boarding pass, Miss Y checked me off the online check-in manifest, and then proceeded to manually issue my EK Lounge Invitation. Miss J collected the invitation from her and then laid out everything in front of me in the following order : my passport, my CO ticket jacket, my EK itinerary, my blue EK J boarding pass, and my EK Lounge Invitation. She then went through the order with how she laid out my stuff. She said my passport information was verified with arrival documentation handed out on board my flight, my bags now linked to my EK itinerary and should make my flight to BKK, my EK itinerary, my boarding pass for my BKK flight with my CO OnePass number confirmed and sitting 6A, and concluded with my EK lounge invitation showing me how to get to the lounge after security. I smiled with such attention to detail, customer service at its finest. Then, both agents stood up, smiled, and gave a little bow, something I truly was not expecting, especially from Hong Kong locals. I again smiled and said "Xie Xie", again getting bigger smiles from them. I collected my bags and walked the few steps to the security area. At that time, the HKIA agent that met me at Gate 21 was now there, with two Americans huffing and puffing. I wonder if they would get the same treatment? For me, the whole process took under 5min.
After check-in, I encountered a slight delay at security because I had an epi pen with no prescription. The HKIA Security Staff were nice about it, asked me how many, and needed my boarding pass to document. They did not seize nor request to see my epi pen. With documentation complete, I was handed back my boarding pass and wished a pleasant flight. After security, it's just an escalator ride up to departure level. I took a quick 2min peak around the shops that were close by. I did not want to see too much as I would be back about a week later to check out the offerings. Right now, I had an invite to the EK Lounge and I definitely wanted to check it out!
Ascending to departure level around Gate 35 after going through security next to the West Wing Transfer Area on the Arrivals floor.
The EK Lounge as well as other airline lounges at HKG are located a floor above departure level that can easily look down onto departure level. The EK lounge is located around Gate 60. I was greeted by two female EK agents and showed them my lounge invitation. I asked if I could keep it as a souvenir. They said it was OK but they would have to mark on it being used. With the words "USED" written on it, it was returned with a smile and welcomed as I wait for the flight to board. They informed me they would make an announcement for final boarding call for my flight to BKK.
Sign directing passengers to the EK lounge on the floor above Departure level.
Entrance into the EK lounge at HKG above departure level.
My "used" EK Lounge invitation for HKG.
My lounge invitation and directions how to get to the lounge on the back side.
After the welcome desk, you are immediately greeted by a nice food spread that could make one full. I decided to find a place to sit and put my stuff so I could check out the lounge offerings and get a few bits of nibble to enjoy before I board my flight. I found a nice sitting area with four chairs and two glass coffee tables to drop my stuff off. Over the ledge, I had a nice view of Gate 60 below. It was slowly filling up since there was my BKK-DXB flight as well as the DXB nonstop. With my bags secured, I went to check out the food offerings. I got a big excited when I saw them offering San Miguel Beer, a popular brand in the Philippines and one of my faves! There was a nice dinner set up with a Chinese flair. While the ladies at the welcome desk were nice and friendly, the contracted male food staff acted like total !!! I was a bit peeved when one gave me attitude because I could not find a bottle opener. With a big sigh, he partially opened the door to the kitchen, reached the bottle opener, and then opened my San Mig.
Soups available at the lounge, but I do not remember what was on offer since I was not in a soup mood.
The beverage fridge with a nice collection of sodas, waters, juices, and beers!
With food and my San Mig, I tried to relax knowing I would finally make it to BKK with a bit of a delay. I had a few bites of the chicken satay as well as the sweet & sour chicken and fried rice, followed by a nice cold swill of my San Mig.
A nice collection of food at the EK lounge! I've got some chicken satay, noodles, sweet and sour chicken, fried rice, my San Miguel beer, some fruit, and a blueberry cheesecake! Also on offer two EK magazines Open Skies, which is the main inflight magazine, and Portfolio, an inflight magazine for F and J customers.
As I was enjoying my food and going through the magazine collection placed on the coffee table, the elder of the EK agents was walking around the lounge with a sign indicating EK 385 to BKK-DXB was now in the Final Boarding stage at Gate 66. She stopped by me and informed me "Mr. C, we are now boarding your flight to BKK." I was amazed she remembered my name and my flight since I had last talked to them 30min after entering the lounge. I smiled and replied "Xie xie" as I took a few more bites and then downed the San Mig! Beer drinkers know NEVER to waste their favorite beer!!!
06 March 2008
Gate Departure: 66
Departure Time (scheduled/actual): 22:15 / 22:45
Arrival Time (scheduled/actual): 23:59 / 00:10
Gate Arrival: BKK D03
I took a few magazines from the lounge and then reorganized my bags a bit with the new loot! At this point I had not touched any of my goodies and treats from Au Bon Pain. Those definitely came in handy once I landed ! After wishing the ladies a "Xie Xie", they wished me the same and to have a good flight! I ventured downstairs to Gate 66 where EK 285 was flashing FINAL CALL, and the gate area was very empty! I thought I was a bit late! I stopped by the windows to see if I could check out the plane and possibly get a registration number, but it was too dark. I then realized that I would be boarding my very first 773 as well as my very first EK flight!!!
On the people mover heading towards Gate 66 and careful to mind my step!
Gate podium for Gate 66 posting flight information for tonight's EK flight to BKK-DXB.
Where am I going to again?
Ahh yes ... Bangkok! WHAT? FINAL CALL???
After trying to take a few pictures in and around the gate area, I headed towards the entrance to the jetway. At HKG, they have a small set up where F, J, and Elite passengers can queue on the left side, while Y passengers queue on the right side. When I got to the gate, I noticed a small line of Y passengers waiting to board and no one in the F/J line. By 21:40, I handed the HKIA agent my boarding pass. She smiles, takes my boarding pass, tears off the main portion of the boarding pass and hands back the stub while wishing me a pleasant flight! I responded with a "Xie Xie" as she inserted my boarding pass into the machine and noticed an "X" placed at 6A on the monitor.
Jetway to L1 for F/J passengers where a male FA, Mr. Lebanon, greeted J passengers for this flight.
With that I headed down the extension before entering the F/J jetbridge docked at L1. As I approached the door, Mr. Lebanon welcomed me on board with what felt like a fake smile and said "Oh hi, the Y cabin is down that way." I was a bit put off with him, so I showed him my blue J boarding pass with 6A on it and he replied "Oh, welcome aboard" and just pointed to where my seat was located. Though it said final boarding and we were 20min away from actual departure, I was the first person to enter the J cabin.
Appearance wise, I was a bit impressed with the EK cabin on this 773. It was rather colorful, especially after spending at least 15hrs sitting in CO's gray and blue color scheme. I placed my stuff in the overhead bin and then proceeded to walk to the rear of the aircraft to check out the length of the 773 and EK's offerings in Y, especially in the 3-4-3 layout. The FAs in Y were busy helping a bunch of families put bags in the bins, playing with a few kids by showing them how to play games of the PTVs, as well as getting their pictures taken with babies. So far I was very impressed with the level of service by the FAs!
Rear Y cabin of EK's 773 taken from the rear galley. This flight to BKK had a sizable load tonight. I would assume just under 50% in Y while J had about 29% load factor.
Mid Y cabin taken by L4. Seats look wide and comfortable, but the width of the aisles are too narrow!
Front Y cabin taken by the lavatories next to L3.
After a few pictures, I ventured back to the J cabin and my seat noticing a number of other passengers in J. I returned to my seat waiting for any FA to acknowledge me either with a drink or to hang up my coat. I sat there waiting ... and waiting ... and waiting ... . The female Arabic speaker, aka Miss UAE, kept herself busy by introducing herself and helping out passengers in the middle section and the right side of the aircraft. She went to each passenger on her side bringing drinks, socks, eye masks, and taking coats. There were about 10pax on her side, while Mr. Lebanon served the left side with only 7pax. However, Mr. Lebanon was not attending to anyone while sitting at L1. At first I thought it was my fault that I decided to venture around and checkout the plane while he was looking for me so he could bring me my socks, eye masks, while taking my drink order and hanging my coat. I made eye contact with him when I returned to my seat, but he still sat there doing absolutely NOTHING! While sitting, he greeted this fabulous Hong Kong couple who stepped onto the plane, also going on holiday to Thailand, and sat in front of me in 5AB. Again, Mr. Lebanon just sat there doing absolutely NOTHING! If Mr. Lebanon was to man L1 while the door is still open, at least get someone else or especially the purser to welcome those on the left side and welcome them on board. Nope, nothing, and there were a number of FAs, mainly those working in the Y cabin who would go back and forth to get Lil Traveler kits for the kids. Someone could have said something, but NOPE! Oh well.
J cabin view from my seat. No mood lighting on this flight.
General board continued while HKIA staff confirmed that all J passengers had boarded. Dennis, our Indian purser, verified the information and he helped close L1 while Mr. Lebanon continued to sit by the door until he had to move. By this time, Miss UAE started to hand out menus and wine lists to all J passengers. After accepting her offer for a wine list, I asked if I could get a glass of water and possibly get my coat hung. She said "certainly" with a smile, and then turned to look at Mr. Lebanon still sitting by L1 and gave him an evil look. Mr. Lebanon casually walked over and asked if anything was wrong. Miss UAE told him something in Arabic to which he gave the impression that he could not care less through his body language. He addressed me with "Yes?" in the way that comes across as "what the hell do you want?" I asked if I could get a glass of water and if he could hang my coat. With a noticeable, but inaudible, sigh, he said "Yes sir." I think of one of the lead FAs, Mr. Perth since I heard he was from Perth, saw his body language and immediately followed him to the front galley. After he was done with me, he gave off the similar attitude to the guys in front of me to give impression he did not want to work.
I guess I will comment about the EK FA uniforms. The standard EK uniform is khaki for both males and females; looks great on some and horrible on others mainly because of skintone. Many can identify the EK gal in "putty", in GAP khaki colors, the white blouse, the red hat and white scarf; the men wear an unflattering "putty" double-breasted suit that make them look like table waiters rather than professionals. It's nice to know you can identify the purser for the flight since they wear a dark blue version of the uniform. On this flight, Dennis walked around in his dark blue double-breasted coat, standard blue button-down, and khaki slacks. I've seen pictures of EK FAs who graduated a special class to wear the full dark blue uniform, so was surprised to see Dennis in khaki slacks while never taking off his dark blue double-breasted coat. Once in flight, female FAs take their hats off and put on their pre-school smocks, while the men go au natural, I mean sans smocks. People on a.net rant and rave with how the FAs present themselves while wearing their uniforms. Most comment how US flight attendants work flights looking disheveled, unkept, and unprofessional, while international ones have professional and polished appearances which adds to their customer appeal. I was expecting EK to be among the top, though while the colors are not flattering, those wearing the uniforms appear polished and professional; not on this flight. As mentioned, Dennis is walking around in a mis-matched uniform. Then there is the difference between Miss UK, the FA who worked the J galley, and Miss UAE. Miss UAE had her blouse tucked into her pants, while Miss UK had hers untucked and unkept as she was sweating away over a hot oven. The male FAs worked disrobed from their double-breasted khaki coats and all looked like they were waiters for Olive Garden giving off an uninspiring and unprofessional image. Many of the male FAs working in Y that would come to the J cabin looked presentable but can notice the back of their shirts creeping out untucked from behind. Mr. Perth with his "healthy" body appeared to be the most presentable and professional looking one among the entire crew. The worst was Mr. Lebanon. His uniform lacked a belt and his shirt kept on riding up untucked out of his pants. The worst part of his appearance was the presence of a big huge stain on the back of his shirt. When you would see him return to the galley, you would see this big crusty red blob, not sure if it was blood or food, with tiny droplets going from between his shoulder blades down to mid spine. Was he too lazy or did he have an extra shirt to change into? I wonder if Dennis ever saw the stain or even addressed the situation to Mr. Lebanon and told him to change or something.
Enough about their uniforms, back to the boarding process. So after getting some attitude from Mr. Lebanon for a glass of water, he returned with a coaster and a sliced lemon sitting on the rim of the glass, placed it on the arm rest and gave me a fake smile. A group of Y FAs started to congregate at the L2 galley with Mr. Perth as HKIA staff entered at L2 and explained that there were a few connecting passengers on their way since the earlier their flight to HKG was late in arriving. One of the FAs called for Dennis to L2 so he could be addressed with the situation. After talking with the HKIA staff, Dennis went to the cockpit and informed the flight crew of the slight delay. Once he finished talking with the flight crew, he made his way down the aisles to confirm each passenger welcome them on board, and informed us to ask any of the crew anything they need for the flight. As Dennis finished his welcome with me, our Australian pilot welcomed most of the passengers on board EK 385 to BKK with continuing service to DXB. He discussed our delay due to late arrival of transferring passengers. Total flight time to BKK would be 2:45 with an arrival into Suvarnabhumi just after midnight. With that he told us he would talk to us again before our descent into BKK. This message was then repeated in Arabic by Miss UAE. A few minutes later, a group of 10 Southeast Asian passengers boarded the plane followed by the HKIA agent ready to close L2 for departure.
As the last of the Southeast Asian passengers boarded the plane, the FAs did a nice hot towel service in J while we were still on the ground. I am used to these being done once airborne before the meal; I guess not on this flight. Miss UAE handed out hotel towel, while Mr. Lebanon picked up used ones. He did not stop by my seat, which was fine as I kept the towel as part of my souvenirs from EK. Once the doors were closed, an automate announcement in Arabic and then New Zealand English was played for FA to arm doors. I saw NZ English because the accent reminds me of the guy that does the NZ's inflight safety demonstration found on YouTube. Dennis, and then Miss UAE, called for FAs to arm doors and standby. After standby, Dennis addressed everyone again onto the PA system and welcomed everyone to EK 385. His short announcement made sure that all carry on luggage were stored either in the "hat lockers" or underneath the seat in front of you, all tray tables in the locked and upright position, and footrest and PTVs stored for take off.
The nice rustic menu cover in English for tonight's flight to BKK and DXB.
English menu for the HKG-BKK sector.
English menu for the BKK-DXB sector.
Any one care for a drink?
The Arabic version of the menu cover.
While Dennis made his announcements, all the FAs were running around the cabins and plane like chickens with their heads cut off as the plane was slowly being pushed back from the gate. Dennis's speech preceded Miss UAE's speech in Arabic. At this time, Mr Lebanon started asking passengers on the left side of the cabin what they would like for dinner. He had started with me at the back of the J cabin and worked forward. I had requested the beef along with champagne to drink. After he said thank you, I had noticed that a recorded male voice speaking in Arabic over the PA system. I did not pay attention to this as the FAs kept on running around the cabins and galleys. I notice Miss UAE approach this Arab couple who confirmed that they would not eat on this flight. After seeing her and the fact that we were slowly taxing, I realized I had not seen the inflight safety video, yet. I then realized the recorded male Arabic voice was coming from the inflight safety video being project on the screen via the hanging RGB projector rather than from LCD screen. On this plane, there was only one screen and no monitors in the J cabin, while there are plenty of overhead monitors on COs 762s and 772s.
Safety demonstration in Arabic on the main screen projected from an RGB projector. Where are the FAs?
Finally, I received my cute EK glass with water and lemon.
After the Arabic version was completed, the British English version of the inflight safety video was immediately shown to all customers. Again, I love how they called the overhead bins "hot lockers". As they continued showing the inflight safety video, we continued our slow taxiing to runway 19R for immediate departure while the FAs were doing who knows what. I figures Miss UK and Mr. Perth were busy fixing meals for J and the front Y cabin, respectively. There were no videos shown nor were the safety information relayed in Cantonese, Mandarin, and Thai. Once the videos were done, the FAs were still running around and making a bunch of noise in both galleys. As we were about to turn onto 19R for take off, the French FO called for FAs to take their seats. I think many ran to their seats and did up their safety harnesses. We sped down 19R and took off at 20:45.
Empty J cabin to BKK. No one else in Row 6. J was probably ~29% full. Not sure in Y.
On this flight, I got to experience viewing nosecam during take off. I found it less exciting for the fact it was rather late at night and you do not get to see much of the ground or the actual takeoff. Otherwise, watching a nosecam take off would have been rather interesting! I immediately reclined my seat to its full laid out position as we continued our ascent. Dennis went onto the PA system by 20:47 and welcomed everyone on board this EK flight to BKK with continuing service onto DXB. He mentioned that he was joined on this flight with four lead FAs and a crew that spoke Arabic, Cantonese, Farsi, French, Hindi, Mandarin, and Portuguese; quite an interesting group of FAs! With that he welcomed us onboard Emirates.
Another view of the cabin from my seat. Now showing on the main screen, the airshow map.
With our flight underway, I tried to relax in my seat, but I was getting anxious with my arrival into BKK as I was not quite sure if I would be able to find the place I was staying. In the end, I survived my taxi ride despite wasting at least 30min trying to figure out where the driver would take me other than just at the Chong Nonsi BTS station.
While I tried to relax, I decided to check out the IFE offerings for the flight. When I was walking down the aisles during boarding, I noticed kids and older passengers checking out their PTVs in the Y cabin, especially many kids playing video games. I pulled my unit from the central armrest and the remote control to check out which movies were playing and which games were offered on tap. In the seat back pocket in front of me, there were sterilized 3-pronged noise-canceling headsets along with "Do Not Disturb"/"Wake Me Up For Duty Free" stickers. With headphone secured and plugged in, it surprised me that the system was not working. I even tried the unit on 6B, but it too was not functional. I looked to see if others were using theirs, but no one else had their units out. I was growing underwhelmed with EK so far. To remedy this, I returned everything back and took out my iPod. Of course I had to listen to "One Night in Bangkok" as well as a few songs. I then remembered I had been able to download this one Thai movie Rak Haeng Siam or Love of Siam. It was a very interesting movie, especially I do not speak Thai. However, you could get an understanding of the movie if you know the synopsis of the movie. While I watched the movie on my iPod, on the main screen they were showing news snippets in text form from BBC mixed into the airshow cycle.
A provincial cover for the Wine List.
Yum ... champagne!
White wine list
Red wine list
As I was enjoying Love of Siam, Mr. Lebanon started dinner service. Miss UAE and he pushed small carts down the aisle starting again with the last row and working towards the front. Mr. Lebanon first asked what I would like to drink with dinner. When I saw champagne was available on the wine list, I requested a glass of champagne and a glass of water when he took my dinner order. Again he gave that inaudible sigh and said he would have to return to the galley and open up a bottle since he did not have one. I said OK, I will wait; however, that wait turned out to be once he was done serving starters for all passengers. So as I waited for my champagne, he poured my water into the glass and asked what I would like for my starter plate. I chose the Barbecue Crispy Duck starter and he allowed me to choose two types of breads. He verified that my beef dinner would be hot and ready once I was done with my starter plate.
Dinner set up with my starter plate of barbecue crispy duck.
As I finished my starter plate, Mr Lebanon had not returned with my champagne. I rarely do this, but I rang my call bell button and Mr. Perth came out of the Y-galley and kindly asked what I needed. From the distance, I could see Mr. Lebanon and Miss UAE watching from behind the galley curtains. Being oh so polite, I told him that Mr. Lebanon had not returned with my request for a glass of champagne and if I could get a refill with my water. Seeing as I had finished my starter, he asked if he could take my plate and that Mr. Lebanon should return with my dinner as well as my drinks. Mr. Perth returned to his galley to pick up a tray and took my starter plate, glasses and used utencils and headed towards the forward galley. As Mr Lebanon leisurely approached Mr. Perth, Aussie suggested that he immediately follow him, again! When they disappeared behind the curtain, Dennis then approached me and asked how my dinner was. I told him that I was still waiting for Mr. Lebanon to bring my champagne and that I was ready for my main dinner. His immediate response was "Yes, sir" and zoomed off to the front galley. A few seconds later, Miss UAE was carrying a tray with my dinner and Mr. Lebanon carrying another tray with my glasses of champagne and water. Miss UAE used an interesting set of tongs to place my meal on my tray and cautioned me that the plate was rather hot. With a smile she said "Enjoy" and I replied thank you. This was followed by Mr. Lebanon handing me, not placing, my champagne and water. With that there was no "Sorry for the delay, enjoy your dinner, sir" or anything; he was just gone.
I chose the braised beef with black beans. Temperature wise, food was very hot. Taste wise, the meal was rather bland.
FINALLY! My glass of champagne!!!!!
Overall, dinner was OK, not spectacular as I had been expecting. The food offerings at the lounge tasted much better than on the flight. I give them points for making the main meals nice and hot, but the actual taste was rather bland, and I'm one of those who rarely adds salt or pepper once cooked; Tobasco or Siracha sauce, now that would make it good eats there! Just my preference, I wish my starter plate was just a bit warm, I guess I like the taste of duck warm along with warmed up mango sauce, that would have been real good, at least for me. I did not bother to eat the dessert since it appeared to have almonds due to a food allergy. While we were eating, Miss UAE and Miss UK were making the rounds for those who wanted more to drink, including my !
After I took my last bite, Mr. Lebanon was by my seat less than a minute later. He impatiently asked if I was done with my meal and I politely smiled and said yes with a request for more champagne, to which he responded "Yes, sir." He returned with the actual bottle and filled it all the way to the top. I tried to thank him, but he was already through the curtains. As I was sipping away at the champagne, the rolled out the carts again to pick up trays and other service items from the other passengers. They also offered coffee and tea as well as a choice from the Godiva box. Again I was the first passenger and I requested some hot tea with just milk and then got to pick one of my favorites, Godiva's chocolate heart.
My hot tea with milk as well as the Godiva chocolate heart! This was the highlight of the EK experience!
After I finished my tea, there was a little over an hour left in the flight and I was getting tired from the all-day flying. I finished both the tea and the champagne, while Miss UK came around with trays of water to those who would like some. The combination of food and tiredness allowed me to enjoy a nice nap as we made our way to BKK along with the rest of the J passengers.
[Edited 2008-05-17 02:17:29]
The journey of life is not based on the accomplishments, but the experience.
AznMadSci From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 3583 posts, RR: 5 Reply 1, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 6912 times:
(Continuation of Part 3)
I woke up as the French FO went on the PA system informing all that we had entered Thai airspace and making our initial descent into BKK. On behalf of the Captain and himself, he thanked us for flying EK. Miss UAE repeated the FO's short message. Once she finished , Dennis went on the PA system and read his long arrivals speech into BKK. He advised that J passengers continuing onto DXB were invited to use the EK lounge at BKK not too far from our arrival gate. He then advised all passengers continuing onto DXB that all must be back on board 45min before departure or risk missing connections to DXB at their own expense. Dennis was very adamant with those wanting to step off the plane ... very interesting! As he was doing his speech as well as Miss UAE repeating the same thing in Arabic, I looked out the window and I could see clusters of light on the ground below. By now I was getting super excited since I would be landing in Thailand for the very first time as well as getting my very first Thailand stamp in my passport!!!
Cabin as we started our initial descent into BKK.
In the dark of the night, we made a smooth landing into BKK with the local time of 00:01 on 07Mar08. The captain turned on the nosecam for arrival. Too bad it was too dark outside to watch our arrival on nosecam or out the window. I was a bit giddy because BKK, both Don Muang and Suvarnabhumi, had been on my list of airports I have wanted to visit, especially Suvarnabhumi since it was a brand new structure! On my list, I still need to visit SIN, LHR, YVR, OSL, CPH, ARN, SEL, FRA, and DXB in terms of importance. For those that I had listed and have visited include MUC, HKG, AMS, SYD, YUL, ATH, and EZE to name a few.
Upon arrival, we took a slow taxi tour to dock at, I believe, D3. I know we used this gate for my return EK flight to HKG a few days later. As we were taxiing, Miss UAE made the first welcome announcements in Arabic. It sounded like everyone remained in their seats during the taxiing, but not sure towards the rear of the Y cabin. As she finished, Dennis rushed through reading his speech. At first I thought he was contradicting himself, but later realized that there would be some continuing onto DXB who preferred to remain on the plane rather than deplane. He informed them that they must remain in their original seats while the plane gets cleaned and serviced, as well as prepared with new crew taking them to DXB. He made sure to emphasize that no smoking would be allowed by the open exits, and the use of electronic devices, including mobile phones and flash photography, not permitted while the plane was being serviced. That part surprised me, but it did not apply to me since I was finally in BKK!!!
As we turned toward the terminal and our gate, the Captain informed everyone that there would be another delay of 15min due to another plane still at our gate. From what I could see on the right side of the plane, it looked like an OS 772 probably returning to VIE was getting ready for push back as the jetways had already been retracted. This news caused all of us in J to recline their seats back. I'm not sure if the Arabic couple even had their seats upright since they were fully laid out with seatbelts over their blankets and both with eyemasks on. Later upon deplaning, I noticed an African woman in the same position. It made me question do they really care about safety at EK? I decided to relax a bit and save some energy so I could handle Thai Immigration and Customs as well as the taxi ride to the hotel. As we sat there, apparently some Y passengers were getting up and opening their overhead bins, I mean "hat lockers", and retrieving their stuff. Dennis and then Miss UAE used the PA system only in the Y cabin to inform all passengers to return all items back into the hat lockers and take their seats with their seatbelts fastened.
Overall, after my first flight on EK, I was a bit underwhelmed with the service they provided, especially in J! I did give them the benefit of a doubt since it was a short flight and I was not heading to DXB. Dinner had its pros and cons. The definite con was the bland taste of the main meal. The pros included a very hot meal, champagne, and the after-dinner Godiva chocolate. The biggest were mainly the HKIA staff at the West Wing Transfer Area and Gate 66, as well as the EK lounge attendants, all of whom were super friendly, smiled, and very courteous. From there the EK service declined to what I would expect on US carriers such as DL, NW, or AA. I was very surprised with the crew running around the plane during the safety demonstration and not standing at various positions to draw the attention of the passengers. Their actions were very distracting that you could easily not notice the safety video. There might have been a few standing at position in the Y cabin, but definitely not in the J where Miss UAE was changing from her formal uniform to inflight mode, Dennis running between galleys with paperwork flailing away, Miss UK and Mr. Perth more interested in staying in the galley rather than ensuring everyone had their seat belts done up and chairs and tray tables up, stowed, and locked. The biggest and disappoint was the unknown attitude and sloppy presentation of Mr. Lebanon, who appeared bipolar at times. The last disappointment for me was the inactivation of PTVs on this flight. Though this flight was not scheduled to have ICE, I was curious to see what was on offer in terms of entertainment.
After about a 10min wait, we docked at D3. BKK has dual jet bridges. The opened L1 to let all J passengers deplane before Y. This was ensured by the FAs by standing in front of the closed curtains to the J cabin. I was the last one in J to step off the plane who was getting off at BKK. I noticed about five were continuing on and were all comfortable and asleep and snoring with their seats fully reclined. Dennis was in a rush and was ahead of me heading into the airport with his bags in tow and leaving the rest of the FAs behind on the plane with many more still waiting to deplane. As for me, at least I did not have to deal with Mr. Lebanon.
Before stepping off the plane, I did say good bye and thank you to Miss UAE since Dennis was long gone down the jetway. She was in the process of putting on her hat and scarf after taking down her bags from the hat locker. When she heard me say thank you, she just gave me this smile suggesting "don't bother me I want to get off this plane faster than you!'"
Despite this last impression, I don't let the disappointment of EK service get to me because I was about to step onto one amazing structure, BKK! Yes, it's a bunch of concrete, glass, and steel with horrible apron views, but it is still impressive upon first glance just makes you go WOW! I did not get to take any pictures during the arrivals process since a number of Thai police were walking around the area, and I also wanted to get through Thai Immigration & Customs as fast as I could so I could finally make it to my hotel! As you walk along the arrivals floor, you're greeted by huge ancient Thai warriors figures. (Stay tuned to Part 04 for pictures of these figures.) As you look around upon first arrival at this airport located in the middle of a snake swamp, you are immediately sucked into King Power Duty Free before making it to Immigration & Customs. Tempted as I was just to take a quick look, I forged on with the goal of finally stepping onto actual Thai soil!
After going through the small maze of duty free shops, I finally get to the Thai Immigration line. Both Thai arrival and departure cards need to be filled out before going through. There are two Immigration separate areas, one for Thai nationals when you first enter, and the other for non-Thai nationals at the far end of area. A number of other flights had arrived as there were a long line with each station open. As I was approaching what appeared to be a short line, an Ethiopian lady starts screaming in English for the Thai officer to stop touching her and moving her. I am not sure why she was yelling, but my guess was she was trying to jump the queue and the Thai officer would have none of that. She kept on yelling to make a scene, but nobody cared to notice her, or probably made fun of her in their own language. She did look a bit mental and very inconvenienced, and I would not be surprised if she smuggled something into Thailand or went to Thailand to smuggle something out to who knows where.
While the commotion continued on, I recognized the airline crew line, which is the farthest desk in the immigration area. I'm not sure if I spotted dennis, but I eventually saw the rest of the EK crew queue up, followed by the KQ crew who also did HKG-BKK. I was a bit surprised the KQ crew showed up after the EK crew since the flight was scheduled to have left before ours.
I finally am the next person in line with the Thai Immigration officer. Before I approach after the person in front of me leaves, she says "feet on footprint". I place my feet accordingly and reach over and give my passport and Thai arrivals and departure card to the officer and greeted her with a "Sawasdee krab!" I notice this round orb sticking straight up from the desk and see it's a webcam provided by Logitech. I watch her skim over the front page of my passport and then my arrivals card. She swipes the passport, asks me look at camera, stamps my arrivals card, and then finds my page and stamps over my lightly-stamped ATH arrivals stamp. She tears the departure card off and staples it to the next page and folds it so it does not stick out. She hands everything back with a smile and I reply "Krup khum krab!"
With passport in hand, I believe I head to Carousel 7 where I see my suitcase with the yellow CO/Skyteam Priority tag awaiting me. With that, I take one of the complementary carts and head towards Thai Customs and finally, Bangkok, Thailand! As I was going through the green line, the female agent asked where I was coming from and I said the US and Hong Kong. She kindly asked me to place my checked bag to be x-rayed. I knew I did not have much there, so I just waited and retrieved my suitcase at the other side. The lady watching the x-ray screen saw me and replied "krup khum ka" with me saying "Krup khum krab!"
After walking out of Thai customs, I was now FINALLY on Thai soil among the craziness of BKK arrivals! You definitely felt the heat and humidity once through. If I remember correctly, I headed down to Level 2 for some Thai Baht as well as take a taxi, by myself, to my hotel. My Bangkok adventure begins!
Thank you for reading this trip so far! There will be a slight delay with my return flights as I'm still physically writing them before I type and edit them. Thanks y'all for your patience and understanding!
The journey of life is not based on the accomplishments, but the experience.
Ronerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1642 posts, RR: 53 Reply 2, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 6767 times:
A great TR indeed! .. A very significant one at that too!
Quoting AznMadSci (Thread starter): "Oh hi, the Y cabin is down that way." I was a bit put off with him, so I showed him my blue J boarding pass with 6A on it and he replied "Oh, welcome aboard" and just pointed to where my seat was located. Though it said final boarding and we were 20min away from actual departure, I was the first person to enter the J cabin.
Quoting AznMadSci (Thread starter): Mr. Lebanon was not attending to anyone while sitting at L1. At first I thought it was my fault that I decided to venture around and checkout the plane while he was looking for me so he could bring me my socks, eye masks, while taking my drink order and hanging my coat. I made eye contact with him when I returned to my seat, but he still sat there doing absolutely NOTHING! While sitting, he greeted this fabulous Hong Kong couple who stepped onto the plane, also going on holiday to Thailand, and sat in front of me in 5AB. Again, Mr. Lebanon just sat there doing absolutely NOTHING! If Mr. Lebanon was to man L1 while the door is still open, at least get someone else or especially the purser to welcome those on the left side and welcome them on board. Nope, nothing, and there were a number of FAs, mainly those working in the Y cabin who would go back and forth to get Lil Traveler kits for the kids. Someone could have said something, but NOPE! Oh well.
Quoting AznMadSci (Thread starter): After accepting her offer for a wine list, I asked if I could get a glass of water and possibly get my coat hung. She said "certainly" with a smile, and then turned to look at Mr. Lebanon still sitting by L1 and gave him an evil look. Mr. Lebanon casually walked over and asked if anything was wrong. Miss UAE told him something in Arabic to which he gave the impression that he could not care less through his body language. He addressed me with "Yes?" in the way that comes across as "what the hell do you want?" I asked if I could get a glass of water and if he could hang my coat. With a noticeable, but inaudible, sigh, he said "Yes sir." I think of one of the lead FAs, Mr. Perth since I heard he was from Perth, saw his body language and immediately followed him to the front galley. After he was done with me, he gave off the similar attitude to the guys in front of me to give impression he did not want to work.
Quoting AznMadSci (Thread starter): Again he gave that inaudible sigh and said he would have to return to the galley and open up a bottle since he did not have one. I said OK, I will wait; however, that wait turned out to be once he was done serving starters for all passengers.
Quoting AznMadSci (Thread starter): This was followed by Mr. Lebanon handing me, not placing, my champagne and water. With that there was no "Sorry for the delay, enjoy your dinner, sir" or anything; he was just gone.
Nicholaschee From Australia, joined Oct 2005, 661 posts, RR: 0 Reply 3, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 6745 times:
Thanks for the great trip report Colin! Wonderful experience on EK ain't it after all the hype! You should write a letter to EK about the poor service on board and maybe you might get a free upgrade or voucher . Looking forward to the next part of you trip report!
Davescj From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 2290 posts, RR: 0 Reply 5, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 6694 times:
As always, a wonderful TR! I always feel I"m on the flight with you.
I found it odd that the FAs were doing anything other than safety checks while the safety video was on!
As to the bubbly, goes to show different services on carriers.......On BA, it is always on the bar cart, and if you had it for your first drink, you'll be offered it again after starters, sometimes even between laying the tray and starters!
BA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8352 posts, RR: 55 Reply 7, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days ago) and read 6475 times:
Nice, been looking forward to this report, a great read thanks.
Quoting AznMadSci (Thread starter): As I approached the door, Mr. Lebanon welcomed me on board with what felt like a fake smile and said "Oh hi, the Y cabin is down that way." I was a bit put off with him, so I showed him my blue J boarding pass with 6A on it and he replied "Oh, welcome aboard" and just pointed to where my seat was located
- I do dislike it when people look at you and make an assumption on which class you will be travelling in.
Quoting AznMadSci (Thread starter): This flight to BKK had a sizable load tonight. I would assume just under 50% in Y while J had about 29% load factor.
- Pretty low, especially in J.
Quoting AznMadSci (Thread starter): I returned to my seat waiting for any FA to acknowledge me either with a drink or to hang up my coat. I sat there waiting ... and waiting ... and waiting ...
- This would annoy me, seen it before always an indication of the flight ahead.........
Quoting AznMadSci (Thread starter): The female Arabic speaker, aka Miss UAE, kept herself busy by introducing herself and helping out passengers in the middle section and the right side of the aircraft. She went to each passenger on her side bringing drinks, socks, eye masks, and taking coats. There were about 10pax on her side, while Mr. Lebanon served the left side with only 7pax. However, Mr. Lebanon was not attending to anyone while sitting at L1. At first I thought it was my fault that I decided to venture around and checkout the plane while he was looking for me so he could bring me my socks, eye masks, while taking my drink order and hanging my coat. I made eye contact with him when I returned to my seat, but he still sat there doing absolutely NOTHING! While sitting, he greeted this fabulous Hong Kong couple who stepped onto the plane, also going on holiday to Thailand, and sat in front of me in 5AB. Again, Mr. Lebanon just sat there doing absolutely NOTHING! If Mr. Lebanon was to man L1 while the door is still open, at least get someone else or especially the purser to welcome those on the left side and welcome them on board.
- This is poor serivce, I'd be pretty annoyed by now.
Quoting AznMadSci (Thread starter): He made sure to emphasize that no smoking would be allowed by the open exits, and the use of electronic devices, including mobile phones and flash photography, not permitted while the plane was being serviced. That part surprised me,
- Odd, not heard that before.
I would like to say your EK experience was a one off, however from various TR's and my fathers experiences, EK are not as good as they like to make out. The crew's are very patchy and that's their main problem.
It will be interesting to see how the flight back is, look forward to it.
AznMadSci From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 3583 posts, RR: 5 Reply 9, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 6092 times:
Again thanks for reading and glad many of you have waited for this report, one that does not have to deal with CO for a change!
Quoting Ronerone (Reply 2): This is absolutely unacceptable to be receiving any such service in C class, regardless of the length of your journey, even if it involved a route outside the carrier's Hub.
Unfortunately, EK has been consistent in offering exactly the same service that you have experienced.
So i take it Mr. Perth was the same guy that was doing my flight from JFK-DXB? Smile
Thanks a lot for sharing this report. It was a great read! Hope u had a great time in BKK!
I did feel like a newbie being that it was my very first time on EK. It did seem like the other passengers knew what to expect so did not seem at all bothered by the lack of service. However, for a bit I did kick myself in the because I kept on saying that I had a seat on the right side of the plane and probably had gotten better service from Miss UAE than I did with Mr. Lebanon.
I will say that my return flight to HKG was a whole lot better, but all of y'all will have to wait till I get it posted to see how it turned out!
Miss UAE and Mr. Perth were two of the nicer FAs I encountered on this flight. The funny thing for me was Mr. Perth had the same facial features as one of my good friends who used to be an COEx/XJ pilot, just Mr. Perth was "healthier" and had a wicked Aussie accent! I was tempted to asked if any of them had done the IAH flight, but I figured they would not be the type interested to talk to passengers and would rather get service done and over with so they would not have to be bothered!
Quoting Nicholaschee (Reply 3): Wonderful experience on EK ain't it after all the hype! You should write a letter to EK about the poor service on board and maybe you might get a free upgrade or voucher Smile.
Hey Mate! Thanks for reading! I didn't really board the plane and expect to be served hand and foot, nor was I demanding. I boarded the plane to experience my first EK flight with no expectations and surprised myself by needing to lower my expectations, something truly hard to explain. You could say I had better service on my CO flights to HKG. I did send an email to EK, but haven't heard back and figured as well that it falls in the hands of deaf ears or blind eyes!
Quoting Meta (Reply 4): Very nice trip report. I too agree that this was no way to be treated in J class. Those FA's attitude needs to be fixed very fast before they disappoint more people.
Hey! Thank you for reading! As I said a few lines above, I did kick myself in the because when I first bought my ticket, I was sitting on the side serviced by Miss UAE, but I wanted one of the seats towards the back of J so I could take some cabin view pics, and 6KL were already taken. I wish Dennis reassigned him to galley duty and replaced him with Mr. Perth. Hehehe, oh well!
Quoting Davescj (Reply 5): I found it odd that the FAs were doing anything other than safety checks while the safety video was on!
Hey Dave! Yeah, this part actually annoyed me more than being accused I was among the savages in Y! The geek in me always enjoys watching safety videos, and have even copied the ones on YouTube and put them on my iPod. I truly would like to know what they were doing and why they couldn't do their preparation before and after the video like most carriers.
Quoting Davescj (Reply 5): On BA, it is always on the bar cart, and if you had it for your first drink, you'll be offered it again after starters, sometimes even between laying the tray and starters!
I think I was the only one to enjoy the champagne on the flight as most were going for the wines or vodka tonics. I would have made a fuss if they did not want to open a new bottle for me since I was the only one because why would they advertise it on the wine list but not have it on the flight. In the end, I enjoyed 4 nice glasses of champagne and it made the flight even more bearable!
Quoting PKflyer (Reply 6): Seems like you had a grudge with Mr.Lebanon Big grin Just joking.
Ha! If I was that picky, but I'm usually a nice guy! I think Mr. Lebanon had a grudge against me and the two fabulous guys from Hong Kong!
Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 7): I do dislike it when people look at you and make an assumption on which class you will be travelling in.
Hey Mark! I really did not let that bother me, though he could have made the situation better by saying "Oh sorry, sir. My apologies. Let me show you to your seat." OK, I know 'let me show you to your seat' would have been pushing it, but a "sorry" and "my apologies" would have been much better.
Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 7): This is poor serivce, I'd be pretty annoyed by now.
I wish Miss UAE had stepped in and made sure I was OK, even if I wasn't on her side of the plane. But alas, they are not trained to think with a heart or outside the box.
Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 7): I guess this was an early -300 model, ie not a 77W.
Yes, the 77Ws have the mood lighting along with ICE. Stay tune for the return!
I knew that song would be perfect for this flight! While I was writing this out, I also discovered another classic I had forgotten until I heard a song by Beyonce that she used as the background tune for one of her songs. That song, Tarzan Boy!
Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 7): I would like to say your EK experience was a one off, however from various TR's and my fathers experiences, EK are not as good as they like to make out. The crew's are very patchy and that's their main problem.
It will be interesting to see how the flight back is, look forward to it.
Yeah, it was. The return was much better, and I may do the same route again in a few months! If I do it, I'll definitely a report juxtaposing the good and bad! In the mean time, I need to get writing as I also want to get a quick SEA trip report because of some positive events on a flight as well as some pics from Everett, Renton, and Boeing Fields! So stay tuned, y'all!
Quoting StarAlliance38 (Reply 8): Are you Filipino? My parents talk about the San Miguel Beer a lot Smile.
Yes I am! Born and raised in the US, but try to go back as much as I can! It also helped that I have a lot of cousins my age and when we were at the age we could drink, we would go down to the closest "sari-sari store" and get cases of San Miguel Beer! Makes me want to go back and have one right now!
Thanks y'all again for reading and your comments! I'm hoping to get the rest of the reports written and posted by the end of the month!
The journey of life is not based on the accomplishments, but the experience.
I believe this photo is a 3-class 77W as opposed to a 2-class 773 for this flight and a 2-class 77W on my BKK-HKG flight. The inconsistencies are worse when you tally up all the minute details.
Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 10): Keep in mind these are all pix of J class. Is it really that hard to hard to have a consistent product?!
At least for me, it was the professionalism of the FAs as a whole. I could overlook the inconsistencies since it was a short flight. However, I wouldn't be as lenient if I got this same attitude coupled with the inconsistencies for some of their big routes, especially if I decide to try their IAH-DXB-IAH route.
Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 10): But excellent trip report...I think I'll stay away from EK in the future though.
Thanks! At least for me, I haven't discredited EK yet. I may try the same route again towards the end of the year, so we'll see how it goes. Thanks for reading!
The journey of life is not based on the accomplishments, but the experience.
AznMadSci From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 3583 posts, RR: 5 Reply 18, posted (5 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 4029 times:
Quoting FAH345 (Reply 16): Wow Colin! What an awesome, detailed-oriented TR!!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Quoting FAH345 (Reply 16): I like the menu, quite unique to have colorful corns image!
Actually, I also liked the QR menu you received in Y, much better than the one I picked up.
Quoting FAH345 (Reply 16): I always thought EK has top-tier service no matter which class you travel in...
Hahaha ... you would think. I chalk it up to human experience, especially as I was writing up my return trip, the FAs on my trip to BKK just seemed tired, while my return flight to HKG just seemed to all be full of energy!
Quoting LAXdude1023 (Reply 17): Speaking of EK, I am going to their launch party for the LAX-DXB route in Costa Mesa, CA. Ill have my camera and post a long report on it!
Hey! Can you sneak me in???
I will now be posting Part 4 of this trip! See y'all soon!
The journey of life is not based on the accomplishments, but the experience.