Andaman From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 30873 times:
I had a chance to escape the grey Finnish October and spend the month in SE Asia, in Malaysia and Thailand. Once again, I really enjoyed my time under the Asian sky: the sun, great food and meeting friends.
Of course the flights & airports had a big role too. My routing was HEL-BRU-AUH-BKK-KUL-CNX-HKT-SIN-NRT-HEL, the flied airlines: Brussel Airlines, Etihad, Malaysian, Bangkok Airways, Thai, Silkair, Singapore Airlines and Finnair. Luckily all were good experiences but I think the high lights were Silkair HKT-SIN on A319, 'Smooth as Silk' indeed and SQ SIN-NRT, my very first A380 experience. I love that quiet whale, at least if the cabin belongs to SQ.
A couple of pictures from the trip before the home flight:
A Japanese lunch in Bangkok, the Fuji restaurant chain, one of my favourites:
Fish threrapy in Kuala Lumpur, the little helpers peeling my skin:
A little dancer in Chiang Mai:
A sudden tropical storm hits Phuket:
...but the Thais always find the sunny side of life!
The third high light was the only business class flight, the last leg NRT-HEL on Finnair. I wanted something extra for the home trip and had enough miles to move into the A343's front cabin.
I didn't have a chance to see Tokyo this time, I only had four hours to burn in Narita between the flights. According to the Finnair's web site the Qantas Business Lounge would had been the right place for me, but I was first guided to the AA Business Lounge, by a friendly but little confused lady behind the transit desk who studied my one way ticket SIN-NRT-HEL very carefully. The AA Lounge had a great shower room, with a bit scary high tech toilet, but I prefered the Qantas Business Lounge, it was more comfortable and had a better snack selection.
4th November 2009
Tokyo SIN - Helsinki HEL
A343 C Seat 6A
Only ten of the 42 business class seats were occupied, so no one was sitting next to me. The ecomony class looked rather full. The take off was very slow, as expected from the Flying Hairdryer, and very quiet as was the cabin during the whole flight
I was served most of the time by a very attentive and friendly Japanese female FA, who made sure my class was always full and snacks were available. For some unknown reason the meal service was rushed every time, the new portion was brought before I had finnished the previous one. Why to hurry, after all it was a daytime flight and only fourth of the seats were taken. Otherwise happy with the service, no complaints.
Of course the flight started with champagne, Joseph Perrier 2003, served with a Japanese sea food snack. The Ultima Thule classes were designed for AY in 1969, to celebrate the new HEL-JFK route:
The lunch, two options for the starter, Western or Japanese, my choice:
*Cream of Tomato soup
*Japanese soba noodles
*Seasonal Japanese appetisers
Delicious soup and the cold Japanese appetiser melted on my tongue, great what ever it was.
The main course options: a Western and two Japanese, my choice:
*Grilled Japanese amberjack, teriyaki sauce and steamed rice
Nice white fish, a bit too salty to my taste though.
*Passion fruit mousse, rasperry sauce and whipped cream
*Japanese mango ice cream
*Coffee with Finnish Fazer chocolates
The mousse was simply gorgeous. I skipped the cheese platter and fresh fruit.
Okonomatsu Junmai Ginjo Sake, very nice. AY's Business Class is known for good wines, but this time my choices were champagne, sake and Baileys.
The amenity kit, with a Finnish speciality: Sea Buckthorn Seed Oil moisturizer and lip palm, how have I survived without those...? Actually at home the sea buckthorn juice wakes me up every morning, it tastes so healthy (bad) it must kill all the flu bugs.
The North-Siberian winter:
The business class toilet, with a window. Razor kits and toothbrushes available.
Ready for a little nap... the angled seat was ok, comfortable enough for me, a bit hard though. The duvet and large pillows were very nice.
AY say the full-flat seats are on the way, the next 4? new A333's should get the new seats first and the rest of the widebodies later. And their A333's are the first with the new cabin colors, better than the current bright blue I think.
I didn't pay much attention to the IFE, they have a modern AVOD system but the film and music selections are rather limited. I noticed some interesting choices though, like the Finnish band called Eternal Erection among the 'new releases'...
The light meal was served around two hours before arriving at HEL. They were two options, both Italian, Porcini risotto or ravioli. My choice:
*Ravioli stuffed with spinach and ricotta cheese, herb and tomato sauce and broccoli.
I didn't expect much from ravioli served on a plane but this was delicious and cooked just right. The fruit were nicely marinated. Goog work, Tokyo!
And the last cup of coffee, with a warm Finnish cinnamon roll and some Baileys:
We landed smoothly and punctually, I got my lugggage very quickly and was ready to meet the Finnish winter after a month long sun therapy or was I really...
I enjoyed my flight, especially the meals and drinks, the catering in Tokyo did a good job. To put shortly: great meals & drinks, good service, ok seat, let see how the new full-flat seat looks like.
PlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6811 posts, RR: 77
Reply 1, posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 30764 times:
very enjoyable report with great pictures!
Quoting Andaman (Thread starter): Of course the flights & airports had a big role too. My routing was HEL-BRU-AUH-BKK-KUL-CNX-HKT-SIN-NRT-HEL, the flied airlines: Brussel Airlines, Etihad, Malaysian, Bangkok Airways, Thai, Silkair, Singapore Airlines and Finnair.
Very interesting routing and choice of carriers.
Quoting Andaman (Thread starter): A Japanese lunch in Bangkok, the Fuji restaurant chain, one of my favourites:
Quoting Andaman (Thread starter): Of course the flight started with champagne, Joseph Perrier 2003, served with a Japanese sea food snack. The Ultima Thule classes were designed for AY in 1969, to celebrate the new HEL-JFK route:
Abrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5100 posts, RR: 55
Reply 4, posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 29275 times:
Wow. A truly enjoyable read. I have wanted to try AY for a while now, and have never been successful. Finland remains the only European country I have not been to. Perhaps someday! AY looks to have a decent product - seats are a generation behind, but it seems that they are going to be upgraded soon?
Thanks for sharing a great TR ... and yes, Asia rocks !
Wouwout From Netherlands, joined Dec 2007, 126 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 28735 times:
excellent report an what a great trip! Your routing HEL-BRU-AUH-BKK-KUL-CNX-HKT-SIN-NRT-HEL is impressive. How do you book these routings, did you get a lot of one way tickets or did you combine carriers in a round trip ticket? Any insight in the way you booked your trip is appreciated...
Ardian From Netherlands, joined Oct 2000, 544 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 28140 times:
Very nice trip report! I've stated it earlier on another trip report from Finnair, I really love the glassware they're using onboard from Iittala (really great brand!). I think it's very special and a nice touch to have the two most famous Finnish brands that exists for so long working together.
Looks like a great experience in their J-class! I fell in love with Finnair a couple of years ago when I flew them from Helsinki to Kuusamo (a very short flight, but definitely memorable with great efficient service) and I want to try them again for a long haul flight in the future.
Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 4): Thanks for sharing a great TR ... and yes, Asia rocks Smile!
Thanks, I have enjoyed your legendary TR's very much, great reading!
Yes Asia truly rocks, it seems I return to Asia time after time.
Quoting Wouwout (Reply 5): excellent report an what a great trip! Your routing HEL-BRU-AUH-BKK-KUL-CNX-HKT-SIN-NRT-HEL is impressive. How do you book these routings, did you get a lot of one way tickets or did you combine carriers in a round trip ticket? Any insight in the way you booked your trip is appreciated...
I booked five tickets, mostly OW tickets:
1. HEL-BRU-AUH-BKK..........................................Brussels Airlines+Etihad
2. BKK-KUL-BKK-CNX (forgot the 2. stop in BKK)....Malaysia+Bangkok Air
5. SIN-NRT-HEL....................................................Singapore Airlines+Finnair
I only spent time in Kuala Lumpur and in three destinations in Thailand, so all others were just transit airports. Everything went really smoothly, no lost luggages nor major delays.
And the ticket prices weren't too bad, I didn't have any huge budget.
The trip took around a month, luckily I could be very flexible with dates. I haven't been working since May, thanks to the governments sabbatical program called 'job alternation'.
When an unemployed person was hired to substitute me, I get around half of my net salary.
Quoting Christao17 (Reply 6): Looks like an enjoyable way to end your trip. Thanks for sharing with us.
Once again, Thailand was the best part of the trip, great country.
Quoting Ardian (Reply 7): I fell in love with Finnair a couple of years ago when I flew them from Helsinki to Kuusamo (a very short flight, but definitely memorable with great efficient service)
Yes in most times they have efficient and attentive service, the crew is not hiding in the galley.
Quoting Comeflywithme (Reply 8): Bad form old boy for having your feet resting on the seat in front of you even with slippers on. If I was the guy in front of you I would have turned round and given you a right good talking to.
My feet were there just for the photo And the guy (lady actually) couldn't feel anything, thanks to the shell seat...
Quoting VHTJE (Reply 9): I am now very much looking forward to my AY J flight in about a month's time
Hopefully you'll enjoy your flight, TR coming perhaps?
Quoting B747forever (Reply 10): Pity that you had to return to the dark and cold weather in Finland.
Tell me about it.. I still need to escape the Xmas somewhere though, somewhere were the sun shines if just possible.
Pellegrine From France, joined Mar 2007, 2449 posts, RR: 8
Reply 14, posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 26760 times:
Nice TR Andaman, AY in J looks quite nice.
Quoting Kurt (Reply 11):
I didn't know that those were designed by the late Tapio Wirkkala. He did some awesome designs during his life.
Oh very nice glass design!
Quoting Kurt (Reply 11): Excellent report - looks like you had a great Asian jaunt. I'm impressed that they served Glenfiddich Solera; a 12-year old single-malt is more typical in C class. And calvados is nice to see as well.
I am a Glenfiddich fan. Just had the 12 year at dinner two nights ago, it is even better than some of the expensive more popular blends.
FlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 30
Reply 15, posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 26684 times:
A nice report from a trip that you probably enjoyed very much. Shame about the AY biz load - no wonder they are bleeding money left and right. The service looks very good and that food delicious - although I'm not much of a fan of Japanese food (probably mostly because I haven't tried it too much, not because would be something wrong with it).
How about giving us some more on the other flights?
Andaman From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 26350 times:
Thanks again for the comments!
First, a little WARNING STORY:
Yesterday and today I have spent most of my time in the Haartman Hospital in Helsinki, I needed quick help for the deep vein thrombosis, also known as Economy Class Syndrome (what this tells about AY's biz class seat? ,))
After returning home from the trip, I had pains in my left calf, not too bad first and some days I didn't feel anything. But yesterday morning to pain was too much, I went to the hospital where they found the thrombosis very quickly. It's in control now, the medication works and the blood clot should disappear soon. A long and rather heavy medication deeded though, luckily I can inject myself at home. And luckily I didn't try to stay home too long, the deep vein thrombosis can kill you.
So no flying for me in the near future, I'm sure next time I'll remember those flight socks and aspirin....
The problem is that I don't have decent pictures for more TR's, my camera sucks... Is there some flight/airport that interests you especially?
Quoting LH4116 (Reply 16): The food looked great, both presentation and quantity, sure beats SAS Café IKEA style meals
This time the food was fab, my first AY long haul in business class was BKK-HEL last year, then I was less exited.
I wish I could try what SAS have to offer in biz class, unfortunately not having enough EuroBonus miles yet...
Amazing routing and fantastic report! It sounds like you were really looking forward to this trip and ended up having a great time. Shame about the DVT but at least you caught it on time.
My goal is to make it to Scandinavia in 2010 and to SE Asia in 2011...now I wonder if I should do something like this, take a month off and combine the two!! I wish, unfortunately we in the US don't get much vacation, much less a sabbatical! But it was a really nice report, thoroughly enjoyed reading it!
FlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 30
Reply 21, posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 25648 times:
Quoting Andaman (Reply 17): So no flying for me in the near future, I'm sure next time I'll remember those flight socks and aspirin....
Ouch, that sounds like a bad experience. And proves that DVT is not the "economy class syndrome" as the media dubbed it back when it was the hot potato. I guess you should take a walk around every now and then and get the refills for your drinks at the galley instead of getting them served to your seat . Maybe the bar/lounge type of public areas that at least EK has put in their A380 premium classes are a good idea for getting people out of their seats on long flights.
Glad that you're OK now.
Quoting Andaman (Reply 17): The problem is that I don't have decent pictures for more TR's, my camera sucks... Is there some flight/airport that interests you especially?
Everything! But I'm really curious about the SilkAir experience, and obviously the SQ A380 is always nice - I'm not sure if there's been an economy report on that anywhere.
Andaman From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 25076 times:
Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 4): seats are a generation behind, but it seems that they are going to be upgraded soon?
Yes actually their next A333 (OH-LTR) arriving this month has the new full flat seats, similar to Swiss I've understood.
Quoting Charles79 (Reply 20): My goal is to make it to Scandinavia in 2010 and to SE Asia in 2011...now I wonder if I should do something like this, take a month off and combine the two!! I wish, unfortunately we in the US don't get much vacation, much less a sabbatical! But it was a really nice report, thoroughly enjoyed reading it!
I 'm grateful I had this opportunity, I never complain the high taxes again!
I think the best time to visit the Nordic countries is summer, July especially, usually warmest then and the cities are full of life. In most times I have traveled in SE Asia in winter before Christmas to get some sun therapy but it works in mid summer also. Just a bit more wet in Thailand and perfect time for Kuala Lumpur for an example. And the prices are lower in summer.
If you have any plans to stop in HELsinki, I'm happy to guide you!
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 21): Maybe the bar/lounge type of public areas that at least EK has put in their A380 premium classes are a good idea for getting people out of their seats on long flights.
Yes would work with me at least, the bar on EK A380 sounds much more tempting than the self service snack bar on AY's A343...
I really liked that 2h flight. Fresh A319 cabin with smooth colours, comfortable 'old school' seat with a good leg room, tasty warm meal. The best was the attentive crew, probably all ex Miss Singapore's... I think the only thing I could complain about is the SilkAir's rather boring livery.