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Thai Airways, Old And New J-class HKG To HKT  
User currently offline63Bobster From Netherlands, joined Jan 2012, 43 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 5 months 2 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 16413 times:

After enjoying many of your trip reports on A net for many years I decided it was time to give something back so here comes my very first trip report.

Travelplans:

As my girlfriend and I try to visit Thailand twice a year we made some plans for our next trip and found out in the process that BA had a very good airfare from Amsterdam to Hong Kong, enabling to visit Hong Kong (which my girlfriend had visited on a few occasions but I never had) and do our usual trips from there. Also, as I wanted to try Emirates A380 J-class sometime, the leg between HKG and BKK would be a good opportunity for a sample (about which I will submit a trip report later). So, my girlfriend decided to come to Hong Kong one week later, do some sightseeing together and then move to Ko phi Phi in southern Thailand for some beaches and diving.

Only two airlines fly nonstop between Hong Kong and Phuket. Dragon air had a very unfavourable schedule that would require us to spend a night in phuket while Thai Airways had a very nice daily flight that would enable us to catch the ferry to Ko Phi Phi in time without leaving ridiculously early. So that was an easy choice.

Bookings:

Economy fare between HKG and HKT was relatively expensive at the time of booking, both on Dragon air and Thai Airways. As a Business class ticket would cost a little more it was an easy choice. Bookings to Phuket were made home via the Thai Airways website. Besides, Thai was flying this leg with an A330 and there was a good chance that Thai would operate one of their refurbished A330's which I still wanted to sample (we already had been in the A330's old Business class quite often). When finishing our reservation we could already choose seats and the number of rows on offer in J-class indicated it would be one of their refurbished birds  
Hong Kong skyline, on Flickr


Hong Kong skyline, on Flickr


Kowloon, on Flickr


View from hotelroom, on Flickr



HONG KONG to PHUKET
TG 0609 J 31OCT 09:05 ARRIVAL TIME: 11:40
SEAT:12K

As traffic during the morning peak-hour is always an uncertain factor we decided to skip the dodgy hotel breakfast and leave Kowloon early. We were nicely on time in a very quiet HKG's Terminal 2 and in no time we cleared all formalities and went to the TG lounge. The lounge was equally quiet.


Empty Thai Airways lounge in Hong Kong, on Flickr


Our A330, as seen from the lounge, on Flickr

We had breakfast and checked our mail and by then it was time to board. HKG has nice clear signs indicating the separate boarding queues (Economy was fully packed) so that also went very swiftly.

Upon boarding there was a bit of a dissapointment as the A330 appeared to be one of those that hadn't been refurbished yet. Those same old seats again! Probably a replacement aircraft. It has very big seats in J-class but somehow I only find these particular seats comfortable when the seat is in the upright position.


Legroom in row 12, on Flickr


We were in row 12 and when the doors were closed we asked the flight attendant if we could change to row 11 (first row) as it feels a bit roomier.


Legroom in row 11 by 63Bobster, on Flickr


Cebu Pacific by 63Bobster, on Flickr


This A330 wont leave anytime soon, on Flickr


safety card and menu's, on Flickr

We were pushed away on schedule and then sat on the apron for abour ten minutes untill the A330 was moving again. But it was in a straight line, in other words straight back to the gate. After we arrived the engines were switched off and the captain announced our delay due to a technical problem but didn't explain the exact nature of the problem.


Still sitting at the gate, on Flickr

After 30 minutes we started to worry about being on time to catch the ferry to Ko Phi Phi but then we were pushed back again and within minutes we entered the active and took off.


Breakfast by 63Bobster, on Flickr

Due to the delay we arrived in Phuket right after a Transaero 747 and as Thai had no Fast track in Phuket (Until now I only experienced HKT during domestic travel) we had to wait in long lines. Immigration and customs was very different from BKK as the personnel appeared to be much more irritated. We grabbed our luggage and made our way to a taxi and we made it to our boat just in time.

The boatride was uneventfull but extremely crowded. Ko phi Phi itself was clearly much more crowded than normal in that same time of year, probably due to the tragic floodings around Bangkok.

We stayed on the island for nearly two weeks which is pretty long but then again we intended this trip as an relaxing beach and dive holiday and we had plenty of that.


Ko Phi Phi by 63Bobster, on Flickr


'The beach' Maya bay by 63Bobster, on Flickr


Clownfish by 63Bobster, on Flickr


Blacktip reefshark by 63Bobster, on Flickr


Friendly face in coral by 63Bobster, on Flickr


Yours truly and company by 63Bobster, on Flickr


Some damselfish by 63Bobster, on Flickr


clear water by 63Bobster, on Flickr


Some weather moving in by 63Bobster, on Flickr




PHUKET to HONG KONG
TG 0638 J 14NOV 14:45 ARRIVAL TIME: 1915
SEAT:12A

After a very calm ferry ride to Phuket followed by a nerve wrecking taxi adventure we arrived at Phuket Intl. airport for our flight back to Hong Kong. The Royal Silk check-in was almost empty. We asked if it was possible to tag the luggage for Amsterdam as this would save us many formalities in Hong Kong. That wasn't a problem and HKG --> LHR --> AMS were included in the destination tag and Priority tags were added. The TG lady asked us if the flights to LHR and AMS were also in Business Class and we nodded our heads. No Fast Track was available and all formalities were quite chaotic.

The Thai Airways lounge in HKT's international terminal is slightly dissapointing. I was familiar with the domestic lounge that I used on many previous occassions but this lounge didn't even have restrooms. One actually has to leave the lounge to go to the bathroom (I remember the lounge in Phitsanulok had that too). Besides, a number of other airlines also use this lounge (such as Malaysia, Silkair and Transaero) so it was pretty much like the rest of the international terminal: crowded.

When we boarded the aircraft (again, chaotic) it was a refurbished A330 at last. Nice seats, all new and shiny, the same model as in the B777-200's. Cabin crew handed our menu's, whinelists and headsets, departure was on schedule and were on our way.


A330 new interior by 63Bobster, on Flickr


A330 new interior by 63Bobster, on Flickr


A330 new interior by 63Bobster, on Flickr


Todays route by 63Bobster, on Flickr


A330 new interior by 63Bobster, on Flickr


A330 new interior by 63Bobster, on Flickr


A330 window view by 63Bobster, on Flickr


Starters by 63Bobster, on Flickr


A330 window view by 63Bobster, on Flickr


A330 window view by 63Bobster, on Flickr


A330 new interior by 63Bobster, on Flickr


We arrived in HKG after dark and made our way to the transfer desk and to our flight to LHR.

About the long BA flight to LHR in World Traveller: To be honest, I couldn't write a trip report as I was actually sleeping until just before landing so I guess the flight must have been quite good  

About Thai: The thing I like about this airline that I always seem to forget the minor inconveniences and discomforts and I always seem to remember how much I like flying with them..

The real surprise was after arrival in Amsterdam: Our luggage was the very first to appear, with the Star Alliance priority tags still attached. Apparently priority even worked when the biggest part was travelled with an Oneworld airline  

[Edited 2012-01-28 14:48:17]

15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineQuokkas From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (2 years 5 months 2 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 15983 times:

Hi Bob and welcome to A.net!

Nice trip report, especially the photos taken along the bay and in the water.

Quoting 63Bobster (Thread starter):
After 30 minutes we started to worry about being on time to catch the ferry to Ko Phi Phi

That's always a worry when one has connections, so it is good to learn that you made it just in time.

TG seems to have made the journey a pleasant experience but what was chaotic about the boarding? Was it that passengers just boarded en masse rather than being called by zones?

Quoting 63Bobster (Thread starter):
whinelists

What? You can select what you're going to whine about.  
Quoting 63Bobster (Thread starter):
Apparently priority even worked when the biggest part was travelled with an Oneworld airline

That's good news, although with interline agreements there shouldn't really be any problems.

Thanks for sharing your first trip report with us. I look forward to reading your next one about the A380 in J.

Regards,
Roy.


User currently offline63Bobster From Netherlands, joined Jan 2012, 43 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (2 years 5 months 2 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 15370 times:

Thanks for your reply

Quoting Quokkas (Reply 1):
TG seems to have made the journey a pleasant experience but what was chaotic about the boarding? Was it that passengers just boarded en masse rather than being called by zones?

In the boarding announcement Royal Silk passengers and ROP elite members were invited to board the aicraft first, which apparently was a sign for all passengers to push their way to the gate, if they weren't already there.
I had similar experiences in BKK many times when boarding for domestic flights, waving a Royal Silk boarding pass while standing amidst 200 Y passengers that have no plans of letting you go first. Somehow Thai doesn't seem to be able to live up to their own priority boarding policy and the boarding process in Hong Kong was therefore a pleasant surprise.


User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 15
Reply 3, posted (2 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 15158 times:

Hi

Great report, thanks for sharing it with us. HKT looks great!



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently onlineba319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8470 posts, RR: 55
Reply 4, posted (2 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 14919 times:
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Nice report and pictures, the new J cabin on the TG A330's looks good, a vast improvement over the old one.

Cheers

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333,342
User currently offline63Bobster From Netherlands, joined Jan 2012, 43 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (2 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 14750 times:

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 3):
Hi

Great report, thanks for sharing it with us. HKT looks great!

Thanks, There are some beautiful islands in southern Thailand (I'm not too fond of Phuket itself) but obviously I took those pics quite early in the morning to avoid the crowds.


User currently offline63Bobster From Netherlands, joined Jan 2012, 43 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (2 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 14735 times:

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 4):
Nice report and pictures, the new J cabin on the TG A330's looks good, a vast improvement over the old one.

It is a big improvement indeed. It's only a 4 hour flight to Hong Kong but we still managed to have a good nap in those seats.


User currently offlineSpeedbird741 From Portugal, joined Aug 2008, 654 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (2 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 14652 times:

Cool report, thanks for posting  
Quoting 63Bobster (Thread starter):

This A330 wont leave anytime soon, on Flickr

I wish it were an A330 or a 777, but unfortunately it's an A340  

Speedbird741



Boa noite Faro, Air Portugal 257 climbing flight level 340
User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 24735 posts, RR: 46
Reply 8, posted (2 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 14518 times:

Thanks for the TR. Sounds like your vacation was good.


Regarding Thai, unfortunately while for the most part I like the airline, I've almost given up on them until they sort out all their various cabin offerings. I've been disappointed more than once with aircraft swaps and its really at the point one really does not know what to expect until you board the aircraft for a good portion of their fleet models.
As a company I wish they would focus on this aspect of their product and look to standardize around something so that one can for good or bad can confidently expect and be aware of what the TG product really is.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offline63Bobster From Netherlands, joined Jan 2012, 43 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (2 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 14271 times:

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 8):
I've almost given up on them until they sort out all their various cabin offerings. I've been disappointed more than once with aircraft swaps and its really at the point one really does not know what to expect until you board the aircraft for a good portion of their fleet models.

I read about that more often on A.net. So far I was lucky I guess and always had the aircraft and cabin that I expected, I've been in their 747 First Class a couple of times (trip reports will follow soon) which is offered to J passengers on domestic 747-routes and it was always the new cabin.
This particular flight from HKG to HKT was my first experience of swapping equipment on the last minute, but they certainly made it right by having a new model in place for the return trip  .


User currently offline63Bobster From Netherlands, joined Jan 2012, 43 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (2 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 14262 times:

[quote=Speedbird741,reply=7]
I wish it were an A330 or a 777, but unfortunately it's an A340[/quote

I'm sorry, you're right (looked up the reg.) Somehow it was in my memory that I photographed an A330 at that time, and sometimes the 'Post' button is faster than looking it up  


User currently offline63bobster From Netherlands, joined Jan 2012, 43 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 5 hours ago) and read 12502 times:

Oops, I just realized that I accidentally put a photo of the inbound menu between the photo's of the outbound flight, here's the proper menu at last..



.


User currently offlinenethkt From Thailand, joined Apr 2001, 1063 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 12364 times:

Many thanks for the trip report on this HKG-HKT route.
I love this flight being a Phuketian!   However, the schedule is more suitable for HKG pax.

I understand the feeling of last minute or ad hoc aircraft swap. HKG-HKT should be new Sogerma J 330 since last winter.
Thai is infamous for the case. But I've actually experienced a few cases on ANA business myself.
From 763WL Biz cradle to 763 non-cradle and 77W new staggered to 772ER regional  

I actually prefer the Royal Orchid lounge at Int' departure side HKT due to variety of food and beverages plus alcoholic ones, but luckily I was never there when Transaero pax are around, I know, I know  

Those Phi Phi photos are amazing. I'm sure you had plenty of fun.

Hope to see you back at my hometown again.
Cheers,
Net-Hkt



Let's just blame it on yields.
User currently offline63bobster From Netherlands, joined Jan 2012, 43 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (2 years 3 months 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 12100 times:

Quoting Nethkt (Reply 12):
I understand the feeling of last minute or ad hoc aircraft swap. HKG-HKT should be new Sogerma J 330 since last winter.
Thai is infamous for the case.

Well, it's not really a big deal and at least we had a refurbished A330 back to HGK

Quoting Nethkt (Reply 12):
Those Phi Phi photos are amazing. I'm sure you had plenty of fun.

We certainly had and for me it is more or less a tradition to go diving at Ko Phi Phi at least once a year as the conditions are very easy and the marine life is still pretty healthy considering all the tourism in the area.


User currently onlineRoseflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9467 posts, RR: 52
Reply 14, posted (1 year 9 months 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 9091 times:

Thank you for the trip report. I just booked this flight (HKT-HKG) so it is good to get a preview of what to expect. I'll be hoping for the new configuration. Are there any PTV's in the old configuration? I'll be flying ICN-HKT-HKG, so I guess it is good to hope for the new configuration on both flights. Any word on how many airplanes are in the new configuration?

How long did you have in the airport in Phuket prior to departure? Was it quick, or did you need a couple hours?



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offline63bobster From Netherlands, joined Jan 2012, 43 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 7230 times:

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 14):
I just booked this flight (HKT-HKG) so it is good to get a preview of what to expect.

I only just now (01-2013) read your reaction so my answers might be a bit obsolete but I'll try anyway..

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 14):
Are there any PTV's in the old configuration?

Yes, there are, foldable ones inside the centre armrest.

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 14):
Any word on how many airplanes are in the new configuration?

I have no idea, I am to understand that eventually all A330 aircraft are to be refurbished. I have a domestic A330-flight to Hat Yai coming up shortly so I'm curious about the interior. I'm sure a domestic roundtrip I take in February to Chiang Rai on an A300-600 will have the same interior as for the past years.

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 14):
How long did you have in the airport in Phuket prior to departure? Was it quick, or did you need a couple hours?

On that particular day of the week our departure coincided with a Transaero 747 departure and since there is no Fast Track in Phuket I really needed that time due to the crowd of Transaero passengers funneling through the same departure checkpoint. Just make sure you have ample time, especially if you want to visit the Lounge.


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