9V-SVC From Singapore, joined Oct 2001, 1799 posts, RR: 10 Posted (2 years 1 month 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 9707 times:
I had some flights in mind for January but because I had work commitment, I wasn't able to take many days off. Initially, I wanted to go to Taipei and fly on Transasia A330 inaugural flight on SIN-TPE sector but I decided to do what I always wanted to do and that is to fly on the 5th freedom flights between KUL-BKK. At this time, there are a few interesting operators flying on this route, they are Royal Jordanian, Egypt Air, Lufthansa and Ethiopian. I had previously flown with Ethiopian on BKK-HKG route and it was on a leased 767-300, ET-ALL. I wouldn't have mind flying the airline again hoping to get the airline's own aircraft. After considering all the factors, I went ahead with my booking for SIN-KUL and then KUL-BKK routing.
For my SIN-KUL booking, there was only one choice for me and that was Air Asia, I wanted to get into another special livery aircraft. I booked the 0845 flight which meant that I would arrive there at 10am. After arriving, I would have one whole day to spend before catching my evening flight to Bangkok. I decided to go with Egypt Air to Bangkok. The air ticket may be more expensive than the others, but flying the Boeing 777-300ER and adding another African Airline to my flight logbook, it was a bargain. Departing KUL at 10pm and arriving at Bangkok at 1115pm. From there, I would have an airport shuttle to take me to the hotel.
Later on, I browsed through some of the airlines' websites that were flying on BKK-HKG sector, I got myself attracted to the idea of flying on Kenya Airways to Hong Kong. My original plan was to do SIN-KUL-BKK and return and booking Royal Jordanian on the BKK-KUL which also meant that RJ would have been my 40th carrier! Because Kenya offered an attractive S$185 one way, I took a few days to think it through before booking it. Flying with this airline had also been in mind for quite sometime, it's good that I can get it done now! The only thing that would change BKK-HKG at this moment was for Ethiopian to change the current 767 equipment to 787 Dreamliner, but that didn't happen.
Anyway, for my return sector, I wanted to do PIA to Bangkok and then Scoot back to Singapore from there, but decided to leave it for my next trip and instead stayed one more day in Hong Kong. PIA flies on BKK-HKG-BKK sector on certain days only.
Both Kenya and Egypt Air's websites are using the Amadeus system and one would expect both to work flawlessly on whichever platform you use. I used my Ipad to do the booking with Egypt Air no problem but had problems with Kenya, the click button to continue on one of the pages couldn't take me to the next page (before payment), so I had to use my laptop to complete my booking. Changing the seats and updating your profile on your itinerary were not an issue for me, but my overall booking experience with both carriers was a bit disappointing. I hope for a more user-friendly type of website for passengers.
1st flight: Air Asia SIN-KUL (AK1804) -9M-AQR
Just another routine shuttle flight with this airline, as usual it was good.
The flight took about 1 hour 5 mins, it must have been the headwind as usually it takes only around 45 mins. My record flight from SIN-KUL is 35 mins and that was also on Air Asia! Anyway, I took this flight timing because I could spend more time at KUL viewing mall for some plane spotting session in the afternoon until my evening flight to Bangkok Airport.
My original seat was taken up by an Caucasian kid with her mum, I decided not to make a fuss about it since I had done this trip many times and instead moved to the empty seats at the rear. The set of crew was great and they had no problem with a few of us who decided to move so that we could get more space for ourselves. >
Once at KL's LCCT airport, I took a shuttle bus (Near the Coffee Bean) to KLIA, this cost only $2.50 Ringgit. The ride takes about 30 mins if I am not wrong, but the other passengers and myself were pretty pissed off with the driver for playing his Indian music so loud!
The sight of Egypt Air's Boeing 777-300ER probably excited me more than any other passengers.
Looking at the number of passengers at the gate, I was expecting a full flight, most were heading home to Cairo I reckoned. One lesson I learned about this is to select the back rows, usually they would be empty or at least a couple of seats would be.
Carrier: Egypt Air Flight number: MS961 Date: 25th January 2013 Routing: KUL-BKK Seat number: 48A, changed seat to the last row Aircraft type: Boeing 777-300ER Departure Gate: C22 Engine type: GE 90-115B My 10th ride on this aircraft, 7th airline to have flown on this aircraft type Departure runway: 34R Arrival runway: 19R 1st time on SU-GDO Line number: 907 Plane delivered: 15th Dec 2010 Configuration:C49Y297 Registration: SU-GDO FL: 350 Flight duration: 2 hours 5 mins Schedule departure time: 2200 Actual departure time: 2158 Schedule arrival time: 2315 Actual arrival time: 2250 Load factor for Y class: 95%
Because the announcement system was down, the Malaysian staff had to do it raise his voice and make the necessary announcements. I was one of the first few Y class passengers to board the Triple 7! The first impression was positive, once again the 777 wide cabin never fails to impress me, making my way down the long fuselage only to find that I already have seat companions. I excused myself and sat down soon after putting my personal belongings up the storage compartment. From then on it was exploring time, checking out what Egypt Air has to offer.
Pushed back was on time, looking around me at that point it was like almost full. Most passengers were Muslim and as Egypt Air is from a Muslim country, a special prayer was done just before the safety video was shown. It was a new and interesting experience for me, watching the others around me reciting the prayers shown on the screen. Didn't take video or photo as I wanted to respect their privacy. Once the safety video started, the lovely GE90 engines were started, one by one. The whole cabin vibrated and the noise level suddenly increased by 2 to 3 times for that period. I looked around me and I saw many were covering their ears! Anyway, we taxied to the runway and took off quite powerfully into the darkness. Another observation of mine, the flight crew didn't talk at all on this flight. When the plane started rolling, I saw a few cabin crew rushing to their seats. What a sight it was!
It was initially bumpy but once we left the Malaysian Peninsula, the ride was smooth and it was time for me to explore the cabin. Since there were a few empty seats behind, I decided to move there and I enjoyed the rest of the flight observing the cabin movements and of course the 777 ride!
The system is definitely one of the newest out there, not sure what system was it using. However, passengers on board was not able to enjoy the movies or music as the headset was not distributed. I wondered whether was it because of a complaint by àn Egypt Air a few days before my flight. >
Legroom space is reasonable
Seats: The seats are comfortable with ample legroom space. If I get stuck in that window seat for a 12 hours flight, I may get a bit uncomfortable but still not as a bad as a 3-4-3 configured 777 aircraft. Overall, I feel that the airline has gotten a decent Y class product.
No-electronic device sign instead of the usual no-smoking sign
That's what aviation enthusiasts like myself like to do, watching the map of our aircraft's location
I had a choice between this and chicken. This is the beef noodles from KL catering and its surprisingly good. I ate up everything within 15 mins I think. I guess being hungry also played a part.
In-flight experience The initial climb was quite smooth and seat belt signed was off until turbulence came in and it was only switched off after the meals were served, even though the flight was smooth way before that. Make sense if you ask me, makes the job easier for the cabin crew. Anyway, they were fast in serving and collecting their trays back was equally as efficient. Before I knew it, the plane started descending, all standard checks were made and the plane touched down Bangkok early. Got to say the passengers on board this flight have been pretty well-behaved and it seemed that I was the only Chinese on board.
This system is used on some other airlines like Etihad. The problems are similar to one another. One of them is the touch screen, you have to press very hard to get to the page you are looking for. Using the keypad can be a bit tricky but once you get the hang of it, its not that bad. There is no camera installed on the tail or landing gear, so the only view you can get is from the windows. Looking at the movies and music variety, I think that is good enough for long-haul flights. Overall, I give a rating of 7/10.
The crew may look aggressive and unfriendly at first, but when the service started, they were actually OK. Of course you can't compare the service to the top airlines such as SQ, EK, QR, OZ, NH, JL ...etc, but overall I find this set of crew pretty alright. One of them was kind enough to help me get my card signed by every member of the crew on board. A big thank you to them!
Website: 7/10 On ground service : 7/10 In-flight service: 7/10 seat comfort: 8/10
Conclusion Ipaid only US$153 for this one way ticket, it might be more expensive than the others but it is certainly worth every cent of it. The flight time may not be ideal but just for the flight experience on this exotic airline (at least to me) is worth it. I highly recommend anyone who wishes to do this, its great that this airline has 5th freedom rights on this routing otherwise you would have to fly to Cairo just to experience it. The in-flight product is great, as for service don't have high expectations of it but at least you know that the airline is heading towards the right direction, like Garuda Indonesia. So do I recommend this airline? Yes, this may just be my only flight with the airline so far, but I feel its not as bad as some of the major airlines out there.
9V-SVC From Singapore, joined Oct 2001, 1799 posts, RR: 10
Reply 1, posted (2 years 1 month 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 9600 times:
My 40th carrier: Kenya Airways
Introduction I have always wanted to give Kenya Airways a try ever since the Boeing 777 operated on this 5th freedom sector. Previously, the Boeing 767-300ER was used and the airfare back then in 2005 was slightly more expensive than Ethiopian Airlines. It turned out to be a great decision because not long after, the airline pulled the plug on this sector (BKK-HKG) and instead operating DXB-HKG sector, which meant that the airline would be left with only BKK-CAN. This route is opened for reservation, so if you want to try Kenya Airways without heading to its home base, you can give this a try.
I did my booking a few weeks before the date of departure. This time, I chose my seat last few rows near the rear of the aircraft originally at row 40A, then changed to 43J.
> > > >
The excitement of flying this airline became stronger as the time was ticking closer to my departure time. Anyway, for this BKK-HKG sector. There are many airlines flying on this sector, Kenya is the cheapest. I purchased this one way ticket for S$150 Economy class while the business class ticket cost only S$280.Quite a bargain if you ask me even if the J class is outdated, I still think its cheap. Anyway, since I had done BKK exploring before, I will skip this part and move on to the next part which is boarding the aircraft.
> > > > >
The bad thing about BKK airport is taking photos of aircraft, that is almost impossible as you can see from the photos.
Boarding Looking at the passengers for this flight, most were Asians and the load was probably 60% with lots of empty seats especially at the rear. My original seat 43J was taken by an African who probably was on the NBO-BKK sector, I moved to the 2-seater seats just a few rows behind my assigned and settled there for the rest of the trip. Doors were closed early and we stayed at the gate for a good 20 minutes before pushing back which was on time and made our way to 19L for a quick departure.
Carrier: Kenya Airways
Flight number: KQ860
Date: 27th January 2013
Seat number: 43J changed to 45J
Aircraft type: Boeing 777-2U8ER
Departure Gate: E1
Engine type: RR Trent 892
Departure runway: 19L
Arrival runway: 07L
1st time on 5Y-KQS
Line number: 522
Plane delivered: 17th June 2005
Registration: 5Y-KQS FL: 370
Flight duration: 2 hours 5 min
Schedule departure time: 1410
Actual departure time:1355
Actual arrival time: 1730
Schedule arrival time: 1750
Load factor: 60%
> On board I was one of the first to board the aircraft and already saw some passengers on board, they were passengers from the previous leg and I was surprised to see Thai crew and a few charming Thai ladies serving us on this flight, can't imagine to be honest. Anyway, when I got to my row, there were some African gentlemen, but I decided to just move to to the 2-seater seats anyway and hoped for the best. Lucky enough, the seats at the rear were mostly empty and some of the other passengers changed seats. We sat at the tarmac for another 20 minutes before the plane pushed back and our journey began.
Legroom space > >
The legroom space is reasonable, not the best but I think I would do ok if I were to fly on longer sectors such as NBO-BKK.
Economy Y class seats >
As you can see how empty the rear of the aircraft is ! Great for passengers who like to stretch their legs. The crew had no problem with photography.
Basic PTV system which reminds you of the early 2000s. Its an outdated system, but its easy to use. I will give this a 5/10 for the PTV system. Perhaps the airline can invest in a better PTV system to attract the others to fly with this airline especially on long haul. Day flights would be important to have a good PTV system to keep some of the passengers entertained.
The colour combination of the seats reminds me of LAN Airlines's interior. Good thing about the seating configuration is the 3-3-3 layout which is definitely more comfortable than the 3-4-3. Legroom space was sufficient while the seat cushion a little hard but not too bad. Overall, I will give a 6/10 for the seats.
Paying US$125 for this one trip is a bargain, its the cheapest among the carriers that are flying on this route. Its a great pity that this route will be stop but looking at the load factor, I can understand why. I don't think the airline is making much on this route. I was quite surprised as I thought there would be a mixture of African and Asian crew on board and it doesn't feel like an African carrier while on the flight itself. I guess the other passengers like myself are disappointed that this option would no longer be available. However, if you are looking at flying on Kenya Airways without the need of flying to Africa, you can do Bangkok-Guangzhou on its Boeing 767-300ER but sadly for the 777 fans, the Boeing 777-200ER will be deployed to other destinations. Anyway, I feel that this should consider upgrading the PTV system to make itself more competitive against the "giants" from the middle-east.
b737100 From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 158 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (2 years 1 month 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 9133 times:
What a great trip report, thank-you for sharing! I really like the trip cards you made, great memories. It is so fun to ride 5th freedom flights, unfortunately in north america, there are few, if any left. Famous ones were LH DFW/MEX, AF IAH/MEX and the famous JL YVR/MEX, alas, all gone. I was able to take the last flight of PR107 LAS/YVR on the A340 which was a real treat.
ronerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1675 posts, RR: 53
Reply 4, posted (2 years 1 month 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 8710 times:
Very cool report!
I am very much interested in flying Egyptair (especially their 77W) and i am quite surprised to see such a good meal offered in Economy Class. On Royal Jordanian in Business Class -on the same 5th Freedom route- i was served a serving of three very small open face sandwiches. But then again, Egyptair has a daily service and they seem to be doing much better than Royal Jordanian on the KUL route.
I also found KQ to be quite decent, but nothing overly special. I think Ethiopian is a far more interesting airline, and even they can be hit or miss.
Thanks for sharing this with us! Looking forward to more!
A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
9V-SVC From Singapore, joined Oct 2001, 1799 posts, RR: 10
Reply 7, posted (2 years 1 month 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 7268 times:
Quoting b737100 (Reply 2): It is so fun to ride 5th freedom flights, unfortunately in north america, there are few, if any left. Famous ones were LH DFW/MEX, AF IAH/MEX and the famous JL YVR/MEX, alas, all gone. I was able to take the last flight of PR107 LAS/YVR on the A340 which was a real treat.
Thank you very much! I still miss the 80s and 90s, there were so many choices for us and that was before the alliances were formed. In Singapore, we used to have many 5th freedom flights especially on SIN-BKK sectors, but sadly the LCCs came and end these flights.
Quoting debonair (Reply 3): Looking fwd for the next trips - hopefully PIA! Another interesting carrier and one of the few left to fly the A310!
I will be probably be doing the PIA A310 too on BKK-HKG sector probably in June or July, can't wait to do that!
Btw. ever tried MAI on the SIN-BKK route?
Nope, but I have plans to do that in the near future.
Quoting ronerone (Reply 4): I am very much interested in flying Egyptair (especially their 77W) and i am quite surprised to see such a good meal offered in Economy Class. On Royal Jordanian in Business Class -on the same 5th Freedom route- i was served a serving of three very small open face sandwiches. But then again, Egyptair has a daily service and they seem to be doing much better than Royal Jordanian on the KUL route.
Yeah, according to the crew, the airline's load on this sector are usually high and making quite a bit of $$ so this route will definitely stay for the near future at least. I should be doing RJ soon, can't wait to try them out!
Quoting ronerone (Reply 4): I also found KQ to be quite decent, but nothing overly special. I think Ethiopian is a far more interesting airline, and even they can be hit or miss.
Got to try ET again some time. By the way, I happen to see ET's 757 in BKK. Is it schedule or just a temporary measure since the 787s are grounded, do you have any idea?
Quoting The777Man (Reply 5): Fare seem very cheap and so good idea for you to take advantage of getting on new carriers and not paying that much.
So all of the KQ cabin crew were Thai ?
Yeah, great to fly on the 777s once again. Yeah, you never know when will the airfare go up!
Yeah, all the crew on board were Thai except for the flight crew. I think they are Europeans, can't remember.
Quoting lychemsa (Reply 6): Egyptair formerly known as MISRAIR has been in operation since the 1930s.
flightsimboy From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 1364 posts, RR: 4
Reply 8, posted (2 years 1 month 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 7236 times:
Great report of some of Africa's main airlines. With Egytair commencing services to Toronto from June, it will a pleasure to see the Boeing 777-300ERs arrive and depart from Pearson.
Kenya Airways seems to be a nice carrier. Interesting to see they have featured their Thai cabin crew on the main screen of the Thailand pages. I guess an indication of what to expect when on boards those flights.
Quoting 9V-SVC (Thread starter): The sight of Egypt Air's Boeing 777-300ER probably excited me more than any other passengers
Can't wait to see her at Pearson!! However not at that view at the gate, as Etihad has really spoilt me to continue flying with them. Besides MS does not fly to Karachi!
Quoting 9V-SVC (Thread starter): However, passengers on board was not able to enjoy the movies or music as the headset was not distributed. I wondered whether was it because of a complaint by àn Egypt Air a few days before my flight
What really happened here? Not sure if you were intending to share it?
Quoting 9V-SVC (Thread starter): Seats: The seats are comfortable with ample legroom space. If I get stuck in that window seat for a 12 hours flight, I may get a bit uncomfortable but still not as a bad as a 3-4-3 configured 777 aircraft. Overall, I feel that the airline has gotten a decent Y class product.
The blue screens and the blue seat covers give the aircraft a very soothing feel....
I tried to quote the section where you indicated an African male FA, but lost the entire comments I had quoted and replied to .....So were the crews all Thai or were there African FAs as well, as you indicated in your posts.