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Flash Trip: LAX-BKK NH & UA Via NRT Y/Y+  
User currently offlineLHRBFSTrident From UK - Northern Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 658 posts, RR: 0
Posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 10375 times:

There are so many excellent trip reports on A.Net, and excellent trip reporters! Apologies in advance for the so-so quality of this report by comparison to those masterpieces. However, rather than just being a consumer, I wanted to offer up something in return – welcome to our flash trip to Asia!

Background

2013 has been a bit slow for us with respect to travel, so we jumped at the chance to grab a few days in Asia while investigating the world of Medical Tourism in Bangkok.

Thanks to Great Circle Mapper - excellent resource!

We could only spare 3 days away from work, which would mean leaving on Friday and returning on Wednesday (and heading straight to work from the morning arrival that day!)

Being die-hard Star Alliance loyalists – UA 1Ks with GPUs to burn - we were looking to fly UA and upgrade to J. However there were no R/RN class seats available on our dates of travel (or on any dates of travel; a situation that has become notoriously bad in the last year with UA).

As the search results returned mainly codeshare flights, both of NH on UA metal and UA on NH metal, we decided that we’d much prefer to gamble on NH in Y (which we have never tried) rather than stock-standard UA in Y+.

We briefly considered OZ and/or TG via ICN but both were astronomically expensive as we were only booking 7 days before travel.

CA was a distant 4th choice, and SQ timings via SIN require an overnight in both directions (at the very least: a 2am-7am stopover at Changi on the outbound trip).

Booking was made via United.com under the UA flight numbers – it’s a general rule of ours to book via the carrier whose metal operates the flight: in this case though it came down to United.com offering the best price.

Seat assignments were not available for the NH sectors via UA.com, and strangely not available at ANA.com even using the NH PNR. A quick work-around was to make a dummy booking on NH.com, view the seatmap and then call ANA to request particular seats.

The telephone agent couldn’t have been more charming and accommodating in our seat requests, and although the cabin looked pretty much completely pre-assigned, we did manage to get 2 seats together with aisle access – a great first interaction with NH!

April 26, 2013 LAX-NRT NH005 12:25-16:05 +1, Y ticketed as UA9685
April 27, 2013 NRT-BKK UA837 18:30-23:15 Y

May 1, 2013 BKK-NRT UA838 06:00-14:14 Y
May I, 2013 NRT-LAX NH006 17:10-11:00 Y ticketed as UA9686



Day of Travel:

A breakfast meeting that ran late (thankfully at home) meant that we were dashing to LAX – our 8-minute commute to the airport frequently lulls us into a false sense of security…

…and also meant that I forgot to pack a toothbrush, my lucky travel watch and any belts at all...oh well it’s only a short trip and we can buy anything we need underway in Asia.

With apologies for the blurry photos – all were taken with iPhone 5 and most were taken while on the move…


LAX

I’m the guy who loves LHR (all of it!), CDG Terminal 1, BKK and also LAX. But even Bradley was not looking its best today:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4448_zps9e26b3d8.jpg

and FIDS: http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4453_zps80b9999d.jpg
yup – no flights on display: what a disappointment…


ANA Check-in:

http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4449_zps88e05c4f.jpg
interesting that Star Golds are ahead of Business Class…

http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4451_zps020afd9e.jpg
R waiting – we were called over immediately. The check-in agent was friendly but not overly chatty – and rigorously adhered to the Japanese custom of handing anything to the client with 2 hands, which makes everything they give you feel extra-special!

We enquired about purchasing upgrades to Premium Economy, as we feared Y would be completely full, so the agent called over a supervisor who was much warmer and very chatty. She acknowledged the Star Gold status right away and took our boarding passes away to reprint them – apparently the UA*G message line was missing.

It was a no-go for upgrades for purchase today – in the event W was 50% full, so perhaps NH is missing a revenue trick here? In any case Y was to be very light which meant that staying in Y was ultimately the best outcome overall.

http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4452_zps59ba72f9.jpg
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4455_zps1ba90f38.jpg

Our recent TSA experiences have been quite good – but this was not one of those days – there was barking, there was screaming, there was gnashing of teeth…

But I just went to my happy place of spotting the MU A346 in SkyTeam livery – it looks very smart (although you’ll never see me on it!)

http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/11c07b84-9dfb-403b-a86a-6f06b5cb88ef_zps48a26a6b.jpg



Star Lounge LAX

http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4467_zpsc8144be2.jpg

No more tarmac views from the lounge – the new construction has resulted in the windows being blanked out:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4458_zpsece64f6e.jpg

Only managed to get the Star FIDS on a codeshare scroll, bah!
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4465_zpsd0b41004.jpg

First time for me that a codeshare boarding pass issued by the operating carrier has the codeshare flight info more prominently displayed than their own flight info:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4459_zps1b9d624c.jpg

Fittingly the midday snack on offer was ‘A Taste of Thailand’:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4461_zpsa350e2ed.jpg It did look rather like a dog’s breakfast but it was actually excellent (and a pleasant surprise over the customary ‘Star Alliance Fried Rice’ on offer here).

Shortly thereafter an ANA agent circled the lounge to announce boarding in 10 minutes. Poor Freq Flyer Etiquette (PFFE) example 1:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4460_zps80b6fcc2.jpg
The man on his mobile flags down the ANA rep and makes her wait until he has completed his telephone call and then asks her what information she has; whereupon she politely delivers the news that boarding will be 10 minutes later than usual.

He pulls out his boarding pass and says, ‘No! – my boarding pass says boarding begins now!’ so the agent politely apologizes and says there is a short delay (10 mins) and he says at top volume, so that the entire lounge is disturbed, ‘Why the hell do you guys print this stuff if you can’t even get it right!’

Urgh: hopefully he’s not sitting near us…


On our way to Gate 101: http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4469_zps9640076e.jpg
OZ 744 to ICN

http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4470_zps6753334f.jpg
CX 77W to HKG

http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4472_zps1ea42603.jpg
CX – is it just me or does this 77W look oddly like a DC-10 here?!

http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4473_zps02d39842.jpg
Finally boarding

ANA app for iPhone home screen:


Appropriate Rego:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4475_zps9c787ae9.jpg
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4476_zpsf73f0fbb.jpg


Cabin

Passing through F:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4477_zps2c5d74a7.jpg
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4478_zpsef0cd039.jpg

Main J cabin:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4479_zpsfdea6f99.jpg

Forgot to take a pic of the W cabin – apologies…

Y Cabin: it all looks very smart and impeccably maintained:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4480_zps2894f223.jpg

I have never seen a 2-4-3 configuration before – except in old Swissair seatmaps of their original 747s…
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4487_zpsb02de9f0.jpg Port side

http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4484_zps0e748d60.jpg

http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4489_zpsd64b3f38.jpg Starboard side

http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4483_zpsbe4f5714.jpg

http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4485_zps1a0f001a.jpg

http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4488_zps4a192de1.jpg

http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4486_zpsd8c4b047.jpg

The seat (sliding recline-type: my first time experiencing these seats)
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4482_zps101c450f.jpg

http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4493_zps092af6c6.jpg

http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4492_zpsf6dee057.jpg

http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4495_zpsdc86748a.jpg

Customary knee-shot – this row had excellent knee room at the window due to the curvature of the rear fuselage and the resulting angle of the seat row:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4496_zpsf331c00d.jpg


R attempting to demonstrate the sliding recline of the seatback – it looks like nothing at all but was in fact quite comparable to other traditional Y-seat reclines


This indicator on each headrest side panel shows green for ‘upright’ and red for ‘reclined’:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4512_zps2c571cba.jpg


Airfield action:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4498_zps29d82933.jpg

BA279 the first of 3 daily BA 744s arriving from LHR in the summer timetable:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4500_zps235fe705.jpg

Turning onto the departure runway with CX following:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4502_zps04f66dc0.jpg
LAX signature concrete, in green and beige.

Rolling:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4503_zps03b886be.jpg

Rotation with wingflex:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4504_zps66842993.jpg

Airborne:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4505_zpsc8541e8a.jpg
Bradley Mark 2 (actually this shot was suppose to be of the MU A346 – but it didn’t quite work out that way…
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4506_zps32a3099b.jpg

http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4508_zpse9be3fb9.jpg

Welcome back for the summer AB:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4509_zpse1c9d7e8.jpg

Bye L.A. – our place just visible at the end of the Marina Channel:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4510_zpsc3bdfeab.jpg

Time to settle in for the 11 hours to Narita -
So much seatback literature – I love the level of detail about nearly every aspect of the flight and service:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4513_zps485e1bea.jpg

http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4528_zps389a309b.jpg

http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4514_zps76f6d5b6.jpg

http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4515_zpsdc77bf06.jpg

http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4518_zps7f947cfa.jpg

And so the service begins: hot towels – fab! Then aperitifs before lunch:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4525_zps21b75769.jpg

ANA has a ‘signature soft drink’ called Kaoru Kabosu, made from a citrus-type fruit (from what I can gather from the description, which is detailed in Japanese and a little patchy in English). The last page of the menu pamphlet advertises a Gin and Kaoru Kobosu as a delicious alternative to G&T: so I attempt to order it…

First I received a glass of Smirnoff (?), then I received a glass of Kaoru Kabosu and then finally after much smiling and pointing, a Gin and Kaoru Kabosu - plus the customary rice snacks:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4526_zpsb92ea485.jpg[/URL]
R opted for the much safer G&T, per our long-haul ritual – and all served with so much grace and precision, we feel like we’re in First class!

An iceberg in the Smirnoff – it turns out that a Smirnoff and Kaoru Kabosu is just as delicious as the gin version, if lacking that extra zing of gin:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4527_zps2cddbe56.jpg

Aperos and blue skies – life is good!
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4523_zpsc9f54d6b.jpg

Here comes the cart again:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4530_zps71a9c31f.jpg

This pic was supposed to show the design of the ANA uniform and apron: unfortunately the camera seems to have added 50lbs to this actually very slender member of the cabin crew!
(sunglasses added by me to protect the identity of very nice fellow pax):
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4529_zpsa461781d.jpg

What’s for lunch? Consult the menu pamphlet or the IFE menu:

Western Choice
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4520_zps7539df48.jpg

which turns out to look like this (thanks, R, for composing your tray):
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4531_zps9c714c34.jpg check out that whopping caloric value!

or the J-Menu choice:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4519_zps45c27efc.jpg

like so:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4532_zpsde86dd66.jpg

Dessert was subsequently handed out from an insulated tote bag:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4533_zpsbb7369c5.jpg

and after a great meal; time for a quick washroom visit:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4546_zps5080d490.jpg

http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4538_zpsf665ad6c.jpg
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4539_zpsdcc9832a.jpg

http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4540_zps8ab8cb69.jpg

The international symbol of clueless parenting?!
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4542_zps059be394.jpg

The curtain to the galley was kept closed the entire time, and there was hardly a sound from behind it. Yet when delivering some water glass discards through the curtain, it turned out to contain 6 or 7 flight attendants all chatting and having fun: what a nice surprise!
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4547_zps01fec677.jpg

We both got 3 seats to ourselves to bed down for some kip – so much for the flight being full according to the seatmap – and luxuriated in several hours of enjoyable lie-flat napping zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

Where are we now?
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4537_zps3ccfdb43.jpg

Time to go and bother the cabin crew again – this time at the doors 4 galley:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4543_zpsea8c0634.jpg

Kept meticulously clean and organized: it looks the same now as it did during boarding – except for snacks and juice in the insulated tote:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4544_zpsf655e318.jpg

Completed my questionnaire and was offered an ANA pen for my pains:

13 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinedirktraveller From Singapore, joined Jan 2011, 623 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 9799 times:

Hi LHRBFSTrident

Congratulations on your first trip-report, it is a really nice read!

I have been on an NH flight before and found their service to be excellent, although it was on a B763 with the older product.

Quoting LHRBFSTrident (Thread starter):
R attempting to demonstrate the sliding recline of the seatback – it looks like nothing at all but was in fact quite comparable to other traditional Y-seat reclines

So, the NH seats on these long-hauls have the sliding recline, similar to those CX shell-seats on Economy? How did you find it for the trans-pac, was it comfortable enough?

Quoting LHRBFSTrident (Thread starter):
I have never seen a 2-4-3 configuration before – except in old Swissair seatmaps of their original 747s…

Me too. This is the first time I heard about a 2-4-3 configuration on this modern era where 777s are mostly configured 3-3-3 or 3-4-3

Thanks for sharing.

Regards,
Dirktraveller


User currently offlineLHRBFSTrident From UK - Northern Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 658 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 9631 times:

Apparently the rest got cut off - here you go:


Completed my questionnaire and was offered an ANA pen for my pains:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4534_zps9e529faf.jpg

And sometime later the cabin begins to wake up:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4550_zps2b4ce7d1.jpg

Mood lighting was in use, I just didn’t catch it in time…
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4551_zps35c728b4.jpg

and so it’s time for dinner, or is it lunch, or is it brunch?!
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4545_zps18ecc9f3.jpg
Now: among the many oddities I possess, one is a love of airline food (I know I’m in safe company on A.net in confessing this). I have been ‘savouring’ airline meals since my first cardboard lunch-box served aboard a Vickers Viscount between INV and BHX in 1978 at 5 years of age – I even brought an extra one home and kept it in the fridge for days afterwards and was inconsolable when told to finally discard it!

This offering from ANA was simply THE BEST Y-meal I have ever had in every respect. Great flavour, great presentation, perfect quantity and surprisingly appropriate at 10pm body-time or 2pm local time…

Another thing I love about ANA – the meal trays were coated with this anti-slip coating that ensured everything stayed exactly in place – Japanese precision again…

Landfall:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4561_zps4d4dfb28.jpg

On approach:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4563_zpsb772adfd.jpg

Our shadow on approach to NRT:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4566_zpsd53fa644.jpg

Touchdown – and 4 grounded Dreamliners (3xJL, 1xUA)
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4567_zps3668dbad.jpg

Terminal 1, Satellite 4 with an AM 762 in SkyTeam livery taxiing out for departure:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4568_zps49c5408d.jpg

Stand position at the end of Satellite 4:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4570_zps5a6515b5.jpg

Disembarkation message:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4571_zps4afa7847.jpg

Neighbour from YVR while we disembarked:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4573_zps9a944cfc.jpg


Fresh from across the Pacific in the evening light:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4572_zps09ea4848.jpg

Wow – ANA performed almost flawlessly in Y across the Pacific!

The cabin was ultra-clean and organized and stayed that way the whole way to NRT.

The crew was professional and showed a human touch, but were clearly following the service protocol to the letter.

And now a transit at Narita for 2.5 hours before joining UA for the continuation of UA837 SFO-NRT-BKK.

Luckily the ANA international transit area on the 5th floor was quiet and we were though in 2 minutes, despite being the last off the aircraft.

There are 2 NH lounges at NRT – satellite 4 and satellite 5 and we eventually used both. Arriving at the satellite 4 lounge, we found that the main lounge was full and were directed to a back elevator, where we arrived at an upper level usually used for F-Class pax but which can be sectioned off to be used as overflow for J/*G pax. This area had all the usual amenities, except showers.

There was a counter here for hot food – several noodle dishes were available or ‘curry’, which is what we ended up ordering. The best part of this lounge annex was the view across the A380 gates.

Curry and TG A380:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4576_zps252305c7.jpg
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4574_zpsb5b20185.jpg

AC departing to YYC?
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4575_zps8bdef4bd.jpg

To get to the larger NH lounge, the short cut from Satellite 4 to Satellite 5 is through the tunnel under the apron and taxyway:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4578_zps76a8dcd5.jpg

Great views from up here too – TG and SQ A380s in the background:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4579_zps88c71e54.jpg

http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4580_zpsb7868734.jpg

After a very refreshing shower (sorry no pics), it was time to head over to Satellite 3 where the UA evening bank occurs every day in NRT. With arrivals from LAX, SFO, SEA, IAH, ORD, IAD, EWR (soon DEN) SIN, BKK, (there must be HKG and GUM services too?) and departures to all the same destinations, UA has a pretty substantial operation here.

UA837 from SFO operates as a 744 across the Pacific, and then changes gauge in NRT to a 777-200ER for the continuation to BKK:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4583_zps95a49cdf.jpg

An empty seatmap lulled us into a false sense of security – the flight was actually jam-packed. We had scored 31A & B upon booking – Y+ seats in a 2-set (only 4 such sets in Y+)

Here’s UA873 777-200ER Narita – Suvarnabhumi:

http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4585_zpsf378265d.jpg

We’re both UA 1K flyers – so we’re used to UA’s product and how variable it can be. We know how to take the rough with the smooth: and don’t expect to be treated in any special way (after all, just about everybody is 1K or GS these days).

We normally: don’t set our expectations too high, get good seat assignments and treat the cabin crew to a charm offensive so that we can win friends and hopefully be rewarded with a smile or 2.

This strategy failed almost completely on this flight (maybe our ‘charm’ was just offensive!) and there was a very unpleasant atmosphere on this aircraft from even before pushback.

The cabin crew were almost entirely morose and disaffected – from F/As rolling eyes at us in the galley across from the boarding door, to being screamed at by the F/As in the aisles about carry-on luggage and overhead stowage, complete with pointing and shouting (not really acceptable in most cultures; let alone on an intra-Asia flight). The cabin crew attitude was as if volunteering on a Mercy Evacuation Flight.

http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4589_zps6b6b7ce3.jpg

As much as boarding NH was organized and stressfree, this was like competing in a contact sport. Shouting, hitting, jostling: apparently all permitted in the rules of this game! If the bar scene from Star Wars were set on board a aircraft, then this would have been it!

The one exception was the purser, whose announcements were relaxed, polite and calming (delivered with his soothing English accent) – even when giving those highly condescending FAA warnings about congregating at the washrooms and galleys and the consequences of not heeding flight attendant instructions.

He even made an announcement to the effect of: “We know for many of you this is the continuation of a very long and tiring day of travel” as the majority were making same-day connections from the US: and I thought it was a nice touch to acknowledge this.

Sun setting and jetlag creeping in for most of the pax…
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4588_zpsc349a330.jpg

His colleagues, though, could not have cared less. In our immediate vicinity there was a group of approximately 20 teenagers/young adults from Myanmar – all brandishing pristine, newly issued passports and all connecting to Yangon/Rangoon early the next morning in BKK (they’d have to spend the night at Suvarnabhumi) and as they tried to stow their carry-ons, an F/A came marching up the aisle and shouted; “there’s no room for those, we’ll have to gate check them – take them to the front of the plane now – we’re about to depart”

This elicited blank looks from the students, whose English clearly wasn’t very fluent, to which he replied, ‘urgh – show me your boarding passes – this is too much stuff – it’s full up there’.

Cue students pulling out travel agency itineraries to show him; ‘No! BOARDING passes, I don’t know what that piece of paper is, sir – I need your boarding passes: all of you. What’s your final destination – Bangkok?”

This went on for 10 minutes, with the students becoming more flustered and the F/A becoming more impatient and eventually flat-out rude to these poor kids.

When their carry-ons had all been spirited away to the hold and everything was just about ready for departure, a few straggling pax arrived from a late connecting flight – and as they opened overhead bins to stow their bags – hey presto – 3 completely empty bins right above the Myanmar students.

I just hope the kids from Myanmar picked up their bags at BKK, because there’s no way they’d ever see their bags again in RGN – and with no UA office there and only a carbon paper UA tag they’d have a difficult time tracking them down…we would have helped them in BKK, but we lost track of them in the mix at immigration.

31A legroom Y+ (NH Y is more spacious!):
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4587_zpsc1372e30.jpg

Doors 4 behind this row:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4594_zps8b4b114e.jpg

Ready to go:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4595_zps56ef469f.jpg

Following take-off there was the normal Spiel about the service routine.

Drinks were offered and the cabin crew continued their version of the Muppet Show in the aisles.

It amazes me that if one works on a 777 (or any a/c, really) every day of your working life, then one knows that there are certain places that are high risk for bumping seats with one’s service carts, and yet one still makes that same mistake over and over again.

We’re not talking a tap now and again, I mean a fully-loaded cart with momentum crashing into the seatback at 30C with EVERY single pass of the cart, regardless if being pulled, pushed, forwards or backwards - I’ve come to the conclusion it’s a perverse Cabin Crew game to give the pax assigned in 30C the middle finger without actually making the gesture (today happened to be a very pleasant student from Myanmar in 30C).

Here’s the damage: same spot every time!
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4601_zps44295b79.jpg

Dinner was served and we managed to barter for some drinks with our Premier drinks chits.

I know the economy is bad, but this really felt like negotiating in inflationary Germany c.1930… It’s such an inefficient system: why not preload a certain number of drinks credits on the MP member’s membership card (it has a magnetic stripe) and then swipe it in the onboard handheld POS device (that this crew is STILL claiming is new ‘this week’ and they’ve only just been trained on!)

http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4591_zpsafc386f0.jpg

One word: atrocious!

The best thing on that tray: the Australian butter – it’s just a pity there wasn’t anything worth spreading it on!

Some sleep – some moon watching – and then another drinks service and finally the approach to BKK:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4596_zpsb3b6d2cf.jpg

http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4597_zps4f1983f2.jpg

Just to make the experience complete, we were assigned a remote stand – disembarking:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4602_zpse5b8bc8c.jpg

http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4603_zps1c4dc50c.jpg

NO PHOTO!
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4604_zpse10088cb.jpg

Ramp up to immigration:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4606_zpsbb1c8a7a.jpg

Arrivals hall:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4607_zps28b61219.jpg

Meet and Greet:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4608_zps10967c94.jpg

Finally in a cab leaving BKK – Japanese tour group complete with ‘Thai Princess’ welcome (under the middle bright light – texting!)
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4609_zps3ca94a40.jpg

and off to our hotel (Dream 2) in Sukhumvit 15 for a well-earned sleep (thanks to Jetsetter.com $69/night:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm288/Trident2E/IMG_4582_zps540db313.jpg

In conclusion: LAX-NRT-BKK is quite a long trip for 3 days – but it was well-worth it for our purposes (perhaps some pics when I post the return trip).

NH were great – the right fare, right service, right level of comfort and full FF credit to UA Mileage Plus – you even get the full 100% Premier bonus thanks to the UA/NH JV across the Pacific – I’d give them 10/10, as I don’t think there’s any way to improve their Y-product.

UA – objectively – were an ok method of getting from A to B.
UA – subjectively – don’t fly them after crossing the Pacific with NH – it just highlights the major differences between the 2 and UA doesn’t come off well: it’s like air travel but with all the romance and excitement stripped away - you have to provide that yourself!

With apologies to Gordon Bethune: but for me UA’s pizza might be becoming too cheap to eat. The fare was the same to travel on NH all the way through to BKK, we just thought we’d show UA some love when we booked and deliberately connected onto their metal in NRT both ways.

I think on future trips I’ll stick to NH all the way (or TG, OZ, BR – love *A!) and leave UA to the uninitiated, or those fearful of ‘foreign’ carriers.

Thanks for reading – feedback welcome!



Selected previous trip reports (quite old!)

VS: LHR -LAX In Y A340-600
Cyprus Airways ATH-LCA In Apollo Class
EVA Airways 747-400 LAX-TPE In Y: Pics , Pics , Pics
NW LAX-MSP-LHR And Back - Inflight Mortality !

[Edited 2013-05-12 18:11:23]

User currently onlineB747forever From Sweden, joined May 2007, 17147 posts, RR: 10
Reply 3, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 9444 times:

Great report on your flights to BKK.

Such a difference in service between NH and UA. It really is a downgrade in service. It seems that the only way US airlines can compete with foreign ones is to offer cheaper tickets.


Hopefully the whole TBIT experience will become better once the new building opens up.



Looking forward to more trip reports from you.



Work Hard, Fly Right
User currently offlinetriple7man From Thailand, joined May 2005, 763 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 8824 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

It sounds like you had a good flight on NH. The Asian carriers really give great service.
I was appalled at the service on UA. Looking at that TG A380, I bet you wish you were on that instead. I live in BKK and I have flown TG many times. Their service is usually very good, although I have found some TG ground personnel and flight attendants more willing to go out of their way to accomodate a passenger than others. Being on the TG A380 you would have access to all the AVOD and other features.
The purser's concession was nice, for those who had connected from inbound transpacific flights. Too bad the other f/a's weren't that nice.
The AC 767-300ER was flying to YVR. It does not have the range for YYZ. AC uses a 777-300ER on that flight.
Hope you enjoyed it here. It's hot isn't it? And it doesn't let up either!



Have you kissed a 777 today?
User currently offlinemoby147 From UK - England, joined Mar 2013, 52 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 8454 times:

1st Class report.

It is so disappointing to go onto a flight on a "better class" seat Y+ only to find the whole product is in fact much worse!

I have only flown United once from Bangkok to Japan (& return) as it was very cheap, but sadly so was the service, it looks like they have not upped their game.

Thank you for taking the time to report

Moby147


User currently offlinelychemsa From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 1261 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 8016 times:

Flying on a US airline for me is "torture."

It's always the same crappy unedible meals.


User currently offlinemetsfan1 From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 141 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 7241 times:

Great TR.

I empathize with you on realizing the difference between UA and NH. My wife and I recently returned from Asia using miles. We flew SQ Y from HKG to SFO and connected into the redeye back to EWR.

Connecting from Trans-Pac SQ on the 380 to the domestic UA redeye on a 738 was stark. I've flown UA domestic a lot especially tanscon and the seats/service never bothered me, except for when I did it right after getting off of a 12 hour SQ flight.

To boot, my wife keeps telling me we should now only travel to places where we can fly on SQ. A bit of a challenge on the east coast of the US, although I told her we could go to Frankfurt.


User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 16
Reply 8, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 6936 times:

Hey

Interesting report, thanks for sharing this one with us!
NH looks to be great, love the design of the Y seat!
UA sounded more average, especially with the F/As yelling during boarding and bumping the cart in 30C...


Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlineLHRBFSTrident From UK - Northern Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 658 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 6791 times:

Quoting dirktraveller (Reply 1):
although it was on a B763 with the older product.

which is what we would have travelled on NRT-BKK if we had only booked NH all the way through: regrets, regrets...

Quoting dirktraveller (Reply 1):
the NH seats on these long-hauls have the sliding recline, similar to those CX shell-seats on Economy? How did you find it for the trans-pac, was it comfortable enough?

Yes - the sliding recline á la CX: this was the first time for me - it was very comfortable: the seat is quite firm, but that actually makes it more comfortable over long-hauls than a soft, squishy cushion. Recline is OK for sleeping, plus with unobstructed foot space, you can shift around into several contortions for sleeping (I'm 6'2"...) Gin helps...

Quoting dirktraveller (Reply 1):
This is the first time I heard about a 2-4-3 configuration

I really liked it - except the 2-sets get pre-assigned really early, but the centre section of 4 is actually 2+2 with a double armrest in the middle, so there's plenty of space - pics in the next part...

Quoting B747forever (Reply 3):
Great report on your flights to BKK.

Thank you!

Quoting B747forever (Reply 3):
Such a difference in service between NH and UA. It really is a downgrade in service

Yes - it was very disappointing: just as you are getting exhausted with jet-lag and excited for your final leg and destination (and honestly could use some tlc by that point) you enter this odd alternate universe where flying becomes an awful chore, all stemming from a mediocre crew

Quoting triple7man (Reply 4):
Looking at that TG A380, I bet you wish you were on that instead

Yes - roll on December when we have award tickets CDG-BKK in TG F....can't wait!

Quoting triple7man (Reply 4):
The AC 767-300ER was flying to YVR

I thought the A330 went to YVR, the 763 to YYC and the 77W to YYZ - but perhaps I'm working my memory of last summer's schedule...

Quoting triple7man (Reply 4):
Hope you enjoyed it here.

Loved it - Thailand is an easy place to love!

Quoting moby147 (Reply 5):
1st Class report.

Thanks!

Quoting moby147 (Reply 5):
it looks like they have not upped their game.

Agreed - the hard product is actually quite good - it's amazing how much crew interaction can make of break the experience.

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 6):
the same crappy unedible meals.

completely inedible - the gamiest pieces of chicken I have ever tasted. Actually I thought the word had started to spin in reverse on its axis because the catering ex-LAX was EXCELLENT and the catering ex-NRT was atrocious

Quoting metsfan1 (Reply 7):
To boot, my wife keeps telling me we should now only travel to places where we can fly on SQ. A bit of a challenge on the east coast of the US, although I told her we could go to Frankfurt.

I created the same problem in my household - "this isn't like TG J", "that isn't like LX F", this other "isn't like NZ W" but I did manage to convince my other half to do a MR to SIN last December in UA Y...so I can hardly complain!

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 8):
hanks for sharing this one with us!
NH looks to be great, love the design of the Y seat!

You're welcome - thanks for the kind comment - the seat was great: ANA have clearly thought their product out very carefully and while the cabin won't win any trendy design awards, it was highly functional and well-organized!


User currently offlinetriple7man From Thailand, joined May 2005, 763 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 23 hours ago) and read 6547 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting LHRBFSTrident (Reply 9):
I thought the A330 went to YVR, the 763 to YYC and the 77W to YYZ - but perhaps I'm working my memory of last summer's schedule...

Forgot about YYC. You may be right. But AC definitely uses a 777-300ER YYZ-NRT-YYZ and YVR-HKG-YVR. And they use a 777-200LR YVR-SYD-YVR and YYZ-HKG-YYZ.



Have you kissed a 777 today?
User currently offlineba319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8588 posts, RR: 54
Reply 11, posted (1 year 7 months 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 5862 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Nice report and pictures, thanks for posting.

Quoting LHRBFSTrident (Thread starter):
No more tarmac views from the lounge – the new construction has resulted in the windows being blanked out:

- Bugger, hate lounges without views!

Quoting LHRBFSTrident (Thread starter):
The man on his mobile flags down the ANA rep and makes her wait until he has completed his telephone call and then asks her what information she has; whereupon she politely delivers the news that boarding will be 10 minutes later than usual.

He pulls out his boarding pass and says, ‘No! – my boarding pass says boarding begins now!’ so the agent politely apologizes and says there is a short delay (10 mins) and he says at top volume, so that the entire lounge is disturbed, ‘Why the hell do you guys print this stuff if you can’t even get it right!’

- How rude, really some people!!

Quoting LHRBFSTrident (Thread starter):
is it just me or does this 77W look oddly like a DC-10 here?!

- Yep, I can see where you are seeing it.

Quoting LHRBFSTrident (Thread starter):
What’s for lunch? Consult the menu pamphlet or the IFE menu:

- My one beef with ANA Y is that there is only two meal choices, Western and Japanese, if you don't like either you are stuffed.

Your NH experience mirrors my tow NH 788 flights, FRA-HND and HND-FRA, both were excellent, can't think of a way they could improve the Y experience other than offer additional menu choices. The crews were superb on both sectors, on the return there was a German member of the cabin crew, she was brilliant, kept me topped up with Scotch until I fell asleep.

I used to fly United all the time until the service started dropping off the cliff, not flown them for years and don't have any plans to - your meal looked revolting, who would have thought NH & UA could stand side by side in the same alliance.......

Cheers

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlineSR117 From Mexico, joined Jun 2000, 799 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (1 year 7 months 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 5737 times:

Thanks a lot for posting ! Ah this brought back good memories of flying transpacific on ANA   They sure make economy class feel very nice and dignified.

Quoting LHRBFSTrident (Thread starter):
2013 has been a bit slow for us with respect to travel, so we jumped at the chance to grab a few days in Asia while investigating the world of Medical Tourism in Bangkok.

Hmm, yes, I've enjoyed some nice preventive spa therapy in Bangkok, I wish I could beam over there for some right now.

Quoting LHRBFSTrident (Thread starter):
The check-in agent was friendly but not overly chatty – and rigorously adhered to the Japanese custom of handing anything to the client with 2 hands, which makes everything they give you feel extra-special!

Are the ladies wearing a red scarf? I seem to remember ANA check in staff at LAX wearing full ANA uniform (with the blue, purple and pink scarves) Is this still the case or have they hired another company to do their check in?

Quoting LHRBFSTrident (Thread starter):
It did look rather like a dog’s breakfast but it was actually excellent (and a pleasant surprise over the customary ‘Star Alliance Fried Rice’ on offer here).

That does look rather odd, but hey, as long as it tastes good 
Quoting LHRBFSTrident (Thread starter):
He pulls out his boarding pass and says, ‘No! – my boarding pass says boarding begins now!’ so the agent politely apologizes and says there is a short delay (10 mins) and he says at top volume, so that the entire lounge is disturbed, ‘Why the hell do you guys print this stuff if you can’t even get it right!’

Bad Frequent Traveller, bad bad ! Strange how some people can get so nasty so easily. I hope for the crew's sake he they behaved better during the flight.

Quoting LHRBFSTrident (Thread starter):
I have never seen a 2-4-3 configuration before – except in old Swissair seatmaps of their original 747s…

SR's MD-11s had a similar config. It's very passenger friendly, wish more airlines used it.

Quoting LHRBFSTrident (Thread starter):
Customary knee-shot – this row had excellent knee room at the window due to the curvature of the rear fuselage and the resulting angle of the seat row:

By the same token, the aisle seat space tends to be tighter no?

Quoting LHRBFSTrident (Thread starter):
check out that whopping caloric value!

Wow, so many calories, but hey, one must eat, and it's a holiday so no better time to splurge !

Quoting LHRBFSTrident (Thread starter):
ANA has a ‘signature soft drink’ called Kaoru Kabosu, made from a citrus-type fruit (from what I can gather from the description, which is detailed in Japanese and a little patchy in English). The last page of the menu pamphlet advertises a Gin and Kaoru Kobosu as a delicious alternative to G&T: so I attempt to order it…

Ah it's these little touches that make the flying experience special I think.

Quoting LHRBFSTrident (Thread starter):
This offering from ANA was simply THE BEST Y-meal I have ever had in every respect. Great flavour, great presentation, perfect quantity and surprisingly appropriate at 10pm body-time or 2pm local time…

That looks pretty good, is that a piece of ham next to the egg? You indeed are in good company with your fondness for airplane food  
Quoting LHRBFSTrident (Thread starter):
The cabin crew were almost entirely morose and disaffected – from F/As rolling eyes at us in the galley across from the boarding door, to being screamed at by the F/As in the aisles about carry-on luggage and overhead stowage, complete with pointing and shouting (not really acceptable in most cultures; let alone on an intra-Asia flight). The cabin crew attitude was as if volunteering on a Mercy Evacuation Flight.

The perils of UA. It really is a roulette as to what kind of service you'll get, some crews are top notch and awesome, some others are OK, but ever so often you'll get a crew that is just plain awful. It really does sour the flying experience, even if one isn't a particularly picky. I am sure it is especially painful after enjoying a flight on NH.

Thanks again for posting. Hope to see a report of the return journey  

Ricardo


User currently offlineLHRBFSTrident From UK - Northern Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 658 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (1 year 7 months 8 hours ago) and read 5289 times:

Quoting triple7man (Reply 10):
Forgot about YYC

I think YYC feels that AC does that to them too...

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 11):
Nice report and pictures, thanks for posting

you're welcome - positive reinforcement helps!

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 11):
Your NH experience mirrors my tow NH 788 flights

which was a great report, btw!

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 11):
who would have thought NH & UA could stand side by side in the same alliance.......

I fly UA for Star Alliance really - where the airlines are, by and large, excellent (there are others that seem like the Alliance of Misfits & Muppets...)

Quoting SR117 (Reply 12):
Thanks a lot for posting !

No problem

Quoting SR117 (Reply 12):
Are the ladies wearing a red scarf? I seem to remember ANA check in staff at LAX wearing full ANA uniform (with the blue, purple and pink scarves) Is this still the case or have they hired another company to do their check in?

It seems like that has changed - I really was expecting the full ANA experience at check-in but it seems like they are using a contract service (?) the uniforms weren't distinctive and the supervisor when she came over was wearing a plum-coloured dress of a different design, even though the others were rather ordinary in navy and grey.

Quoting SR117 (Reply 12):
By the same token, the aisle seat space tends to be tighter no?

The aisle seat on this a/c looked like it had decent leg space, unlike the BR 77W I travelled on previously where the aisle seat definitely lost out in the pitch variation as the fuselage tapered.

Quoting SR117 (Reply 12):
Wow, so many calories, but hey, one must eat, and it's a holiday so no better time to splurge !

What is that syndrome where one eats sensibly and healthily in everyday life, but then loses control and restraint on board an aircraft?

Ah yes: ANetter Syndrome - I suppose that makes me an 'ANetter Syndrome Survivor' (I'm gluten-free on the ground, but in the air I gobble up as much bread as I can see, even if it's the rock-hard cold rolls out of LAX - it defies all logic)

Quoting SR117 (Reply 12):
these little touches that make the flying experience special

agreed 100%

Quoting SR117 (Reply 12):
is that a piece of ham next to the egg?

Yes - jolly good it was, too. I've been noticing a lot of ham/pork products on airline menus recently - I guess the old rule of no pork in airline catering has been thrown out - it must be route/airline specific though.

Quoting SR117 (Reply 12):
Hope to see a report of the return journey  

uh-oh - that means I have to get writing - hats off to you guys who write frequent TRs: it's not as easy as you make it look!


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