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A Month In TH/PH, 16 Flights AY/FD/LH/OX/PR/TG  
User currently offlineLufthansa747 From Philippines, joined May 1999, 3201 posts, RR: 43
Posted (9 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 11105 times:

13166 words and 362 chapters - but it's finally complete... Hope you enjoy.

After finishing my spring term at university on the 4th of June, it was time for another Asian adventure. What I thought would be a three month summer holiday in total, was cut to just one month a day before…

I had inquired about a possibility to get a summer job at a company where I used to work before without receiving any reply for a month. On June 3rd, the boss called and asked if I would be available on July the 7th. Well, what is student who needs money to do? So, after confirming availability on AY 98 on July 6th with Finnair, I reluctantly picked up the phone and called the total rip-off Kilroy Travels hotline. Had an interesting conversation with a clueless agent – she insisted there was no availability when the flight was wide open in most classes including Q. She was trying to rebook me into some wrong booking class… I would never book with Kilroy/STA but they usually have the best deals.

After finishing packing, I took the 11:30am Intercity train to Helsinki, as I still had to make it to the Kilroy office before it closes to get my ticket stickered. I then headed to a friend’s place before catching the 615 bus to Helsinki Vantaa around 9pm.

05 June 2004
Helsinki Vantaa (HEL/EFHK) – Bangkok Don Muang (BKK/VTBD)
Finnair AY 097
McDonnell Douglas MD-11
OH-LGB
2335-1410 – On Time
Economy Class, Seat 29H


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Check-in was painless at the Finnair Platinum desk as usual, but no bulkhead seats were available unfortunately. I then walked through the empty Schengen terminal through passport check to the Gateway Fresh lounge, located in the non-Schengen area. Unfortunately Finnair closes all their lounges except The Longhaul Lounge (Emerald, longhaul C class) way too early when one is on the Bangkok flight. The Fresh lounge was its pathetic self – no food and even the drink selection had been downgraded. No Internet or showers or anything is available in this place.

Boarding started early at gate 31, and I made my way to 29H in the first economy class cabin. The seats and pitch in this section are pretty much as decent as economy class gets nowadays. Pushed back on time with a very high load and immediately taxied to runway 04R for takeoff. The good old MD11 takeoff performance was amazing again, and we rocketed into the sky after a rather short roll.

We headed south after departure, flew over Tallinn and then continued on the usual route that would take us over Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Bay of Bengal before reaching Burma and eventually Thailand ten hours later. Service began shortly after takeoff – drinks and a hot dinner was served. The chicken with rice, small salad and a chocolate were ok but nothing special. Finnair has upgraded the drink selections in both cabins; Renault VSOP and Chivas Regal are offered in economy for example.

The Finnish crew was a mixed bag on this flight – totally disinterested old prison matrons and some friendly young ones along with the usual Thai crewmembers. After the meal, I ended up chatting a while with some flight attendants and drinking too much wine. What the heck, I was on holiday after all… Upon returning to my seat, I fell asleep instantly and only woke up as the breakfast tray was slammed onto the traytable. It was the usual Finnair breakfast – an omelet, some hash browns and pork sausage as the main course, yogurt and fruit on the side.

Soon enough, we were on descent into Don Muang aka Bangkok International Airport. “Gorba” landed smoothly on 21L on time, and we taxied to some gate at concourse 5 – as far away from Immigration as possible. Immigration was quick as usual with no lines whatsoever, and a few minutes later I was on a taxi to the Westin Grande Sukhumvit where I stayed the first two nights.

The Westin Grande Sukhumvit, Bangkok

I stayed at the Westin four times on this trip. It was as good as last time, if not better. This hotel is now my favorite amongst the Bangkok hotels I’d say. Most staff remembered me by name. The service is very attentive. The Westin style is just what I like.

Renovations are almost complete by now, and only renovated rooms are available. These are nicely furnished in my opinion, and feature the fantastic Heavenly Bed. I was always given rooms on highest Starwood Preferred Guest floors – 19/20/21. On my fifth (overall) stay, I was given a Westin teddy bear as a gift. The location near Asok is perfect for me. Just can’t say enough good things about this place, and can’t wait to return…


10 June 2004
Bangkok Don Muang (BKK/VTBD) – Phuket International (HKT/VTSP)
Thai Air Asia FD 100
Boeing 737-301
9M-AAK
1035-1155 – On Time
Economy Class, Seat 15A (Exit Row)


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Photo © Sam Chui
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Photo © TTT


I booked this flight about a month in advance, 695 Baht or about 14 Euros with taxes. I strongly recommend not visiting entertainment establishments offering EUR 0.60 drinks if you have a morning flight… I obviously did, and woke up about 9:15 am, subsequently in a real hurry to the airport. It was raining cats and dogs as I was trying to catch a taxi from Sukhumvit Soi 3… The journey was quick enough, and I was probably one of the last ones to check-in for FD 100 to Phuket. The agents were friendly, and I was given one of those supermarket receipt -style boarding passes.

Boarding started shortly after I made it through security and ID check to the far end of the domestic concourse. Being so used to all this “enhanced security” nowadays BKK domestic was a bit different this morning. As soon as I started to take off my metal watch, the agent just said “no need sir no need”. Had a few coins in my pockets as well.

Air Asia started boarding around 10:15am, and it was the usual cattle call with no pre-boarding whatsoever. I was delighted to be able to grab the exit row window seat with no seat in front. The first impression was good – blue leather seats and young smiling Thai crew greeting the passengers.

We were pushed back on time, and taxied past the international terminal and TG hangars to 21R for takeoff. After a few Thai International heavies, the baby Boeing thundered down the runway for its 1h05min short hop down to Phuket Island. As soon as we were in the clouds, I tried to sleep and managed to snooze for about half an hour. There is no complimentary service on Thai Air Asia, snacks and drinks can be purchased though.

After an uneventful 45 minutes in the air, we started our descent into Phuket international. It was cloudy and rainy down in the south as well, so I couldn’t enjoy the breathtaking scenery while on approach. We landed on runway 27 on time, and taxied to the terminal past a bunch of Orient Thai and Phuket Air B747 Classics. All in all it was not a bad experience with Air Asia and I’d fly them again without hesitation. Definitely nothing like Ryanair. An overpriced airport limousine took me to the JW Marriott Resort.

JW Marriott Phuket Resort and Spa

It was my third stay at this wonderful resort. Last time I got an upgrade to a terrace room – no such luck this time, but I don’t think there are any bad rooms at the hotel. The resort was at below 50% occupancy – no wonder I snagged it via Priceline for $41 per night. Enjoyed greatly my stay here again, but the weather was rather bad with plenty of rain every day, so I didn’t spend much time on the beach at all… I stayed here for four nights and later a night in Patong before flying back to BKK.

15 June 2004
Phuket International (HKT/VTSP) – Bangkok Don Muang (BKK/VTBD)
Thai Airways International TG 222
Boeing 747-4D7
HS-TGZ “Phimara”
1010-1135 – On Time
Royal First Class, Seat 2A


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I ended up booking TG on the return flight thanks to the wonderful changes to the Miles and More program. I was 3000 miles short of my next Senator upgrade voucher and would somehow have to get it before the August deadline when also this benefit joins the history books with Senator booking guarantees and executive bonus on Star Alliance airlines. So, I booked a business class ticket HKT-BKK and two other runs (Udon Thani and Khon Kaen) in order to earn the voucher and then upgrade a future longhaul segment. Two weeks later, Lufthansa announced that everybody with 25000 miles towards upgrades would get one on August 1. How I love this German airline nowadays…

The flight was scheduled to be a 7441 configuration B747-400, so I requested a first class seat as usual. Seat 2A was promptly assigned at the business class desks. Economy class lines looked insane due to the earlier Thai flight being cancelled. I then headed to the pleasant enough Thai Royal Executive lounge, which was completely empty. Had a few of the TG pastries and a Coke while waiting for boarding. TG921 arrived from Bangkok on time, and I was delighted to see it was operated by HS-TGZ, fitted with the newer sleeper Royal First seats.

Despite the earlier 777-flight being cancelled, our flight wasn’t much more than half full. Skipped the long boarding queue with my blue boarding pass, and was one of the first to board the “Phimara”, still celebrating the King’s 72nd birthday. I was escorted to my seat, and the purser immediately offered cold towels and a pre-departure drink. Unfortunately, the first class cabin filled up quickly while the main deck business cabin was completely empty.

An Italian couple who could not shut up during the entire flight, occupied seats 1H and K. The woman was constantly complaining about the cabin temperature, and once she asked for a second blanket, the purser said “Well madam, it’s colder in Europe than onboard this airplane!” We were pushed back on time, and taxied to runway 09 for takeoff. The jumbo was lined up and ready for takeoff, but the screen was still down for the safety video. One of the crew simply stowed it as we were well into our takeoff roll and then ran back to her seat.

The 747 took off like a rocket after a 20-second roll for the short hop to Bangkok International Airport. The captain soon welcomed us onboard the “Thai International Boeing 747 series 400 jumbo jet”. TG222 is not a meal flight, so a small warm pastry was served on real china instead, accompanied by soft drinks. I then reclined the comfortable first class seat, and read The Nation for the rest of the flight while enjoying the scenery from my window.

We soon started our descent into Don Muang, and landed without incident on runway 21R. However, I must say it was the first 747 landing for me on Thai that wasn’t “smooth as silk”. We then quickly taxied to the domestic terminal and docked at gate 68 I believe. I have now flown on HS-TGB, TGD, TGK, TGL, TGM, TGP, TGR, TGT, TGX and TGZ when it comes to Thai’s B747s. I took a taxi to the Shangri-La where I was staying this time.

Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok

I had two stays at the Shangri-La this time. On the first stay, I upgraded to the Horizons Club floor with a nicer room and lounge access. The room was great – fully renovated and featured all the gadgets like a rainfall shower. Lounge offers free happy hour cocktails and food. Breakfast in the lounge is included, but as a Golden Circle member it’s free at the restaurant anyway. Nice stay, but I won’t pay the $50 extra again.

Second stay was in a non-renovated standard riverview room. Not bad, but these rooms are in need of renovation. The bathrooms are ancient and no way they are 5-star. Standard rooms also have poor quality towels and no real duvets.


Air Asia Super Elite, Cebu Pacific Titanium
22 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineLufthansa747 From Philippines, joined May 1999, 3201 posts, RR: 43
Reply 1, posted (9 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 10995 times:


18 June 2004
Bangkok Don Muang (BKK/VTBD) – Chiang Mai International (CNX/VTCC)
Orient Thai Airlines OX 128
Boeing 757-23A
XU-123
1530-1640 (1610-1720)
Economy Class, Seat 21A


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Having never flown on a B747-100, I decided to make a few trips with Orient Thai Airlines and their One-Two-Go domestic operation. Out of their eight Boeing 747s, two are series 100 aircraft. The fares are low to boot – Chiang Mai was 999 Baht while they had a promotion to Phuket for only 600 Baht one way.

After confirming with the Orient Thai reservations line that the evening flight back from Chiang Mai would be operated by a 747, I hopped onto the A3 airport bus. It’s convenient enough if you are staying in Sukhumvit (stayed at the Westin again), and only costs you 100 Baht instead about double that for a taxi. We hit the highway at soi zero and despite some weird noises, the old thing made it to the airport in about 20 minutes.

Orient Thai ticket desk had a queue of 18 passengers in front of me, all buying tickets to Chiang Mai I believe. OX operates a very sophisticated booking and ticketing system for domestic flights – they enter manually your details into an Excel sheet and the laser printer then spits out your ticket. Check-in had a small line – the friendly agent had no clue when I asked if she’d have any window seats left, but managed to get me one. OX style of course – cross over the appropriate seat number from the paper sheet and input the info into yet another Excel sheet. A few moments later, I was the proud owner of my first ever Orient Thai boarding pass.

OX had no ID check before security – a Thai International agent waved me through. I then made my way to the end of the domestic concourse as I had some time before boarding was supposed to begin. The crew was sitting at the gate – it was now past our departure time and nobody had any idea where the aircraft was. Gate agents were clueless as well. The purser was running around with his mobile phone, and probably called operations before coming back with the good news for the pilots. The 757 should be landing within the next 15 minutes.

Meanwhile it had started raining outside – it’s not often I have seen such a thundershower. You couldn’t see from the end of the domestic concourse to runway 21R/03L. A few minutes later, the familiar colors of My Travel appeared from the rain, as our Kampuchea Airlines B757-200 was taxiing to the gate. This airplane has a very exotic color scheme – basic My Travel colors, “One Two-Go by Orient Thai” titles and another “Operated by Kampuchea Airlines” sticker.

Needless to say that boarding started late, and the 757 was full for the afternoon OX 128 to the north. The cheerful young crew greeted me as I entered the cabin – the seats and the interior didn’t look as pleasant though… Once I made it to my seat, I had the pleasure of experiencing what it feels like to sit on a 757-200 with 233 seats. The pitch was absolutely terrible. The seats looked worn, as did the rest of the interior. Some old British pop songs were playing over the PA, must have the same ones My Travel used when the aircraft was operating for them.

We pushed back at about 4pm, and taxied to 21R for takeoff as usual. I was one of the very few farangs onboard this afternoon. Two classics, a Thai MD-11 and Orient Thai’s 747-100 HS-UTH were waiting to get fixed in front of the Thai maintenance hangars. Our 757 took off after a Thai Triple Seven for the 55-minute sector to Chiang Mai International Airport.

Once the seatbelt sign was switched off, the American cockpit crew welcomed us aboard “the one-twenty-eight” bound for “Chang May” (That’s about how he pronounced it). I doubt many of the Thais onboard had any clue what he was talking about. The young crew sprung into action shortly thereafter and served us soft drinks and Orient Thai brand peanuts. Service was very friendly, and everybody on this flight seemed to be in good mood. Even as we were on approach to CNX, the purser was still running around with drink refills.

Before final approach, an announcement was made in very broken English thanking us for choosing Orient Thai while the ladies were standing and performing the “wai” gesture in the aisle. This was repeated on all of my OX flights. We landed late on runway 36, and quickly taxied to the terminal. Thai’s A330, A300 and ATR-42 were present as well as a Phuket Air YS-11. We deplaned via stairs, and buses took us to the arrivals hall. The purser made sure to thank me once more for flying OX and wished me a nice day.

I took a taxi to the downtown/night bazaar area for an hour or so after buying my return ticket. It had my name wrong and said CHAING MAI but never mind… I was planning to go to a bar where I knew a few people for a drink, but the whole area was demolished. Managed to find another bar though, and after a Bacardi Breezer I was sitting in a tuk-tuk back to the airport.

18 June 2004
Chiang Mai International (CNX/VTCC) – Bangkok Don Muang (BKK/VTBD)
Orient Thai Airlines OX 121
Boeing 747-246B
HS-UTI
2030-2140 (2100-2200)
Business Class, Seat 15A


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Check-in for OX121 was deserted, although I made it there only an hour before takeoff. I told the agent I want to upgrade – this was a big surprise for her… Paid the 600 Baht for the upgrade, and she handed me a Miscellaneous Charges Order (MCO) form with the words “PAY UPGADE 600B”. Close enough to upgrade I suppose… I was given 15A on the upper deck of HS-UTI, which would be operating the flight.

Tried to get to the Thai lounge with my Lufthansa Gold card – no way. Not that I was expecting anything else. A Bangkok-bound TG 777-300 was boarding, so the departure lounge was rather busy. Boarding time came and went – no aircraft was present at the gate of course. Half an hour later, the terminal was filled by noise that could only come from a 747… Sure enough, the classic taxied in a few minutes later. The huge white nose soon turned towards the gate with the red rotating beacon flashing behind the small upper deck.

Load from BKK was less than 100 passengers for sure, so they were soon ready for boarding. The captain had a chat with the gate agents first, announcing that they had again problems with the aircraft at Bangkok. No boarding announcement was made, but the masses started moving shortly, so I made my way onboard as well. Two young ladies were greeting passengers at the door, neither had any clue where seat 15A would be. I told them it’s on the upper deck so they let me turn left.

The economy class seats were straight from the seventies – oldest style seats I have ever seen, and the seat covers were bright yellow, red etc. On the bulkheads were some paintings that JAL obviously thought were attractive back in 1975. I then climbed to the upper deck behind the captain – he was rather surprised to see that there would be a passenger in business class tonight.

It was my first time on the small 747 upper deck – what a nice and private place. This particular jet was fitted with 12 old Japan Airlines first seats with extremely generous pitch. All the galley equipment had JAL logos… The bulkhead brochure holder said “About Japan Airlines”. The Seiko clock device on the back bulkhead was displaying the local times for TYO and HKG – wonder if the last flight with JAL was HKG-NRT?

So, tonight there was a grand total of one passenger and one flight attendant on the upper deck. Needless to say that service was great. She offered me a pre-departure drink, as well as a choice of exactly one magazine (some convention planning magazine from Thailand). We were pushed back about half an hour late, and the distinct whine of the old Pratts soon filled the upper deck.

Taxied to runway 18 for takeoff, and it was rather noisy on the upper deck as well during takeoff. Our flight time to Bangkok would be 50 minutes this evening. Service in OX business class on domestics is nothing special – I was offered six packs of “Orient Thai Premium Cocktail Snacks” (rice crackers) and six packs of peanuts. My glass of Sprite was refilled constantly.

Once I told the flight attendant that I had enough of soft drinks already, she went downstairs to chat with her colleagues (I guess). It was like a private plane being alone on the upper deck. Decided to check out the lavatory – it was by the spiral staircase right next to the cockpit door. The upper deck floor in that area made some cranking noises, like an old wooden house floor if you get what I mean. The FAA/TSA would probably love the idea of passengers staying alone on the upper deck of B747s…  Smile

All too soon, we started our descent into Don Muang… I could have handled a longer flight onboard this old bird. Soon the Filipino captain decided we need a steeper angle of descent – this one made the bizarre China Airlines B747 approach I experienced at HKG look good. The flight attendant soon took the jumpseat and we chatted for a while about her job and Orient Thai. Nice lady from Udon Thani province, and seemed to enjoy her work greatly with OX. A funny comment was when she said they want to fly to Europe “but airplane too old”.

Soon, the pilots slammed the poor old 747 down on 21L – quite a rough landing to be honest. We then taxied to a remote stand in the cargo area, and there would be bus transport to the domestic terminal. I thanked the crew for a nice flight, and the purser made sure I was the first one off the plane and said “Mr. LH747, thank you for flying with us tonight and see you soon.” I wonder when our wonderful low cost carriers such as Ryanair address their passengers by name…

20 June 2004
Bangkok Don Muang (BKK/VTBD) – Udon Thani (UTH/VTUD)
Thai Airways International TG 008
Airbus A300B4-601
HS-TAD “U Thong”
0630-0740 – On Time
Economy Class, Seat 49K (Exit Row)


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As mentioned earlier, I needed some miles for the LH Senator upgrade. Thai W-class specials were just 1000 Baht to KKC/PHS and 1200 Baht to UTH/UBP. I booked a same plane turn to Udon Thani, followed by a trip to Khon Kaen.

Took a taxi again very late from the Westin, arriving at Don Muang domestic at about 5:50 am. Star Gold/Business line had someone in line, so I was waved over to the MP/Senator check-in. I asked the agent to check me in for the return flight as well – no problem but her face was priceless when she realized I was coming back on the same aircraft.

I then went to the Thai Domestic Royal Executive Lounge – it was rather busy with all the upcoming early-morning departures. A cup of tea and two pastries later, I decided to head to gate 61 where TG 008 would be boarding in a few minutes. HS-TAD was waiting, with its sister HS-TAC waiting for the morning Khon Kaen run. TG 008 was going to be rather light this morning – but boarding started on time after the sole Buddhist monk on this flight had been pre-boarded.

I made my way to the first economy class cabin – row 36 and seat K to be more exact. HS-TAD has the small business class cabin, and two economy class cabins with the older Recaro seats. Same seats can be found on B747s in 7431/7441 configurations I believe. The business class cabin seat covers are light purple, first economy cabin spots a pleasant purple color scheme while the seats in the back are bright red. Legroom is a far cry from the generous 747 seating, but still quite decent.

As soon as the doors were closed, one of the flight attendants invited me to move to the exit row – a nice touch from him. The flight attendants on TG 008/009 were all excellent – one of the nicest Thai crews I have encountered so far. Captain Suriya soon welcomed us onboard and apologized for a short five-minute wait as the Chiang Mai morning flight was just being pushed back from a nearby gate. Meanwhile, a full selection of Thai newspapers was available as on all Thai domestics.

A few minutes later, we were pushed back and the old Airbus widebody started its long taxi to 21R for takeoff. There was no queue for departures this early, and we took after an Eva Air A330-200 without delay. A few minutes after takeoff, the seatbelt sign was turned off, and service started. Capt Suriya then welcomed us onboard again and explained the usual stuff – we’d be flying over Nakhon Ratchasima and Khon Kaen straight to Udon airport at a cruising altitude of 31000ft.

Business class on this flight is served a hot breakfast, while a large snackbox was served in economy class. The breakfast consisted of a pork burger, some salad and some jello-type Thai sweets for dessert. Also in the box were a cup of fruit juice and water. Orange juice, water and coffee/tea were served constantly during this 55-minute flight.

After finishing the meal, we were already on descent into Udonthani Airport, and soon the endless rice fields of the northeast came into view. Flight attendants came around with sweets before landing – good old Royal Orchid service… After final landing checks of the cabin, the big ‘bus touched down smoothly on Udon Thani’s sole runway. We then taxied to the terminal, and parked at the only marked remote stand of the airport.

I deplaned via the rear stairs and walked to the terminal building. Extension of Udonthani Airport is under construction – it’s amazing how many flights there are to this relatively poor Isaan city starting in July. Thai sends two daily A300s and one B734 usually, Nok Air will fly 3x daily B734, Thai Air Asia flies 2x daily with B733s and Orient Thai flies a sole daily B757 or 747. Just a year ago, just the three daily Thai flights existed…

20 June 2004
Udon Thani (UTH/VTUD) – Bangkok Don Muang (BKK/VTBD)
Thai Airways International TG 009
Airbus A300B4-601
HS-TAD “U Thong”
0830-0930 – On Time
Economy Class, Seat 33A


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I went for a walk outside and snapped a few pictures before clearing security and returning to airside. By now, by looking at the amount of passengers in the terminal, it was obvious that the return flight would be packed. Boarding soon started via the only gate at the old terminal – the one of the gate agents personally escorted me as a Star Gold and any business class passengers past the long lines. Never thought this would happen at Udon airport of all places…

I boarded via the front stairs this time, and the purser welcomed me back onboard and asked why on the earth I stayed here only one hour. Told her I need the miles and she wished me a nice flight. I took my seat in row 33, and soon the aircraft filled up with the exception of business class. The stairs were then pulled away, and we started taxiing as the safety video was being played.

A powerful A300 takeoff followed, and as soon as the seatbelt sign was turned off, the crew sprung into action again. Khun Suriya from the cockpit made his welcome announcement – basically the flight would follow the exact same route as we took from Bangkok to Udon earlier.

The lunchbox on this flight had different contents – a chicken pastry and some corn salad as well as some cake for dessert. Service was excellent again, and the crew didn’t stop serving drinks until we were on approach into Don Muang. The Bangkok area was cloudy, so not much to be seen during approach.

We landed smoothly on schedule on runway 21L, and had to wait a little to cross the active departure runway, 21R. HS-TAD then taxied to one of the remote stands in the cargo area, next to a company 747. An ancient Thai bus took us to the domestic terminal.

20 June 2004
Bangkok Don Muang (BKK/VTBD) – Khon Kaen (KKC/VTUZ)
Thai Airways International TG 044
Airbus A300B4-622R
HS-TAS “Yala”
1330-1430 – On Time
Economy Class, Seat 62A


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I decided to check-in for my flight to Khon Kaen first, before thinking about how to spend the four hours at the airport. Since I had no checked luggage, I decided to use the Royal eService machines. Plenty of TG staff members were guiding passengers on how to use the kiosks. After selecting “Check-In” instead of “Purchase ticket and check-in”, I swiped my credit card, and my reservation details were promptly displayed. I was impressed, as for example Qantas kiosks are usually not able to retrieve your reservation if you have multiple same day bookings under the same credit card number. There is however no seatmap option with TG, just window or aisle. I chose a window, and my frequent flyer details were then displayed on the screen with LH*GOLD* in caps.

I decided to head over to the international terminal as I had time to kill – one of the club cars whisked me through the connecting walkway in a minute or so. I decided to look for a Philippine Airlines office, as there was a problem with my upcoming booking. After finally finding it, I was quite shocked when the guy confirmed that everything is ok with my reservation. More on that later.

I then headed back to the domestic terminal and surfed the net at the post office for an hour so. After a friend asked if there is any chance for me to get back to Phuket and Flyertalker and ex-Orient Thai pilot mtacchi confirmed that OX 266/267 would operate with B747s, I made the decision to head down to Phuket again the following week. However, getting tickets issued in OX can be quite an ordeal.

None of the agents had any clue whether there would be OX 267 on a Wednesday, so they told me to call the call center. Call center told me no such flight exists, and I can’t get the promotional fare even if it does exist… Hmmm. Back to the post office, booked my flights at onetwo-go.com – the site gave me a record locator and a note that a representative would contact me shortly. The only funny part was the price – my math tells me 2 x 855+taxes equals a bit more than the 855 quoted on the confirmation page…

I then went back to the Thai lounge – one of the agents later came to chat with me as she remembered me from the earlier visit that morning… A few drinks and pastries later, I decided to go to the gates for some spotting, as the lounge is really nothing to write home about. Traffic was interesting at Bangkok as usual, and about an hour later TG 044 to Khon Kaen was ready for boarding at bus gate 9 downstairs.

We were bussed to HS-TAS sitting at a remote stand, and boarded via stairs again. Flight attendants on this flight weren’t particularly friendly when greeting the passengers and service was nowhere near the levels of my Udon Thani flights. The crew overnighted in Khon Kaen as well, and was on my return flight the next day. HS-TAS has the newer Recaro seats, and seat pitch was considerably better. Airshow was turned on for the duration of the flight as well.

Same procedure as usual followed – long taxi past the international terminals to 21R and an immediate takeoff. I fell asleep as soon as we had lifted off – too early mornings are definitely not my thing. I somehow managed to wake up for yet another lunchbox though – another puff pastry, some salad, cake and fruit juice.

The captain welcomed us aboard “Thai Airways International and Star Alliance flight TG 044” as I was eating my lunch – we were cruising at 27000ft over Nakhon Ratchasima province. Descent into Khon Kaen would commence a few moments later.
Sure enough, a few minutes later, I found myself staring at the Isaan rice fields below again.

We landed on time on the sole runway at Khon Kaen, a rather smooth touchdown this time. As there are no parallel taxiways at the airport, we taxied to the very end of the runway, and made a u-turn before taxiing to the terminal. A few cows were enjoying their day right by the runway – a very good spotting location indeed! I was in the Thai countryside again.

Khon Kaen has a rather modern terminal, and there was a jetway as well unlike at Udon Thani. A Sofitel representative was waiting at the arrivals hall, and she told me to wait by the door while she would wait for any other passengers going to the Sofitel Raja Orchid Khon Kaen. Meanwhile, our crew took a van to somewhere as well – no idea whether they were staying at a hotel or were Khon Kaen based.

Sofitel Raja Orchid Khon Kaen

I booked this hotel via Accor Asia website – 1700 Baht with breakfast. This Sofitel is undoubtedly the most luxurious hotel in Northeastern Thailand. I was assigned a king-bed non-smoking room on the 6th floor. Nice enough but I requested high floor when booking. Otherwise, everything about this hotel was just great. Definitely a true 5-star property in my opinion. The room was large, and was well equipped and furnished. The bathroom was large as well, with a huge walk-in shower cubicle in addition to the usual bathtub.

Khon Kaen was quite a bit smaller than I expected, but a very pleasant Thai city. I just walked around the downtown area for a bit of sightseeing and snapped a few pictures. The Sofitel has plenty of restaurants and bars – I decided to go to their disco at around 10pm as it was supposed to be a happening place. I was the only customer there for the entire hour I stayed. Went to look for some other bars – there are plenty nearby, but don’t expect anything Bangkok-style… I ended up at some disco – packed to the gills – and ordered a bottle of 100 Pipers whisky for 350 Baht, mixers included. A good way to guarantee that I’d feel terrible the next morning too…

21 June 2004
Khon Kaen (KKC/VTUZ) – Bangkok Don Muang (BKK/VTBD)
Thai Airways International TG 045
Airbus A300B4-622R
HS-TAL “Sritrang”
1440-1540 – On Time
Economy Class, Seat 44K


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I took the complimentary Sofitel shuttle back to the airport, and arrived about an hour before the scheduled departure time of TG 45 down to Bangkok. Check-in was quick, and I was assigned seat 44K. Thai uses some older style boarding pass printers at KKC, and you get a totally different looking boarding pass here. My frequent flyer info showed up in the seating part of the boarding pass – LH*G is apparently a smoking First class seat. TG people must have visited the Lufthansa lounges!  Smile

I then headed up to the bar/restaurant upstairs, and ordered myself fried rice with pork as well as a Pepsi. Quite reasonable airport lunch at about $2. The week before, I met some guy at a Bangkok bar – he was booked on TG 45 as well. We were supposed to meet for a beer or two at this restaurant, but he was running late…

I then headed through security, and was shocked to see a Thai Royal Executive Class Lounge at this small airport. It was just like other Thai domestic lounges, but very small with about 20 seats. Pastries and soft drinks were available as usual. I would have come here instead of the upstairs restaurant should I have known such a lounge exists.

I headed to gate 2 about fifteen minutes before scheduled departure time – boarding hadn’t started yet. My friend had also arrived – he barely made the flight due to some work assignments running late.

Boarding started a few minutes later, with no efforts made to pre-board business class or elites. I cut to the front of the line anyway, no problems as usual. The same crew was greeting me at the door as I stated earlier. The aircraft, HS-TAL, featured the older interior and looked very worn indeed. The flight was 100% full in economy class, with business being more or less empty. We were pushed back a few minutes late, with Air Asia’s B737 9M-AAM waiting for its turn next to us.

We then quickly taxied to the runway, and the engines spooled up once we were correctly lined up for departure after the u-turn procedure. Takeoff was powerful with no flaps used, and we then climbed to the cruising altitude of FL270 again. This snack flight featured the smaller box – the contents being a slice of cake, some pineapple jelly and a cup of fruit juice. Orange juice, water, coffee and tea were served numerous times throughout the flight.

It was cloudy along our routing, so there was nothing to be seen until we were about to touch down at Don Muang. The flight was pretty much an exact copy of TG 44, but in opposite direction, and even with the same crew. We started our descent about 20 minutes out of Bangkok, and landed on time on runway 21L. We then taxied to gate 61, the exact same gate where I boarded HS-TAD to Udon Thani the day before.

Getting a Ticket from Orient Thai

Having received no call from Orient Thai regarding the Phuket tickets, I decided to head to their ticketing counter to clear things up. The conversation was rather interesting… “Sir we not call because computer down for three days”. They do have a brilliant system, obviously booking flights is no problem with system down as the website accepted my booking just a day earlier and gave me a record locator.

He said he would rebook me right there. Obviously no reservation system needed for that either… It makes me wonder if OX actually has a booking system for domestic flights at all. A note was hanging from the wall “Effective immediately OX 267 only operate Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday/Sunday”. So, there would be no flight on the 23rd, a Wednesday. But it’s not that simple on OX. After going through a pile of papers, the guy decided to sell me a ticket for OX267 on 23JUN. “But sir promotion price not valid this flight.” Whatever.

A minute later, he asks for payment, and hands me the tickets. The restrictions part has my phone number on it, and next to it is my record locator. “PNR: CONFIRMED SEAT”. I have now completed the mission to get advance tickets for Orient Thai Airlines, yet I have no idea if the flight actually exists.



Air Asia Super Elite, Cebu Pacific Titanium
User currently offlineLufthansa747 From Philippines, joined May 1999, 3201 posts, RR: 43
Reply 2, posted (9 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 11002 times:


23 June 2004
Bangkok Don Muang (BKK/VTBD) – Phuket International (HKT/VTSP)
Orient Thai Airlines OX 267
Boeing 747-146
HS-UTD
0845-1005 – On Time
Economy Class, Seat 33A (Exit Row)


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Another terribly early morning for me – and I didn’t even know if my flight to Phuket exists. I made it to Don Muang domestic around one hour before departure, and was quite frankly very surprised to see “OX 267 Phuket 08:45 Gate 9” on the screens. Check-in was deserted – seven Orient Thai employees and myself as the only passenger. Next to the check-in desk was a flight bag with “OX - 004 HS-UTD” painted on it.

I requested a window seat, and asked if the flight is full today. “Sir very empty.” Well is the aircraft perhaps HS-UTD? “Yes UTD sir.” So it all worked out perfectly, and I would soon be boarding a practically empty 747-100 down to Phuket. I made it through security in a matter of seconds, and headed right downstairs to gate 9. It was completely deserted even though boarding time was just five minutes away.

A Thai Airport Ground Services (TAGS) bus soon pulled up to gate 9, and the doors were opened. No IDs were ever checked this time, and a company flight attendant apparently deadheading to HKT to work on OX 218 to Hong Kong, boarded the bus without any sort of boarding pass or ticket. A few minutes later, one of the gate agents boarded with the passenger manifest – we’d have a total 36 passengers on the 456-seat Boeing 747-146.

Uniform Tango Delta was parked as far from the terminals as possible – at the very far end of the cargo ramp, by the Bangkok Airways hangar. Meanwhile, we passed about half of the OX fleet – all those 747 Classics of OX and Phuket Air are quite a sight. Boarding was completed within a matter of minutes, and another young and cheerful crew was greeting us onboard. There were 17 flight attendants on this flight, not bad for 36 passengers on a low cost carrier.

The thoughtful check-in agent had placed me at 33A, the exit row right after door 2L. All the signage on this plane was from Japan Airlines just like on HS-UTI. A map was showing directions to the seats on the galley wall, while another one was supposed to have the names of our tech crew. It was not used though. Some exit signs were in some Arabic language as well – no idea why.

The seats were old but very comfortable for economy class seats. Seat pitch in normal rows seemed to be very good as well. However, I was a little disappointed as the grey interior of this ex-JALWays Reso’cha looked much newer than the truly seventies one of HS-UTI. Actually, UTI (ex JA8127) is a few days older than UTD (ex JA8128) despite being a B747-246B.

We were pushed back a few minutes early, and the safety demo was being played obviously at maximum volume on the main screens. A quick look at the galley next to my seat revealed that OX218 HKT-HKG catering comes from Bangkok actually. We then taxied past a bunch of Phuket Air B747-200s – the ex-Garuda ones look terrible.

Takeoff was from runway 21R as usual. Given the extremely light load, we lifted off after a rather short roll, and the rate of climb was very steep for a series 100 machine. Although I had the exit row window seat, the door didn’t obstruct my legroom at all. Obviously good old JAL had had passenger comfort in mind when fitting the seats to this plane unlike airlines nowadays. I had a brief chat with the flight attendant seated in the jumpseat for takeoff – she proudly announced that this airplane is a newer Boeing 747-200. Yeah right.

The classic style “F A S T E N S E A T B E L T S” sign was turned off soon, and service began. The young and cheerful crew offered soft drinks and peanuts a few times – basically until all 36 of us had had enough. I then took a tour of the empty lower deck – there was nobody seated in rows 1-10 or 35-74. The bulkheads featured some Reso’cha style images I guess as well as the familiar Seiko clock device found on HS-UTI as well. Tokyo and Bangkok local times were displayed this time.

Cabin crew probably thought I was nuts when taking pics of the cabin, at least based on their laughs. I must say the empty Boeing 747 was quite a sight from row 74 as there are no curtains whatsoever and you can see all the way to the nose. Meanwhile, the purser said “Cabin crew, thank you position”, and the familiar thank you wai was performed again. As soon as I made it back to my seat, we left our cruising altitude and the amazing scenery of southern Thailand came into view as soon as we were below the clouds. Looking at the pair of old Pratts hanging from the wing of a 747-100 and enjoying some of the world’s most beautiful scenery below for less than EUR 25 must be every aviation lover’s dream.

We landed on time rather smoothly, and taxied quickly to gate 4. Thai’s A330 HS-TEB was docked next to us while Phuket Air’s Boeing 747-300 was parked on the other side. Since I had no checked bags, I was waiting for the shuttle van to depart in a few minutes. Very uncomfortable ride to Patong, but it only cost me 180 Baht. Stayed at the C&N Hotel Patong – it’s a bargain for 600 Baht per night.

24 June 2004
Phuket International (HKT/VTSP) – Bangkok Don Muang (BKK/VTBD)
Orient Thai Airlines OX 266
Boeing 747-246B
HS-UTI
2010-2130 (2045-2150)
Business Class, Seat 15A


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I took a C&N Hotel car back to the airport – 550 Baht. Arrived at around 7pm, and no other passengers could be seen at the Orient Thai check-in desks. Quite a common sight before my OX flights… A note at the check-in desk was telling passengers the usual – “Apologize for inconvenience – OX 266 is delayed due to late arrival of airplane.” I was sort of hoping for the ex-KLM 747-300 but the poor quality faxed seatmap that the agent had clearly said HS-UTI on it. Paid 600 Baht for the upgrade, and then proceeded to use the horribly overpriced internet (Baht 100 per 15 mins) after finding out that the post office has no Internet available.

Security took about 10 seconds – mobile phone went through the machine while my wallet and watch stayed with me… No ID check for Orient Thai after security either. They are supposed to do it at gate but conveniently forgot it this time altogether. I sat by gate 4 and ate the two slices of pizza that I had left from lunch. Phuket airport has free water fountains – no need to buy that overpriced Evian from Burger King. At about 8pm, the majestic 747 taxied in from Hong Kong and docked at gate 4. The flight was packed with young vacationers.

The gate sign displayed the scheduled departure time of 20:10, and a few people tried to open the gate door and board the plane by themselves. A couple from Hong Kong was lost, and walked back to the aircraft about 15 minutes later. They were sent back; never mind that the domestic arrivals escalator wasn’t blocked anymore… I wonder if they finally found immigration or boarded some other flight. I don’t even want to imagine people trying to open gate doors or wandering alone somewhere where they shouldn’t be in the United States… Would probably cause major hassle at the airport. Not to mention that 99% of OX passengers would be subject to secondary security screening – walk-up fares paid by cash don’t seem to be the biggest hit these days in that part of the world.

Boarding was announced at about 8:20pm, and I made my way up the spiral staircase to the exact same seat I had on the CNX-BKK leg. I was offered a welcome drink and a cold towlette, and the young flight attendant informed me that I should be the only passenger up there again. A few minutes later, a mechanic arrived with his friend and five plastic bags from some grocery store… Despite the strong protest from the flight attendant, the mechanic managed to get his friend to 15K. However, this lady would enjoy her flight without pre departure drinks and more or less no service.

We were pushed back ten minutes after boarding started – very light load on this Boeing 747 once again. First attempt of engine start-up failed – power was lost on the entire aircraft, and emergency lights were turned on automatically I guess. A few minutes later, emergency lightning failed as well, quite a feeling to sit on the completely dark upper deck of a 29-years old Boeing 747. About 10 minutes later, lights came back on, and engines were started successfully. No announcement was ever made about the blackout.

Thai’s TG 920 to Bangkok and Frankfurt was delayed because we were blocking the taxiway for about 15 minutes. Our classic then taxied to runway 27 for takeoff – first time I have had a takeoff from that runway. The old Pratt&Whitney JT9D-7A’s spooled up, and we started rolling about 40 minutes behind schedule. Takeoff was impressive for a 747 classic once again, and we made an almost immediate left turn after takeoff. Flight time up to Don Muang would be one hour.

Service wasn’t as good as on CNX-BKK, but I was happy anyway after a few servings of “Orient Thai Premium Cocktail Snack” and a few glasses of Coke. Although the old JAL seats have heaps of legroom, they are rather uncomfortable. The legrest is way too short and recline is not very generous. Fantastic seats for these el-cheapo flights, but it just seems a bit odd that JL would have used these just a year or so ago.

The flight attendant offered me some sort of a convention magazine – it was ok and had some interesting articles about Thailand. They also had some other magazines on board, but all were in Korean. After having browsed through the magazine, the captain made his second announcement on this flight – we’d be starting descent into Bangkok International Airport shortly. On the two other 747 flights, the Filipino captains never said a word.

Sure enough, a few minutes later, the jumbo left its cruising altitude, and we’d be touching down in 20 minutes. Quite a smooth landing on 21L followed, and we then taxied to a remote stand near the cargo terminals as usual. A TAGS bus took us to the domestic arrivals hall.

Novotel Lotus Bangkok

I decided I need another 1500 AA miles, and Pricelined this Novotel for $40. Not exactly the deal of the year, but it’s a decent hotel and 1500 AA miles are always nice. I took the A3 bus to soi 33 – one happened to be leaving about five minutes after my arrival. Check-in was quick, yet the guy at the front desk was not what hotel employees in Thailand usually are. Without a smile, he handed me my keycard for a king-bedded room on the 19th floor. The room was pleasant enough, larger than what I had before at this hotel, and it also had a separate working room with a work desk, chair and lamp. The bed was far from great though, and bathrooms are tiny at this hotel. Location is quite good on Suk 33 though. I later moved back to the Westin Grande Sukhumvit.

26 June 2004
Bangkok Don Muang (BKK/VTBD) – Manila Ninoy Aquino Intl (M N L/RPLL)
Lufthansa LH 744
Boeing 747-430
D-ABVL “München”
1510-1930 – On Time
Economy Class, Seat 28H (Bulkhead)


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I had a $100 Marriott Bonus Bucks coupon expiring soon, and it would make no sense to use it at most Thai Marriotts. In Cebu City, it would get me two free nights. Since I like The Philippines anyway, it was an easy decision to make a side trip to Manila and Cebu. BKK-AB) (MNL / RPLL), Philippines">MNL-BKK was a Miles&More award for 28000 miles – poor value but they were not my miles. I’d never spend my own hard-earned mileage for these sectors, as they are available for about EUR 200 usually.

I took a taxi from the Westin at about 12:30pm – that would give me some time for the lounges at Bangkok International Airport. I had used Lufthansa’s web check-in that morning – what a joke. You can’t choose a seat and must pick up your boarding pass before the usual check-in closure times. Anyway, check-in at the First Class/Senator desk was quick and I got my pre-assigned bulkhead seat 28H.

Thai Royal Executive Class Lounge, Pier 5

After getting some Pesos at one of the exchange counters, I headed to this new Thai International lounge. The first class section is currently closed due to some water damage apparently. The business/Star Gold section is rather nice in my opinion, I especially like the Thai design. Snacks consist of various pastries and small sandwiches and drink selection is good. I was checking Flyertalk on one of the workstations, and the gentleman at the other computer asks if I’m a Flyertalker as well… It’s the first time I have met another Flyertalker without any prior plans in a lounge. What’s even funnier, is that tmeyer had stayed the night before at the Westin as well – on the same floor! And his seat happens to be the window seat in the same bulkhead row.

So, after a few snacks and lots of frequent flyer talk, we headed to gate 55 at about 2:15pm. Security is quick, but boarding hadn’t started yet. After a little wait, boarding finally started, and we headed through the First/Business side of the counter, but unfortunately had to take the economy class jetway to the plane itself. Seats 28ABC/HJK are great economy class seats, simply superb legroom. Lufthansa folks must have been really disappointed when they figured out a few years ago that the small cabin couldn’t accommodate another row of cattle seats on the side. A guy shows up with 28J – wouldn’t an empty middle seat be appropriate for two Senators on a half-empty B747?

We were pushed back a few minutes late with almost completely empty business class cabin for this last sector of the Frankfurt-Bangkok-Manila run. Departure was from runway 21R once again, and the 747-400 showed its true power on takeoff due to the light load. It was rather bumpy a few minutes after takeoff, but the rest of the flight was quite smooth. Service started shortly – an absolutely disgusting hot meal of some kind of beef was served. The only edible part was the fruit salad and a pack of dried mangos. The flight attendant serving our aisle was not interested in customer service on today’s flight, but yet managed to get me a Baileys at this point. She later dropped a bottle of Coke, spilling it over the passengers in row 36. A pile of napkins was thrown at them and she managed to say sorry.

Another drink service followed after the meal, and it took ages for the crew to collect the trays. They were nowhere to be seen for the rest of the flight. The remaining 1.5 hours passed by quickly with some more travel talk with tmeyer – I’m sure the middle seat occupant enjoyed our chat as well  Big grin. The captain soon announced descent into Ninoy Aquino International Airport – we should be arriving on time.

We touched down a few minutes ahead of schedule and quickly taxied to NAIA 1, and parked next to Air France and KLM B747s. We quickly disembarked and made a quick dash to immigration – no lines whatsoever. Since neither of us had checked bags, I decided to follow tmeyer to the departures area in order to get a cheap regular taxi. Despite numerous attempts to just exit the terminal, the security staff made us go through security when exiting the terminal building – great logic there.

Once outside, we got our taxis quickly, I ended up paying P100 to the Hyatt Regency. An obvious rip-off, but much better than a P500 hotel car from downstairs.

Hyatt Regency Manila

The only reason for me to choose this property (one night before going to Cebu and one after coming back) was the Hyatt Faster Free Nights promo. These two stays would get me one free night at pretty much any Hyatt property. Quite frankly, it might be the only reason along with the nice staff to choose this dump.

Check-in was quick, but there was some confusion about some voucher that didn’t exist. I booked via zuji.com.hk and apparently they handed over the reservation to some local travel agent. The lady checking me in was very friendly, as were most of the other staff members at this hotel. One of the guys from the bell desk then escorted me to my room on the 4th floor, and handed me that day’s International Herald Tribune. Nice touch.

The room was awful. About 20 years old I guess, with no renovations whatsoever. Everything looked tired. Balcony door lock was broken, minibar was empty, no slippers or bathrobe provided – just a sign “if you steal the robe it costs you xxx Pesos”. The bathroom reminded me of a 1-star hotel, and the king bed while large, was extremely hard and uncomfortable.

On the second stay (after the Cebu trip), I was given a larger corner room and same great service. Nevertheless, the room was still old and tired like on the first stay. I didn’t use any restaurants, but room service was quite cheap (Ordered a Caesar salad for $2.50 at 10 am to secure FFN credit…). Location on Roxas Blvd is not too bad – it’s close to the airport and there’s nightlife within walking distance. Quite long trip to Makati via EDSA though. It was a decent way to earn a FFN ($58 per night all in rate) but not a very enjoyable hotel.



Air Asia Super Elite, Cebu Pacific Titanium
User currently offlineLufthansa747 From Philippines, joined May 1999, 3201 posts, RR: 43
Reply 3, posted (9 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 10996 times:


27 June 2004
Manila Ninoy Aquino Intl (M N L/RPLL) – Mactan Cebu International (C E B/RPMC)
Philippine Airlines PR 849
Boeing 747-4F6
N752PR
1500-1610 (1555-1700)
First Class, Seat 1A


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Originally, I booked the AB) (MNL / RPLL), Philippines">MNL-AB) (CEB / RPVM), Philippines">CEB-AB) (MNL / RPLL), Philippines">MNL part of the trip on May 2nd, the day after Philippine Airlines introduced e-ticketing on the Manila-Cebu route. Booking was convenient and fast using the PR Amadeus interface, however the airline itself screwed up the booking about a week later. I checked my booking on Checkmytrip.com just to ensure the equipment was still 744/343 – “Your reservation contains no data” was displayed. Sure enough, philippineair.com showed it as cancelled. Although I got the e-ticket email, ticket number newer showed up at checkmytrip.

I suspect PR staff never entered the ticket number to the Amadeus PNR, just to their own system and thus the booking was cancelled. I tried to get it all sorted with PR North America reservations – “Sir, our airline has no electronic tickets” was their answer. PR Mabuhay/First reservations in Manila got it sorted after a lengthy call – the agent insisted I had booked some 6am flights originally. She promised to email me the new confirmation – never arrived, so that’s why I went to the Philippine Airlines office at Bangkok airport earlier.

I took a taxi from the Hyatt at around 12:30pm for my 3pm departure – the nice Hyatt agent who checked me in the night before remembered me and told me I’m going to the airport way too early and that I could still keep the room for a while if I want. However, remembering the chaos at NAIA 1 last time I flew, I opted to go early anyway. After a quick taxi ride, I arrived to the NAIA Centennial Terminal 2. What a difference between this one and the dump called NAIA 1.

There was no line for the entrance security check, and I quickly found the check-in counters for my flight. I don’t understand why Philippine Airlines still uses separate counters for each flight when all the flights at NAIA 2 are PR flights. Anyway, I headed to the counter marked “PR 849 MABUHAY – CEBU”. There was nobody in line, but the guy had to go to the office to check something with the supervisor about e-tickets. The supervisor then came back with him and explained how you do check-in with e-tickets. PR staff seemed very inexperienced with e-tickets overall, and I saw no other passengers with the ticket info printed on their boarding passes. I then requested a seat in the first class cabin, and the guy replied: “How does 1A sound?”

I then had to pay the domestic terminal fee of 90 Pesos if my memory serves me, and after the inspector took his part of the ticket, I went through security. There was no wait at security either and no random searches, so I made it to the domestic Mabuhay Lounge with almost two hours to spare.

Philippine Airlines Domestic Mabuhay Lounge, Manila PH

The smiling agent waved me in after seeing my blue boarding pass, and I took a seat by the windows. The lounge is downstairs, and the windows are not at a convenient level to afford any decent views though. The lounge seemed rather busy with a few domestic departures coming up. A quick glance at the departures screen revealed the following: “PR 849 S02 1545 RE-TIMED”. Now I had almost three hours to spare… Philippine Airlines had sent me an e-mail notification about the schedule change at 10am – I should have checked my e-mail I guess.

The lounge was spacious but basic. There was a good selection of newspapers, some magazines, sandwiches, pastries, fruit as well as some soup to eat. Sushi was available as well, but once it was gone (I finished most of it – rather good) they had no more. Soft drinks and beer is available as well. I decided to go for a walk at the original departure time – the gate agent told me they haven’t finished cleaning yet as the aircraft came it with a full load as PR 301 from Hong Kong. The Centennial terminal is quite nice inside, and offers nice views due to large windows as well. I watched a Philippine Airlines A320 push back for Zamboanga City and then went back to the lounge for one more beer.

The lounge agent announced boarding of PR 849 at 3:30pm, and the boarding process was in its initial stages at gate S02 when I made it there. Passengers requiring special assistance were boarded first, followed by Mabuhay Class and Mabuhay Miles elite members. A smiling flight attendant told me to turn left at door 2L – always a good start for a flight. N752PR had only first (18 seats) and economy class on the main deck, and Mabuhay Class on the upper deck. Most business class passengers seemed to go to the upper deck, and only three other people were assigned seats in the First Class cabin.

The seats in First are old, and reminded me of the older Thai 747 configuration. Yet, I’d say they are rather comfortable with about 160-degrees recline, almost horizontal footrest and some kind of a lumber support. All controls are manual and there is no PTV in these seats. I was offered a cup of orange juice and a choice of newspapers as soon as I got to my seat, and the flight attendant offered to stow my rather heavy carry on in the forward closet as the side overhead bins are rather small in the nose of a Boeing 747. Orders for dinner were taken as well – it was a choice of chicken or beef.

We were pushed back ten minutes after the new scheduled departure time, and taxied to runway 24 for takeoff. The crew was struggling to stow the First Class screen used for safety demo, but managed just before takeoff. A US government Boeing Business Jet was parked near the LH Technik Philippines hangers. Takeoff was powerful – the 747 is meant for longer flights with high fuel loads after all. As soon as the seatbelt sign was turned off, dinner was served. I had chosen the chicken option, and it consisted of stir-fried chicken, fried rice with eggs and fried vegetables. Quite good, and the portion was large. There was also a tasteless roll and a piece of delicious chocolate cake for dessert. Drinks were served constantly with a smile. Unfortunately PAL no longer uses the classy real glasses in domestic business class.

As I was just finishing the dessert, we left our cruising altitude, and the captain announced that we’d be landing at Mactan airport in 20 minutes. Descent over the sea was rather bumpy, and we came in really low for the final approach. Maybe the Mactan-Cebu runway is so short you have to ensure maximum breaking distance for a 747? Touchdown was smooth, but the runway is not in very good condition, so the rest was very bumpy.

We quickly taxied to the terminal, and parked next to a Qatar Airways A300-600. As soon as we stopped, the QR Airbus was pushed back for its journey back to Doha via Singapore Changi. I thanked the nice crew and made waited for the first economy section to deplane (between doors 1 and 2). As I had no checked bags, I made my way to the taxi stand that is not by the arrivals hall but near the PAL ticket office instead.

Cebu City Marriott Hotel

Cebu Marriott is the only Marriott in the Philippines (Makati has a Renaissance), and is located next to the Ayala Center Cebu. The hotel is probably the best in Cebu if one doesn’t consider the Shangri-La Mactan Resort where president Arroyo stayed recently. Security is tight; bags are searched once you enter the hotel. Check-in was quick; I got a similar room as I had last time – no difference between Priceline and Marriott bookings.

The room was a typical lower end Marriott room – nothing fancy but nice enough. Basically it’s a room you’d expect at a Holiday Inn in Europe or U.S. Turndown service was provided twice even though they say you have to ask for it. They leave a pack of dried mangos instead of chocolates – a nice local touch. The only problem I had, was with the toilet on the last day – it basically flooded all over the bathroom floor. Luckily the cleaning staff was servicing the room next to mine at that point.

I like the location of the Marriott as I enjoy going to the Ayala Center eat and drink as well as use the rather inexpensive Internet café near Jollibee.

During my last day in Cebu, the presidential inauguration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo took place. She got the highest percentage of votes in Cebu province, and the celebrations were moved there from Manila. It was also a national holiday in Cebu, and the streets were packed, as there was a big free concert near Fuenta Osmena for example.

01 July 2004
Mactan Cebu International (C E B/RPMC) – Manila Ninoy Aquino Intl (M N L/RPLL)
Philippine Airlines PR 854
Airbus A330-301
F-OHZR
1200-1310 (1240-1345)
Business Class, Seat 14A


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The PAL re-scheduling mail stated a new departure time of 1240 for this flight – I went to the airport with this time in mind. Arrived at the initial security screening at 11:25 – “PR854 MANILA 1200 ON TIME” was showing on the screens. After a mad dash to the PAL counters, a boarding pass for 14A was issued. Unfortunately, the original A340 with First Class seats had been changed to the standard A330.

The bag screening machine was not working, so all hand bags were hand-searched. The guy was nice enough, and kept joking about the assortment of different alcohol bottles he found in my bag. I then went to the small Mabuhay Lounge – it was packed. Basically the same assortment of drinks and food is offered as in Manila. The A330 taxied in at about 1145, and parked next to a Cebu Pacific DC9-30 – quite a difference in size there.

I left the lounge at about 1215, and walked to the gate where no extra security screening was present even though that was announced earlier. A gate agent was about to say something about my carry-on – but ended up saying “Sir your carry….. oh business class, have a nice flight” after she saw my boarding pass. It was ok in size though so I have no idea why she would not have allowed it in economy.

Boarding started at around 1225, PR854 was packed in both cabins today, due to the presidential celebrations in Cebu I believe. I was seated next to a guest of the main inauguration ceremony, and he said there were lots of other guests onboard as well. Orange juice was served prior to takeoff and meal orders were taken – I chose the chicken while my seatmate ordered spaghetti.

We were pushed back at around the new departure time e-mailed to me, and followed a Cathay Pacific 777-200 to runway 22 for takeoff. I never knew Cathay is operating triple sevens to Cebu – the A330 I took last year from HKG was half empty. Takeoff was powerful again – widebodies on short segments always seem to achieve this. Flight time to up to Ninoy Aquino International Airport was one hour.

Serving hot meals to a full business cabin on a one-hour flight meant that the service was not as good as on the 747 on the way to Cebu. Nevertheless, the meal was quite nice (chicken in some sauce, rice, vegetables, chocolate cake). No real glasses were used, so I believe they have been cut entirely from domestic flights. I then turned on the airshow on my PTV and read a local newspaper until we were on final approach to NAIA.

After landing, the captain informed us that we’d be using a gate at the international terminal today, as the aircraft would be continuing onto some international destination. This meant that we had to be bussed to the domestic arrivals area. The crew made sure business class got out first as usual in this kind of situations. Again, I had no checked bags, so I was in a taxi to the Hyatt Regency a few minutes later. No additional screening is needed at this building for exiting on the upper level (in order to get a regular taxi). These were great flights with PR for only 106 EUR return in business class.

02 July 2004
Manila Ninoy Aquino Intl (M N L/RPLL) – Bangkok Don Muang (BKK/VTBD)
Lufthansa LH 745
Boeing 747-430
D-ABVR “Köln”
2045-2245 (2035-2230)
Economy Class, Seat 28B (Bulkhead)


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I made it to the old NAIA 1 at around 6pm, almost three hours before departure. Luckily, the security screening line was not very long, and I was inside in about ten minutes. Lufthansa had just opened their counters, and there was one person in front of me in the First/Senator line. This lady definitely had an interesting routing – M N L-BKK-AB) (FRA / FRF / EDDF), Germany">FRA-YYZ. I managed to get an exit row seat, something LH decided I could enjoy having for about two and a half hours this time…

Immigration took a while – there were only three agents working this evening. NAIA 1 is probably the worst international terminal I have been to, old and generally very unpleasant with plastic floors etc. So, I went to the Lufthansa lounge – or Club Manila to be more exact. Below is a summary of Manila lounge hopping.

Club Manila (Lufthansa Senator Lounge)

This is a contract lounge, upstairs from the main shopping area. It’s rather dark with hardly any or no windows if my memory serves me. There was the general Asian lounge assortment available – sandwiches, pastries and some noodles. Just as I was eating, flyertalker tmeyer walked in – he had changed his ticket due to bad weather and we’d be on the same flight back to Bangkok. I finished my Black Label and Coke, and tmeyer suggested we go check out some other lounges as the place was filling up fast with Lufthansa passengers.

Northwest Worldclub

Tmeyer flashed his KLM Platinum card, and we were promptly welcomed to the Northwest lounge. It was used for Air France passengers in the evening, and was empty as the AF flight was just boarding. The lounge was quite nice overall, much more pleasant than the Club Manila. Snack selection was not much different from the LH place, but there were no alcoholic drinks available apart from beer.

Thai Airways Royal Executive Lounge

This lounge was our last stop as it was closest to gate 11, the Lufthansa departure gate tonight. The lounge was packed – mainly due to the Thai A300 scheduled to depart twenty minutes before our Lufthansa flight. The lounge was rather small, but snack and drink selection was the best of all three lounges visited. We assumed a good number of passengers would be for the Lufthansa flight as well, but most of them left when Thai started boarding.

Luckily the security guys at the gate found no reason to mess with our hand luggage – we boarded D-ABVR right away. Tmeyer had his bulkhead seat 28C with the middle seat blocked, while I wandered back a few rows to the exit row. I had about two minutes to enjoy seat 32C – a male flight attendant soon came shouting “YOU are sitting in that seat? You know, I really need these seats for two passengers who have problems with their legs. If there is nobody in 32B, I’m going to ask you to move. There are two middle seats in the bulkhead row 27.” Lufthansa strikes again with their fantastic Senator treatment... No decent Asian airline would ever ask their top tier members to move from a better than average seat. I could have always refused, but the guy seemed to be pissed off enough already.

As I was walking to row 27, tmeyer kindly offered the empty middle seat to me. Legroom in row 28 is great, and talking about travel and frequent flyer stuff never hurts. So this seat change turned out to be not too bad. We were pushed back about ten minutes early – with a decent load in economy and hardly anybody up front. As flight time was only 2h30min, we were expecting an early arrival.

After takeoff, a hot meal was served. This time “2” was stamped onto the foil cover, usually meaning choice 2 on Lufthansa. The food was from LSG Sky Chefs Bangkok. Either the crew is too lazy to offer a choice or for some stupid reason they offer two different meals but only offer one choice per direction. The chicken was quite decent, even tasted like Thai food I’d say. A complete opposite to the awful beef on the way to Manila.

Service by the male flight attendant was poor. I asked for a Baileys, his reply was the usual “later”. So I asked for a Baileys after the meal “I said LATER” was the reply this time. When he finally had the bottle, both myself and tmeyer got about 2cl of Baileys with no ice. Thai landing forms were distributed on the other side of the aircraft – it soon became obvious that they had forgotten this side or simply skipped it.

The attendant call sign was ignored by four flight attendants who passed by. And of course it was ignored in the galleys where they actually see on a screen “Passenger Call Seat 28B”… So, tmeyer went to get the forms for us. The purser accused him of being asleep when the forms were distributed. Later, the crew realized their mistake and had to go disturb these things instead of having their two-hour rest (they were nowhere to be seen after the meal service).

We soon started descent into Don Muang – landing would be about 15 minutes ahead of schedule. Our arrival gate was 55 – as far away from immigration as possible. The counters were deserted, and after getting some Baht from the ATM, we headed upstairs to grab a taxi without the 50 Baht airport surcharge. We had both booked a nice hotel for the following night (Westin for me, Shangri-La for tmeyer), and shared a taxi to a cheap place near Sukhumvit. For 700 Baht per room per night, it was decent.

Lufthansa service was terrible, but I expect nothing else in Lufthansa economy these days. Another factor was that this was part of the Frankfurt flight – they just don’t care about the short intra-Asian sector.

06 July 2004
Bangkok Don Muang (BKK/VTBD) – Helsinki Vantaa (HEL/EFHK)
Finnair AY 098
McDonnell Douglas MD-11
OH-LGA
0020-0645 (0020-0620)
Economy Class, Seat 21A (Bulkhead)


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The month passed by way too quickly – what a surprise that is. To cut things short, I almost missed the flight back home to boot. I arrived at the Finnair check-in desks at 2322, officially check-in should have been closed two minutes earlier. However, the Lufthansa agent managed to find a bulkhead seat for me, and thought my AA Platinum card was a Oneworld Emerald card. With “PLAT/EME” lounge invitation, I was welcomed to the Qantas Club First Lounge.

Unfortunately I had only about ten minutes to spend there – only cold snacks were available, but they were somewhat better than in the business class side. Drink selection was good though – champagne, XO cognac etc. After a couple of drinks, I reluctantly headed to gate 53 for boarding. I went straight onboard, and took my window seat in the first row of economy with decent legroom. The middle seat was blocked, and the guy in the aisle seat had his face glued to a computer magazine the entire time he wasn’t sleeping or eating.

We pushed back on time and took off from runway 21R with no delay. Our MD-11 was about half full in economy – very strange for a Finnair Bangkok flight. Business class was full though. Dinner was served shortly after takeoff – it was shrimp with fried noodles. Quite a tasty meal for economy class I must say. Drink service was generous as usual, I had a Chivas Regal with coke, a white wine and some Baileys after the meal.

Since I was tired, had had a few drinks and the seat was rather comfortable for economy class, I managed to sleep until breakfast was served. Routing seemed to be the standard for Bangkok-Helsinki. A warm breakfast was served about 1h30min prior to arrival, quite decent with an omelet, some sausages and hash browns.

Our MD-11 landed ahead of schedule on runway 22R, and we taxied a good 10 minutes until reaching gate 31. Passport control was a breeze, and there was a short wait for priority baggage. While waiting for my bag, I met a friend from university who had been in Thailand for a month as well – it’s a small world!

Weather in Finland was awful – around 15 degrees that morning. Luckily I was picked up from the airport, so I didn’t have to drive or take a bus this time. The next day I had to go to work at 6am…

That's it, if someone made it this far, congratulations!



Air Asia Super Elite, Cebu Pacific Titanium
User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (9 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 10926 times:

Hi Lari,

I just went online because you told me earlier this day that your trip report will be online tonight, but what I saw is completely insane  Big grin  Smile/happy/getting dizzy.

I will not begin to read now, but rather reserve myself at least one hour for tomorrow or Thursday night to enjoy your report all at once from the beginning till the end.

Thanks again for your eMail today, the information was very useful for me!

Patrick


User currently offlineScandinavian From Sweden, joined Sep 2000, 267 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (9 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 10844 times:

Hello!

What can I say? Maybe the most interesting report so far on this forum.

It´s amazing to hear about the low prices on the Thai low cost carriers, I have to fly with them very soon. And it´s sad to read about Lufthansas bad service on their intra-Asian sectors.

Thank you for taking your time to write this report!

Markus



"He was a wise man who invented beer"-Platon
User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6482 posts, RR: 55
Reply 6, posted (9 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 10786 times:

Very nice report! I'm glad that you finally got to experience the 747-100 before they are gone.

Amazing how inexpensive it is to fly withing Thailand and how few people there were on OX. Wonder how long they last with so few people flying.

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly...T5, CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlineBa319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8467 posts, RR: 55
Reply 7, posted (9 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 10742 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Totally great report as usual Lari. Many many thanks for taking the time to put this together,it made great reading over dinner and a glass of wine,or 2 Smile

I must say,the LH service is shocking,totally puts you off wanting to fly them,at least down back in 'Y'.

Thanks again.

Rgds

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 offlineCs03 From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 413 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (9 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 10704 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Thanks for such a well written T/R! The great detail and comments really make this T/R one of the best I have seen in this Forum!

cs03


User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (9 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 10668 times:

Finally I had time to read this ultra long report, I can only agree with the members who replied before I did, this report is one of the best I have ever read here, very detailed and very well written, I do not only like the reports about the flights, but also that you described the conditions of the hotels and lounges.

Orient-Thai seems to be an interesting airline, of course I will give them a try when I will be in Asia later this month, first I thought that I would finally get a flight on one of their L1011's but unfortunately they are only operating charter flights as you told me a few days ago. Anyway, I can imagine that a flight on the 747-100 will be interesting as well because that is the only 747 type I never flew on, I will also pay a little bit extra to upgrade to Business Class on one leg, it must be great to have the whole upper deck for yourself. I was also very surprised to read about the friendliness of OX's flight attendants, seems that it is indeed the only low-fare airline where you get addressed by name, I like this very much.

Your Lufthansa flights sound like a big dissapointment, it is a real shame to read how they treat their top tier customers when they are flying in Economy Class.

Regarding your flight with PR, 106 EUR is indeed incredible cheap for a return flight in Business Class (with First Class seating on one flight), I booked also a MNL-CEB flight a few days ago but I paid almost the same fare for Economy Class on Cebu Pacific Airlines, but I am quite happy that I will get the DC-9, another aircraft type which is still missing in my "collection".

Thanks a lot for sharing this interesting report, the cabin shots are also interesting to look at.

Patrick


User currently offline9V-SPJ From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 748 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (9 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 10614 times:

Wonderful trip report! I really like the detail that you put into it which makes the report incredibly interesting!

9V-SPJ


User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4742 posts, RR: 26
Reply 11, posted (9 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 10577 times:

Meanwhile it had started raining outside – it’s not often I have seen such a thundershower. You couldn’t see from the end of the domestic concourse to runway 21R/03L.

Hey, this was that day I arrived on the Valuair A320! Boy was that some storm!

The bulkhead brochure holder said “About Japan Airlines”. The Seiko clock device on the back bulkhead was displaying the local times for TYO and HKG – wonder if the last flight with JAL was HKG-NRT?

I remember all these items when I first flew JAL in 87!

A funny comment was when she said they want to fly to Europe “but airplane too old”.
There's probably some truth to that. The EU probably denied their application.  Big grin

Thai sends two daily A300s and one B734 usually, Nok Air will fly 3x daily B734, Thai Air Asia flies 2x daily with B733s and Orient Thai flies a sole daily B757 or 747. Just a year ago, just the three daily Thai flights existed…

Any idea why is there a sudden increase? As far as I know, tourist arrivals to the barren Northeastern regions are quite modest.


Our classic then taxied to runway 27 for takeoff – first time I have had a takeoff from that runway. The old Pratt&Whitney JT9D-7A’s spooled up, and we started rolling about 40 minutes behind schedule. Takeoff was impressive for a 747 classic once again, and we made an almost immediate left turn after takeoff.

A left turn after take off from HKT rwy 27? Could it be rwy 09?

==========================================================

Finally, I managed to finish reading your report in under an hour. Fantastic stuff!!!

Fly away
Ryan



Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1736 posts, RR: 39
Reply 12, posted (9 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 10565 times:

Amazing trip report Lufthansa747. I only wish I could have had flown as much as you. Excellent details.

Good to see you enjoyed Philippine Airlines. They certainly have changed from the dump I remember them as. Looks like they may finally be on the road to recovery.

Lufthansa service on the MNL-BKK leg has never been good for me. We started flying CX or SR as my father had enough of their service or lack of it. Now all he flies is LH as a Senator, and I am the one who prefers other airlines.  Big grin Living in Germany changed his mind, but not mine.

Orient Thai sounds like an interesting operation. Hopefully I'll get to try them out someday as my favorite plane (the 742) is becoming rarer and rarer.

Looking forward to more of your excellent trip reports in the future.

SR 103


User currently offlineLufthansa747 From Philippines, joined May 1999, 3201 posts, RR: 43
Reply 13, posted (9 years 11 months 1 week 4 days ago) and read 10560 times:

Thanks for the comments so far!

Patrick,

I just went online because you told me earlier this day that your trip report will be online tonight, but what I saw is completely insane

Well, my friends call me and and my flight routings insane, so what else could you expect?  Big grin

You should have a great trip to Asia - what airline are you planning to fly to BKK/MNL if you don't mind me asking? In your situation I'd choose Cebu Pacific too, but since I have flown on DC9-30/50, the EUR 10 extra to fly C/F, lounges etc was worth the difference for me.

The777Man,

Indeed, getting the 747-100 was fantastic. I have a booking for ANA 747SR and 747-400D in November, fingers crossed they don't change those.

IMHO the number of people flying OX is not so big surprise - their reservations staff are clueless even about schedules and advance ticketing is next to impossible. Unless they improve the ticket sale syslem/channels, I can't see them operating domestic for long. Air Asia and Nok both have convenient online booking systems etc, and lower fares. Sure the old 747s are paid for and staff costs are low, but if you figure out how much fuel 747 classics consume, their flights must make losses. An old LH 747-200 postcard states the fuel consumption at 13000 litres per hour... Since all seats are same price, OX 267 to Phuket generated exactly 863 Euros of passenger revenue.

Mark,

Even LH's rather crappy Y is not that bad usually - it's just that they couldn't care less on these continuations of the F R A flight. My BKK- M N L sector in F was very disappointing earlier too - TG C would probably be a better choice for that flight.

Ryan,

I read your trip report too - indeed it was quite a storm! I do find it rather strange that JAL did no interior upgrades to these 747 classics, even from 87 to 2003 (or whenever they sold the planes to OX) is quite a long time for a premium carrier to upgrade their cabins. But the HS-UTI economy class seats must have been from the seventies...

About the Europe flights - there's no doubt whether I'd prefer an ex-JAL 747 or ex-GA machine. Yet Phuket Air got the rights to fly to London. The ex-GA 747-200s of 9R look awful and very dirty.

About the Udon Thani flights - I guess the growth is mainly aimed at the large number of Isaan people working in Bangkok. People with a normal job in BKK could never afford the TG fares before competition. Train takes 12 hours and bus something like 10, so I guess the B350 (FD) and B498 (DD) fares will be rather popular. I doubt OX will stay in this market with their daily 757 (which was cancelled thye day I was there...). Udon Thani is also a convenient gateway for tourists to Laos as the flights are dirt cheap compared to BKK-VTE direct flights. Also Udon/Nong Khai have a large number of expats living there.

It was a right turn after takeoff from HKT rwy 27 - sorry for my mistake.

SR 103,

Indeed, I have enjoyed all my three flights on Philippine Airlines. The domestic C service is much better than TG with full meals and better lounges. Also I always found their staff to be excellent. Have you ever flown Air Philippines? I'm considering them for CEB-MNL in August instead as they have dirt cheap promotional fares.

There is absolutely no reason to fly LH BKK-MNL - it's just that my friend's miles were not enough for a TG award (28K LH online vs 30K TG). Miles and More has definitely lost me as a customer once my Senator status expires in 2007. How's 500 miles for a 4-segment SK Euro trip instead of the old 5000?  Insane The 125 miles per flight is an insult worse than their Y service, 0 would be better.

Regards,

Lari



Air Asia Super Elite, Cebu Pacific Titanium
User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (9 years 11 months 1 week 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 10539 times:

what airline are you planning to fly to BKK/MNL if you don't mind me asking?

Hi Lari,

my girlfriend and I will fly on AF from DUS to MNL (via CDG and BKK), from there directly onwards to CEB with Cebu Pacific. Four days later back to BKK via MNL (also on 5J and AF, I hope AF's intra-Asia service is better than LH's), in BKK we will have four days spare time, we have planned to stay two days in BKK and two days in HKT (the trip with OX to get the 747-100 and the return flight maybe with Bangkok Airways to get the 717). From BKK we will fly back to DUS via CDG.

We chose AF because they were among the airlines with the cheapest fares, I flew a lot on them and I find their Eco service quite good, and even more important, I will get the Frequences Plus Bleu Card after another trip with them to Spain at end of September, then I have collected 25.336 miles within this year, 25.000 miles are necessary to get the blue card  Smile/happy/getting dizzy.

Patrick


User currently offlineLufthansa747 From Philippines, joined May 1999, 3201 posts, RR: 43
Reply 15, posted (9 years 11 months 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 10427 times:

Hi Partick,

Your trip sounds great, hope you'll have fun and good luck getting the 747-100. FP Bleu should be nice too - especially considering their 1000-mile minimum still in place for European flights.

I got my CEB plans firmed up this week - will be there Aug 21-30 again. Here are some future trips, I'll try to write some trip reports too. There will be more tripe ex-ICN but these are booked.

15AUG HEL-BKK AY 097 Y M11
18AUG BKK-HKG-ICN TG 628 Y 772
20AUG ICN-MNL OZ 371 Y 763
21AUG MNL-CEB PR 849 F 744
30AUG CEB-MNL 2P 774 Y 732
31AUG MNL-ICN OZ 372 Y 763
17OCT BKK-HKT FD 100 Y 733
22OCT ICN-HKG OZ 301 Y 74E
24OCT HKG-NRT UA 890 Y 744
25OCT NRT-ICN OZ 105 Y 763
05NOV ICN-HKG TG 629 Y 772
06NOV HKG-NRT NH 912 Y 763
07NOV HND-OKA NH 127 Y 744
08NOV OKA-ITM NH 106 Y 74R
09NOV KIX-ICN OZ 111 Y 763
27NOV ICN-NRT UA 801 C 772
27NOV NRT-BKK UA 881 C 744
06DEC BKK-NRT UA 882 C 744
06DEC NRT-ICN UA 800 C 772
02JAN BKK-FRA LH 773 C 346
03JAN FRA-HEL LH3100 Y 320

Regards,

Lari



Air Asia Super Elite, Cebu Pacific Titanium
User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1736 posts, RR: 39
Reply 16, posted (9 years 11 months 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 10401 times:

Have you ever flown Air Philippines? I'm considering them for CEB-MNL in August instead as they have dirt cheap promotional fares.

I have not unfortunately. I have only flown two airlines, Philippine Airlines and Grand Air(out of business now). I have to say they were much better than PR back in the day when there was not too much choice. Air Philippines sounds like a decent carrier, don't have much insight into them, sorry.

I can't wait for you upcoming trip report. Those sound flights up there sound so interesting. I got nothing but the usual CO/KL/NW/MH coming up during the next couple months.

SR 103


User currently offlineSpk From Thailand, joined Jun 2001, 458 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (9 years 11 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 10344 times:

Many OX flights BKK-HKT-BKK are mostly repositioning flight for their HKT base.

User currently offlineMerC From Sweden, joined Dec 2003, 590 posts, RR: 3
Reply 18, posted (9 years 11 months 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 10238 times:

Wow 16 flights in a month, it took me about 18 years to achieve the same number. Big grin

Thanks for an awesome report, as usual. Extremely detailed and well-written. Hope to see more reports from you in the future, it is a great read !

Regards,

Marcus



It's Scandinavian
User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (9 years 11 months 18 hours ago) and read 10218 times:

Finally I booked my BKK-HKT flight on PG (yes, the 717 according to their timetable). I was quite surprised when I saw that they have a special promotion web fare for flights between June 28 to September 30. The one-way fare per person is only 1500 THB (approximately 30 EUR), so I paid 3290 THB (approx. 65 EUR) for two persons including tax, quite cheap if you ask me.

Now I hope for the 747-100 on the return flight to BKK, too bad that you can't book tickets in advance on the Orient-Thai website, but since I read this report I am quite sure that the flight won't be booked out  Big thumbs up.

Patrick


User currently offlineA319114 From Netherlands, joined Aug 2004, 541 posts, RR: 3
Reply 20, posted (9 years 11 months 18 hours ago) and read 10218 times:

Great trip report, made some interesting reading!


Destruction leads to a very rough road but it also breeds creation
User currently offlineLufthansa747 From Philippines, joined May 1999, 3201 posts, RR: 43
Reply 21, posted (9 years 10 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 10151 times:

SR103,

No problems, I'll write a trip report if I choose the Air Phils flight from Cebu to Manila. I'm only concerned if they make you check in every normal sized carry on like PR seemed to do in Y (they only let me take my roller bag once they saw I had C boarding pass) - I'll have carry on only on this trip and thus tickets, phone, camera etc in it.

Patrick,

As far as I know, PG only flies 717s from BKK to Phuket - so enjoy your first flight on the type.  Big thumbs up Really don't worry about OX availability - there should be lots! I guess you can try to get advance tickets once you get to Phuket - maybe someone is willing to issue them. 267/266 were operated by HS-UTH yesterday - the One-Two Go livery 747-146. Their both 747-100s were at Hong Kong yesterday actually, two pax 747-100s next to each other were a classic sight indeed.

Regards from Seoul,

Lari



Air Asia Super Elite, Cebu Pacific Titanium
User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (9 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 10142 times:

I guess you can try to get advance tickets once you get to Phuket

Hi Lari,

that is a very good idea, I will buy them at the airport ticket counter when I arrive at HKT instead of going to the airport several hours before departure on the day when I leave.

Patrick


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