Here is another intra-Asian report – mainly on CX as usual, but the interesting part is the small AY segment BKK-SIN. I hope you will enjoy it. BTW, I scored another operational upgrade on CX from HKG to BKK from J to F. I am on a full fare J ticket and the overbooking Y cabin (by 40) did the magic.
August 12, 2005
CX 713 HKG-BKK Lv0855 Arr1030 Boeing 747-400 B-HKE with P&W engines
Well the flight began with a late night SMS message notifying me that my flight was delayed till 10:20am. Since I checked in the afternoon before, this SMS message was good news, as I could sleep a bit longer. Well there was no lounge report because I arrived at the gate late, and also we were using an atypical gate, 15 on the other wing, which is typically Dragonair, BA, QF, PR, and Jardines’ wing. So I decided to linger a bit longer at the gate, and also to take pictures of the latest Boeing 747-400, B-HKE, which was leased/bought from SQ. What a strange sight with the P&W, instead of the usual RR engines. The flight arrived late from Paris this morning, in which resulted in our delay. The flight was full but there was no chaos at gate. Boarding began at 9:55am and the beep from the boarding pass machine meant op-up to me, and saw at least 12 more parties getting upgrades. I guess F was mostly op up today, as the couple in front of me also got upgraded to F.
A bit plane-spotting note:
PR 744 N753PR, CO 772 N57016, CX 346 B-HQA heading to JFK, CX 744 B-HOW heading to TPE/NRT, CX 744 B-HUA from FRA and heading to LAX as CX 884, B-18303 to KHH (in which I saw again at BKK the next day), CI brand new 744 B-18212 as CI 601/2, CX 343 B-HXM at gate 70, Jetstar Asia 9V-JSB, and 9I’s L1011 HS-AXA
This new 747 features the same layout as other CX 744. The cabin is obviously spotless and the seats saw only minor changes, such as leather trim at tray table, and a side pad… nothing too extraordinary. The F/A was all busy serving this VIP passenger at 2A, as the whole F/A team talked to him throughout the flight. Anyway, the door was closed at 10:19am, and we headed to R/W25L for takeoff. As you all know, we taxied from one side of the airport to the other side – not good news for a delayed flight. Following a Star Alliance SQ Boeing 777-300 9V-SYE, we finally lifted off at 10:41am for our two hours and seven minutes flight to BKK. Well not much detail to give you, as the Airshow failed to perform this morning. I guess there are some teething problems – also the Asian audio channels were not working too. Breakfast pretty much started immediately, and the following was the menu transcript.
Fresh Seasonal Fruit
Watermelon, grapes, mandarin, melon, kiwi, and grapefruit
Natural or Low Fat Fruit Flavored
Nestle’s Berries Paradise Flavored
Muesli, Corn Flakes, or Rice Crispies
Mini Glutinous Rice Dumpling and Assorted Dim Sum
Shrimp Dumpling (Har Gow), Seafood Dumpling (fun guo), and Pork Dumpling (Siu Mai)
Grilled Veal Sausages and Lamb Noisette, Pan-fried Potato cake with Cheddar, Vine Ripened Tomato and Sauteed Fresh Mushrooms
Assorted Bread and Rolls Served with Preserves, Honey and Butter
Peach & Almond Danish, Croissants, and Bran Muffin
Tea and Coffee
Well the rest of the flight was spent watching various situational comedies and the F/As refilled my water glasses quite well. Descent began soon at 12:20pm HK time, and we landed on R/W21L at 11:51pm Thailand local time. We taxied into gate 44 shortly after, and I headed to the transit lounge.
August 12, 2005
AY 97 BKK-SIN Lv1440 Arr1815 Boeing MD-11 OH-LGE
To my surprise, Finnair desks were well staffed and I was given a boarding pass shortly, also a lounge pass to QF new lounge. As you can expect, the lounge was very empty this morning – not only because of the time of the day, but also because of BA strike. After I showed up, the agent immediately summoned the attendant to bring out the buffet food, which included some cold deli, fruit, sandwiches, and fresh fruit. You can see them at the pictures. The lounge was very nicely decorated – stylish, but the only problem was the lack of a nice window overlooking the apron. I was pretty much the only one there for a while. From the pictures, the QF Club was definitely impressive, and I checked out the shower room, which looked pretty nice too. The AY MD-11 arrived on time from HEL, and I headed to the gate around 1:40pm.
List of planes:
TK 340-300 heading to SIN TC-JIH, EK 773 A6-EMP heading to HKG, 9V-SRL SQ 772, LH 346 D-AIHB heading to SGN, 744 D-ABTE heading to CGK, SK’s 343 KBD, LX’s HB-JME, OS 763 with the new OS livery OE-LAW, 9V-SMR SQ 744, A40-LB GF 343 old livery, Drukair A319, IC A320 VT-EVR
Well boarding began at 2:15pm at gate 53, and all the transit passengers from HEL had to remain on board. This MD-11 was one of the odd-ones out there without the updated J cabin, but it was only two hours flight – so no big deal. Instead of PTV, a DVD was provided. There were about eight passengers from HEL heading to SIN, and the F/A was talking with them. Her colleagues however immediately offered me a pre-takeoff beverage served in real glasses – the always-nice AY crystal glasses. Well there was no bar counter at this particular MD-11s, and the configuration is 2-2-2 throughout the J cabin (only forward too), and usually the last two rows are 2-3-2 on updated J cabin. Well P/A announcements were done in Finnish, English, Thai, and Mandarin – very mixed crew. All-Finnish crew was in charge of J cabin this afternoon. Door was closed at 2:39pm, and we pushed back a few minutes later. We took off from R/W21R at 3:02pm. Flying time was a quick hour and fifty-three minutes with a cruising attitude of 37,000feet.
After takeoff, an hot towel started off the service, followed by the beverage trolley with the meal tray (already came with appetizer and dessert) – a bit simplified from my BKKHKG flight two years ago with appetizer, sherbet, entrée, and a mini-pastry tray. However the quality remained pretty high. Here is the wine list and transcript.
Bangkok – Singapore
Champagne Pol Roger Brut Vintage 1996
Chablis Premier Cru Montmains 2000
Jean-Marc Brocard, Chablis Premier Cru, France
Campanaro Fiano Di Avellino 2002
Feudi Ssan Gregorio, Campania, Italy
Les Fiefs De Lagrange 1998
Saint-Julien, Bordeaux, France
Kevin Arnold Shiraz 2002 – Michael Ian
Waterford Wine Estate, Stellenbosch South Africa
Chateau Guiraud 1998
Premier Cru Classe, Sauternes, France
Niepoort 20 Years old Tawny, Port Portugal, Niepoort (Vinhos) S.A.
Grilled Marinated Prawns with Coriander Vinaigrette (taste like 1000 Island dressing) and green papaya salad
Well not really prawns, but shrimps… nice presentation though and big portion
Fried Red Snapper with mustard butter roasted potato and ratatouille
Roasted breast of duck with oyster sauce and stir fried noodles
Nice portion with couple large pieces of duck and it tastes pretty good
Bread basket – French, pretzel rolls, brown bread, and crackers
Baked Ricotta raisin cake and Chantilly cream
Coffee, cappuccino, espresso and tea available during the flight
Well after the meal, there was not much time, but an episode of Simpsons was shown, followed by SIN destination video. The bathroom was stocked with dental kits for those who care to brush their teeth after the meal. Descent began at 5:29pm SIN local time and we landed on R/W20R at 5:55pm. I spotted a Valuair 9V-VLD, a LH 744 D-ABVU, and a KL74E PH-BFS, when we headed to D46. Finnair was a nice European carrier and the F/As are very kind in general. I will not hesitate to fly it in the near future. Of course, it will be nice if a pillow and a blanket can be provided at each seat, instead of requesting them.
August 13, 2005
CX 712 SIN-BKK Lv1335 Arr1455 Boeing 777-200 B-HNL
Well the return flight was uneventful. I flew CX 712 back to BKK, and then connect to CX 702 to HKG (more miles and got to fly F on BKKHKG segment). Well the first class check in counter was empty and the friendly agent checked me all the way to HKG. She also told me where the new Skyview lounge was – next to the toy shop. The new Skyview lounge was ten times better than the old lounge. It was modeled after the HKG Wing lounge with the basic same décor, long bar, and buffet area. There was also free wifi, but there was no separate F section. GA passengers also use this lounge. Food wise – fried rice, dim sum, sandwiches, snacks, baked dim sums were offered as usual. I was generally pleased with the new SIN lounge.
Planes – TG A330-300 (NC) HS-TEF, PK’s A310 AP-BGN, Air Zimbabwe’s Boeing 767-200ER, Lion Air’s Boeing 737-400 PK-LIQ, QF 744 VH-OJN SYD, China Southern A320 B-2345 heading to Guangzhou…
The flight itself was typically CX medium haul service. The flight was full in Y, while 40% full in J. I switched to an empty pair of seats after the doors were closed early at 1:29pm. A note about boarding at SIN – chaotic and there was no separate line for F/J passengers. Not a good arrangement for a world-class airport! Pushed back at 1:30pm, and headed to R/W20C shortly after. We took off at 1:44pm, and the flight was two hours and two minutes, and we climbed to 40,000 feet with a brief light choppy area along the way. The meal was a two-course affair – appetizer (with dessert on the tray already), entrée trolley, and then tea/coffee/praline service. A bit more simplified than BKK-HKG! But basically same stuff but more things pre-set on the tray! Here is the wine list and transcript!
Bilecart Salmon Brut Champagne
Jaboulet-Vercherre Pouilly Fuisse 2002
Green Point Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2004
Mercurey Domaine Louis Max 2001
Vieux Chateau Landon, Cru Bourgeois Medoc 2001
Dow’s Late Bottled Vintage Port 1999
Marinated Prawns and Green Asparagus with Kalamata Olives
There are no prawns, but one single prawn – really not marinated, as it is tasteless… but the appetizer is fresh and after some salt and pepper, it works fine for me.
Grilled Lamb Cutlets with Sundried Cherry and Cabernet Sauce
Mushroom Ragout and Roast Potatoes with Herbs
Fried Bee Hoon with Seafood Singapore style
Well Bee Hoon is vermicelli noodles… and seafood today is shrimps and some fish slices… okay la!
Passionfruit Mousse with a Raspberry Coulis
Assorted Breads and Rolls
Garlic bread and French Rolls
Tea and coffee
The flight continued with no further problem and we began our descent at 2:16pm BKK local time. We landed on R/W 21R at 2:46pm and parked at gate 36. Continuing passengers to HKG has to remain on board. Here is a list of planes seen on the arrival – AI 313 VT-AIG, Tiger’s A320 9V-TAC, AY M11 OH-LGD, LH 744 D-ABVT, IC A32- VT-ESE, CI’s AB6 B-18576, SQ 772 9V-SRB, LX 343 HB-JMG, and SK 343 OY-KBC. We deplaned at gate 36 and then I headed to CX F Lounge.
August 13, 2005
CX 702 BKK-HKG Lv1840 Arr2230 Boeing 747-400 B-HOY Asia’s World City Livery
The BKK lounge was discussed many times here, so no need to repeat too much. The lounge was pretty empty when I got in, with a few folks heading to HKG on CX 712, and then after they left, I got the lounge to myself for an hour and half. There was no dim sum this afternoon, but some fried rice, and fried noodles Thai style. There were also some Spring rolls (non-frying ones), which was quite delicious. There was free wifi in the lounge, and uploaded most of the earlier pictures. I also like this lounge better because it has a big window overlooking the apron with some interesting planes to spot. Well CX 712 ended up late heading to HKG due to thunderstorm there, but CX 701 came in around 5:29pm, so I was confident that my flight would go out on time. Also another surprise – an Asia’s World City livery aircraft. The lounge attendant approached me around 5pm and notified me that the gate for my flight was 36, and I noticed that there was no public announcement inside the lounge, and the attendant will kneel down and quietly tells individual time to board your flight. Nice gesture! There is a benefit with a small lounge, not to mention a cute Thai boy this afternoon.
List of planes – SQ 744 9V-SPE, OE-LAE OS’s Boeing 767-300ER in new color, CI’s A330-300 B-18303 (just saw this plane yesterday morning at HKG heading to KHH), Air Asia’s Boeing 737-300 HS-AAN (heading to Macau), Air India’s A310-300 VT-EVY heading to Shanghai, Air France’s A340-300 F-GNIF heading to Ho Chi Minh, a collection of Indian Airlines’ A320: VT-EYE, VT-EYJ, and VT-EPC, Gulf Air’s new color A340-300 A40-LE, CI’s 738 B-16301, BA’s 744 (first sighting of BA since strike) G-BNLZ, and Mai’s MD-80 PK-LMY.
Well I headed to the gate around 6pm and it was just a five minutes walk from the gate. Well around 6:20pm, there was still no sign for boarding. Soon the Thai staff made an announcement – well there was a technical problem and no need to stand in line, and there would be an update in five minutes. Of course, I immediately spotted that the left hand engine (#3) had its cover opened up and lots of folks were looking at them. Well the update never came along, but I soon noticed a few F/As coming out from the plane and headed to the smoking room next door. Thankfully, boarding began at 7:05pm, but the CX staff at BKK should have made an additional announcement telling us estimate time for the plane to be fixed and updated boarding time. Well F/As immediately welcomed me aboard, along with three other passengers. I was the only Chinese in F today, and I had row 1 and 2 to myself. Well the F/As introduced themselves to me, and immediately offered a pre-takeoff beverage, along with a warmed bowl of cashews. Hot towels, newspapers… all the usual stuff… Door was closed at 7:33pm and we pushed back two minutes. Unfortunately, there were a few Thai’s a/cs in front of us. After two TG’s A330s (HS-TED and Dragonboat special), we lifted off from R/W21R at 7:55pm for our two hours and twenty-two minutes flight to Hong Kong. We climbed to 37,000feet. The pilot tried to catch up but with thunderstorm in HK, it was miracle that we did not get additional holding at HKG air space.
Well the service began with setup, and beverage with a nice tray of beef satays, and then the meal itself. Here is the wine list and menu transcript:
Cuvee William Deutz 1996
Puligny Montrachet Les Grandes Marches 2002
Frankland River Chardonnay 2002
Chateau Brannaire-Ducru 1996, 4eme Cru Classe
Carton Grand Cru Louis Max 1996
Ramos Pinto Quinta da Ervamaira 10 Years Old
Thai Style Beef Satay
Marinated Salmon Roll with Horseradish Vegetables and Sour Cream
Two rolls of salmon…
Fried Jumbo Tiger Prawns with X.O. sauce
Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Roasted Onion Sauce
Thai Style Red Curry Duck
I had the tiger prawns(3), which was okay with rice side, some zucchini, kailan, and carrots.
Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary or Steamed Rice
Selection of Western or Oriental Vegetables
Cheese – Blue, Brie, and Gouda
Fresh Seasonal Fruit – Melon, Pineapple, and Grapes
A layered raspberry mousse cake with chocolate cake bottom
Assorted Bread and Rolls
Garlic bread, wheat rolls, and French rolls
Tea and Coffee
Well the flight was fine, and soon descent began at 9:44pm. There were lots of thunderstorm shows today, and it was obvious the F/As took their seats early. Despite landing among thunderstorms, it was quite steady. We landed on R/W25R at 11:17pm local time, and taxing was indeed very slow. We parked at gate 36 at 11:32pm with many concerning passengers. But don’t worry… lots of flights were delayed, and our a/c continued to CDG with an updated departure time at 12:25pm, which was impossible.
Thanks for reading,