I had to go to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico for a conference and I also took my wife along with me on this trip. I routed my flight in such a way whereby I can have a stop over in Seoul as my wife has not been there and I have also got a friend who is stationed there so ...I should just kill 2 birds with 1 stone huh!!
1 Feb 2007
B734 - 9M-MQO
Flight time 2 hrs
Cruising altitude: 34,000ft
I am sure all of you heard about the floods in Jkt, will the downpour actually started on the Thursday I left....my car had to thread thru water which is starting to rise up halfway of the width of my rims !! ... oh well...not too much of a hassle....made it to the airport @1415 for my 1545 flight. Boarding was efficient at check in and no one was in the Golden Club Class line, even Y line was pretty empty. I was assigned my pre-requested seats and the agent fumbled for awhile as she had ran out of Business Class luggage tags, so in the end, she gave me First class tags instead (interesting they should have these as none of MH flights to CGK has F seats !!!) Afterwhich I went on to the fiscal and then cleared thru immigration in 15 secs !! (I love that Saphire Program and I definitely reccomend it to everyone) Decided that the common use lounge is boring, I decided to go to the food court to have a quick bite to eat and also do some spotting (Empty tarmac at this time of the day, saw an SQ 772 departing and some domestic GA 737's) as the smoking area has a great view of the tarmac. We then decided to go to the lounge and had a drink and more cigarettes (for me) b4 we proceeded to the gate.
Flight of the day- MH720 (B737-400) 9M-MQO
Photo © JKSC
Seats of Business Class on MH's 737-400
Empty Tarmac @ CGK
What can I say, typical great MH inflight service, attentive and super polite FAs!! A most importantly, alwats ready to serve with a smile. MH 734's generally are in great condition, only thing is the seat pitch is pretty tight (vs GA's 737's) Anyone know about upgrade plans of MH's short haul fleet? New interiors or perhaps a/c?
Some Corsair B744 on charter at the Haj terminal
C Class on MH B734
Light Meal for CGK-KUL
Marinated Garoupa with Avocado
Gratinated Penne Pasta
Mocha Cream Cake
Szechuan Chicken ..YUMMY !!!!
Our routing took us as usual over Sumatra, Singapore, Johor Bahru, Meleka and then straight into KUL. Nice smooth landing. Overall, another great MH flight (come to think of it, have yet to have a bad MH flight)
Load: 90% in C, 80% in Y
1 Feb 2007
B777-200 - HS-TJB "Uthai Thani"
Flight time: 1hr 41 min
After getting off the MH flight, we took a quick walk and managed to quickly clear immigrations because of the Premier Lane. Afterwhich we walked to the caroudel and bags were out within 3 mins (not bad huh!!!) We picked out bags, went out to the arrivals hall, and then up the escalator to the departure hall to check-in for our TG flight. Had to wait for 1 person in front of me at the check in but that didn't take too long ...but was kept amused with a Canadian guy in the Y line who was complaining about TG not letting him get off with his bags which was 5 kgs overweight, and he was argueing about the pieces rule in North America, well, sometimes I really can't understand these people, we in asia always adapt to the pieces rule when we are in North America, so they should just do the same with our Kgs rule in Asia (or most part of the world in that case), ok, but maybe TG was also being a little strict and should just let him check in the slightly overweight bags. i checked my bags straight thru to ICN and then got boarding passes for both sectors. I left for immigration (with that Canadian guy still argueing his case) again quick with the Premier Lane in operating and made out way by the sky train to C gates. C3 was the gate in use today. Was getting pretty tired by now, so me and the mrs decided just to browse the book store before proceeding to the TG lounge. The lounge still looks nice but very crowded!! t was about 90% full and certaining needs several of the seats changed due to torn upholstery.
Our B772 to BKK - HS-TJB
Photo © Raymond Ngu
Retrofit Seats and new c/s on this baby
This a/c was generally in good condition even after the renovation, its a good thing to note that this a/c is a non er version of the 772. But starting to get used to the new seats in Royal Silk, although they are actually pretty hard. But no hassle about hard seats as this is going to be a flight under 2 hrs. And with AVOD, the flight seem to take 30mins!! ehehhehe. Flight crew was polite as usual but there were 1 or 2 sour faces, this is the problem I contanstantly get with TG's C class. A mixed set of crew on the regional flights but overall, much better and cheerful crew on the long hauls...explanations anyone?? in C, MH will kick ass anytime, be in regional or long haul.
Smoked Salmon & Halibut
Pan-Fried Veal Loin w/ Cheasseur Sauce
Stir-Fried Chicken w/ Thai Herbs
Siam Perch in Thai Mushroom & Giner Sauce
Sweet Jelly w/ Thai Herbs
Main - Veal Loin
Sweet Jelly w/ Thai Herbs
Flight was pretty uneventful and over in a breeze! But food was really bad!! But I am not complaining, my next leg will be on a B772er, TG's newest baby (so they say online, but with TG you never know, my last trip to ICN in late 2002 was on a B773 with C class seats w/ the worst recline angle ever)
1 Feb 2007
B777-300 - HS-TKB New C/S but not yet fit out with new seats
Flight time: 4hr 15 min
Although we arrived early from KUL, it still took sometime to park the a/c as due to refurbishment of the cracks on the taxi and runways, one concourse was closed, so our a/c had to park at a remote stand. By the time the stars got to the a/c the buses did not!! Oh well, not much of a hassle as we had time to kill before the next flight. We just spent time walking around concourse C & D and afterwhich we went into the Royal Silk Lounge at concourse C. As usual for this time of the day, the lounge was almost at full capacity.
We decided to walk to the gate just before boarding was called as it was another remote gate C1A being used for this flight. Noticed that most of the passengers on this flight to ICN were Koreans.
We were on the 1st bus to the a/c and as we approached from the distance, I saw the B777 in here gleaming new paint!! I was excited but not for long, as the closer I got I noticed it was not the new B772er but was a B773 which has just been repainted a week prior to my trip!!
HS-TKB (B4 her new c/s)
Photo © Giovanni Verbeeck
Oh well, as I thought, TG likes to change their equipment at a moments notice. This a/c still had the new seats which I was complaining earlier about. The C seats has terrible recline.
I asked the lead stewardess and she said that all TGs B773s will be retrofitted by July 2007 even including PTVs in Y. So I guessed I looked at the bright side that I am traveling on one of the last few flights in the old interior of the B773er.
TG AB6 next to us, ready to go to, I don%u2019t know where !!
We had a slight delay to depart due to the fact a Korean rock band who were also traveling in C were the last to board, did not know which band they were, but at least they are not noisy or intrusive. Load was 50% in C, and 100% in Y. The last people to board was actually 3 Y passengers, gosh, really hate them, there were last to be bussed to the a/c and still had the nerve to ask the ground agent to take a few pictures of them before the ascended the stairs to board the aircraft, I was giving them death looks from my window !!!
PTV w/ touch screen but not AVOD
Menu for the flight
Cold cuts w/ sushi
Fresh fruits, juice & yoghurt
Cheese Omelette w/ veal sausage
Chinese Yang Chao w/ prawn & chicken sausage
Roast duck w/ gravy & yellow noodles
The 2nd serving was actually done about 1.5 hrs before landing
Well, its another uneventful flight for me, but this time, the crew was definitely an improvement than the previous leg!!
3 Feb 2007
B747-400 HL7418 old c/s
Flight time: 10hrs
We spent just over 24hrs in Seoul. Managed to have dinner with an old friend, and we also visited one of the palaces near our hotel (Westin Chosun) and took the wife shopping and eating around the Myeong Dong area. ICN airport si quite a distance from the city but I was not complaining as my friend has arranged his chaeuffer to both pick and send us to the airport. We reached the airport in time at around 1430, plenty of time for the 1630 departure to LAX.
Landside @ ICN
Premium check in of OZ which I just came out from
Check in was a breeze and I got my preassigned seats, plus point to note, this is my first time on OZ but great courteous staff all round!! Good first impression!! I was seated in 21J & 21K, lower deck of the 747. We went thru immigration and then we walked around the duty free, had lunch at a nice café where they served kick-ass Beef Kalbi (opposite Gate 30) After the meal, it was not long to go before boarding, but we decided to go and have a quick look at OZ lounge. My previous trips into ICN were by SQ and TG and they both used the Silver Kris lounge which was great. The OZ lounge was nice too, but I still think the Silver Kris lounge is better, but this maybe due to the fact that the OZ lounge running really full!
It was soon time to board and we got into the C and F line, was quite a long wait before the line started moving.
Our a/c HL7418
Photo © David James Clelford
Ancient seats in C
Looking out the window
Nice looking safety card though
PTV, Amenity Kit & Menu
We were already seated for around 20 mins and still be pre-take off drinks were not served, not looking good! So I decided to walk around the cabin, F was 50% load, C was 100% and Y 100%. The inflight product of this a/c is really looking very very old indeed and needs a desperate upgrade. The seats are similar to TGB744s pre-retrofit , especially the similarity can be seen in the F seats. Thanks god TG was upgraded their B744 fleet. PTV had 3 movies, and 2 short features all playing in a loop, BORING! Thank god I had my laptop and a couple of DVDs with me.
Selections of canapés
Mixed beans w/ parma ham
Mixed garden salad
Beef tenderloin steak
Fresh fruit & assorted cheese
Selection of canapés
Korean Bi Bim Bap
Fresh fruit & assorted cheese
Fresh fruit & juice
Fruit flavoured yoghurt
Stir fried beef w/ leek
Cream cheese pancake
Service I find was really efficient (only hiccup was really slow in offering pre take off drinks) they really smiled a lot and some of them were pretty cute %uF04A
I was hungry nearing breakfast time when I got up so I decided to have a Korean instant noodle soup it was greatbut SPICY!!
So by the time breakfast was served, I was not that hungry so just had the fruits instead.
Just hitting the California coast
About 20 mins to descend
The LA urban sprawl!
Well, we got off the a/c and its the usual mad dash to LAX immigration, waited in line for 10 mins, seems like ages to go, and yippee they opened up a new counter and I was told to stand in that new line with only 2 pax in front of me, for one, I got an unusually chatty immigration officer. He did his work quick, but spent another 2 mins or so chatting with me! We then got our bags and then went landside to get to the Hertz shuttle to pick up our rent a car b4 checking in to our hotel, the Beverly Hilton.
Overall I find OZ a good airline with great service, but my only problem is the ageing inflight product. I would probably wait for them to upgrade their inflight product before I fly them again. Although I know some of their a/c has been upgraded.
4 Feb 2007
LAX-SJD (Cabo San Lucas Baja California)
MD-80 or S-80 as marketed by AA
Seat: 6 F
Flight time: 1hr 53min
After spending a nice 24hrs in LA, we left our hotel at 0715 for our 1010 departure. I reckon that will just be right since I had to drop off the rent a car at Hertz and then catch the shuttle to AAs terminal. By 8am I was already at the terminal and managed to checked my bags in, but had a little trouble due to the fact that my agent messed up and entered both me and my wifes surnames as first names !!...but it didnt take too long to sort that out. Was also amazed that AA does not give priority tags to business class passengers. Well, 1st impressions already not that great (I would rather take UA or US coz of *A) at least my QF FF number still can be used, although I barely have any mileage as all my travels are on *A.
After a quick security check we went into the terminal, wanted to enter the lounge but guess what, business class passengers are not entitled to the lounge, only admiral club members?!! What the *^%^&@( !!!!! This is starting to get pretty bullsh*t and really not starting to make a lasting impression). At least its making me appreciate *A more now. 1st time I ever heard that premium passengers cant use the lounge. So what did I do for the rest of the time, browsed the magazine store, grabbed a coffee, and then sat at the gate and stared at the ceiling with my wife staring at me and looking at me curse and swear to myself about the lounge incident (mind you, not once did I complain to any of the AA staff, I did all the cursing and swearing within myself, pretty good huh)
Our MD S-80 to SJD , did not manage to get the rego due to the angle it was parked to the gate
I was one of the 1st to board the a/c and at least the very cheerful purser that greeted us was making my experience with AA a little better, I then settle in my seats. And guess what, impression started to go down again, seats were filthy!! Blanket was smelly and reused dont know how many times. Trust me, UA is starting to seem much better at this stage.
Legroom just enough for C
What is that ground staff doing?
Mexicana A319 taking off just before us
Views on the take off run
There was only 1 guy in charge of the 90% full C cabin. But he did his job in a very professional, but still with a nice touch of humour.
Roasted nuts, not bad
Of course there was no menus handed out, with the lunch choice of either chicken tenders or Vegetable Pizza.
I took the Pizza
Wife took the chicken tender which was better, so in the end I also ate most of it well I was starving!! Too much cursing and swearing at myself b4 take off I guess over that lounge thing heeheheh, hey, a guy needs his lounge and food in the morning!!
On descend to SJD
SJD Airport, full of Biz Jets
My overall impression of AA was mixed, the only bright side was the really great cabin crew and above average catering.
We spent the next 3 days mainly at the Sheraton Hacienda where my conference was held, great beach though.
View from my room
Managed to visit the famous Hotel California which is the name of the Eagles song
7 Feb 2007
Flight time: 2hr 5 min
Time in Mexico really passed by quickly it was really nice, especially since it was the migrating & mating season of the Grey Whales, we managed to see many of them from the hotel balcony.
We arrived at the airport with a little over an hour to spare, really nothing much to do at the airport, some of my colleagues were in the C line at the check in but soon enough it was my turn, by the way, the conducted baggage check manually at table right before the check in counter. When it was my turn to check in, the agent disappeared!! Had to wait several minutes of me signaling the other agents attending to the Y line before a female agent gestured to me to come over. After a short check in process and me getting my assigned seats, we decided to grab a bite at Burger King which is located right before the security check
We then went thru security and waited at the departures area
Observed an AA B752 from DFW unloading, also America West A320 and Interjet A320
Not too long later, our MD-S80 arrived and boarding commenced with C passengers being called first, another make shift security check was done at the gate and they did not allow me to carry my matches on board!! I told them in a nice way that TSA allows matches but not lighters%u2026and guess what, the security guy did not speak English, I just gave up and walked to the plane as I had a plane load of people behind me.
N297AA taking us back to LAX
After the last filthy interior on the inbound flight, this time its better, maybe by about 25% in terms of cleanliness
Because of my size, legroom in C still looks tight huh, btw, the bag u see is my wifes not mine !! ahahhaha
Seats, pardon me for this, I forgot to invert the pix
America West A320
The Baja coastline
Meal choice, I really can%u2019t remember as it was not that good, wait, terrible!
Anyone know which airport is this I overflew on approach to LAX?
This was yet another uneventful flight and service is acceptable but the purser on the inbound flight still kicks ass with his service style and humour
Overall my impressions of AA was ok with good staff making up for the lack of product substance. But my 1st choice in the US will still be UA.
We disembarked to an empty AA terminal and I was 1st to be at immigrations with no one in front of me (what a shocker in contrast to Tom Bradley Terminal). We then got our bags and headed to Hertz to pick up our car, as I had some colleagues with us, I rented a Hummer H2..woohoo.
10 Feb 2007
After spending a few days shopping and eating in LA, I spent my afternoon at Long Beach before heading back to the Beverly Hilton to check out for my evening flight to BKK. The hotel was packed with security personnel and many stars were there was Clive Davis (famous record producer) was having his Pre-Grammy award party there. I managed to sport Christina Aguilera. But as it fast approached the tiem of the party, I decided to leave the hotel asap to avoid the crowd at the hotel. So before heading to the airport, we had a quick meal at McDonalds and then we drove-by to Grummans Chinese Theatre and the walk of fame to kill some time.
After returning the car and taking the Hertz shuttle to Tom Bradley, we had to line up for 20mins for TSA screening before we checked-in, there was only 2 persons in the Royal Silk line. Again check-in was swift with my bags checked thru to KUL. Agent told me flight was 95% full in C, and 100% in Premium Y and Y.
After getting my boarding pass for both legs of the journey, we went to the common use lounge which was packed on my trip a mth ago, but not too bad this time. Was told the proper airline lounge will only finish renovations sometimes in August this year.
We only stayed at the lounge for 20mins and proceeded through security. It was pretty full but the lines moved pretty quick. Our gate today was a remote gate so meaning we had to take a nice long bus trip to the remote pier where this bunker looking building are located where our a/c was parked
HS-TLC our A345 to BKK
Photo © Giovanni Verbeeck
Nice Legroom on A345 in C, but I wish the A346 comes to this route so we get F class
This is my 3rd time on board a A345 on my 2nd time on HS-TLC, she still looks sparkling clean and all seats still in great condition, by the way, have I already mentioned how I love the lavatory with the windows?!!!
Everything about TGs A345 product is good, only perhaps the seat needs more cushioning, little hard as it is, but when my back gets sore, all I need to do is press the massage function
Salmon Rolled w/ cream cheese
Salad w/ olive oil and vinegrette dressing
Grilled duck breast w/ mushroom cream sauce
Sauteed prawns and scallops provencale
Chicken of Friscassee w/ mushroom
Stir fried prok with chilli, basil & minced garlic
I was having a really bad stomachache (much be from the double quarter pounder I had at McDonald) The lead FA was really nice to me and offered me some carbon pills (charcoal). After take-off it was a mad dash to the lavatory once the seat belt signs were off. After I took my seat again, I decided to skip dinner but my wife still had hers so I took pics of her meal.
Salmon & Salad
My wife had the prawn dish, she actually started eating and I was starting to fall asleep, hence the partially eaten dish :p
I managed to sleep most of the 1st half of the flight, letting my stomach recover, the lead FA all this while kept checking on me if I was ok. I got up just about the time they were serving the 2nd meal.
Fresh fruit & yoghurt
Boiled rice w/ chicken,coriander & spring onions
Thai fried rice w/ prawns
I had the latter
After the meal, I watched the Fast & the Furious Tokyo Drift on the AVOD before going back to sleep (by the way, I bought the BOSE noise canceling headset when I was in LA, and boy was it a great investment!!) Again to my stomach natural clock, I woke up before they starting serving the 3rd and final meal for the flight
Slowly but surely we are getting to BKK
Mixed green salad w/ Italian dressing
Mushroom risotto w/ grilled yellow spinach
Chicken & eggplant w/ black bean sauce
Assorted petit fours
Time passed quickly as I slept most of the journey and soon enough we touched down at BKK. This time we did not have to park at the remote bay.
And as I always said before, the crew on this flight were great, still cant understand why the crew on C class seems much better on the long haul than the short haul flights on TG? Can somebody please explain this?
12 Feb 2007
A330-300 HS-TED old c/s
Flight time: 1hr 45min
Once I got off, I really didnt feel like doing anything much and just stopped by the smoking rooms for a puff or two. We then stretched our legs and had a look at the duty free before going into the Royal Silk lounge at C concourse. Wanted to check my email but the pcs werent running and I had to go to the other lounge. I was so dead tired by now I couldnt be bothered and just decided to chill out. At 0830, I started to walk to the gate and by this time boarding already commenced so I walked to the gate and straight into the a/c. Today being operated by HS-TED and this is probably my 8th time in this a/c and also my 8th time in 11K on this aircraft!! Fancy that!!
Photo © M Radzi Desa
Old but comfy seats on this baby although not on my trip to PER but great for short haul
*A c/s A333 next to us
PB Air E145 ready to take off in front of us
Fresh fruits & juice
Omelet w/ tomato & onion
Roast chicken Chinese style, w/ hainan chicken rice
I was not hungry, just tired so took the fruits part of the meal
The flight was smooth with a fuss free service. But typical service as I always said for the short haul crew which stands in contrast to the long haul crew.
12 Feb 2007
MH723 B737-400 9M-MMQ later to be 9M-MMB
ETD:1630 later to be 1905
ATA:What a mess!!
ETA:1730, now 2005
ATA: Got no idea, at least I finally made it back to CGK
Seat:1F later to be 4F
As we landed a little early, I decided to make the dash to immigration, pick my bags and rushed to the MAS Golden Club check-in to see if I can get the 1345 flight to CGK instead of the 1630 I was booked on. But alas, the agent said only 1 seat in C was available with my wife or me having to seat in Y. My wife said she didnt mind to seat in Y as we can reach CGK earlier, but I told her its ok, we will just wait for our 1630 flight as we already paid to fly in C, we should just wait for the next flight. This was a mistake as later you guys will find out why.
Since we had so much time, I decided to check into the transit hotel airside to have a look and also take a quick nap and shower. Although we can also do that at the Golden Club Lounge, at least the transit hotel gives us a little more privacy. While the wife took her shower, I decided to walk around the airport and also had a quick 30min foot reflexology relaxing indeed. I then went back to the room and had a shower and a quick nap. We checkout at around 1545 and took a nice slow walk and skytrain back to G gates for our flight to CGK. It was now 1610, but no security staff were at the xray machine so we had to wait with the MH ground staff hassling the security to hurry up. The security started the xray at 1620 and we were all told to board the a/c immedietly, dorrs of a/c was closed at 1633. Efficient huh!! We then taxied and waited for ok to take off.
SQ to SIN departing before us
Legroom & seats (again I forgot to invert the pic, sorry)
Once we turned onto the runway for take off, instead of full thrust, only minimal thrust was applied and the aircraft turned off the 1st taxiway, ok, I sense a problem. We then pulled back into the gate where the captain took a long time before coming onto the PA to mentioned they had flaps and also an aircon compressor problem on the a/c therefore parts have been dispatched and we should be able to be on our way in 30 mins. Ok, not a problem in my case. But after 45mins on the a/c, some irate passengers in Y decided just to walk off the a/c and wait at the gate as it was hot (aircon not functioning due to faulty compressor). After about 1 hr of returning to the gate, the captain then said that we should all just disembark and wait at the gate. Now I really wished I listened to the wife and take the 1345 flight instead although meaning 1 C ticket had to be sacrificed and she or I traveled in Y.
The box I guessed contained the spare parts
After another 10 mins at the boarding lounge, the MH agent then told all of us to go to the transfer counter so we could all be accommodated on the 1900 flight to CGK and this MH723 will be cancelled. GREAT!! Another mad dash to transfer counters were everyone was pushing each other out of the way. I decided to play the ignorant game and just walked straight to the gate leaving everyone pushing and shoving at the transfer counter. I got to the gate and when the MH agent asked me why I did not go to the transfer counter I just said I was not told not to do so, so she got on her walkie talkie and 3 mins later I got my boarding pass for my flight heehhehe all this while everyone was still pushing and shoving at the transfer counter.
Still amazed that all the pax on my original flight in both Y and C can be accommodate on this flight, this flight must be pretty empty!! Once I got on the a/c. so did the whole world behind me, this flight is now 100% full after combining both flights pax.
Banana cherry gateau
Chicken for me
There was only 1 FQ for C but she did an amazing job for the full load of passengers. That why MHs FA will always beat TG everytime, the only pity is that MH has a lack of alliance.
Does MH have any plans to change their B734s?
Overall and interesting end to a great journey. Hope you guys enjoy your read. My next post will be up in 24 hrs which is a domestic trip w/ GA from CGK-SUB-CGK. I will be on my next long haul trip in 2 weeks on MH, TG & JK to Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona in C for MH, F in TG and Y for JK.