Because I don’t like to disturb the people inside the plane’s ( which I hate myself ) I only took pictures where it was possible ,so I don’t have pictures from food and so on.
I travel for my work all over the world and do about 150.000 miles a year with various airlines and maybe other people like to fly but for me it only an necessity and I’m always getting bored after 30 min into the flight.
I received a nice letter from Thai airways International a few years back with the message that I had flown one million miles with them for which they thanked me. ( I can understand that as I see how money I spend with them )
This time I had to fly from Phuket ( my home town ) via Dubai to Baku in Azerbaijan where I had to go off-shore for the oil company I work for.
Wake up call was at 04:50 and left the house at 05:30, as I live only 30 min from the airport and my wife always brings and picks me up from the airport this was not too bad.
Check in was uneventful as it is not very busy in the early morning and within 5 min I had my boarding card and was passing security.
|Phuket business class lounge still empty on this early morning|
|Phuket domestic terminal which was almost empty|
|Our Thai plane on Phuket tarmac|
|Phuket airport check in terminal which was empty except for the Thai flight|
As I have enough time in Bangkok and I hate the immigration in Phuket which can take forever I always try to do immigration in Bangkok.
Flight HKT - BKK
ETD @ 07:25
ATD @ 07:25
ETA @ 08:50
ATA @ 08:40
Airline : Thai Airways International
Aircraft : Airbus A300-600
Load 85 % in Business Class
Seat 12 J
As experienced many times, the domestic planes are the older ones and this was no exception, it still had the old paint scheme with the old interior which is still not too bad, As this was a morning flight they served breakfast which was reasonable but as it was a Thai breakfast some European people don’t like it. As explained earlier I did not take pictures from the food. But it consisted of Fresh bread, Yogurt, Rice soup and fresh fruit.
The flight was uneventful and after about one hour we landed at the new ( Suvarnabhumi ) airport in Bangkok.
If you go to the new airport you will notice that the walks can be very long especially at the domestic side of the airport, so after a nice walk I arrived in the terminal where I checked in for my next flight.
I have an Emirates ticket but the outbound flight is operated by Thai Airways, so I proceed to the Thai Business Class check in section of the airport.
Here is the biggest improvement in my opinion as the check in and Immigration is separate from economy passengers it only took me 5 minutes before I was on my way to the Lounge.
I know that some people think that flying business class is luxury but then they don’t realize that I don’t do this for my pleasure and my company expect that I’m fresh after the traveling so I can go to work straight away.
Flight BKK - DXB
ETD @ 11:25
ATD @ 11:45
ETA @ 15:35
ATA @ 15:30
Airline : Thai Airways International ( Emirates ticket )
Aircraft : Airbus A330-300
Load 95 % in Business Class
Seat 11 J ( First Row )
|TG-519 Business Class section with the previous model but good seats.|
|a long walk on Bangkok airport domestic terminal|
|food counter in the bangkok business class lounge|
|bangkok business class lounge|
|Drink counter in the Bangkok business class lounge|
|The sign after the bangkok immigration pointing the people to the lounges|
|Another long walk at bangkok airport|
Boarding was hectic as normal in Bangkok ( Dubai is even worse but that’s later ) and sometimes I think that the people are thinking that the plane will leave without them so everybody is pushing towards the doors when boarding is announced.
This plane is in the new paint scheme but with the previous interior which is in my opinion better then the new business class pods. Did you even hear the noise when the people are playing with their seats in the new pods? I think you can hear it on the ground so much noise are they making. The older seats are maybe not as modern as the new ones but besides the footrest they are quite comfortable. ( The footrest is made for very small people and is useless when you are above 1.70 m like I am )
After about 30 min they started serving the drinks and asking what you would like to eat. I scanned the menu so I don’t have to take pictures and disturb the people.
After about one hour food was served and I have to say that this was not bad for an airline meal.
|menu on TG-519 flight to Dubai|
|Thai menu on Flight Tg-519 to Dubai|
During diner I was able to play a little bit with the entertainment system which in the current days is way behind the industry standard, It was offering 5 channels with most of them episodes of television series and one channel with some movies. I think that Thai should improve this very fast because people are used to have better standards from Asian carries.
After a bumpy flight with some sleep we landed ahead on time at Dubai airport.
I don’t know what other people think about Dubai airport but I hate it, first of all there is the rude attitude of the security people. This is the only airport where they don’t use a hand scanner but just send you back through the scanner until you’re almost undressed. Secondly the airport is much too small so a lot of people are sleeping on the ground everywhere you can see ( maybe it is better in the daytime but I always pass this airport in the evening ). I can’t wait until they open the new terminal.
After passing the security I headed my way to the airport hotel which is very easy when you have a long stopover as in my case.
Check-in was fast and in no time I was on the bed in my room for a nap. With a little bit of luck you can receive the wireless internet connection from the lounges under the hotel for free. I went back to the check in counter ( for which you have to pass the security check point the wrong way ) around 23:00 for my boarding card for AZAL Airlines and after this again through the security check point, did I mention already that I hate the check point at Dubai Airport?
|Dubai airport terminal which can be very busy with people sleeping everywhere|
|Dubai airport hotel check in counter|
|Dubai airport hotel room which can be noisy but with free internet from downstairs lounge|
|Budai business class lounge which is good when you have to wait a little bit|
|Dubai business class lounge buffet which is very good|
Flight DXB - GYD
ETD @ 02:10
ATD @ 02:15
ETA @ 05:05
ATA @ 04:55
Airline : AZAL Azerbaijan airlines
Aircraft : Boeing 757
Load 95 % in Business Class
Seat 6 B
|AZAL Azerbaijan Airlines Boeing 757 at Dubai airport|
|AZAL Boeing 757 business class section|
Before boarding I went to the lounge for some free food as I don’t eat on AZAL airplanes which I will explain later.
Boarding gate opened on time and I always have a laugh when I see what those Azeri people are carrying for hand luggage, 4 bags is normal and sometimes even more.
I boarded the plane on time and went to my seat which is not bad. As you can see the seats are a little bit old but good enough for the short flight. If you have never flown on AZAL this can be a different experience all together. First you will see that the pilots are boarding the plane last as they are still shopping in the duty free for all folks at home, after this all the bags are brought on the plane and the cockpit, galley and lavatory are used for storage. ( I noticed one time that they locked the lavatory from the economy class section as this was complete full with duty free bags from the crew.) Second, AZAL is the only airline ( for so far I know ) which is mentioning in their safety video to wipe your face with an napkin before placing the oxygen mask on your face in case of emergency, but they don’t give you any napkin off-course and I don’t think it is necessary to wipe your face first when the plane is crashing down. Third, I looks like it is normal that you use your cell phone during taxi takeoff and landing because a lot of people are doing this and the crew don’t care. Four, Don’t take the food offered on the plane unless you’re like Russian food. ( now you know why I eat in the lounge before the flight ) The food is terrible and AZAL is not using the Dubai catering for their planes but is taking everything with them from Baku.
If you consider all those things and you use the flight to get some sleep it is not too bad and they are flying almost always on time which is a big bonus point.
After some 2.5 hours of flying we landed in Baku airport and within 5 minutes I was at the immigration counter, as I have a business visa for Azerbaijan, the immigration was done fast but again this is done in the Russian way. Ignore the signs above the counters and go straight to the fist available counter for the passport check, if don’t have an visa you have to count about two hours to get all papers done. I always like to see those Azeri Russian trained immigration people with there nice uniforms and caps like helicopters platforms but they don’t like it when you are taken pictures. After immigration you are at the baggage belts but for your sake I don’t hope that you have checked luggage as you have to wait another hour or so before you can pick them up from the belt. It is normal to wait until all the people are past the immigration counters before they are loading the bags on the belt.
Also expect the green nothing to declare exit closed and you are directed to an x ray machine to check your bags, I don’t know why they are doing this but this is Azerbaijan so everything is possible.
|Baku international airport check in counters|
|Baku international airport, one of the many security check points|
|Baku international airport tarmac|
After this check i was in the terminal building where the driver from my hotel was waiting for me, as I was staying in the airport hotel it was only a drive around the terminal and I was checked in into the Holiday Inn hotel only 15 min after I stepped out of the plane. ( Visa and no checked luggage makes life much easier ) As my pick up from the hotel was at 07:15 I stayed a whole 1.5 hours in the hotel, my company has a policy that you have a hotel room booked even it is only for an hour or so.
|The just opened Holiday Inn hotel at baku airport|
|Holiday Inn hotel at Baku Airport|
|My room at the Holiday Inn hotel at baku airport for my 1.5 Hrs stray|
|My room at the Holiday Inn hotel at baku airport for my 1.5 Hrs stray|
The car brought me to the Baku Helicopter airport ( ZABRAT ) from where I would fly out to the production platform in the Caspian sea. As this area is all military controlled it is not allowed to take any pictures but I copied a picture from the Canadian helicopter website as this is same helicopter I was using to go to the platform As we are not allowed to take any pictures on the platform due to possible fire hazards I copied an picture from our company website.
|The canadian helicopter which brought me to the platform|
|The oil procduction platform where i have to stay for the next few weeks.|
I will return back to Phuket in an few weeks and will write my return trip report ( with an Bangkok hotel stay ) when I’m back home again.
Hopefully this report has some interesting reading things and if you have questions or comments just let me know.
[Edited 2007-12-01 12:57:57]
[Edited 2007-12-01 13:06:32]
[Edited 2007-12-01 13:09:27]