Sorry for the delayed posting, but this is my first trip report, any comments for future improvements will be great appreciated. The New Year was upon us and i decided to follow my wife to Hong Kong for work, unfortunately (but fortunate for her ) we where not on the same flights. For fun i decided to try United for change as for most of 2008 i was traveling with SQ and was hoping to experience their service.
Dates Thu Jan 1 09 :
Flight No: UA896 SIN - HNK
Arrived early morning at Changi airport T3 at around 4am in the morning. I love this airport in terms of accessibiity and the range of activities one can do there. Check in counters for United were already open and the whole process of check in was smooth. Got my boarding pass and access to the United contract lounge in T3.
As it was early morning the lounge was relatively empty, and as i was 2.5hrs before boarding, i decided to get some breakfast at the lounge and use one of the massage chairs.
Love those massage chairs - they can be quite soothing early in the morining
Headed over to gate where boarding commenced at 06:00, which i thought was kind of early, but i was able to snap a picture of the B747-400, which i noticed was in the old United colours. Honestly i thought the B747 looks awsome in these colours was excited to be part of the trip.
Althoug boarding was swift it was disorganised as there was no call for business class or star alliance gold passenger.I enterted the aircraft and noticed that it had been recently upgraded. Head down to my seat 53A, seat pitch was quite small, but the seats seemed comfy enough. I was lucky to have a seat for myself, as the flight seemed only 60% full.
Push back was on time and we commenced departure on runway East. While there was no IFE, this did not bother me, as i had the IPod charged up and ready to go. Shortly after take FA's began their service whcih was snack-boxs, this is the first time i have seen these snack boxs, and to be truethful i was disapointed with was contained in them. Luckily coffee was Starbuck's which was really apperciated on my behalf.
After the service, the FA's disapeared and we settled into the rythem of the flight, which was uneventful.
The flight crew were able to make up some time and we managed to arrive at HNK 30min ahead of time. Disembarkation was quick and i proceeded to HNK immigration which took surprisingly long as several other flights had landed at the same time.
Dates Sun Jan 4 09 :
Flight No: UA895 HNK- SIN
I checked out my hotel hotel early and decided to use the downtown check facility in HNK.
The check in staff informed me that UA895 was 2hrs late leaving Chicago and thus the orginal departure time has been moved back to 22:40, ok no biggy, managed to collect my boarding pass and thought i could use the extra time to explore HNK airport and the numerous star alliance lounges there, especially the Thai Royal Silk lounge. The Thai lounge was very spacious and had a good selection of noodles and fried rice and very good selection of alcholing drinks. After eating i decided to use the internet stations to check emails and surf the internet.
After a couple of hours i proceed to the United Red Carpet lounge, i herd that this was one the best RCC lounges and i simply had check it. Upon entering the lounge and presenting my boarding pass i was greeted with surprise which was a upgrade to business class. This allowed me to sample the new lieflat bussiness class seat, well at least this made up for the delayed flight. I quickly collected my new boarding pass and proceed into the lounge which was again very spacious, but a bit lacking in terms of food choices. After making my self a drink i found a nice seat and settled in for a few minutes of rest. During this time an announcement was made that the flight was further delayed by 30min and that boarding would commence at 23:05.
Boarding commenced on time with First and Business class and 1K members first. I moved up to my seat 13K in the Upper Deck and noticed that the new configeration consisted of rearward facing seats. Up setteling down FA's came by offering organge juice and champaign and passing out menus.
Well after this point things started to get really pear shaped with flight UA895. The captain came on the PA and informed everyone that there needed to be some minor repairs done on the engine and that we would be further delayed 30min, which in reality turned out to 1hr. After a restart of the engine, we were ready to be on our way, we pushed back from the gate and began taxing. At some point we stopped on the taxi way for another 45min where further repairs where conducted on the engine. After this time, the captain came on again and informed us that we where heading back to gate so additional repairs could be done. At the gate the waiting game continued, the co-pilot came past and i got the oppertunity to visit the cockpit and have chat him. We got talking about planes and i asked a fai amount of questons, he explained to me that the engine 4 was having problems with a transformer and that although it was not major issue, the captain decided to get it repaired in HNK. I used this chance to take some pictures of the cockpit.
A view of the B7474 captains seat.
After some time at the gate the FA's began their service, i chose the chicken saugage from the menu as well as red wine. I had gut feeling that this was going take longer then expected.
I even managed to watch two complete movies and do some work on my laptop when the captain came on the PA and announced that the fourth test of the engine had failed and that the flight was officially cancelled - it was 03:35 HNK time. Instructions and directions where given by FA's on what to do and which hotel we would be put up at, but these seemed conflicting at times. I quickly disembarked and headed back through HNK immigration and then onto collect my baggage. After checking into the hotel near the airport i checked out the United counter at the departures hall again. I noticed that there was one person at the counter and a massive que of people waiting. Things werent looking good, but luckily i had a ace up my sleeve. While in Thai lounge i was playing with my Ipod where i downloaded an updated Star Alliance timetable. Armed with this and the United customer service number i was able to re-route my self from HNK to BKK and then SIN using Thai Airways. A headed back to the hotel for a few hours of sleep before my 12:45 flight to Bangkok, as i walked past the United counter i noticed that the line had goten bigger and lounder.
Dates Mon Jan 5 09 :
Flight No: TG601 HNK- BKK
Dates Mon Jan 5 09 :
Flight No: TG409 BKK- SIN
After a couple of hours of sleep i headed to T2 at HNK to collect my boarding pass and headed back to the THAI lounge for a shower and some breakfast before heading to gate 43 in preperation for boarding. I managed to snap some pictures of the new Thai airlines livery (A330-300)
Boarding was swift as usual, where i was greeted by cheerful FA's who showed me to my seat. The brightly coloured interior of Thai airways was a welecomed change from the dull blue interior of United. Again i was lucky to geat a seat by myself as the flight was hardly full. Maybe the economic downturn was hitting harder then usual.
We departed on time and from that point on the flight commenced smoothly. Shortly into the flight FA's came around with drinks, in which i took the oppertunity to try some Chang beer. After this the meal service began, surprise no snack box this time, definitely a welcomed change. I quickly tucked into the green chicken curry and washed it down with a coke before asking for a coffee. I have always been impressed by onboard service of thai.
Before long we got the announcement that we were on the final approach into BKK. After landing we quickly taxied to our gate, on route to which i was able to see several exotic airlines. In my opinion BKK is a very good airport in SEA to see some exotic airlines like the Oman Air in the picture.
Oman Air parked
After disembarkation i proceeded to transfer desk to collect my boarding pass for the next leg of the journey. I persume that the upgrade Gods had been smiling on me as upon collecting my boarding pass i was informed that i was upgraded to Business Class. I had always wanted to try business class in Thai, as i had read many great reviews about their C class product. As my connection was tight i quickly headed to gate 65 at Concourse D where i used the rather smallish Thai lounge to eat some fruits and down some organge juice.
Boarding was quick, and upon entering the C class cabin i was personally greeted by lovely Thai FA and shown to my seat and offerred some organge juice. Although not a lieflat seat the Thai seat was spacious and felt very comfortable, i used the time before take off to take some pictures of nearby parked planes and read the dinner menue.
While taxing i was surprised to sight a plane which i have been dying to spot - A Turkish Airways Airbus in the Star Alliance Livery. Take of was quick and before you know it we were climbing high above the skies of BKK on our way sunny Singapore. Again the friendly FA's came round offerring drinks. As i settled into the flight i began enjoying the inflight entertainment, and ended up watching Clone Wars.
Half way into the flight the meal service began. Entree's began and on this short flight there was only one choice offerred, in this case smoked Salmon salad. After the entree i selected the Australian Rib Eye Fillet, which was absolutely delicious after which desert was served. Thai FA's made frequent runs to top up drinks and ask if anything else is needed. At this point i have to comment on the difference between the level of inflight service between Thai and United, it was remarkedably different. I would certainly fly Thai again in Business Class if this is the level of service offerred. Only one disapointing thing though, no inflight anemity kit offerred, oh well i guess you cant have everything.
Before long we began our decent to Singapore and taxi to our gate in T1 of Changi Aiport and this brought to an end a rather stretched out holiday and flight experience. Additionally i was able to see the difference between carriers of a same alliance.
Please feel free to make any comments on my trip report.