AMS-LHR-HKG-SGN on BA and CX
I have started on the second part of my RTW. Since I took a break in Hong Kong I had to fly back there first. When I flew back in January I decided to buy a WT+ ticket to try it out. It did not look that bad after all. All I can say is that I am spoiled to the bone. I hated WT+. By now I am used to sleeping on airplanes. Horizontally. How can you ever go back? So what to do? I had already flown the outbound so there was no way to upgrade the inbound...
In desperation I called the BAEC in the Netherlands and pleaded my case for an exception to the MFU rule. A regular upgrade would be over 2000 euro and that in all honesty is ridiculous. My conversation with the lady from the Executive Club lasted less than 3 minutes. No way that I could do a MFU once the outbound was flown so they just op-upped me instead! Free. Without so much as an argument. 5 weeks before the flight. Now that creates loyal customers I tell you. The gap between me and KLM is widening by the second.
That out of the way I could look forward to a pleasant trip to SGN via LHR and HKG.
I arrived at AMS a little late. Only time for a quick bite in the lounge and a peek at the massage parlor next to it. First a view of a shopping area.
The massage parlor. Only chairs though. Never saw anybody there ever.
Soon I had to get to the gate. I had only 5 minutes before the flight would be closing so I did not expect to find a long line. However, AMS never fails to amaze with the security checks at the gate. This time they were exceptionally slow and even managed to delay the flight by 20 minutes.
The line a 10 minutes to departure.
When managing my booking on ba.com the seats for this flight kept changing since the curtain moved further down the plane as the weeks progressed. As a BA Gold I can choose my seats in advance so I kept checking for row 8 to become available. Soon as it did I snagged 8A and the rest, as they say, is history. Nothing very exiting about the flight. Just wanted to show you the benefits of row 8 on a A321.
The business class cabin. Still better than KLM where they do not block the middle seat.
Row 8. Gotta love it.
Most surprisingly, the food was not half bad either. They served some kind of chicken thingy.
It was a short flight of about 45 minutes. We arrived at the B gates. My next flight was the BA31 to HKG and it did not show on the monitors for the B gates so I took the train to the main building. Once there I naturally found out that the flight left from the B gates. It was a nice 40 minutes spend running around. In some way I probably should have paid more attention somewhere but I am quite sure the flight was not on the monitors reminding you to stay in the B gates for flights etc...
Enfin, I had time to have a quick drink at the lounge. I like the lounge there.
I was the first one on the plane. I had secured my favorite seat: 62K
The upper deck
The flight left on time at 21:15. The crew was very friendly and joked around quite a bit with the pax and with each other. I like it when they are more relaxed and not so stiff. Champagne was soon served and I managed two glasses before leaving the gate. It was only a short taxi to the runway but a very long park before we entered it. Take off was smooth and soon we were at cruising altitude an dinner was started. I had the scallops and the lamb and I must say, I kinda liked it...
I had another glass of wine to go with that and I started to feel sleepy. I just had time for desert. Some kind of cheesecake.
Now I always sleep like a baby on an airplane so the flight more or less passed me by. Always a shame since I pay the big bucks for the J or F seat and sleep through most of the experience. The one time I tried WT+ I remembered how important being able to sleep is for me. At 1.98 meters I can't sleep in the back...
About an hour and a half for landing we were woken up for breakfast. BA always takes very long to prepare the cabin for landing. KLM is quicker and leaves you with more sleep. I prefer that.
I got off the plane and was through customs within 20 minutes. I stayed at the Novotel Citygate next to the airport. Excellent hotel and I enjoyed my stay. All refreshed for the quick sprint to SGN the following day.
I knew CX would fly this route with their regional business class and frankly I was happy. I hate their new sardinebone layout. The regional seats are much more comfortable for a short day flight.
I am traveling on a paper RTW ticket, so I could not check in online. Once at the airport I used the First class check in facilities and I must say that I like the way they work. Cordial, professional and very client focused. It took a little longer than expected, but after 15 minutes I was through customs and in the lounge. I chose the Wing this time. I was early so I enjoyed some lovely sushi and dim sum and watched a movie.
My flight left from gate 33 so I had to take the train to get to the other building. Everything at HKG is so perfectly organized that I was there 10 minutes early. Time to shoot some pictures of the plane.
The one (no, not the same one) that got me here
The one that would get me out
I left KLM for BA since the Flying Blue program was ruined and their hard product is no longer up to scratch. Still sometimes hard to see them at outstations.
My old and my new.
I found these wingtips rather cute together
After 10 minutes we were called to board. The load was very, very light. Only 5 pax in J and 40% occupancy in Y. We were ready ahead of schedule.
Ready to go!
Here are some picture of CX regional business class.
My seat for the 2 hour flight. Very comfortable.
It is a little Flintstones sometimes...
They do not have any PTVs or other entertainment, so luckily I brought my own, as usual.
The captain, an Aussie without a doubt, warned us that the flight might be bumpy due to several thunderstorms in the area. The flight was as smooth as a babies bottom but the weather did provide some nice views.
Flying into a thunderstorm
A few bumps with that last cloud but soon we were on final approach at SGN. Vietnam looked very pleasant from the air (if such a thing is possible).
The airport looked (and is) very modern. We taxied to an airbridge and I was through customs in less than 10 minutes.
The ride to the hotel (Renaissance Riverside) was a different matter. I have never seen so many mopeds. I am used to a lot (India, Manila) but this is different. I like it. Less irrational than India and with all the friendliness of Manila. I think I am going to like it here.
Oh, and I have to explain the title. I could not stop laughing when I saw a restaurant from the taxi that was called "My Dung". I have to go eat there tomorrow.
I leave you with a picture from my room.
As always: thanks for reading and feedback is always appreciated!
Next TR will be on VN from SGN to REP.