This is the second part of my Great Asia Trip series. For the first part of the series on the origin of the trip, please click here.
Photos of the BKK-HKG leg is courtesy of Ish (777ish)'s camera which he kindly let me borrow it for the sake of this TR. Thanks!
“So you want to fly the A380?”
“Yes I do!”
“Ok, let’s fly the Emirates A380 from Bangkok to Hong Kong in Business Class”
It all came as a simple conversation between Sandeep (AI151) and me about flying the Airbus A380 on a short fifth freedom sector operated by Emirates, one of the world’s most rapidly expanding airline. The Bangkok to Hong Kong sector is operated by a huge number of airlines which I believe has the most number of airlines utilizing their fifth freedom rights on this route. Airlines operating this route are as follows – Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, Kenya Airways, Orient Thai Airlines, Pakistan International Airlines, Royal Jordanian, SriLankan Airlines, Thai AirAsia and Thai Airways International. A total of 11 airlines operating the route with 6 utilising their fifth freedom rights and you get to fly exotic aircrafts like the Boeing 747 classics on this route with Orient Thai Airlines, definitely a route I can target in the long future! Naturally, I chose Emirates for this flight as they are flying the Airbus A380.
Emirates is not an unfamiliar name in the aviation world. The airline has placed an order for 90 Airbus A380s, one of the largest orders in aviation history. After receiving all 90 whalejets, the Dubai based carrier will be the largest Airbus A380 operator in the world. Having started in 1985 with a Boeing 737-300 leased from Pakistan International Airlines, the young airline has made rapid progress to what it is today – A world class airline offering passengers the best experience in the air.
How can an a.netter be satisfied flying only in Business Class when there is the First Class Suites being offered for just a little more than Business? The final decision was to fly BKK-HKG in First Class while flying the return leg in Business. This could have easily made the best flight of my life by just thinking of it. I'm flying the Airbus A380 for the first time, in First Class and it is also my first flight with Emirates. What more can I ask for? More airlines and aircraft to add to my log! Sadly, Hong Kong / Bangkok is not a new destination in my travel log.
Emirates was the first airline to introduce the First Class Suites onboard their aircraft which brings premium travel to a higher level. Even with the doors opened, you feel a sense of privacy and you can choose to close the doors if you wish to chill out and watch some movies or do not like people staring at you whilst you sleep. It certainly feels like you have your own little private room in the aircraft.
The Emirates website is very easy to navigate. One of the best features would be allowing you to book separate legs in different classes and hence I managed to secure BKK-HKG in First and HKG-BKK in Business. What seemed to be a smooth booking process turned sour when the website kept rejecting my debit card even though I was very sure I had enough money for the booking.
Due to this major flaw, I had to make a call to the dreaded Emirates Call Centre. Since the first time I made a call over, I had been dreading to call them as their call operators were quite rude and impatient in assisting you in your problems. I was quite sure that even though I dialed a Singapore number to their call centre, the call is being directed to another country (UAE I guess) as the operator does not speak in a Singaporean accent.
I was quoted S$880 on the website for the routing that I had chosen but due to the glitch in their system, I had to pay S$922 instead as the operator had no idea how to give me the price that I had online. It was a 30 minute call on the first day of Chinese New Year that got me a confirmed seat on flights EK 384 and EK 385 to experience the premium classes onboard Emirates’ newest flagship. However, the 30 minutes lasted forever as the agent was very slow in the whole process from the selection of flights to processing of payment.
Best Western Premier Amaranth Suvarnabhumi
The hotel that I will be staying after my arrival from Singapore on TG 410 is Best Western Premier Amaranth Suvarnabhumi. Although my mind did not register it as a good hotel from the beginning, I was determined to be proven wrong when I reach the hotel. Sure enough, the first impression of the hotel was “Wow!” The lobby was beautifully decorated with several monuments and the lights make the lobby look very inviting.
Another question struck me, “How will the hotel room look like?” The hotel room did not disappoint and it is definitely one of the best I have stayed in. Besides having a reasonable price, it provides a wonderful breakfast buffet and free high speed wireless internet. Minibar items are sold at a cheap price and it comes with an extensive room service menu with prices that could be cheap than any restaurants in the streets. To add icing to the cake, guests can stay for a full 24 hours from check in to check out, how wonderful is that? This flight is also the only flight that all the 4 of us going on the trip will be flying together.
Huge television and study desk
Getting ready for breakfast at the cafe
Looks wonderful, ain't it?
A nice cup of tea to go with breakfast!
We took the shuttle from the hotel to the airport, where our Emirates First Class Experience will start. A quick walk from the drop off area to the check in area shows a very clear differentiation of classes with banners showing First, Business and Economy check in counters. Check in for the flight was very fast and our baggage got tagged with “Priority First” tags. The white boarding pass with minimal designs also doubles as a lounge invitation to one of the best lounges in the world – The Emirates Lounge.
First Class check in
First Class Fast Track and Boarding Pass
The Emirates Lounge
Saying that I was excited to visit the lounge was just an understatement. The Emirates Lounge has always been touted as one of the best lounges in the world and the food served is awesome. Not to mention having champagne and wines available to go with your food. You could definitely fill yourself up at the lounge, but watch out as you might not have enough space in your stomach to have any food onboard!
The Emirates Lounge
Views of the lounge
The four of us stayed in the lounge for a little more than half an hour before making our way to the boarding gate. Besides Sandeep, none of us has been on the Airbus A380 before and it will be the first flight in the suites for all of us. Upon arrival at the boarding gate, we see A6-EDI, the airline’s 8th Airbus A380 getting serviced on the ground. It was drizzling outside but it stopped a while later.
A6-EDI, my first Airbus A380 flight
After lots of phototaking and anticipation later…
Getting excited at this moment in time is just an understatement as I am less than a minute away from experiencing my first First Class flight and the gleaming First Class Suites that everyone is talking about.