Wednesday the 19th of June 2013
After a surprisingly calm night sleeping in the terminal at Arlanda, and an uneventful E-170 flight on LOT, I arrive at Warsaw Chopin International Airport. The flight arrived bang on schedule at 9.40am, and with a five hour layover I head straight to the LOT Business Lounge for a well needed shower. My home printed boarding pass is scanned before I’m handed something that resembles a giant napkin. Turns out it was a disposable towel…
Finding a clean shower was tricky as the one assigned had not been cleaned since the last patron, the toiletries were missing, and the whole shower room had a strong odour of urine. I eventually fetch a grumpy shower attendant who reluctantly cleans the stall. After a nice hot shower, a shave and a clean change of clothes I began feeling like a human again. I spent the remainder of my time watching Conan on my ancient iPhone, while savouring a few muffins.
At noon I decided head towards the non-Schengen part of the terminal. At passport control, the woman behind the glass decided to give me a thorough interrogation before letting me through. I was somewhat surprised to discover that I had access to the Bolero Business Lounge in the non-Schengen terminal. This lounge was worlds away from the cramped and run down LOT Lounge. The lounge had a nice and sophisticated feel to it, with its marble decorations, plush leather lounge chairs, great tarmac views, and CLEAN bathrooms. If only I had discovered this place earlier…
Flight TK1766 Warsaw – Istanbul
: 2h 30m
Seat & Class
: 1A, Business Class
Aircraft & Reg
: Airbus A321-200, TC
The gate is packed by the time I turn up. A large crowd has gathered behind the podium, but luckily there is a separate line for Business and Star Gold. A priority boarding call was made but none of the alleged premium pax seemed to move, so I made a move towards the podium myself. But just as I was about to hand over my boarding pass, I feel a hand grabbing my shoulder. I turn around to find a man in a suit furiously yelling ”-The line starts back there!” while holding his Economy Class BP
right in front of my nose. Just as I was about to fire back, I hear the gate agent asking ”-Business Class?” after which I leisurely board the plane. I gave the man the evil eye as he passed by on his way to seat 26D.
Once onboard I’m offered a welcome drink and a printed menu while waiting for the rest of the passengers to board. Once airborne the chef places linens on the tray tables, followed by drink orders. I opt for a glass of Champagne which served along with the starter tray.
The starter consisting of chicken breast, aubergine, lettuce, cherry tomatoes and pesto.
The chicken breast was juicy and tender, blending in perfectly with the pesto and aubergine. Next up was the main course. A choice of three courses was available, of which I chose the sautéed prawns with spinach and buttered rice. To drink I had some more Champagne.
The main course.
This dish was perhaps the best I’ve eaten on my four flights with Turkish. The prawns were cooked to perfection, with a nice firm and not too chewy texture. The spinach had a nice and mild flavour to it. The buttered rice was perhaps the best component of the dish. Nice and fluffy texture, with a rich buttery flavour. Eating a bowl of this stuff would’ve been fine enough as meal. Yes it was THAT good.
The trays were soon cleared, and we were offered coffee and digestifs. My preferred Bailey’s wasn’t loaded on this flight, so I had to settle with some Cognac.
The dessert consisting of a custard filled Macaroon covered in dark chocolate.
Upon first glance the dessert looked very familiar to me. Turns out it was the same dessert I ate on my SAS faux Business Class flight from Dalaman to Stockholm two years ago. It had a nice and lagom sweet flavour to it, which blended perfectly with the Cognac.
Once the meal service was finished, roughly one hour of the flight remained. As this A321 was a standard EU configuration without IFE, I enjoyed some music through my Bose QC15 headphones instead. After a scenic approach, we landed at Istanbul Atatürk International Airport bang on time.
Turkish Airlines CIP Lounge Istanbul
Since its opening in the fall of 2011 this lounge has gotten tons of attention from people praising it as the best Business Class lounge in the world. I on the other hand was not very impressed about this place, but don’t get me wrong. It’s a beautiful lounge with nice decoration, very spacious and the food is sublime. However the lounge is incredibly crowded, which does not only extend to the peak hours but throughout the whole day.
Entering the lounge at 18.30 was like entering the Stockholm Metro at rush hour, as an ocean of people were flooding through the self-entry gates, many without having their credentials checked. Once inside I found it very hard to find an empty seat, let alone get some quiet time as the lounge was pretty noisy. I saw at least a dozen people sleeping on the couches… The bathrooms were crowded, and I had to queue for fifteen minutes to use the toilet. Seeing people wash their feet in the communal faucet didn’t make things better.
Given the fact that Atatürk airport is running way beyond its operating capacity, and the fact that Turkish Airlines is on an aggressive expansion spree it’s somewhat understandable as to why this lounge is so overcrowded. But another part of the issue I think is the advertising of this lounge. Normally airlines tend to be very discrete about their lounge offerings in order to avoid unwanted attention. Turkish’s approach however, seem to have attracted many visitors and I spotted at least a dozen people standing outside trying to look for a sponsor (hence me suspecting a lot of people sneaking in without permission).
As a passenger in Business Class I was entitled to escape the chaos in one of the dayrooms, where I managed to sleep of three hours of my seven hour layover.
After a good nap and a refreshing shower, I return to the main lounge at 23.00. The place has gotten much quieter now, hence making it much more enjoyable. I spent the last hour in the dining section enjoying some delicious grilled kebabs with a glass of red, before leaving for the gate.
Flight TK60 Istanbul – Kuala Lumpur
: 10h 35m
Seat & Class
: 4A, Business Class
Aircraft & Reg
: Airbus A340-311, TC
-JDL (Star Alliance livery)
As dreaded and feared our A340 was boarding from a bus gate this evening. The gate area was packed, indicating a healthy load on tonight’s flight to the Malaysian capital. Boarding was delayed by 30 minutes, and once the call was made no priority was given. Not that it mattered anyway… Once inside the bus we were forced to wait another 30 minutes until the last person had boarded the second bus, despite the first one being packed to the brim and ready to leave for the aircraft.
Eventually we pull up beside the maintenance hangar where our A340 stood parked. Boarding was made through door 2L only and people were flooding the airstairs. At the door I got a cold greeting from the crew before making the famous left turn. How I love turning left at boarding…
View of the Business Class cabin on this A340.
With the aircraft being fresh from maintenance, the seats and cabin were in immaculate condition. I stowed my trolley in the overhead before settling down in the comfortable seat.
The A340s are fitted with the older generation of Business Class seats that don’t go fully flat. I did however find them to be comfier than the newer seats in the upright and lounge position.
Cabin during boarding.
Shortly after settling down I receive a warm welcome from the onboard chef, before being offered a welcome drink and a chocolate praline. A flight attendant soon came by to offer newspapers and amenity kits. I was surprised to find the print issue of Newsweek onboard, so I grabbed the last copy.
Welcome drink consisting of strawberry soda.
The hand-made Belgian chocolate praline from Godiva was a nice touch.
Amenity kit by CrabTree & Evelyn. Since I have no interest in owning an iPad I left it onboard.
The boarding eventually finished, leaving a 50% load in the Business Class cabin hence me being fortunate enough to have the aisle seat free. Our departure was delayed by a slight technical issue, so meanwhile the menu and wine list was handed out. The issue is eventually sorted, and we are ready for departure.
Cabin before departure.
As always on the -300 the takeoff was heavy and slow. Our ascent over the city of Istanbul was low and slow, but we eventually made it to cruise around 40 minutes into the flight. Despite the ungodly hour of 03.00 local time, a full five course dinner was to be served. Table linens were laid out, quickly followed by hot canapés.
The hot canapés consisting of deep fried prawn, goat’s cheese on a slice of watermelon, and a breaded turkey meatball.
Not many airlines offer proper canapés in Business Class, and they were certainly a nice touch. I didn’t quite understand why I was later served a ramekin of nuts. It felt pretty overkill to me. Next up was the starter course.
Starter consisting of a seafood platter. King prawns, smoked salmon, lettuce and cherry tomatoes.
The starter dish tasted nice and fresh and I particularly enjoyed the king prawns. Small side dishes consisting of okra and aborigine salad, hummus and green salad were also found on the tray. All of them tasted great, with the exception of the okra which was a bit too fatty for my taste. To drink I order a glass of Champagne. Next up was soup!
The soup on offer was a lentil soup, served with a tapernade toast on the side.
I’ve eaten my fair share of lentil soups over the years, but I must say that the one served on Turkish tasted almost identical to the one my mother makes. The soup had a nice and smooth texture, with the right amount of seasoning. The tapernade toast tasted great too. Next up was the main course.
I settled for the signature Shish Kebab, served with a grilled tomato and red pepper.
”-Don’t order meat on planes” has been a common mantra over the years which to a large extent has been true since the various steak dishes I’ve been serve have mostly resembled shoe rubbers. On Turkish however, the lamb was succulent and flavourful, pairing perfectly with the rice that has been cooked in its drippings. The presentation was great too, as Turkish are one of the few airlines that plate the food in Business Class.
By the time the dessert cart rolled in, I was too stuffed to even consider savouring the goodies on offer, but the cook insisted that I’d at least round it off with some fruit and ice cream.
By the time the meal service had finished, the sun was already making its appearance in the horizon. The crew instructed all passengers to close their blinds, to which I complied. I put the seat in its fully reclined mode and slept comfortably for around five hours. Four hours of the flight remained by the time I woke up, two of them on watching the latest Mission Impossible movie starring Tom Cruise. Roughly two hours before landing breakfast was served.
The service started off with some hot towels, followed by a glass of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice served from a tray.
Hot towel served on a small plate.
With the towels cleared, the breakfast trays were brought out. First out was a starter plate consisting of various types of cheese, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers and olives. A small fruit bowl and muesli is served on the side, as well as fresh breads and pastries from the basket.
Following the starter came the hot main course which consisted of a turkey toast with scrambled eggs and a roast green pepper.
The toast was rather unspectacular and lacking cheese, I found the scrambled eggs to be very nice and flavourful. Eggs served on planes are normally pretty bland and soggy, but I was surprised to find this scramble creamy and smooth.
With roughly one hour to go before landing, I put the seat in a comfy lounge position and watch a few sitcoms for the short remainder of the flight.
I guess it’s not too hard to figure out what show I’m watching.
Descent commencing at T-40 minutes.
Very soon our A340 began its approach into Kuala Lumpur International Airport, before making a smooth landing and arriving at the gate 40 minutes behind schedule.
Transfer at KLIA and Jetstar to Singapore
The departure times between KL
and Singapore on Jetstar weren’t too good with only two flights departing at 18.40 and 21.40. At the time Jetstar made it very clear that one had to pass immigration to reach the land side check-in desks to pick up a boarding pass, despite traveling with just hand luggage. Bearing this in mind, I was forced to pick the late flight which left me with a five hour layover in KL
Upon arrival I notice that we park right next to the gates that Jetstar use, so I wander over to ask if I can have my boarding pass printed at the gate instead. After presenting my documents, the agent ”made an exception” and printed me a boarding pass. By request for taking the earlier flight was sadly denied, and I now had to find a way to kill my four hour layover.
I decided to try my luck at the Thai Airways lounge, by presenting my arriving Passbook boarding pass and Turkish Airlines Star Gold card. As luck would have it, the agent didn’t bother scanning the BP
but simply had a quick glance before welcoming me in. The lounge was packed to the gills, and I really had to scramble to find an empty seat. At 21.00 I left the lounge and headed towards gate C33 where my flight was ready to board.
Jetstar left a positive impression on me. The aircraft operating this evening’s flight was a brand new A320 with the new slimline leather seats, bearing a resemblance to the Lufthansa NEK. The overall smooth boarding and departure procedures gave me a sense of deja-vu, as it felt much like being on a SAS evening flight from Copenhagen to Stockholm. After plunging through a thick layer of smog, Changi Airport came into sight and the pilot made a smooth touchdown.
While stepping out of the jetway it was love at first sight. Changi Airport was beautiful, and I couldn’t wait to explore it further on my way back home. Within a matter of minutes I had cleared passport control, and was able to meet up Daniel in the arrivals hall. After a quick stop by the ATM to pick up some Singapore $$$, Daniel introduced me to his pride and joy which would be our chariot for my weekend stay.
Daniel’s Hyundai Getz.
Four days in Singapore
Daniel and I had a great time in Singapore, and despite the haze situation which had gotten pretty bad by the time I showed up, we still managed to make the best out of the situation. I will let the pictures do the talking.
Waking up free from jetlag, we started off our first day with some brunch at Michelin Star restaurant Tim Ho Wan.
Escaping the haze in one of the biospheres at Gardens by The Bay.
The haze clears slightly towards the afternoon, so we cool off the heat with some icy fruit drinks.
…Before bringing the heat back with some genuine claypot rice. Piping hot, but very tasty.
The Singapore Skyline, seen from the Promenade later in the evening.
The Centopah. Aka the World War 2 memorial.
…And not to miss the iconic Merlion.
Many of restaurants and bars in Clarke Quay.
Laser show at the Marina Bay Sands.
The Fullerton Bay Hotel.
A visit to Little India to sample some indian food was also on the agenda.
My final day in Singapore included a visit to Sentosa Island.
Enjoying a last bowl of Singaporean laksa before heading to the airport.
Flying back to Kuala Lumpur
My four days in Singapore were an absolute blast. Daniel was a great hoast, and I’m very thankful that he took the time to show me around Singapore. All in all I was very pleased with the city, and despite the haze I managed to see quite a lot of it. I do however have a lot more to explore, which gives me a good reason to return in the future.
After a quick MRT
ride to Changi Airport, I head to Terminal 1 to pick up my boarding pass before exploring the terminals a little further.
The check-in hall at Terminal 3 is absolutely gorgeous. Can’t wait to get back in January!
After spending a good three hours strolling around the terminals, I boarded my Jetstar flight to Kuala Lumpur. The flight was uneventful, and within 30 minutes from arrival I was already on the KLIA Express to KL
The DoubleTree By Hilton Kuala Lumpur
Upon checking in at my hotel around 22.30 I am pleasantly surprised to have been upgraded to an Executive Room with lounge access and complimentary breakfast.
My King Executive Room at the DoubleTree By Hilton in Kuala Lumpur.
The Executive Lounge located on the 34th floor. Breakfast is served here every morning, as well as a happy hour every evening with complimentary alcoholic beverages and hot food. Throughout the rest of the day cookies, sandwiches and non-alcoholic beverages are offered.
The hotel managed to live up to my expectations and I must say that I was very pleased with the top-notch facilities and incredible staff. A big kudos to Ruby and Keith in Executive Lounge who went out of their way to deliver flawless and excellent service.
Due to the haze now having reached Kuala Lumpur at even unhealthier levels than Singapore, I decide to spend the entire first day at the hotel. I meet up with a friend in the evening and we head out for some indian food, before sharing a few beers back at the hotel.
Enjoying a Cappuccino and some cookies in the lounge.
The AirAsia Experience to Kuching
As pointed out by many, five days in KL
can be a bit of an overkill, so in order to pass time I decided to go on a little daytrip to the capital of Malaysian Borneo a.k.a Kuching on AirAsia.
After an early 6.00 wakeup and a hearty Indian breakfast at the Makan Kitchen, I left the hotel and headed for the nearby LRT
station at 8.00 in the morning. After a quick transfer at KL
Sentral, I found myself on the KLIA Transit bound for the notorious LCCT. The ride itself took a little over one hour, and I found the train to be a bit more comfortable than your average commuter train. There was free wifi onboard to pass the 30 minute ride. After a smooth transfer at Salak Tingit I finally arrived at LCCT just after 9.30. Traveling with just my small camera bag I was able to proceed directly to security.
A fairly packed departure lounge at the domestic part of LCCT.
The LCCT terminal is nothing more than a hangar with a few windows and doors. The place was crowded, loud and poorly ventilated. The place felt more like a bus terminal than an airport, and overall the experience was very underwhelming. I certainly hope that the new KLIA 2 Terminal will be a vast improvement.
At 10.00 boarding was called, and we were lead out through a covered walkway before reaching the aircraft.
All AirAsia flights board through airstairs.
In comparison to most LCC:s in Europe, I was quite pleased with the service on AirAsia. The aircraft was clean, seats comfortable, the crew were friendly and very attractive looking, and the onboard menu had a good selection of proper food available at prices that don’t require you to re-mortgage your house.
A rather light load on today’s flight.
I opted to try AirAsia’s signature Nasi Lemak. While it needed some re-heating, the dish was absolutely delicious!
With the load being at 30% I had the whole row to myself, but as misfortune would have it the gentleman in the seat in front of me decided to hit the recline button. And so did his wife… The flight passed quickly, and soon we were on approach to Kuching Airport.
Some nice cloud formations as we reach Borneo.
Coming in for our final approach.
Stepping off the plane in Kuching I couldn’t help but stop for a few seconds to inhale the fresh air. After spending nearly a week breathing nothing but heavily contaminated air in Singapore and KL
it really felt nice to get some fresh air again.
The transport options from the airport to central Kuching were few. The airport can only be reached by taxi which is priced at a fixed fare of RM26.
The Kuching Bazaar. The place felt very similar to the Bazaars in Morocco, sans the hustling…
The Kuching Waterfront.
New Sarawak State Legislative Assembly Building
Out of nowhere a tropical monsoon shower decided pull over and get me soaked.
Thankfully I was able to escape the rain at a nearby eatery, and enjoy some genuine Sarawak laksa. Very tasty and dirt cheap!
I spent a total of four hours wandering the streets of Kuching and as time progressed I came to regret not staying longer in there. The city certainly had its charm, especially with the rainforest right around the corner. At 17.00 I decided to call it a day and grab a taxi back to the airport, before boarding my AirAsia flight back to Kuala Lumpur. After a long and tiresome day, I arrived at my hotel just after 22.00 in the evening.
The Sights of Kuala Lumpur
After a good night’s sleep and a steady indian breakfast at the Makan Kitchen, it was now time for my to go out and explore the city of Kuala Lumpur. Luckily most of the haze had now cleared, and I was able to spend time outdoors without worrying about any potential respiratory problems, which the haze has been said to cause.
First off was a visit to the iconic Petronas Towers, situated just five minutes away from my hotel by foot.
The Merdeka Square.
The Old Town of Kuala Lumpur.
Overall my initial impressions of Kuala Lumpur were quite underwhelming. I was able to cover the entire city centre by foot in one afternoon, and there was quite frankly not much to see other than the skyscrapers, shopping malls and the occasional monument. Unlike the other cities in Asia that I’ve visited, KL
seem to lack that sense of charm and soul that you’d usually expect to find in a major city. Spending five nights in the city turned out to be a bit of an overkill since you could basically see it all in one day, so for any future visitors I would suggest you’d stay a maximum of two nights in KL
I decided to spend the evening back at the hotel, enjoying a light dinner in the Executive Lounge and a steady flow of Gin&Tonics, courtesy of the lovely Ruby.
A visit to the much raved about Batu Caves was made the following day. After spending the whole morning at the hotel, I took the LRT
Sentral at around noon before connecting on the commuter train to Batu Caves. The ticket from KL
Sentral to Batu Caves was silly cheap at just 1 RM
and the ride took around twenty five minutes. Upon disembarking the train I simply followed the signs that lead to the caves.
The Batu Caves.
There were plenty of monkeys around, but luckily they didn’t steal anything from me.
Overall the Batu Caves was a pleasant experience, and my visit was rounded off with some authentic indian food from the nearby eateries. The prices were cheap at just 12 RM
for a full sized lunch platter of various vegetarian dishes. My visit to the Batu Caves didn’t take more than three hours, and at 15.00 in the afternoon I was back at the hotel where I stayed for Happy Hour, before getting some shopping down at the KLCC Mall.
Flying back on Turkish Airlines
After a pleasant 9 day stay in South East Asia it was sadly time to go home. With my flight leaving at 23.15 I kindly asked Keith for a late check-out. My request was sadly declined due to the hotel being heavily booked for the weekend, but I was able to leave my luggage in the lounge, and use it as much as I pleased for the rest of the day. Bearing this in mind I decided to stay at my room until noon, before checking out in the lounge.
I spent the most of the day shopping at the KLCC Mall, and I returned back to the hotel at 18.00 to pick up my bag before leaving to the airport. After having bid the wonderful staff goodbye, I hopped on the LRT
Sentral before connecting to the KLIA Express. I arrived to the airport at roughly 19.00 which was one hour before the check-in counters would open. I spent the hour doing some plane spotting at the viewing terrace before heading back to the counters at 20.00 sharp.
It’s worth noting that Turkish Airlines doesn’t offer online check-in from Kuala Lumpur, but luckily I had already done my seat reservations in advance. After a swift check-in process I’m handed both my boarding passes along with an invitation to the Plaza Premium Lounge. While it would’ve been nice to have used the MH
Golden Lounge (which is used by some 3rd party airlines such as EgyptAir and Iran Air) the Plaza Premium Lounge served its purpose.
After a nice hot shower, a change of clothes and a few G&T’s I boarded the plane at 22.30. The load in Business Class was nearly 100% but luckily the seat beside me remained unoccupied, which I assume was courtesy of being TK
The return flight was practically identical to the outbound, hence why I chose to keep my camera in the overhead. I did however have a very pleasant flight, enjoying the great food and wines. I was also lucky enough to have a lovely young lady serve my side of the cabin.
First of all sorry about the quality. The pics were taken using my old iPhone 3Gs. Starter consisting of seafood platter. Jumbo shrimp, smoked salmon and smoked halibut. It was quite tasty in fact!
The soup served today was a creamy tomato soup. It was absolutely delicious, and I regret not asking for seconds.
I chose the beef fillet as my main course. Not that I’m a big fan of steaks but I wanted to see how well they managed to execute serving a steak in the air. To my surprise the meat was mostly nice and tender, though since it was drying up pretty fast I had to eat it quickly. Some more sauce would’ve been nice, but apart from that it was an OK steak.
Dessert consisting of chocolate cheesecake which was sinister. The cheese was nice and tasty too, though it would’ve been nice with some crackers and fig paste to go along.
Contrary to most other people’s experiences on Turkish the service on my flight was near flawless, with the exception of being served a full-sized glass of Port Wine along with my cheese. I managed to get a good six hours of sleep on the flight, despite the angled seat.
Upon arriving in Istanbul, we once again parked at a remote stand. Luckily however Business Class passengers were allowed to disembark first which didn’t make much sense since I’d rather board the bus last. Nonetheless the airport was fairly deserted, and in no time I was in the CIP Lounge for my seven hour layover.
I decided to get a shower and a nap in one of the day rooms before spending the last two hours enjoying a nice Pannini breakfast and watching a few episodes of Conan. The lounge was petty empty this morning which made for an enjoyable experience.
Flight TK1765 Istanbul – Warsaw
: 2h 20m
Seat & Class
: 2A, Business Class
Aircraft & Reg
: Airbus A321-200, TC
I left the lounge at roughly one hour before the scheduled departure time. At the entrance to the gate, a booth was set up with an agent inspecting passports before tearing our boarding passes and letting is inside the holding pen. Once all passengers had been checked, the boarding began. Once again no priority call was made for Business Class and Star Alliance Gold, but luckily I was able to board fairly early. To my great surprise I found out that a factory new A321 was operating this flight, which meant that the aircraft had proper recliner seats in Business Class and AVOD in all classes.
Once onboard the plane I was greeted welcome by the purser before settling down in seat 2A. Almost immediately I was approached with a tray of welcome drinks.
I opted for the lemonade this time which tasted nice.
Boarding progressed for quite some time and by the looks of it Economy Class was very full. In Business Class only six of the sixteen seats were occupied, but despite that some passengers from Economy decided to upgrade themselves. Luckily the crew managed to spot them and send them back to their assigned seats. Once the doors were closed, turkish delights and printed menus were distributed.
The seats were comfortable and offered plenty of space. The legroom was quite generous too, though the seat controls were quite stiff as the seats were operated pneumatically.
Once in the air, the chef came out to greet the passengers welcome and take meal and beverage orders. Three choices of main course was available, kebab, tortellini or chicken. I chose the chicken and ordered a glass of Champagne to drink. Due to the relatively short flight time no drinks and nuts were served before the meal.
The starter course consisted of a salmon tartar, along with hummus, red bell pepper, a cherry tomato and spinach salad.
The starter dish tasted phenomenal, and while the combination of hummus and salmon may sound strange, they managed to blend together pretty fine. The Champagne served on short haul flights was Charles Heidsieck Blue top, which I found a lot better tasting than the Gosset which is served on long haul. Next up was the main course.
Main course consisting of chicken fillet, roast potatoes, red bell pepper and aubergine.
While the catering on Turkish Airlines have been nothing but fantastic, I was somewhat disappointed to find that this dish did not meet the standard that had been set up on my previous flights. The chicken was a bit dry and so were the vegetables. Neither was there any sauce found, and the dish wasn’t seasoned properly. I am assuming that this may have been caused from heating the dish for too long. Nonetheless it wasn’t a bad dish, and I was able to finish most of it.
Soon the trays were cleared and digestifs were offered. I settled for a glass of Bailey’s along with a cup of black coffee.
The dessert which consisted of a berry compote with a vanilla foam, tasted great.
After the meal service was completed roughly one hour remained of the flight. I decided to explore the IFE offerings and have a look around the cabin before it was time to land.
The leather seats which were comfortable enough for this two hour flight.
View of the cabin.
The aircraft was fitted with the newer version of the Planet IFE, which included roughly 100 movies, a selection of audio, tv shows, as well as an information channel. Acceptable enough for my likings.
Very soon the the pilot began our descent into Warsaw Chopin International Airport, and soon enough we pulled up at the gate for an on-time arrival. The queues at the passport control were rather long this morning, but luckily the EU line was moving quick. Within the course of 30 minutes I had cleared passport control and was on the train bound for central Warsaw.
The Hilton Warsaw Hotel & Convention Centre
Due to the LOT flights to Stockholm being rather expensive on June 30th I decided fly on July 1st and spend the night in Warsaw instead. Hotels in Warsaw are cheap and plentiful, with most 4-5* chain hotels priced at €50-range. During previous visits I have stayed at the Radisson Blu, but this time I decided to give the Hilton a go. I booked an advance purchase rate for PLN299, and thanks to a BRG claim I managed to get the rate down to PLN99. Sadly however Hilton haven’t refunded me the difference yet…
The hotel lobby.
At the check-in I was greeted welcome by a lovely receptionist, before being handed the key to my room. As of January 1st 2013 this property no longer upgrade HHonors Gold members to the executive floor, but the receptionist was kind enough to make an exception and provide me with Executive Lounge access. I was given a standard guest room located on the 16th floor.
My standard guest room.
Welcome amenity consisting of Polish toffee.
Overall the room was nice and clean. The bed was super comfortable, and the curtains did a great job in blocking out all the outside sunlight. The only downside of the room may have been the size, as I perceived it as somewhat cramped. But then again after spending 5 nights in an executive room at the DoubleTree in KL
, maybe I’ve lost some reference there.
The bathroom was rather nice and clean as well, featuring both a shower and a bathtub which were arranged separately. The toiletries were of the brand Peter Thomas Roth, which I found to be of better quality than the CrabTree & Evelyn that are usually found on Hilton properties. The toiletries may however seem a bit masculine, but I hope it isn’t something that will bother female guests.
Overall the room was pleasant enough for my short one-night stay, and I wouldn’t mind spending more time at this hotel. Since I felt rather tired from all the flying, I decided to spend the rest of the day in my room watching a few movies on HBO.
The Executive Lounge.
At 18.00 I took the elevator up to the Executive Lounge for the daily happy hour. I skipped on the alcohol this time, and settled for a few bottles of diet coke to go along with the food. The food offered this evening was chicken skewers and mushroom soup, as well as various canapés, salads and breads. I found it sufficient enough to serve as a light dinner. By the time I had finished my food I was feeling very tired, so I headed back to my room at 19.00 and fell asleep right away.
July 1st 2013
I woke up at 4.00 after a great night’s sleep. I suppose one of the things that I love about westbound travel is the ”jetlag” that wakes you up at a nice early hour. Since breakfast opens at 6.00 I spent the two hours in my room watching CNN, and performing my usual morning rituals.
At 6.00 sharp I headed down to the breakfast buffet. While the spread wasn’t as extravagant as the one in Kuala Lumpur, I still found it to be rather decent. It was quite nice to have a proper western breakfast for once, consisting of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages and baked beans. The bacon was particularly nice as it wasn’t over salted and crisp fried. Another interesting item on the buffet was the bread pudding served with vanilla sauce. It was absolutely divine, and I ended up having three servings of it.
Feeling rather stuffed after breakfast, I headed back to my room for a lie-down, before spending checking out at noon. The day was spend in Warsaw, walking around in the various shopping malls as well as visiting the old town. I had a late lunch at the Hard Rock Café, before taking the bus to the airport at 17.30. The flight back home on LOT was rather uneventful, hence why I chose not to cover it.
Turkish Airlines managed to exceed my expectations, mainly due to the staff who didn’t turn out to be as rude as feared. The food was outstanding, and the seats were acceptable enough for sleeping. The lounge in Istanbul was somewhat overhyped as I didn’t find the place to be more than a slightly upscale Business Class Lounge. While the food and facilities were fantastic, the overall atmosphere kind of spoiled the experience.
Jetstar Airways also turned out to exceed my expectations by offering a spanking new A320 with comfortable leather seats, and so did Air Asia with their attractive crew and good BOB offerings. Overall the LCCs in Asia are completely different to those we have in Europe. If only Norwegian or Ryanair were up to the same standard, I’d might see myself flying them on a more regular basis.
I hope you have enjoyed my report, and feel free to leave a comment!
[Edited 2013-08-16 12:00:22]