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Japan-bound on THAI - MEL-NRT & KIX-MEL

Fri Jul 26, 2019 3:23 pm

It's been a couple of years since my last decent holiday - My last overseas trip, ended prematurely when I fractured my wrist in Mexico.....

I settled on Japan for this trip, as a few friends have been on multiple trips there & keep going back.

So it was off to the travel agent to sort out some flights. Decided on flying MEL-Tokyo, then returning via Osaka. Cheapest option was PR at around AUD$700, TG was the next cheapest option at AUD$800 - flying direct on QF would have been an extra $400. After talking to some work colleagues who have travelled via Manila, and reading online about Manila airport, I decided against the PR option as a 5 hour layover in MNL terminal 1 would have been nightmarish. So I ended up booking on Thai.

MEL-BKK 9 July 19

A 3.15pm flight time meant that I had the morning to sort last-minute stuff out & I didn't have to battle through rush-hour traffic to get to Tullamarine. Ended up there in plenty of time at around 12.30, got myself checked in & could then take my time to get through security & exit immigration. MEL has updated the security screening in T2, which means that you now put your loose items your carry-on. You still have to remove your LAGs, laptops & tablets though. I then got myself some lunch & had a look around before boarding, which was straightforward. Being in seat 52A meant that I was in the first group of Y pax to board. The A350 is a very nice plane to fly on, in Thai config at least. Plenty of legroom, comfy seat (could have been a little wide, but we're in Y...), and decent IFE with wifi if you needed it. The flight seemed full, or close to. Having a window seat meant that I could enjoy looking out while we crossed the outback while enjoying lunch number 2... Once we were past Bali, we started to get some turbulence (which the Captain did advise us when we left MEL) - the seatbelt sign went on a few times during the flight. Dinner was served a couple of hours before arrival & we got into Bangkok a little ahead of schedule. We were bussed into the terminal & then made my way to transit security.

TG 642
BKK-NRT 9 July 19

Screening in the transit area was quick & painless, and since I was given a boarding pass back in MEL, I could grab myself a drink & then head straight to the gate after trying to resist the duty-free temptations. Another full flight, with what seemed to be mainly Japanese returning from holiday. Another full, or close to load, and being Japanese, most of the pax brought out the face masks... my seat mate wore both an eyemask & a face mask. The 330 in Thai config is not as comfortable as the A350 - if you're a taller person & end up flying on a Thai A330, choose an Aisle or centre seat instead of a window seat - my seat (56A) had horrible legroom, which wasn't great for a red-eye where you want to get some sleep. Being a red-eye the initial catering was a to-go bag with a sandwich, a bottle of water & a snack, which was fine for a red-eye. Breakfast was brought out around 90 minutes before landing after managing to get some sleep. We got into NRT just after 8AM. Immigration was a breeze as most of the pax were Japanese & Customs was quick & efficient as well, I was landside in no time at all. I found the post office to pick up my wifi, activated my rail pass for later in the trip & sorted out a Suica card for myself. It was then onto a Limousine bus which dropped me off at the Capitol Hotel, which was next door to where I was staying in Tokyo.

TG 673
KIX-BKK 24 July 19

After 2 weeks, it was time to farewell Japan. Did the Tokyo thing for a few days, caught the Sumo in Nagoya for a day, did Hiroshima - a great city, even with the heartbreaking stories at the Peace Memorial museum getting to me. Osaka was very cool as well, reckon it was more chaotic than Tokyo!

Took the train out to KIX & got checked in. KIX is one spectacular airport, grabbed some lunch then headed airside. Outbound immigration took longer than the inbound immigration..... Also not many food & beverage options once airside, but found myself a bar where I enjoyed one last beer before departure. Today's flight was on a 777, which was much more comfortable than the 330.... The pax load also appeared to be very light, our cabin was only 1/3 full, which meant I had the row to myself - happy days! The meal was Japanese inspired with some beef & cold noodles which went down well with an Asahi! Watched a Bond film (Spectre), and was in BKK before I knew it. A quick deboarding & another bus to the terminal & was back at transfer security again...

TG 465
BKK-MEL 25 July 19

Had a little bit more time in BKK this time, grabbed a quick bite (spent the equivalent of AUD$30 at Dean & Deluca for a beef roll & a beer!) before exploring the terminal. Found another bar to enjoy another Asahi before boarding. There was a quick security check for liquids at the gate (caution if you buy duty free airside!!), and we boarded via an airbridge... The FA's commented that it was a full flight, with a good number of transfer pax. While taxing to the runway, one Indian pax got out of her seat with her screaming baby & pleaded with the FA's to be allowed to sit with her husband - this was quickly resolved prior to take off thankfully. A meal service started around an hour into the flight, which was interrupted due to turbulence. Several pax attempted to use the lav (after the captain had made an announcement for everyone to stay seated...), and were curtly advised by the head FA to resume their seats. I ended up passing on the first meal as I wanted to sleep, which I managed to get a few hours of. We got into MEL around 20 minutes ahead of schedule, got some duty free booze, breezed though the Smartgate, got my bag which arrived at the carousel just as I did & was landside, and back to reality and the Melbourne winter......
Essendon - Whatever it takes......

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