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Scintillating Summer 2018 (13): The Race Against Time... TG A333 BKK-CCU Y (pics + videos, Aug 18)

Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:59 pm

Thai Airways International flight TG313
Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK/VTBS), Thailand to Kolkata Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (CCU/VECC), India
August 10th 2018
Departure: 2345 hours ICT, Arrival 0045 hours IST
Seat 51A, Economy Class
HS-TBE, 6 years old Airbus A330-343 named Sakon Nakhon
3nd flight on Thai Airways
5th flight on A330-300
12th flight on Airbus A330 series of aircraft
17th short-haul (>3hrs) on a widebody plane
Filed altitude: 40,000 feet
Flightaware tracker link

Hey everyone!
Trip report #13 in this series. Unlucky 13?
A continuation of the previous part on Thai Airways as my brother and I were making our way back to Kolkata from Phnom Penh. With a 1hr25min connection, and the middle of a peak Thai Airways international bank, and the long security line that we saw on the outbound, in addition to a 25min delay, we had cards stacked against us. There was still yet one ace up our hands that we had to play...

Got off the bus at 2256 hours, 49 minutes to departure. We bolted across travelators. We ran past people taking selfies as they made their ‘landed in Bangkok’ posts. It was a race against time, and by far the most stressful seeing as we were within a fighting chance of making it.

While big brother gathered information from the help desk, I saw that TG313 to Kolkata was from gate C10 - we cross-checked this with each other and headed for the transfer security. While not a long snaking line at the bottom, I knew the top would be much busier. 2305 hours, 40 minutes to departure. Our hopes lay in the decision of the individual manning the line - the one who’d let wheelchair folk through.

And so, we duly showed our boarding passes while explaining that the flight from Phnom Penh was delayed. This worked! This absolutely worked! We were allowed to cut through, and security went by pretty alright. 2315 hours, 30 minutes to spare, we knew that we’d make the flight, while the bags ehhhh not sure.

Boarding pass issued at PNH

Of course, no time for spotting or anything, as it was dark out, BKK isn’t the friendliest for spotting, C10 was a walk away, and of course - there was no time :)

We made it to C10 with 19 minutes to spare, unsurprisingly boarding had already commenced so we made our way to the airplane. From a distance - it looked a Boeing 777-200: was this the equipment swap I was looking for?!

Unfortunately, the BE on the nose wheel door, Trent 700 engines, winglets meant that we were indeed heading towards an A330-300: HS-TBE, a 6 years old A330-300 named Sakon Nakhon. The crew were pretty welcoming, unfortunately the passengers who were already onboard were in others’ way slowing down the boarding process & not listening to the crew. Why is this almost always the case on sub-continent bound flights. :(

Took our seats 51A and 51C: we were in our seats with 12 minutes to spare! Shortest layover ever, with exactly 40 minutes between the coach taking us from the plane to the terminal to us getting to the seats - whoa, this crucial connection had been made, barely. I was expecting more delays as boarding continued. Pillows, blankets & headsets were already placed on the seats.

Safety card

Pillow & blanket
A timely announcement from the Captain: it would be a 2hr15min flight across with some bumps along the way, and some weather around Kolkata as well. Coming down from the adrenaline rush, I actually started to fall asleep a little bit! I guess I was *that* tired!

Departure time, 2345 hours: I was actually surprised to see the jet bridge be pulled away, amazing we were on for an on time departure! Safety video played while the crew did their best to sit passengers down, pushed back at 2352 hours, 7 minutes behind schedule. The Rolls Royce Trent 700s were fired up with no issues.

Start Up video: the lovely sounds of the Trent 700

It was a fun taxi to Runway 19L: I spotted every single type (and sub type!) of wide body airplanes in Thai’s fleet - perhaps this is their ultimate failing, but more on that later. Could you tell this was a busy hub time at BKK?! :D

There was some traffic ahead of us departing, but we lined up at 0005 hours, 20 minutes behind schedule before departing just fine towards the south before turning northwest on course to Kolkata. A smooth climb up, barring some bumps. Lovely sounds of the Trent 700s, too!

Take off video


Played around with the IFE and once again settled on Bob’s burgers for entertainment. Usual announcements happened as we got up to 40000 feet right off the bat. The IFE itself isn’t bad at all - while a little laggy it was a significant amount of content that would keep you busy for hours on end. The seat felt comfortable on this occasion weirdly, so that’s nice. Did I say usual announcements? I meant welcome announcements that they’d usually do on the ground - I guess they did not have time to get with it.


Bob's Brugers: F(an)art

The crew sprung in to action - special meals were given out first, and most of them looked like it was the Hindu Vegetarian meal. I am glad I made the change at Phnom Penh via email, seeing as the Hindu Meal was the exact same as what my brother and I received on CCU-BKK a few days ago.. Two carts rolled up to the front, and that’s about it. Despite that, it looked like service was being conducted pretty quickly.

In a first for me - it looked like ordering the non vegetarian meal seemed to have got me more than normal: a strategy that Air India often employs on their international flights. While the main meal itself is vegetarian, some extra chicken provided in an aluminum foil. Nice!

The tray consisted of some fruit (melon, dragonfruit, pineapple) which was nice & fresh.

The main course itself was paneer (Indian cottage cheese), rice and a potato curry. While it tasted decent it wasn’t anything out of this world. The chicken however was fantastic. Like most Indian meals, there was a paratha - Indian bread, in addition to a bread roll. Carb heavy, that’s for sure! A desert - coconut based - was a lovely way to end the meal.

There was a bottle of water - for the drink service itself I had a vodka and sprite, perhaps my favorite combination onboard a plane for whatever reason. Overall, it was a fairly above average meal.

Hot beverage service had to be stopped for a little (10-15 min) due to turbulence in the area, which is not uncommon for the time of year. We even lost about 100 feet which I noticed on the inflight entertainment. Service resumed pretty quick though. In the meantime I switched to watching Independence Day (the original, not the new crap) - 1hr10min in to the flight service was complete and lights were turned off.

30 minutes of non-activity passed by as most of us retired for the night - but that wasn’t until the captain made their announcements of commencing descent, transition to arrival in to Kolkata. A little bottle of water was handed to all passengers, before the crew followed suit, and had started preparing the cabin for arrival. Interestingly however, they mentioned that photography is banned in India. Huh I wonder if Thai were living in 2002 still…

Almost home! :)

Pretty soon we were in the downwind for 19L, before we made the final couple of turns, where I saw another airplane in the downwind as we joined final. We touched down pretty smoothly at 0052 hours, 7 minutes behind schedule.

Landing video

Unsurprisingly, passengers once again started to get up and make a beeline for their overhead stored baggage, the crew being proactive and trying to stop this as best as they could. Taxied towards the gate, and everything went pretty smooth. Docked at gate 10, 0058 hours, 13 minutes behind schedule. An announcement was made that baggage would be out on carousel 13, which was helpful.


Disembarked at 0106 hours, I thanked the crew for their service, and off to immigration.

CathayDragon A320 from Hong Kong


Lines weren’t exactly long, but there was the predictable individual that ‘held their spot’ in line, while the rest of the family tried to cut through, but none of the others were having this, stood firm and sent the one guy back. Why, just why are people like this!! Anyway, got done with immigration at 0115 hours and headed down to the baggage claim where our bags were some of the first to come out because they were loaded amongst the last :) Awesome!


Ahh, been a while since I've seen this around! (Air Deccan have since stopped operations again...)

Kinda busy outside the intl side of things

From 0106, where I stepped out of the plane, to 0126 curbside after than international flight arriving in India: I was fairly impressed. Well done to the ground crew at Kolkata to getting things done efficiently! Found a taxi and headed home with no further issues.

First of all, I was quite surprised that we made the flight itself, following the delay on the flight from Phnom Penh! BKK isn’t the most efficient when it comes to transit security, but that’s what it is. For this flight itself everything went as well as it could - pretty much on time, the crew performed at their efficient best, IFE was decent, seat was good, and the food, while satisfactory there was nothing memorable about it.

Now for Thai Airways in general: honestly I was quite impressed with Thai. It was a bit unfortunate that I was not able to try out the 777-200 on this occasion, giving me a new aircraft sub type and something rather old to experience, but the A330s were a sure step up in product offered. With that being said, it is great to see Thai expand capacity to Kolkata, albeit with the ThaiSmile A320-200, while TG313/314 continues to see 777-200. In addition, HS-TBD has also been ret-painted in to the Star Alliance livery! With a total of 10 types + sub types of airplanes and several of them grounded due to manufacturer issues it is easy to see why Thai have been losing out severely these past couple of years. There are talks of a shut down - I for one hope that this isn’t the case. Thai are a great Star Alliance option if SQ turn out to be quite expensive (which it often is). I look forward to the opportunity of trying out Thai Airways once again in the future, and hope for their turnaround because 2019 has seen enough airlines go down already.

Before heading to bed, here is HS-TBE heading back to Bangkok, well in line with the other long haul international flights flying in Bangkok, the morning rush:

In the next part, the return trip back to the USA. Meantime, please do check out my 100th trip report on YouTube! :D

My trip reports:

Scintillating Summer 2018 (12): My Shortest Flight on a wide body - TG A333 PNH-BKK Y (pics + videos, Aug 18)
(video trip report)
Scintillating Summer 2018 (11): The $27 FSC - Bassaka Air's A320 Siem Reap - Phnom Penh (SEVERAL pics + videos, Aug 18)) (video trip report)
Scintillating Summer 2018 (10): Adventures of the Xian MA60! (many pics, PNH-KOS-REP Y, Aug 18) (video trip report)
Scintillating Summer 2018 (9): Fly Smart, Fly Sabai, Fly Thai Smile! (BKK-PNH Y A320 Aug '18, pics + video) (video trip report)
Scintillating Summer 2018 (8): Purple plane, purple plane! Cambodia bound on Thai's A330 (CCU-BKK Aug '18, pics + video) (video trip report)
Scintillating Summer 2018 (7): The Final Leg Home - jetlag jetlag jetlag! (Vistara A320 DEL-CCU Jul '18, pics + video) (video trip report)
Scintillating Summer 2018 (6): #NotJustAnotherNEO - Vistara's Premium Economy! (BOM - DEL Jul '18, pics + videos) (video trip report)
Scintillating Summer 2018 (5): Was That My Last Flight on Jet Airways?! (A330-200 DEL-BOM Y Jul '18, pics + videos) (video trip report)
Scintillating Summer 2018 (4): Tantalizing Turkish - a missed connection? (777-300ER IST-DEL Y, Jul '18, pics + videos) (video trip report)
Scintillating Summer 2018 (3): Turkish Delight! (777-300ER MIA-IST Y, Jul '18, pics + videos) (video trip report)
Scintillating Summer 2018 (2): American Airlines' Refurbished 777 (DFW-MIA Y, Jul '18, pics + videos) (video trip report)
Scintillating Summer 2018: Envoy Air ERJ-175 FAR-DFW (Y, Jul '18) + BONUS Air Force One & Thunderbirds (pics + videos)
(video trip report)
A, B, C & E of airplanes: A Spring Break in NYC (4): The Comfortable CRJ?! (UA4851 ORD-FAR Mar '18 Y)(video trip report)
A, B, C & E of airplanes: A Spring Break in NYC (3): Red Eye hub-to-hub on the A320 (UA2139 EWR-ORD Mar '18 Y)(video trip report)
A, B, C & E of airplanes: A Spring Break in NYC (2) - DeIcing Delays; The Big Boeing 777! (UA1995 Y ORD-FAR Mar' 18)(video trip report)
A, B, C & E of airplanes: A Spring Break in NYC (1) - United Express/ExpressJet ERJ-145LR (UA4082 Y FAR-ORD Mar' 18)(video trip report)
Wobbly Winter '17/18 (11): The cramped CRJ conundrum (DL3896 MSP-GFK, CRJ-200LR Jan '18)(video trip report)
Wobbly Winter '17/18 (10): Frozen Fuel Truck - uncertainty ensues! (DL461 JFK-MSP, B717-200 Jan '18)(video trip report)
Wobbly Winter '17/18 (9): BA's logo jet, the uncertainty of NYC's winter storm! (BA173 LHR-JFK, B747-400 Jan '18)(video trip report)
Wobbly Winter '17/18 (8): The Red Eye 747! (BA142, DEL-LHR, B747-400 Jan '18, pics)(video trip report)
Wobbly Winter '17/18 (7): Vistara's amazing Business Class! (UK778 CCU-DEL A320 Jan '18, pics & video TR)(video trip report)

*NO FLIGHTS* Wobbly Winter '17/18 (6): Himalayas, Palam Air Force Museum, Heavily Delayed Rajdhani Express
Wobbly Winter '17/18 (5): Fly Smart? Not quite: The GoAir Debut! (G8128 CCU-DEL A320 Dec'17, pics & video TR)(video trip report)
Wobbly Winter '17/18 (4): Efficient Air India! (AI401 DEL - CCU B787 Dec'17, pics & video TR)(video trip report)
Wobbly Winter '17/18 (3): Elegantly British? (BA143 LHR-DEL B747-400 WT Dec'17, pics & video TR)(video trip report)
Wobbly Winter '17/18 (2): A British Concorde, A British Queen! (BA116 B747-400 World Traveller Dec'17, pics & video TR)(video trip report)
Wobbly Winter '17/'18 (1): Insane tailwinds to the Big Apple! (DL A319 MSP-JFK Dec '17 Y, pics & video TR)(video trip report)
A (slightly) unlucky summer '17 (10): Software glitch'd? (SkyWest Delta CRJ-200ER, MSP-GFK, Jun '17, w/pics & video TR)(video trip report)
A (slightly) unlucky summer '17 (9): Yet no CRJ-700 for you! (IAD-MSP UA E175, Y, Jun '17)(video trip report)
A (slightly) unlucky summer '17 (8): A tale of 2 Etihads - electronics BANNED! (B77L/B789, BOM-AUH-IAD, Y, Jun '17)(video trip report)
A (slightly) unlucky summer '17 (7): Jet's extended range B737 (9W472 CCU-BOM, Y, pics & vids)(video trip report)
A (slightly) unlucky summer '17 (6): Delays galore, inefficiency ensues! (SpiceJet, B737-900ER, SG517 BLR-CCU, Y)(video trip report)
A (slightly) unlucky summer '17 (5): Missed opportunity with Jet's A330 (BOM-BLR, Y, B73H, May '17) [pics & video TR](video trip report)
A (slightly) unlucky summer '17 (4): Short flight on the Etihad A380! (AUH-BOM, Y, May '17) [pics & video TR] (video trip report)
A (slightly) unlucky summer '17 (3): Elegant Etihad? (JFK-AUH, A380 Y, May '17) [many pics & video TR] (video trip report)
A (slightly) unlucky summer '17 (2): No MD-88 for you! (MSP-LGA, DL Y, May '17) [pics & video TR]] (video trip report)
A (slightly) unlucky summer '17 (1): No CRJ-700 for you! (GFK-MSP, SkyWest Delta) [pics & video TR] (video trip report)
Spring Break 2017 - To the Pacific Northwest! (AMTRAK, BC, Idaho, NO flights!)
Winter Break 2016/17 (9): The Final Hop Home (AA Eagle ERJ-145, ORD-FAR, Jan '17, Y) (video trip report)
Winter Break 2016/17 (8): Ultra long haul with Etihad (AUH-ORD, Y, Jan '17) (video trip report)
Winter Break 2016/17 (7): Enticing Etihad to Abu Dhabi! (CCU-AUH, Jan '17, Y) (video trip report)

Winter Break 2016 (6): My last flight on Jet Airways' ATR (GAU-CCU, Y, Dec '16) + Scintillating Sunderbans (video trip report)
Winter Break 2016 (6): My last flight on Jet Airways' ATR (GAU-CCU, Y, Dec '16) + Scintillating Sunderbans (video trip report)
Winter Break 2016 (5): Konnecting to Kaziranga (S24363 B73H CCU-GAU Y, Dec '16) (video trip report)
Winter Break 2016 (4): Take us home, Qatar Airways! (QR540, DOH-CCU, Y, Dec'16) (video trip report)
Winter Break 2016 (3): Long haul middle seat - our first flight on Qatar Airways! (QR28 MAN-DOH, Y, Dec'16) (video trip report)
Winter Break 2016 (2): Pencil Jet across the Atlantic (AA54 MAN-ORD, Y+, Dec'16) (video trip report)
Winter Break 2016 (1): The Frozen Embraer Delay - missed connection! (FAR-ORD, Dec '16) (video trip report)
Thanksgiving '16 in the Sin City - My Allegiance with N891GA, to divert or not to divert (LAS-GFK Nov '16) (video trip report)
Thanksgiving '16 in the Sin City - My Allegiance with Allegiant! (Part 1, many pictures) (video trip report)
The day I flew the world's most popular plane (GFK-FAR-CKN-GFK, C172)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 14: Delta Connection, a quick hop in the Midwest! (MSP - GFK, Aug '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 13: Super old, Super 80, Mad Dog Across the Midwest! (AA ORD-MSP, Aug'16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 12: Flying the Friendly Skies... (United Munich to Chicago, Aug '16)) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 11: Epic Lufthansa, Epic A340! (Delhi to Munich, Aug '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 10: Konnect, Lite, Delight...(S2 B73H CCU-DEL, Aug '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 9: Take me home, Vistara! (DEL-CCU, Jul '16) (video trip report)[/color]
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 8: Vistara's INAUGURAL flight out of Kolkata! (CCU-DEL, Jun '16)) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 7: Efficient IndiGo! (Mumbai to Kolkata, A320, May '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 6: Big delays, cracked windshield, angry passengers (SG CCU-BOM B73J) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 5: Air India's domestic Dream)liner (DEL-CCU May '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 4: Nearly First Class - stories of the empty A380! (LH FRA-DEL May '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 3: World's longest jet, Lufthansa's B748i! (ORD-FRA May '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 2: ChicaGO on United's A319! (MSP-ORD, May '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 1: Sun rise onboard the long range CRJ (DL GFK-MSP CRJ-900, May '16) (video trip report)
The pencil jet(s) for spring break! (+ Iron Maiden bonus): Delta MSP-FLL-MSP, March '16 (DL1608 video trip report, DL2027 video trip report)
De-iced & Delayed, cold onboard a CRJ! (ORD-MSP-GFK on Delta, Jan '16) (ORD-MSP video report) (MSP-GFK video report)
Delta's aged B767-300ER across the Atlantic! (CDG-ORD in Y, Jan '16) (video report)
Air France's NEW Economy (B777-200ER, Bengaluru to Paris, Jan '16) (video report)
Delays and despair: stressed out in the middle seat! (Jet Airways B737 Mumbai - Bengaluru, Jan '16)
Air India's hybrid babybus from Kolkata to Mumbai (Jan '16, Y) (video report)

South Africa 3: 12 days in Scintillating South Africa (Kruger, Kulula and Rand Airport, Apr' 12, LONG!)
South Africa 2: Elegant Emirates Economy! (DXB-CPT, B77W, Apr '12)
South Africa 1: My first flight on Emirates, my first flight on the 777 (CMB-DXB, Apr '12)

International transit with Jet Airways (BOM-MAA-CMB, Oct. '11)
Konnecting to Bhubaneswar (9W BOM-BBI-BOM, Jul '11)
Three trips between India and Sri Lanka (9W BOM-CMB-BOM: Jun '11, Jul '11, Oct. 11)
To India's Orange City: Mumbai - Nagpur - Mumbai on Jetlite & Tadoba National Park (May 2011)
My last flight on Kingfisher Airlines (and 2 other Jet flights, May '11)

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