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airpearl
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The Dawn Of Thai's Newest Triple-Seven

Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:16 am

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Sawasdee-krub! As this appears to be the Thai Airways International week on the A.net Trip Report Forum, I thought I too might join the party with this account of a recent journey on Thailand's national carrier. There is no doubt that the highlight of the past week had been the brand new A380 and its series of inaugurals, but the super jumbo is just one of a number of new happenings at Thai. The airline is currently in the midst of a transformative phase with upgrades to both its fleet and services. Last month, a semi-business trip gave me the opportunity of sampling the airline's newest addition from the Boeing line. And I found it rather promising. Read this report and let me know if you share the sentiment.  

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If you live in Southeast Asia and regard aviation as one of your passions, there is a very good chance that you will stumble upon Thai Airways International for its reasonable fares and propensity to order almost every version of every widebody aircraft flying, which are then run even on some of its shortest routes. So if you're looking to expand your aircraft-flown list, TG (as almost everyone in Thailand calls their national carrier) probably has an affordable flight for you to do it on.

This is the airline you go to for rides on the B744 even if you don't fly long haul (they ply some domestic Thailand routes) or if you wish to log the rarer birds like the A300 or A346. Pity the gorgeous A345s have now been sent for early retirement, but at least the oldest non-ER B772s (a relative rarity in the region) are in the process of being given an interior refresh, suggesting that we might be able to enjoy them for a little while longer. Even the mighty A380 - which a week ago made its debut appearance on TG (and a bit of a personal sore point as I had to miss the inaugural) - is being tried out on bunny hops from Bangkok to Hong Kong and Singapore. No wonder then why TG is so lovable - for among Asia's top legacy carriers, it is the perfect non-elitist airline that seems to know the way to a plane nut's heart.

Like many other airlines in the region, triple-sevens play a pivotal role in TG's route network. From BKK, these twin jets serve the carrier's farthest international port of call LAX (via ICN), as well as one of the closest RGN, with equal ease. Since taking delivery of HS-TJA, its first non-ER B777-2D7, in 1996, TG has gone on to collect more of the same, and also some of the similar. Its B777 fleet size, standing at 26 currently, isn't the region's largest by any means, but it's among the most diverse. With the notable exception of the -200LR, the attractive silky-smooth magenta orchid livery has been applied on every passenger version of the triple-seven so far.

This report is an account of my recent return trip on the airline's newest B777-300ER - or rather the first -300ER destined for TG and featuring its latest inflight products that are set to be the new standard on the longhauls. Even though TG had been flying the -300ER since 2010, the early planes are essentially Jet Airways-configured, dry-leased from Mumbai, complete with 9W's custom-designed three-class interiors. The delivery in Aug 2012 of HS-TKK, the first of 14 new B777-300ERs joining the fleet over the next 3 years, therefore marks an important milestone for TG as it attempts to provide a consistent, high quality hard product on its longhauls - something that was never the airline's strong point in the past.
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HS-TKK began plying the BKK-NRT route on a daily basis from end-Aug and with delivery of the second machine, the new 77Ws will be operating the BKK-ICN-LAX route from the start of the winter schedule later this month. If regional trends are any indication, I'd imagine that TG will follow its major peers in replacing the current B744s on many European sectors with the new 77Ws. This is a plane I'd been really looking forward to flying, as it will be my first opportunity to experience the new TG inflight offerings, many of which are also found on its flagship A380.

As luck would have it, I need to be headed for Seoul in Sep - this is not yet a destination for the new plane but it's close enough to one for me to easily engineer a slight detour.   And so that's how on one wet Bangkok night last month, I find myself checking in for Thai's flight 642, the red-eye bound for Narita and sole scheduled route for HS-TKK, with an onward Korean Air connection to Incheon...


The Outbound

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http://www.gcmap.com/map?P=bkk-nrt-icn&MS=bm&MR=540&MX=720x360&PM=b:disc7%2b%25N

Maps generated by the Great Circle Mapper - copyright © Karl L. Swartz.
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Let's cut to the chase and give the check-in desks a miss, shall we? As a regional hub, Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi is well covered in many trip reports, so there's no need, I think, to retrace well-trodden ground: we start our journey today airside en route to departure gate D2. It's worth noting though that I stopped by TG's business class check-in to ask if there was any chance of a paid upgrade to J from Y - subject to availability, TG offers these standby upgrades for a reasonable price and a oneway to NRT would have set me back by another $475. The agent, though most cordial, tells me there's no chance: J class is overbooked - not only for my flight but also for TG640, a slightly earlier red-eye operated by a B744. The airline seems to be doing very well on its Tokyo flights, and this route is surely a contender for the A380. The agent is nevertheless kind enough to offer to check me in at the J class counter.

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Late night is a busy time at Suvarnabhumi for longhaul (mainly European) departures and trunk Asian and Australasian routes. When I took this shot above of the FIDS screen, I didn't at first realize that every flight listed here is a code-share! The Hawaiian Airlines flight to Incheon (KE-operated) is a rather interesting one though. I make my way to the gate about an hour before scheduled departure where passengers, made up primarily of Japanese tourists and businessmen, are already streaming in steadily. It all feels very civilized - you get a sense that people are conscious of the need to be punctual, for barely 15 minutes after I arrive, almost the entire gate lounge is already completely filled with passengers waiting patiently for the boarding call.

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Outside, HS-TKK awaits in all its splendor, or so I imagine. Among my biggest pet peeves about Suvarnabhuni is the absence of a view despite all the glass that makes up this airport. Getting a decent shot of the plane from the gate's concave windows is challenging during the day, and pretty much impossible at night...

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Bangkok to Tokyo (Narita)
Thai Airways International flight TG 642 in economy class
Boeing 777-300ER HS-TKK 'Philavan'
Dept: 12.15am Arrv: 8.12am (on time)
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Boarding begins about half an hour before departure, with announcements in English and Thai, but strangely no Japanese. The usual priorities for business class and status frequent flyer members is followed by calls for passengers requiring assistance, and then by seat row number from the back. As my seat is in the front economy class cabin, I'm in the last batch of passengers to board thru 2L, where I am greeted in Japanese at the door.

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Moving down the aircraft from doors 2, I walk through a mini 4-row J class cabin in TG's new staggered 1-2-1 configuration, with flat-bed seats decked out in purple, before reaching the first of three Y class cabins. Now, here's a sight for sore eyes! There's no doubt: this is one of the most cheerful-looking economy class cabins I've seen of late. And if one was boarding this plane in some distant land, there's definitely no more attractive welcome to Thailand. The colors are somewhat similar to the previous TG version, except that the yellow is now gone while the reds and purples have been toned down, making for a much classier look all round. I also love the murals at the back, slightly different for each cabin, that capture so well the essence of both the country and its airline.

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If you're traveling as a pair, one of the better seats to book on this 77W are rows 38 and 39 at starboard where there are two seats by the window instead of three. The only drawback are the washrooms which are relatively close by, but it wasn't too bothersome for me seated at 38K. The light colored seatbacks and large 10.6-inch PTV screens make for an equally attractive view looking ahead. Here, the last of the passengers are taking their seats in this front cabin - it's looking like a full flight in Y as well.

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Before my neighbor arrives, I quickly take a snapshot of my window accommodation, one of 306 economy class seats on this plane. Already supplied with a pillow and blanket at my seat, I also find a headset stuffed into the seat pocket, together with the usual magazines, slightly dog-eared. The 32-inch pitch is adequate even if not especially generous, a comedown from the previous TG standard of 34 inches; but with a few exceptions, airlines appear to have taken to this measurement for the right balance between maximum profit and being sued for DVT. I suppose I can at least be thankful TG hasn't gone for 10-abreast, and 30 inches. At my feet, there's a legrest which I don't find particularly useful but thankfully, no PTV box to obstruct legroom.

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Ahead of me is the Panasonic IFE system with a good resolution touch-screen PTV. It's such a responsive system that I hardly feel the need to use the handset. There's a decent selection of entertainment; I didn't count them but according to TG, there's more than 100 movies, 150 documentaries, 500 CD albums and 60 games, a larger selection than previously. Flight time to Narita is shown as 5 hours 33 minutes, which is pretty fast, no doubt we'll get some help from tailwinds, as usual on eastbounds this side of the pacific.

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The doors are closed at 11.52pm, 2 minutes after scheduled departure and we're all set to go. Or at least, almost. A pilot comes on the blower to welcome us aboard and then apologize in advance for the slight delay on leaving the gate as the earlier thunderstorm had delayed our cargo loading, which was still ongoing. It's wet and still drizzling outside when we push back some 20 minutes later, to the loud whine of engine number 2 right outside my window. I hadn't been a fan of the GE90 before but am slowly warming up to it. What a great sound!

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TG's usual safety video in Thai and English is played as we taxi towards 19R for departure. The AVOD system, switched on immediately after, has an interface in the various languages of the many countries served by TG. Our takeoff run seemed longer than I had expected for a relatively short hop for a 77W - perhaps we're heavy with cargo tonight.

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We fly through a little turbulence out of Bangkok and when the seatbelt signs come off, the cabin lights remain dim. As it's now well past midnight, many passengers are already asleep. I've started exploring the IFE but can't find anything worth staying up late to watch, so I stick with the moving map. I also flip through the Sawasdee magazine which this month is featuring TG's newest Japanese destination, Sapporo, as well as its latest acquisitions. Two pages are devoted to this newest B777. The article is mainly PR fluff and not particularly earth-shattering, but I do learn that the economy class seats, spanning 18.5 inches, are the widest in the industry. And Business class has LED overhead lighting. Another two-page advert sells TG's largest attraction in years, coming our way in Oct.

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TG doesn't give out menu cards in Y class but the meal offerings are now uploaded on the system and viewable on screen. Like most carriers plying the longer east Asian red-eye, the priority for passengers seems to be getting some shut-eye on the flight and so the main meal is breakfast, served just before landing.

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There's a certain urgency to the serving of a croissant sandwich as the late night snack. I'd never seen TG flight attendants rush down the aisle to serve a meal so quickly, even on short domestic flights. I am handed my packed supper, and then a drinks tray appears almost instantaneously. Sleeping passengers, like my neighbor, are left undisturbed. Once I finish, the empties are quickly dispensed with and in less than 10 minutes the "light meal" is over, and it's time for bed. Talk about an efficient meal!

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Too bad sleep doesn't come as easily. As we speed through the night over Vietnam, the South China Sea, and then Taiwan, I'm sleeping so fitfully that I'm checking for signs of dawn every 15-20 minutes. Somehow I'm just incapable of resting tonight. I can't blame the seat which has a bottom that slides out when I recline, as I'd been in similar seats before and slept quite well. The cabin temperature too is fine and as I'd been rather sleep-deprived over the past few nights, this insomnia is almost inexplicable. The only factor I can think of is my seat mate who has no problems sleeping but is so fidgety (he appears to time his elbowing of my rib cage every time I'm successful in nodding off) that I soon develop a strong dislike for this complete stranger who has the amazing ability to piss me off while he's sleeping!

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I've kept my window shades up during the flight as it's after all dark outside but when I awake from one of my catnaps, I find that someone, probably a crew member, had unobtrusively lowered all the shades. Raising mine again, I find what I'd been looking for all night: the first glimmers of a new day in the distance. We're about two hours from Narita at this stage and by my estimation on the map, we can't be too far from the Senkaku/Diaoyus islands, a couple of disputed rocks in the East China Sea that are driving Japan and China to the brink of war. How very exciting, and at the same time, how very silly. Anyway, moving quickly away from this hot potato, the rising sun is lifting both my spirits and heavy eyelids as I get the first proper view of the raked wingtips. Just the tonic I need to start the day, I think.

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The cabin lights come on not long after and the crew, who have now changed attire from Thai silk costumes to their red and purple ground uniforms (I wonder which other airlines go to this trouble with cabin crew outfits), distribute warm towelettes, followed by juices from a tray. The meal tray that comes next has all the usual breakfast offerings of fruit, roll, yoghurt and coffee, and is quite adequate - and the Japanese congee which I opt for as my main more than satisfies. The cutlery is stainless steel which is interesting because for a while last year, the airline had gone for plastic in Y class, so this seems like a change of heart, which I whole-heartedly approve of.

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One hour of the flight to go and we're flying parallel to the coast of Japan: first above Kagoshima prefecture, then alongside Shikoku and Honshu. But there's no view to speak of even as we descend into Tokyo, with the skies remaining cloudy. There's rain and 20ºC forecast for our Narita arrival, but at least we've made up some time overnight and should be arriving on schedule.

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Like the Bangkok departure, HS-TKK's arrival at Narita on 34L is met with driving rain. It's a smooth landing nevertheless and the engine outside my window is making such a sweet sound I feel it should carry me on to Seoul. But alas, this is the end of the line. There are also a number noteworthy planes worth taking out my camera for as we taxi to our Terminal 1 stand, but the weather isn't cooperating. My token photo of the outside is of the ANA B763 parked next to us as we nose in among Narita's Star Alliance players.

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With loads of time for my connecting flight, I loiter around in the cabin, waiting for it to empty, so that I can take a few more interior shots. As passengers leave, the crew are meticulously checking the seats and overhead bins, removing newspapers and magazines and presumably also looking out for any left-behind items. I have to say that in the light of day, TG's new interior colors are even more attractive.

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Unlike some northern Asian carriers, TG's crews will happily pose for you if asked. Without my prompting, the crews also tell me this is the airline's newest plane and that I'm "very lucky" to be able to catch it. I feign surprise and politely agree, and lest I look even weirder than I already seem, don't reveal what the voice in my head says: "luck has nothing to do with it when you have intentionally traveled 1,000kms out of your way!"

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This had been a pretty standard TG flight in Y, but "standard" on this airline is usually enough to satisfy me. One can usually rely on inflight service and catering to be good at the back of the TG bus; although there are occasional lapses, there's strangely greater consistency here than say in its J class. What sets this flight apart is the hardware - the IFE and new interiors - which has gained a couple of notches from the airline's usual level. It's now up there among the best, though it would have been nice to have got an overnight kit on this flight as well. Also, it's encouraging to see the airline retrofitting some of its older planes with PTVs and new interiors, although at the rate they're being refreshed, it could all take awhile.

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On the way out, I manage to take a couple of quick, but unsatisfactory, shots of the new business (Royal Silk) class cabin. For some reason, the Y class cabin looks more attractive to me; this one looks too purple - or perhaps it's just sour grapes on my part...   I would have liked to have been able to try these seats - maybe another time. There are 42 J seats in all, spread across two cabins; the smaller back cabin is located after doors 2 (above), and the larger front cabin is between doors 1 & 2 (below). It looks similar to the version you find on Etihad, with its staggered 1-2-1 configuration - 20-inch wide seats with an 87-inch pitch, all with direct aisle access, that convert into flat beds. This will be the new standard longhaul J for the airline, and there's no doubt it represents a major improvement over the current offering. TG doesn't talk about equipping its own 77Ws with a first class cabin so I wonder if the retirement of its B744s will also mean the end of F class service on some longhaul routes.

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At the gate, I bid a fond farewell to Philavan, or at least temporarily, for I'm also booked on her operating as TG643 for my return flight to Bangkok - but that's not today. In the meantime, I hope you will indulge me in a not-so-short detour of Narita, and then my flights to and from Incheon. If your interest lies only in HS-TKK, speed-scroll down to the 'Back to Bangkok' section that follows on from there.

Transfers are easy at Narita. I follow directions for international connections at Terminal 1 where I encounter some of the most polite airport security personnel I'd ever had the pleasure of meeting. It's then a fair walk to the Korean Air transfer desk (which is located among the SkyTeam carriers) where another exceedingly polite agent issues my boarding pass. My onward flight is not for another five hours, and with me feeling, and probably looking, like something the cat dragged in, I decide to spend the next three catching up on sleep in a real bed - at the cost of $40, a Narita dayroom is quite the bargain.

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Fully rested and showered around midday in Japan, I'm ready to face the day ahead. It's still overcast and wet outside but at least I'm now in the right frame of mind for a little spotting before my onward flight. The separation among the three airline alliances are probably more apparent in Narita than at any other airport in Asia-Pacific. Terminal 1 is the domain of Star Alliance and SkyTeam, while Terminal 2 is the home to oneworld carriers. But even within T1, the distinction is very clear: the North Wing's lower-numbered gates are reserved for SkyTeam airlines while Star Alliance members take the higher-numbered gates of the South Wing. But of course this is precisely the sort of clarity one would expect from a Japanese airport.

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Earlier in the morning when I was looking in vain for the KE transfer desk, I should have been more alert to the obvious indicators of the planes that were parked near-by. These were a number of early arrivals being turned around for their usual late morning departures back to Europe. Is anything Star Alliance-linked not somehow also linked to Lufthansa these days?

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Such is the sheer volume of traffic between BKK and NRT that in addition to the flight I arrived on, TG needed to schedule another similarly-timed B744 overnight from Thailand. This jumbo is set to return to Bangkok exactly an hour before Philavan. It's also interesting that the airline has put HS-TGY, its only B744 so far with newly-retrofitted first class suites, on this route. The TG machine is firmly in Star territory but when you spot a SVO-bound Aeroflot A333 parked at the gate, it's safe to assume you've stepped across an invisible line into SkyTeam country and moving in the right direction for Korean Air.

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Narita may be one of the world's busier international airports but unlike some of the dazzling new facilities you now find in Asia, Terminal 1 feels as warm and convivial as a much smaller facility. Perhaps because it's an older design, the scale is human and this is an airport - rather than a shopping mall or architectural icon masquerading as an airport - where the focus is the not the shopper or somebody's ego, but the traveler and ensuring his basic needs are met (in spotless interiors, sufficient decently-comfortable seating, accessible clean washrooms, plenty of walkalators, drinks dispensers at every corner, good views and lots of natural light, a few but not too many shops, and a place for a quick bowl of udon noodles). I like it very much actually.

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My flight - Korean Air 704 bound for Seoul - is shown as departing from gate 25 at 1355, and is one of a number of KE departures during the day for its South Korean hub. Even though two earlier flights could have connected better with my TG arrival, the reason I'd selected this specific departure (that it's operated by a B744 rather than B773 for the others) (i) can probably only be truly understood by the readers of this forum; and (ii) doesn't require further explanation here.  

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As I've still got plenty of time before boarding - plus my plane hasn't yet arrived - it can only mean more spotting time. Even from within the terminal and despite the weather, there's a decent view of tarmac happenings. At this hour, there seems to be quite a bit of freighter activity. Above, the Air Hong Kong RR-powered B744F with the registration B-HUS can only mean one thing - it had at some stage in its life been painted in a Cathay Pacific livery (the engine color is a giveaway too). Another result of a passenger-to-freighter conversion is this former-ANA B763 below, now operating for the airline's cargo division. OCS is the courier company controlled by ANA. And finally, how can one resist not snapping an MD11?

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I like an airport that plans ahead for its future alliance members. It is not by chance that this CGK-bound Garuda Indonesia A333 is parked among the DL machines, and the Hello Kitty A332 coming in from TPE is taking up a position in Star's South Wing.

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As I await the arrival of my flight, an impressive takeoff of an unmistakable plane on 34L catches my attention and gets me rushing for my camera. But I'm too late - my first sight of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a blurry vision of a Boston-bound Japan Airlines disappearing into the thick cloud.

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HL7492, a Korean Air Boeing 747-4B5 delivered in 1995 and arriving in Narita on schedule as KE703, will be my ride to Incheon. It's a handsome looking giant and as it taxies closer to the terminal, I can't help feeling how quickly the B747 passenger jet is disappearing from the skies. Narita used to house more of them than almost anywhere else and yet today, the sight of a jumbo like this is an increasingly rare one.

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Boarding for KE704 begins exactly 30 minutes before departure. A queue forms at the gate and once the premium class passengers (in a separate line; there are not many of them) have boarded, the rest are let through. There's no boarding zones or specific seat rows to worry about on Korean Air, and in a way, this way of processing passengers feels more efficient than the 'boarding by row number' regime adopted by many other carriers. There's certainly less queue-jumping, and I think I prefer it.

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Tokyo (Narita) to Seoul (Incheon)
Korean Air flight KE 704 in economy class
Boeing 747-400 HL7492
Dept: 1.56pm Arrv: 4.17pm (on time)

The welcomes on Korean Air are always cordial and the crews are all immaculately turned out. I'd reserved a window seat in the last row which is a great excuse for needing to make one's way down the entire length of this jumbo. The seat cushions, in dark blue or brown depending on cabin, may just look a tad sober, but there's no denying that the well-maintained and neat interior suggests a plane that is considerably younger than its 17 years.

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The cabin view from the very back of the plane is equally attractive. All seats come equipped with a light colored back on which is mounted a 8.4-inch screen for the AVOD IFE system. The last four rows by the window are 2-abreast as the cabin tapers towards the tail and my window seat (at row 56, just ahead of door 5R) is not a bad place at all to be.

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The rear-most part of the 747 is a favorite of mine. It always feel less crowded, more convivial and enjoys more turbulence (though I realize that's not everyone's cup of tea!). Today's flight isn't packed and although I get a neighbor at first, he soon moves to a seat across the aisle in an unoccupied block of four, making both of us happy. Generous legroom is one of KE's strong points - few airlines now offer a consistent 34-inch pitch in economy these days. Excellent!

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It's starting to rain again as we push back on schedule and head for runway 34L for departure. Flight time to Seoul is 2 hours 5 minutes; inflight announcements are in Korean, English and Japanese. The safety video however is only in Korean, with Japanese subtitles. While still on the ground cabin crew distribute earphones, neatly concealed in small blue boxes that can be taken away. Not all airlines will offer IFE on flights of this duration - even if their planes are equipped for it - so this is a nice touch on KE's part.

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After encountering a few predictable bumps after take-off, we're finally clear of the low cloud and heading due west. From my window seat, there's a great view of my favorite winglets that distinguish the -400 from the other versions of the B747. In its day, the -400 revolutionized long haul flying, opening up new, viable nonstop routes like LHR-SIN and SYD-LAX. The term "game-changer" is used to describe almost any new plane these days, but it is arguable there hasn't really been a "game-changer" worthy of the name since the -400 rolled out in 1988. It is really sad to see her being described as a "gas-guzzler" instead these days.

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This is one of the reasons why the back end of the B747 is so liked. The seating by the window is 2-abreast and there's ample elbow room. The only drawback is the distance from the window, which makes the last row the ideal choice for me.

The catering on this flight is a nice surprise. I hadn't expected something so substantial for a non-meal time offering on a short hop. I thought maybe I'd get a snack of sorts, but instead receive a prawn salad starter, roll and butter, a creamy chicken dish with rice as the main course (though without an alternative), a jelly dessert, a packet of water and coffee, as well as drinks from the bar. Not bad at all.

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The weather continues to improve as we fly over Honshu and by the time we're near the west coast, the mountainous spine of the island is clearly visible below. It's then an uneventful ride across the Sea of Japan and we eventually come in to land on time at Incheon's runway 34, where the weather is much better than at Narita.

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Arriving from KUL, this is AirAsia X's A333 9M-XXF that landed just headed us on runway 34. It's always nice to see a special livery for the first time, and AirAsia does them quite well, for this is another attractive one.

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It had been a good flight on Korean Air. On the way to our gate, we taxi past a section of the main terminal devoted to Asiana and soon slip in among the family of turquoise jets. It's also the end of my deliberately-long journey from Bangkok and, thanks to the three hour dayroom nap, I'm more than ready to face Seoul, probably even for a night out! The queues at immigration are far shorter than I'd expected coming off a B744: in fact most of the passengers on my flight are on transit for somewhere else. There's little doubt Incheon has become a key hub for those traveling to and from Japan, rather like Schiphol's role in relation to the UK. Little wonder when you consider that Korean Air has direct links from some 15 Japanese cities to its ICN hub (Asiana has a similar coverage) while ANA, for instance, connects its main NRT hub with only nine domestic airports (JAL has even fewer, at five I think). No contest really.

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The Return


Seoul (Incheon) to Tokyo (Narita)
Japan Airlines flight JL 950 in economy class
Boeing 767-300ER JA603J
Dept: 8.03am Arrv: 10.15am (on time)


It's time to leave Seoul. A pre-dawn "limousine" (really just a plush bus) gets me from the city to Incheon in less than an hour where I find the airport abuzz with activity early this morning. I am ticketed on Korean Air but booked on its codeshare partner Japan Airlines' first departure of the day for Narita - in fact, it's the only flight from Incheon that allows for a sameday connection to TG's midday Narita-to-Bangkok flight. The single check-in queue for JL950 is long but it moves briskly and I'm soon attended to with the courteous efficiency one would expect from an agent of a Japanese carrier operating from Korea.

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After a security check and immigration at the main terminal, I take the underground shuttle train for the "Concourse", which is the satellite terminal with some 30 gates catering to all airlines serving ICN except for Korean Air and Asiana. This is my first time at the Concourse but the interior - with its clean-line design and comfy seating areas - is almost indistinguishable from the main terminal. Incheon remains one of my absolute favorite airports.

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I have about 15 minutes before boarding starts which I can either spend comfortably having my caffeine fix at Starbucks, or rushing madly from one end of the terminal to the other with a camera in hand. I guess you can discern below which path I had chosen.   Today is the start of a long weekend in Korea so flights to leisure destinations are popular, such as this Zest Air A320, one of two flights leaving in quick succession to Kalibo, gateway to the Philippine resort island of Borocay.

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This Cebu Pacific A320 is about to depart for Manila while in the distance, resting between flights, are some ICN regulars - a Cathay Pacific non-ER B773 and United B77E.

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Parked at the remote gates is an entire family of Korean Air aircraft. These include two of the current fleet of five A380s - HL7613 (above) and HL7615 (below), both delivered in 2011, are the airline's third and fifth examples, respectively.

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All Southeast Asian airlines that fly to ICN have at least one overnight service from their hubs that return home in the late morning next day. Both Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines do these turnarounds on relatively young A333s. Vietnam Airlines operates A332s from Hanoi, while this B772 below would have come in from Ho Chi Minh City. Note that in the background are views of the main terminal, and the clear distinction between Korean Air's and Asiana's sections there.

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I arrive at gate 115 just in time for the boarding of my flight. Like at NRT, the process is straight-forward: join the single queue and board in sequence which I'm definitely preferring to the 'boarding by row number' process. JL950 is operated this morning by a 10-year old B767-300ER, the backbone of the airline's medium-haul Asia network. I am greeted by a friendly senior crew member at the door and directed past a generations-old business class cabin into a very pleasant-looking Y class cabin with light colored seats, giving the impression of a well-maintained plane. My window seat is some two-thirds down the fuselage.

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Configuration at 2-3-2 and the pitch is pretty standard at 31 inches, I'm guessing. Although the plane looks empty now, every one of these seats are eventually claimed, mostly by holidaymakers. I am a little wary of taking photos aboard JAL; a few years ago, I was told by a crew member (very politely of course) that it wasn't allowed, but I wonder if that has changed. Certainly the eagle-eyed cabin crew - and JAL crews really are! - did see me snap some shots but they didn't say anything so I'm thinking it must be okay now.

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There's a PTV at every seat and an IFE guide in the seat pocket but unlike on Korean Air, the system is not switched on for this flight, nor are headphones distributed. Having IFE would have been nice but it's not especially critical for a short flight like this. (Still I could not understand why a Japanese TV news item and short features were playing mute on the overhead screens during the flight. Surely, the audience would be quite limited?)

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Notwithstanding the strange deal with the IFE, there's a culture of meticulousness (if that's a word) with JAL that you wouldn't find with other carriers (except maybe ANA). Take the immigration forms into Japan as an example: each seat is supplied with its own, protuding just enough from the seat pocket so as not to be missed by the boarding passenger. Then to be absolutely sure nobody is missed, there are two crew rounds with these forms - one at the start of the flight, and one before our descent into Narita. Checking that overhead bins are secured and seat belts are fastened is almost a choreographed religious ritual, while I can fully guarantee that no single legrest is out of place for takeoff or landing on this flight. To top it all off, everything is done with amazing politeness.

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We push back almost on schedule with welcome announcements in three languages; flight time scheduled for 1 hour 45 minutes is slightly shorter than on the NRT-ICN flight. We taxi past the earlier SQ A333 and a TG B773 that will soon be headed back to base; both Star Alliance carriers have a decent presence here with each having four flights a day from ICN to their respective hubs using nothing smaller than A333s. Our takeoff on runway 34 is into a promising sunny late summer's day ahead for Korea.

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The meal service starts immediately after take off. The crew are equally meticulous when it comes to handing out the meal boxes, for a few stray drops of water spotted on the cover of my meal box entails a careful all-round wipe down of its surfaces before it is handed to me, together with a sincere apology for the 'delay' - quite amazing! That said, the contents of the meal box, though adequate, pale in comparison with what Korean Air offers on the same sector. After the last flight, my expectation is for a hot breakfast to be served, so this croissant and yoghurt combination has turned into a bit of a disappointment. Worse, as the meal box is as efficiently dispensed with as it is served, the trolley moves on without even an offer of coffee at the end, leaving me wanting.

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It is overcast, but at least not raining, when we land on schedule at Narita's runway 34R that's closer to Terminal 2, the home of Japan Airlines. I spot a number of its oneworld alliance partners like BA, AY and QF, as well as prospective member MH, here. Transfers are just as easy in T2 except that now I have to board an airside shuttle bus for T1 from where my TG flight will depart.

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There are two bus stops at T1: gate 28 in the North Wing is close to the SkyTeam airlines, while gate 59 in the South Wing is the allocated stop for Star Alliance. The only problem with this seemingly clear-cut rule is the way the terminal has been designed, for the South Wing is divided into two parts separated by a wide tarmac. Getting off at Gate 59 is fine for some ANA flights but to get to many of the Star airline gates, including TG's, you will need to cross the tarmac via a long and empty subterranean passageway that feels a little like a nuclear bunker. It could well have been easier - though surely less interesting - to get off at gate 28 for the TG flight.

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airpearl
Topic Author
Posts: 859
Joined: Tue May 01, 2001 7:42 pm

RE: The Dawn Of Thai's Newest Triple-Seven

Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:18 am


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Tokyo (Narita) to Bangkok
Thai Airways International flight TG 643 in economy class
Boeing 777-300ER HS-TKK 'Philavan'
Dept: 12.01pm Arrv: 5.02pm (32 minutes late)

The TG transfer desk is unmanned but I'm told by the NH staff nearby to proceed to the departure gate for my boarding pass. I arrive just in time to see the crew of my flight boarding already - quite early really, as this is more than an hour before the midday departure. The NH-attired gate agent is polite and apologetic when she tells me to return in 15 minutes for my boarding pass as she is somehow unable to print it. I ask if the paid standby J class upgrade is available: she replies yes, but also tells me that J class is almost full but Y isn't, and the seat next to mine in economy is currently unoccupied. All this is relevant information helping me decide to stay put in Y.

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While waiting for my boarding pass, I go for another spotting tour. Nearby is the LH A346 'Leipzig' soon bound for Munich. Late morning and early afternoon is a busy departure time for Europe and ANA has a number of them scheduled, mostly operated by 77W. Below, JA784A, a spotlessly-clean bird bound for Heathrow, is almost ready to go.

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Sister ship JA785A, pushing back for the long flight to JFK, shows clearly the sheer length of the 77W, that some airlines equip with more than 400 seats. But ANA has one of the lowest density examples - those equipped with its latest 'Inspiration of Japan' products on board carry as few as 212 passengers with a full load.

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Star Alliance tails around us include Austrian's OE-LPA, which I had been on many years ago between KUL and VIE when she was painted in the colors of Lauda Air. The Turkish Airlines tail next door is of a 77W which comes in for a brisk turnaround - I think it's barely one hour. Initially I thought this was due to a delayed arrival from Istanbul, but apparently not: TK's schedules show an amazingly short 75 minute NRT turnaround between two fairly long flights.

Boarding TG643 for Bangkok starts 25 minutes before departure. The usual frequent flyer and premium class priorities are accorded followed by economy class boarding in a single line. It's nice to see Philavan again; she hums quietly awaiting her passengers. Unfortunately, I have to be satisfied with partial views of the plane on this journey - only the nose is visible on boarding.

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I am greeted with a polite wai by a Thai silk-clad stewardess at the door. It is also here that I grab my copies of the Bangkok Post and The Nation from the usual newspaper trolley at the entrance. Passing through business class and into economy, I find my window seat at the back of the first economy class cabin. I am really liking the interiors and this looks like a great place to be spending the next six hours or so, especially when I know the seat next to me will be unoccupied.   Like on the outbound, the pillows and blankets are already at the seat, and the headsets in the seat pocket.

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The boarding process is quick and efficient. With the load factor in Y at around 70%, many lucky passengers end up sharing an empty middle seat between them. This is definitely the civilized way to travel and on a daytime flight, that's usually enough to keep me in a good mood. Still, it feels like these kinds of loads are getting rarer: almost every flight I've been on recently seem to be packed to the rafters. Considering that TG caters more to the leisure-end of the market, I'm thankful that it has not followed the growing trend towards 10-abreast seating. The armrests don't only have a recline button but one for the adjustable lumbar support.

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These days the upper seatback has become the highly accessible passenger inflight control panel dominated by a touch screen LCD monitor and supported by a detachable console, USB port and coat hook. It's only the power socket, located under the seat cushions (with two shared among three seats), that are a little harder to reach.

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We push back on schedule to the usual Japanese farewell wave from the ground crew on the tarmac, and the safety video playing on the screens. A queue of departing aircraft has formed ahead of takeoff runway 34L and we join an AF A380 in the line for our turn. In the distance, an AirAsia Japan A320 appears to be rudely cutting in, which seems a rather appropriate metaphor for the aggresive new LCC entrant that could shake up the polite Japan market. Frankly, I'm not looking forward to that, even if I know it's inevitable.

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Inflight announcements are in Thai, English and Japanese. We are welcomed aboard by a pilot in the flight deck but the guys at the helm stays pretty much silent until just before descent into Bangkok. Flight time is given as 6 hours 20 minutes, noticably longer than on the outbound. Together with the waiting time for takeoff, I roughly calculate that even with our on-time departure, we would be slightly late getting into BKK. Legroom at 32 inches is just about adequate for me.

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As we queue for our turn on 34L, we roll past one of two very exclusive ANA 'Business Jet' 73Gs dedicated to the NRT-BOM route. Read Abrelosojos's report of his flight in one, and you'll wish you were on board too. (I certainly did!). On my way to Incheon I barely caught my first glimpse of the Dreamliner but today, I'm glad I get the chance to spot not just one but two B787s - both JAL- resting between flights. I'm also warming to JAL's new livery which looks great on this bird. And what an impressive wingspan too!

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When we're finally off the ground, it's already about half an hour after we left the gate, but at least we're making some headway. But first, we need to make a wide clockwise turn over Tokyo before we're facing southwest in the right direction for Thailand. The seat belt signs stay illuminated for a while as the clear air over Tokyo Bay is surprisingly bumpy. Unlike on the red-eye outbound, the feel of this flight is different and much more relaxed - a sense that there's no need to rush as we've more than enough time for anything planned for this extended leisurely afternoon.

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Once the seat belt signs come off, the class divide is strictly adhered to on TG, as it is on most other airlines in Asia. The dark purple curtains between steerage and business are drawn, velcroed, and fastened at the sides: as a deterent against incursions by economy-dwellers looking for an available loo, or more, it's generally pretty effective. On this flight, nothing of the Royal Silk service can be gleaned through the curtains from here but perhaps, more importantly, for those in J class, it should feel like Y doesn't exist at all.

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The appearance of a drinks trolley and Japanese rice crackers spell the start of the meal service. "You have been on my flight before, right?" says the stewardess handing me a packet of crackers. To be honest, I cannot remember, but I agree with her anyway - for it's only polite. With TG being my most-flown airline, meeting the same crew on another flight shouldn't be surprising at all. Still, it's nice being 'recognized'. On the other hand, perhaps I should be a little worried about what I did on that last flight to make her remember me! Hmmm... maybe I'll just think nice thoughts and daydream.

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The menu for the flight is available in the system. Although the airline advertises two 'servings' on TG643, there's really only lunch, with a choice of Japanese or Thai main courses; the second 'serving' of ice cream barely qualifies a separate mention. On a daytime sector of this length, I would have expected something a little more substantial than ice cream to be served as a snack before landing.

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The sole meal is neverthelss tasty and of quality, particularly my choice of the Japanese main course of snapper in teriyaki sauce which is delicious. The cherry cheesecake is also yummy and I polish off the contents of my tray in no time.

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By the time coffee is served and the meal tray is collected, we're already past Kyushu, the last major Japanese island, having flown overhead the city of Fukuoka. We had pretty much sliced through Japan in a straight line since Tokyo and are now entering the airspace over the East China Sea. Although there's cloud below us, flying conditions look ideal and it's mostly been a smooth ride. Even though the wings obscure any views I may have had of the ground, I do have a great view of the raked wingtips which is not a bad substitute.

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I continue to track the progress of our flight as we turn to head further south near Korea's Jeju island on what I imagine will be the standard routing from here, overflying Taiwan, the South China Sea and Vietnam. So when we suddenly change course to head northwest, it is both surprising and intriguing. What's happening? There is silence from the flight deck, and passengers are either oblivious or maybe they're wondering quietly like me.

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Following the current trajectory, we could well be headed for northern China and Beijing. The 'why?'s in my head get louder but are unanswered. Nobody else, including my nearest neighbor napping at 37C, appears interested. The rest of the cabin seems more preoccupied with their own movie entertainment or work to bother with this small anomaly (or not-so-small, depending on what is actually happening) that's playing out on the moving maps ahead of them.

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Our new routing gets me more interested than usual in our flight's progress. Eventually, after heading north a short while, we change course again to head southwest in the direction of Shanghai, roughly in the same trajectory we'd been on since Japan. What could possibly have inspired this blip, I wonder? Checking the weather forecasts the next day, there's nothing unusual expected in Korea or Jeju so it can't be weather in our way, but there's a super typhoon that is set to hit Okinawa, someway to the south of here. Could the typhoon have changed our routing? That would explain for the blip but as the progress of the typhoon had been known for some days now, wouldn't our routing have already been set to avoid it in the first place? I also consider the possibility of an escalation in the dispute between Japan and China over the Senkaku/Diaoyus islands, for which we could have been set to overfly, necessitating the diversion of commercial flights. That's a possibility for sure. The other possible reason, which I'd rather not think about, is that we could have just strayed off course!

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This routing through China is turning out to be an interesting, and I suspect unorthodox, one for a Narita-to-Bangkok flight. After Shanghai, we head directly west until Wuhan in Hubei province before making a more decisive direction change towards Southeast Asia. While it's bright sunshine outside, the cabin lights have now been switched off and window shades lowered for passengers to catch up on some sleep.

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Our progress through China takes in picturesque Guilin (unseen below), then Nanning in southern China before entering Vietnam, flying close to capital city Hanoi. We're officially in Southeast Asia now and the lights come on for hot towelettes and the serving of a tub of mangosteen-flavored sorbet ice cream. This is more exclusive than it looks - there was even a press release about it! - for it is part of TG's efforts to support the marketing of Thai agricultural produce abroad. For all its political upheavals, Thailand generally does a good job promoting its produce to help local farmers - though I wonder if the choice of mangosteen (rather than any other of Thailand's myriad of tropical fruit) wasn't motivated by its purple color that blends in perfectly with TG's corporate image?! What I can't understand though is why this (rather refreshing) ice cream is offered only on the Japan routes.

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Our last hour of the flight - it's still mid-afternoon here two hours before Tokyo time - is accompanied by last calls for the inflight duty free shop. The cabin crew have changed into their ground uniforms at this stage. My watch says we should already be on our finals into Suvarnabhumi if we are keeping to the timetable, but we've only just slipped across the border into northeast Thailand, having flown over Loatian capital Vientiane and still a distance from BKK. We're obviously late, but I don't hear any announcements telling us of the fact, which is not cool.

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A smooth touchdown on 01L marks the end of my first return journey on Thai's 77w. It had been an enjoyable one and I'm certain that as long as I continue to fly TG, more trips on this and other like-examples are assured as more get delivered. Suvarnabhumi is, as usual, busy receiving European arrivals around this in the afternoon. British Airways flights used to continue to SYD but now, the daily B744 like G-BNLJ here gets a 9-hour rest before returning to Heathrow at midnight.

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Among the European contingent are the daily A343s from Swiss and SAS. In a historic move, SAS will be pulling out of providing a year-round service to BKK from April 2013. This is especially significant as Bangkok was the airline's first destination in the Far East and the setting up of TG in 1960 was largely with SAS's help - SAS remained a key shareholder in the TG for quite a number of years.

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Arriving at our gate a little more than half an hour late, we park next to HS-TGW, a Star Alliance livery jet.

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Last Words

I'm glad I went out of my way to sample the new 77W. In the past, complaints have been levelled at TG for the below-par hardware, particularly IFE, but I think it has been largely rectified with the latest series of deliveries that include the A380s. It's still not quite EK (well, who is?) and heaven knows the airline is far from perfect, but for the market that TG targets - primarily leisure and upmarket leisure - the products that are being rolled out more than meet expectations considering the fares offered. Despite being a 'royal' airline, even the best that TG offers is accessible to most, including the ordinary plane nut. Perhaps that's also why TG has turned into my most flown airline, by far.

I hope you enjoyed reading this report.

cheers!
airpearl  


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Previous Thai Airways International trip reports:

Happy 50th Birthday TG! Retro Flight To Hong Kong (by airpearl May 7 2010 in Trip Reports)
Flying On Borrowed Time: Thai A340-500 (by Airpearl Dec 7 2008 in Trip Reports)
From Song Thaew To 747: Domestic On Thai Airways (by Airpearl Apr 24 2008 in Trip Reports)
How The Other Half Lives: F Class On ANA & Thai (by Airpearl Apr 3 2008 in Trip Reports)


And others in chronological order from the latest:

Tail Of Two Decks: 2 Reporters On The MH A380 (by airpearl Jul 13 2012 in Trip Reports) - a codeshare report with Ronerone
A Lone 737 Across A Vast Expanse Of Blue (by airpearl Sep 2 2011 in Trip Reports)
Setting The Celestial Bar: Korean Air's First A380 (by airpearl Aug 7 2011 in Trip Reports)
8 Days Around The World -Pt 3: Dutch Trijet Rules! (by airpearl Mar 14 2011 in Trip Reports)
8 Days Around The World - Pt 2: Five-Star Flagship (by airpearl Feb 15 2011 in Trip Reports)
8 Days Around The World - Part 1: Garuda Rising (by airpearl Jan 16 2011 in Trip Reports)
The Jewel Amiss In Crown On Royal Jordanian (by airpearl Sep 26 2010 in Trip Reports)
Flat & Low: Premium Class On AirAsia X (by airpearl Sep 1 2010 in Trip Reports)
Flying Mugabe's Private Jet: Air Zimbabwe KUL-PEK (by airpearl Jul 25 2010 in Trip Reports)
On Asiana Business: Chicken Soup For The Seoul (by airpearl Jun 20 2010 in Trip Reports)
Propping Down To Singapore On A Firefly (by airpearl Mar 28 2010 in Trip Reports)
Upping The Game: On Etihad In J & New F (by airpearl Feb 9 2010 in Trip Reports)
The AF A380 Gets TSAed: To JFK On Boxing Day (by Airpearl Dec 30 2009 in Trip Reports)
Software Surprises On Emirates: BKK-DXB Vv On A380 (by Airpearl Dec 20 2009 in Trip Reports)
Gulf Air First KUL-BAH-KUL On Jet’s B77W (by Airpearl Oct 31 2009 in Trip Reports)
Going Askew Aboard Cathay’s 747: A Short Hop In J (by Airpearl Aug 22 2009 in Trip Reports)
Korean Y Experience - Older A330 & Brand New B77W (by Airpearl Jul 25 2009 in Trip Reports)
The Fiesta Route To Manila: In Economy On MH & PR (by Airpearl May 24 2009 in Trip Reports)
Gulf Air (And Proxy) London Roundtrip In F & J (by Airpearl Jan 6 2009 in Trip Reports)
Singapore Airlines Business Class To Melbourne (by Airpearl Nov 8 2008 in Trip Reports)
The Qantas A380 Inaugural (by Airpearl Oct 20 2008 in Trip Reports)
Trijets Rule OK: Biman Bangladesh DC10-30 (by Airpearl Jun 25 2008 in Trip Reports)
Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific (by Airpearl Jun 4 2008 in Trip Reports)
Battle Of The Kebayas: Malaysia Vs. Singapore (by Airpearl May 17 2008 in Trip Reports)
Short Hop, Big Suite: Cathay’s New F On 747 (by Airpearl Apr 9 2008 in Trip Reports)
An Indian Indulgence With Jet And Kingfisher (by Airpearl Mar 20 2008 in Trip Reports)
Inaugural AirAsia X And Routine A380 In A Weekend (by Airpearl Nov 13 2007 in Trip Reports)
Etihad To London In J And F (by Airpearl Oct 23 2007 in Trip Reports)
Cathay Pacific New J Class On A330-300 KUL-HKG (by Airpearl Oct 10 2007 in Trip Reports)

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Flightsimboy
Posts: 1776
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2005 12:49 pm

RE: The Dawn Of Thai's Newest Triple-Seven

Sun Oct 14, 2012 9:51 pm

Hi Airpearl,

You seem to have expressed some disappointment over not being on the A380 inaugurals, but honestly what you did with this report and highlighting the newly arrived TG's Boeing 777-300ERs was definitely just as impressive. My comments are mainly on your TG flights and while I did skip to just the TG sections, I did read the flights on KE and JL and found them equally interesting. Thanks for taking us on these flights.

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
This is the airline you go to for rides on the B744 even if you don't fly long haul (they ply some domestic Thailand routes) or if you wish to log the rarer birds like the A300 or A346.

Really an interesting mix of aircraft for the plane nut!!

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
Boarding begins about half an hour before departure, with announcements in English and Thai, but strangely no Japanese.
Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
where I am greeted in Japanese at the door.
Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
Inflight announcements are in Thai, English and Japanese

Strange that on the return they have announcements in Japanese.

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
Now, here's a sight for sore eyes! There's no doubt: this is one of the most cheerful-looking economy class cabins I've seen of late. And if one was boarding this plane in some distant land, there's definitely no more attractive welcome to Thailand.
Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
I have to say that in the light of day, TG's new interior colors are even more attractive.
Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
The cabin lights come on not long after and the crew, who have now changed attire from Thai silk costumes to their red and purple ground uniforms

It's nice how the pink and purple of the cabin crew uniforms (changed in flight) match the colours of the seats!!

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
I also love the murals at the back, slightly different for each cabin, that capture so well the essence of both the country and its airline.

It is nice that Sri Lankan does the same, however I do prefer what Lufthansa does with the crane logo at these sections.

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
There's a decent selection of entertainment; I didn't count them but according to TG, there's more than 100 movies, 150 documentaries, 500 CD albums and 60 games, a larger selection than previously.

That is quite a bit.

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
I hadn't been a fan of the GE90 before but am slowly warming up to it. What a great sound!

These are best viewed from the front or if seated alongside them.....amazing how those huge engines hang from the wings!!

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
The only factor I can think of is my seat mate who has no problems sleeping but is so fidgety (he appears to time his elbowing of my rib cage every time I'm successful in nodding off) that I soon develop a strong dislike for this complete stranger who has the amazing ability to piss me off while he's sleeping!

Hilarious!

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
(I wonder which other airlines go to this trouble with cabin crew outfits)

None other airline does this. Kudos to Thai Airways for keeping this tradition going!!

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
Unlike some northern Asian carriers, TG's crews will happily pose for you if asked.

This is really nice to know. However I just hope they do have the same attitude when I ask them lol

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
my first sight of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a blurry vision of a Boston-bound Japan Airlines disappearing into the thick cloud.
Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
It's a handsome looking giant and as it taxies closer to the terminal, I can't help feeling how quickly the B747 passenger jet is disappearing from the skies

Isn't it strange, the 787 as brand new and as it goes into the unknown is going to be seen more often, and the 744 getting bigger and larger as it approaches the window is only going to disappear soon forever!!

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
From my window seat, there's a great view of my favorite winglets that distinguish the -400 from the other versions of the B747.

Something both the 787 and 773ER will never be able to offer....those gorgeous winglets. However the Airbuses will offer these until the A350s appear.

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
Arriving from KUL, this is AirAsia X's A333 9M-XXF that landed just headed us on runway 34. It's always nice to see a special livery for the first time, and AirAsia does them quite well, for this is another attractive one.

Interesting livery!!

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
Notwithstanding the strange deal with the IFE, there's a culture of meticulousness (if that's a word) with JAL that you wouldn't find with other carriers (except maybe ANA). Take the immigration forms into Japan as an example: each seat is supplied with its own, protuding just enough from the seat pocket so as not to be missed by the boarding passenger. Then to be absolutely sure nobody is missed, there are two crew rounds with these forms - one at the start of the flight, and one before our descent into Narita. Checking that overhead bins are secured and seat belts are fastened is almost a choreographed religious ritual, while I can fully guarantee that no single legrest is out of place for takeoff or landing on this flight. To top it all off, everything is done with amazing politeness.

The way the Japanese only know how to do it!!

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
Sister ship JA785A, pushing back for the long flight to JFK, shows clearly the sheer length of the 77W, that some airlines equip with more than 400 seats. But ANA has one of the lowest density examples - those equipped with its latest 'Inspiration of Japan' products on board carry as few as 212 passengers with a full load.

For a 773ER that has got to be the lowest seating configuration ever!

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
Initially I thought this was due to a delayed arrival from Istanbul, but apparently not: TK's schedules show an amazingly short 75 minute NRT turnaround between two fairly long flights.

75 minute turnaround!! Wow

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
Once the seat belt signs come off, the class divide is strictly adhered to on TG, as it is on most other airlines in Asia. The dark purple curtains between steerage and business are drawn, velcroed, and fastened at the sides: as a deterent against incursions by economy-dwellers looking for an available loo, or more, it's generally pretty effective. On this flight, nothing of the Royal Silk service can be gleaned through the curtains from here but perhaps, more importantly, for those in J class, it should feel like Y doesn't exist at all.

Would those also be noise blocking curtains hence the need to tie them down so strongly.

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
The meal tray that comes next has all the usual breakfast offerings of fruit, roll, yoghurt and coffee, and is quite adequate - and the Japanese congee which I opt for as my main more than satisfies. The cutlery is stainless steel which is interesting because for a while last year, the airline had gone for plastic in Y class, so this seems like a change of heart, which I whole-heartedly approve of.
Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
The sole meal is neverthelss tasty and of quality, particularly my choice of the Japanese main course of snapper in teriyaki sauce which is delicious. The cherry cheesecake is also yummy and I polish off the contents of my tray in no time.

I knew I had always seen TG's meals served directly in the dishes. However I recently saw the meals served in tin foil dishes while still in the porcelain bowls. I think that was on the recently reported A380 trip reports.

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
So when we suddenly change course to head northwest, it is both surprising and intriguing. What's happening? There is silence from the flight deck, and passengers are either oblivious or maybe they're wondering quietly like me.

That is quite the diversion....Only the keen eye on the aircraft would have noticed that.

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
British Airways flights used to continue to SYD but now, the daily B744 like G-BNLJ here gets a 9-hour rest before returning to Heathrow at midnight.

Did that flight in 1994 though on the Landor colour schemed B744s. A long time back when I didn't even know what trip reports were.

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
we park next to HS-TGW, a Star Alliance livery jet.

The Star Alliance B744s are the nicest looking out there.
LAX772LR - "Answer to goofy question:" in response to my question about the B737-MAX8 being grounded. 48 hours later all B737-MAX8 grounded worldwide. Go figure!!
 
I39OO
Posts: 98
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2012 6:22 pm

RE: The Dawn Of Thai's Newest Triple-Seven

Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:05 pm

Airpearl,

thanks for sharing with us your TR. I am a big fan of lenghty dispatches, rich in word as well as in pictures and yours sets the benchmark for both of them. I wish there were more trip reporters like you around!

It's also heartwarming to see yet another airline resisting this seemingly compelling urge to cram as many seats as humanly possible in "cattle" class: well done Thai, and congratulations for putting together such a good product even for passengers on a saver.

I'm quite surprised to see, however, a 77W with a mere 2-classes layout, do you know how many seats are available on the flight? And I'm also surprised to see that the Business class seats are the same Sogerma chosen by Alitalia on their new Magnifica - it feels so odd to see them in a colour that isn't gray!

Anyway, thanks a lot for your dispatch, which has prompted me to open up some other instalments from you, looking forward to read from you soon!

13900.
Also known as That Unprepared Guy on Wordpress
 
triple7man
Posts: 717
Joined: Wed May 18, 2005 1:36 am

RE: The Dawn Of Thai's Newest Triple-Seven

Mon Oct 15, 2012 5:43 am

Of all TG's aircraft I like their 777-300ER and Airbus 350 mainly because they are newer and have inflight entertainment in the seat backs. The first time I flew Thai it was a 777-200ER and the only inflight entertainment was the main screen. Same on their 747-400.
I have flown their 777-300ER BKK-NRT-BKK and had very good service. I was even able to get a visit to the cockpit after the flight when we were parked at the gate; something most airlines don't do anymore.
I have also flown TG 747-400 BKK-CNX once. They gave us box lunches on that flight.
I am overall pleased with Thai and I like their service. I think their upgrading their fleet will make them even better.
Have you kissed a 777 today?
 
ba319-131
Posts: 8307
Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2001 1:27 pm

RE: The Dawn Of Thai's Newest Triple-Seven

Tue Oct 16, 2012 5:11 pm

Hi Airpearl,

Very nice report, took me a while to read but got around to it in the end, most enjoyable!

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
. It's worth noting though that I stopped by TG's business class check-in to ask if there was any chance of a paid upgrade to J from Y - subject to availability, TG offers these standby upgrades for a reasonable price and a oneway to NRT would have set me back by another $475. The agent, though most cordial, tells me there's no chance: J class is overbooked - not only for my flight but also for TG640, a slightly earlier red-eye operated by a B744. The airline seems to be doing very well on its Tokyo flights, and this route is surely a contender for the A380. The agent is nevertheless kind enough to offer to check me in at the J class counter.

- Thanks, interesting to know this.

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
Among my biggest pet peeves about Suvarnabhuni is the absence of a view despite all the glass that makes up this airport

- Agreed!

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
The seat cushions, in dark blue or brown depending on cabin, may just look a tad sober, but there's no denying that the well-maintained and neat interior suggests a plane that is considerably younger than its 17 years.

- Looks very well maintained!

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
the contents of the meal box, though adequate, pale in comparison with what Korean Air offers on the same sector. After the last flight, my expectation is for a hot breakfast to be served, so this croissant and yoghurt combination has turned into a bit of a disappointment.

- OMG, yes it does, wow, KE really spoil you by the looks of it.

Cheers

Mark
111 732 733 734 735 736 73G 738 739,7M8 BBJ 741 742 743 744 752 753 762 763 764 772 77L 773 77W L15 D10 D30 D40 AB3 AB6 312 313 318 319 320 20N 321 21N 332 333 342 343 345 346 359 351 388 CS1 CS3 I86 154 SSJ CRJ CR7 CR9 CRK 145 170 175 220
 
nethkt
Posts: 1025
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2001 10:27 am

RE: The Dawn Of Thai's Newest Triple-Seven

Fri Oct 19, 2012 8:41 am

WoW! Gotta love the new delivered 777-300ER.
I'm sure the next TG's 77W HS-TKK is arriving BKK today  

The new cabin is colorful, fun, refreshing yet professional and representing THAI really well.
I'm glas TG get rid of yellow seats as yellow is easily spotted when dirty or worn out. Mai suay!! (not looking good).

Weber seats are so popular among airlines but I'd prefer the infamous Koito then Recaro.
THAI uses all brand mentioned for economy class, including B/E aerospace on their refitted 74N.

Thailand - Japan is the golden route for THAI. I'm sure the 380 will be assigned for this route.
Thing is the red-eyed flights (TG640/641/642/643) are more popular among Thai and JPN pax, however, the 380 which perform European runs will be available to depart BKK in the morning in order to be back in time for their European flight (TG676/677) at night.
This means if TG really want the 380 for BKK-NRT red-eye flight, TG will have to assign 1 out of 6 frames.
As of today, the 380 is assigned on TG676/677 day flights from JAN 16th 2013.

THAI is trying hard to play catch up with the industry leaders regarding hardwares.
Though they will never catch SQ/EK in time but what they are doing is (IMHO) more than enough when you include the legendary service into account.

Thank you for your fine report. It's very nicely done.
Brgds,
net-hkt
Let's just blame it on yields.
 
PlaneHunter
Posts: 6537
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2006 3:17 am

RE: The Dawn Of Thai's Newest Triple-Seven

Sat Oct 20, 2012 8:50 am

Hi Airpearl,

good to see a new report from you! Excellent work, well done. TG's 77W looks impressive, would like to try that one together with the A380.

KE's Y Class product on the 744 looks really good, too.


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
MSS658
Posts: 2453
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2010 8:16 am

RE: The Dawn Of Thai's Newest Triple-Seven

Sat Oct 20, 2012 9:24 am

Hello Airpearl

Great trip report, thanks for taking the time for sharing it with us.
TGs 77W look great, however I don't see anything innovative compared to the rest of the fleet.
Nice to see KE refurbished the 747's. Y-class looks nice (even good for a long-haul)

Quite surprised by the state of the JAL767! You would not say it's 10 year old

Greetings
Marc
Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
 
thegivenone
Posts: 181
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:05 am

RE: The Dawn Of Thai's Newest Triple-Seven

Sat Oct 20, 2012 8:01 pm

Thanks for the fantastic report -- this really does seem to be the week of THAI reviews  

I (like many others on this forum) resonated very strongly with your decision to go out of the way to try the new 77Ws, and I'm glad you did. The airline's updated inflight product brings it in line with the strong industry competition. I am thinking of booking my mom on THAI from Europe to Australia and was glad to get some insight into the product upgrades.

Many thanks!
 
airpearl
Topic Author
Posts: 859
Joined: Tue May 01, 2001 7:42 pm

RE: The Dawn Of Thai's Newest Triple-Seven

Sun Oct 21, 2012 4:14 pm

Hi all,

Firstly, thanks so much for your kind words. I've been an erratic visitor to the forum this past year but will try to add a report like this one when I can, and hope that my small contributions every now and then can add to the collective wisdom here. So I'm glad it's of some use.  
Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 2):
You seem to have expressed some disappointment over not being on the A380 inaugurals, but honestly what you did with this report and highlighting the newly arrived TG's Boeing 777-300ERs was definitely just as impressive.

Thanks Flightsimboy! It's much appreciated.  
Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 2):
It's nice how the pink and purple of the cabin crew uniforms (changed in flight) match the colours of the seats!!

It's very color-coordinated for sure! These colors are used so extensively by TG in its marketing that I can't look at a rich shade of purple now without thinking of TG... haha.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 2):
This is really nice to know. However I just hope they do have the same attitude when I ask them lol

I don't see why not ...  
Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 2):
Isn't it strange, the 787 as brand new and as it goes into the unknown is going to be seen more often, and the 744 getting bigger and larger as it approaches the window is only going to disappear soon forever!!

Never thought of it like that haha... but you're right - which suggests that my choice of the 747 was the right one (not that the 787 was an option, of course.)

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 2):
I knew I had always seen TG's meals served directly in the dishes. However I recently saw the meals served in tin foil dishes while still in the porcelain bowls. I think that was on the recently reported A380 trip reports.

I saw those too - not so attractive - I hope that's not the direction TG is headed going forward,,,

Quoting I39OO (Reply 3):
thanks for sharing with us your TR. I am a big fan of lenghty dispatches, rich in word as well as in pictures and yours sets the benchmark for both of them. I wish there were more trip reporters like you around!

Hi 13900, good to see you around   and thanks for your very nice words!

Quoting I39OO (Reply 3):
I'm quite surprised to see, however, a 77W with a mere 2-classes layout, do you know how many seats are available on the flight? And I'm also surprised to see that the Business class seats are the same Sogerma chosen by Alitalia on their new Magnifica - it feels so odd to see them in a colour that isn't gray!

TG's new 77Ws seat 348 (42J 306Y) - I wonder if the later examples would be configured with F as well, if they are to be true replacements for the 744s, they should. Yes, the Sogerma seats are making their appearance on an increasing number of carriers, aren't they?

Quoting triple7man (Reply 4):
Of all TG's aircraft I like their 777-300ER and Airbus 350 mainly because they are newer and have inflight entertainment in the seat backs.

Hi Triple7man, surely you mean 340?  
Quoting triple7man (Reply 4):
I have flown their 777-300ER BKK-NRT-BKK and had very good service. I was even able to get a visit to the cockpit after the flight when we were parked at the gate; something most airlines don't do anymore.

Wow, that's cool.   

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 5):
Very nice report, took me a while to read but got around to it in the end, most enjoyable!

Hey Mark, thanks for stopping by... and sorry for being so long-winded  
Quoting nethkt (Reply 6):
The new cabin is colorful, fun, refreshing yet professional and representing THAI really well.
I'm glas TG get rid of yellow seats as yellow is easily spotted when dirty or worn out. Mai suay!! (not looking good).

I agree Nethkt - it's TG's best one yet. I thought the yellow seats were okay but it's looking much better without them. I'm not a fan of the new J cabin though.

Quoting nethkt (Reply 6):
THAI uses all brand mentioned for economy class, including B/E aerospace on their refitted 74N.

Rather like its choice of equipment of all types... haha   

Quoting nethkt (Reply 6):
This means if TG really want the 380 for BKK-NRT red-eye flight, TG will have to assign 1 out of 6 frames.
As of today, the 380 is assigned on TG676/677 day flights from JAN 16th 2013.

It would definitely make more sense to put the A380 on the red-eye to NRT. But then it could be short of frames for the European runs.

Quoting nethkt (Reply 6):
THAI is trying hard to play catch up with the industry leaders regarding hardwares.
Though they will never catch SQ/EK in time but what they are doing is (IMHO) more than enough when you include the legendary service into account.

Absolutely. If only it could speed up on some of the retrofits though...

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 7):
good to see a new report from you! Excellent work, well done. TG's 77W looks impressive, would like to try that one together with the A380.

Thanks for stopping by PH! I am sure it wouldn't take you too long to try these  
Quoting MSS658 (Reply 8):
Great trip report, thanks for taking the time for sharing it with us.
TGs 77W look great, however I don't see anything innovative compared to the rest of the fleet.
Nice to see KE refurbished the 747's. Y-class looks nice (even good for a long-haul)

Hi Marc, the new 77Ws are probably on par with the A380s - nothing mind-bogglingly different from the current top-of-the-range 77Es but probably better in terms of the IFE and general ambience I think. The KE 744 looks very good, I agree.

Quoting thegivenone (Reply 9):
Thanks for the fantastic report -- this really does seem to be the week of THAI reviews  

Yes indeed! Appreciate your kind words Thegiveone.

Quoting thegivenone (Reply 9):
I am thinking of booking my mom on THAI from Europe to Australia and was glad to get some insight into the product upgrades.

Bear in mind though that this aircraft wouldn't be plying the European routes (though BRU has been talked about) nor Australian sectors for a while yet.

cheers
airpearl

.
 
The777Man
Posts: 6098
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 1999 4:54 am

RE: The Dawn Of Thai's Newest Triple-Seven

Sun Oct 21, 2012 7:25 pm

Hi Airpearl!

Thanks for coming back with another fantastic report with fantastic pictures ! Even better is that the report features the new TG 77W !

TG looks very nice as always and the new colors look very nice as well.

The seats look very much like the seats on AI's 77L and 77Ws including footrest and the PTV screen.

Good to hear that they have added content to the IFE system as well.

I had a similar meal service on my red-eye LAX-HND on NH about two years ago as you had on BKK-NRT on TG. It may be sufficient on BKK-NRT but not what I was expecting on a Trans Pacific flight....

Good to see that KE had full meal service on the short flight NRT-ICN and they look much better than JL on the same sector.

Thanks also for the nice spotting pictures !

Thanks again for posting this fantastic report ! TG shows again that they are a very nice carrier and one of my favorites.

The777Man
Boeing 777s flown: UA, TG, KE, BA, CX, NH, JD, JL, CZ, SQ, EK, NG, CO, AF, SV, KU, DL, AA, MH, OZ, CA, MS, SU, LY, RG, PE, AZ, KL, VN, PK, EY, NZ, AM, BR, AC, DT, UU, OS, AI, 9W, KQ, QR, VA, JJ, ET, TK, PR, BG, T5, CI, MU and LX.. Further to fly.. LH 777
 
photoshooter
Posts: 410
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:12 pm

RE: The Dawn Of Thai's Newest Triple-Seven

Sun Oct 21, 2012 8:13 pm

Hello

thanks for sharing this lovely trip report! I really enjoyed reading it.
I'm glad that Thai now flies to BRU as well, a great add to the list I must say.
TG are high up on my list 'to fly' and your trip report confirmed this.

Thanks again for sharing and keep them coming!

Photoshooter   
'A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.' - Winston Churchill
 
adamspotter
Posts: 1191
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:06 pm

RE: The Dawn Of Thai's Newest Triple-Seven

Thu Oct 25, 2012 12:37 pm

Hi Airpearl,

Another fantastic and entertaining report with many great pictures! Such an entertaining and enjoyable read, thanks for sharing!
Looks like you had a bunch of nice flights there. TGs new 777 looks very impressive just like their new in flight product, well done TG!
KEs Y class looks quite nice especially getting a meal on such a short flight is always nice. JL looks less impressive with that snack compared to one of its competitors KE  
Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
The Hawaiian Airlines flight to Incheon (KE-operated) is a rather interesting one though

That is interesting. Is it on Hawaiian metal transferring on to HNL? Or just a codeshare..

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
As I await the arrival of my flight, an impressive takeoff of an unmistakable plane on 34L catches my attention and gets me rushing for my camera. But I'm too late - my first sight of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a blurry vision of a Boston-bound Japan Airlines disappearing into the thick cloud.

Thats too bad, but there will be many many more chances throughout the years  
Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
The rear-most part of the 747 is a favorite of mine. It always feel less crowded, more convivial and enjoys more turbulence (though I realize that's not everyone's cup of tea!).

Those are the exact reasons I like the rear of the 747 myself too, looking forward to my flight on one again in 2 weeks!

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
I have about 15 minutes before boarding starts which I can either spend comfortably having my caffeine fix at Starbucks, or rushing madly from one end of the terminal to the other with a camera in hand. I guess you can discern below which path I had chosen.

A decision most of us a.netters would make. Really enjoyed all your spotting pictures

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
I'm glad I get the chance to spot not just one but two B787s - both JAL- resting between flights. I'm also warming to JAL's new livery which looks great on this bird. And what an impressive wingspan too!

Which makes up for missing its departure earlier   Such an impressive wingspan indeed!

cheers,

Brendan
 
deltamartin
Posts: 981
Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2010 5:48 pm

RE: The Dawn Of Thai's Newest Triple-Seven

Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:04 pm

Hi Airpearl!

Brilliant report, and a very interesting read of TG's new economy product.
It looks great, and it's not all too unlikely to see something like this being rolled out on the ARN route at some point of time. We currently get the non-PTV 747's and will most likely receive the 747's with the semi-old interior, which used to go to FRA and LHR etc, fairly soon.

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
At my feet, there's a legrest which I don't find particularly useful but thankfully, no PTV box to obstruct legroom.

Seems nice, I recently flew QR's A330 and the equipment box was huge and incredibly annoying. It occupied almost 50% of the floor area under the seat infront of me. There was also a legrest, which to be fair made it even more difficult to stretch my legs on the area where it was possible.
Other than that the seat was nice though.

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
he AVOD system, switched on immediately after, has an interface in the various languages of the many countries served by TG.

Out of curiosity, did you notice any Scandinavian language?

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
The term "game-changer" is used to describe almost any new plane these days, but it is arguable there hasn't really been a "game-changer" worthy of the name since the -400 rolled out in 1988

I agree with you on this one.

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
I am ticketed on Korean Air but booked on its codeshare partner Japan Airlines' first departure of the day for Narita

So you got to fly with all three major alliances on this trip? That's a nice touch!

Martin
 
User avatar
NZ107
Posts: 4946
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RE: The Dawn Of Thai's Newest Triple-Seven

Sat Oct 27, 2012 9:36 am

Hi Airpearl,

Great TR once again! A very enjoyable read. Always nice to get brand new planes and even better when you know you're going to get them!

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
At my feet, there's a legrest which I don't find particularly useful

CX Y+ has the same legrest - gave my feet pins and needles.. Maybe I should have kept my shoes on.. Without it, the recline was too much and it wasn't overly comfortable using it either! Can't win!

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
Without my prompting, the crews also tell me this is the airline's newest plane and that I'm "very lucky" to be able to catch it. I feign surprise and politely agree, and lest I look even weirder than I already seem, don't reveal what the voice in my head says: "luck has nothing to do with it when you have intentionally traveled 1,000kms out of your way!"

Haha, typical!  


How useful did you find the lumbar? It's more of a J thing.. But with my J seats here in my room, I completely flatten it in order to get a comfortable position!

It sure looks like KE offer a better Japan-Korea product.. IFE (2 hrs isn't too short to enjoy something!) and a better meal.. And a 744 vs a 763  

That's a really interesting route right over China..

Quoting airpearl (Reply 1):
and passengers are either oblivious or maybe they're wondering quietly like me.

I'd say oblivious because what normal person would just watch the airshow function  


Cheers,
Nicholas
It's all about the destination AND the journey.
 
AlwaysOnAPlane
Posts: 296
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:55 pm

RE: The Dawn Of Thai's Newest Triple-Seven

Sat Oct 27, 2012 4:58 pm

Hi Airpearl,

Fantastic report based around these exciting Asian routes, at least for a Westerner.

Really nice flow to your report with great pictures to show the finer details.

You really can't beat the service on offer with the airlines in this part of the world. So welcoming, efficient and on the ball with in-seat comforts.

The interior of that TG 777-300 just looks so refreshing and just about as much as one could realistically expect from a Y product. Excellent.

I really liked the interior style on the KE 744 also. I'm expecting to make a couple of flights with KE early next year, so this is a welcome sight.

Thanks for sharing this brilliant adventure with us.
Cheers, Lee.
 
stipica
Posts: 419
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 2:55 pm

RE: The Dawn Of Thai's Newest Triple-Seven

Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:15 pm

Hi airpearl !
me fan ... still consume MH trip ... like fine wine ...

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
No wonder then why TG is so lovable - for among Asia's top legacy carriers, it is the perfect non-elitist airline that seems to know the way to a plane nut's heart.

you just expressed what I think about TG ... but I sometimes think that someone in high Thai social circles is a member of A.net and TG is playground for her / him ...  
Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
Among my biggest pet peeves about Suvarnabhuni is the absence of a view despite all the glass that makes up this airport

yes these architects and their ego ... nobody thinks about us and our birthright ... an outrage

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
I also love the murals at the back, slightly different for each cabin, that capture so well the essence of both the country and its airline.

and this is what every company must learn from TG ... but new F on A380 is little bit pale and looks cheap unlike new F seats on 744 ...again Thai way ...hehehe

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
a couple of disputed rocks in the East China Sea that are driving Japan and China to the brink of war.

yeah rocks ... who knows what lies beneath the rocks ...

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
If your interest lies only in HS-TKK, speed-scroll down to the 'Back to Bangkok' section that follows on from there.

what !!! blasphemy ...  
Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
Is anything Star Alliance-linked not somehow also linked to Lufthansa these days?

hmmm NO ... "resistance is futile" ...

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
few airlines now offer a consistent 34-inch pitch in economy these days. Excellent!

a major shortcoming of the new TG cabins ... but ours beloved MH is more wiser

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
my caffeine fix at Starbucks, or rushing madly from one end of the terminal to the other with a camera in hand.

again a wise decision heheh never heard of Zest Air ...

this is so readable and informative trip report ... thanks for your time ... I'm so glad ... stipica  
Open your eyes and think
 
gabrielchew
Posts: 3814
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 5:43 am

RE: The Dawn Of Thai's Newest Triple-Seven

Tue Oct 30, 2012 12:04 pm

Excellent report Airpearl! So descriptive and your photos are excellent!

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
But I'm too late - my first sight of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a blurry vision of a Boston-bound Japan Airlines disappearing into the thick cloud.

I love this shot!

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
TK's schedules show an amazingly short 75 minute NRT turnaround between two fairly long flights.

I guess NRT is one of the few places they can guarentee that the ground crew can actually achieve a 75 min turn
http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights: AMS-RIX-BUD-VDA,ETH-TLV-FCO-LHR,STN-TXL-LCY,LTN-CPH-LTN,LGW-SZG,MUC-LHR

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