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Old Aug 8, 10, 10:16 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Perth, Australia
Programs: Hyatt Diamond, HHonors Gold
Posts: 482
Dreams Come True: PER-JFK, TG C/F, LH C/F, LX C/F

Welcome!

Throughout these few days I'm compiling this for those to read or to skim. Enjoy!

Prologue
PER-BKK and Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok
BKK-HKG-FRA-ZRH: Body Massage
Park Hyatt Zurich and.. Zurich
ZRH-JFK: The protagonist dies... (or gets swapped anyway)
Grand Hyatt New York and surroundings
LGA-DCA and Sweet Suites
IAD-FRA-ZRH-BKK-PER: I left the ducks behind!

Last edited by peachy3; Aug 22, 10 at 12:27 am..
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Old Aug 8, 10, 10:18 pm   #2
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Perth, Australia
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Prologue

Hey everybody!

After finally bothering to sit down and write it up, here is a sample of our first trip in Premium Class! Before I start, thanks immensely to those on Flyertalk boards, especially those who answered some of my ridiculous questions, from Australian Frequent Flyer forums, and also Lucky from his blog One Mile at a Time, and Gleff from View from the Wing (obligatory commercials).

It all started at the beginning of this year, when I was planning my mid-year trip with my partner to New York, all the way from Perth, Australia. At that time, I was searching high and low for cheap economy fares, trying to make the most of stopovers and decent airlines. Having flown more than 100 segments in my life, I had never flown in the front of the cabin, and this was one of those far away dreams. And then! I stumbled across Flyertalk, and everything just exploded. I spent hours scrounging and reading all I could, all the tips, all the trip reports, the lounges, the codes, all the ridicule, all the stupid questions.. I digress. So one day, I stumble across the US Airways Buy/Gift/Share miles promotion. At that point this thread only had 75 pages. Tossing and turning for a week, I thought it was too good to be true -> Less than $2000 US to get from Perth to USA with a stopover? In FIRST CLASS? ….

3 weeks later, I was ready to rumble. My itinerary was:

PER-BKK TG C
BKK-HKG TG F
HKG-FRA LH F
FRA-ZRH LH C, stopover

ZRH-JFK LX F, destination

LGA-DCA US F, stopover

IAD-FRA LH F
FRA-ZRH LH C
ZRH-BKK LX F
BKK-PER TG C, Home!

This ended up as 140,000 miles and less than $150 in taxes. I was still feeling like I was dreaming. My partner was in severe disbelief and didn’t actually believe it until we came back from the trip. At this point, there was no turning back!

Coincidentally, Hyatt was also running their FFN promotion at that time. What the heck is FFN? That’s what she said. Mattress running in HK and in Perth ended up gunning 3 nights in Park Hyatt Zurich, 4 nights in Grand Hyatt New York, 2 nights in Park Hyatt Washington, and 2 extra nights in Park Hyatt Tokyo. Damn.

My holidays soon came up and we were packing. So many virginities to be lost. Business Class… FIRST Class. Zurich. New York. Grand Hyatt…PARK Hyatt… SUITES??? Lounges? Body Massage? Man, I’m having a mind explosion. Little did I know that just thinking about the trip was just the beginning.
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Old Aug 8, 10, 10:33 pm   #3
 
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Looking forward to your trip report!


Halothane
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Old Aug 8, 10, 11:11 pm   #4
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Perth, Australia
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Posts: 482
PER-BKK and Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok

Tossing and turning, there was no sleep to be had. Our flight left at 0900 the next morning and I just couldn’t lay still. In the back of my mind were speculations and worries? “Are you sure this is going to work?” “You do know you just paid for miles and changed it into a ticket right? Are you crazy?” “Haha don’t kid yourself” Soon 0700 came and off to the airport we went…

Check in at Perth International Airport is pretty straight forward. There is only one check in area and the size of the airport is probably as big as 1/10 of Central Station, or the Hong Kong BUS stations, or the 2x the First Class Terminal in Frankfurt, depending on where you live. We went to check in, and I showed our passports. I asked at the start if we could be checked in all the way to ZRH so our bags would arrive there (That’s PER-BKK-HKG-FRA-ZRH). The check in agent just stared blankly at me... She went off to get her supervisor. Word. 5 minutes later her supervisor comes and looks at our itinerary. “Oh, my god” As you can tell, customer service is pretty much non-existent in Australia, but that’s the way of life. 15 minutes later we’re still standing at the check in counter while she madly taps at the computer. In the midst of it, she says “You know, you should fire your travel agent. This itinerary is just stupid” I couldn’t help but explode with laughter in my head. A total of 30 minutes later she yelps with joy as, for the first time, she (the supervisor) has had the chance to use the gold coloured TG F boarding passes. She successfully managed to check all the bags through to ZRH, and we could only keep our fingers crossed the bags would make it there.
Qantas Club Lounge is the partner lounge for TG at Perth, and while the layout and furnishings were okay, and being Lounge virgins we thought it was pretty good, in retrospect, it was pretty much junk compared to the rest of the world. (!)

TG boarding in Australia, as many others have found, is ridiculous. The first call was for Business, Star Alliance Frequent Gold, Prams, Children, Elderly, and anyone who would like to squeeze through the gates at the same time. Stampeded ensued and we just sat back waiting to get in later. With 20“ of width and only around 145 (?) degrees of recline, I was in heaven. Business class was ridiculous!!! I could definitely get used to this, I thought.
My partner was disappointed there were no usable amenities but meal service was promptly started.

Starter was gyoza or dumpings. There was no Coke Zero so I had to opt for the 10 calorie extra Coke Light. The gyoza, while looking nice, were rubbish.



Salad was served with beef and lobster. (I was definitely shouting LOBSTER!!! at that time) The dressing made the salad edible and the beef was nice, however the garlic bread should have been named oil bread.



The Main course was a complete dissapointment. My partner and I both thought the stir fry beef was a good choice and boy were we wrong. This rendition was more of an awkward date between cashew and butter with beef as a third wheel. Was just... slimy.



Dessert was fruits, cheese, then followed by a decent apple crumble, but served with terrible burnt coffee.





Obligatory start of trip, we're on a trip, this is so cool, let's look outside the plane photos:

Off the coast of Western Australia



Off the coast of Phuket



Ice cream was served, and the Fig, Honeycomb and Caramel ice cream, although sounding like a grand combination, tasted a little strange...



We stopped at Phuket to pick up passengers and sat in the lounge, mediocre at best, waiting. Boy was Thailand humid and hot! It had been a while since I had ventured into Singapore/Malaysia/Thailand weather and I sure did not miss it!

Leaving Phuket, after the short flight to Bangkok we landed and were reading to head off into the city. Not knowing the protocol, there were no ground staff to assist us even though theoretically we were on a stopover, although I guess it was a long one.

I had been to BKK airport before, and I still had mixed thoughts towards the concrete walls and shattered tiles and overall very sub par furnishings, despite being a very new airport. For those who don't know, is easily the best source of information for those looking for transport from BKK airport.

We took a taxi and in no time he was racing in his 1990 car down the highway at at least 130km/h. Woah! The posters on the thread were right, Thailand has die hard Nascar fans. Slow down mate! He was quick though, and in 25 minutes we were at Grand Hyatt Bangkok from BKK airport.

Lobby at Grand Hyatt Bangkok:



I had used a suite upgrade certificate after getting trialled for Diamond from Platinum (best trial ever! ever!) and our suite was pretty decent. Off we went to the club to grab a small bite to eat. It was decent, had a large range of food and some alcohol, but for anyone who wants to try a Regency/Grand Club, Grand Hyatt Macau just tops the world. We were tired, especially me who didn't sleep the night before, and just went to bed. The BKK-HKG flight was early in the morning and we were to leave at 0530 to make it in time for a 1 hour body massage! Luckily the reception had said that as Diamond we would get room service breakfast if we wanted, and we ordered it to be at 0500.

0500 the next morning, a ridiculous breakfast feast awaited us after the staff set up:



We thought that the Grand Hyatt Bangkok was a little old but we would definitely stay there again. I had managed to use a BRG for the hotel, but looking at the prices now, I probably wouldn't stay there if paying rack rates! Heaps of cheap and nice hotels including the Accor and Starwood chains.

We checked out and grabbed a taxi. Our taxi driver was diligent in training for the Thai Nascar team and sped 140km/h to the airport. Less than 20 minutes and we arrived. If waking up didn't kick our adrenaline in, that ride certainly did. We were wide awake.

Last edited by peachy3; Aug 8, 10 at 11:17 pm..
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Old Aug 8, 10, 11:27 pm   #5
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
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Congrats on your first premium cabin trip! A great start to what I expect will be a wonderful TR!

cheers.
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Old Aug 9, 10, 12:36 am   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peachy3 View Post

We took a taxi and in no time he was racing in his 1990 car down the highway at at least 130km/h. Woah! The posters on the thread were right, Thailand has die hard Nascar fans. Slow down mate! He was quick though, and in 25 minutes we were at Grand Hyatt Bangkok from BKK airport.


We checked out and grabbed a taxi. Our taxi driver was diligent in training for the Thai Nascar team and sped 140km/h to the airport. Less than 20 minutes and we arrived. If waking up didn't kick our adrenaline in, that ride certainly did. We were wide awake.
Hopefully you got the advise from some of us on the TG forum to go to the departures level to catch a Taxi so you don't have to pay 50baht airport fees. Oh well either way, about 99% of the taxi's driving to and from the airport will go 130+km/h I had one crazy driver going 160km/h! And the slowest of all one time was 80km/h. I asked why are you going so slow? He said Gear 5 is broken . 80 was just too slow.

Good trip report so far. Looking forward to the rest.
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Old Aug 9, 10, 4:42 am   #7
 
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Wow!! Can't wait to read the rest!
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Old Aug 9, 10, 6:41 am   #8
 
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Loving the breathless enthusiasm! Can't imagine how you'll react to first class... Sounds like a great trip.
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Old Aug 9, 10, 7:44 am   #9
 
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Lots of good stuff in this report!
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Old Aug 9, 10, 7:54 am   #10
 
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Good to read how enthusiastic you are about this and sorry to see this TG food...their catering in C is not good - unfortunately!
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Old Aug 9, 10, 9:32 pm   #11
 
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Business class, firs class, lounges and suites are some of my favourite words. I hope they become yours. Welcome to the world in front of the curtain. Can't wait to read the rest.
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Old Aug 10, 10, 1:38 am   #12
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First segment was great.
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Old Aug 10, 10, 4:34 am   #13
 
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Great start!
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Old Aug 10, 10, 4:46 am   #14
 
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Looking forward to the rest of the trip report. Hope you were warned that once you're been in premium classes, you can't go in back and be happy any more!
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Old Aug 10, 10, 5:25 am   #15
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Ahh the eager anticipation of that first first experience. Great report. I am looking forward to the rest of it.
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