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Delta BKK-PVG-LAX-PHX via FM840 Shanghai Airlines

Delta BKK-PVG-LAX-PHX via FM840 Shanghai Airlines

Old Dec 4, 16, 11:01 am
  #1  
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Delta BKK-PVG-LAX-PHX via FM840 Shanghai Airlines

I was searching for info on the BKK-Pvg leg of this flight prior to going to the airport, so I thought I'd just add some type of trip report feedback, one that kind of dovetails with the few posts that are out there in the forums already.

Purchased the ticket 1-way (I live in Thailand, US citizen) on the Delta.com and this was the fastest/cheapest ticket = BKK to PVG Shanghai and then onto LAX and PHX. Turns out the first flight is on Shanghai airline since Delta has stopped service to Bangkok and no longer flies via Tokyo-Narita (a shame). Since it is the originating ticket there are problems that arise for the first leg: you cannot check in online, you cannot pick your seat, you cannot get TSA pre-check since check-in via China, etc. there were some other unknowns that I tried to piece together before the flight. I will try to be concise but wished there had been more info on this flight prior, so...

Couldn't check in online from BKK but could select seats on the Delta segments of course. The Shanghai (owned by China Eastern so maybe this flight is alternating between FM and MU) counter is "U" so that is about door 7 or 8 when getting dropped off. I arrived just under 2 hours early, the economy line was quite long but the Sky Priority check-in line had 2 counters and I just had to wait for 1 person to finish up. The checkin lady did not have a seat assignment for me. I had to give her my Skymiles number as it was not entered (but had been on Delta.com obviously as a Diamond booking the flight, even lucky on domestic upgrade so it is in the Delta system but not Shanghai). I had to show my drivers license (other option to type in my address) since it seems Delta not sharing passport info and addresses electronically. The check in was a bit long but smooth. As Diamond I was offered a seat in Y "either first row or second row, window or aisle" but this really meant 31 or 32 rows in economy. But for a full flight that was good enough. They gave me a pass for lounge but it was a pass for the Thai Airways lounge, not SkyTeam AF Lounge or the other one. I think I could have gone to the AF/KLM lounge at "DEF" but just followed with the coupon they gave me. They did give me a Priority Lane pass as a Sky Priority so the security and immigration was easy and close. I got a priority tag on both bags and they were checked through to LAX. The gate was D5, probably the worst non-bus gate at BKK imo due to it just being so darn far away (..from the lounges).

Boarding was fine on Shanghai Airlines. Flightaware was telling me we were leaving late, but in fact we left on time and landed in Shanghai about 5 minutes late. But I get ahead of myself.

The seats were okay but it is an old airplane. There are not any video monitors in seatbacks in Y but they do have in C. They are super strict about shutting off phones .. forget flight mode, it is off and it is off. Ipads are okay or similar, but no phones allowed. My Bose NC headphones with a light indicated for battery visible and wearing all the time were fine. The Chinese girl next to me who dared turn on her phone was reprimanded and there is also a "Chinese Security announcement before you fly" so they are pretty serious about "phones in Off position". The food sucks. I can eat a lot of different things but this was truly bad. If you don't eat beforehand, bring something along. The meal was butter pack, chicken pepper and egg rice and mystery, and green apple balsamic vinegar salad and some sort of brown-gray flan with orange shredding on top. All plastic cutlery, no knifes. They do serve alcohol! I got a small, small glass of wine and then even got an end of bottle refill (about 1/4 of the cup) they don't care at all about the service so take what you can get. About 2 minutes before they came to collect trays (this is the type of airline that lets trays sit for 1 hour before coming back for anything) they brought out some bread rolls. 1 word, avoid. They don't have pillows on the seats but stuff them all into the bins then try to dig them out as people request them. Did I say the food was bad, really, don't go into the flight hungry unless you bring your own food.

So we did depart pretty much on time despite flightaware saying opposite, that was quite good. Uneventful trip especially no entertainment and no phones even in flight mode, the phones must be turned OFF. So bring other entertainment, even an ipod or ipad. 4 hour flight. Arrived a few minutes late, but taxi-ing wasn't bad to terminal 1. So then you de-bord for a bus ride. It is a long bus ride. Stay on the LEFT side of the bus if you want to be first off. Then it is fairly well marked for Transit passengers and just some comments here to tie into other threads. You come out of the bus, go up an escalator and the line splits into 2 as you do a health temperature screening as you walk by, then you go LEFT and not toward the passport lines. There is a screener here who puts you into lines for passport transit control, before you reach security. I don't know the rhyme or reason for which line you get dropped into or why some people only get a sticker and others don't (I didn'), but I don't think there was any Sky Priority, but they "may" have tried to drop USA passport holders into the same line that seemed to move a bit faster. More data needed on that. They have a bank of automated passport readers that was cordoned off. Follow the red lines on the floor and you will be fine. By the time you get to the passport control (it does take about 1 minute per person), you get a stamp and then turn right and go upstairs escalator to security.
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Old Dec 4, 16, 11:36 am
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Well, I'm glad that I'm only flying into BKK next month and not out of there. Originally was supposed to be DL, but their substitute on NH seems okay (not that I had a choice).
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Old Dec 4, 16, 11:39 am
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So once in security, I mean, this is slow, small, lack of bins, and did I say slow? On the far right once you enter the hall there is a biz class "entrance" number 2. Number 1 is also but it isn't written on the glass, it's the same. Number 0 on the far right once you enter the hall is air crew, you can watch a steady stream of people walk through. I told the security guard I was SKy Priority and got into line 1. I read reports here about batteries and indeed there is a sign to take out computers, ipads, lithium batteries...so I plunked all I had into 2 bins and it worked fine, it is just small and oddly organized, and very chaotic. Don't forget anything, I could see how it would be easy to forget something.

The entire process seemed like "normal" meaning it wasn't the holidays or any flight delays and could even been considered "light" since I was one of the first off our airplane, but it took 65 minutes from touchdown to outside security, on a transit ticket where I already had a boarding pass in hand. There is not a "fast" way that I can see to get through, so I was happy my flights were on time and I had the 2h40 mn window per Delta booking.

Once out of security, the "Delta" lounge is to the left, under a sign 39. I initially found it hard to find! Go upstairs. The lounge is big, has 2 floors. Food on first level, and nice seating and drinks on level 2 including showers etc. but no food. When you get inside (I had to present my Skymiles card since the boarding pass from BKK-PVG said SkyPriority but the onward Delta bp did not show my status, the WIFI password is at the front desk, you have to give your passport to get a username and password. The lounge is so big, save yourself some time by doing this right away, but lower your internet speed standards because it is slow. The food was suprisingly good with a noodle soup spicy meat bowl and some sandwiches, salad, dessert. Lot's of staff, they have no sense of humor which made them very funny actually, so try your best word puns and gags on them. The vodka was Absolut and the even had some juice mixers. Ice seems to be a rare commodity but they will refill the ice bucket. The white wine Chardonnay was truly horrendous, I didn't try the red, but they are kind of locked in this chilling case, good idea but when so many people in line it is odd.

Boarding gates are far away!! I thought I was boarding at gate 16 which is fairly close, but since the original bp did not give a gate number I then learned it was gate 23. This is a solid 10 minute walk at pace so I didn't get a chance to shop at all. There is a currency change, lots of duty-free and other food and retail stores. I can't comment on another post regarding using visa or having to change cash at a $10 fee per transaction.

Delta boarding was fine, check your bp then down an escalator, down a hallway, then as in BKK they check all bags again for liquids (note that the Delta flight PVG-LAX provides bottles of water in Y which is really nice = they have a meal service to start, drinks, drinks, clean up, snack, drinks....well, it is a nice service overall).

That's it. What else? You do not need to fill in the immigration form if only transiting at PVG. Other than that, not sure. I think I am 50/50 on ever doing this route again as might just take United through Narita, but overall the horror stories on flight delays due to military and all kinds of things didn't come true THIS TIME, so we will see! One thing is also that the Comfort+ has all the middle seats free today and there are about 15 seats open in J and a pretty packed back of aircraft, so if the possibility of Global upgrade coupons or an open seat next to you in C+ is intriguing it could be a good route, but overall feels like a lot of uncertainty vs. the well-known Narita routing.
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Old Dec 4, 16, 11:48 am
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Sorry for the rambling, trying to kill some time on this flight!! Hope it helps someone though, the info seemed sparse on PVG transfers here. Cheers!!
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Old Dec 4, 16, 12:28 pm
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I'd love to have other folks comment on this and alternative routes to BKK. I'm scheduled to go there in January (Delta DTW-ICN; Korean Air ICN-BKK), and anticipate several additional trips next year. I'd love to hear others' thoughts on the various Delta-themed options.
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Old Dec 4, 16, 1:09 pm
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Originally Posted by ProfRB View Post
I'd love to have other folks comment on this and alternative routes to BKK. I'm scheduled to go there in January (Delta DTW-ICN; Korean Air ICN-BKK), and anticipate several additional trips next year. I'd love to hear others' thoughts on the various Delta-themed options.
Just curious if that is the "best" route now that DL has changed their schedule. I purchased our award tickets in J earlier this year and had all DL MCO-DTW-NRT-BKK. After they stopped the last segment, I wasn't sure what was the best. What they came up with was NH which works since we're still on lie-flat seats and keep the 747 flight. I was afraid if they changed to ICN we would be in the main cabin for the last segment.
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Old Dec 4, 16, 1:35 pm
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Appreciate the info, but FYI it's a little confusing.

As for some of your issues, they have nothing to do with FM. The process for connecting at PVG is awful, but that's more of poor layout, and Chinese regulations issue.

As for PreCheck you could have DL reissue your BP. They just can't do the initial checking.

Yes you could use AG/KLM lounge as STE+. MU/FM use Thai because of old contract that predates FM being part of Skyteam.
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Old Dec 4, 16, 3:18 pm
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Sounds about right for FM. The food is really bad (avoid any boiled eggs!), service OK, and of course the Chinese tourists... But they do have a lot of newer 737's now that are fairly comfortable.

As for BKK. I flew with MU a few months ago to PVG. I was given access to the AF/KLM lounge, which was nice but soooo far from my gate! Also, MU flew the route with a fairly new 773. Food seems a bit better with MU, so this may be a better alternative for those going to and from BKK and still must go through the horrors of PVG. I will also mention the new PVG lounge is nice, much better than what they used to have.
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Old Dec 4, 16, 4:23 pm
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Originally Posted by flyerCO View Post
Appreciate the info, but FYI it's a little confusing.

As for some of your issues, they have nothing to do with FM. The process for connecting at PVG is awful, but that's more of poor layout, and Chinese regulations issue.

As for PreCheck you could have DL reissue your BP. They just can't do the initial checking.

Yes you could use AG/KLM lounge as STE+. MU/FM use Thai because of old contract that predates FM being part of Skyteam.
Yeah, like I say, sorry for rambling but tried to get it all down in one thread rather than multiple threads, such as combining the FM experience with PVG airport transfers since I was really trying to piece together the info pre-flight! Lots of old info out there about picking up bags, filling out forms, etc.

As for re-issuing BP, that is a good idea and I will do it once I land in LAX. The note on the lounge is interesting, thanks for the info.

Cheers, Powers
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Old Dec 4, 16, 4:37 pm
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Originally Posted by Striple View Post
Sounds about right for FM..[snip] I will also mention the new PVG lounge is nice, much better than what they used to have.
I agree that the service was indifferent but not necessarily inefficient.

Regarding the new lounge, I'd read that the new lounge is better and it is good. Another guy on the plane also mentioned how bad the lounge used to be. The new one is nice and marble and all that stuff, but it is really long and narrow with the food waaaaaay at one end on the ground floor and the restrooms waaaay at the other end on the 1st floor, ever so slightly "cold", but it is nice, I'm just trying to describe it. I couldn't imagine what it would be like if all those seats on the 1st floor were filled with pax but they sure could accommodate a lot of people!
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Old Dec 4, 16, 7:06 pm
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Originally Posted by flyerCO View Post
As for PreCheck you could have DL reissue your BP. They just can't do the initial checking.
Yes, they reprinted my BP, no re-issuing or deboarding etc.

BTW the flight from PVG which was DL186 arrives LAX terminal 4 and needed to walk to Terminal 5 to discuss anything with a Delta agent as none are stationed at T4. Conveniently they have a Sky Priority zone on the T4 side of T5, so it was pretty easy (but I dropped my bags at the T4, it was just about boarding pass for the agent).
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Old Dec 4, 16, 10:08 pm
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Flew FM 840 and FM 841 within the past week. Not good. Among the glitches:

My bags did not make it on the flight from PVG to BKK, despite FM having three hours to make that happen. There were several people in the baggage claim office at two in the morning, all of whom were DL passengers whose luggage was not transferred in PVG. The workers indicated this is common. My suitcase got to the hotel at nine that night.

There was gum on my seat, and the seat did not recline. It was broken.

As was mentioned, the plane is ancient and there is no entertainment in Y.

The flight was delayed in PVG by about thirty minutes.

Both immigration and security are nightmares in PVG. For a transfer, it took over an hour.

The DL flight attendants, on the way into PVG, announced if you were transferring to MU or a domestic FM flight, you did not need to retrieve your luggage in PVG. All other passengers did need go retrieve their luggage. I asked about international FM and was told FM is just domestic in China, which of course is wrong. I asked at PVG and was told the luggage would be automatically put on the next flight without my having to collect it, but this is something DL should accurately tell us.
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Old Dec 4, 16, 11:15 pm
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Originally Posted by Powers106 View Post
Yes, they reprinted my BP, no re-issuing or deboarding etc.

BTW the flight from PVG which was DL186 arrives LAX terminal 4 and needed to walk to Terminal 5 to discuss anything with a Delta agent as none are stationed at T4. Conveniently they have a Sky Priority zone on the T4 side of T5, so it was pretty easy (but I dropped my bags at the T4, it was just about boarding pass for the agent).
I think you're confusing TBIT or T6 for T4. Only AA operates out of T4. Any flight that comes in before T5 CBP is open goes to either T6 if open and gate available or TBIT which has 24/7 CBP.
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Old Dec 5, 16, 2:01 am
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Originally Posted by Striple View Post
must go through the horrors of PVG.
Humm, I go through PVG maybe 8 times a year. I have yet to encounter the "horrors" you allude to. Is it on par with SIN or NRT? No, but it is not that bad.
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Old Dec 5, 16, 2:15 am
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Originally Posted by fpmurphy View Post
Humm, I go through PVG maybe 8 times a year. I have yet to encounter the "horrors" you allude to. Is it on par with SIN or NRT? No, but it is not that bad.
Either you're lucky or have never had an issue that requires dealing with MU.
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