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Another BR trip report for your enjoyment - Aug 11 PDX-BKK RT

Another BR trip report for your enjoyment - Aug 11 PDX-BKK RT

Old Aug 14, 11, 1:32 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Beaverton OR
Programs: GE, AA PLT/2.6MM, BR Gld, Royal Carib. DM+, Celebrity Elite, NCL PLT, Princess Elite
Posts: 1,643
Another BR trip report for your enjoyment - Aug 11 PDX-BKK RT

At least my trips arenít cookie cutters. Again this time around I'm including some notes on the Alaska Airlines connecting flights just in case anyone does the same routing. This is my third PDX-BKK round trip in the last two and a half months after a break of three months with no trans-pacific travel, so there will be some comparisons along the way with my previous two trips.

I booked via my usual consolidator and checked both Elite (premium economy) and coach class fares. Since this trip was so close to the last one (I was home for 17 days between trips), I ended up with Elite. My consolidator apologized for the 730PM departure that gave me such a long layover before BRís 210AM departure from SEA, but offered to take me to dinner in SEA between flights. I canít refuse that offer. I called BR directly to get my seats and asked that a note be put into my record that I preferred the bulkhead windows 20A/20K. This trip Iím booked in L class which will give me 100% of the miles flown, most trips Iím booked into V class which only gives 90% of the miles as credit. As I said last month, I love my consolidator.

On the morning of my flight I went to check in on-line, no op-ups were showing in the booking and I didnít see any better seats than what I was assigned, so I just hoped that I would be able to secure the bulkhead when I got to SEA.

30Jul PDX-SEA AS2052 Y DH4 N424QX seat 7D

I had originally wanted to take the MAX train to PDX which would have required me to leave the house at about 4PM, but I knew by 2PM that wasnít going to happen. As it was, I was lucky to leave before 530PM, and for once there was absolutely no traffic and I got to Alaskaís counter a couple of minutes after 6PM. I told the agent that I was booked on the 730PM departure, and he asked if I was called. I said ďno,Ē and was told that the aircraft had some mechanical issues in LAS, and that the flight was cancelled LAS-STS (Santa Rosa CA)-PDX, but a different aircraft would pick up the flight in PDX. People with close connections though were being protected on earlier departures just in case. Since I had such a long layover, they figured that I was fine.

Off though security, and I arrived at the Boardroom. I checked my watch to see how I did time wise and saw that it was 618PM, so I made really good time. The Boardroom Angel checked me in, and I asked her if there were any changes to my flight in the last 15 minutes. She took a look, and said ďuh oh, itís cancelled.Ē I asked how the 630PM flight looked and she said itís boarding now. I told her that I would run for it and ask that she call the gate to let them know that I was coming. The trek from the Boardroom in terminal C to gate A-4 doesnít take all that long when speed walking, and there were just a few passengers left and all were boarding with one agent. The second agent looked up, saw me, asked ďMr. ak333?Ē and handed me a boarding pass for the flight and wished me a pleasant journey. Thanks Alaska Airlines for your work there.

The flight itself was uneventful; we were held at the gate for an extra 10 minutes, but no problem for me. We took off on the recently repaved runway 28L and a glass of water, bag of snack mix and 34 minutes later we were landing on runway 16C at SEA.

I called my consolidator and told her that I was early, so I went to the SEA boardroom and waited in there for her call that she was near the airport. I started to wonder which flight my bags would end up on, so I checked the flight information for my original flight. The laugh was on me and the PDX Boardroom Angel; she misread the cancellation from LAS and STS and the flight actually left PDX on time. At least dinner outside of the airport was good.


31Jul SEA-TPE BR25 W 744 B-16410 seat 20A

I was dropped off outside the BR check in area, and they were just opening up when I arrived. I saw my favorite agent who was working the Premium Laurel line, and she saw me and smiled. This was her greeting to me tonight ďHi, do you want 20A or 20K?Ē Itís really nice when the system works, and I took 20A while she sent a message off to TPE for me to clear the bulkhead on my TPE-BKK flight. I got my boarding pass and noticed something very strange, the gate assignment showed S15. Every single flight I have ever taken on BR from SEA left from the usual BR gate S11. I choose to connect in SEA these days for one simple reason; I donít have to reclear security. Since I had left the airport, I had to go through security again, and at the TSA area closest to the BR counter, I saw that all of the lines were being made to go through the AIT (advanced imaging technology otherwise known as the nude-o-scope) machine. I do not ever go through those machines, so I decided to see how the mid-terminal area looked. AIT was only operating at one of the three lines, and you could self select, so thatís what I did; no AIT, just the standard WTMD. Again something else new in SEA, the train to the S gates usually stops at the B gates, but due to construction, it was just going back and forth to S, so a slightly quicker ride was had to the gate area.

The lounge agent, as I mentioned last report, is a gentleman that I believe has been with BR at SEA since they started service there was just opening up as I came by. I asked him about the gate change, and he said that there was construction going on at S11, and for the first time ever, they had to switch. As before, he had me go into the "First Class" section of the BA lounge that BR uses. I started to make myself comfortable, and he came back into the lounge and asked for my TPE-BKK boarding pass. He said that ďTPE has already changed your seat to the bulkhead for you. He came back a few minutes later with a boarding pass for 20K which is perfect. Another something new tonight, a lady comes in and asks me by name if I would like something from the bar. A very nice gesture, but since I had my Diet Coke I was OK; except there was no ice in sight, so I asked her for just a glass of ice that appeared a couple of minutes later.

I finished up some work on this report and then headed out to gate S15 (that still seems really strange to me) a few minutes before boarding began. Another of my favorite agents spotted me and told me not to move, and that she would board me in a couple of minutes, and sure enough two minutes later I was walking down SEAís longest jetway to my waiting 744. As usual I showed my boarding pass at the door and was directed to my seat with a smile and ďwelcome Mr. Diamond.Ē That set the tone for this flight. The aircraft wasnít full in any class, and I found out after boarding that the initial agent at check in blocked the seat next to me, so I had two seats to myself for this transpacific hop.

The flight left the gate a couple of minutes early, but before departure the Assistant Purser came by to give me a bottle of water and get my preference for supper. Tonight the choice was between a beef with rice dish and chicken with noodles. I picked the beef since that seems to be the rare item (no pun intended) on BR these days. She said that she would serve me the meal as soon as possible after departure so I could get some sleep. There were actually quite a few seats available in Elite class, and the Assistant Purser also moved around a Gold member behind me to a spot where he would also have two seats to himself. This purser was one of the best that I have seen in a long while, and I made sure to compliment her on my survey form that was e-mailed a couple of days later. Tonightís supper was much better than on my previous two flights a few weeks apart. It was sliced beef with brown sauce with onions and a pepper mix along with rice and vegetables, served with a side potato salad, warm roll, fruit, cheesecake and a Twix bar. For once I decided against the Diet Coke since I really wanted to get some sleep in and had a club soda instead. I devoured everything on my tray except for the cheesecake which I just had a bite of (it was OK), and went for the Twix instead. As per my custom, as soon as my tray was removed, I donned my eye-mask and ear plugs and was out cold for the next seven hours. It really helped that I could really stretch out with no one next to me. I woke up about ten minutes before breakfast and grabbed my book and read until the Assistant Purser came back to me to ask for my breakfast choice. Before she could even tell me what option two was, I said that I just wanted the western meal as I am just not fond of congee. She smiled and said that she would be back in a moment.

I was expecting the usual egg dish for breakfast, but since I didnít wait to hear what the western choice was, I was surprised with French toast, which came with Canadian bacon. A side dish of turkey and cheese (I've never figured that one out, but BR serves it often, and I happen to like it), fruit, yogurt, and a blueberry muffin. Again it was a much better breakfast than on my previous two flights, and I told the Assistant Purser before I landed that I really liked the catering on this flight. She agreed with me and said that the galley even smelled better than usual. I fell back asleep until the Captain made his ďservice checkĒ call five minutes before landing. Arrival in TPE was over half an hour ahead of schedule, and as I was walking to transfer security, an agent had a sign up with my name on it. I was directed to the transfer desk Ė they wanted to make sure that I had my new seat assignment, and I was then off to security. Even with the stop at the transfer desk, I managed to be in the first wave of passengers through transfer security.

Off to the new and improved Diamond/C class lounge which I really like now. As I said last time, four showers, so no waiting now, much improved food selections, and quite a bit more seating. EVA has done a really good job with this lounge. Now if they can just start working on the other two.

01Aug TPE-BKK BR69 W 77W B-16712 seat 20K

On Mondayís only, the one flight a day TPE-BKK continuing to LHR leaves at 710AM which is almost two hours earlier than the rest of the week. So I had a much shorter layover this time around. I didnít eat anything at all in the lounge; I just had a Coke Light and worked for a bit before heading off to gate C2. We did board the aircraft late, and Elite class was over 90% full, but one of the agents did block 20H for me, so again I had two seats to myself. We left the gate about 20 minutes behind schedule, probably due to the late boarding and the once a week nature of this flight. I was given the Diamond greeting by the assistant purser and was surprised to be offered my choice for lunch; I would have thought this would have been a breakfast leg. This time, the lunch choices were exactly the same as a few weeks before - a choice of beef sukiyaki with rice or pork with rice. I really liked the sukiyaki last time, so I decided to give it a go again, and again I was not disappointed. It was served with fruit, a chicken and cabbage salad, the now familiar 20th anniversary cookie and a piece of sponge cake. Overall it was very good, but like my previous two TPE-BKK flights, that was the end of any service until a quick beverage run 10 minutes before landing. We landed about five minutes behind schedule which wasnít bad with our late departure and taxied into gate E3 so the long walk to immigration was just a bit shorter. There was one huge plus about arriving two hours earlier Ė there was absolutely no wait for immigration, I was able to walk right up to an officer. Since there was no one waiting she took her time with me and started to look at every Thai entrance stamp in my passport. I think she gave up at 20 and finally stamped me in. I actually had to wait for my bag for once, but it was out in the first dozen. Again since it was quiet, customs had me put both my big bag and my backpack through their x-ray before I was able to exit the area and head for a taxi.

09Aug BKK-TPE BR68 W 77W B-16706 seat 21K

The day before departure I did on-line check in (after I got home from a small Flyer Talk lunch) and saw that a better seat opened up from TPE to SEA. I changed my seat from 23K to 21A and again hoped for the best that I would be able to get my preferred bulkhead seats. I got to the airport about 20 minutes after check-in was opened, and I asked the agent about getting the bulkhead seats. She looked and said that both bulkhead windows were taken by through passengers in LHR, but a bulkhead was open out of TPE, so she checked my bags all the way to PDX, gave me my boarding pass just for the BKK-TPE leg and sent a message to TPE to release the seat for me. She told me that I would get my TPE-SEA boarding pass in the lounge, and she handed me by BKK lounge invite. I asked about getting a Fast Track coupon (I saw that for the first time EVA had some on my last trip) but the agent said she could only give them to business class passengers but to add a comment to my survey from that Diamonds should get them as well. In the end, it didnít matter very much as there was only a short wait for immigration to get stamped out of the country, and security was extremely fast as well.

I go to the lounge and have some nibbles and Coke Zero while I await boarding. One of -the lounge agents did come over with my boarding pass for the TPE-SEA flight giving me 20K and also my TPE lounge invitation. As usual, I leave the lounge before boarding is called and head out to gate E4. The incoming aircraft arrived about on time from LHR, so everyone is on the aircraft and the doors shut ten minutes before schedule departure time. I'm given the Diamond greeting, again my dinner order and beverage request (chicken or pork - I take the chicken and Diet Coke) are taken. We take off to the south on runway 19L and head east, then north, then east again as we go around some thunderstorm activity; this seems to be the pattern this time of year. After we pass the storm, dinner is served. This one is a familiar chicken with fried rice, warm roll, an unknown salad and fruit. It was good, exactly the same as last month. Also like last month, dessert was ice cream served right before the coffee and tea service. After dinner I got a bottle of water and I continued to watch a movie on the AVOD that I started as I ate. It was a bit cloudy as we descended, and this time we landed to the north on runway 06 and we got to gate C4 about 20 minutes early. There were a couple of other arrivals at the same time, so there was actually a line and a short wait for transfer security. I again head to the new Diamond/Business Class lounge and do some work while I await my connection to SEA.


09Aug TPE-SEA BR26 W 744 B-16412 seat 20¨¨K

I head out to gate C8 and there is a fairly long line for a passport check (for U.S. bound flights only). Normally, Premium Laurel, Diamond and Gold can skip the line, but the deck wasnít set up before the entrance door to the gate like I have seen in the past, so I didnít feel right trying to cut in. Once through, I head downstairs. This flight will be fairly full, but there are empty seats in each cabin. As we taxi out, the Assistant Purser comes to give me my Diamond greeting and hands me a goodie bag with business class slippers and a bottle of water. She then gives me my supper choice options, and unfortunately it is the one choice that I hate either fish or pork. Since Iím not fond of either, I ask for just the tray set up along with my diet coke. As she finishes taking my order, we reach the runway and begin our trek to the east. Supper is served shortly after takeoff and considering I just had the tray set up, it wasnít bad. There was a chicken and pineapple salad, warm roll, fruit, crackers and cheese and two deserts, a creamy cake of some sort and a mini Snickers bar. Iíve had far worse (like my coach entrťe on this same leg three weeks previous). As usual, since the flight departs at 8AM west coast time, I try to just nap, so I force myself awake after a four hour nap so I can sleep when I get home.

I decide against a movie and just read until refreshment is served. I know that BR calls this meal a refreshment since itís served about 430PM Pacific time, but letís face it, it is a breakfast. The Assistant Purser came up to me before the service started to give me my choice of congee or quiche (although she called it just an egg dish). And the quiche is pretty good, served with potatoes, and chicken sausage. There are also sides of fruit and yogurt as well as a warm croissant. This flight is 10 minutes longer than last month, clocking in at 10 hours and 38 minutes, but before I know it we are landing on SEA's 16L and taxiing (back) to BR's home at S11, arriving a couple of minutes behind schedule. Both US immigration and customs are relatively quick today, but by the time I get my bag, I realized that the luggage cut off time for the 8PM flight to PDX has passed, so it looks like my chance for standby for that flight is gone. And unlike my last trip, there is no Alaska Airlines rep manning the transfer desk. I quickly make it through the TSA transfer checkpoint that does not have a nude-o-scope and go have a bite to eat before heading off to the Alaska Boardroom to do some work and await my 930PM flight. I head out to gate C2D a little before 9PM.

09Aug AS2135 Y SEA-PDX DH4 N401QX seat 14E (Washington State University livery)

As Iím waiting for boarding of the flight, the gate agent gets on the P.A. system and says ďIím looking for one lucky volunteer who will give up their seat for a $300 travel voucher and a confirmed seat on the 11PM departure.Ē I love getting DBCs, and I always volunteer if my schedule allows for it, so I did offer myself as a volunteer. The agent smiled and asked me to wait until the end of boarding and she would let me know if they really need my seat.

This flight has lots of bags as it has the connections to PDX from Hawaii, Alaska, and the BR flight that I just got off of. The gate agent is trying to get must ride crew members into jump seats, but Alaskaís operations staff is hesitant to say yes (and thatís why she needed a volunteer). At the last minute operations gives the go ahead to use jump seats, so they donít need my seat. As the agent hands me my boarding pass, she thanks me again for offering to volunteer and hands me a mail-in postcard for an additional 2,000 miles for my willingness to help. I really do like flying on AS, and that was a nice gesture that didnít need to be made, but was appreciated.

The flight itself was a short 28 minutes that included a glass of water and snack mix. My seat had a great view of the engine and landing gear of the Q400, but we arrived a few minutes early, and my bag was on the carousel within 12 minutes of engine shut down.

Overall, I was quite pleased with how well Alaska Airlines took care of me as well as EVAís Elite class, and the fact that BR's staff at both SEA and BKK take excellent care of me. As I said at the end of my last trip report, sometimes it's very nice being a big fish in a small pond.
ak333 is offline  
Old Aug 14, 11, 11:20 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 184
Thank you for sharing this trip report!!! A pleasure to read. I am impressed with the description of the Seattle BR staff, as well as the service (and food) on these latest flights. My recent experiences with Elite Class travel this year have also had favorable impressions of the in-flight cuisine (of course the ice cream offered on my last TPE-LAX trip was a plus!). One thing though I've noticed is with either western or congee breakfast, over the past couple of years the same bread roll is given for either choice. In the early 2000s the congee came with a scallion pancake (rather hard though). I don't mind though, the breakfast is good either way, and miles better than the cold 'deli box' given on transatlantic carriers, or the laughable 'fruit plate' on some US carriers.

Last edited by Stratoliner777; Aug 15, 11 at 1:15 pm
Stratoliner777 is offline  
Old Aug 15, 11, 11:13 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Programs: EVA Infinity Delta Skymiles
Posts: 130
Thanks for the TR

I really enjoy these BR trip reports. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy day.

TG
TravelGuy_2007 is offline  
Old Aug 17, 11, 10:32 am
  #4  
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Beaverton OR
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Posts: 1,643
Originally Posted by Stratoliner777 View Post
One thing though I've noticed is with either western or congee breakfast, over the past couple of years the same bread roll is given for either choice.
I've noticed that too, so I was really surprised when a croissant came out with my meal. I was trying to decide if the Assistant Purser was just being nice and brought out a PL croissant or if that was the standard. I couldn't tell because everyone around me had the congee.
ak333 is offline  
Old Aug 18, 11, 3:18 pm
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 184
Originally Posted by ak333 View Post
I've noticed that too, so I was really surprised when a croissant came out with my meal. I was trying to decide if the Assistant Purser was just being nice and brought out a PL croissant or if that was the standard. I couldn't tell because everyone around me had the congee.
On recent EVA flights in Elite I've noticed Gold/Diamond members (seated at the bulkhead with empty seat next to them) getting served croissants or bread rolls with butter from the purser in between meals.
Stratoliner777 is offline  
Old Aug 24, 11, 2:56 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Hsinchu (Taiwan), Saigon, London
Programs: EVA (diamond), A3, BMI, VN
Posts: 2,960
Thanks very much for the report - enjoyable as always and packed with detail. It's useful for people who might be wondering whether it's worth the extra effort/expense to qualify for Diamond.

I just did BR68 LHR-TPE and resolved to "do my bit". Armed with a notepad I made a few notes as I can never remember the detail. But.... I flagged.

But "something" might materialise in a few days!
jimbo99 is offline  

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