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South East Asia in TK/TG/LH/US F with a mix of internal VN/K6/AK/PG Y

South East Asia in TK/TG/LH/US F with a mix of internal VN/K6/AK/PG Y

Old Apr 17, 10, 1:27 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 1,410
South East Asia in TK/TG/LH/US F with a mix of internal VN/K6/AK/PG Y

Trip Prep

Last August I decided to go to South East Asia in December 2009. I had enough miles for a J class reward ticket using my Onepass miles but wanted to wait until Continental joined *A at the end of October for better flight options and for a chance at F instead of J. In planning out my *A options I did my research on FT and used ANAís *A availability tool https://aswbe-i.ana.co.jp/p_per/sky_...gin.do?LANG=en and was ready to call CO on day one of them joining *A.

I wanted to fly to Asia via Europe but at the time information on whether that would be possible was vague at best. After my first call I had a successful itinerary on hold via Europe but instead of trying to get it ticketed I tried to make a change adding an open jaw on TG and somehow my entire itinerary ended up getting cancelled. I made something like a half a dozen attempts to re-book via Europe but each time was told that was not possible. At the time CO-Insider confirmed that this was not possible. I was disappointed but started to work on a pacific routing in F. I had something in place that was a combination of Y/J/F, was unhappy but knew that I could still make changes for free as a CO plat and kept trying. Each time I called I was told that reward travel to Asia via Europe was still not permitted and that my only option was two reward tickets, NA to Europe and Europe to Asia. One day I made a call because I found a way to change my Y portion of my TPAC itinerary and figured Iíd give it another shot asking about going via Europe. I was surprised when the agent said sure and proceeded to work with me on an itinerary which we were able to ticket at the end of the call.

There were still a few changes to be made over another couple of calls and finally I was ticketed for JFK Ė IST (TK F) [stopover] Ė BKK (TK F) Ė FRA (TG F) Ė BOS (LH F) Ė LGA (US F). For a first international F experience I was very happy as TK/TG/LH were 3 of the top 5 F services that I wanted to try the other 2 being SQ & EK.

A couple of days before leaving I decided to call TK to arrange for car service in IST. When I gave my details my information came up but I was told that there was a problem with my booking and I had to call CO, get my ticket number and call back TK. I didnít realize that I had my CO ticket # right in front of me on my desk and could have just given it to the TK agent right then and hung up to call CO. I was worried at this point as everything else was already booked for my 3 week trip.

I called CO and was given my ticket number, hung up and called TK back. This time I got a different agent that was very bad. He was rude and all he wanted to do was get me off the phone. He told me that the ticket number was incorrect and gave me the starting number for a valid TK ticket number. I explained to him that this was a CO reward and hence a CO ticket number and that all I was doing was calling TK back with the ticket number as requested a few minutes earlier. He wouldnít listen and wouldnít help so I decided to try CO once again.

The CO agent I got this time was very good in that she recognized the problem quickly and rather than trying to pass me off to someone else, realizing that it would be a complicated issue to fix, she told me that she would need to get a supervisor in order to help her. It took about an hour of being on hold while the problem was being fixed. The problem was caused during the last change that I made to my ticket. I changed my BKK-FRA leg to from LH to TG which the agent. Whatever the agent did to make that change he didnít do it all the way. Iím still not quite sure what the current agent and supervisor had to do but they said it has something to do with ďpushing the flight to TK and other airlinesĒ In any case once they were done they assured me that I was all set. I called TK once again and once I gave them my information they were able to confirm my seats on both my JFK-IST and IST-BKK. Unfortunately I lost my Suite 1K on the JFK-IST leg and ended up in 2K.

JFK Check-in:

I didnít see any signs for 1st class check in only business and economy so I got in line for business. There were 2 people ahead of me and so the wait was about 3 minutes. The girl working the check in counter seemed a bit confused at first asking if I was going to JNB, then apologizing and saying that she usually works SA flights in the morning. Five minutes later I was given a lounge invite for Korean Air lounge and was told to take my bag to the drop off area right in front of the check in counters. I walked over to where I was directed and was told that they donít take TK baggage and that I needed to go to the other bag drop area behind the TK counters right in front of the AF counters. This took me all of 2 minutes but so far I was not impressed with the TK F process. Ultimately it wasnít a big deal, the entire process from being dropped off at JFK until I was inside the lounge took maybe 20 minutes.

TK Business Check in counters


LH Lounge:

Before joining FT this year I really didnít know anything about airport lounges and really only have been to Bangkok Airways free lounge in BKK once a couple of years ago. After spending a lot of time on FT reading TRs, etc I knew that I should probably head over to the LH Senator lounge instead of KE and thatís exactly what I did. Senator lounge seemed kind of busy, lots of people but there were plenty of seats available and no wait to get a drink. There were plenty of sandwiches and snacks to munch on, didnít see any hot food.

Lounge drinks menu


Champagne


WIFI in the lounge wasnít free but I had a wireless card so wasnít a big deal for me. I sat right in front of the window looking over at LHís planes getting ready for their flights.




My TK B777-300ER being pulled in to the gate a little late after arriving from IST



After having a Jack and Ginger and a few glasses of champagne I went to check out the Korean Air F lounge. The lounge looks like itís shared by a few airlines and as you walk in on your right you have the J section and on your left the F. I didnít go over to the J section but it looked like there were quite a few people in there. The F lounge had a family of 5, myself and a 1 other person. Compared to the LH lounge it was very basic, self serve but nice and comfy.

KE F lounge TV (no cable except CNN and ESPN)


Self serve bar


Fully stocked fridge with sodas, water and beer. Snacks consisted mostly of cookies and potato chips on top of the counter.


The family of 5 had two kids including an infant. They were on my flight but spread out through different classes with only the mother and the kids being in F.

The flight departure was supposed to be 4:15pm but due to a late arriving aircraft the departure was delayed until 4:45pm with a 4:20pm boarding. At 4:20pm there was an announcement made in the lounge that there is another delay and the new boarding time was being changed to 4:30pm. At this point I noticed that the AF A380 just landed and was pulling into a gate right opposite my departure gate. I had a nice view of the plane pulling in and took some pictures. This was the first time Iíve seen and A380 and it looked very impressive.







Boarding:

At 4:30pm there was no announcement (maybe I didnít hear it?) but I noticed that all of a sudden I was the only one left in the lounge so I grabbed my bag and started walking to gate 8 On my way down to the gate I heard an announcement calling for people with small children and those needing extra time to start boarding so I assumed that they already called F and J. When I got to the gate it was so packed with everyone crowding around blocking all access. I had to walk around the mini food court to get to the front of the gate area and asked if first class passengers can board but was told no, not yet by the same confused agent that checked me in earlier. Well it was a little embarrassing walking all the way around 200 people to the front of the line just to be turned away. I kind of felt like the ďexcuse me Iím in first class get out of my wayĒ type of passenger and thatís not what I was going for. At this point a J passenger came up to the front counter to ask if she can board. By the looks on her face and the gestures she was making she probably got the same reply that I did but unlike me she wasnít shy about showing her dissatisfaction. At this point an announcement was made for passengers in row 50 and higher to start boarding. This announcement clearly annoyed the unhappy J passenger and she started complaining louder until a couple of minutes later another announcement was made this time for F and J to board and those in rows 50 and higher to step aside. Of course no one stepped aside and there were a lot of J passengers trying to board but as I was still standing near the front of the line I was able to board quickly.

TK boarding chaos
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Old Apr 17, 10, 1:29 am
  #2  
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 1,410
Continued

Flight Number: TK002
Aircraft: 777-300ER
Route: JFK-IST
Class: First
Seat: 2K
Scheduled 415pm
Scheduled 925am



Finally on board I started playing around with my suite controls and enjoying a glass of champagne and didnít really notice but it seemed like the rest of the plane boarded very quickly.

We took off just after 5:30pm 1 hour and 15 minutes after our scheduled departure time but considering that this flight is late every single day sometimes over 4 hours I have to say that I couldnít really complain about this short delay.

Everything in the cabin was just as I expected having read other TRs and looking at pictures. It was still amazing how big the suite was. The champagne was Roederer Brut, I donít know anything about champagne or wine really but this one tasted pretty good and I had about 4-5 glasses during dinner.

I really liked that the IFE was on the entire time and I was able to start watching a show when we started taxing and during the takeoff process. Speaking of IFE I loved how big the screen was but the limited selection made me happy that I loaded up my laptop with movies and tv shows. Since I donít own noise cancelling head phones it was nice that a pair was provided and even though Iím sure there are much better headphones out there these were much nicer than my ipod headphones I was using with the laptop to watch movies. The seat was very comfortable and I loved the massage function.









Dinner service started as soon as we were at cruising altitude. The meal took over an hour and for the most part was delicious. I did have the steak (first time ever on a plane) and that was probably the last time I ever order a steak on a plane. Iím sure it would have been better if it wasnít cooked well done. The only confusion was dessert. By confusion I mean that none of the options looked like the ones listed on the menu. This wasnít a bad thing as I got to try a wonderful Turkish dessert. I have no idea what it was since the FAs were not sure what it was called in English but it went great with ice cream and chocolate sauce.

Table set for dinner



Menu:
New York to Istanbul
First Class
Dinner
December 2009

welcome on board
welcome drink
salted mixed nuts

after take off
assorted canapťs

Caviar
Sevruga Malossol caviar
classic garnish / toast melba

Hors díoeuvres from our trolley
smoked salmon
seared beef on leaf salads
stuffed wine leaves in olive oil
grilled asparagus
marinated eggplant / grilled zucchini
grilled artichokes
vegetable spring roll

Soup
creamy asparagus soup
croutons

catch of the day
pan-fried branzino
lemon butter / mustard potato puree
grilled zucchini / cherry tomatoes

beef selection
grilled fillet of beef
mustard curry butter / sauteed leaf spinach
buttered carrots / gratinated potatoes

chicken selection
brioche and celleriac stuffed grilled chicken breast
thyme jus / mediterranean vegetables

Pasta
rigatoni pasta
tomato pesto sauce / black olive
parmesan and arugula

cheese
assorted cheese

fresh fruit
fresh seasonal fruit

sweets
chocolate soufflť
chocolate sauce
coffee vanilla bean panna cota
trio of sorbets
petit fours

ovenfresh
ovenfresh bread selection

freshly brewed
espresso, Turkish coffee, regular coffee, selection of teas










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Old Apr 17, 10, 1:31 am
  #3  
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 1,410
Continued

Before landing or any time you like (breakfast)
fresh juices
freshly squeezed orange juice / carrot juice

smoothie
homemade energizer

fresh fruit
fresh seasonal fruits

yoghurt
plain yoghurt

cereals
home made muesli / cornflakes

cheese & cold cuts
selection of cheese and cold cuts

made to your order
scrambled eggs
cheese toast / grilled chicken sausages and tomatoes
or
Spanish omlette
grilled zucchini / mashed potatoes
sautťed herbed tomatoes
or
apple pancakes

ovenfresh
ovenfresh bread selection / croissant / Danish Pastry

freshly brewed
espresso, Turkish coffee, regular coffee, selection of teas








Suite








Landing





Arrival:

On arrival in Istanbul I was met at the gate and taken via golf cart to get a visa. I was told to stay in the cart, gave the girl visa money ($20USD) and my passport and she took care of everything. Going through immigration was a breeze. We (me and another F passenger) were taken to the Business / First / VIP immigration line. Even though there was already a line of about a half a dozen people we were escorted ahead of them and went right through.
Next I was taken to the baggage claim where we waited close to an hour for my bag which came out in the batch of last 6 bags. My escorts were clearly annoyed but making jokes with me saying they hope my bag wasnít lost.
After I picked up my bag I was escorted to my awaiting car that was to transfer me to my hotel. I pre-booked the car service by calling TK a couple of days before my flight. On the way to the car I asked to stop off at an ATM to get some Turkish lira. The HSBC ATM which proceeded to eat my ATM card. I wasnít asked for my pin code or anything just a message on the screen that said to call customer service for assistance. The girl escorting me offered to help at first trying to fish the card out of the ATM then she gave up and called customer service and handed her cell phone to me. I was told that today being Saturday the earliest my card would get retrieved would be on Monday and then I would be able to pick it up from an HSBC branch on Tuesday. I was only staying in Istanbul for 1 night before flying on to Bangkok so that wasnít an option. My schedule over the next 3 weeks had me spending no more than 2 nights in any South East Asian city / hotel so right away I knew that chances are that I would be without an ATM card for a while. My escort asked what I wanted to do now. I thanked her for her help and said that I wanted to go to the hotel.

When we got to the car I asked about arranging a pickup for the next day to go back to the airport. Though she was trying to be as helpful as possible my escortís English wasnít very good and so she didnít really understand most of the stuff I was asking her. My driver didnít speak any English at all so I tried asking the girl for a phone number to call in order to reserve a car for the following day to go back to the airport. She spoke to the driver, grabbed a pen and paper from him and wrote down a number. I thanked her and left. Turns out she didnít understand my question, asked the driver for something to write on and wrote down the phone number for HSBC which she taught I wanted to contact again regarding my ATM card. Anyway I was on my way to the hotel and about an hour later was at the Conrad.


Hotel:

I got to the Conrad around 12:30pm and was taken to the executive floor for check in. I was told that my room wasnít ready and was asked to enjoy the lounge while they finished up cleaning my room. I decided that this was a good opportunity to try to sort out my ATM card issue as well as to schedule my car for tomorrow. I called my bank, Chase and explained what happened. Since Iíve never lost an ATM card before I just assumed that requesting that my new card gets sent to my hotel in Bangkok for Monday or Tuesday delivery was not an unusual request. Apparently this was not something that could be done in less than 10 business days. Since my plans had me traveling all over Thailand, Laos and Cambodia over the next 10+ business days I didnít want to risk having my card sent to a random hotel in the middle of Laos so I asked if they can get it to me on December 21st when I would be at the Hilton in Kuala Lumpur. I was told that they can do this and so I gave my hotel information. At this point I had $800 in cash that was going to have to be stretched over the next 16 days since using credit cards wasnít going to be an option in a lot of the places I would be visiting.

Next up was calling TK to order a car service pickup for the next day. My flight was at 11:40pm but my plan was to utilize TKís free tour of Istanbul option the next day. There were two options, one was a full day tour leaving IST at 9am and second was a half day tour leaving IST at noon. While I wanted to do a full tour I really didnít want to head out to the airport at 7am since I didnít have the tour booked yet. I did try to ask my escort at the airport about tours but she had no idea what I was talking about. So I called the TK call center and explained that I wanted to do the free tour. I was told that they were unable to book me but I was given a couple of phone numbers for the hotel desk to try to book it with them. I also asked for a car pick up for 1030am and made sure to repeat the am part a couple of times saying that I knew that my flight was at 11:40pm but I needed the early pickup so that I can get to the airport to start the tour. Everything was confirmed (or so I taught).

My room was on the 8th floor and was finally ready at 145pm. The hour plus wait wasnít a big deal considering that check in was 2pm plus it gave me time to make my calls from the lounge.
The internet in the room was 35-59TL per 24 hours depending on speed which Iím sure is a normal Hilton/Conrad price but I taught that it was a bit on the ridiculous side. Lounge had free Internet access via their computers or wired access to their network.
I loved the Conrad lounge. The views from both indoors and the outdoors deck were amazing. There were snacks, soft drinks, beer, etc available all day long and hot food available in the evening.


Conrad Lounge






In the morning I went up to the 14th floor for breakfast. The spread was great consisting of many cold and hot food options. Once I was done I went back to my room to pack. The on screen checkout menu didnít work so I just left without checking out thinking no big deal as I didnít charge anything to my room. I later learned that this was a mistake as I found that I was charged something like $170 for mini bar charges. While eventually this was all sorted out by email the person I was communicating with made it sound like they were doing me a favor. I donít think that if I checked out properly it would have made a difference and would have still had those charges to deal with as a hotel like Conrad wouldnít make me wait at the front desk while someone is sent to my room to do an inventory anyway.

I was at the front of the hotel at 1025am, 5 minutes early expecting my car to already be waiting for me. The car wasnít there and right away I had a bad feeling about this. After about 20 minutes of waiting I knew that my car wasnít coming since in a situation like this it seems highly unlikely for the driver to be late for a pickup. I asked the door man where I can make a phone call from. The door man asked for my room number and said that he would go and ask the concierge to call TK. After a few minutes he returned telling me that no one is answering the phone at the TK call center. I walked over to the concierge and asked them to call again. They did and this time got through but after speaking to the TK agent in Turkish they were told that without a ticket or PNR they would not be able to help out. At this point I got on the phone and the agent had no problem looking me up by name. Iím not sure why they gave the concierge such a hard time. We confirmed all my flight details and then he asked me if I was flying from Bangkok to Istanbul??? I explained that I was flying from IST to BKK and that I was currently at the hotel in Istanbul at which point the agent hung up on me. Just to clarify I was very calm and patient on the phone at all times answering all his questions as silly as they may have been so it was really shocking that he just hung up the phone.

My first taught that came to me was how would I take this if I was a seasoned paying first class flyer rather than a once in a blue moon reward maximizing FTer. It just didnít seem like first class service, not only being hung up on but the defensive attitude rather than apologetic, proactive ďletís fix the problem for youĒ type service one would hope to expect in first class of a major airline.

I called TK one more time and this time after explaining the situation again I was put on hold while the agent went to check with a supervisor. When he came back he confirmed my cell phone number and said that he needs to investigate further and call me back in 10 minutes. As it was 11am I went back outside and asked for a taxi since I didnít want to miss the 12pm tour and ruin my day.

The door man hailed a taxi for me and asked if I was in a hurry and after I said yes he relayed that to the taxi driver. My driver took this as a challenge and didnít let heavy rain slow him down as he drove like we were in an ambulance. It was kind of fun and we got to the airport in under a half an hour though we did almost get into a car accident. We had to swerve out of the way of a car that just spun out and hit the rail in front of us. Right as I was pulling into the airport I received a call back from the TK agent I spoke with earlier and while he apologized for the situation, he still didnít have an explanation. Once I told him that I was already in a taxi almost at the airport he suggested that I ask to be reimbursed for the taxi but right away said that he didnít have authorization to offer me a reimbursement. I was then put on hold as he went to check with his supervisor. When he came back on he once again apologized saying that they couldnít reimburse me from the call center and that I should speak with someone from TK at the airport.

After paying the 60TL (~$40) taxi fare I went looking for the hotel desk to see if I can still get on the 12pm tour thinking Iíll have plenty of time to worry about the taxi reimbursement after the tour. Once I finally found the hotel desk which was a pain to find, it is located down on the first floor in a corner next to the Starbucks, I had no problem getting signed up for the tour. In fact I was the first person there and only 2 others showed up after me. We were told that we had about 10 minutes to wait at which point I was finally able to relax knowing that at least I can now be back on track with my planned itinerary.

I used the 10 minutes to explain my car situation to the guys at the hotel desk. They called someone and said that a representative from TK will be over to see me in a couple of minutes. Sure enough about 3 minutes later someone from TK came over to me and apologized for what happened. In the 3 minutes since he was called and while on his way down he was able to figure out the obvious, my pickup reservation was mistakenly made for 1030pm. Forget the fact that I specifically said that I needed the car in the morning and the reason why, would it really make sense for a 1030pm pickup at a hotel which is 30-40 minutes away from the airport for an 1140pm international flight? Maybe the thinking was that TK flights are always delayed lol. Anyway I was told that they would reimburse me later tonight when I return from the tour. He did ask me if I took a receipt from the taxi, I didnít and he said that this wouldnít be an issue.


Conrad Lounge Breakfast





The Tour:

Because I didnít have enough time I was unable to check my suitcase and had to drag it along with me on the tour bus. It was just another one of the little things that was annoying about this whole mix up. The tour wasnít as good as I would have liked it to be. We only visited one site, Dolmabahce palace and then went to lunch. This was on a Sunday and I think that the itinerary on other days may be a bit better but it was also raining and cold and part of the tour was walking around outside so we skipped it. We were offered to be taken shopping or ďanything elseĒ but really donít know what that anything else was. I wanted to see the blue mosque but that was only an option on the 9am tour. Since neither I nor the other 2 guys on the tour wanted to go shopping they were then taken to their hotel and I was taken back to the airport.

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Old Apr 17, 10, 1:32 am
  #4  
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 1,410
Continued

IST

I was dropped off at the airport at 4:45pm and found my way to the First / Business entrance. I walked over to the TK counters but the F check-in was closed (still too early). I walked up to the business check in counter and said that I was a first class passenger going to Bangkok later tonight. As soon as I said that and my passport was checked the agent got on the radio to call in for reinforcements and started to check me in. Before I had a chance to ask about my taxi reimbursement (actually was going to ask in the lounge) I was asked if Iíd like to get my money in TL or USD or any other currency. I chose USD and was told that someone would bring the money to me at the lounge. At this point someone came to pick me up. I was taken through the F security and then on one of those fun carts to the Prime Class lounge.


Prime Class Lounge:

The lounge was used for both J and F passengers, only difference seemed the waiter service and escort service to and from the lounge. I was asked to sit at one of the 3 tables that had a reserved sign on them. Before I had a chance to say that I wasnít hungry appetizers were put out on the table and I was given a menu. I had a couple appetizers and even though I wasnít very hungry I ordered salmon for the main course. Food was ok but I couldnít finish it and definitely couldnít go for dessert or anything else so I skipped it.










I tried to get some sleep while sitting on one of the couches but the lounge attendantís cell phone rang every 5 minutes which was annoying. Then someone arrived with a dog and while the dog would be quiet when with his owner as soon as the owner would walk away the dog would start squealing which definitely didnít help the sleeping situation.

For the most part the lounge was comfortable minus the somewhat noisy environment. Internet access was complimentary but required imputing your cell phone number into a web page which would send you an access code via SMS. Even though there was an option for US based cell phones I never received the SMS on my AT&T phone. I asked the lounge attendant for assistance and she sent an SMS to her phone but the code didnít work. She suggested that I use one of the HSBC(I think it was HSBC) access points which was free and didnít have a password.


Money:

At 11pm my money finally arrived, it was brought to me by someone from TK. I was given $37 and some Turkish change. I was glad to get reimbursed and while I was still disappointed at the whole situation I was quickly putting it behind me knowing that I would be spending the next 10 hours in an F suite on TK and then arriving in Bangkok where I would start my South East Asia vacation.


The delay

After hanging out at the lounge for 7 hours waiting for my flight I looked at the board in the lounge that said TK60 Boarding in progress. Great I figured they must be waiting for everyone to board before taking me to the plane. I went to the bathroom to freshen up and when I came out saw that someone was waiting for me. I asked if weíre ready to go and was told no, there was now a 45 minute delay. Ok back to the laptop. At 1210am, 15 minutes before the new scheduled departure time I was finally taken to the gate. When we got to the gate there was another set of x-ray / metal detectors that I had to go through and as soon as that was done it was obvious that no one had boarded yet. In fact everyone was looking very restless, this being only a 40 minute delay so far, Iím guessing a lot of passengers were coming from connecting flights. The escort that took me down to the gate asked if I wanted to go back to the lounge, I asked how long would the wait be and he just said that the departure hasnít changed and is still 1225am. After about 5 minutes of him going back and forth between the walkie talkie and the cell phone he suggested we go back to the lounge. When I asked what was causing the delay all I was told was that it was due to a late arriving aircraft which I believe had already arrived and was at the gate. Back at the lounge I continued to watch the board as it got to 1225am it changed to 1245am then around 1245am changed to 135am and closer to 135am changed to 300am no explanations no reason for the delay just apologies and offers of food which I declined since I was still not very hungry and wanted to be hungry for my meal on board. At this point my arrival in Bangkok was now going to be in the evening rather than mid afternoon and I wasnít very happy with that but since my tour wasnít starting until the 8th (a day after arriving in Bangkok) I was still ok and in fact this is exactly why I booked my flights this way to deal with potential flight delays.

Around 300am I saw that the screen was showing that my flight was now boarding. The only attendant left in the lounge was busy browsing facebook so she didnít notice the update. I wonder if I would have been asleep if I could have missed the flight? Nah no way Iím sure someone would have gotten me but since I was awake I walked over to the girl and asked about my flight. She looked over at the board and called for someone to come to the lounge to escort me to the gate. I was taken to the gate by cart once again in now a very empty airport by a different person since the original guy went home for the night. After going through security all the passengers were still waiting to start boarding. My escort left and here I was standing around. I guess it wouldnít have killed me to wait for everyone to board but I just wanted to get to my seat. I found a TK employee who was talking to some passengers in Turkish. I waited around as he ignored me and continued talking to other passengers that walked up to him after me. Finally I pulled out my F boarding pass which he must have noticed and now I had his attention. He walked me around the line of people waiting to board right onto the plane.
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Old Apr 17, 10, 1:35 am
  #5  
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 1,410
Continued

Flight Number: TK60
Aircraft: 777-300ER
Route: IST-BKK
Class: First
Seat: 1K
Departure: Scheduled 1140pm (Actual: 330am)
Landing: Scheduled 140pm (Actual: 505pm)


I was the only passenger flying in F tonight so all FAs attention was on me from the second that I boarded. I asked when we would be taking off and was told 330am. Surprisingly this was correct, the rest of the plane was boarded in less than 30 minutes and off we were. I drank 3 glasses of champagne before takeoff, hey they kept offering refills Before finally taking off the captain did apologize for the long delay and gave us a reason for it, bad weather at alternate airports along our route to Bangkok.


Menu:
Istanbul to Bangkok
First Class
Dinner
December 2009

welcome on board
welcome drink
salted mixed nuts

after take off
assorted canapťs

Caviar
Sevruga Malossol caviar
classic garnish / toast melba

hors díoeuvres
herbed chicken breast / white eggplant
cherry tomatoes / roasted pine nuts
pesto
or
salmon carpaccio
or
salad
mediterranean salad
soup
potato leek soup
olive croutons

catch of the day
grilled sea bream
tomato and black olive salsa with zucchini
sautťed potatoes

spring lamb
grilled lamb chops
oven roasted red peppers
potato gratin

asian style
chicken tikka
ratatouille
steamed rice

pasta
home made mushroom ravioli
sautťed fresh mushrooms / cherry tomatoes
parmesan

cheese
assorted cheese

fresh fruit
fresh seasonal fruit

sweets
chocolate soufflť
ganache sauce
tiramisu
coconut ice cream
marinated berries

Turkish desserts
selection of traditional Turkish sweets
ďsamsa, hosmerim, sam tatlisiĒ / clotted cream

ovenfresh
ovenfresh bread selection

freshly brewed
espresso, Turkish coffee, regular coffee, selection of teas


Dinner









Before landing or any time you like (breakfast)
fresh juices
freshly squeezed orange juice / carrot juice

smoothie
avocado-vanilla energizer

fresh fruit
fresh fruit platter

yoghurt
granola yoghurt

cereals
home made muesli / cornflakes

ďDemelĒ jam
strawberry / apricot
honey

cheese & cold cuts
selection of cheese and cold cuts

made to your order
cheese omelette
herbed sautťed tomatoes
pan-fried potatoes
or
potpourri of ďborekĒ
Turkish style cheese and spinach puff pastries
scrambled eggs
grilled green pepper / cherry tomato
or
caramelized apple pancakes
orange sauce

ovenfresh
ovenfresh bread selection / croissant / Danish Pastry

freshly brewed
espresso, Turkish coffee, regular coffee, selection of teas


Breakfast








BKK Arrival:

We landed in Bangkok and quickly taxied to our gate where I was allowed to exit first through the front left door out of the F cabin. There was someone waiting for me and took me via cart to immigration. BKK is a great place for this since itís a little bit of a walk to get to the immigration. I was the only person at immigration so I was through and on my way to pickup my bag in no time. We waited a couple of minutes and I was very happy to see that my bag was the very first one out. This was a first for me. After I got my bag I asked my escort to watch my bag as I went exchange some money and then we walked over to the taxi stand. Total time from exiting the plane to entering the taxi was something like 17 minutes.


1st class bag tags





Hotel

I was staying at the Millennium Hilton for 1 night before meeting up with my tour group at a less luxurious hotel on Khosam road. I arrived at the hotel and right away began to experience the amazing Thai service. I was given a welcome drink and asked to sit on a couch while my check in was taken care of. A few minutes later I was escorted to my room. After taking a shower and relaxing in the room for a couple of hours I went up to the lounge to check it out. The views from the lounge as from pretty much everywhere in this hotel were as amazing. The lounge didnít have any of the freebies that were available in Conrad. I still donít know what is normal for Hilton/Conrad lounges since these two stays were my first 2 stays ever as a Hilton gold with lounge access. I guess after seeing all that food and drinks laid out at the Conrad all day I was expecting the Hilton to be the same. I should also mention that I did get up to the lounge close to 9pm so in their defense they may have taken everything away for the night. Soft drinks were being served by waiters and were complimentary but alcohol was not free.

Later that night I ordered Tom Yum soup from room service. It was not like any other Tom Yum soup Iíve ever head. It was closer to curry than anything else. I donít know if this was just their interpretation of the soup or if I was given something else by mistake but it was absolutely delicious and had the biggest prawns Iíve ever seen in a soup.

Breakfast at the lounge was just as good if not better than the one at the Conrad and had both eastern and western options.


BKK Hotel








The next two weeks I spent traveling in Thailand, Laos & Cambodia on a packaged tour. Iím not going to write about that tour here but will about a couple of flights that were part of the tour.
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Old Apr 17, 10, 1:36 am
  #6  
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Location: Brooklyn, NY
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Continued

Flight Number: VN841
Aircraft: A321
Route: VIE-PNH
Class: Economy
Seat: 28B


This flight was booked as part of the package tour that I was on so we were on consolidator fares that could not be credited to VN and Iím guessing that they couldnít be credited anywhere else but I was unable to check prior to the flight. Since we were checked in to the flight as a group I was just hoping that I wouldnít get a middle seat. When I was handed my boarding pass I saw that I was in seat 28B

VIE airport has a lounge that you can access for $7. I did ask if I can use my *G card to get in but was told that I must be flying out on a *A flight. The rest of the airport is fairly basic with the only food options being an overpriced snack bar. The duty free however has a pretty good selection of items for such a small airport and has some of the cheapest liquor prices Iíve ever seen.



The flight was delayed close to 3 hours due to incoming aircraft without any explanation. Itís always fun when your delay is longer than the flight but being with a large group the time seemed to fly by.

Once we finally boarded the plane I was pleasantly surprised to learn that row 28 is the exit row, an extremely generous one at that with pretty much unlimited leg room. All of a sudden being in the middle seat wasnít so much of a big deal. The seat was pretty comfortable for Y and the overhead bin space was huge, I was able to fit my overstuffed carryon bag without a problem.
The short flight had a meal services which included cold cuts, a bread roll and a desert. Some of the cold cuts were questionable but otherwise the meal was a very nice touch for a short flight in Y. Extra bread rolls were offered and a second round of beverage service was offered right after meal service. The IFE on this flight consisted of over head flat screens which were showing the in flight map.

The landing seemed a little bit faster than it should have been and was a little bumpy but otherwise I have to say that this was an excellent flight. I would gladly fly with VN again in the future.


PHN Arrival

At the airport there is a line for people with a Visa and for those without. Itís one of those deals where you have about a half a dozen airport employees doing a job that can be done by 1 or 2 people. One to take your passport & visa application, one to pay, one to pick up the passport from, one to check the passport, etc. The entire process took maybe 15-20 minutes at most which was just the right time to come out and have your luggage waiting for you at the carousel.

On our arrival to PHN our tour guide told us that our delay was caused by a Vietnamese delegation in PHN which forced PHN to be closed for a little while.


Plane pictures




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Old Apr 17, 10, 1:37 am
  #7  
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Continued

Flight Number: K6 9851 (operated by VN 9851)
Aircraft: ATR72
Route: PNH-REP
Class: Economy
Seat: 10A

The gate area at PHN was very nicely set up with couches and little tables. I was very surprised by how nice the airport was and kind of wished that my flight delay was in PHN instead of VIE on my previous flight. Today we were flying on Cambodia Angkor Air code share operated by Vietnam Airways. This was my first time ever on an ATR72 and on any type of a prop plane.

Once again we were checked in as a group and this time I was assigned seat 10A. The plane seemed a bit old but was very comfortable. I wonder what the seat width and pitch is on these planes. As a big guy I felt very comfortable in my seat. The flight was just under an hour long and was very smooth and uneventful. There is no IFE on the plane but for the distance it covers on its routes I donít think itís really necessary. A basic snack of a muffin and water was served and came in a Cambodia Angkor Air branded box.

We walked over to the terminal after landing and waited for our luggage. Since we were the only domestic flight at the airport at the time it took a few minutes to get the bags.


Various planes at PHN






Boarding





Arrival at REP



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Old Apr 17, 10, 1:40 am
  #8  
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Continued

Flight Number: AK281
Aircraft: A320
Route: REP-KUL
Class: Economy
Seat: 14C


I got to REP a little early, didnít even thing to check if there was a lounge at the airport but I really didnít care. I bought some breakfast at the only place open and sat down to enjoy it and free wifi. REP wasnít as nice as PHN but still a very nice airport, for some reason I didnít expect airports in Cambodia to be so nice but then again I didnít know what to expect.

I walked over to the gate about 10 minutes before scheduled boarding and waited for my plane. The incoming aircraft arrived right around the time when we were supposed to start boarding. The great thing about REPís international terminal is that you get to see everything from your gate so I watched as my plane landed, as people walked out of the plane and as their bags were quickly offloaded. As soon as they started loading our bags our flight was called. The entire turnaround must have taken no more than 20 minutes, it was amazing.



At REP waiting to Board




I pre-booked an exit row on this flight for ~$7 which also allows for priority boarding. The plane was spotless, which is also pretty amazing since there wasnít more than 10 minutes to clean the plane before we boarded. The flight load was about 50% and I had the entire exit row to myself. In fact there were only 4 people occupying a total of 12 exit row seats.

Air Asia gives you an option to pre pay for your meal at a discount when purchasing your ticket. Once the meal service begins FAs go through the plane first to serve the customers who pre-purchased their meals and then make another round offering food, snacks and drinks for sale to the rest of the passengers. There are a lot of options on the menu and it was very impressive how quick and efficient the service is. I wasnít hungry and knew that I would have another Air Asia flight to try their food so I didnít get anything.

Air Asia flights use remote gates (not even sure if there are any regular gates at the LCCT) but instead of busses you walk to the terminal. During my walk over I noticed that there was an Oakland Raiders painted Air Asia plane parked and took some pictures. Once in the terminal the immigration process took about 20 minutes but I can see it taking much longer if you get there during a busier time and donít speed walk from your plane to the terminal to get there ahead of others. Next time I think I will sit in row 1 instead of 14 when flying into this airport so that I can be the first ones of the plane.



Flight













Leg Room





Landing







Remote stands




AK Raiders Plane


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Old Apr 17, 10, 1:42 am
  #9  
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Location: Brooklyn, NY
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Continued

Air Asia uses LCCT (Low Cost Carrier Terminal) @ KUL, which is about 20KM away from the regular KUL terminal, and does not have direct access to the train that takes you in to Kuala Lumpur. If you want to take the train to get to the Sentral station in KL you need to walk to the bus terminal at the airport which at first seemed like a pain to find but after asking a couple of people for directions it turned out that it wasnít too bad just about a 5-10 minute walk depending where you exit the terminal. There are lots of bus gates and you need gate 6 in order to connect to the proper shuttle bus which will take you to the Salak Tinggi KLIA Transit train station. The bus takes about 30 minutes and then another 30 minutes on the train and you are at the Sentral station in KL. A round trip ticket can be purchased right on the shuttle bus for RM22 (about $7). Make sure to hold on to this ticket, you will need to use it to enter/exit the train station and to show it to your bus driver on the way back.


On my way from LCCT to Sentral station via bus and KLIA Train







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Old Apr 17, 10, 1:45 am
  #10  
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Continued

Flight Number: AK826
Aircraft: A320
Route: KUL-HKT
Class: Economy
Seat: 1C


I was staying at the Hilton right across the street from the Sentral station so while itís a very quick and easy walk across the street I was offered a complimentary shuttle from the hotel to the station. Itís kind of cool because you exit the hotel from the main lobby to the taxi stand but you are actually on the 5th floor. Itís probably faster to take the elevator down to the street level and walk across the street but I played along and took the shuttle.


Some pictures from the hotel (Hilton at KUL)













Once back at LCCT I used the free wifi which is actually limited to 2 hours. Not sure what happens after 2 hours and hope that I never have to spend that much time in this efficient but boring terminal to find out.

Unlike my previous flight this one was full, not sure if 100% but pretty close to it. The flight was just over 1 hour long and I decided to try the meal service this time. Once all the prepaid food passengers were served another round was made by the FAs offering anyone that was interested a meal. I purchased the chicken rice dish and a Pepsi and paid something like $6 or $7. I was again amazed at how many options were available and how quick the service was. The meal was delicious and I think perfect for a quick bite on a short flight.

Air Asia Meal


I got my passport stamped, grabbed my bag and walked out of the HKT airport. Even before you exit the terminal it begins, the never ending offers of taxis, hotels, etc. I walked out and made a quick right turn and walked a short distance to the official Phuket meter taxi service and went off to my hotel.
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Old Apr 17, 10, 1:46 am
  #11  
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Continued

Flight Number: PG0254
Aircraft: ATR72 200/500
Route: HKT-USM
Class: Economy
Seat: 02B


I was done with Phuket after a very quick relaxing 2 days and was next off to Koh Samui to spend my last 2 days of my vacation before finally heading home. As I mentioned earlier in my trip report I ďlostĒ my ATM card in Istanbul and was supposed to get it shipped to me at my hotel in Kuala Lumpur. Well after checking with the concierge, business center and mail room I learned that Chase failed me and I was going to have to finish my trip without my ATM card. At this point in my trip I was running out of cash. I made one cash advance withdrawal of $300 in Phnom Penh but when I tried to do another cash advance in Phuket, the night before my flight to USM, my card was declined by 4 different ATMs. I was still able to use my credit card at the hotel so I didnít think that there was a security hold or anything on my card and decided to take another shot at taking money out at the airport in the morning.

I used my last 600 of 800THB for the taxi to the airport, since I had my taxi at Koh Samui pre-paid I wasnít worried as I figured worse case I can always sort out my money situation while in Koh Samui. I arrived at the airport a little early and tried all 5 or 6 different ATMs without luck. At this point I checked in to my flight, checked my bag and went through security to get airside only to find that there are no ATMs there. I did find a payphone and attempted to call my Continental World Chase Master Card using their collect # on the back of the card (512-623-7702). I found was that the number on the back of this credit card can NOT be dialed collect, not sure if that means from Thailand, Phuket, HKT airport, this particular telcoís pay phone or what but at this point I just couldnít believe my string of annoying bad luck. Luckily I had another chase credit card with me which wasnít even enabled for international use but I was able to dial their collect number on the back of the card (Amazon Chase Visa Ė 302-594-8200).

The agent I spoke with assured me that there was a note on my account that specifically said that there should not be any security holds on my card while I was in Thailand and said that I should try again. At this point I should have probably just hung up and called again but I hung up, walked downstairs to try the ATMs again, failed and called again this time from another payphone outside of security. At first the agent insisted the same thing that my card should work for cash advance but after a little back and forth she transferred me to Chaseís security department. After waiting on hold for about 10-15 minutes as soon as I explained the issue to the security agent she said that my credit was ok to use but that a security alert was triggered for cash advances on my card after the $300 withdrawal in Cambodia a few days earlier. At this point there was so much I wanted to say to the girl on the phone but I just asked her to take the hold off. Five minutes later I took out what I needed out of the ATM and walked back through security.

Once back airside I tried to walk in to the Royal Silk lounge using my *G card but was denied based on their stated policy that said that access would not be allowed to *G on a non international or F/C flight. Luckily PG had a complimentary lounge for all its passengers. I taught that was a nice touch and was able to hang out in the lounge, use the internet, etc.

Once on board I was on my second ATR72 now and unlike my previous VN metal ATR the seats were uncomfortable and the plane itself felt stuffy and hot. Also there was less overhead bin space, I had to take things out of my bag in order to fit it while on the VN flight I could have had a bigger bag and it would have still fit.

Just like VN PG also servers food on these very short flights. We were offered cold chicken burgers and an option of water or orange juice. I declined as I ate while waiting for my flight at HKT.

After landing at USM I picked up my bag, met my driver and went off to my hotel.



Beach

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Old Apr 17, 10, 1:48 am
  #12  
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Location: Brooklyn, NY
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Continued

Flight Number: PG0136
Aircraft: A319
Route: USM-BKK
Class: Economy
Seat: 6D


I checked in for this flight online but didnít have access to a printer so did not have a boarding pass. At the airport PG had a separate line for web check in customers which I got to use. There was no one on this line while maybe a dozen people in the regular Y line.

The agent checking me in asked what my final destination was, I told him that it was LGA but that I only wanted to check in to this PG flight. While Iím sure that my bag would have been checked through on to the TG flight to FRA Iím not sure if theyíd be able to check it all the way through to BOS. Besides I wanted to make sure that my bags got properly tagged with priority tags. Also having 9 hours in BKK to collect and re-check my bags helped. The agent was fine with this but still wanted to know my next flight number, once I gave it to him he checked me in.

I donít think that there is a lounge at USM but if there was ever an airport that didnít need one this is one of those airports. The entire place feels like you are in a lounge. The seats by the gates are comfortable. There are refreshments available and free wifi (though it wasnít working).


Airport pictures







ďBusĒ that takes you to the plane from your gate




Gate area









Of to the plane






The plane seemed very new and was spotless. Seats were comfy and the flight was a quick uneventful 1 hour hop that was just a tad bumpy when landing. In flight meal was the same as on the HKT-USM flight and once again I decided to skip the cold chicken burger.




At BKK it took about 10 minutes to make the long walk over to the baggage carousel and another 30+ minutes until the bags started to come out. Not sure why it took so long but my bag was one of the first ones out and I was ready to go and start my first class journey home.
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Old Apr 17, 10, 1:50 am
  #13  
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Continued

Flight Number: TG920
Aircraft: 747
Route: BKK-FRA
Class: First
Seat: 1K



Check in

After stopping by to exchange my currency back to USD I was ready to start the TG F experience. I made my way over to the very busy check-in level of BKK. TG F check-in was all the way to the left coming of the escalator in row A. When I walked up I was asked if I was flying in business class and as soon as I said that I was in first someone quickly grabbed my luggage cart and asked me to walk over to the check in counter with them. As soon as we walked behind the corner to the check in area I no longer felt like I was at BKK. The airport was very busy with people but I was now the only person checking in at this counter in a very nice lounge like area. I was about 8 hours early for my flight and am assuming that most flights with F service would be leaving towards the evening which would probably explain why I was the only one there. Check in process took about 2 minutes and I was escorted to the security where my passport was stamped. After that it was on to the cart and off to the TG Royal First lounge.


BKK Lounge

I knew right away that I was going to love this lounge from the moment that I walked in. I was walked over to a private room which had a desk, couch, plenty of chairs and a flat screen TV with cable and a DVD player. Someone left a DVD of the West Wing in the player so I ended up watching a few episodes. I had to ask the lounge attendant for the remote control. I learned later that they seem to be short on remotes when they came over and asked if they can have the remote back so that another person can use it in their room.

The food situation was a little bit weird at first, I guess I expected there to be a buffet or something but instead while there was a buffet like area where you can check out whatís available you then order what you want for it to be delivered to your room.

Massage
When I first arrived at the lounge I asked about scheduling a massage and was able to set one up for 8pm. I figured with an 1140pm departure this would be a good way to break up my time in the lounge. The time seemed to fly by and right on time someone came to get me and escorted me over to the Spa which was located right next to the lounge. During my time in Thailand I had a few massages, some better than others. This massage, while very relaxing and certainly in a much nicer setting than the massages that I had over in Bangkok, was just ok. After I showered I walked back over to the lounge, got some more food and spent the next couple of hours on my laptop.








Once it got closer to the flight the lounge now had a lot of people (compared to when I got there) but still felt private in my own room. Someone came to get me and other F passengers that were on my flight. We walked about half way to the gates where the carts were waiting for us. It was still somewhat of a walk as it seems to be the case anywhere at BKK. We found someone sleeping in our cart. After waking the confused guy myself and another person got into the cart with our attendant and we were taken to our gate at the very end of the bay.


On board

On board I took my seat and looked around to see that there were going to be 5 of 10 seats occupied in F on this flight. There was a German couple, the Asian gentleman that was with me in the cart who looked like he was travelling on business and an older Thai woman that I think was a non-rev and me. I started with the Dom, this would be my first time trying Dom. Didnít really like it. Itís not that it was bad or anything, I just didnít really care for it, oh well. I actually enjoyed the Moet in the lounge a lot more. Maybe I had too much to drink before I got on the flight and thatís why I didnít like the Dom?

The pilot informed us that the flight would be a bit bumpy and would take a little longer than scheduled due to very strong head winds. Then after we were in the air he turned off the seat belt lights and next time we heard from him was a few minutes before landing right as the seat belt lights were turned back on.

Dinner service started not too long after takeoff and I was offered a shot of vodka with the caviar service. I really was not in the mood to take a shot but I just donít know how to turn down vodka. As for the rest of the meal the service was very efficient, I never had an empty class and I had 4 glasses, champagne which I wasnít really drinking, glass of water, glass of apple juice and a glass of ginger ale. Dinner service seemed to be a bit rushed but not really in a bad way. As soon as I was done with one course they were ready to serve me the next course pretty much immediately. I preordered my meal, lobster thermidor, and the FA commented how it was an excellent choice. I taught it was pretty good and overall was satisfied with my entire meal.







Menu:
Bangkok to Frankfurt
First Class
Dinner
December 2009

First Serving

Oscietra Caviar with Garnitures

First Course
Wing Bean Salad with Smoked Duck Thai Style
Duo of Marinated Halibut and Smoked Salmon
Rolled Grilled Zucchini with Porcini Mushroom Italian Style

Main Course
Pan-fried Australian Veal Loin, Three Peppercorn Sauce
Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary, Grilled Vegetables
or
*Roasted Duck Breast with Duck Juice
Apple Compote with Rosemary, Duchess Potatoes, Vegetables
or
Pork Mignon in Curry Pa-naeng (spicy)
Steamed Thai Hom Mali Rice, Sauteed Kailan with Oyster Sauce
or
Stir-fried US Scallops with Yee Heong Sauce
Egg Noodles, Vegetables

Bread Selection / Butter
Assorted Cheese / Fresh Fruits

Dessert
*Assorted Cakes
Tea, Coffee, Espresso, Cappuccino
* On 4th Ė 6th Dec, Meal will be Changed to Special Menu in Celebration of H.M. the Kingís Birthday as shown on Leaflet.







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Old Apr 17, 10, 1:53 am
  #14  
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Location: Brooklyn, NY
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Continued

After the meal my bed was made and I was ready to try to go to sleep. As I mentioned earlier the pilot said that we would have some turbulence. The turbulence was pretty bad and lasted most of the flight but the seat belt lights never went on. I was unable to get much any sleep occasionally dozing off only to wake up again feeling the plane shake. About an hour and a half before landing it was time for breakfast. More lobster for breakfast, another quick service and shortly after we landed.


Second Serving
Fresh Fruits
Plain Yoghurt, Fruit Yoghurt
Cereals
Main Course
Italian Basil Frittata topped with Lobster in Tomato Herb Sauce
Bacon and Herb Sausage
Roesti Potatoes with Cheese and Bacon
Grilled Carrots and Zucchini
or
Pancake stuffed with Cream Asparagus
Bacon and Herb Sausage
Grilled Mushrooms and Vegetables
or
Cold Cuts Platter
(Bierwurst, Cooked Salami, Farmer Ham, Tilsiter Cheese)
or
Instant Noodle Soup with Fish and Shrimp Balls

Assorted Breads, Butter, Marmalade, Jam, Honey
Tea, Coffee, Hot Chocolate

*Additional Choice of Meal Service
Boiled Rice with garnitures (Oriental style)
Available for Supper or Breakfast

Wine
White Wine
Chablis Premier Cru, Fourchaume 2006
Motzenbacker Dem Himmel So Nah 2008 (Available after Chablis Premier Cru, Fourchaume 2006 has been depleted)
Rully 1er Cru, 2000

Red Wine
Chateau Camensac 2001
Nuits-Saint-Georges 2003

Champagne
Dom Perignon Vintage 2000

Cognac
1795 Extra Cognac Otard

Apertifs
Campari
Gin Martini
Screwdriver
Bloody Mary
Black Russian
Vodka Martini
Warreís Warrior Port
Bristol Cream Sherry

Spirits
Rum
Gin
Bourbon Whisky
Whisky
Vodka

Liqueurs
Otard Extra
Kahlua
Drambuie
Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge

Beers
Heineken
Chang Beer
Singha Beer

Soft Drinks
Fruit Juices
Diet Soft Drinks
Perrier Mineral Water
A Range of Soft Drinks

Beverages
Espresso
Cappuccino
Decaffeinated Coffee
Ceylon Tea
Oolong Tea
Earl Grey Tea
Japanese Green Tea
English Breakfast Tea
Peppermint Tea
Cmomile Tea
Chocolate Malt 3 in 1














FRA

When I exited the plane there was someone waiting for me. I was confused at this point and assumed that this was an LH representative but later learned that this was someone representing TG it makes sense now since I was being met by a rep of the airline that I flew in on just like with all the other F flights so far but at the time I didnít realize it.

My connecting flight being on LH in F and with about a 7 hour layover the plan was to hang out at the FCT. I knew that it may be a bit tricky to get to the FCT from the regular terminal and knew that I had to either go to the LH F check in to ask about it or to exit the terminal and look around, ask someone how to get to it. The fact that I had an escort I taught was great since she must know where to go. She did ask me if I wanted to go to the gate of my flight or to a lounge, which I taught was strange but I said I wanted to go to the FCT and she said ok. After a fairly long walk through the terminal she dropped me off at an LH Senator lounge. As soon as we got there I told her that I didnít want to go to the Senator lounge. She insisted that this was the FCT and we went back and forth with me saying no itís not and her saying that it is. At that point she spoke with the LH attendant that was basically watching us in from of the lounge the entire time. After talking to each other the lounge attendant said that to use the FTC I needed an F ticket on LH. I showed my LH F BP which was given to me in BKK. She then suggested that I use the FCL lounge. Now if I ever fly LH F via FRA again I will make it a point to go right to the FCL because from what I read now itís exactly the same as the FCT plus I would like to compare the two and if they are the same I much rather go to the FCL than deal with the trek to the FCT. Anyway so at this point I still wanted to go to the FCT so I insisted on this and was now told that I should go to the FCL where someone could arrange for a car to take me to the FCT. When we got to the FCL, the lounge agent was much more helpful. She re-printed my LH boarding pass and explained that I can use the FCL lounge, that they donít provide a car to take passengers to FCT but gave me directions on how to get to it if I wanted to walk over there. With that information I made the walk over to the FCT.


FCT












To get to the FCT from terminal B you just have to go outside, make a left and keep walking until you see a separate building. When I got there I rang the bell and someone came down to get me. This was on December 27th, the 1st and apparently only day of the crazy security measures for US bound passengers after the ďunderwear bomberĒ incident. I donít know the normal none high alert security process at FCT but when going through security they went through all my stuff, patted me down, metal detector, etc. Wasnít a big deal especially since I was the only person going through security and actually only the 2nd passenger of the day at the FCT.

Once inside I went to take a shower, didnít get a bath tub room as I didnít know about it at the time and even if I did I probably would have still gone with just the shower. After that I was able to enjoy this truly amazing lounge. The breakfast spread was amazing but the drink menu (was it 20 pages long?) was truly something. I ate a little but couldnít drink any alcohol and when they brought out the lunch menu couldnít even look at it. Iím not sure if I had food poisoning or what but a few days ago in Koh Samui I must have eaten something that made me sick on and off for the next 4-5 days including starting with about an hour before boarding the LH flight.
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Old Apr 17, 10, 1:55 am
  #15  
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Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 1,410
Continued

Flight Number: LH422
Aircraft: A346
Route: FRA-BOS
Class: First
Seat: 1A



I was assigned a PA while at the FCT but about 45 minutes before my flight she came over and said that she was going to lunch or off shift (donít remember) and that her colleague would get me when it was time to board. About an hour later this new PA walked over and apologized that she was a little busy with a few other passengers but said that my car down stairs was ready and that all I had to do was walk down, grab my passport, get it stamped and get into the car. Easy enough, 2 minutes later I was on my way to the plane. This was definitely the coolest part of the LH F / FCT process and something Iím glad I got to experience.

On board it there were only two of us in the F cabin. This flight was fairly uneventful but boy was I glad that I was in F and pretty much had access to my own bathroom in case I needed it and not having to worry about waiting in line with most of the plane right after a meal. The FA that was serving me was outstanding. At first I did try to eat a little as I taught that my stomach had settled. By the time the main course was out I took a couple of bites of the goose, which I taught was one of the tastiest things I ever tried on a plane, and then told the FA that I wouldnít be eating any more on this flight as I continued to feel sick. After my table was cleared the FA brought me some water and flat soda and must have checked in on me every 15-20 minutes while I was awake making sure I was comfortable, truly the best F service I had so far on this trip.







Menu:
Frankfurt to Boston
First Class
Lunch
December 2009

Choice of Hors díoeuvres
Caviar with the traditional Garnishes
Smoked Tuna filled with Crabmeat on Lime CrŤme Fraiche with Walnuts
Medium rare Tenderloin of Beef with Apples and Jelly of Tabbouleh and Yogurt
Dialogue of Beetroot and Comte Cheese with Thyme

Salad or Soup
Frisee, Radicchio, Chicory and Lambís Lettuce with Cucumber,
Pumpkin and Brown Mushrooms
With your Choice of Vinaigrette or Potato Dressing
or
Clear Oxtail Soup with Cheese Stick

Choice of Main Courses
We are proud to present our traditional
Roast Goose with Red Cabbage, Potato Dumplings and Herb Crumb Butter
As an Alternative to the Compositions of our Star Chef

Nut crusted Slice of Halibut with Aniseed Beurre Blanc, Leaf Spinach
and mashed Pumpkin

Gratin de Legumes díAnton, Root Vegetable Casserole and Leaf Spinach
with Parmesan Sauce

Breast of Veal simmered in Hay with Savoy Cabbage and baked Potatoes

Selection of Cheese and Dessert
Comte, Crottin de Chvignol, Roquefort, Le Coutances and Brie Cheese
garnished with Grapes, Walnuts and Celery

Mashed Figs with Enzian Schnapps Coulis, Curd Cream and Buttermilk Ice Cream

Delicacy of Chocolate with Plum Jelly and Tonka Bean Ice Cream

Specialty Dessert Wines















Snack Time
Cold and hot Specialties
Bagel with Serrano Ham and Parmesan Cheese,
Tartelettes filled with creamed Camembert and Fig

Sandwiches with smoked and baked Ham, Gouda and Peppers

Mixed Pickles

Goulash Soup Tyrolean Style served in a Bread Bowl
Dessert
Apple Strudel and Chocolate Slice, Fruit Fours and Vanilla Cream with Berries
Fresh Fruit

Wine
Champagne
ďDĒ de Devaux Brut, Champagne Veuve Devaux, Frankreich

Aperitif
Campari
Sherry ďLa GuitaĒ

Monthly Proposal
2005 Stellenbosch Pinotage, Kanonkop, Sudafrika

White Wine
2008 ďSemper VivumĒ Riesling Spatlese trocken, Weingut Motzenbacker, Deutschland
2007 Russian River Valley Chardonnay ďDirectors CutĒ, Francis Ford Coppola, USA
2009 Leyda Vineyard ďLimited SelectionĒ Sauvignon Blank, Montes, Chile

Red Wine
2005 Douro Reserva, Quinta das Tecedeiras, Portugal
2002 Chateau Belgrave, Cru Classe, Haut-Medoc, Frankreich

Desert Wine
2005 Tokaija Edes Late Harvest, Oremus, Ungarn

Monthly Proposal
Etter Weihnachtspflumli, Schweiz

Spirits
Jack Danielís Tennessee Whiskey Old No. 7
Johnnie Walker Blue Label
Bushmills Malt 10 Years old
Smirnoff Red Vodka
Bombay Sapphire Distilled London Dry Gin
Cognac Lheraud Cuvee 30
Calvados Pays díAuge AC, Daron
Fernet Branca
Tequila (Exclusively on flights to and from Mexico)
Walcher Williams Exclusiv
Etter Zuger Kirsch, 42 Vol. %, Jahrgang 1998

Liqueur and Port
Baileys Irish Cream
Niepoort Portwein

Cold Beverages
Mineral Water
Apollinaris, sparkling natural mineral water
Elisabethenquelle, natural mineral water

Fruit Juices
Apple Juice
Tomato Juice
Orange Juice

Soft Drinks
Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola light, Sprite
Kinley Tonic Water, Kinley Bitter Lemon, Kinley Ginger Ale

German Beers
Warsteiner Premium Verum German premium lager
Warsteiner Premium alkoholfrei with genuine 0.0% alc. vol.
Edinger WeiBbier

Hot Beverages
Jacobs Kaffee
Royal Diplomat 100% Arabica Coffee from the Highlands

Nespresso Espresso und Cappuccino, 3Grands Crus des Kaffees
Ristretto
Volluto
Decaffeinato

Masala Tee (Exclussive on flights to and from India)

Eilles Teespezialitaten
Assam Special Broken
Earl Grey Premium Blatt
Yogi Tee Black Chai Bio
Gruntee Asia Superior Blatt
Vita Orange
Rooibos Winterpunsch



As part of the ďunderwear bomberĒ rules the in flight map was turned off and 1 hour prior to landing we were all asked to make sure there was nothing on our laps and told we couldnít get up. Luckily flying into BOS wasnít like flying into the NYC airports and we landed right on time. Sadly my first international F experience came to an end and it was evident immediately as there was no more holding up the line for F passengers to exit, no one to meet you upon exiting the plane and no priority immigration (if there is one in BOS maybe I didnít notice).


BOS

Once again this being the ďunderwear bomberĒ day at US airports every passenger in BOS was getting the fun experience of having the contents of their bags examined before leaving the terminal. Luckily for me that this happened as for the first time (and hopefully last time) ever I grabbed the wrong bag of the baggage carousel. Go figure that there would be two orange Samsonite suitcases with *G priority tags on the same flight. Normally I always check to make sure my tag is on the bag but for whatever reason this time I didnít. Had it not been for the annoying bag check might have ended up with someone elseís bag.

After getting the correct suitcase I proceeded to the shuttle bus and over to the domestic terminal for my final flight. I proceeded to the US Airways lounge as I had almost 3 hours to kill. Showing my *G card and LH F BP was enough to get me in. It was a very basic lounge compared to the international lounges I just spent time in over the last couple of days but it was huge and empty so I was able to grab a seat on a couch in front of a TV and watch some football.
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