Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Community > Trip Reports
Reload this Page >

My craziest trip to date - An odyssey of premium travel! 108 hours, 16 airlines, C/F

My craziest trip to date - An odyssey of premium travel! 108 hours, 16 airlines, C/F

Reply

Old Aug 15, 10, 11:04 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: In the skies of the world
Programs: SAS Gold, FB Gold, BA Gold, EY Silver
Posts: 3,167
My craziest trip to date - An odyssey of premium travel! 108 hours, 16 airlines, C/F


Table of contents

Part 1: ARN-PEK on Air China in C
Part 2: PEK-SIN on Air China in F
Part 3: A short layover in Singapore
Part 4: SIN-BKK on Singapore Airlines in C
Part 5: BKK-ICN on Thai Airways in C
Part 6: ICN-HKG on Korean Air in F
Part 7: A short visit to central Hong Kong
Part 8: Lounge hopping at HKG
Part 9: HKG-SIN on United Airlines in F
Part 10: Emirates Lounge, Singapore
Part 11: SIN-CMB on Emirates in F (B77W and the first class suite)
Part 12: Images of Colombo
Part 13: Hilton Colombo
Part 14: CMB-KUL on SriLankan in C
Part 15: KUL-SIN on Silkair in C
Part 16: Singapore Airlines The Private Room, Singapore
Part 17: SIN-HKG on Singapore Airlines in F (B77W and "New First Class")
Part 18: Hong Kong SkyCity Marriott Hotel
Part 19: SkyTeam lounge hopping in Hong Kong
Part 20: HKG-ICN on Korean Air in F
Part 21: ICN-SYD on Asiana in C
Part 22: SYD-AKL on LAN Airlines in C
Part 23: AKL-PPT on Air New Zealand in C
Part 24: A night in paradise! A very unusual transfer in Papeete/Tahiti
Part 25: PPT-NOU on Air Calin in C
Part 26: Noumea, New Caledonia
Part 27: Ile des Pins, a little piece of heaven!
Part 28: NOU-SYD on Air Austral in C
Part 29: A review of the nice Qantas lounge in Sydney
Part 30: SYD-HKG on Cathay Pacific in C
Part 31: HKG-ICN on Asiana in C
Part 32: Images of Seoul
Part 33: Lounge hopping in Seoul
Part 34: ICN-PVG on Shanghai Airlines in C
Part 35: Shanghai and the Maglev train
Part 36: PVG-SIN on Singapore Airlines in C
Part 37: A room with a view - Pan Pacific Hotel Singapore
Part 38: SIN-BKK on Thai Airways in C
Part 39: BKK-CPH on SAS Scandinavian Airlines in C
Part 40: CPH-ARN on SAS Scandinavian Airlines in Y+

Summary of the trip - in pictures
Summary of the trip - in text
Tickets, fares, and how the trip was booked
Summary and reflections of the airline products

Prologue

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls...

I’m not quite sure how this trip actually came about, the trip that ended up including the most number of miles/km I have ever flown during one single trip, on 16 different airlines in premium cabins, of which 5 in first class.
All I can say is that it started off with a tired and overworked young man, a bit of imagination, a talent to find and maximise good fares, and an urge to forget all about the daily duties (the spring has been extremely exhausting) and have a terrific time in the skies of the world during a couple of days.

And this is the result!

The trip included four different tickets including a Star Alliance business class award.
One of the itineraries was apparently so complicated they had to issue a paper ticket which was shipped to me a couple of days before departure. My first paper ticket in years...

When the day of departure finally arrived I was actually slightly questioning what I had got myself into. Some parts of the itinerary were nothing but madness, and I knew that.
But it all turned out very well, I don’t regret it a second. I got to experience some really fabulous airlines and products and there were some moments during the trip that simply blew me away.
I also got to try and review some airlines I don’t think have been covered here before, which was also great fun as I had no idea what to expect.

As usual most photos will be included as links. I have too many photos to upload (well over 1000), too many flights to cover, too many menus to type, and my reports tend to be pretty long anyway, even without all the photos in the report.
However as I know many people prefer the photos to be imbedded I will try to do the best of both worlds and include a couple of photos per segment, and the rest as links (the imbedded photos are included as links as well, but in higher quality).

But now let's head to the airport...

Comments and questions are always welcome!


And finally, some of my previous trip reports:

Jacob_m does 66 hours in C for a quick visit to APW (and reviews EK/FJ/KE/NZ/OZ/TK)
Ni hao Taipei! A crazy itinerary on SK/QI/CX/CI/LH, all in business class (with pics)
Turkish Airlines Business Class - A review of the newest *A member!
ARN-SIN and back in three day on LH/SK/TG in C + Shangri-La Singapore + lots of pics!
European Business class can be pretty nice!! LH/TP/LX/LO/VO/OS in C with 100+ pics!
The trip of trips!! FRWSTAR2 around the world! 57 days, 34 flights, and a few trains…

Last edited by jacob_m; Sep 11, 10 at 6:01 am
jacob_m is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Aug 15, 10, 11:07 am
  #2  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: In the skies of the world
Programs: SAS Gold, FB Gold, BA Gold, EY Silver
Posts: 3,167
10 years anniversary in the frequent flyer world

This trip started the last days of July, and as a small coincidence the departure coincided with my 10 year anniversary in the frequent flyer world, almost to the date.
My application to join SAS Eurobonus was submitted one of the last days of July 2000 and I was officially registered in the beginning of August 2000.
Back then I didn’t fly nearly as much as I do today, but I did maybe 4-5 trips a year within Europe, and it felt worthwhile to join. Perhaps I would collect enough points to get a free ticket one day...?!

Little did I know I would be completely devoted to this a few years later...

My first ever trip as a “frequent flyer” was done 18 August 2000, a round trip Stockholm-Helsinki.
jacob_m is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Aug 15, 10, 11:08 am
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: In the skies of the world
Programs: SAS Gold, FB Gold, BA Gold, EY Silver
Posts: 3,167
ARN-PEK on Air China in C

First part of this report will cover Air China, the national airline of China.
Many people questioned when they heard I was going to fly Air China, but I really wanted to give the airline a try, with realistic expectations, especially as they are now part of Star Alliance and the flights qualify for point earnings.

To the airport and check-in at Arlanda airport



I arrived at the airport around 4.45 pm, in good time for the 7.10 pm departure.
I had spent the day celebrating my birthday, so I was pretty tired and was looking forward to a relaxed drink in the lounge and some sleep onboard the plane.
The weather this afternoon was really bad, it was raining extremely heavily and since the drop-off area at the airport is a short walk from the terminal entrance it meant I had to wait in the car a few minutes not to get soaking wet.

Air China had its own check-in area in the old part of terminal 5, there were two business class desks and two economy class desks.
The line for the economy check-in was very long and several Chinese travellers thought they could beat the system by talking their way to one of the business class desks (the business class desks were checking in economy passengers as well, whenever possible, but obviously from the front of the line).
I was quickly checked in by a friendly young woman at one of the business desks, my bag was priority-tagged accordingly but she could only check me in for the first flight.
I asked her about the rather chaotic check-in area and she just sighed and said she was so tired of sending people away all the time, people who came to her desks with all kind of arguments why she should prioritise them. We just laughed at it before she wished me a nice flight.

Prior to leaving for the airport I had made an attempt to use the Air China online check-in, mostly as I wanted to check my seat assignment.
The CA online check-in was really strange, it wanted both my name and ticket number (that’s ticket number, not booking ref) and strangest of all...my mobile phone number!
I actually managed to retrieve the booking, but what followed next were a long number of error messages, at the end I just gave up.

Pics
Busy Air China check-in at Arlanda terminal 5
Air China business class check-in
Economy class passengers trying their luck at the business check-in, no success...

SAS Business Lounge, Stockholm/Arlanda



The fast track security was a breeze. I passed one of the electronics stores to buy new earphones before heading for the lounge. At the same time I could see the Air China crew arriving.

The SAS Scandinavian lounge (gold card lounge) was closed for refurbishment so all passengers were directed to the business lounge. I was not very surprised as they do it every summer, they usually close each lounge for about two weeks and let all passengers use the other lounge.

As for the interior the business lounge is much more basic and it lacks the comfy couches they have in the Scandinavian lounge.
Fortunately during these closures they also move all the drinks, to the delight of business class passengers without status who get spirits and better wines (usually just wine on tap in the business lounge).

I had a few drinks and browsed through some newspapers, it had been a hectic day and I really needed to stress down a bit. The lounge was surprisingly crowded, despite being in the middle of the summer.

Pics
The entrance to the SAS lounges
Inside the business class lounge
One of the sitting areas in the lounge
View from the lounge, very rainy afternoon

Boarding



75 minutes before departure boarding was flashing on the monitors, that obviously made absolutely no sense and of course the real boarding did not start until 30 minutes before departure.
I was a bit surprised as they are usually quite honest about these announcements at Arlanda, but considering the chaotic check-in area, maybe it was needed?!

Boarding took place at the newer F-pier of terminal 5 and the gate lounge was again rather chaotic. The gate staff actually had to physically push away passengers from the podium so they could do their job. What a scene!
Eventually boarding was announced and the Chinese gate agent loudly and clearly explained in mandarin the exact boarding process and that there would be no exceptions.
For the first time people seemed to respect this. A first boarding announcement was made for business class and passengers travelling with small children.

Pics
The departure board. The flight is boarding 55 minutes before departure? Yeah right!
People waiting at the gate lounge
The gate agent making a serious attempt to describe the boarding process
The Air China Boeing 777 at the gate

Stockholm/Arlanda-Beijing, flight CA 912 operated by Air China
Departure: 19:10
Arrival: 09:40
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200
Class: Business Class
Seat: 12A



There were three classes onboard the Boeing 777-200.
First class was completely empty. Business class had 7 rows with a 2-3-2 configuration divided into a larger and a smaller cabin. That would make 49 seats, but we were only about 10 passengers in total so space was certainly not a problem.

Pre-departure drinks were offered including water, orange juice and champagne. Easy choice! There will be more of this during this trip...

Amenity kits, slippers and newspapers were also offered. On Air China rather than just handing out the slippers they actually remove them from the cover and place them on the floor in front of you. I thought that was very nice!
The amenity kit was a nice little grey and brown bag but with just the basic contents including a small toothbrush, toothpaste, earplugs, eyeshades, comb and some whitening emulsion (the only thing on the small bottle not written in Chinese).

Pushback slightly late at 7.30 pm and take-off 10 minutes later from runway 19R.

Pics
The business class cabin
Hot towel and a glass of champagne
Amenity kit
Taxiing past a rainy terminal 5
Lining up for take-off runway 19R

Meal service



Unfortunately I have no menu to post for this flight. Not because I misplaced it, but because there were no individual menus.
The FA passed around the cabin with one menu which each passenger could look at for a few seconds, then she took the meal order, asked to get the menu back, and continued to the next passenger.
Although I was probably the only passenger really annoyed by this it just felt a bit substandard.

The meal order was taken already on the ground which I very much appreciated as I wanted to get as much sleep as possible during the flight. A first drink order was also taken which was served straight after take-off with some peanuts.
There were three lists shown: a menu, a drink list and a tea list.

The appetizer was smoked salmon with some kind of pate, which I washed down with another glass of champagne. Actually pretty good!
There were three choices of main course including beef tenderloin or Bohuslän salmon filet (can’t remember the third choice). I had the salmon with potatoes, it was very tasty although a dish I would rather expect to find onboard SAS than Air China (typical Swedish dish).
Finally the dessert was offered, either cheese or cake (although I’m sure you could have both). The cake was a crusty apple pie with strawberry sauce. I declined coffee but asked for a glass of whisky to finish off the meal, they served Glenfiddich onboard if I remember correctly.

Overall the food was good but not spectacular, still no complaints whatsoever.
The meal service was also very fast (without feeling rushed), it was completed in about an hour or so which I greatly appreciated. Some airlines keep the meal services way too long on shorter night flights.

Pics
Appetizer
Main course
Dessert and a glass of Glenfiddich
The cabin just after the meal service
Flying over north-eastern Russia heading for China

The seat and inflight entertainment system

The business class seat was an old type recliner seat. I read Air China used to operate Airbus A330 to Stockholm, with proper lie-flat business class seats, but they switched to Boeing 777 which only has recliner seats (I believe they switched because B777 can take more passengers).
Despite being only a recliner seat I managed to find a good sleeping position and slept reasonably well onboard. The seat itself was pretty comfortable and the seat pitch acceptable.
With a light load in business class the seat next to mine was empty which provided even more space.



The inflight entertainment system was an older type non-AVOD system with 12 channels and small individual screens. It didn’t matter that much on this flight as most of us wanted to maximise the sleeping time, but it might have been different on a day flight.
I know Air China has proper AVOD on some of the newer aircrafts.

Pics
The business class seat
Seat controls
The screen
Standard IFE remote control

Breakfast

90 minutes prior to landing the lights were turned on for breakfast.
Breakfast orders were taken earlier during the flight which again reduced the length of the meal service.
Hot towels and soft drinks were offered before the breakfast was served.
There were two choices of breakfast: Chinese breakfast with porridge or continental breakfast with an omelette. I had the continental breakfast.
Everything was served on one tray with fruits and cereals. The FAs offered coffee, tea, juices and croissants, but interestingly no bread rolls.

Pics
Breakfast
We have just left Mongolia, soon starting the descent to Beijing

Landing in Beijing



After crossing Mongolia and the capital Ulan Bator we started our descent around 9 am Beijing time. Information about some gate changes for connecting passengers was given by the crew before the cabin was prepared for landing.

We finally landed at 9.20 am on runway 36L. Beijing airport was extremely grey and foggy and it literally felt like we had landed in the middle of nowhere due to the low visibility.
It took absolutely forever to get to the gate at terminal 3, we kept on taxiing for nearly 30 minutes before we were safely parked.

Pics
There is supposed to be an airport there somewhere…
Three Boeing planes, but still no airport
UA and LH…and a terminal building. There is an airport there after all!

After the seatbelt sign had been switched off I ended up waiting in the empty first class cabin while the passenger bridge was positioned and decided to take a photo.
There were two rows of first class with a 2-2-2 configuration. Just like in business class the first class seats were an older version, but with a very good seat pitch. Definitely no lack of legroom.

Pics
The first class cabin onboard

Verdict

On the whole the flight was fine. The FAs were very courteous and helpful and the food was pretty good. I also appreciate they took various measures to minimise the length of the meal service which meant I got about five hours of sleep on this eight hour flight.
On the negative side communicating with the FAs was sometimes a problem as many of them only had a basic level of English. Everything was always sorted out and the crew always did their outmost to be attentive and responsive, but a more in-depth conversation with them was out of question.

Would I fly Air China again? Well it probably wouldn’t be my first choice, but yes I would, if I find a good deal. Although next time I hope it will be on a newer plane.

Last edited by jacob_m; Sep 11, 10 at 1:07 pm
jacob_m is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Aug 15, 10, 12:03 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,453
Hey Jacob, nice start and I am really looking forward to the rest of the report! Especially some of the more exotic destinations and F flights will be interesting. As always, I know you put a lot of effort into your reports and I love the amount of details. Thanks for sharing
view is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Aug 15, 10, 12:19 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,558
Well done, just like your past reports!

Can you please imbed your pics into your story, rather than requiring people to click to bring them up? Then scolling down makes it more pleasant.

It looks like less than 60 inches of pitch on that flight from Stockholm to Beijing - maybe around 45?
Seatguru lists it as 60 but it can't be correct judging by the pic you've got there.
Flyingfox is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Aug 15, 10, 12:32 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: East Yorkshire
Programs: BA miles.
Posts: 63
Wow **sits back, pours a glass of red and awaits next instalment**
Triker is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Aug 15, 10, 2:11 pm
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: In the skies of the world
Programs: SAS Gold, FB Gold, BA Gold, EY Silver
Posts: 3,167
PEK-SIN on Air China in F

Beijing was not my final destination of the day, I was continuing a few hours later to Singapore.
The ticket used for this part was an SAS discounted business class ticket Stockholm-Singapore, which included the option to fly Air China via Beijing since SAS no longer has any flights to Singapore (SAS used to do CPH-BKK-SIN).

Obviously when you buy a business class ticket you expect all flights to be in business class, so imagine my utter surprise when I realised I was booked in first class on the flight between Beijing and Singapore.
I did not know about it when I booked the ticket, the SAS booking confirmation just said “business class fare”. Checkmytrip.com gave me the first hint, I was sorting out seat assignments and realised the seat map for the flight did not make sense.

I don’t know if this was an error, but I was not complaining...

An unexpected transfer experience in Beijing

I was the first person off the plane in Beijing and to my very surprise when entering the terminal building there is a young girl standing there holding a sign with my name on it.
I introduced myself to her and it turned out the reason she was there was to escort me through all the airport formalities as I was now a first class passenger.
Very nice! That was totally unexpected!

The young girl was very friendly and we did some small talk about my trip and the new airport in Beijing, although honestly I was a bit too tired for any kind of talk after the flight.
We passed the transfer desk to get a boarding pass to Singapore followed by immigration, security, boarding pass check and then she showed me to the first class lounge.
The escort didn’t really speed up the process, but it made the formalities far easier as she took care of everything for me, explaining my travel arrangements in Chinese to all the people we met along the way.
All-in-all a completely hassle-free transfer!

The main difference between transiting in Beijing and most other airports in Asia is that all transfer passengers have to enter China according to Chinese law.
The Beijing airport authorities have managed that part pretty well by having a combined entry and exit passport check, so you enter and leave China at the same time, practically you get a stamp in the passport but no visa is required.
It’s all rather straight forward, at the end just one more desk to line up for.

Air China First class Lounge, Beijing



The Air China First Class lounge is a vast, modern and spotlessly clean lounge located on a balcony above the main shopping area (similar to most Hong Kong lounges).
However what mostly impressed me was the number of staff available, when I arrived they easily outnumbered the passengers in the lounge.
Two people were sitting behind the reception desk, then two women were standing beside the desk assisting passengers with any kind of requests (showers, luggage lockers etc), then a concierge desk with two people taking care of rebookings, seat changes etc.
Then on top of that a dozen people clearing tables and keeping the buffet areas well-stocked and tidy. Most impressive!



I was rather tired and sweaty when arriving at the lounge so I asked at the reception about showers in the lounge and was escorted to a shower room by one of the reception girls. The shower rooms were very high-tech but rather small.
As always that shower did wonders when you’re right in the middle of a long trip.

I had a seat by the window in one of the very comfortable armchairs (that also turned out to be excellent for sleeping) and got some snacks from the self-service buffet.
There are two self-service snack buffets in the lounge with sandwiches, cookies, pastries, fresh fruits, beer and soft drinks.

After dozing off for an hour I decided to stretch my legs and have a look around the airport as I had not been to Beijing airport before. The new terminal 3 is absolutely massive.
Very nicely they have luggage lockers in the lounge which I made use of, you get a small piece of paper that you later insert in a reader to open the locker and retrieve the luggage.



Back in the lounge it was past noon and lunch time, so I ventured into the lounge restaurant.
This was actually the most disappointing part of the lounge, although they did have chicken and beef with rice in the buffet the dishes were completely tasteless, the Chinese can make so much tastier food than that.
They had four types of noodle dishes for order, maybe that would have been a better option?! They also had a decent selection of sushi.
Soft drinks and beer were available in a fridge in the restaurant, all other alcoholic drinks were available at a bar counter around the corner.

On the whole the lounge was pretty nice. Very spacious with really comfortable armchairs, very attentive staff, decent apron view, free WIFI, shower rooms and even a TV-room.
I had a long layover at the airport but it passed in no time.

Pics
The entrance to the first class lounge
The reception desk, notice the two young women standing next to the desk there waiting for any kind of passenger request
Inside the first class lounge
The lounge is vast, lots of space and privacy
One of the self-service snack buffets
Sandwiches, fresh fruits and a cup of coffee
The TV room
The first class lounge restaurant
Inside the restaurant
The bar in the first class lounge
Very elegant and modern restrooms
View from the lounge

Beijing airport

The new terminal 3 is absolutely massive with a very impressive ceiling. I wonder how much it cost to build?!
As an international transfer passenger I obviously only got to see the international satellite, there is an identical satellite for domestic flights.
Plenty of shopping as well, although nothing very exciting and not particularly cheap.

Pics
The international transit hall at Beijing terminal 3

Boarding

I left the lounge around 45 minutes before departure. Gate E58 for the Singapore flight turned out to be a bus gate as our aircraft was parked at a remote stand.
Priority boarding was announced for F/C/*G but was mostly ignored by both passengers and ground staff, on the other hand very nicely there was a “VIP bus” for first class and business class passengers, a smaller bus similar to a hotel shuttle bus where all passengers got at least two seats each instead of being crammed into the regular transfer bus.
The first “VIP bus” left with only 6 passengers onboard and we arrived at the plane way ahead of the crowds which was very nice.

Once in my seat 02L I was quickly approached by a friendly FA who addressed me by name and welcomed me onboard.
She asked if I wanted something to drink and I asked for a glass of water
I was offered slippers and China Daily. Just like on the previous flight the slippers were placed on the floor in front of me which I found very nice.

More airport buses arrived dropping off passengers but finally boarding was completed.
Lots of passengers on the flight, both economy class and business class seemed pretty much fully booked.

However as for myself, I soon realised I was to be the only first class passenger on this flight!

Beijing-Singapore, flight CA 969 operated by Air China
Departure: 15:35
Arrival: 21:25
Aircraft: Boeing 767-300
Class: First Class
Seat: 02L



Very busy afternoon at Beijing airport with air traffic restrictions as a consequence. We were finally airborne at 4.10 pm from runway 36R, quite a bit behind timetable.

The menu

The menu, wine list and tea list were handed out already on the ground.
Just like the previous flight they were not meant to be kept, but as I was the only first class passenger the FA asked me to take my time to look through all of it before she would return to take meal and drink orders.
In the meantime I took photos of the menus to be able to type them here.

Pics
The western dinner menu

Menu Beijing-Singapore

Chinese Lunch/Dinner

Appetiser
Bangbang Chicken

Steamed pumpkin with Osmanthus sauce

Salad
Fresh seasonal salad leaf
French dressing
or
Oriental vinaigrette

Main Courses
Prawns and winter melon in clay pot served with steamed pearl rice

Sauteed dory in Yuxiang sauce with dragon fruit, Guizhou chicken served with steamed pearl rice and seasonal vegetables

Vegetarian choice
Selection of stir-fried seasonal vegetables served with steamed pearl rice

Dessert
Strawberry mousse

Selection of cheese with crackers

Seasonal fresh fruits

Assorted bread roll served with butter is served in Chinese lunch/Dinner

Western Lunch/Dinner

Western style appetizer
Smoked salmon and crab meat rolls

Salad
Fresh seasonal salad leaf
French dressing
or
Oriental vinaigrette

Main Courses
Chicken curry

Vegetarian choice
Selection of stir-fried seasonal vegetables served with steamed pearl rice

Dessert
Strawberry mousse

Selection of cheese with crackers

Seasonal fresh fruits

Champagne
Champagne Cattier Brut

White wine
2008 AOC Bordeaux Blanc, Château Jacquet, France
Vins de Pays de l’Hérault “Spirit of Nature”, Domaine de Petit Roubié, France
Greatwall Sungod Chateau Reserved, Riesling Dry White Wine, China

Red wine
2006 AOC Premieres Côtes de Bordeaux, Château Maubert, France
2006 AOC Premieres Côtes de Blaye, Château Puynard, France
Greatwall Dry Red Wine, China

Beer
Budweiser Beer
Yanjing Draft Beer
Import Beer

Spirits
Camus V.S.O.P
Glenfiddich Special Reserve
Grants Gin
Grants Vodka

Soft drinks
Tibet Spring Mineral, Orange juice, Apple juice, Tomato juice, Cola, Sprite, Diet Cola, Soda, Tonic, Ginger

Coffee
Golden Coffee
Decaffeinated Coffee
Cappuccino Coffee

Tea
Pu’er Tea
Green Tea
Black Tea
Blue Brown Tea
Jasmine Tea
Wu Qiying Pu’er Tea
Longjing Tea
Yellow Label tea
Oolong Tea
Chrysanthemum Tea
Meal service



The selection of food was pretty good in my opinion, however the drink list could have been far better, for example the champagne and spirits brands.

Once in the air the flight attendant came and ask for me if I had decided what to eat, I decided to go for the Chinese menu with prawns, after all we were on a Chinese airline.
Since I was travelling in first class and had no fellow passengers she said I could eat whenever I wanted.
I asked to eat two hours into the flight which was followed to the minute. In the meantime I asked for a glass of champagne which was frequently topped up.

At 5.30 pm the flight attendant came and asked if I was ready to eat, I said I was.
After a hot towel my table was prepared for the meal service.
Rather than eating one course at a time (as with western meals) lots of small bowls with different dishes were given to me that could be mixed and matched with rice and soup.
The meal was very extensive and tasty, but also very filling, I could actually not finish all of it.
I had a glass of white wine with the meal that, according to the wine list, should work well with seafood.



After the main meal I was given some fresh fruit and a choice between cheese or strawberry mousse. As it was a long flight I asked if I could have both and the FA just smiled and said “of course”.
I finished off the meal with coffee and a whisky.

The whole meal was very good, I was very satisfied.

Pics
Champagne and peanuts
Table setting
The main meal
Fresh fruits, cheese and dessert

The seat and inflight entertainment system

First class on the Boeing 767-300 had two rows with a 2-1-2 configuration.
This was one of the oldest planes I had been on for a long time given that there was no inflight entertainment system except for the overhead screen and some music channels.
I had brought my laptop which kept me occupied for some time, but the lack of proper IFE was of course very disappointing.

The first class seat was also an older style, but in fact lie-flat and very comfortable.
The seat was extremely wide and there was ample legroom. I can’t comment how well you sleep in the seat, a fully horizontal seat it was not, but for a daytime flight I was more than happy with the seat.

Pics
The first class cabin onboard the Boeing 767
The first class seat
Inflight entertainment on the main screen
The first class cabin in preparation for landing

Arrival in Singapore



Our flight path took us right over Hong Kong (I even managed to spot Macau from 36000 feet), then along the coast of Vietnam down to Singapore.
Due to the ATC restrictions in the beginning of the flight we arrived late in Singapore and did not touch down until 10 pm, 35 minute behind timetable.

Air China uses terminal 1 at Singapore Changi. Immigration was a breeze and baggage delivery started quickly with the priority baggage first on the belt.
Quite a bit of traffic in Singapore, but I was still checked in at the hotel an hour after landing, which is not bad at all

Pics
Passing Macau, the very distinctive airport is easy to recognise
Sunset over South China Sea

Verdict

My second flight with Air China and my first flight in Air China first class.
This flight was considerably better than the Stockholm-Beijing flight, not just because I was in first class rather than business, but very much because of the crew.
The crew on this flight, including the FA who mostly served me, spoke considerably better English and seemed much more accustomed to the airline standards of 2010.
I was addressed by name throughout the entire flight and the whole meal service was done with the same finesse as most other first class flights I have taken. Nothing whatsoever to comment about.

The hard product was a letdown though, especially the lack of personal IFE was appalling. The seat was perhaps not a first class suite, but very comfortable and perfectly adequate for a 5½ hour daytime flight.
Food and drinks were both satisfactory although I would have liked to see a better and more extensive drink list.

Last edited by jacob_m; Jan 30, 11 at 5:26 am
jacob_m is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Aug 15, 10, 2:29 pm
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: In the skies of the world
Programs: SAS Gold, FB Gold, BA Gold, EY Silver
Posts: 3,167
Originally Posted by Flyingfox View Post
It looks like less than 60 inches of pitch on that flight from Stockholm to Beijing - maybe around 45?
Seatguru lists it as 60 but it can't be correct judging by the pic you've got there.
I noticed myself that just can't be right, so that has been changed.

Originally Posted by Flyingfox View Post
Can you please imbed your pics into your story, rather than requiring people to click to bring them up? Then scolling down makes it more pleasant.
Well I've been thinking about that part, I have probably around 1000 pics (might be even more) and the report will simply be too long if I imbed every single photo as I have menus and other things to include as well.
Also I'm among the old-fashioned people who thinks it's nice to put some effort and focus on the written part rather than just posting a long page of pics to scrol.

Anyway, my goal is to do something in-between with a handful of photos per segment and the rest as links, best of both worlds...
jacob_m is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Aug 15, 10, 3:55 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Sao Paulo, Brazil and London, UK
Programs: LH SEN, SQ PPS Club, FB Platinum, GP Platinum, SPG Platinum, BA Gold, LATAM Platinum
Posts: 523
WOW!

Excellent TR so far!

I have used CA quite a few times since I work around Asia quite often. They are still far from being a very good airline, but as your posts clearly show they have been improving!

It is already possible to order a cold drink and not get funny looks from the FAs
GRUflyer is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Aug 15, 10, 4:59 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: ORD/NYC
Programs: AS MVP 75K; UA Plat MM; Hyatt Globalist; Starwood, Marriott, Hilton Gold.
Posts: 5,119
Great report so far! Looking forward to more.
Buster CT1K is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Aug 16, 10, 6:32 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: TPE/HKG/BWI
Programs: UA 1K 0.8MM, CX Diam 1.0MM, MR Plat, Hertz PC, TR Diam
Posts: 2,622
Great TR, looking forward to the rest!
mjcewl1284 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Aug 16, 10, 8:01 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: ORD MDW
Programs: AA, UA, DL , PC Gold, SPG Gold, Avis PC - 2009 FT Fantasy Football Champion
Posts: 6,501
Nice report! Double desserts on CA!
sobore is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Aug 16, 10, 8:25 am
  #13  
2019 FlyerTalk Awards
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Abidjan
Programs: OW Emerald - HH Diamond
Posts: 2,970
Great job so far with the report/pics. Keep it up. Have to agree with the F product, very disappointing. Glad the service was top-notch.
Abidjan is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Aug 16, 10, 9:33 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Programs: QR Platinum
Posts: 1,163
great report so far
roadwarriorafrica is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Aug 16, 10, 11:05 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Chicago
Posts: 30
Wow. Nice story!!
mvenneta is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread