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FLIGHT#22: SGN International Sasco Lounge & TG 551 Business Class with photos

FLIGHT#22: SGN International Sasco Lounge & TG 551 Business Class with photos

Old Jan 2, 11, 1:18 am
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FLIGHT#22: SGN International Sasco Lounge & TG 551 Business Class with photos

FLIGHT#22
Thai Airways #551
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (SGN) – Bangkok, Thailand (BKK)

Date: Jan 2, 2010
Departure: 10:20
Arrival: 11:45
Length: 1:25
Miles flown since start of trip: 38,725 mi.
Aircraft: Airbus 330-300 (HS-TEC)
Seats: BUSINESS 11ABE



We are half way through our year of travel. We spent a wonderful month in Vietnam. This is definitely a place for us to return to. I look forward to exploring the north next time. The big Flyertalk trip report on the entire year can be found here: My son’s fifth grade year: 97,737 miles, 40 flights, 6 continents and 16 countries

CHECK-IN:
After a cheap $10 taxi ride to the airport, we arrived about two and a half hours early and the TG check-in desks were not open yet. Finally about twenty minutes later the crew arrived and began their jobs. We walked right up and our agent handled everything smoothly. We would be connecting in BKK to a CX flight so he tagged our bags all the way through and showed me that he had done it correctly! I like when they do this!

The Saigon international terminal looks fairly new. It is bright and has nice high ceilings. Before getting to passport control, there is a preliminary baggage x-ray but no metal detectors. Passport control was extremely slow for our line because the agent had to restart his computer. We could all see his screen and it took a very long time. So fifteen minutes later, we were at the normal bag screening and metal detector. At several of our airports here in Asian you can leave your shoes on and don’t have to remove computers.

LOUNGE:
Thai Airways does not have a dedicated lounge. Instead it uses the SASCO Rose CIP Lounge located at the far left of the terminal. Thank goodness that a map was provided on the back of the invitation because there was absolutely no signage. It was kind of like finding Club 33 at Disneyland. You’ve got to know it’s there.


SASCO Rose CIP Lounge


A large, spacious lounge

After the front door, you descend steps into a lovely, spacious shared lounge. The food offerings were very impressive. Considering it was morning, they had a full selection of Pho and all the trimming, noodles, spring rolls, fresh fruit and sandwiches. The normal beverages and some wine was also available. No spirits for the morning flights. I have never seen so much fresh fruits and vegetables in a lounge. No wonder the Vietnamese are so skinny. Their food is very healthy.


Sandwiches and Halal food


More lovely, fresh options


Pre-made plates of food to be heated up



You have to love a lounge that serves Pho


Beverage offerings


A few of my choices

My favorite part of the lounge was a two meter aquarium on one wall. It brought a nice feeling to the place.


The aquarium

The wifi wasn’t the fastest in the world but at least was free! They also had a nice room of computers.


The Business Center

We saw our plane land around 9:15 coming in from Bangkok. I sure like the TG livery. Very classy.


Our arriving aircraft

Now that my family and I have been traveling for six months together, lounge time tends to be quiet time. I make phone calls and do email. Terry usually reads or writes and Corbin plays games on his iPad or computer. We are all self sufficient and enjoy the peace and quiet of the lounge.

BOARDING:
No boarding announcements were made in the lounge so we headed to the other side of the airport just after boarding was supposed to begin. Once at the gate, everyone was seated and the podium was unmanned. Hmm.


Our Airbus 330-300 freshly in from BKK

Finally a group of employees showed up and boarding soon began. They invited Business Class and Star Golds first but it looked like the entire crowd stormed both sides of the podium. It was a race and last one in is a rotten egg. Luckily we were near the podium when the chaos began so we made it to our seats quickly. We were seated in the first row which Thai Airways calls row 11. I know that CX also always starts Business Class with row 11 on all aircraft. Soon enough, we were offered water, OJ or champagne and a chilled moist towelette. I was a bit surprised that they used the moist towelette packets instead of a real wash cloth. (FYI, Word didn’t like my spelling of “towelette” so I googled it. The first hit was http://www.moisttowelettemuseum.com/. Enjoy. God love the Internet.)

While still on the ground, a lovely flight attendant handed out two menus: one for drinks and one for the meal service. I had the Piper Heidsiech Brut Champagne. It’s a nice way to start a day of lounges and premium class travel. I was impressed at the wide variety of alcohol they had for this short flight.

MEAL:
While we were still on the ground, I began to smell the garlic bread warming up. Even though it was just after 10am, it smelled delicious. Once in the air, the meal service began about sixty seconds after the fasten seat belt sign was turned off. I couldn’t believe it. There was a flight attendant passing out tablecloths.


The Thai Airways signature linens

About three minutes later a hot meal was place in front of me! While there was no choice of entrees, I still couldn’t believe what they served on an one hour mid-morning flight!

Menu:
First Course:
Combination Salad with Smoked Chicken Cubes
Royal Project Honey and Herbs Dressing

Main Course:
Fried rice with Chicken Curry “Kiew-wan” Rolled with Fried Egg
Salted Egg Wedge
Bread, butter

Dessert:
Orange Tangerine Mousse Cake
Tea, Coffee


TG can really serve a nice meal on a 60 min flight!

Having just had breakfast in the lounge, I wasn’t very hungry. Nonetheless, everything was very tasty. The fried rice was unique and I ate far to much of it.

The attendants made several passes of coffee and tea. I was truly amazed on what they could serve in under an hour.

At the end of the service, a flight attendant gave each of us an orchid corsage. While I’m not a fan of wearing a corsage, it decorated my backpack nicely.


Corbin wearing his orchids


Today’s decoration for my backpack



SEAT:
The Airbus 330 was nicer than I had expected. The seats had a nice recline similar to the old CX business class seats. They were much better than the TG Airbus 300 domestic business seats we had on the BKK-Krabi route. The leg room was fantastic in the first row; my feet couldn’t even touch the wall in front of me.


At 6’3”, this is a happy hubby



The shorter members of the family are also happy


Each seat had an in-seat pop out video screen that came out of the armrest. I’m not sure they even turned it on for the flight. The main screen always showed the AirShow.


Our route on AirShow

OVERALL:
Thai Airways offers a great product on this route. We flew Lufthansa BKK-SGN and Thai’s hot meal easily beat the cold plate that LH offered. Of course the long-haul tilty flat seat on LH is superior as much as I hate tilty flat. The interesting thing about this route was the price. Thai Airways and Vietnam Airlines both had one way fares of around $450. Lufthansa and Qatar flew the same route and were around $250. The issue was they both had evening departures without daily service. So that’s how we ended up on TG.

I was surprised that there was a noticeable difference between domestic business class and international business class. We took TG on both with flights of one hour. The international service/seat was much better.

Now we have five hours of lounge hopping before finishing our day with a CX flight to Delhi.

Last edited by olafman; Jan 2, 11 at 2:30 am
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Old Jan 4, 11, 5:17 am
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I am absolutely adoring this entire series of TRs. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.
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Old Jan 4, 11, 5:54 am
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Is it correct that all of the lounges at SGN are roughly identical? Food was more impressive in the above photos than when I was in the Rose lounge in the evening, however.
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Old Jan 4, 11, 10:23 pm
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Originally Posted by gleff View Post
Is it correct that all of the lounges at SGN are roughly identical? Food was more impressive in the above photos than when I was in the Rose lounge in the evening, however.
I've been only the the SASCO Domestic Lounge and then the SASCO International Rose CIP Lounge. They were almost identical in their offerings.

But it's not a bad offering at that!
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Old Jan 4, 11, 11:42 pm
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I have a huge admiration for the life experience you are exposing your son to. I would do this in a heartbeat if I could. My family would most likely leave me about one quarter of the way into a year long trip, but my intent would be pure!

Bravo to both of you. Exceptional quality TR...
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Old Jan 5, 11, 5:14 am
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Originally Posted by eightblack View Post
I have a huge admiration for the life experience you are exposing your son to.
+1. Incredibly insightful of you, -- his exeriences over the year will serve him well throughout his life.
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Old Jan 6, 11, 2:31 pm
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Originally Posted by Dr. HFH View Post
+1. Incredibly insightful of you, -- his exeriences over the year will serve him well throughout his life.
..and will fuel his need to read FT while in school to figure out how to ensure he will always flight in the front....thankfully, i did not know what was up front when i was young.

another great TR.
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Old Jan 6, 11, 4:51 pm
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I enjoy your posts, nice lounge, a big difference
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Old Jan 7, 11, 5:35 am
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Great report! Thanks for posting!
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Old Jan 9, 11, 2:52 am
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Nicely written, thanks for sharing!
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