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From here to there and everywhere, 100 hours mostly in the air before I get to my bed

From here to there and everywhere, 100 hours mostly in the air before I get to my bed

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Old Mar 1, 12, 7:31 pm
  #16  
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Sunday 19 June 2011


When I woke up, I was feeling a little bit sweaty but otherwise alright. Day light had broken and shades started to slowly come up. We had a couple of hours before touch down, so it was probably good as time as any to get dressed back into civvies.

LX serve a pretty standard breakfast which is mostly requested - you have to ask the FAs what's on offer to get an idea, since the menu is a bit too vague in this regard.

Once I woke up and got dressed, Karin was quick to come around and offer me a refreshing glass of orange juice.


Fresh orange juice.

This was followed up with the customary morning espresso.


Morning coffee - of course.

After this, Karin continued to serve the continental varieties of the breakfast selection. Continental is pretty common in Europe, and Switzerland is no exception. There was a decent selection of various breads available.


Seeded roll with butter and strawberry preserve.


Cold cuts selection and cheese, and Swiss muesli. Again, all the standard continental Europe fare.

Out of pure curiosity more than anything else, I asked Karin whether there were any hot dishes available. She said that there were, and told me of a few. I asked for some eggs and sausages. What came out was a spinach frittata, some sausages and tomato ragout. The frittata was quite salty; not my cup of tea and continuing my bad experiences of eating in-flight frittatas.


LX hot breakfast selection - spinach frittata, sausages and tomato ragout

It wasn't long after my table was cleared that we had to prepare the cabin for final approach into BKK. Swiss definitely have a great F product IMO, even if the hard product is rather dated. It was a very relaxed experience and I really enjoyed it. Karin and Robert - the two First FAs - came around to give their final goodbyes, and I thanked both of them wholeheartedly for being such great crew.

Our landing in BKK was nothing too special. It was kind of gloomy outside, but the weather was otherwise fine.
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Old Mar 1, 12, 7:32 pm
  #17  
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Post MENU: Swiss First Class Lounge ZRH (18 Jun 2011)

Swiss International Air Lines First Class and HON Circle Lounge Zurich
18 June 2011



Pre-Flight Dinner


Starters

Wild herb salad with elderberry dressing and cream cheese praline

Octopus carpaccio served with frisee and braised vanilla tamarillo

Parfait de fois gras and veal tatar with bacon chip, apricot bread and jelly multivitamin

Chanterelle brulee with truffled kohlrabi

Green curry soup with sauteed prawns

Chanterelle soup served with poultry cigarillo


Main Courses

Saddle and leg of rabbit served with cream cheese gnocchi and carrot ragout

Canneloni filled with salmon and codfish served with pea puree, saffron foam and crayfish crousteljaud

Potato muffin and artichokes gratinated with Stilton and port wine


Desserts

Trilogy of cherry: filled with mascarpone and baked; granita with green pepper; gateau

Warm chocolate cake with mango-passion fruit parfait and white coffee sauce

Apricot sorbet with wild berries and champagne
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Old Mar 1, 12, 7:34 pm
  #18  
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Post MENU: LX180 ZRH-BKK F (18 June 2011 / 19 June 2011)

Swiss International Air Lines LX180 First Class Zurich - Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi
18 June 2011 / 19 June 2011



Dinner (a la carte menu)


(F) - Created by featured chef Franz W Faeh, Le Vieux Manoir, Murten-Meyriez
(H) - Designed by Hiltl, Zurich's vegetarian restaurant since 1898


First Course

Fillet of Balik salmon with blinis and sour cream

Lobster cocktail with papaya salad (F)
Cold cucumber salad with ginger and tomato foccacia

Selection of air-dried meat specialties

Lemon tagliatelle with artichokes and cherry tomatoes (H)
(Can also be enjoyed as a main course)

Tomato and peppadew soup

Seasonal salad with grilled courgettes and yellow cherry tomatoes


Main Course

Lamb loin poached in red wine (F)
Aubergine-filled wontons and ratatouille

Chicken breast filled with Moleson cheep's cheese (F)
Honey sauce, celeraic puree and vegetables

Poached red snapper with soya sauce and sesame oil (F)
Turned potatoes, leek julienne and pak choi


Cheese

Selection of Swiss artisan cheese
  • Le Gruyere AOC - Selection Rolf Beeler
  • Vacherin Frise Fribourgeois
  • L'Armailli de Gruyere
  • Tomme La Fleur
  • Fresh Goat's Cheese


Dessert

Chocolate hurricane with raspberry compote (F)

Warm apricot tarte tatin with strawberry sauce (F)
Gruyere double cream ice-cream

Sprungli pralines

Espresso and a selection of coffees and teas


In the Morning (Swiss Breakfast)


Assortment of breakfast breads, preserves and honey

Fresh fruits, yoghurts, muesli and cereals

Choice of egg dishes, cold cuts and cheese

Coffee, tea and juices


Wine List


Champagne

Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle - 50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir (Champagne, France)


White Wine

Cru de l'h˘pital Fichillien Chasselas (Vully, Fribourg, Switzerland) (2010)

J. Moreau & Fils Chablis 1er Cru Vallions Chardonnay (Burgundy, France) (2009)

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, New Zealand) (2010)


Red Wine

Domaine des Faverges Cuvee de Patrimoine Merlot / Gamaret / Pinot Noir / Gamay (St Saphorin AOC, Lavaux, Vaud, Switzerland) (2008)

La Mission Haut-Brion Chateau Bahans Haut-Brion Merlot / Cabernet Franc / Cabernet Sauvignon (Bordeaux, France) (1998)

Bremerton Wines Shiraz Selkirk (Langhorne Creek, South Australia, Australia) (2007)


Dessert Wine

Chateau Raymond-Lafon Sauternes - 80% Semillon, 20% Sauvignon Blanc (Sauternes, Bordeaux, France) (2003)


Port

Symington Family Estates Graham's Tawny 20 years (Douro, Portugal)


Beverages


Beers

Appenzeller Qu÷llfrisch

Heineken

Cardinal Sans Alcool < 0.5%


Aperitifs

Sherry La Guita

Campari

Bacardi White Rum

Bombay Sapphire Gin

Grey Goose Vodka


Liqueurs and Digestifs

Single Malt Whiskey
The Macallan Fine Oak 18 years

Blended Scotch Whiskey
Chivas Regal 18 years

Cognac
Remy Martin XO Excellence A.O.C. Grande Champagne

Grappa di Moscato Monovitigno Nonino

Zuger Kirsch 1995 Etter

Williams Etter

Baileys Irish Cream


Soft Drinks

Still water

Sparkling water

Tonic water

Coke

Diet Coke

Sprite


Juices

Orange juice

Apple juice

Pink grapefruit juice

Tomato juice

Spicy tomato juice


Tea Selection

Darjeeling Superieur

Earl Grey Superieur

English Breakfast

Rooibosh Bourbon

Gunpowder "Temple of Heaven"

Medina

Citronnelle


Nespresso Selection

Ristretto

Espresso Leggero

Lungo Forte

Decaffeinato
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Old Mar 1, 12, 7:36 pm
  #19  
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Why, hello there, brother.

I managed to snap a shot of the J cabin before I disembarked the aircraft.


New LX J cabin fit out.

Current Location: Arrivals Level, Bangkok-Survanabhumi Airport, Bangkok, Thailand
Current Time: 1450h GMT+7,
24 hours 50 minutes after getting out of bed


Once I was off the aircraft, a sign with my name on it was prominently being held up by an airport attendant. I made my presence known and I was ushered to a small buggy. I'd heard about this buggy service at BKK, which must've been waiting for me as a LX F passenger (I think it's mainly a TG service, but perhaps some F pax who arrive in BKK also get contracted to receive the same service). My attendant knew I was transferring, but she didn't know that I had no boarding pass yet for my next flight. She drove me to the transfer point to get back up to the departures level, then told me how to find the transit desk so I could get my onward boarding pass.

I have to say that those attendants driving the buggies are lead foots on the pedals!


Buggy service at BKK.


BKK main concourse.

Finding the transit desk was a piece of cake, as was getting my onward boarding pass to ICN. Now with a decent amount of time to go before my very late flight to ICN, I had to find a lounge and have a shower. Soon I was seeking out one of TG's J lounges (Royal Silk Lounge).


Onward boarding pass to ICN.

I managed to find a Royal Silk Lounge and walked in. Greeted by a most respectful Sawadee, I was delighted to hear that showers were available in this lounge. The lounge itself didn't seem very big, though I still managed to find a spare seat in a not too crowded section of the lounge.




One of the TG Royal Silk Lounges at BKK.


Compact buffet at the TG Royal Silk Lounge. Mostly snack stuff here - nothing very substantial or material.

BKK is quite a large airport and sports quite a few lounges. Many even have doubles, e.g. CX has two lounges, and TG have 3-5 lounges depending on how you count them! TG also have a massage spa which is offered to TG J and F passengers.

One thing you notice quickly in Asia at least is that almost every lounge in the same airport seems to be catered by the same company. Some lounges make their own exceptions and order special stuff, but you can see commonalities between the lounges. The same cling-wrapped sandwiches, the same packet noodles, the same muffins and pastries.......

Anyway, little segue. I wasn't in the mood to have anything to eat in the TG J lounge, and the rather banal food selection didn't really make me change my mind. (Mind you, I criticise it but it's still heaps better than the USA!) Anyway, I headed towards the shower areas and one was free and ready to go, so I was ushered inside.


Inside one of the TG J Lounge shower rooms

Apart from a towel and mat, the other washing amenities are provided in common bottles, but at least they were separate concoctions (cf. all-in-one "conditioning shampoo" and body wash). Other smaller amenities like a cheap razor and toothbrush set were also provided.

The shower was very refreshing, though needless to say that after all my travel my body was still struggling a bit. It was getting close to 30 hours since I had left my last proper bed on the ground.

When I got out of the shower, I tried to find a soft corner of the lounge to pop open the laptop to do some message checking and so on. I managed to find a part of the lounge which was only lightly disturbed by the sound of the nearby TV. A few cups of green tea kept me going over the hours.
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Old Mar 1, 12, 7:38 pm
  #20  
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Current Location: Thai Royal Silk Lounge, Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok, Thailand
Current Time: 1920h GMT+7,
29 hours 20 minutes after getting out of bed


I saw the night fall on Bangkok whilst looking out from the terminal. I decided that I needed a bit of a walk and collected my stuff before moving out of the lounge. I knew there was a SQ SilverKris lounge around somewhere in the airport, so I thought I might seek it out.

Survarnabhumi might be one of the newest major hubs in the world, but it's probably one of the ugliest IMO. The whole airport looks so much like a concrete jungle, punctuated by attempts at elegance either in the open (e.g. Thai's Royal First check-in), or in the lounges. It definitely doesn't feel very calming. If it wasn't for the glass window-walls surrounding the terminal, the place would actually feel more like an Asian shopping plaza, and a bit of a bus terminal near the gates.

I eventually found the SQ lounge and strolled inside after having my J ticket checked. The SQ lounge feels much more calming than the TG lounge. I'm not sure whether it's the signature SQ elegant and careful symphony of golden tones and mahogany, but it seemed to do the trick, even if the SQ lounge space is smaller than the TG lounge.


Inside the SQ SilverKris Lounge at BKK

I collapsed into a chair at the SQ lounge to catch myself again. The servery at the SQ lounge was smaller than the TG J lounge, but the essentials were there, plus they had a lighter substantial selection in the form of a self-serve noodle soup buffet. I threw in a siu mai to complete it. What do they say - the English have their chicken soup, whilst the Chinese have their noodle soup.

Oh, and it's hard to pass up Haagen-Dazs.


Noodle soup and ice cream

I could've spent the rest of my time in the SQ SilverKris lounge before my ICN flight, but unfortunately they closed at 2030h. I stayed until closing time before I had to move on. I slowly made my way back to the TG Lounge and thought I might try my hand at the spa.




Entrance to the TG Royal Orchid Spa

The Royal Orchid Spa is available to both TG J and F passengers. The main difference is that only F passengers have access to the special 1 hour full body massage, whereas J passengers are only able to select the 30 minute neck and shoulder massage or the foot massage. I thought that my weary feet, having not had the rest they deserved whilst being subjected to effort worse than a pack camel, deserved a bit of reinvigorating so I opted for the foot massage. As with any massage or therapy place, there's always a huge legal / medical disclaimer and information what-not that needed to be cleared before anything could be done. Once I was past that, I was ushered to a dark, quiet area where there were several individual open "boxes" - kind of like an office farm except without doors. Each area had a chair, an ottoman and a plant.

Unfortunately I obviously couldn't take pictures here, so I can't show you what it looks like.

I was invited to remove my shoes and the massage began. I'm not usually one big on massages (and I can't give one myself), so I guess I was taking the chance that I should feel better after this treatment. My masseuse prompted me whether she was being too hard or soft (and no dirty jokes, please!). I told her to ease up a bit. Thai massage seems to be quite stiff! Compared to the massages I've had in the QF F Lounges in SYD or MEL, these were something else.

I kept as relaxed as I possibly could whilst my feet were shaped and remolded back into.... well, feet. After my treatment, I was told to sit for a bit before being invited to get up and move back to the waiting area. It doesn't quite feel the same as in the QF Lounge spa where you usually remove your clothes before getting a massage (though I usually opt for a full body, neck and shoulder or a facial at the QF F Lounge), then get dressed again. Once back at the waiting area, an attendant promptly brings you a post-massage herbal tea and a light, sweet snack.


Royal Orchid Spa waiting lounge, with a light refreshment served after a massage

Current Location: Thai Royal Orchid Spa, Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok, Thailand
Current Time: 2130h GMT+7,
31 hours 30 minutes after getting out of bed


One key thing to keep in mind with Thai Airways - on the ground (at least at BKK) or in the air - most staff speak English well enough to do their jobs (and many do so quite well to do a good job), but, as always with anyone whose mother tongue is not English, be considerate, be patient and be prepared to repeat what you say clearer, simpler and slower. I think some people may not be used to the fact that TG staff are not as "quick" on English as some other Asian airlines where, without those pax actually realising or knowing, English is actually quite heavily indoctrinated into education or everyday living (e.g. SQ, PR, even CX...)

I took my time at the spa consuming my herbal tea as I slowly tried to keep myself calm and relaxed. After finishing my tea I thought I'd do one last check for my status run tomorrow, so I headed to the TG lounge opposite the spa to use a lounge computer and check on my flights. Everything seemed in order from what I could see, so I double checked the other components of my plan, went over my contingencies and thought about when they would start boarding my flight to ICN.

I didn't have to ask...
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Old Mar 1, 12, 7:40 pm
  #21  
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Flight: Thai Airways TG658 Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi (BKK) - Seoul-Incheon (ICN)
Depart: Sched 2305h; Actual 2310h
Duration: 5 h 25 min
Distance: 2,282 mi (3,673 km)
Aircraft: HS-TJT "Pathun Wan" Boeing 777-200
Class: Business
Seat: 11E



I left the lounge and then made the long trek to the gate for my flight to ICN. The walk is quite some distance even for those who are avid walkers, and in my case I even had to negotiate through many shopping crowds to a pier which was located quite some distance away from the lounge. I almost thought I was going to be late and not make my flight (eek!), but eventually I found the gate and used the priority lane to step on without delay.

This TG aircraft is configured as two classes - Business and Economy - no First. One interesting thing about flying TG is that the female staff wear more traditional Thai dresses when they greet passengers as they board, however when they later conduct the in-flight service they change into more standard, traditional work uniforms.

The TG J seat is noticeably similar to Virgin Australia's new A330-200 J product in look, except that the seats recline to angle-flat (similar to QF Skybed Mk I) and the seats are covered in fabric, not leather. The seat pitch is noticeably generous, so even people seated in the window seats would have little trouble stepping over someone to get into the aisle. The J cabin filled up, with only 1 or 2 seats left. Quite remarkable for a red eye flight, really.


TG J cabin


Leg room shot

Pre-flight drinks were offered. I chose this purple juice thing out of curiosity, then wondered why I'd selected it, since it didn't make my cup of tea (no pun intended)....


I can't remember what this was. If anyone remembers, please do tell.

Amenity kits were provided for each passenger. It's a fairly basic but durable bag and contains exactly eight items: socks, toothbrush, toothpaste, eye mask, lip balm, mouth wash, hand cream and a foldable brush / comb. Slippers were also supplied for every passenger, and most passengers had no hesitation in removing their shoes and slipping on their slippers before leaving their shoes in front of them on the floor. And the cabin crew had no problems with passengers leaving their shoes there, even though we were not in the air! (Most airlines would've told you to put the shoes up in the overhead or in the seat pocket).

Pushback and takeoff were pretty normal as we made our way on the red-eye to ICN.

Once we were in the air, the lights were kept low as a light snack for those still awake was offered. Frankly, in hindsight I should've just gone to sleep straight away, as the snack wasn't anything too fancy to look forward to. It tasted alright, just nothing great. No one can say that Thai uses boring chinaware, however.


Late night snack salad with scallops. Well, just a bit of scallop.

If the salad wasn't enough for you then you'll be glad to know that TG do serve bread with this meal, including the Asian novelty, garlic bread (and in true Asian style, served with just too much garlic butter). Some of the FAs also moved around the cabin to take advance orders for breakfast.

I put the meal away quickly before changing into my PJs and setting up my seat for sleeping. Luckily my experience with sleeping in most seats also included angle-flat seats, such as QF Skybed Mk I (which I had no trouble sleeping comfortably in). The TG J seat I similarly didn't have much trouble getting to sleep, though I did wake up during the night before getting back to it. These red-eyes - you really need all the sleep you can get, which isn't much by any sense of the word.


Monday 20 June 2011


I started to stir from my second slumber after the smells of hot breakfast wafted through from the galley. As the crew saw me awake, they promptly set my breakfast tray.


Breakfast tray with fruit appetiser.

Thai can be very much commended on their presentation of some dishes. The detail on the fruits plate was excellent, and the fruit was quite fresh tasting, too.

I'd ordered the Thai fried rice, thinking I'd get a kind of Thai style breakfast. Maybe it was, but then again, it didn't seem a novel as I thought it'd be. Heck, I could probably conjure this up at home! (No, I am not an excellent cook by any worldly measure)


Breakfast main: Thai fried rice with ham, served with omelette stuffed with minced pork Thai style.

As people stirred back at different times, the service about the cabin was all over and disjointed. I managed to take advantage of my prompt arising and use the bathroom before the usual last-minute rush.

Changed back into my civvies and I was ready for landing into ICN, as was the cabin crew. Our approach to ICN was nothing notable, a clear day with little cloud, no rain and a smooth touch down into yet another large global hub, and a new one for me.

At Incheon, all non-OZ flights dock at a satellite terminal (called "Concourse A" or just the "Concourse") that is connected to the main terminal via a rail shuttle (again, similar to HKG's APM). When we disembarked our aircraft at ICN, we all huddled towards the rail terminal to await our transit to the main terminal. I was in no mood to wait around so I made sure I got onto the first arriving transport. We all huddled on until we were tightly packed in, then we were off to the main terminal.

Current Location: Arrivals Level, Main Terminal, Seoul Incheon Airport, Incheon, South Korea
Current Time: 0700h GMT+9,
39 hours after getting out of bed


As is the usual practice at most nations, the ratio of immigration desks that cater for foreigners to that of locals is less than 1, and here was no exception. A mini-scrum ensued to line up at immigration. I passed through with no problems, even though I was only coming in and flying out the same morning! Stamp, stamp, done.

Baggage claim was pretty orderly. I don't think my bag came out first, but at least it didn't take too long before it came out. Finally, customs, just like most Asian countries, is a no-affair, so you just walk right on out of there.

Now I had my bags, I was landside ICN, and I had my CX status run for today. Time for operation..........
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Old Mar 1, 12, 7:41 pm
  #22  
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Post MENU: TG658 BKK-ICN J (19 Jun 2011 / 20 Jun 2011)

Thai Airways TG658 Royal Silk Class Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi - Seoul-Incheon
19 June 2011 / 20 June 2011



First Serving (Light Supper)


Marinated scallops, mozzarella pearls, kalamata olive mixed salad with Thai vinaigrette dressing


Mini pastries

Bread and butter

Tea, coffee


Instant Noodle Soup available upon request


Second Serving (Breakfast)


Fruit juice

Fresh fruits and yoghurt


Main Course

Omelette stuffed with potato, onion and capsicum
Premium chicken sausage, farmer potatoes, bacon and roasted tomato with herb

Braised chicken with soy sauce (Dak Gang Jung)
Steamed rice, carrot and French bean

Thai fried rice with ham, and Thai style omelette stuffed with minced pork


Roll, Croissant

Butter, jam

Tea, coffee, hot chocolate


Drinks


Champagne

Piper Heidsieck Brut Champagne


Red Wine

Domaine Vincent Giradin (2008)

Chateau Fourcas Hosten (Listrac) (2006)


White Wine

Bourgogne Blanc Chardonnay Maximum (2009)

Chateau Guiraud (2009)


Aperitifs

Campari

Gin Martini

Screwdriver

Bloody Mary

Black Russian

Vodka Martini

Warre's Warrior Port


Spirits

Rum

Gin

Bourbon Whiskey

Whiskey

Vodka


Cognac and Liqueurs

Remy Martin XO

Kahlua

Drambuie

Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge


Beers

Heineken

Chang

Singha


Soft Drinks

Fruit juices

A range of soft drinks and diet soft drinks


Beverages

Espresso

Cappuccino

Instant Coffee

Decaffeinated Coffee

Special Blended Coffee

Oolong Tea

Ceylon High Tea

Japanese Green Tea

Chocolate Malt 3 in 1
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Old Mar 1, 12, 8:44 pm
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Loving this report so far, as well as the insanity of this routing. Well done!
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Old Mar 1, 12, 9:50 pm
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Enjoy reading this TR, thank you! can't wait for the next part.
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Old Mar 1, 12, 10:29 pm
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Thoroughly enjoying your report! Can't wait for more!
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Old Mar 2, 12, 12:58 am
  #26  
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Current Location: Arrivals Hall (Landside), Seoul Incheon Airport, Incheon, South Korea
Current Time: 0740h GMT+9,
39 hours 40 minutes after getting out of bed


I got the timing pretty much spot on between my arrival into ICN and my first CX status run flight - 3 hours. Just enough time to clear immigration and out, take care of some other things and then get back airside ready to board (and not to bother too long in the lounge).

My status run was a lucky combination of flights, though it's definitely not for the feint of heart, being easily a day or so of straight flying with only customary breaks at the airport in between.

Anyway... first point of order was to relieve myself of my checked bag. No way it was going to make the status run easy with a checked bag to worry about. It would've been easy in theory to get the routing right and even turn it around at MNL, but it was much simpler not to worry about it! I found a spare bench in the arrivals hall and opened up my bags. I transferred the amenity kits into my checked bag and took out some new sets of clothes. I hadn't had a shower since being in BKK, but I definitely needed a change of clothes along the way. In went the basic toiletries (suitable for LAG rules), some reading material and my hand carry was repacked. Close my luggage, zip it up, padlock and then I set about finding the left luggage service.

Left luggage is quite easy to find once you know the way (read a map in advance, or ask airport information), though in the complex itself there isn't a lot of English. The attendants do speak English so not a big problem. There was no one at the counter when I arrived, so I presented my luggage to be stored. A few thousand Won off my credit card later, I was given my claim receipt which I carefully slipped into my passport case for safekeeping. Then, it was off to the check-in counter.

Check-in was straightforward, though I only received my boarding passes to MNL. I'd have to get the other two BPs later. BPs in hand, security screening was cleared followed by immigration, where the latter didn't seem to really care that I'd just arrived in ICN that morning. Once I was airside again at ICN, I had to get myself to the Concourse again to catch my CX flight.

Incheon Airport has often been rated as one of the world's best airports. It's a fairly functional and pleasant airport to be in, with an open-ish look with as much natural light in as possible. Definitely not the concrete industrial look of BKK. It probably reminds me more of BNE I, except more advanced, and of course a hell of a lot bigger.

Digression... I take the rail shuttle back to the satellite terminal and seek out the oneworld lounges. Signage as I come up from the shuttle points me to the Cathay Pacific lounge - excellent.


Departures board at ICN.


Hallway at ICN departures.

I go up the escalators and easily find the CX Lounge, complete with, of course, the fake full-sized female greeter at the front of the lounge. The lounge is an open air one; in fact, you'd almost say it was just the floor space being sectioned for CX via glass panels.


Entry to CX Lounge.

The CX lounge at ICN caters for both F and J pax. It's not an exciting facility by any means, sporting just lots of lounge chairs, free internet and an array of standard snacks and hot fare. Noticeably, instant cup noodles seem to be very popular here, especially the types with added chilli (probably falls off the high end of the "hot" scale in Australia). As I was very tired, I only picked out some bread, a yoghurt and found some water to drink. I wanted to have a shower but there wasn't one in this lounge, so I simply found a chair and collapsed in it. As it turns out, had I taken my own advice given to thewinchester the previous year, I would've found the Sakura Lounge which has one! (And possibly more interesting food). Oh well...

I didn't have to wait long for my flight to board. Thank goodness - the faster I am in a plane seat, the sooner I can relax and try to rest.

Flight: Cathay Pacific CX421 Seoul-Incheon (ICN) - Taipei-Taoyuan (TPE T1)
Depart: Sched 0930h; Actual 0923h
Duration: 2 h 30 min
Distance: 910 mi (1,465 km)
Aircraft: B-HND Boeing 777-200
Class: Business
Seat: 14K



CX usually use their regional J equipped two-class aircraft on the short routes like this. Sometimes you'll get lucky and they'll use a longhaul aircraft with longhaul J (or even F), but otherwise it'll be regional equipment. Having done a CX run before (so extreme, ain't I?), CX J of any kind is no longer a stranger to me. In the case of CX regional J, it's pretty much similar to the QF Dreamtime J, with seats that recline generously enough for a few hours of flight. Also included are personal IFE screens that show loopback entertainment (not AVOD).


The CX regional J cabin (photo taken on previous CX J run).


Leg room in a CX regional J seat (photo taken on previous CX J run).

As it turns out, the entire flight was very lightly loaded, and in J there were only two passengers flying, including me, the other J passenger being on the other side of the cabin. The CSM came around to say hello and offer menus, however I told her that I will not be eating. In fact, I asked her if it was OK if I could just go to sleep as soon as I could and I not be disturbed for breakfast. Whilst she said this was OK, she did double-check with me doubly to make sure I wasn't mad or anything. She even managed to offer me a blanket.

And so it came to pass (or pass out, rather), that after the safety briefing (which I always listen to), I shut my eyes and slept through the rest of taxi and takeoff. I didn't wake up until we were somewhere in cruise, whereupon I had discovered that the other pax had also decided to snooze and the crew had thoughtfully closed all the window shades. I reclined my seat, re-rolled out the blanket and was back to sleep just like that.

That extra rest I got on the flight was just what I needed to feel a little bit better. When I woke up a second time, a FA came by and told me we had about 1 hour until we were to land in TPE. She then asked if I would like to eat something for breakfast, but I told her again that it was OK. Given that I'd had a very early breakfast on TG, there had to be a meal on the TPE-HKG sector and that I knew the two options for breakfast were pretty much the same across all of CX regional J (Western breakfast or fried noodles), I decided against having anything to eat. Seemingly disappointed or sensing that she somehow failed in her service by not convincing me to have anything, she asked rather beseechingly whether there was anything she could get for me. I asked her just for a glass of water and a cup of milk tea (for those in the know, nai cha).


Water and nai cha (milk tea)

My fellow J passenger on the other side of the cabin was tucking into his breakfast noodles. I told the crew that I was going to be an ongoing passenger for the further service to HKG, which the crew acknowledged.

Our landing into sunny TPE was easy enough. We had a very long taxi to the terminal before we pulled up to a gate.

Once we were on the ground, I was told by the crew that I had the option of disembarking the plane, having a bit of a stroll, using the lounge and then reboarding the plane. Alternatively, I could just stay on the aircraft, as long as I could put up with all the cleaners running around the aircraft. Given that I was rather tired, the layover was a mere 1 hour and that TPE isn't an airport worth exploring extensively, I chose the latter option.
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Old Mar 2, 12, 12:59 am
  #27  
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Post MENU: CX421 ICN-TPE J (20 Jun 2011)

Cathay Pacific CX421 Business Class Seoul-Incheon - Taipei-Taoyuan
20 June 2011



Brunch


Starters

Juice selection

Fresh seasonal fruit

Fruit yoghurt


Main Courses

Chive scrambled eggs with sauteed potatoes, streaky bacon and vine ripened tomato

Stir-fried egg noodles with bay shrimp and vegetables


Bread Basket

Assorted breakfast bread served with preserves, honey and butter


Tea and coffee

Pralines


Drinks List


Champagne

Billecart-Salmon Brut Champagne


White Wines

Domaine des Malandes Chablis (Chablis, France) (2009)

Next of Kin Margaret River Chardonnay (Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia) (2008)


Red Wines

Moonvine McLaren Vale Shiraz Cabernet Merlot (McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia) (2007)

L'Esperance du Retout Haut Medoc (Bordeaux, France) (2009)


Port

Dow's Late Bottled Vintage Port (2005)


Aperitifs and Cocktails

Gin

Rum

Vodka

Martini Rosso

Martini Extra Dry

Campari

Sweet and Dry Sherry

Bloody Mary

Screwdriver


Whiskies

Chivas Regal 12 Years Old

Johnnie Walker Gold Label

Jack Daniel's

Canadian Club


Cognac

Hine 'Rare and Delicate' Fine Champagne


Liqueurs

Drambuie

Cointreau

Bailey's Irish Cream


Beer

International Selection


CX Signature Drinks

Cathay Delight
A kiwifruit based non-alcoholic drink with coconut juice and a touch of fresh mint

Pacific Sunrise
A refreshing combination of champagne and Drambuie with the zest of orange and lemon


Juices

Orange

Apple

Tomato


Soft Drinks

Coke Zero (selected flights)

Coke

Coke Light

Sprite

Perrier water

Tonic water

Soda water

Ginger Ale


Coffee

Freshly brewed coffee


Teas

Hong Kong style milk tea (nai cha)

Ceylon

Japanese

Jasmine

Organic Selection by Clipper
Camomile, Earl Grey and Peppermint


Hot Chocolate
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Old Mar 2, 12, 1:04 am
  #28  
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Docked at TPE. Another CX aircraft in the distance ready to ferry more passengers to HKG on what is obviously one of the most traffic-heavy sectors in the CX network.

Current Location: Seat 14K on board B-HND, docked at gate, Terminal 1, Taipei-Taoyuan Airport, Taipei, Taiwan
Current Time: 1105h GMT+8,
44 hours and 5 minutes after getting out of bed


True to word, as soon as the last passenger was off the plane (except me), a troupe of cleaners rushed on to the plane and proceeded to give it a once over. I was fortunate to be able to use the bathroom whilst the plane was being cleaned. (I think they basically told me to minimise use so that they could clean it properly and have it in spick-and-span condition for the next wave of passengers).

Whilst I was on the ground taking it easy in my seat, the FAs could not help but be rather over-concerned and kept offering to get me something. Eventually, I asked for a Cathay Delight, a signature non-alcoholic cocktail of Cathay Pacific, and water. The FA could not be more prompt in obliging my order, and then some by providing some mixed nuts which I didn't ask for!


Cathay Delight, water and mixed nuts

The turnaround of the aircraft was tight as the cleaning staff finished their job and quickly scrambled off the aircraft in a similar fashion as they had rushed on, their "foreperson" barking them to hurry all the way. Catering services had arrived and delivered new meals for the galleys. Eventually, boarding had started and as a seated passenger I managed to see the entire aircraft board, including witnessing the J cabin becoming quite full on this TPE-HKG flight: this time, instead of only two seats occupied, it was only two seats not occupied!


Flight: Cathay Pacific CX421 Taipei-Taoyuan (TPE T1) - Hong Kong (HKG)
Depart: Sched 1200h; Actual 1155h
Duration: 1 h 45 min
Distance: 501 mi (806 km)
Aircraft: B-HND Boeing 777-200
Class: Business
Seat: 14K



I was awake and not quite sleepy, which was just as well since if I were quite tired it would've made it very hard to stay awake for the safety briefing. Our taxi out of the terminal area was fairly quick and once again we were off into the air, heading towards HKG.

In the air, we were offered lunch, which consisted of either soy chicken or pan-fried fish. I chose the fish, sounding more interesting than the chicken.

I'm not sure if it's dependent on sector length, but there was no separate entree platter that came before the main course on this flight. A small side salad of marinated prawns was provided, labelled as a "Starter" in the menu.


CX J meal tray before the main is served


My main course: pan-fried garoupa fish

The fish was quite tasty, though some people might be put off by the need to eat the fish carefully, since it was still cut with the main bone on. For me having had an Asian upbringing, eating fish with the bones was completely normal.

Our flight to HKG was quick, being somewhere between a BNE/MEL and a BNE/SYD flight, two of three flights that almost any frequent flyer living on Australia's Eastern seaboard should be accustomed to. I managed to catch a few more winks after the meal trays were cleared, but as we touched down in HKG, my attention was now to make my next flight to MNL. My connection time was a mere 1 hour, so I was hoping for a good gate, and probably wouldn't have enough time to visit the lounge, let alone have a shower.

Current Location: Arrivals Concourse Level, Hong Kong Airport, Chek Lap Kok, Hong Kong
Current Time: 1345h GMT+8,
46 hours 45 minutes after getting out of bed


Well, wouldn't you know it we dock in one of the gates on the "neck" of HKG. I have less than 20 minutes before the start of boarding of my flight, which is incidentally located on one of the far piers. Well this is going to be fun (OK I was tired....)

What is a lack of common sense? Well, it tends to only mean that you can have one of them but not both. For example, it is common in a good airport like HKG that they have two walking travelators to help people move about the terminal in a much more efficient manner. But there's no sense that both travelators always operate in the same direction!

I hiked it up to a security checkpoint and passed through without issue. Now I'm on departures level - and there's about 10 minutes before boarding now. Since I'm still in the "neck" of the terminal concourse, there's nothing that can get me faster to my next gate other than sheer power walking. No time for lounge or a shower - just pace it up and make it to my flight bound for MNL.


Flight: Cathay Pacific CX919 Hong Kong (HKG) - Manila (MNL T1)
Depart: Sched 1445h; Actual 1458h
Duration: 2 h 5 min
Distance: 712 mi (1,146 km)
Aircraft: B-HNJ Boeing 777-300
Class: Business
Seat: 14A



As I moved in closer to my gate, I saw the scrum start to snake its way from the double doors, the feint (well, not-so-feint actually) drones of gossiping in Tagalog quite audible. Well, what do you know - no boarding yet...... OK, catch my breath, and time for another task that requires a deep breath... using the priority queue, which was almost empty.

You feel rather odd being the only one in a sea of hundreds getting into a blank line. "Geez, who does this kid think he is?" Moreover, where are the other elites and J pax? (Probably at The Pier still trying to push one more beer)

Anyway, boarding starts and we all shuffle on - some faster than others. It's another regional J cabin, of course. I take my seat and J starts to fill up; not as much as the TPE-HKG flight previously, and I got lucky in no one sitting next to me.

It's a hot day outside. We push back, we taxi, we take off into the air.

The meal this time to Manila is merely a "refreshment", the choices being sweet and sour chicken or vegetarian tortellini. Pretty good options for any given Filipino (except you wouldn't get a mountain of rice with the former, I'd assume, though this is supposed to be just a "refreshment"). I chose the tortellini.


CX J refreshment

The flight to MNL is about as long as a BNE/MEL sector, so after finishing off my meal I get to sneak in a bit more sleeping. I end up waking almost at the point when the cabin is about to be prepared for landing. Feeling just a tad bored, I fish some reading out of my bag and manage to get through a decent chunk of a paper before we fly over the slums and into MNL. We dock into a gate at the dated Terminal 1 and disembark into the airport, which at least is a temperature-controlled haven compared to the sticky weather outside.
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Old Mar 2, 12, 1:06 am
  #29  
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Post MENU: CX421 TPE-HKG J (20 Jun 2011)

Cathay Pacific CX421 Business Class Taipei-Taoyuan - Hong Kong
20 June 2011



Lunch


Starter

Marinated prawn with pumpkin and potato horseradish salad


Main Courses

Roasted soya chicken with steamed rice and oriental mixed vegetables

Pan-fried garoupa with macadamia nuts and garlic tomato sauce, sauteed potatoes and broccoli


Dessert

Cherry chocolate mousse cake with vanilla sauce


Tea and coffee


Drinks List


Champagne

Billecart-Salmon Brut Champagne


White Wines

Domaine des Malandes Chablis (Chablis, France) (2009)

Next of Kin Margaret River Chardonnay (Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia) (2008)


Red Wines

Moonvine McLaren Vale Shiraz Cabernet Merlot (McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia) (2007)

L'Esperance du Retout Haut Medoc (Bordeaux, France) (2009)


Port

Dow's Late Bottled Vintage Port (2005)


Aperitifs and Cocktails

Gin

Rum

Vodka

Martini Rosso

Martini Extra Dry

Campari

Sweet and Dry Sherry

Bloody Mary

Screwdriver


Whiskies

Chivas Regal 12 Years Old

Johnnie Walker Gold Label

Jack Daniel's

Canadian Club


Cognac

Hine 'Rare and Delicate' Fine Champagne


Liqueurs

Drambuie

Cointreau

Bailey's Irish Cream


Beer

International Selection


CX Signature Drinks

Cathay Delight
A kiwifruit based non-alcoholic drink with coconut juice and a touch of fresh mint

Pacific Sunrise
A refreshing combination of champagne and Drambuie with the zest of orange and lemon


Juices

Orange

Apple

Tomato


Soft Drinks

Coke Zero (selected flights)

Coke

Coke Light

Sprite

Perrier water

Tonic water

Soda water

Ginger Ale


Coffee

Freshly brewed coffee


Teas

Hong Kong style milk tea (nai cha)

Ceylon

Japanese

Jasmine

Organic Selection by Clipper
Camomile, Earl Grey and Peppermint


Hot Chocolate
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Old Mar 2, 12, 1:08 am
  #30  
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Post MENU: CX919 HKG-MNL J (20 Jun 2011)

Cathay Pacific CX919 Business Class Hong Kong - Manila
20 June 2011



Refreshment


Starter

Fresh seasonal fruit


Main Courses

Spicy and sour chicken fillets with steamed jasmine rice, stir-fried choy sum with ginger

Saffron and ricotta cheese tortellini in creamy tomato sauce (vegetarian choice)


Dessert

Salted chocolate and caramel tart


Tea and coffee


Drinks List


Champagne

Billecart-Salmon Brut Champagne


White Wines

Domaine des Malandes Chablis (Chablis, France) (2009)

Next of Kin Margaret River Chardonnay (Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia) (2008)


Red Wines

Moonvine McLaren Vale Shiraz Cabernet Merlot (McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia) (2007)

L'Esperance du Retout Haut Medoc (Bordeaux, France) (2009)


Port

Dow's Late Bottled Vintage Port (2005)


Aperitifs and Cocktails

Gin

Rum

Vodka

Martini Rosso

Martini Extra Dry

Campari

Sweet and Dry Sherry

Bloody Mary

Screwdriver


Whiskies

Chivas Regal 12 Years Old

Johnnie Walker Gold Label

Jack Daniel's

Canadian Club


Cognac

Hine 'Rare and Delicate' Fine Champagne


Liqueurs

Drambuie

Cointreau

Bailey's Irish Cream


Beer

International Selection


CX Signature Drinks

Cathay Delight
A kiwifruit based non-alcoholic drink with coconut juice and a touch of fresh mint

Pacific Sunrise
A refreshing combination of champagne and Drambuie with the zest of orange and lemon


Juices

Orange

Apple

Tomato


Soft Drinks

Coke Zero (selected flights)

Coke

Coke Light

Sprite

Perrier water

Tonic water

Soda water

Ginger Ale


Coffee

Freshly brewed coffee


Teas

Hong Kong style milk tea (nai cha)

Ceylon

Japanese

Jasmine

Organic Selection by Clipper
Camomile, Earl Grey and Peppermint


Hot Chocolate
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