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Palaces, Temples, Boats & Beaches! *A TPAC & TATL in J (TG A380 US BR & UA) & PG in Y

Palaces, Temples, Boats & Beaches! *A TPAC & TATL in J (TG A380 US BR & UA) & PG in Y

Old May 18, 2014, 6:57 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: ORD/MDW
Programs: AA EXP, DL-Plat, WN-CP | Hotels: Choice-Gld, IHG-Plt, Rad-Gld, HH-Dia, Hyatt-Glob, Marriott-LtPlt
Posts: 2,889
Palaces, Temples, Boats & Beaches! *A TPAC & TATL in J (TG A380 US BR & UA) & PG in Y

Introduction and Index to Trip Report: Palaces, Temples, Boats & Beaches! *A TPAC & TATL in J (TG A380 US BR & UA) & PG in Y

Mrs. FindAWay and I have long been fascinated with the ancient jungle temples of Cambodia and recently journeyed to Southeast Asia for the first time to see them along with stopovers in Taipei and Bangkok and a bit of relaxation in Phuket.

Links to FindAWay’s Photo-Filled Trip Reports:
Photo Below: What Prompted this Trip – Enjoying Sunrise over Angkor Wat Experience, Siem Reap, Cambodia


Our 11 day trip took us on 10 flights on 5 different carriers (for a total of 23,643 miles flown) through 8 different airports with 7 nights spent in 5 different hotels. We routed our trip like a westward mini-RTW (
comes to mind) and selected an itinerary that provided us with lie-flat business class seats on 5 of the 6 flights that were more than 75 minutes (the exception being the 6-hour PHL-LAX on US domestic first). We were also walked from a hotel for the first time in our collective travel experiences and had to change our planned ride home on CTA blue line to a taxi.

Index

  1. Introduction and Index
  2. Trip Overview and Summary
  3. Chicago O’Hare Airport & AA Admirals Club (Terminal 3 Near Gate G8)
  4. US Airways Embraer 175 Domestic First from ORD to PHL
  5. PHL Airport and US Airways Club (B/C Concourse)
  6. US Airways Airbus A321 Domestic First Class from PHL to LAX
  7. LAX Terminal Transfer, EVA Airways Check-in and Star Alliance Lounge at LAX
  8. EVA Airways 777-300ER Royal Laurel (Business) Class from LAX to TPE
  9. Grand Hyatt Taipei
  10. 1 Day in Taipei
  11. EVA Airways Check-in and The Infinity Lounge at TPE
  12. EVA Airways 777-300ER Royal Laurel (Business) Class from TPE to BKK
  13. JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok & Executive Lounge
  14. Slightly More Than a Day in Bangkok
  15. Bangkok Airways Check-in and Departure and Louis’ Tavern CIP (Concourse C) Lounge at BKK
  16. Bangkok Airways Airbus A320 Economy Class from BKK to REP
  17. Lotus Blanc Resort, Siem Reap, Cambodia
  18. Borei Angkor Resort & Spa, Siem Reap, Cambodia
  19. 2 Full Days in Siem Reap and Environs
  20. Bangkok Airways Check-in and Lounge at REP
  21. Bangkok Airways Airbus A320 Economy Class from REP to BKK and BKK to HKT
  22. Radisson Blu Plaza Resort Phuket Panwa Beach
  23. 2+ Days in Phuket
  24. Thai Airways Check-In and Lux – The Luxury Lounge at HKT
  25. Thai Airways Boeing 777-300ER Economy Class from HKT to BKK
  26. Thai Airways Royal Orchid Spa and Royal Silk Lounge at BKK
  27. Thai Airways A380-800 Business (Royal Silk) Class from BKK to CDG
  28. Star Alliance Lounge Paris and ICare Lounge at CDG T1
  29. United Airlines 767-300 BusinessFirst from CDG to ORD
  30. Final Thoughts

***{WARNING: This Trip Report Is Extremely Photo-Heavy }***

Last edited by FindAWay; May 18, 2015 at 3:28 pm Reason: Added Links to Other TRs.
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Old May 18, 2014, 6:59 pm
  #2  
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: ORD/MDW
Programs: AA EXP, DL-Plat, WN-CP | Hotels: Choice-Gld, IHG-Plt, Rad-Gld, HH-Dia, Hyatt-Glob, Marriott-LtPlt
Posts: 2,889
Trip Overview and Summary

Trip Overview and Summary

Map Below: Entire Trip Route


Route: ORD-PHL-LAX-TPE(stop)-BKK(stop)-REP(stop)-(BKK)-HKT(stop)-BKK-CDG-ORD
Miles Actually Flown: 23,643 miles
Dates Traveled: Saturday, March 15, 2014 to Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Destinations Visited: Taipei, Bangkok, Siem Reap (and environs), and Phuket
Travelers: 2 (Mrs. FindAWay and me)

Miles, Points, & Credits Used and USD$ Paid:
  • 108,000 US Airways Dividend Miles (per person) USED
  • 5,000 SPG Starpoints (transferred to JAL Miles) (per person) USED
  • $131.95 Cumulative Taxes & Fees Imposed by Airlines (per person) PAID
  • $99.35 Total Paid TG Fare for 1 Flight (per person) PAID
  • 12,000 Chase UR Points (transferred to Hyatt Points) (total - 1 night) USED
  • 1 Category 1-5 Marriott Rewards e-Certificate (total – 1 night) USED
  • 44,000 Club Carlson Points (total - 2 nights) USED
  • $294.33 Total Paid Hotels.com Reservation (total - 3 nights) PAID

Our Final Itinerary in chronological order (decision process is outlined below) looked as follows:

DEPART CHICAGO & ARRIVE TAIPEI: Sat., March 15, 2014 - Mon., March 17, 2014 [29h 05m]
11:55am-2:53pm - ORD-PHL -- US Airways #3338 First. [1h 58m] (part of 108k US DM & $49.65/pp)
-- 3h 06m Layover in PHL –
5:59pm-9:04pm - PHL-LAX -- US Airways #717 First. [6h 05m] (part of 108k US DM & $49.65/pp)
--3h 26m(+1) Layover in LAX –
12:30am-6:00am(+1) - LAX-TPE -- Eva Air #001 Bus. [14h 30m] (part of 108k US DM & $49.65/pp)

TAIPEI (1 DAY): Mon., March 17, 2014 (arrive 6:00am) until Tues., March 18, 2014 (depart 9:10am)
Hotel: Grand Hyatt Taipei [1 night] (12,000 GP Points & $0.00 per nt.)

DEPART TAIPEI & ARRIVE BANGKOK: Tues., March 18, 2014
9:10am-11:50am - TPE-BKK -- Eva Air #067 Bus. [3h 40m] (part of 108k US DM & $49.65/pp)

BANGKOK (1+ DAY): Tues., March 18, 2014 (arrive 11:50am) until Wed., March 19, 2014 (depart 5:40pm)
Hotel: JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok [1 night] (1 Marriott Cat. 1-5 eCert. & $0.00 per nt.)

DEPART BANGKOK & ARRIVE SIEM REAP: Wed., March 19, 2014
5:40pm-6:40pm - BKK-REP -- Bangkok Airways #907 Econ. [1h 00m] (part of 5k JAL [5k SPG] & $82.30/pp)

SIEM REAP (2.5 DAYS): Wed., March 19, 2014 (arrive 6:40pm) until Sat., March 22, 2014 (depart 9:50am)
Hotel 1: Lotus Blanc Resort [1 night] (Not Booked – Walked from Borei Angkor)
Hotel 2: Borei Angkor Resort & Spa [2 nights] (Booked through Hotels.com -- $90.09 per nt.)

DEPART SIEM REAP & ARRIVE PHUKET (via BANGKOK): Sat., March 22, 2014
9:50am-10:45am - REP-BKK -- Bangkok Airways #954 Econ. [0h 55m]
-- 1h 45m Layover in BKK --
12:30pm-1:55pm - BKK-HKT -- Bangkok Airways #954 Econ. [1h 25m] (part of 5k JAL [5k SPG] & $82.30/pp)

PHUKET (2+ DAYS): Sat., March 22, 2014 (arrive 1:55pm) until Mon., March 24, 2014 (depart 7:15pm)
Hotel: Radisson Blu Plaza Resort Phuket Panwa Beach [2 nights] (44,000 Club Carlson points & $0.00 per nt. [with last night free])

DEPART PHUKET & ARRIVE CHICAGO (via BANGKOK & PARIS): Mon., March 24, 2014 - Tues., March 25, 2014
7:15pm-8:40pm - HKT-BKK -- Thai Airways #218 Econ. [1h 25m] (paid $99.35/pp)
-- 3h 30m(+1) Layover {SEPARATE ITINERARY} in BKK --
12:10am-6:50am - BKK-CDG -- Thai Airways #930 Bus. [12h 40m] (part of 108k US DM & $49.65/pp) --4h 50m Layover in CDG --
11:40am-3:05pm - CDG-ORD -- United #986 Bus. [9h 25m] (part of 108k US DM & $49.65/pp)


Background: In October 2013, I had a large balance of US Airways Dividend Miles that I wanted to use for our next trip (with uncertainty surrounding the impending AA-US merger and a switch from Star Alliance to OneWorld), the long-standing desire to visit Cambodia with Mrs. FindAWay, and a 10% rebate offer for US DM award itineraries traveled by March 31, 2014. I set out to cobble together a business class itinerary to Taipei (hello now-gone 90k for business class “North Asia” award chart sweetspot) with a “stopover” in Bangkok on the return. After much research and debate, what I settled on was the following redemption:

108,000* US Airways Dividend Miles and $49.65 per person (for 2 people):
Sat., March 15, 2014 - Mon., March 17, 2014
11:55am-2:53pm - ORD-PHL -- US Airways #3338 First. [1h 58m]
-- 3h 06m Layover in PHL --
5:59pm-9:04pm - PHL-LAX -- US Airways #717 First. [6h 05m]
--3h 26m(+1) Layover in LAX --
12:30am-6:00am(+1) - LAX-TPE -- Eva Air #001 Bus. [14h 30m]
---1 Day Stopover in Taipei---
Tues., March 18, 2014
9:10am-11:50am - TPE-BKK -- Eva Air #067 Bus. [3h 40m]
---Destination: Bangkok---
Tues., March 25, 2014
12:10am-6:50am - BKK-CDG -- Thai Airways #930 Bus. [12h 40m]
--4h 50m Layover in CDG --
11:40am-3:05pm - CDG-ORD -- United #986 Bus. [9h 25m]

*My plan to hit the 90k business class to “North Asia” was thwarted! I called and spoke to 6 different agents (practicing HUCA) before booking. Of the first 5, 1 said that no partners fly to my intended destination of TPE (thank you, goodbye), 2 could not find BR availability (thank you, goodbye), 1 could only find 1 seat on the BR flights (thank you, goodbye) and 1 adamantly declared it to be a 120k/pp itinerary despite my reminder that my destination was in “North Asia” (thank you, goodbye). The 6th agent seemed to be perfect – pleasant, found the inventory and confirmed only 90k/pp miles!!! Until, that is, she had to contact someone else (i.e., the dreaded rate desk) to get the domestic US first flights classified as business for this itinerary (because domestic US flights are coded as “first” instead of “business” – note that UA didn’t have any problem keeping domestic US flights in a “business” itinerary, even on-line) and that person informed her that it would be 120k/pp…which I politely protested to no avail. But, she had already pulled the seats from the inventory (she claimed) and I was concerned that if I didn’t ticket them, they wouldn’t be re-deposited (we had limited travel dates with Mrs. FindAWay’s schedule); so, with the better part of an afternoon spent on the phone with US Airways agents, I relented and booked the itinerary for 120k/pp (knowing with the 10% rebate offer, it was only 108k/pp, which is still 27k/pp more than it should have been). I still find it frustrating that if I could have found domestic first space on UA from ORD to LAX (non-stop or connecting) instead of on US, I would have saved 27k USDM x 2 people on this award; but, that is the way this game goes sometimes.

Long after booking the redemption above, once we had settled on a desired itinerary (mainly debating how long to stay in Bangkok and whether to visit Phuket, Krabi or Koh Samui), in early February (yup, nearly 4 months later), I also made the reservations for our flights to/from Siem Reap and Phuket. For those, I chose the following:

5,000 JAL Mileage Bank Miles (transferred from Starwood Preferred Guest) and $82.30 per person (for 2 people) through this discount redemption promotion :
Wed., March 19, 2014
5:40pm-6:40pm - BKK-REP -- Bangkok Airways #907 Econ. [1h 00m]
--Destination--
Sat., March 22, 2014
9:50am-10:45am - REP-BKK -- Bangkok Airways #954 Econ. [0h 55m]
-- 1h 45m Layover in BKK --
12:30pm-1:55pm - BKK-HKT -- Bangkok Airways #954 Econ. [1h 25m] (open-jaw “return”)

I called JAL to inquire as to available redemption flights on PG before transferring my SPG points and learned that (1) there was fairly good availability to REP and HKT but very sparse availability to USM or KBV and (2) that, according to the agent, while open-jaws are allowed, one cannot transit either the origin or destination (and since PG has no REP-HKT or HKT-REP itineraries other than through BKK (which would be either my origin or destination), I was a bit concerned I’d have to do 2 separate award itineraries. But, when I called to actually book, I was able to book an itinerary that transited BKK, which was my origin; so, either the first agent provided bad information to me or since my REP-BKK-HKT leg had a single flight number, it counted as a “direct flight” and is an exception to the rule quoted by the first agent. Also, it took less than 2 days for my SPG to JAL transfer to be completed.

So, now, I had (and booked) the above redemptions for a trip that still needed to be completed – we arrived in HKT on March 22 and departed BKK on March 25 (at 12:10am though). In looking around, I debated whether another JAL redemption on PG might be worth it (with a throw-away leg); but, since PG o/w paid economy flights were ~$90 and TG o/w paid economy flights were only a bit more, I opted to book a paid reservation and I chose TG over PG for ~$10 more because (1) as UA Silver, I’d get 500 UA miles, (2) TG had several more flight options, including one that left at a time that would give us another hour in Phuket, which might prove helpful in the event of a delay or cancellation of our booked flight, and (3) since we were “connecting” to a TG flight, I thought we’d have the best chance of not having to leave the transit area in BKK if our inbound was TG (hoping we could check-in for our connecting flight in HKT, which turned out true).

$99.35 per person (for 2 people)
Mon., March 24, 2014
7:15pm-8:40pm - HKT-BKK -- Thai Airways #218 Econ. [1h 25m]

Next, I went about deciding on hotels...

Since I had a good amount of Chase UR points, which are easily transferrable to Hyatt, I choose (primarily based on location and redemption rate since I had no Hyatt status):

12,000 GP Points & $0.00 per nt.
1 Night at the Grand Hyatt Taipei

For our 1 night in Bangkok, I decided to utilize my Marriott Platinum status; so, I decided to use:

1 Marriott Cat. 1-5 eCert. & $0.00 per nt
1 Night at the JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok

For our 3 nights in Siem Reap, lots of research and reading reviews led me to book a paid reservation over spending award points:

Hotels.com - $90.09 per night
3* Nights at the Borei Angkor Resort & Spa (*as I alluded to and will detail later, we were walked from this hotel for the first night)

With only 2+ days (2 nights) in Phuket, I really wanted to book the JW Marriott Khao Lak using more Category 1-5 e-Certificates (and hope for a nice upgrade with my Platinum status); but, we really wanted to do a day-trip to the Phi Phi Islands, which would be quite far from that hotel. So, I decided to utilize the last-night-free aspect of the US-issued US Bank Club Carlson credit card since this was only a 2 night reservation (and since having a nice beach at the resort isn’t too important to us):

22,000 Club Carlson points & $0.00 per nt. (after the “last-night-free” bonus)
2 Nights at the Radisson Blu Plaza Resort Phuket Panwa Beach

After researching each of the destinations, thinking about activities in each place, and looking at prices, we booked a Phi Phi Islands day trip in Phuket and had desired activities noted down for each other destination.

Last edited by FindAWay; May 19, 2014 at 12:23 pm
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Old May 18, 2014, 6:59 pm
  #3  
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: ORD/MDW
Programs: AA EXP, DL-Plat, WN-CP | Hotels: Choice-Gld, IHG-Plt, Rad-Gld, HH-Dia, Hyatt-Glob, Marriott-LtPlt
Posts: 2,889
Chicago O’Hare Airport & AA Admirals Club (Terminal 3 Near Gate G8)

Chicago O’Hare Airport & AA Admirals Club (Terminal 3 Near Gate G8)

We started our journey from our home airport of ORD on a chilly spring morning (thank you officially coldest winter in Chicago recorded history). Since we were headed to humid and hot southeast Asia, we didn’t want to bring heavy winter coats that the Chicago weather warranted. So, we left them at home and opted for a taxi to O’Hare – we told ourselves that it would be warmer in 11 days when we return and would be taking the train home upon arrival anyway (boy, were we wrong about the train – but, more on that at the end).

Upon arrival at ORD, we found each agent taken but no line; so, we quickly checked-in at the US Airways first class ticket counter with the next available agent and checked our bags through to Taipei. However, when our tickets were printed our EVA Airways LAX-TPE leg said “economy” on the printed ticket. Since our flight was in business and we wanted to use the Star Alliance lounge in LAX (based on the same-day *A international business departure), I was nervous that the lounge dragons wouldn’t let us in because of this word (even though the seat assignment was correct and in Royal Laurel). I asked the check-in agent about it and she was essentially clueless and could only recommend that we visit the EVA ticket counter in LAX (which wasn’t going to be much of a problem anyway because we knew that our LAX US-to-BR connection was going to require exiting T3 and entering TBIT through security; so, a stop by the ticket counter shouldn’t be a problem).

There was nobody in the TSA Pre security line (it was a Saturday morning); so, we were quickly airside and debating which lounge(s) we should visit. We chose the recently renovated American Airlines Admirals Club in Terminal 3, Concourse G, across from Gate G8 because it was relatively close to our departure gate and we hadn’t been to that one before.

The lounge was not very busy and seemed better than average (as far as domestic lounges go). There was the typical inexpensive alcoholic beverages, fountain drinks, light snacks, soda and cookies available for free with better food and drink available for purchase. The chairs were comfortable and the view was decent. It was during the NCAA men’s basketball tournament; so, there were games on the televisions. We settled into our chairs, imbibed on the complimentary fare, perused the internet and pondered our upcoming journey.



Photo Below: Making Our Way to the Admiral’s Club in O’Hare


Photo Below: Entrance to Admirals Club (O’Hare Terminal 3, near Gate G8)


Photo Below: Inside the Admirals Club (O’Hare Terminal 3, near Gate G8)


Photo Below: Inside the Admirals Club (O’Hare Terminal 3, near Gate G8)


Photo Below: Inside the Admirals Club (O’Hare Terminal 3, near Gate G8)


Photo Below: Inside the Admirals Club (O’Hare Terminal 3, near Gate G8)


Photo Below: Inside the Admirals Club (O’Hare Terminal 3, near Gate G8)


Photo Below: Inside the Admirals Club (O’Hare Terminal 3, near Gate G8)


Photo Below: Inside the Admirals Club (O’Hare Terminal 3, near Gate G8)
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Old May 18, 2014, 7:00 pm
  #4  
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: ORD/MDW
Programs: AA EXP, DL-Plat, WN-CP | Hotels: Choice-Gld, IHG-Plt, Rad-Gld, HH-Dia, Hyatt-Glob, Marriott-LtPlt
Posts: 2,889
US Airways Embraer 175 Domestic First from ORD to PHL

US Airways Embraer 175 Domestic First from ORD to PHL

Map Below: US Airways Domestic First ORD-PHL


FLIGHT: ORD-PHL
DATE: Saturday, March 15, 2014
CARRIER: US Airways (US)
FLIGHT NUMBER: 3338
AIRCRAFT: Embraer 175
CABIN: Domestic First (two class aircraft)
SEATS: 2D, 2F
DEPARTURE GATE: E7
DEPARTURE- SCHEDULED: 11:55am // ACTUAL: 12:27pm
ARRIVAL- SCHEDULED: 2:53pm // ACTUAL: 2:58pm
DURATION: 1 hour 31 minutes
MILES FLOWN: 725 miles


We left the Admirals Club a bit before our scheduled departure to see the plane and gate area. However, upon arriving at our gate, we found a delay had posted. But, since we were on a single-itinerary connection with a 3+ hour scheduled layover, we were not concerned. We were a bit sad that we probably could have had another drink in the lounge though. Our inbound aircraft was delayed ~45 minutes; so, we were simply waiting for it to arrive.

The gate area was quite outdated and small. We sat across the aisle from where a Delta flight was boarding while awaiting the inbound aircraft.

Boarding was announced shortly after the arriving passengers had deplaned and we were among the first to board. Once aboard, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my 21” rollaboard suitcase fit wheels-first into the overhead of the small plane’s first class cabin.

We quickly took our seats and found quite limited leg-room (for domestic first class). It seemed less than that of Economy Plus on most UA domestic flights.

The seats were about as comfortable as could be expected given the class and airplane size. The service was average and the flight short and uneventful (no turbulence, etc.), which is why I was annoyed to see that the captain never turned off the “fasten seat-belt” sign. This is in such contrast to the Asian carriers we would later fly that seemed to turn it off well before reaching cruising altitude.

The take-off line wasn’t too long so, our bird was soon airborne. With zero IFE provided by the carrier, we took to watching a (very short) movie on our tablet and reading to pass the time. We landed in Philly and taxied to our gate.

Photo Below: O’Hare Gate E7 – Waiting for Our ORD-PHL E175 US 3338 Flight


Photo Below: O’Hare Gate E7 – Waiting for Our ORD-PHL E175 US 3338 Flight


Photo Below: Our Plane for Our ORD-PHL E175 US 3338 Flight


Photo Below: United Planes at O’Hare


Photo Below: Our Seats for ORD-PHL


Photo Below: Leg Room for ORD-PHL


Photo Below: Leg Room (Additional View) for ORD-PHL E175 US 3338 Flight


Photo Below: Seats for ORD-PHL E175 US 3338 Flight


Photo Below: Chicago Skyline as Viewed Shortly after Departure


Photo Below: Snack Basket On-Board ORD-PHL E175 US 3338 Flight


Photo Below: Snacks On-Board ORD-PHL E175 US 3338 Flight


Photo Below: The Seatbelt Sign Remained Illuminated the Entire Flight!


Photo Below: My Rollaboard Carry-On Fit Normally in the Overhead!
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Old May 18, 2014, 7:01 pm
  #5  
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: ORD/MDW
Programs: AA EXP, DL-Plat, WN-CP | Hotels: Choice-Gld, IHG-Plt, Rad-Gld, HH-Dia, Hyatt-Glob, Marriott-LtPlt
Posts: 2,889
PHL Airport and US Airways Club (B/C Concourse)

PHL Airport and US Airways Club (B/C Concourse)

We arrived in PHL Concourse C and were departing from the same Concourse C. So, after we deplaned, we decided to visit the US Airways Club between the B & C Concourses. We have traveled through PHL a number of times and have visited each of the US Airways Clubs. We like the Concourse A lounge the best; however, we didn’t think it merited the extra ˝-the-length-of-the-airport walk (or shuttle) when compared with this lounge.

I think this was and will be the last time I used my American Express Platinum Card to access a US Airways Club. The lounge was as expected. It is very long and quite large overall. The complimentary food offerings are better than the average domestic lounge (chips & salsa, olives, etc.) but the beer and wine selection is at-or-below average. The wifi was fair; but, finding an electrical outlet near a seat by the window proved difficult, especially since the lounge was almost half full. We eventually found a pair of seats and settled in.

We kept an eye on our flight to LAX and, after over 2 hours enjoying the lounge, we made our way to the gate.


Photo Below: Escalator up to PHL US Airways Club (B/C Concourse)


Photo Below: Outside the Entrance to the PHL US Airways Club (B/C Concourse)


Photo Below: Interior of PHL US Airways Club (B/C Concourse)


Photo Below: Additional Photo of Interior of PHL US Airways Club (B/C Concourse)


Photo Below: Seating in PHL US Airways Club (B/C Concourse)


Photo Below: Olives, Soup, Coffee, Chips, and Salsa in PHL US Airways Club (B/C Concourse)


Photo Below: Bar inside PHL US Airways Club (B/C Concourse)


Photo Below: Snacks inside PHL US Airways Club (B/C Concourse)
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Old May 18, 2014, 7:02 pm
  #6  
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: ORD/MDW
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Posts: 2,889
US Airways Airbus A321 Domestic First Class from PHL to LAX

US Airways Airbus A321 Domestic First Class from PHL to LAX

Map Below: US Airways Domestic First PHL-LAX


FLIGHT: PHL-LAX
DATE: Saturday, March 15, 2014
CARRIER: US Airways (US)
FLIGHT NUMBER: 717
AIRCRAFT: Airbus A321
CABIN: Domestic First
SEATS: 2A, 2C
DEPARTURE GATE: C28
DEPARTURE - SCHEDULED: 5:59pm // ACTUAL: 6:24pm
ARRIVAL - SCHEDULED: 9:04pm // ACTUAL: 8:47pm
DURATION: 5 hours 23 minutes
MILES FLOWN: 2,406 miles


Apparently we enjoyed our time in the lounge more than we thought because we arrived in the boarding area after first class, *A elites, etc. were invited to board but before the general boarding announcement. So, we never stopped walking after leaving the lounge until we were onboard the plane (and I wasn’t able to take a picture of the outside of the plane). Once on-board, we were pleasantly greeted and welcomed by the friendly flight attendant.

The legroom on this flight was substantially better than the previous flight; but, didn’t seem as good as other domestic first class (that I remember). We were each offered and accepted a pre-departure beverage and towel. The boarding process began on-time and went fairly quickly. But, we didn’t push back for a little while, so, we were 2-for-2 with respect to delays.

Again, with no IFE, we made do with movies on our tablet and reading materials. The FA was very friendly and attentive. However, the meals were sub-par, but edible and very well-portioned. My BBQ was a bit bland and Mrs. FindAWay’s ravioli was questionable and overly creamy. The cheesecake dessert was actually quite good. After partaking in some complimentary beverages, we landed in Los Angeles ahead of schedule.


Photo Below: PHL Boarding Gate Area C28 – US717 (A321)


Photo Below: PHL Boarding at C28 – US717 (A321)


Photo Below: End of the Jetway – US717 (A321)


Photo Below: Leg Room On-Board – US717 (A321)


Photo Below: Bulkhead Row – US717 (A321)


Photo Below: Our Seats in Row 2 – US717 (A321)


Photo Below: Pre-Departure Beverage – US717 (A321)


Photo Below: Snack and Drink – US717 (A321)


Photo Below: Ravioli Dinner – US717 (A321)


Photo Below: BBQ Ribs with Mac & Cheese Dinner – US717 (A321)


Photo Below: Tasty Cheesecake Dessert – US717 (A321)


Photo Below: Post-Dinner Snack Basket Offering – US717 (A321)
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Old May 18, 2014, 7:03 pm
  #7  
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: ORD/MDW
Programs: AA EXP, DL-Plat, WN-CP | Hotels: Choice-Gld, IHG-Plt, Rad-Gld, HH-Dia, Hyatt-Glob, Marriott-LtPlt
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LAX Terminal Transfer, EVA Airways Check-in and Star Alliance Lounge at LAX

LAX Terminal Transfer, EVA Airways Check-in and Star Alliance Lounge at LAX

After arriving in Terminal 3 at LAX, we deplaned and walked next-door to the Tom Bradley International Terminal. We stopped by the EVA Air check-in inside TBIT in order to get new tickets that didn’t say “economy” for our flight to Taipei. There was no line at check-in and our replacement tickets were promptly issued.

We made the short walk to the business class security line. The regular security line was exceedingly long; so, we were happy to get a shorter line…or so it seemed. It turned out that, although the business class line got us to the ticket-checker quicker, we then merged with all other and, apparently, we chose a poor line. We went to the furthest left line, which seemed the shortest. But, later we realized that transit passengers were constantly coming in a side entrance and cutting this line, but only this line, so it moved exceptionally slowly. At least we had plenty of time to make our flight.

Once through security, we headed directly for the Star Alliance Lounge. And, although I haven’t been to any domestic flagship international first class lounges or an American Express Centurion lounge yet, I found this to be the best domestic lounge I have visited. It is a big lounge with several different seating options – an outdoor patio overlooking T3 gates (with the jet fuel odor to fulfill that craving, if needed), a large balcony that overlooks the terminal shops several stories below, a large media/theater room, chairs with tables, sofas, a good-sized bar, etc. Also, the complimentary (and self-service) food and drink selections were excellent (although, we weren’t too hungry and we wanted to save some beverage room for the Dom on BR). The sofa on which we sat had electrical outlets that pop-out – very handy for my laptop.

Photo Below: View of LAX Tom Bradley International Terminal during Walk from T3


Photo Below: EVA Air Sign at LAX TBIT


Photo Below: Entrance to LAX TBIT


Photo Below: EVA Air Check-In Booths at LAX TBIT


Photo Below: Star Alliance Lounge Entrance at LAX TBIT


Photo Below: Star Alliance Lounge Outdoor Patio at LAX TBIT


Photo Below: Star Alliance Lounge Outdoor Seating at LAX TBIT


Photo Below: Star Alliance Lounge Tarmac View Seating at LAX TBIT


Photo Below: Star Alliance Lounge Food Area at LAX TBIT


Photo Below: Star Alliance Lounge Seating Over Terminal Below at LAX TBIT


Photo Below: Star Alliance Lounge Self-Serve Food and Drinks at LAX TBIT


Photo Below: Star Alliance Lounge Bar at LAX TBIT


Photo Below: Star Alliance Lounge Seating Chairs at LAX TBIT


Photo Below: Star Alliance Lounge Food Buffet at LAX TBIT


Photo Below: Star Alliance Lounge Food at LAX TBIT


Photo Below: Star Alliance Lounge Food at LAX TBIT


Photo Below: Star Alliance Lounge Self-Serve Beverages at LAX TBIT


Photo Below: Star Alliance Lounge Dessert Offerings at LAX TBIT


Photo Below: Star Alliance Lounge Self-Serve Water Tap at LAX TBIT



Photo Below: More Food Options – Star Alliance Lounge at LAX TBIT


Photo Below: Theater Room in Star Alliance Lounge at LAX TBIT


Photo Below: Terminal Shopping at LAX TBIT
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Old May 18, 2014, 7:05 pm
  #8  
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EVA Airways 777-300ER Royal Laurel (Business) Class from LAX to TPE

EVA Airways 777-300ER Royal Laurel (Business) Class from LAX to TPE

Map Below: EVA Air Royal Laurel Class LAX-TPE


FLIGHT: LAX-TPE
DATE: Sunday, March 16, 2014 (12:30am; Arriving Monday, March 17, 2014)
CARRIER: EVA Airways (BR)
FLIGHT NUMBER: 1
AIRCRAFT: Boeing 777-300ER
CABIN: Royal Laurel (Business) (two class aircraft)
SEATS: 9A, 10A
DEPARTURE GATE: 140 (Annex with Bus to Remote Jetway)
DEPARTURE- SCHEDULED: 12:30am // ACTUAL: 12:43am
ARRIVAL- SCHEDULED: 6:00am // ACTUAL: 5:58am
DURATION: 14 hours 15 minutes
MILES FLOWN: 7,010 miles


Our departure from LAX did not start well. Gate 140 is in an annex/warehouse area with very limited seating. So, after leaving the lounge, we were unable to sit until on-board the plane (despite 20 minutes waiting for boarding at the gate and 10 minutes on a bus), which was a bit unexpected. EVA Air staff held signs with boarding group numbers to facilitate folks gathering in areas by boarding group, but several folks seemed confused (so we were in the front of our group). Since it was midnight, we couldn’t see outside and we thought we were going to walk outside to a staircase or ramp up to the plane; but, we thought wrong! Once our ticket was scanned, we were directed outside to an awaiting bus. We boarded, waited for others to board until the bus made you really close (physically, of course) with your neighbor, and then rode the bus out to a remote gate and jetway facility. Once there, we exited the bus and walked up a series of ramps until we were in a normal jetway and onto the plane.

Finally, we were on-board the plane! We knew that Dom wasn’t served until after take-off, so, we didn’t imbibe in an alcoholic PDB. The seat was pretty close to my expectations (which were relatively high). While fully-flat, the seat becomes a fairly comfortable bed (with two caveats: 1) I found it a bit too firm for my tastes and 2) I found it a bit too short for anyone 6-feet or taller…I’m 5’11” and would have been uncomfortable if I were a little bit taller). The IFE options were expansive and current. The in-seat storage was pretty good. The tray table was exceptionally large when fully expanded.

We were initially offered warm towels and drinks before take-off. The slippers were already at our seats; but, the Rimowa amenity kits were not distributed until seated. No pajamas were offered. The rest of the service throughout the flight was very good.

I pre-ordered our meals (along with selected our seats – one in-front of the other since we both like the privacy of window seats during long-haul overnight flights) and mine was not on the in-flight menu. I ordered Seared Duck with Ginger Dark Cherry Sauce, Seasonal Vegetables, Potato for supper and the Spinach and Ricotta Cheese Omelette for breakfast. For Mrs. FindAWay, I ordered Steamed Seabass with Butter Seaweed Sauce Served with Season al Vegetables and Potato for supper and Kaya French Toast with Grilled Pineapple for breakfast. All of it was fair-to-good; but nothing was exceptionally delicious. Of course, with dinner, I had Dom Perignon (2004) – you can judge by the photos how much you think I may have convinced the FAs to serve me.

I caught enough sleep on the flight. I did get quite warm at times because the comforter provided is very warm. Overall, I really enjoyed the flight and would certainly fly EVA Royal Laurel TPAC again.

The arrival in TPE was very easy (though the immigration line went a bit slowly). We made it outside reasonably fast and took a taxi (without a wait) to the hotel.

Photo Below: LAX Gate Area – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: LAX Gate – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: LAX Gate Area Priority Boarding Sign – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: LAX Bus from Gate Area to Remote Boarding – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: LAX Bus Interior from Gate Area to Remote Boarding – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: LAX Remote Boarding Area Ramp – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Cabin – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Seat 9A – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Rimowa Amenity Kit – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Rimowa Amenity Kit Contents – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Seat – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Seat (2) – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Seat and Bedding – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Footwell – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Control Panel – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Seat Controls – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Storage Area – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Seat Side View – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Legroom – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Legroom (2) – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Step Built into Seat for Reaching Overhead – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Menu – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Menu (2) – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Menu (3) – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Menu (4) – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Drink Menu – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Drink Menu (2) – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Drink Menu (3) – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Wine Cart – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Appetizer (note my beverage of choice ) – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Appetizer and Bread – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Main Course (Duck Special Ordered) – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Dessert – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Lie-Flat Seat – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Bed Made – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Flight Map – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Breakfast Fruit – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Breakfast Omlet – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Back-Half of Cabin – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Sunrise View – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class TPE Arrival with EVA Tails – BR1 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class TPE Arrivals Hall – BR1 (777-300ER)

Last edited by FindAWay; May 20, 2014 at 9:22 pm
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Old May 18, 2014, 7:05 pm
  #9  
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Grand Hyatt Taipei

Grand Hyatt Taipei

HOTEL: Grand Hyatt Taipei
NIGHTS/DATES: 1 Night – Monday, March 17, 2014 to Tuesday, March 18, 2014
LOYALTY PROGRAM STATUS: None.
ROOM: 919
ROOM TYPE: Grand King
COMPLIMENTARY ROOM UPGRADE FROM RESERVED TYPE?: No


We arrived at the hotel around 8:00am after a quicker and less expensive than expected taxi ride. We weren’t expecting to be able to check-in to our room (but wanted to drop our bags before venturing out to see Taipei) though I had requested early check-in…this was quite early. Unexpectedly, we were promptly checked-in and made our way to our room. We were very happy about that!

The lobby of the hotel is very expansive and impressive. The staff all seemed quite friendly and attentive. The floor of our room appeared to be half blocked-off for renovations (though discretely).

Our room was very nicely appointed and had a nice view of the pool area and city beyond. Everything was very clean and comfortable. Since we had been traveling for roughly 24-hours, we quickly clean-up to set about the city for our single day in Taipei. We didn’t request a non-haunted room; but, we didn’t have any “encounters” either.

One very helpful thing the hotel did for us with all of the taxis was provide us with a small card that had the primary attractions listed in both English and Mandarin, which we would show to the taxi drivers.

Photo Below: Grand Hyatt Taipei Lobby


Photo Below: Grand Hyatt Taipei Room


Photo Below: Grand Hyatt Taipei – Room (2)


Photo Below: Grand Hyatt Taipei – Room Desk


Photo Below: Grand Hyatt Taipei – Room (3)


Photo Below: Grand Hyatt Taipei – Room (4)


Photo Below: Grand Hyatt Taipei - View of the Pool Area from the Elevator Hallway


Photo Below: Grand Hyatt Taipei – Room Door


Photo Below: Grand Hyatt Taipei – Room Entryway


Photo Below: Grand Hyatt Taipei – Bathroom Vanity


Photo Below: Grand Hyatt Taipei – Bathroom Shower


Photo Below: Grand Hyatt Taipei – Bathroom Sink and Tub


Photo Below: View of the Pool Area from the Room
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Old May 18, 2014, 7:07 pm
  #10  
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1 Day in Taipei

1 Day in Taipei

We found the Grand Hyatt Taipei’s location as a base for exploring Taipei to be pretty good. We started our day by visiting the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, which had . the “1,600 Pandas” traveling exhibition! (also, more information here) Next, we went to the Lungshan Temple. From there, we took another taxi to the National Palace Museum, which was amazingly crowded. After that, we took a taxi back to the hotel to explore the area and take-in a late lunch. We walked to Taipei 101 (late lunch at Din Tai Fung), nearby shopping and the peak of Elephant Mountain (for sunset) before returning to the hotel. With the long traveling, unfortunately, we were too tired to visit a night market. Below are some pictures from (with descriptions of a few of our activities during) our day in Taipei:

Photo Below: 1,600 Pandas Exhibit at Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall - Taipei, Taiwan


Photo Below: 1,600 Pandas Exhibit at Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall (2) - Taipei, Taiwan


Photo Below: 1,600 Pandas Exhibit at Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall (3) - Taipei, Taiwan


Photo Below: Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall - Taipei, Taiwan


Photo Below: Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall (2) - Taipei, Taiwan


Photo Below: Railing at Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall - Taipei, Taiwan


Photo Below: Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial - Taipei, Taiwan


Photo Below: Grounds of Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall - Taipei, Taiwan


Photo Below: Gardens at Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall - Taipei, Taiwan


Photo Below: Surrounding Gardens at Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall - Taipei, Taiwan


Photo Below: Lanterns at Lungshan Temple - Taipei, Taiwan


Photo Below: Lungshan Temple - Taipei, Taiwan


Photo Below: Walking around Lungshan Temple - Taipei, Taiwan


Photo Below: Street Scene - Taipei, Taiwan


Photo Below: Taipei 101 - Taipei, Taiwan


Photo Below: Taipei 101 from atop Elephant Mountain - Taipei, Taiwan


Photo Below: Views from atop Elephant Mountain - Taipei, Taiwan


Photo Below: Taipei 101 before Sunset - Taipei, Taiwan


Photo Below: Taipei 101 at Night - Taipei, Taiwan

Last edited by FindAWay; May 19, 2014 at 9:06 am
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Old May 18, 2014, 7:08 pm
  #11  
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EVA Airways Check-in and The Infinity Lounge at TPE

EVA Airways Check-in and The Infinity Lounge at TPE

Early (for us after not quite fully adjusting to the 13-hour time-zone change) the next morning and less than 24-hours after arriving at the hotel, we took a taxi to back the airport. Once there, we made our way to island 9 for the Royal Laurel check-in area (which had no line), checked our bags and made our way to the security line.

While waiting the somewhat long security line, we made our way past the Hello Kitty check-in area. It reminded us that we weren’t lucky enough to be on one of the Hello Kitty flights (although, our LAX-TPE flight was one for months through the week before our departure). After a moderate amount of time spent going through the security line and immigration, we proceeded upstairs directly to the lounge area.

We chose to visit The Infinity Lounge – primarily because it was the easiest to find and I wanted to feel like I was in a Sci-Fi movie. It was a bit smaller than I expected. Although, that probably says more about my expectations because it certainly wasn’t “small” and what did I expect with EVA maintaining 4 differently themed lounges in the same area? The food selection was great and diverse. The lounge was somewhat busy, but, we had no trouble finding two comfortable seats with a small table in-between. The lounge overlooks the check-in area, which was interesting and different.

After more than an hour of resting, eating, and drinking in the lounge, we made our way to our gate.

Photo Below: Arriving at TPE Airport


Photo Below: EVA Airways Check-In at TPE Airport


Photo Below: Hello Kitty Check-In Area at TPE Airport


Photo Below: Escalator to The Infinity Lounge at TPE Airport


Photo Below: Entrance to The Infinity Lounge at TPE Airport


Photo Below: Entrance Hallway to The Infinity Lounge at TPE Airport


Photo Below: The Infinity Lounge at TPE Airport


Photo Below: Seating in The Infinity Lounge at TPE Airport


Photo Below: Breakfast Food Set-Up The Infinity Lounge at TPE Airport


Photo Below: Breakfast Drinks in The Infinity Lounge at TPE Airport


Photo Below: Breakfast Food Options The Infinity Lounge at TPE Airport


Photo Below: Breakfast Selections in The Infinity Lounge at TPE Airport


Photo Below: The Infinity Lounge at TPE Airport


Photo Below: Seating in The Infinity Lounge at TPE Airport
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Old May 18, 2014, 7:09 pm
  #12  
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EVA Airways 777-300ER Royal Laurel (Business) Class from TPE to BKK

EVA Airways 777-300ER Royal Laurel (Business) Class from TPE to BKK

Map Below: EVA Air Royal Laurel Class TPE-BKK


FLIGHT: TPE-BKK
DATE: Tuesday, March 18, 2014
CARRIER: EVA Airways (BR)
FLIGHT NUMBER: 67
AIRCRAFT: Boeing 777-300ER
CABIN: Royal Laurel (Business) (two class aircraft)
SEATS: 9K, 9G
DEPARTURE GATE: C6
DEPARTURE- SCHEDULED: 9:10am // ACTUAL: 9:44am
ARRIVAL- SCHEDULED: 11:50am // ACTUAL: 12:20pm
DURATION: 3 hours 36 minutes
MILES FLOWN: 1,579 miles


Our departure from TPE started with another delayed flight. Also, confusingly, the gate was immediately next to the gate from where an earlier TPE-BKK flight was departing, so, we initially walked down to the wrong gate.

The boarding area was not too crowded and the flight didn’t seem that full. But, the flight did continue to LHR; so, there may have been a lot of folks on that longer leg. The flight boarded a little bit late.

Once on-board we were in a familiar cabin – it was the same configuration we had just flown LAX-TPE. We were offered warm towels and drinks before take-off. However, while a pillow and comforter were provided, no slippers and no amenity kit were provided. The wine list was very different from our TPAC flight and, of course, no Dom was offered. The seat was very comfortable to sit, relax and enjoy the plethora of options on the IFE. The rest of the service throughout the flight was very good.

I pre-ordered our “light meals” (along with selected our seats – one across the aisle from the other I enjoy looking out the window during landing and take-off). I ordered Golden Fried Shrimp with Asian Spices Crumble with Egg Fried Rice with Scallion and Mixed Vegatable. For Mrs. FindAWay, I ordered Pan Fried Salmon Fillet with Marsala Wine Brown Sauce Served with Vegetable and Mashed Potato. Both were very good and, I think, better than the food on the LAX-TPE TPAC flight.

The arrival in BKK was very easy (and the immigration line was very short) and we took a taxi (without a wait) to the hotel.

Photo Below: TPE Entrance to Gate Area – BR67 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Airplane at Gate – BR67 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: TPE Gate Area– BR67 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: TPE Gate – BR67 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Seat – BR67 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Seat (2) – BR67 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Cabin – BR67 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Leg Room – BR67 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Seat Footwell – BR67 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Seat Controls – BR67 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Seat Control Panel – BR67 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Headphones – BR67 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Side Table – BR67 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Seat Lie Flat – BR67 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Lie-Flat Seat – BR67 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Seat Side View – BR67 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class 180-degrees – BR67 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Tray Table (Folded Small) – BR67 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Tray Table (Fully Expanded) – BR67 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Menu – BR67 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Menu (2) – BR67 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Menu (3) – BR67 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Drink Menu – BR67 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Drink Menu (2) – BR67 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Drink Menu (3) – BR67 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Snack Crackers – BR67 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: EVA Airways Planes at TPE (including Hello Kitty Airplane) – BR67 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Caviar, Appetizer and Bread – BR67 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Caviar Appetizer – BR67 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Main Course – BR67 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Dessert – BR67 (777-300ER)


Photo Below: Royal Laurel Class Flight Map – BR67 (777-300ER)
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Old May 18, 2014, 7:10 pm
  #13  
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: ORD/MDW
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JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok & Executive Lounge

JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok & Executive Lounge

HOTEL: JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok
NIGHTS/DATES: 1 Night - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 to Wednesday, March 19, 2014
LOYALTY PROGRAM STATUS: Platinum
ROOM TYPE: Deluxe Room
COMPLIMENTARY ROOM UPGRADE FROM RESERVED TYPE?: Yes


Upon arriving at the hotel, we checked-in and were provided the details on lounge access. We went up to the room to drop our bags and head out to explore Bangkok; but, once in the room, I realized that I had left my ATM/debit card in the ATM at the airport. So, our plans were delayed a bit while I contacted my bank to cancel that card and re-issue a new one.

We were upgraded to an executive level (just a couple floors above the lounge). The room was spacious and had a very good city view. The bathroom was very large and had a spa tub. The bed was comfortable and the desk useful.

The Executive Lounge was huge! It is on the 16th floor and has and enormous outdoor patio (though, it was a bit too hot for us to stay outside much). The food and beverage offerings were good; but, for a lounge of this size, I thought there could have been more options. The lounge staff was very friendly and helpful. The food was generally tasty. I found the breakfast offerings better than the evening offerings.

We were also provided with an “Elite Member Traveller Privilege” sheet noting several benefits related to the lounge, the in-room fresh fruit replenished daily, the 3-piece-per-day valet pressing, and a 20% discount on dining.

Photo Below: Lobby Bar – JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok


Photo Below: Lobby Check-In – JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok


Photo Below: Guest Room – JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok


Photo Below: Guest Room (View 2) – JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok


Photo Below: Guest Room (View 3) – JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok


Photo Below: View from Guest Room – JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok


Photo Below: Night View from Guest Room – JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok


Photo Below: Entry Hallway of Guest Room – JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok


Photo Below: Bathroom of Guest Room – JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok


Photo Below: Bathroom (View 2) of Guest Room – JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok


Photo Below: Bathroom (View 3) of Guest Room – JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok


Photo Below: Toiletries in Bathroom of Guest Room – JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok


Photo Below: Executive Lounge Outdoor Patio – JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok


Photo Below: Executive Lounge Kitchen Area – JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok


Photo Below: Executive Lounge Back Room Area – JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok


Photo Below: Executive Lounge Hallway – JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok


Photo Below: Executive Lounge Dining Areas – JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok


Photo Below: Executive Lounge Dining Areas (View 2) – JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok


Photo Below: Breakfast at Executive Lounge – JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok

Last edited by FindAWay; May 18, 2014 at 8:20 pm
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Old May 18, 2014, 7:11 pm
  #14  
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Slightly More Than a Day in Bangkok

Slightly More Than a Day in Bangkok

Our first afternoon and evening in Bangkok, we visited the Jim Thompson House & Museum, did some shopping, had sunset drinks at the Vertigo Grill Moon Bar at the Banyan Tree Hotel and had a small dinner. We focused our sight-seeing during the following day since we had a late checkout and evening flight. The next morning we took a taxi to the Chao Phraya river and hopped on the Chao Phraya Tourist Express Boat to Wat Pho and Phra Vihara (with the Reclining Buddha). After spending more time than expected walking around Wat Pho, we walked to the nearby expansive Grand Palace, which was much more crowded. After baking in the mid-day heat and sun of the Grand Palace, we went back to the Chao Phraya and took the ferry across to Wat Arun and climbed up the steep steps. Eventually, we took a ferry to a taxi back to the hotel.

Photo Below: Entrance of Jim Thompson House & Museum - Bangkok


Photo Below: Gardens of Jim Thompson House & Museum - Bangkok


Photo Below: Fish in a Vase Jim Thompson House & Museum - Bangkok


Photo Below: View of the City from Vertigo Moon Bar - Bangkok


Photo Below: On the Chao Phraya - Bangkok


Photo Below: Street-Side Fruit - Bangkok


Photo Below: Walking around Wat Pho - Bangkok


Photo Below: Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho - Bangkok


Photo Below: Reclining Buddha Whole View at Wat Pho - Bangkok


Photo Below: Lions at Wat Pho - Bangkok


Photo Below: Walking around Wat Pho - Bangkok


Photo Below: Wat Pho Statuary - Bangkok


Photo Below: Wat Pho - Bangkok


Photo Below: Buddhas inside Wat Pho - Bangkok


Photo Below: Wat Pho Doorway - Bangkok


Photo Below: Jeweled Detailing of the Grand Palace - Bangkok


Photo Below: Walking around the Grand Palace - Bangkok


Photo Below: Walking around the Grand Palace Grounds - Bangkok


Photo Below: Guarded Doorway in the Grand Palace - Bangkok


Photo Below: Statue in Grand Palace - Bangkok


Photo Below: View of Grand Palance - Bangkok


Photo Below: Crossing the Chao Phraya - Bangkok


Photo Below: Wat Arun - Bangkok


Photo Below: Stairs up Wat Arun - Bangkok


Photo Below: View from atop Wat Arun - Bangkok


Photo Below: Pinnacle of Wat Arun - Bangkok


Photo Below: Buildings along Chao Phraya - Bangkok


Photo Below: Boats along Chao Phraya - Bangkok
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Old May 18, 2014, 7:12 pm
  #15  
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Join Date: Sep 2011
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Bangkok Airways Check-in and Departure and Louis Tavern CIP (Concourse C) Lounge BKK

Bangkok Airways Check-in and Departure and Louis’ Tavern CIP (Concourse C) Lounge at BKK

After our taxi ride back to Suvarnabhumi Airport from the JW Marriott we made our way to the Bangkok Airways check-in rows and found no one in line. In order to increase our baggage allowance by 10kgs each, I tried to have them add our FlyerBonus numbers to the reservation. However, because I made an award reservation using JMB miles, the agent could not change mine; but, she did add Mrs. FindAWay’s. I don’t think it mattered as we were barely over the basic allowance and she didn’t seem to look at the weight.

We made our way through security/passport control reasonably quickly and had to decide which lounge to visit. We thought about the PG lounge; but, it was actually farther away from our departure gate than Louis’ Tavern CIP Lounge in Concourse C; so, we chose the latter.

The Louis’ Tavern CIP Lounge in Concourse C was small but empty. It had a well-stocked diverse offering for snacks and beverages considering its diminutive size. The wifi was adequate and the seating was comfortable. We enjoyed ourselves for a bit more than a half-hour before meandering to our departure gate.

Photo Below: Inside Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)


Photo Below: Bangkok Airways Check-In at Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)


Photo Below: Bangkok Airways Check-In Additional View at Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)


Photo Below: Inside the Terminal Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)


Photo Below: Lounge Directional Sign inside Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)


Photo Below: Entrance Sign to Louis’ Tavern CIP Lounge in Concourse C, Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)


Photo Below: Entrance to Louis’ Tavern CIP Lounge in Concourse C, Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)


Photo Below: View of Most of the Louis’ Tavern CIP Lounge in Concourse C, Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)


Photo Below: Inside Louis’ Tavern CIP Lounge in Concourse C, Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)


Photo Below: Bar inside Louis’ Tavern CIP Lounge in Concourse C, Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)


Photo Below: Food Offerings inside Louis’ Tavern CIP Lounge in Concourse C, Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)


Photo Below: Juice Offerings inside Louis’ Tavern CIP Lounge in Concourse C, Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)


Photo Below: Food Offerings (View 2) inside Louis’ Tavern CIP Lounge in Concourse C, Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)


Photo Below: Computer Center inside Louis’ Tavern CIP Lounge in Concourse C, Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)


Photo Below: Self-Serve Drink Selection Louis’ Tavern CIP Lounge in Concourse C, Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)


Photo Below: Self-Serve Ice Cream Selection Louis’ Tavern CIP Lounge in Concourse C, Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)


Photo Below: Coffee Selection Louis’ Tavern CIP Lounge in Concourse C, Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)
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