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Yyz - hnd ac j hnd - bkk - syd tg f

Yyz - hnd ac j hnd - bkk - syd tg f

Old Jan 29, 19, 9:42 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: YYZ
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Yyz - hnd ac j hnd - bkk - syd tg f

First trip report - be gentle; no where near as good as some of you (SFO777, stu1985, danielw Ė so enjoy reading your stuff); enjoyed reading them for years thought I should contribute.

I took an interesting redemption trip (that was two Aeroplan awards booked separately) last week and wanted to try my hand at a trip report for everyone to have a look at a bit of an unusual routing and a couple airlines. I first booked the YYZ Ė HND award with Aeroplan on AC about 9 or 10 months ago to visit a friend that is in Tokyo, and my initial thought was to simply book something from HND to SYD, but shortly after that I happed to see an F award appear from Thai which got me to Sydney, so I grabbed it. Aeroplan scamcharges were not small (think maybe $800 or so, would have to check) but for me part of the vacation so worth it.

I donít take a tonne of pics like some of you but I did grab a few, and Iíve tried to describe as much as I can as well.

The original itinerary had a day in Japan then just a short layover of 2 hours in BKK, but there were schedule changes and I ended up with 7 hours in Japan and 12 hours in BKK, so instead of touring Tokyo I ended up on a day tour of Bangkok. Another time Iíll visit Tokyo Iím sure itís pretty awesome, but I enjoyed my day in Bangkok a great deal. I just met my friend in HND for some Japanese food which was surprisingly good to be honest for airport food.

On the airlines Ė first, AC J, which as you are likely aware they call Executive Signature these days but I recall was called Executive First and Business class in years gone by, is a very good hard product. The suites they have are comfortable (if the seat inflation is working, which mine was) and have a private but not claustrophobic feel to them. The only thing I didnít like about these is that I am a side sleeper and pretty big dude (6í4Ē, 260) and there isnít room for my legs to stack one on top of the other. This is OK for me I can also sleep fine on my back if I raise my head a bit, and the seat is plenty adjustable. I didnít take a lot of pics of AC at all except the lounge (which had some good food out with two or three options and lots of accoutrements as well as drinks that are self serve) and a seat and champagne pictures. I took pics of the menu so Iíve included those below, also one of the lounge buffet.







Service on AC was super professional Ė nothing was a problem. Check in totally flawless Ė despite being on two separate tickets luggage checked all the way through and in less than 10 minutes including having a few people in front of me. Very competent check in agent. It was icy in Toronto so in case you wonder how they clear a runway in 10 minutes thereís a fleet of plows followed by quality control:



After takeoff I asked for the meal to be served as dinner instead of lunch; itís weird with a 1PM departure on a 13 or so hour flight to serve the meal so quickly in my view. I had eaten some very tasty lasagna in the lounge (which they called deconstructed lasagna to make it sound fancy but it was just lasagna) so was full anyway. They advised to call the flight attendant 30 minutes or so before so they had time to prepare, which I did and they did flawlessly. I had a beef medallion which was tender and not overcooked. Zero complaints. Champagne quite drinkable. I guess the only thing I would say here is that at times I felt service was not very ďwarmĒ which is weird because as a Canadian (I am also Australian though) I think people usually think weíre pretty friendly. The service director did introduce himself which I think is a good gesture in business or first. At any rate, this is fine Ė itís all a personal preference anyway with soft product like this, but QF, TG and GA all seem to have a somewhat better handle on this relatively speaking based on my past experience in J or F with them. Couple photos of champagne and the seat.

AC J:




TG F was a step above as you might expect and hope, and itís always a pleasure to fly on a 747 for me. I had both old first on the HND to BKK segment; TG F:



And new first on the BKK to SYD segment:




New first is great. Old first is fine, but definitely dated; comfortable but not very private.

I see some people give TG limited marks for F at times but that was not my experience (though to be fair I have only travelled QF F in comparison). I did take food pics on this because presentation was amazing to me, more on that later. The food was excellent. The steak done perfectly, caviar service so good (melba toast a mess though use the little pancake things instead next time TG), really nice crisp Dom Perignon (have yet to meet a champagne I didnít like though to be honest) just awesome. Nasty turbulence over Jakarta we had been warned about (on par with the worst I have seen in a few hundred flights, so a little bit uncomfortable but not scary, probably moderate on the scale still though) by the captain which I always appreciate.

TGís ground game in BKK was impressive. Someone met me coming off the plane and asked me what I wanted to do. I advised I was hoping to visit the lounge to clean up a little, go into the city for a day, and then come back later in the day. No problem Ė please go with this agent on the cart. They took me to the lounge nearest immigration, checked straight in to the lounge, hit the showers right away which were the nice natural rain shower but also with a wand type handheld in case one needs to reach oneís nether regions more effectively.

Once cleaned up I headed to the front desk after consuming a couple fresh pressed pineapple juices and a flat white to ask where I could store my bags and they were very happy to hold it for me. They marked it with my flight number and seat number, which was impressive because I had checked in an hours ago and they just remembered; they offered to take me to immigration but I just asked them to point me in the right direction.

Back to the airlines in a minute, a bit on my short visit to Bangkok now.

Immigration was simple and straightforward, and then I got a local SIM card for equivalent $5 just to have some data for the day in case I needed it.

I hired a service called tour by locals which I recommend. Because I was not long in Thailand and had limited time they offered a custom personalized solution of just a few hours to go to a couple sights; it was less than $200 which seemed very good and included some public transit costs. We ended up taking some cabs and a tuk tuk but the local guide was so helpful at avoiding getting ripped off for tourist rates.

We went to the Grand Palace and a pretty fun mall that was kind of like an indoor market (I asked for; I wanted a couple trinkets for the kids). We were going to go to the floating market but the jet lag caught me so I asked to cut the tour short which was no problem. It was enough though to get a flavour; some photos below Ė beautiful place. I hope to go again one day and see more.










Back to the airport, and they arranged a thai massage for me. This was pretty relaxing and included in first class for an hour; they give you these weird disposable underwear to put on that are kinda revealing but when in Rome . . . I kinda felt like jelly when I was walking out it was so relaxing.

I had the lounge largely to myself in the afternoon, with several people attending to anything you needed; plenty of a la carte food offered and fresh squeezed and pressed juices, and of course full bar and coffee service. They offered to take me in a cart to the gate but you had to go through security again which I couldnít be bothered with, so I walked to the gate. That was pretty far to be honest and took about 20 minutes but no worries.



I will have a LARGE gin and tonic please.




Now this is where things fell down a bit. There is a liquids check at the gate, and there is no separate line (queue) for first class. So I stood in line for about 20 minutes to show off my spare clothes and toiletries, and then entered the gate area. Also no separate area for first here. Kinda bit of a let down on that.

First boarded right after wheel chairs, but boarding was late and just no communication from the gate staff about why; looked to me like a lack of attention to detail since plane had been at the gate for hours. So not super impressive here but really the only negative thing I have to say. Departure was about 20 or 30 minutes late as a result of the faffing.

On board service from BKK to SYD amazing; crew right on top of everything. Dinner plating so pleasant, see below for some pics.





Arrival to Sydney was good and about half an hour late plus a medical issue delaying disembarkation; I used the automated kiosks because there was no line there and there was in fast track, regular immigration was mobbed due to the arrival of a couple A380ís just before us.

Priority luggage did not work. Saw several people on the flight get their bags without tags before mine and others I was in first class with arrived. This is pretty common in my experience on Star Alliance carriers in Sydney Ė I donít think their ground handling is very good (experience based on AC, UA and now TG over the years, about 15 or 20 flights, so maybe just bad luck). Still out in less than an hour which is my standard I apply for major international flights. Glad they didnít lose it given the long layovers and weird routing.

Off to a friends flat for some relaxation and visiting family. Bit overcast today but warm; unlike home near Toronto where it's basically tundra at the moment.



Going home shortly via Jetstar to Honolulu, Hawaiian to Kauai for a week, and then United to Toronto, all in the back of the bus which, well, I donít think Iíll do a trip report for!

Conclusion; both AC J and TG F were really excellent experiences I thoroughly enjoyed. While I mentioned a couple of things I thought could be improved, really itís nitpicking. Both airlines did a great job enhancing (like actually enhancing not what they do to FF programs) my vacation. Safe travels all.

Last edited by atsak; Jan 29, 19 at 9:50 pm Reason: title fix
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Old Jan 30, 19, 8:26 am
  #2  
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Looks like you got one old () TG F product, and one new (), right? Big upgrade huh?

Nice first, trip report. Thanks for taking the time to share
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Madone59 is offline  
Old Jan 30, 19, 9:40 am
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If you had accepted the buggy to gate, they would have escorted you through right on board the plane.
I don't recall any security checks in BKK at the gates - and I departed from there twice in the past 2 weeks.
Must have been a random check.
IluvSQ is offline  
Old Jan 30, 19, 4:04 pm
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Originally Posted by IluvSQ View Post
If you had accepted the buggy to gate, they would have escorted you through right on board the plane.
I don't recall any security checks in BKK at the gates - and I departed from there twice in the past 2 weeks.
Must have been a random check.
Apparently exclusive to Australia . Everyone else in the first cabin was also in the holding pen .... I think this was just random as you suggest or just Australia possibly as well.
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