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*A F Class in Asia: LX F BKK-SIN, SQ (New F)SIN-ICN, OZ F ICN-LAX

*A F Class in Asia: LX F BKK-SIN, SQ (New F)SIN-ICN, OZ F ICN-LAX

Old Apr 10, 07, 12:37 pm
  #1  
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*A F Class in Asia: LX F BKK-SIN, SQ (New F)SIN-ICN, OZ F ICN-LAX

(I will add LX and SQ flights shortly)

OZ 202
ICN-LAX
Departure: 16:30, On Time
Arrival: 11:30, arrived one hour early
First Class, Seat 1K

Just got off ICN-LAX on OZ F.
Absolutely wonderful, I'd say, in terms of Service, Food, and Ground Staff. I would have to say, compared to SQ F, this will offer you a more "traditional" F service--everything served out of Sterling Silver (including yogurt!), salad tossed at your seat, table set perfectly, table set immaculately....
And speaking of food, it was really quite extravagant:
(I will add menu later)

In addition, the Royal Korean Table d'Hote is really quite amazing. I had that for the first meal, and other choices were Lobster or Steak or Sea Bass. All looked fine, very simple but looked like nice big portions and well presented--I could imagine bland--but then just ask for some Korean hot sauce!
Then for the "Snack/Breakfast" offering, I had Seafood Vol Au Vent, which was just OK, though cute in its own little pastry. The Korean Beef soup looked like a better choice, and the third choice, "Cream Cheese Pancake", probably would also have been better than my choice!
Anyway, here is the lowdown on the current F on ICN-LAX:
Check-in has your documents and BP already done in a leather folder. A woman at check-in is kinda standing to the side, she was introduced to me and will be escorting me from the lounge to the gate, I was told.
I had extra time, so I went upstairs to the Walker Hill restaurant and had some Bibimbap. Excellent, 1300 won (expensive for Seoul, but it's the airport!).
After security, and then immigration, I made my way to the F lounge. I was put into the elevator, and went up. Most of the upstairs lounge area on both side of the concourse (even the "F" side) is for Business Class. You will find the F lounge entrance just ahead, to the right, when you exit the elevator.
Pluses of the lounge: Very quiet, quick, dedicated WiFi, and quite good snacks, though food was just-OK. There were 3-4 hot food choices, but by 330pm they looked like they'd been there a while--I was glad I'd eaten at the excellent restaurant before security. Snack choice highlights include quite good nut selection with macadamias, almonds, pistachios; individual containers of Haagen-Dazs in several flavors; Haagen-Dazs BARS (!) yummy, I tried one; chips, cheeses, sweets. Mid-shelf alcohol, though I don't know much about that.
At EXACTLY the boarding time listed on my BP (16:00), the same woman who was hanging around check-in (maybe that's how she knew the earlier poster), came over to me to walk me to the plane. It was about a 10-minute walk, but she was very comfortable and friendly. She walked me right past a huge line waiting to board, and even buzzed me right past the "liquids and gels" security and onto the plane. She handed me off to the FAs.
I'd asked in the lounge if there was an empty seat next to me, but no--I was told F was completely full, which was surprising, since it'd been showing F2A4 for weeks, while Business and Economy had been either sold out or had a few seats open up here and there--so I expected some Op-Ups. What I came to realize was that I might have been the only Paid F pax--from all 12 of us up front, I was the only one from the F Lounge. One or two may have had a tight connection and didn't go to the lounge, but combined with the large % of Op-Ups, I know there were few paid F pax.
The guy next to me, a Frenchman, was flying PEK-ICN-LAX, and told me he'd been UG at the gate--he'd never flown OZ before, and didn't even have *G status with Star Alliance.... so I'm really unsure how they do it.
Anyway, given the full load in F, I was AMAZED at the excellent, personal service.
Positives:
Decent English skills (better than any NH crew I've had in F), always looking right at you and smiling--every time; nice padded slippers (best I've gotten on a flight); PJs to take with you (yes, ugly, but quite comfy and seem more durable than the SQ ones); OK and small amenity kit (boring stuff, Biotherm branded), Nice Wedgewood Gift at the end of the flight--(Wine Stoppers, of good quality); FAs cleaned the toilets after just about every user; greeted by name most times; and the seat, for sitting, was MUCH more comfortable than any newer "flat bed" offering--those pods are often quite hard. This was a comfy, old-style barcalounger, that also went 180 degrees flat. The FA offered to make up the bed for me, and I slept quite well.
Wines are good--even the French guy next to me was impressed. "Much better than AF", he said.
Negatives:
Embarrassingly small IFE--quite comical, actually. MAYBE 5" screen? I had been on SQ F the day before, on their brand-new 77W, with the 23-inch screen! Also, poor IFE choices.
This is not an "eat-when-you-want" operation: Meals seemed to be such a ballet that it'd be difficult for FAs to do things out of order--though maybe this was due to the Full load of 12 in F today.
2 hours 20 minutes before landing, the whole plane awakens to the sounds of (I'm not making this up) Birds Chirping(!) for maybe 5 minutes before we are awoken and the lights turned up full blast for breakfast. That seems like a long time that could be better spent sleeping, but it does take a while for meals to happen in F.
That is the only other thing--meal service took almost 3 hours for dinner, and maybe 1.5 hours for breakfast. Which of course lessens the need to "enjoy" the IFE, so maybe that's a good thing!

To be honest, I think the service, both from the viewpoint of what OZ F offers thru food, amenities, and Ground staff and the personal inflight service (even with a full load), puts OZ F at or above the level of NH and SQ--and if they ever do put in a new seat, I'd be tempted to take OZ F over the other two. Not yet, though.
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Old Apr 10, 07, 3:52 pm
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Look forward to the next chapter of your report on SQ. BTW you referred to a leather document folder. Are you given this with your boarding pass to keep?
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Old Apr 10, 07, 9:40 pm
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Agree with all of your assessments.

The escort to the gate must be new as we didn't get that last year on the same flight.
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Old Apr 10, 07, 10:05 pm
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Originally Posted by kyushuman View Post
Embarrassingly small IFE--quite comical, actually. MAYBE 5" screen? I had been on SQ F the day before, on their brand-new 77W, with the 23-inch screen! Also, poor IFE choices.
I totally agree about the IFE. It is absolutely horrible.

What Champagne did they have BTW?
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Old Apr 11, 07, 5:47 am
  #5  
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Very nice so far! I look forward especially to reading about SIN-ICN in the new F so I know what I can expect in July.
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Old Apr 11, 07, 6:03 am
  #6  
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Originally Posted by holtju2 View Post
I totally agree about the IFE. It is absolutely horrible.

What Champagne did they have BTW?
They had two kinds--and the Frenchman, once he saw it was Tattinger Comtes de Champagne 1998, decided to have some (to be honest, I don't know my champagnes, but it was quite nice)--"elegance and lightness" is how it's described in the menu, and that's a perfect description.
The other kind on the menu is listed as "Piper-Heidsieck Brut", but I didn't see them serving that.
The wines were excellent, too. I promise to get those into the report (as well as the entire LX and SQ reports) very soon!
And as a teaser, I'd have to say that, in order of preference of seat comfort/service/friendliness/attentiveness, SQ came in 3rd out of 3!?!
I can't believe I'm typing that.... but anyway, while I love SQ and their new F product is quite nice, I either got really special OZ and LX crews, or SQ had better watch out if it's resting on its laurels!
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Old Apr 11, 07, 4:27 pm
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Excellent start! Thanks for sharing. I agree w/ you about pretty much everything on OZ in F. Seems the amenity kit has gone downhill since I was on them last year. They had all Bulgari products, including a full bottle of BLV cologne. I have yet to savor the Korean meal, but will be on them in November and will be sure to pre-order this time. Looking forward to the rest of the report.
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Old Apr 12, 07, 12:04 am
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Thanks for taking the time to post this, kyushuman!

Looking forward to hearing about the rest when you have time.

Sean
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Old Apr 12, 07, 1:42 am
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Thanks for this report kyushuman. I will be on OZ F next month and this was an interesting teaser!
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Old Apr 15, 07, 11:23 am
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LX 182 BKK-SIN in F

This is out of order, since it was my first flight in the itinerary, but anyhow..... here it is!

LX 182 BKK-SIN
F Class, Seat 1A
Depart/Arrive on time--10 min. early actually-- (15:45-19:00)
Load in F: 3/8

I checked out of my absolutely wonderful one-bedroom, two-bath suite at the Conrad BKK (I had the mistake rate of $20/night for 6 nights) and headed to the airport. I had reconfirmed my flights the day before but hadn't been notified of the schedule change (about 20 minutes later than originally scheduled), but now I was notified. Also confirmed my seat, 1A, and that my BD *Gold mileage number was in the reservation. Everything was set.
I also asked what time check-in opened, and was surprised to learn it was only 2 hours before departure, so I changed my hotel-departure time to a bit later so as to enjoy the gym and pool one more time. It was good I didn't arrive any sooner to the airport, since I go there about 130 minutes before departure, and sure enough check-in was closed still, with around 50 pax lined up in the Y line and 3 in the J line.
I strode up to the F counter, and waited about 10 minutes. Interestingly, at least a dozen TG staff at check-in were there the whole 10 minutes, ignoring us, as they weren't "open" yet. I'm guessing the computers and/or LX agent decides when to open check-in, as opposed to TG staff, so no big deal.
But the main point is: DON'T bother arriving early for any reason, because it's not too interesting or glamorous to stand in a closed queue!
Once check-in opened, the one LX agent, a male, was hanging around the F check-in, shooing away non-F pax who unknowingly got into the shortest queue. He also gave me carry-on tags for all 3 (!) of my carry-ons, which was nice. They were also more than 8kg, but they weren't weighed. I read that recently an J class pax was bothered by quite strict LX limits on this sector, and were forced to check more bags, so I was relieved to find I only had to check one. I was prepared to check a second bag, but it was a very small messenger bag which I'd packed thinking they might make me check it... but in the end I just carried it all on. Too many breakables purchased in BKK!
Next was a quick walk thru immigration and on to the TG F lounge. You have to walk all the way thru the TG C lounge to get there, at least if you go thru the central immigration counter which is near the LX check-in. If you check-in at the TG counters (for a TG flight), I think you get to the normal TG F lounge entrance.
Anyway, upon entering the TG F lounge, I was offered a wide choice of seating, since for the entire 80 minutes I was there, I was the ONLY person in the lounge, along with about 10 attendants! I ordered the pad thai, a small portion of the noodle dish, and a bowl of wonton soup, also a nice snack size. Both were prepared freshly and nicely, though with NO spice at all... I think you should ask them to make it for Thai tastes, I'm guessing they tone down the flavors for the international crowd in the F lounge.
Anyway, a decent array of newspapers, but the USA Today I glanced at was from Tuesday (and this was Friday!). There are semi-private alcoves available, almost a small living room, with desk, TV, and sofa, on one side of the lounge, while the other side looks more traditional like a regular old lounge. I also had some white wine, which was topped up at my request. Service was oddly lax for such a huge staff/pax ratio, but maybe they just normally didn't have many pax in the lounge then so it was socializing time?

So about 20 minutes before my flight I headed down, and the boarding area was completely deserted--I was the last pax to board! They were waiting just for me. So, after I boarded, they said, "Boarding is complete" in German, and closed the door.
Then the absolutely WONDERFUL LX service began. To be honest, I was expeciting this flight to be the worst of the 3 on this itinerary (LX/SQ/OZ), and, interestingly, it ranked at or above the SQ and OZ service! I am happy to report that my FA, Monica, was smiling, chatty, curious, yet still so attentive and professional in a way that few Western FAs are, at least in my experience.
Upon boarding, I was offered Champagne, as well as a full amenity kit (a hanging toiletry bag with nice stuff inside!), slippers, eyeshades, and a menu. Then Monica asked if I'd also like some of the "local freshly squeezed OJ, which I can highly recommend".... I accepted, and she was right! It was really nice. A bit tart, just the way I like it.
After take-off, I was asked about my meal choice. Here's the menu:

BKK-SIN
Light Meal

Fresh Seasonal Salad

Green Chicken Curry with steamed rice
Salmon Steak served with lime butter, asparagus, red bell peppers, and saffron potatoes

Sweet favorites

Swiss Chocolates

Espresso and a selection of coffees and teas

Supplementary Choices available at your request:
Selection of soups (cream of tomato, oxtail clear, Miso)
Seasonal Salads
Swiss Cheeses
Fresh Fruits

Wine List:

Champagne:
Cuvee Allegra 1999, Jacquart, Reims, France

White Wines:
Schernelz Village AOC Clos a l'Abbe, Charles Steiner, Switzerland
Beaune du Chateau 2004, 1er Cru, Domaine Bouchard, France
Chenin Blanc 2005, Cellar Door, Villiera, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Red Wines:
Twanner AOC 2004, Frauenkopf, Pinot Noir Barrique, Switzerland

Chateau Latour-Martillac 2004, Pessac-Leognan AC, Bordeaux, France
60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot

Close Malvern Auret 2004, Stellenbosch, South Africa,
60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Pinotage, 15% Merlot

Dessert Wine
Sauternes AC Les Sables d'Or 2003/2004, France, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle.

Port
Porto Calem, 20 years old, Portugal, Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francessa, Tinta Barroca
Also a very lengthy list of Aperitifs, Liquers, Digestifs, Coffees, Teas, and others.

Wow--a VERY nice menu, especially when compared to SQ F on this route, which only offers a salad/main/fruit.... no cheese, no proper dessert. I think CGK and Carfield will agree with me on this point.
I'm not sure if the SIN-BKK LX F meal service is so extensive, since the flight is quite late at night (21:30+ departure), but at least for this direction, I'd choose LX F over SQ F.
I had the salmon, which was done perfectly, as were the veggies. The cheeses were amazing--in fact, even though it was in the "supplementary choices" section, Monica was offering it all to me--I declined the soup, but enjoyed everything else.
There were only 3 of us in F on this segment, so service was excellent. The IFE was turned on, and I enjoyed 3 short sitcoms, I think.
I asked for an inflight comment card and said how wonderful the service and the food offerings were, and for LX to PLEASE continue such a great service. Monica said that a few years ago, they had to do a FULL service--even more courses--on this short tag flight, and it was really hard to do a proper F service.... I told her that even this was great, especially compared to their competition's (SQ's) limited service on the same route. SQ offers no amenity kit, also their meal has no dessert, no cheese course, and no chocolates.

My bag was about 5th off the plane, and I was in my hotel in Orchard Road before 745pm (less than an hour after touchdown!).

A wonderful experience.

Last edited by kyushuman; Apr 15, 07 at 11:40 am
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Old Apr 15, 07, 4:07 pm
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I still maintain LX F is one of the best onboard F products around - the seat, the food, the service I have experienced have been consistently excellent and better than other airlines' F.
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Old Apr 15, 07, 8:34 pm
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I flew this route roundtrip late last year, but in business class, and it was good. I'm hooked on LX first after my Christmas experience LAX-ZRH. Can't wait to try them again later this year ZRH-LAX.
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Old Apr 17, 07, 7:25 pm
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I agree that LX F is probably the best in Europe, although it and LH are pretty similar in terms of beign the best. The only things LX must do to get the definitive # 1 spot are:

1. Get PJ's in F, only because I like them and when they don't offer them, they look bafd compared to LH, BA, SQ, CX etc.

2. Caviar as part of the meal service- This isn't as big of a deal but considering how good and expensive their catering already is, it probably wouldn't be that big of a deal. Currenlty, LH is the only European carrier to offer caviar in F adn it is immensely popular on all LH flights I have been on.

3. Dom Peringon or Krug- Ok not that important but still, it would be nice.

4. Better IFE on the A330, where there are only 9 channels. Maybe a DVD player or something to increase the choices, at least on airlines like UA and AA, there are personal tapes in F because the regular videos have such few channels.

5. Lastly, F on all A330's, only because its so annoying to have such a good F product that isn't offered to all desitnations, especially ORD and MIA.
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Old Apr 17, 07, 8:18 pm
  #14  
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Originally Posted by daron4000 View Post

5. Lastly, F on all A330's, only because its so annoying to have such a good F product that isn't offered to all desitnations, especially ORD and MIA.
Interestingly, the FA, who works almost exclusively in F cabins, said that LX is "going to re-introduce F cabins in more aircraft" by year's end. She even confirmed it with other FAs.... is this true? That would be great! She said she was glad they were getting more F, since she would then be able to go to Chicago again--where she has friends.
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Old Apr 20, 07, 2:52 am
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LX will get two more A340 planes this year, and they will both have a 3-class config. I don't think that they will convert any of the 2-class A330s back to 3-class though.
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