Tag: BKK

I figured I could cover the intra-Asia legs in one post because those flights were much shorter (and, sadly, in basic economy/coach and nothing too “over the top”).

AirAsia (Hong Kong to Chiang Mai)

  • Overall, this was MUCH less of a headache than I ever imagined
  • Upon arrival to airport, we waited in a check-in line of 10 people max, and while the gate agent was slow at first, it seemed to be because he was checking a large group (~6 people) all in at once
  • The food was not good, but for the price (I pre-paid and pre-selected the meals, and they were around $2-3 apiece) it was nice to have something to have a few bites of, along with a drink
  • Interestingly, Exit Row seats are unable to drink alcohol (not sure if this is just an Asian airline thing or not, but it was definitely consistent), as well as have any luggage beneath the seat in front of them (both different quirks than FAA regulates for American travel)

ThaiSmile (Chiang Mai to Phuket)

  • Given that I paid a bit more for these fares than some of the more low-budget operator equivalents (AirAsia, Lion, etc), I did have higher expectations for these flights
  • The service itself along with the flight were both of great quality (more than meeting my expectations)
  • We ended up getting a (complimentary) Chicken Ragout Stromboli which may on the surface sound like something to stay away from – but was in fact DELICIOUS
  • The snack service is something that ThaiSmile does that, while you pay for it, is still nice to know it’s there
  • I would liken this to the Asian equivalent of Southwest airlines, with perhaps even a bit more polish and professionalism
  • Chiang Mai was a fairly easy airport to fly out of
  • Phuket on the other hand, was a bit of a disaster upon arrival; it reminded me a bit of a smaller, muggier, more chaotic Cancun
  • Deplaning happened via a passenger staircase, and then onto a quick bus shuttle over to the arrivals/baggage claim area for domestic gates

ThaiSmile (Phuket to Bangkok)

  • Same as above, but I would note that the Phuket departure experience isn’t quite as bad as our arrival experience; yes – it’s crowded and seemingly unorganized (I imagine their international terminal is better), but it got the job done
  • The snack service on this flight was actually a bit more of an odd combo than the prior leg (i.e. half of a creamed corn sandwich and half of a chicken sandwich doused in mayo); as such, neither of us really ate it and so I wouldn’t say it was a slam dunk
  • As far as arrival into Bangkok, the arrival itself was fine, and included another bus shuttle from the plane to the arrivals area

Til Next Time,

Michael

The first part of our multi-leg return trip home was a 12 hour flight from Bangkok (BKK) to Frankfurt (FRA) in Business Class (also known as Thai Royal Silk). We would then continue onward from there to New York (JFK) and finally back home to Atlanta (ATL). We paid 80k Chase Rewards Points per ticket (for just the BKK>FRA>JFK portion, whereas we booked JFK>ATL separately with Delta miles because it was overall much cheaper).

Seeing as our flight was at 11:40 PM on a Sunday, we didn’t quite know what to expect, either from (unpredictable, but usually terrible) Bangkok traffic or the airport itself. We were also unaware of just how awesome Thai Royal Silk would be. For an airport so massive, I was actually somewhat surprised by the order and efficiency that existed. Perhaps that was due to recent comparisons in airports that are much smaller and quite chaotic (Phuket and Chiang Mai).

The experience with Thai Royal Silk was great to put it simply. Upon arrival to the airport, there is a specific set of check-in counters (not unusual for Biz Class) with a seated check-in counter experience (way unusual for airports in my experience). After that, it’s a quick move through (dedicated) security checkpoint, and (if you so choose) down into the many Royal Silk lounges.

The next “wow” moment for this flight was the “Royal Silk Spa”, which offered us as Business Class ticketholders, a 30 minute massage (our choice between leg massage and head/neck/shoulders). We both opted for the head/neck/shoulders as we had already gotten a leg massage earlier that afternoon. It was a great way to decompress before a flight.

As far as the flight itself, it was relatively uneventful, but a very cool and unique experience since we were flying on the world’s largest passenger jet (an Airbus A380, capable in Thai Airways’ seating configuration of hauling over 500 passengers at once!). The jet was awesome, and we had great seats in the spacious and comfortable business class cabin on the upper deck of the plane. I appreciated the configuration of this plane more than others, because wifey and I got to be much closer to each other (versus, say, many Delta One configurations where you have a barrier between you and your seat mate).

Our flight began with a (fairly typical) hot towel to freshen up. Additionally, passengers in the business/first class cabins had their selection of several pre-flight beverages (spoiler alert: Katy and I obviously picked champagne, because it was Veuve Cliquot and because… champage). The food left a little bit to be desired. Neither of us were fans of the majority of our selections, although they weren’t bad by any means. Additionally, Katy was served by a different FA for the majority of the flight, which ended up causing some awkward timing differences (for instance, she got her main course at least 20 minutes before I did).

The amenity kit was another “what you see is what you get” moment. Nothing to write home about, but Katy was really excited for the quality of the bag and the ability to take it on weekend trips in the future with a small outfit of makeup and such.

One final added bonus was the tail camera, visible in the entertainment console. I got a pretty cool video upon approach into Frankfurt, which shows the plane fighting some light crosswind. Avgeeks of the world, rejoice…

All in all, using the Chase points to book this flight (through United) was a huge score. The business class experience was more than adequate for the points spent, and I would totally do it again.

Til Next Time,

Michael

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