Tag: HKG

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

Delta Flight to Hong Kong

Our outbound flights to Asia were booked as Skymiles Award tickets, costing 105k miles apiece. This seems like an outrageous sum to be sure, but when the true dollar cost of the flight is nearly $5,000, you can look past it. The flight from Atlanta to Seattle itself was a bit of a yawner, as that is a basic first class domestic experience. For the sake of time (and boring you), I’ll go ahead and put that aside and say that the ATL>SEA leg was great and met my expectations.

The buildup to the Hong Kong flight itself was fairly ordinary, although we did get a specific email asking us if we wanted to make meal selections in advance for our SEA>HKG leg. I had heard about this, and I think this particular case was one of their extended pilots, whereby they’ll take certain global travel regions (e.g. Asia) and offer specific menu options. Neither of us opted to do this because we wanted to see all the other options (which, apparently, will roll out next year). Once we got to the airport, the check-in process was fairly standard. The one nice touch Delta adds is free SkyClub access for business/first class passengers on international flights. I personally never pay since I have a Skymiles Reserve Card, but it was great to have Katy’s access free of charge (avoiding the typical $29 I pay otherwise when we go).

As far as the experience once we boarded the flight itself, I will say that I was  actually very impressed. Having flowing in Delta’s top-end cabins many times previously – I doubted that this new(ish) Delta One product would be able to deliver anything extra special. Admittedly, I don’t know that it would have been that much different than business class, but I think there were a few things here and there that made the prestige a bit more grand.

After being seated, we had the customary offer (for business/first class at least) of champagne, which we were definitely not going to refuse since this was the start of our trip of a lifetime. Beyond that, the flight had a proper dinner course, with all sorts of accompaniments, snacks, and beverage choices (even including careful touches like offering Port wine with the dessert). Just before arrival into Hong Kong.

Til Next Time,

Michael

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