Greetings Flight Report community and thanks for stopping by. I am sharing a recent trip to Asia with JAL, Thai Airways, and ANA. The trip came about because I parked a return leg (NRT-ORD to be specific) of an ANA ticket on a random day in January, having used the outbound USA to Japan ticket back in August. When I booked the round trip in July the January return seemed so far off. Time flies when you're flying in premium cabins so January came before I know it. I could pay $50 to Virgin Atlantic to move the flight to some other date or find a way to Japan and use the ticket. The timing worked out with work and home life that I decided to use the ticket as is.
I had some Alaska Miles and some Krisflyer miles on hand in sufficient amounts so I started my search for a way to Asia using those currencies. Nothing on SQ excited me except for SQ25 but that wasn't even available for wait list on the day(s) I needed so I turned my attention to JAL and CX by way of Alaska Mileage Plan. Cathay didn't look very encouraging and JAL had space on both JFK-HND and JFK-NRT in F on the day I wanted to travel. Perfect! The Haneda departure is later so I opted for that one to allow more time to get to JFK. With Mileage Plan another 5k miles gets you an onward flight with JAL so why not keep going. HND-SIN with new (to me) business class seats was available so I tacked that one on too.
I have two holes now: Southern California to JFK and SIN-TYO. The first was easy 25k Alaska miles for Virgin America LAX-JFK. I could have done NRSA but I didn't want to sit in coach for a red eye flight. Starting out a long trip, with little to no ground sleeping time planned, already sleep deprived didn't seem like a good plan. Even though the Virgin America product is far from competitive on this route I figured I could get some sleep.
The second hole has many options. I have a small orphan balance of AA miles so that's where I started. Lots of Oneworld choices on the SIN-TYO route but I was drawn to MH. I have a soft spot for Malaysia Airlines and wanted to try them again. SIN-KUL-NRT was available at the times I wanted so I booked it. Or so I thought. You will see from map below of my final routing the flights didn't go as planned…
Courtesy of gcmap.com
Carrier, route, equipment, class, lounge, and procurement method:
I returned to Changi Terminal 1 after a fantastic day hoofing and chowing around Singapore.
At this point I think I am flying to KUL aboard MH so I present myself at their check in counter. I haven't allowed that much time as there is really no compelling lounge to visit so I have only arrived just over an hour before departure. The Qantas and BA lounges open after my imaginary flight has departed. The CX lounge is in T4 and only accesible if departing from T4.
I hand over my passport and let the agent know I am traveling to KUL on MH606. After a good bit of typing she asks for a confirmation number to ticket number as she cannot find me in the system. No problem, I produce my PNR and she enters it in the computer. "Sir, this reservation is for June." Gulp. What? I used some orphan AA miles to book this trip. To book on MH you must call AA. Apparently the Aagent helping me on the phone made an error and thought I said June 14th when in reality I was intending to book January 14th. Of course the ultimate blame is on me for not proofreading the itinerary. I know I viewed it multiple times but my brain must have seen the J in June and the 14th and converted that to January 14th. I know at this point there is nothing that this agent can do to help. She asks that I visit the ticket desk to get it sorted out. I know there is nothing they can do either but I pay them a visit. I am given a phone number to call but I know I have to get in touch with AA. I make my way to a Starbucks and get on the wifi and quickly get on the phone with AA in Japan and, as I suspect by this time, there is no award availability on the intended flights. She offers to put me on CX the next day but I would not make it to NRT in time for my onward flight home. I decide that I have to abandon this ticket to be used some other day and work on another plan.
Option one is to spend the night and try to fly up NRSA on Delta in the morning. There are ample Y seats available but it would make a tight connection in NRT and flying standby is always a risk. I turn my attention to option two and Krisflyer. Zero availability. Finally option three has me query the United site to search Star Alliance inventory. Thai has availability in J that will get me to NRT at more or less the same time as my original plan. I hold my nose and part with the precious points and book the flights. It's not how I wanted to spend 45k United miles but it solves a problem of my own making.
I made my way over to the T1 Premium check in facility and headed air side. I made a brief stop at the T3 Silverkris Lounge but my time there was monopolized with more booking issues. I received and email from United that severe weather was expected in Chicago on Monday and that I could change my ORD-SNA ticket with no fees. I did a little research and found that it was true, a major winter storm was indeed forecast for Monday. Problem is that my NRT-ORD ticket was through Virgin Atlantic and they were not proactively offering any travel waiver for changes. I really needed to be home Monday so I set out to do what I needed to do to avoid ORD. My first stroke of luck was finding O space (Star Alliance first class award space) on NRT-SFO. So, on a whim I rang up Virgin Atlantic and told them of the impending weather emergency. They confirmed the space on NRT-SFO and even waived the modest $50 change fee. Now United. I called United in Japan and told the delightful female agent the entire story about wanting to avoid ORD, the weather waiver, the Virgin ticket on ANA, etc. She agreed that it's best to avoid ORD and changed my ticket to SFO-SNA without fees. I'm sure the fare was less for SFO-SNA so I ate that difference but I bought my P fare so far in advance it wasn't that punitive.
So, here is my visit to the Silverkris Lounge in pictures: A Tiger beer and some pakora. Luckily there are amble charging ports as I was on my phone hard the last couple of hours.
I make my way through T3 and back to T1 via the Skytrain.
No line for security at the gate. The vintage steed awaits.
Hold on to your seats, boarding was delayed. Apparently the inbound aircraft was delayed from BKK. I'll be darned.
Eventually I was aboard this vintage flyer. The cabin is quite dated.
I settle into 12A. Near as I can tell all but the middle seats were occupied on this sector.
Some pre-departure iced tea is offered along with a cold towel. It's quite sweet but very lovely in flavor, the tea that is, not the towel.
Separate menu and wine list for this less-than 2 hour flight.
Taxi is long out to 2C.
Great views of Singapore and Pulau Ubin.
I take a quick trip tot eh lav before I'm locked in by the tray table. The person sitting on the aisle got up so I figured it was a good time. Basic amenities are stocked.
A beverage service came first and I requested the Champagne Veuve Clicquot. This was served with some brown rice crackers that were very tasty.
The single tray meal is passed next. I took the Thai chicken preparation. It's really quite flavorful, tender, and well spiced.
The service was thorough with my beverage topped up several times. Trays were cleared as passengers finished and soon we were buckling up for arrival into BKK.
Singapore Airlines Silverkris Lounge - Business - 3
Singapore - SIN
Bangkok - BKK
The Ground Service: I appreciate the SATS Premium check in area as it allows you to check in even if the airline desk isn't open. The expedited passport check is also time saving.
The Lounge: The Silverkris Business Lounge in T3 is a very good experience. The space, amenities, and food and beverage are all of high quality.
The Cabin: It's quite dated in appearance but perfectly comfortable for a two hour flight.
The Crew: Good marks here. It's a rush for them do do a full bar service and meal service in about 90 minutes. I think they did well.
The Food and Beverage: The flavors of Thailand were evident in this simple chicken dish. I enjoyed tasting it.
Overall: I came to this flight in an odd way. I was frustrated at AA for screwing up my ticket and more myself for not noticing. I was in a foul mood as is often the case when things don't go as planned. Thai Airways did a fine job transporting me safely and comfortably to Bangkok.
Thank you for reading and happy flying.
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