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 was tired and still disappointed that I was not in Kuala Lumpur so I didn't bother to report on the lounge. I went to the first J lounge I saw and it was very unremarkable and in great need of a refresh.
Boarding would be via a remote stand. This is very exciting for the avgeek in me. Looking at these massive machines from the ground is a rush.
Approaching the beast.
The load was light up front and many of the passengers seemed to be staff. As someone who has been traveling NRSA for 42+ years you have an instinct for this.
The airplane is in the same hard product as the 777-300 from SIN-BKK. Angle flat recliner seats that are well past their prime. Seat 12A would have direct aisle access today as no one was sitting next to me. I dig the orchids on the drinks tray.
Sparsely populated cabin.
Service was outstanding from the very beginning, perhaps allowing to the light load. The experienced flight attendant on my aisle was fantastically attentive. Champagne was offered and amenity kit delivered forthwith.
A menu and drinks list was also presented.
Playing with my flower.
Headphones were pre-positioned at the seat.
Slippers were, oddly to me, not offered. I requested them and, after some clarification as to what I was asking for, they were delivered.
We departed right on time making Thai Airways history. The taxi and takeoff roll were quick.
A sturdy duvet was on offer and it was a good thing as the cabin was very cool.
A bar service was offered first and I requested the Veuve Clicquot. The Champagne was served with some nuts and dried fruits.
A nice salty sweet combination.
I decided to try the soup noodles from the snack menu. If you're in Thailand and there's soup noodles on offer, accept them. This was a perfectly satisfying bowl.
After snack time i was able to doze on and off for most of the flight. I was extremely exhausted so sleep came very easily. I woke for the last time as i noticed the lights on and heard the clanking of service ware. I was quickly presented a warm towel.
For breakfast I opted for the Samrab Thai. The rice porridge with braised duck was so very good. The omelet, while salty, was extremely nice too. This was a winner breakfast combination.
Crew rest on the A330.
Why would you carpet the lavatory? Yuck.
A beautiful sunrise greeted us over Chiba.
We touched down at Narita Airport about 40 minutes ahead of schedule.
Bangkok - BKK
Tokyo - NRT
The Ground Service: Thai J is quite different from F in this regard ;)
The Lounge: Having been at the Silverkris J lounge at Changi T3 earlier in the day i was very unimpressed wiht the Thai offering. I know I could have done some homework and found the best Star Alliance J lounge at Suvarnabhumi but alas, I did not.
The Cabin: It's quite dated in appearance and unfortunate for a long overnight flight.
The Crew: I received excellent service on this flight. First class attentiveness on an overnight flight.
The Food and Beverage: Both the snack and the breakfast were ++. Color me impressed.
Overall: I was able to get over my travel blunder and recognize this was pretty solid J effort by Thai Airways. They still lag in the hard product but everything else on board was well received.
Thank you for reading and happy flying.
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