While my job was required to give me another week of holiday due to nearing my resting limitations, I was given a choice by them to take a week off right now or the last week of april. Knowing that end of april was going to be a period of national holidays in the Netherlands and I would be travelling again in May to Aruba with KLM for a wedding of my best friend, I opted to take off right now.
While I wanted to go to Thailand once again, I scanned the internet for a good hour to find a very cheap price with British Airways to Bangkok via London Heathrow. The timings were good, though I am not sure I would make my connection back to Amsterdam on my return leg as BA10's time reputation isn't the best over the past two weeks.
As I usually tend to write my reports after my trips, the first two trips I wrote were without any bonus photos were during my trip, so I didn't include them, but let's just add them as a bonus to the third trip on my journey to home.
One of the first visits me and my girlfriend made was up north in Bangkok (by about 20km) in which you can visit Ko Kret, an isolated island in the Chao Phraya River who still has a role of being a refuge for Mon people. It is also a popular day destination for many Bangkokians who love to spend a day walking, cycling or simply having some food/snacks and to visit some traditional Mon styled potteries. The island is only reachable by ferries which you could take from Nonthaburi and would cost you around 2 to 10 THB (Equivalent to $0.06 - $0.31) depending from where you opt to take a ferry. We decided to use a more local ferry which would cost you only 2THB as you can see in the first picture.. The 5 or 10THB boats are a bit bigger and might be a bit more comfortable for you.
The island of Ko Kret also offers you a bar called Chitbeer with a lot of craft beer ranging from Thailand, Lao and Cambodia and a beer created by themselves. The black one for example in the first beer is their own craftbeer called Chitbeer 'surprisingly' and it offers you a good view of the Chao Praya River. We spend a good two hours here and was definitely an enjoyable experience.
After our tummies full of beer, it was now time to hunt for some lunch. The island also hosts a restaurant who supports autistic persons (called ร้านอาหารเรือนมอญริมน้ำ เกาะเกร็ด), who is one of the very few restaurants in Thailand to actually give them a fair chance to work and earn their own salaries. The restaurant clearly states to be patient with them, but it does offer you some good views and foods too. The autistic waiters are super friendly too and seem to be very happy.
The day prior to my flight, we went to a restaurant I wanted to visit for quite a longtime…. though it is not really easy accessible by public transport and is quite expensive for a taxi ride…. We eventually ended up taking one of the ferries to Bangkapi and to take a taxi from there. It's called ร้านแม่เบี้ย อาหารป่า and offers a lot of jungle food that is quite rare in Thailand and many Thai would not even dare to eat. We tried some crocodile (2nd pic), Cobra (3rd) and some sort of turtle/tortoise. While the cobra and crocodile meat was quite enjoyable and spicy, the turtle/tortoise meat I found rather odd and tasting a bit like some sort of plastic meal. It also offers some deer, rabbits, ostriches and frogs in case any of you want to try (Frogs I would highly recommend in Thailand, a real delicacy)
And some more photos of foods we had. While the first 3 and the 5th are self-explanatory, the 4th picture was a sushi of Sea Urchin and the last one was crocodile meat again with one of them being in a black pepper (left) sauce and the other one in Mala (Right), both very delicious too and quite spicy!
Well it's about time to continue to my actual report by now.
The journey of BA 010
About 4 hours prior to my journey, I received a notification from British Airways that my flight was going to be delayed by about five minutes and we should expect to depart around 11.45 am and that would give me sufficient time to make my connection through to Amsterdam on BA 444 (A hour).
While it was raining cats and dogs a few minutes prior to our planned ride to the airport, we knew it was going to be a hassle to find a taxi to the airport as most taxi's would be occupied by people who're heading to work and taxi drivers would refuse to drive us to Suvarnabhumi. We tried grab for a good ten minutes, but nobody took our contract like I thought they would….. We eventually took the shuttle ride from our serviced apartment to Ekkamai BTS in which we stopped an available taxi. The very friendly guy did not have any problem to take us there and it only costed us 250 THB ($8) to reach the airport for a solid 45 minute drive.
While it is quite hot in Thailand in April, I quickly went inside to feel the cold air of the air conditioning and saw that British Airways check-in counters were directly in front of me in row G.
With about 90 minutes to our departure time, I was lining up in a que which did not take more than five minutes to clear. I was greeted by a very friendly ground attendant (The one in G04) who did an outstanding job. It was clear to me that she was enjoying her job.
As BA already had most of my information, it took only a minute or so to drop off my bag and she wished me a safe and pleasant flight. I quickly went back to the seating area to say my sad byes to my girlfriend again (it remains hard!) before leaving to security. While the departure terminal in Bangkok is quite crowded at any time, security and border control is often not that busy for mid-afternoon departures.
With about an hour to departure, I went now up to departures to pass security and border control. I am definitely a fan of those Yaksha Warrior Demon statues of Bangkok Suvarnabhumi as they give some colour to the rather boring departure hall. It was a good move of them back in 2009 to move those twelve statues from arrival to the international departure hall.
While security took about ten minutes to clear as I had some very slow moving passengers in front of me, border control took no more than five minutes to clear and I was through again with another famous statue of Bangkok. Our flight was departing from E9, so the usual right turn for me.
I'm not entirely sure, but I have a feeling that the secure zone of Bangkok suvarnabhumi gets darker and darker (and it's only 11 am)…. like they don't repair any of the broken lights
Grabbed a coffee at the coffee station in front of the escalators down to my gate and enjoyed the usual view you have when you head down.
A close-up of the building which is halfway through the pier with some fake palmtrees.
And our ride was already preparing for it's journey as BA 10 to London Heathrow at Gate E9.
While I stayed above for another 30 minutes (rather busy in Gate E9 section already, I managed my way down when they called for boarding group 1 (done in groups with BA). The first boarding call however was called at our scheduled departure time (11.45), so I already gave up on making my connection in London Heathrow.
It took another twenty minutes for me to be one of the last ones to board the aircraft. In the meantime I took a picture of our aircraft. It was G-YMMF, a 19.8 year old Boeing 777-200ER who has solely been in service for BA that would bring us over to London today as BA 10. At least the tow tug was already present and I feared that the cabin may be similar to the one I had to Bangkok.
And indeed my fears were confirmed, a 12 hour flight with such a poor IFE system….. Good thing Netflix allows you to download movies on your devices to watch…. I was seated in 39A, which is the last row of window seats in this B777-200ER and consists only of two seats instead of three.. It was a rather full flight today to be honest.
Legroom was once again nothing to complain about and with a few more passengers to be seated, the pilot informed us that all doors were closed and that we would be departing soon to London. He once again reported that due to the Indian/Pakistani border closure, we would have an extra hour of flight time (which turns out to be not true as the flight length turned out to be the exact same time like advertised on their page)
An ATR 72-600 of Lao Airlines arrived from Luang Prabang… Note that you can see the elevator of our plane too from my seat. Still would love to try them out too!
12:20…… and we were finally pushing back for our departure.
And it seems to be common for British airways to not check their seat pockets as it seems always to be missing something. However the literature that was available has always been current to me…. BA 428 missed a BoB menu, BA 9 missed a shopping magazine and BA 10 missed a sick bag….. Would my next flight be able to provide me with everything? I, however did not read any of BA's magazine.
While the seat next to me was considered to be taken when I checked in online to choose my seat, I had the luck on my side once again and nobody was seated next to me. Whether the guy missed his flight, did move himself upfront or BA blocks this seat automatically to select, I don't know that answer.
The panels above however were properly maintained and looked in a good state, though BA is definitely a customer that would prevent separate blowers at all cost…. It's a feature I definitely miss on newer aircraft too. I find cabins often to be too cold or too warm and BA is no exception to this.
The safety video was played and was barely visible again. The visibility however on the picture is much better than it actually watch….
Watch the actual BA safety video below if you haven't seen it yet… I find it a tad too long and too distracting to receive the serious message behind this video.
While slightly rolling to our runway with about 6 departures, I had plenty of time to spot the departing planes.
An EVA Air Cargo Boeing 777F (B-16785) departing to Taipei (TPE) as BR6032
Vietnam Airlines Airbus A321 (VN-A338) about to depart to Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) as VN 600
Bangkok Airways Airbus A319 (HS-PPA) to depart to Ko Samui (USM) as PG963
Hong Kong Air Cargo (B-LNY) departs to Hong Kong (HKG) as RH 336
And the last contestant prior to our show… A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-200ER (9V-SQN) would depart to Singapore as SQ 975
And we're up right now…
And meet this little caravan that's kind of an odd boy here between the big boys. HS-SKR is suppose to be owned by Siam General Aviation if I believe the internet, yet this airline was done years ago when Nok Air canceled their contract. They used to operate as Nok Mini with Saab 340's….
It's 12.34 pm by now and the engines are finally spooling up for our departure to London Heathrow. A delay of about 49 minutes already to our revised departure time.
A straight departure for several minutes until we were over the Gulf of Thailand before our plane would turn right towards the west to fly westbound to Europe.
About 10.000 ft or up, Wifi was turned on which offers you some packages for a fair price (if browsing) and the connectivity did work the entire time with decent speeds with an exception to India's airspace in which it did not work. Might be due to restrictions of India itself though!
About an hour into flight, the first drink service started. I ordered a Tiger and received some pretzels with it and a passenger that was seated next to a couple asked me if I did mind whether he could take that seat instead. I didn't mind as I have no claim to it and I have no valid reason to decline.
About 30 to 45 minutes later, the flight attendants started to bring out the trolleys again to serve us some food, I quickly decided to take a visit to one of the lavatories before lunch was served. The toilets were still in passable conditions. Another odd thing is that the lavatories in the back did not have any amenities available despite the soap to clean your hands, while the lavatories in front of our compartment did have multiple.
While I quickly took a picture of our cabin for today, I noticed that the passenger that was seated next to me was now in a quarrel with each other in regards to his recline.
While it calmed down for a period as dinner was served, we were given a choice by our lovely flight attendant between Chicken & Mashed potatoes or Fish Curry and Rice. I opted for the later choice and it was served with a cold potato salad with some smoked chicken as starter. A chocolate mousse was served with some sort of sauce of berries as dessert. The others are self-explanatory I bet..
While the smoked chicken was pretty good, the potato salad itself was very dry. The same goes for the dessert. The main meal itself reminded me of the fish I had on Bangkok Airways in December '18 to Ko Samui. A spicy sauce with little to no taste to it, which makes me think that PG and BA might use the same caterer. The passenger next to me however took some pills after his dinner.
Tables were cleaned like a hour later…. One thing I noticed with BA on both flights is that their clean up service is very very slow. I would definitely suggest them to decrease the time between food served and clean-up as it might be bothersome in case you need a run to the lavatory and most of the passengers finished their meal already within the first 15 minutes after being served.
The quarrel between the passenger next to me and the one in front of him continued once again till he (the one in front of us) left to the galley with his friend. About 30 minutes later, the lovely flight attendant came by again to inform the passenger next to me that the passenger has the full right to fully recline his seat if he wishes to do so.. About 15 minutes later, she appeared again offering him a seat in one of the front seats with extra legroom and asked him for his name and his original seat no.. Those pills I mentioned earlier definitely had some effect of him as he was unable to spell his name or write it on the IPad. She told him that she starts worrying about his condition and asked him whether he could show her the medicine he took which he declined. She simply asked him to follow her to his seat up front and returned a minute later to my seat again whether she could find the medicine in one of the seat pockets… She failed and asked me whether I noticed something weird… I simply told her that he was sleeping like a rock and was not responding to most of my shakes when I needed to go to the lavatory…. Though I got my free seat back for the remainder of my flight again. That calls for a celebration with some beer and nibnibs.
I spend a few hours watching the films I downloaded from Netflix. Though the seats had his perks, it also had some negatives like a broken seat cushion and the smell of the lavatory when some passengers forgot to close the doors of the lavatory.
About two hours to landing, dinner was served and we had an option to choose between a vegetarian lasagna or beef curry with rice. I opted for the beef curry as a vegetarian lasagna did not appeal to me. While I was expecting a tasteless curry like my first meal, I was pleasantly surprised by this curry which was full of flavour. It was served with some water, a salad of beans, corn and tomatoes and some sort of cake. The male flight attendant offered me no drink however like he did with the others and had to ask another flight attendant if she could bring me something over.
About fourty minutes to landing, the captain checked in with us to report that we would be descending shortly and that the seat belts light would be turned on in approximately twenty minutes and suggested that we use the lavatory right now if we needed it. He thereafter gave us some information about the current weather too and wished us a great stay or a safe onward journey. This message however gave a hint to the flight attendants to start cleaning up…
One of the flight attendants came up to me to report that I missed my connection and that I was rebooked on BA 428, which meant that I had a stay of approximately 11 hours in London as BA 444 was the last flight of British Airways to Amsterdam. She informed me to go to one of the counters at the connecting flights sign to receive my information in regards to my rights and hotel for an overnight. She apologized.
After a short holding, we were now in approach to London Heathrow's RWY 27L with a delay of 45 minutes more or less. The arrival of 27L on the A window seats would give you a view of Twickenham Stadium which is famous for it's rugby games.
Touchdown at 19.15 with a short ride to terminal five to park. Disembarkation started not long after, but it was already 19.35 when I reached the trains to travel to the connecting flights, so there was no chance I would have made my connection as BA 444 was on time.
I spotted this Airbus of British Airways in it's BEA livery and an Airbus of Iberia who was shortly departing to Madrid.
One last look of the old bird that brought me over to London from Bangkok.
I quickly made my way to that counter to retrieve my hotel confirmation as I wanted to have as much sleep as possible. The hotel was already arranged upon arriving, the ground attendant gave me some more information, vouchers for the hotels and shuttle buses and a complimentary package with some goodies.
Border control took a mere minute to clear and I was quickly off to busstop 17-18 which was being used for shuttles to airports. Luckily enough the bus was already arriving the moment I reached my stop and could enter immediately. British Airways booked me in the Arora Renaissance Hotel, which was pretty decent. A pretty standard airport hotel.
The complimentary bag of goodies of BA contained of a white t-shirt, a toothbrush with some paste, a hair comb, shampoo, lotion, a disposable razor with shaving cream and deodorant.
And a short view from Flightradar24 of our flight.
Bangkok - BKK
London - LHR
While the flight had it's up and down, I found the flight attendants (except one) rather distant and quite on the lazy side. The seat cushion was completely worn and made it uncomfortable at certain times, though the seats offer good legroom and a nice width. The IFE is a disgrace, while BA offers wifi on them for a decent price. One meal was good, the other was rather disappointing.... and than you had the comedy of the passenger that was seating next to me for a temporarily period, but was dealt with in a proper manner and I liked that I was informed in advance of my connection and my hotel information given to me was done in less than five minutes either.
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after 10 year in thailand i never go to ko kret i think i will go soon ahaahah :p
i say to myself luky you , your next seat is free , but after this guy come lol
and the poor ife system omg, but i see the internet for all the flight is not so expensive so is quite good is you have usb or electric charge
Those seats do not supply you with any socket or usb charger, so I highly recommend you to have a powerbank with you...
While I am visiting Thailand regularly in a year for over the past 15 years, I must admit that it was my first time too in Ko Kret. Freaking hot it is too when you're there in April haha!
They are kind of obliged to do so, however I would have liked to travel back to my country the same day instead of overnighting in London to be honest.
Despite the poor IFE, the flight itself wasn't too bad to be frank. I enjoyed it thoroughly and it was definitely better than what I've experienced with carriers like Aeroflot.
Thanks for your comment!
Thank you for this review. The IFE is shameful for a legacy airline... BA need to refresh is cabin.
It's interesting that you found the crew rather distant overall, as by reading your report I had the feeling they were caring and professional.
The catering looks good and the tray doesn't look empty like on some airlines, too bad the taste doesn't always follow.
Unfortunately cabin crew was rather distant without any social involvement with their customers... There was one single flight attendant who did an excellent job and was really socially engaged with us, but I'd rather give her a personal compliment than rating their crew as excellent if you understand what I mean?
The tray was crowded and you had to properly look if you didn't forget something like a hidden kitkat for example and the food itself was not too bad. The fish in the first meal could be better, but the 2nd meal was very enjoyable.
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It's crazy how much of a difference the older cabins can make the experience. As I've said before, I can't believe BA still have these old cabins flying around on some aircraft. The new cabins and IFE are so much nicer. But like you said, BA are one of the few carriers out there that have maintained a 3-3-3 configuration on 777s (except for LGW-based leisure destinations), so I give them credit for that!
I used to feel the same way. I always liked to have the air on, but then I realized that I kept getting sick after long-haul flights. I started to see if I would get sick if I turned off the air vents about a year ago to avoid having other's recirculated germs blowing on me and haven't got sick after a long-haul flight since. Though, probably, this doesn't work as well in Y, where you can't isolate yourself as much as in J.
The quarrel about reclining seats is becoming too common these days. In my view, there's an unwritten etiquette about reclining in Y. Technically, you should be able to recline as you like, but it is considered rude to to it on short-haul flights and during meal services. Otherwise, recline away. Your seatmate was wrong to think he could tell the passenger in front what they can and cannot do. Again, during meal time, it should be common sense not to recline; however, on a long-haul, it is normal for someone to recline to try to sleep...especially when there's such crappy IFE.
Thanks for sharing!
I have mixed feelings about their cabin indeed. Those older cabins are more comfortable in my opinion in terms of legroom, seat width and fabric, which I enjoyed, but yet a lot of seats had tons of malfunctions and that very prehistoric IFE screen (and the IFE had just around 15 movies on it) was definitely something I didn't enjoy. Modern cabins may indeed have a neat look, but they are lacking any point of comfort in my opinion as those tiny new seats means less legroom and seat width... It's only comfortable to the airliner's their bank account in the long run.
That sucks indeed... For me I find it more pleasant if I can control the flow of air myself as it is often too warm or too cold on board... And in case you get sick of it, you can always close it.
Unfortunately it becomes a more frequent thing that people fight over, although I must agree that the person in front of me was not at fault. The guy that was temporarily sitting next to me was already hitting his knees into the back of his seat without any recline. The guy was shorter than me for sure but I did not even come close with my knees to the back of the guy in front of me..
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