Happy New Year 2023… and happy Lunar New Year in Singapore, where I work! As I was wrapping up my travels for 2022, I was in a rush to select pictures for my trip reports on Flight-Report and publish them. I only had time to publish one during the holidays after the FIFA World Cup: a short flight on Singapore Airlines in October, operated by 9V-SMF, the 10,000th Airbus aircraft of all time. Both these trip reports and my actual flights were a phenomenal end to a record-shattering year for personal aviation, with a whopping (to me) 15 flights across 7 airlines, none of which, except IndiGo, I had ever flown before. (Sneak peek into the year-end jaunt across South Indian cities: my début on historically the two better airlines out of the Tata Group’s four — AirAsia India and Vistara — which I simply had to fly before they disappear into Air India (Express).) Such an extraordinary year in terms of airline, aircraft and destination diversity will be nigh impossible to beat: my first-ever A350s, 777s, A330-300 and non-Air India 787s (the SQ 787-10 at the beginning of the year, the TG 787-9 at the end), my first visit to Dubai — or, indeed, anywhere west of Mumbai — and my first time on SQ, TG, MH, EK and eventually I5 (AirAsia India) and UK (Vistara) as 2022 ended.
Somehow I had missed publishing one report from the summer: a flight from Bangkok to Singapore at the end of June, my third on Thai Airways’ A350. While this was not so consequential in terms of the plane or the route, it laid the foundation stone for my career in Singapore after graduation, starting with my new home on the posh and busy Guillemard Road, which I moved into immediately after landing. Now TG has increased its frequencies to the city-state: up from only the TG403/404 morning flight and TG409/410 late-evening flight in June — both of which are guaranteed A350s — there are now also the TG413/414 afternoon and TG407/408 early-evening flights, getting closer to prepandemic capacity. However, which aircraft will operate the reintroduced frequencies is a roll of the dice: it could be the cutting-edge A350, the 787-8 or -9, the 777-300ER or, God forbid, the dreadful 777-200ER — in short, everything in the fleet but the A330-300, which was a regular on the BKK–SIN route once upon a time but was later withdrawn from the fleet, though three 333s (how do you plan to pronounce that?) have now been brought back for certain Japan flights, but not elsewhere.*
This was a much-needed salve to my bruised ego, coming as it did after probably the worst flight in my history, on TG’s ratchety old 777-200ER with noisy, boisterous people and a ridiculous IFE screen for company, which itself came after a completely unnecessary screw-up by the check-in officials at the government-run Chennai Airport. However, as they say, when you’re at the bottom, there is only one way and that is up. As I would tell myself at the time, ‘Hey, you’ll be getting an A350 to Singapore — cheer up!’
*Note on TG’s reintroduced A330s and Indian routes: As of winter 2022/23, HS-TEN/TEO/TEP almost always fly only the Tokyo Haneda (TG660/661 and TG682/683) and Fukuoka (TG648/649) flights, but on occasion they have also flown the TG323/324 route to/from Delhi, which ordinarily is operated by the 777-200ER, while the TG331/332 route — also to Delhi — is always operated by the 777-200ER, without exception. Fortunately, Delhiwalas have an option to escape the horrible 777-200ER in the form of the 777-300ER-operated TG315/316. Bengaluru (TG325/326) is the only one to receive the A350 consistently. Chennai (TG337/338) receives the 787-9, with Hyderabad (TG329/330) and — reintroduced from New Year’s Day 2023 — Kolkata (TG313/314) getting the 787-8, though any of these may occasionally be switched to the -200ER at the last minute. Also, Mumbai was stuck with the -200ER on TG317/318, but from New Year’s Day it has a 4x weekly 787-8 option on TG351/352. Another 777-200ER destination is Dhaka, Bangladesh, with the daily daytime TG321/322 and the 3x weekly nighttime TG339/340 consistently getting the outdated aircraft.
TG403 | Bangkok to Singapore | 27 June 2022 | A350-900 | HS-THLYou are here
In transit at BKK
Monday, 27 June. No sooner did I manage to escape from that accursed flying tube (also known as a Boeing 777-200ER) than I found myself, for the second time that month, in the confines of Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport. Most passengers on the flight were terminating their journey, and were headed out to immigration to enter the Thai capital on that beautiful summer’s day.
However I, for one, wouldn’t be turning towards baggage claim, but instead would go to the connecting flights section.
People continued to disembark from all the arriving flights. As I’ve said before, the Wi-Fi at BKK is bogus, forcibly disconnecting you after every hour.
Fortunately I wouldn’t be part of the serpentine immigration queue, heading right instead, boarding pass in hand.
Ads on the walkways featured all sorts of skincare and haircare products.
The pride of Thailand? Probably, but the décor is far more industrial than aesthetic. Don’t expect it to come anywhere near Changi soon.
Before long the security check for connecting flights — which involved removing shoes, in addition to the typical electronics, belts and purses — was done. On the way to the gate I walked past the Oman Air lounge, one of the first in a long row of airline lounges.
While of course most departures were within Southeast Asia, there were a couple of exotic destinations and airlines, such as Mahan Air’s W550 to Tehran — certainly not a destination you’d expect from Singapore. To this I might add some little-known regional flights in the last picture, such as 8M338 (Myanmar Airways International) to Mandalay, or QV634 (Lao Airlines) to Luang Prabang. I do wish, though, that the English and Thai displays were synchronised, so that only one language would be shown at a time. Unlike many Asian (and European) airports, Chinese is nowhere in sight.
I could now proceed to eat in the upper floor with all its restaurants, not that I had much time anyway before my connecting flight. At the escalator arriving at the top floor was a Boots pharmacy that I’ve talked about before, along with an HNA Group-branded sign that pointed to the Thai Royal Silk Lounge downstairs.
Some shots of the distinctive arches of Suvarnabhumi, which are far more noticeable on the top floor than on the lower ones, which resemble the innards of an industrial plant, an ugly one at that.
Plenty of luxury boutique shops spanned the floor.
Of course, you could not turn an inch without bumping into a King Power duty-free shop.
Given King Power’s ownership of Leicester City FC, it was no surprise that several shops were filled with LCFC merchandise.
King Power’s dear little elephants, which double up as bags, the violet one (though it appears dark blue here) of which is a beloved possession of mine.
Departure Concourse E
After walking for some time, I came across a couple of cafés, and perhaps nothing more would be needed for a morning flight. After this were the escalators leading down to the massively high-ceilinged departure level. I say this as a person who is morbidly terrified of high ceilings, and this makes me appreciate Singapore’s low-ceilinged departure gates even more. Most people, however, will probably prefer high ceilings in airports, which may give a sense of grand architectural scale, compared to ancient 1980s-era low-ceilinged terminals like Chennai, Colombo and Dhaka.
Once down at Concourse E, there were a long set of travelators to the E gates. These play an ‘End of the walkway’ announcement in Thai and English, along with a weird ‘dong, dong’ noise.
The terminal afforded great views of the planes at the gates…
…including that godforsaken 777-200ER, HS-TJW, a.k.a. Phetchabun, whose clutches I had finally escaped from. But this wouldn’t be the last I saw of her it.
Fortunately, the beast might even have been mistaken for the far superior 777-300ER from this angle, and so did not look half bad in daylight as at night.
Close to the further end of the concourse was an installation of a pagoda in typical royal Thai architecture.
As I was approaching Gate E8, which was assigned for my flight, I took a closer look at the registration of the A350 parked there…
…which turned out to be HS-THL. Score! This would be a new aircraft; I don’t like it when a repeat registration turns up. Despite all the steel beams, you can still see the registration and the aircraft type here.
This bird had returned from Lahore, Pakistan, after performing the previous day’s morning TG403/404 rotation to Singapore. Note that Thai Airways is one of the only East Asian airlines to serve Pakistan, along with Batik Air Malaysia’s Lahore flight.
Flying from Pakistan to eastern Asia and the Pacific is virtually impossible without the regular flights from Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore to Colombo on SriLankan Airlines (with many onward connections), Bangkok on Thai Airways and now Batik Malaysia’s route to LHE, resumed since the pandemic, aside from some PIA flights to China and Kuala Lumpur. Many other global airlines like SQ continue to completely ignore one of the most populous countries in the world due to security issues, though on the other side of Eurasia, flights from the UAE and UK to Pakistan have always been prevalent.
Another A350 (HS-THG) cruised past behind HS-TJW, having just landed as TG342 from KHI, another Pakistani city and its commercial capital. You can also notice from Flightradar24 that TG serves Stockholm Arlanda as one of its European destinations — no surprise as Scandinavians love sunny Bangkok, especially during winter — whereas SQ has ruled out returning there after the pandemic, along with other terminated destinations like Düsseldorf and Brussels.
Now HS-THG pulled into the gate, showing off her nickname, Phu Pha Man. I have used this as the cover image of this report, even though this A350 was not operating my flight, since this looks far better than mine, to which an unsightly aerobridge was attached as you can see above. Here, at least, the aerobridge was not attached yet, as the disembarkation process had not started.
Back to the lounges and restaurants
Having found out the registration of my flight, I returned to the low-ceilinged corridor before the start of Concourse E, which was filled with all manner of lounges, including the Oman Air lounge mentioned above. In a year and a half WY will be welcomed into the Oneworld family, and people will be able to better take advantage of one of the world’s most well-known boutique airlines.
Also prominent was Thai Airways’ Royal Silk business class lounge, a spacious and renowned facility, which also served Hainan Airlines passengers as mentioned above.
Back on the top floor with its eateries, I grabbed a bottle of cold-pressed juice for THB 135, which had the interesting and humorous name of ‘Oranginal Gangster’. Another flavour was called ‘I-Don’t-Care-a-Lot’.
Then from Gloria Jean’s Coffees I took a modest cookie and strawberry crush — I do not remember the price, but put together it could not have been more than THB 450.
Food in hand, I now thought it wise to return all the way to the gate, as boarding would soon start.
Soon enough I was in the boarding queue. At this point I somehow had an interest to compare the major flag carriers of Southeast Asia, so I found this article. While old — it was published shortly after the MH370 and MH17 disasters of 2014 — many of the points are still relevant, despite all the changes in terms of product and fleet, and as a result of pandemic-related and other cost-cutting decisions. (You will notice below that the header image features the Thai Airways A340-600 and the Singapore Airlines A340-300, both of which are no more.)
More and more people made their way to the aircraft, in separate lanes for Business Class/Royal Orchid Plus/Star Alliance Gold members and the hoi polloi.
I feel this sign with the flight number and destination is very unprofessional, especially as it uses the Arial font. It is out of place for a premium Southeast Asian airline.
Now I was practically on board the plane, entitled Sikhoraphum: my third A350 and a welcome relief from the previous flying contraption that I was forced to fly. At 7:45am I finally stepped on board.
Flight: Thai Airways International TG403/THA403 Date: Monday, 27 June 2022 Route: Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (VTBS/BKK) to Singapore Changi (WSSS/SIN) Aircraft: HS-THL, Airbus A350-900, named Sikhoraphum Age: 4.3 years at the time (first flight: 29 January 2018, delivered: 21 February 2018) Seat: 52A (window) Boarding: 8:00am UTC +7 (9:00am UTC +8) Departure: 8:22am UTC +7 (9:22am UTC +8) Arrival: 11:16am UTC +8 (10:16am UTC +7) Duration: 1 hour 54 minutes
Notes: * Fourth flight on Thai Airways International, and third on its A350, after the two A350 flights on 3 June. TG would be the most-flown airline of 2022, with five flights, followed by SQ with four — a total of nine flights (out of 15 in the year) on these two Star Alliance carriers alone. (In the past I have flown another Star Alliance airline, Air India, several times, but I do not wish to do so again until the Tata group drastically transforms its short-haul inflight product — its A320 family aircraft have no entertainment whatsoever — and introduces a new livery and brand.)
* First time I have flown on an Airbus and a Boeing aircraft on the same day. This feat was repeated on 22 December 2022, also via BKK, with SQ714 (SIN–BKK, A350-900, 9V-SHJ) and TG337 (BKK–MAA, 787-9, HS-TWB). Also the second day on which I flew two flights; there were four such instances in 2022, with the others being earlier in June, in October and in December — and all the aircraft involved were widebodies on SQ, TG and MH. Another time was early in January 2023, with two A320s on AirAsia — talk about a downgrade!
Once again that Wi-Fi sign peeved me, as TG had temporarily disabled its Wi-Fi offering across its entire fleet at the time. Honestly, Wi-Fi is an issue that is plaguing both TG and Suvarnabhumi Airport. Never mind: with kind flight attendants and a beautiful IFE system — replete with a tail camera! — what more could I ask for?
A girl settling into her Royal Silk Class seat inadvertently got into my frame.
The start of the rear Economy section, where the first row with its extra-legroom seats was marked as ‘Reserved — additional fees apply’.
This time I had chosen a window seat on the left side (an A-seat) as opposed to my usual K-seat on the right side. I did not particularly like the position of the row, 52, as it was too close to the bulkhead. I prefer to sit further back and away from the bulkhead, with as many passengers in front of me as possible, which gives the sense of occupancy and togetherness.
Also, the glare from the window made it a bit of a challenge to take pictures. Nevertheless, these are but small quibbles, and on the whole the seat was great, coupled with the beautiful IFE screen featuring my favourite colours in the spectrum: purples, pinks and oranges.
Funnily enough, my arch-nemesis HS-TJW was the key object of interest out the window.
Now I turned on the tail camera, something that is only found on A350s as far as Thai Airways is concerned. Singapore Airlines, for its part, has not fitted any of its A350s or other aircraft with them, so this is a big bonus for TG.
Headphones were also provided, though I did not bother with them, flimsy as they were.
Thai’s pretty purple-pink mood lighting, arguably the best colours of any airline in the world, lit up the cabin.
At 8am, the captain made an announcement, which is the reason for the spartan ‘Please Wait’ text on the IFE screens below. He — in his Thai accent that was simultaneously well-versed in aviation terminology and slightly weak in English fluency — apologised for the delay in departure and gave details about our cruising altitude and weather.
‘I regret to inform you that we are waiting for the last seven transit passenger (sic) … their cargo loading. It will take around 10–15 minute (sic) from now to be fully ready for departure. I sincerely apologise for the unforeseen delay. Anyhow, today flying time will be 1 hour and 50 minutes. Our planned cruising level will be 41,000 feet above mean sea level. The en-route weather for the entire flight today will be partly cloudy sky. Having said that I highly recommend you to keep your seatbelt fastened while seated, even if the seatbelt sign has been turned off. The present weather at Changi Airport just now was partly cloudy sky as well, temperature was 29°C or 84°F. On this flight I hope that you are comfortable. Sit back, relax and enjoy our Royal Orchid service. Thank you.’
Now we pushed back from the gate, with a Thai Smile A320 behind us.
At 8:10am Thai’s safety video played, a rainforest-themed production filled with birds, flowers, pretty girls and cherubic angels. Fortunately there were no ads of any sort, unlike on my 787-9 flight in December 2022, where a muted Amazing Thailand tourism video was being played on loop on every IFE screen before departure.
Can you read the subtitles or see that TG is a Star Alliance (founding) member now? On any HS-TJ* aircraft, you couldn’t, with the grainy 4:3 screen to thank for that.
Meanwhile an Etihad 787-9 (A6-BLF) came to rest beside us.
We moved out of the parking bay and drove past HS-TXS, another Thai Smile A320. Too bad WE (Thai Smile, not ’us’!) never ordered A320neos, as it could have grown much more than its current state — look at VietJetAir’s explosive growth (not to mention low-cost giants like IndiGo or AirAsia) and you’ll understand.
And yet for some reason WE is one of only two Star Alliance Connecting Partners in the world, the other being Shanghai-based Juneyao Airlines, though I don’t see how the airline showcases its alliance benefits to passengers. Since TG is already in the alliance, it is undoubtedly a very moot point, given that the erstwhile SilkAir (with a superior product) did not join throughout its existence as an affiliate or Connecting Partner, being merged with the parent SQ instead.
Now the lead purser put in her welcome announcement, mentioning this flight’s codeshare with Bangkok Airways and emphasising that underage or inebriated passengers would not be served any alcohol. If only someone enforced that on my previous flight, where the raucous merrymakers beside me were high both metaphorically and literally!
Also noteworthy was the long line of parked Bangkok Airways (PG) planes.
A fellow A350 ascended into the skies.
It was our turn to lift off, leaving behind the TG and PG planes all over the place, including that ill-fated A380 at the left, most likely destined to meet her end in the form of scrap.
En route to the runway, another A350 (HS-THM) embarked on a takeoff roll as TG433 to Jakarta.
It was only a question of time before THM ascended into the clouds. Now we were going to follow her into the sky. I was excitedly tracking our progress from the tail camera.
I tell you, no matter how factory-like or industrial Suvarnabhumi may seem from the inside, from the exterior it is an engineering marvel and a picture of modernity.
HaSTaHLa vista, baby Bangkok!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: there’s not an airline on the planet which brings together my favourite colours and my favourite widebody aircraft, with the sleek, sexy winglet and a tail camera you cannot take for granted. It is an experience to behold, and it beats any glass of Krug or any spray of the shower in the most expensive cabins known to commercial flight.
Why the flight number was 48 and not TG403 remains a mystery. Because the time to the destination was 1 hour 48 minutes? Because of a local AKB48 music group? Or because (4^03)*3 = 48? The possibilities are endless.
The times at departure are self-explanatory.
Entertainment and catering
Not so endless were the Indian movies on offer, a barometer I use to gauge how strong or poor an airline’s international IFE selection is. There were two Hindi movies and a Punjabi one, plus a couple each in Korean, Arabic and other languages. This is the first time I have seen a Punjabi movie on an airline other than EK, which has movies from almost every filmmaking language conceivable.
Some 40 minutes into the flight, at 9:10am Bangkok time (10:10am Singapore time), Breakfast at Thai’s was served.
Your typical Western economy airline breakfast: no Asian delights here. Omelette? Check. Hash browns? Check. Sausage? Check. Tomatoes? Yogurt? Jam? Dry croissant? Bottle of water? Fruits? Tissues? Plastic eating implements? Check, check, check, check. Someone should patent the Western Airline Breakfast™ and make a fortune out of royalty and licensing rights.
Served with Sprite on this flight.
My journal was part exasperation, part elation. Why the ‘ye olde’ 777-200ER continues to fly for TG today is beyond me. At least refurbish it like KLM (which also flies it on fifth-freedom flights in Southeast Asia), will you?
Some of the movies on offer, more than enough for the TG A350’s longest routes to Western Europe and the Nordics.
I watched a bit of Crazy Rich Asians, which the mother of a young co-passenger — who was dressed pretty much like the little girl you see below — had chosen on a previous TG flight.
Down the southern coast of Thailand we went. It’s a shame the country is too Bangkok-centric when it comes to travel, with Phuket being the only other airport with long-haul service.
Vietnam in contrast has developed a much stronger system of domestic flights that go well beyond the urban centres in the north and south. Domestic widebodies are common in Vietnam — unlike in Thailand — thanks to rampant expansion by its airlines. They continue to grow impressively, with their latest target being India: VietJetAir has launched a flurry of flights from Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad to HAN, SGN, Da Nang and even Phu Quoc. Too bad Thailand has now reached a saturation point when it comes to tourism, and its Indochinese rival may well have struck tourist gold.
The female co-passenger this time around had a pretty funky phone cover. I don’t know my cartoon characters, but I will say that hers was blue, both literally and metaphorically. I don’t like the iPhone Pros’ shade of Sierra Blue here. Her lap contained a purse in a much richer, royal shade of blue that I would rather prefer.
At 10:50am SGT, some 25 minutes before arrival, the pre-landing announcement was played. This was the time to pull out the dog-eared safety card and pretend to study it for a practical examination.
Messages were displayed warning passengers against using the lavatory and to stow all their belongings.
Touchdown at the craziest, richest Asian city: my adopted home
As good a time as any to be reminded of our destination, a city and country unparallelled in the region in terms of its sheer development. Now that HKG has fallen out of the running as Asia’s premier financial and transport hub, no one comes near the Lion City in this regard.
The iridescent orange, purple and pink mood lighting came on again, though I daresay the effect would have been more brilliant at night and on a 787; my flight on the 787-9 in December had the mood lighting flashing in sequence in all the colours of the rainbow.
For the record, TG does not have two-digit flight numbers, unlike most other airlines in the region, so TG48 simply does not exist.
Some of the descriptions of the music selection on offer sounded like they were pulled from a Spotify playlist. I doubt Thai Airways can write as good descriptions as this, going by the shaky English in the airline overview section I’ve touched upon in a previous report.
With this view for company, what was there to complain about?
Here was TG’s signature Royal Orchid Entertainment screen (I had to make that up, given that TG does not explicitly brand its IFE system like KrisWorld or Oryx One, but refers to everything as Royal Orchid) juxtaposed with a paragraph from a previous trip report, though the text is not quite legible here. Little did I know that this very iPad would be part of a longer journey over the next few days, and not for the right reasons.
Before long we were over the ships of Singapore and were preparing for a landing at Changi Airport. You know you’re landing at Singapore when you see ships scattered in the sea; replace ships with palm oil plantations and you get Kuala Lumpur instead.
Ah, good old Changi: where most planes are blue and gold — not violet and orange, or white and… er… indigo. 11:16am Singapore time.
And from that blue-and-gold parent emerged a maroon-and-gold offspring: Vistara, whose A321neo VT-TVC would soon depart as UK106 to Mumbai, as a bridge between the two founding countries. Having flown this remarkable airline on a short hop on an all-economy A320neo on the day before New Year’s Eve, I would love to have the chance to fly its A321neo and its far superior onboard product — one of the only A320-family aircraft in South Asia with seatback IFE, along with SriLankan’s A321neo — before it disappears into Air India.
If you could not spot VT-TVC in the above picture (towards the right, for what it’s worth), you can from the tail-camera view below.
Meanwhile one of the many A350s that make SQ its largest operator touched down.
This flight had no Indians apart from me, and so the disembarkation process was as orderly as could be. Well, except for one thing I had left behind… which you can find in the Travelling Bonus. Or in a preceding paragraph.
For once, there was (I think) no pre-landing announcement that the IFE would be turned off, and yet all the IFE screens showed a uniform Thai logo, instead of whatever was being played on them previously, which is the case normally.
Once again, HaSTaH-La vista, beautiful baby Sikhoraphum!
Into the depths of Terminal 1 we went.
Two 9M-registered planes from up north were in the vicinity, with the red one being boarded and the Negaraku being tugged along.
The pink-and-orange lighting here was not too different from the plane I had just stepped off. If only more places had them! This is also proof that low ceilings can indeed be aesthetic and attractive.
Now into a much higher-ceilinged area: Immigration. People were filling up their SG Arrival Cards at the back. I do not have to explain again the conundrums that documentation had brought upon me; you may well plunge into the previous flight report at your own risk. Spoiler: it ends well for me, but not for Chennai Airport.
In the front was what we Indians like to call a ‘fish market’, with a swarm of passengers running hither and thither to find the right queue. I, of course, was no fool, and breezed through the automatic passport gates.
Past that was a duty-free shop. Unlike Suvarnabhumi, which is proud of its homegrown King Power duty free — and this has even become an international brand thanks to its ownership of Leicester City FC, as you have seen earlier — Changi relies on Korean companies like Shilla and Lotte for its duty-free shops.
Baggage arrived a short while later, all present and correct, except (as I found out later) for the one thing I had left on board.
On I went to the taxi stand, where I would now proceed to check-in to my new home, a rented flat in a well-connected location equidistant from Changi and the city centre.
And so, with this picture of the Jewel Changi from the outside, another of my picture-laden, pun-heavy trip reports comes to an end… well, not before you click the Travelling Bonus button you can see below. You will find, among other things, a picture of said architectural marvel from the inside.
Bonus : Click here display hide
Well, this is not so much a ‘tourism bonus’ in the sense that it did not involve any sightseeing to monuments and streets, but it did involve plenty of trips to a major tourist attraction: the Jewel Changi shopping mall. The reason, however, was different: I had actually forgotten the selfsame iPad on the aircraft as I was deplaning, which I only realised well after I had settled into my new home. Fortunately, I used Apple’s Find My app to track its location, and most often it was sitting in an office in Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport, as it should have… though it did come to Changi a couple of times, only to go back to Suvarnabhumi again on the return flight.
The Thai Airways helpline for lost and found items on international flights, more often than not, didn’t pick up the phone, and when it did I was faced with a heavy language barrier. It was only when I called the domestic lost-and-found helpline that I was somehow able to explain the situation, after which the airline sent me a record by email. But days passed and the device was still in BKK, so at least three or four times throughout the week I had to enquire at the Thai Airways check-in rows at Changi Terminal 1, only to be told each time that since there was a shortage of ground staff — on top of which the departing aircraft was often delayed due to technical problems — they could not do much.
Similarly, Changi Airport’s information desk at the arrivals level below (directly connected to Jewel) could only help to the extent of letting me into the arrivals area with an authorised pass and explaining my case to the SATS baggage handling counter. There, too, there were long lines of anxious people enquiring on the status of their luggage, with only a handful of people to serve them, plus a mounting pile of found luggage at the side. It was only on Saturday evening (2 July) that I was told to approach the airline’s office in the airport directly on a working day. The same evening, a lady official from Suvarnabhumi Airport finally called to confirm that she indeed had my iPad with the said description, and she gave me a reference number to give to Thai Airways regarding its collection.
Yes, this is indeed the final picture (no. 146) of this trip report: a sweet and satisfying conclusion, unlike this poor A380, who has likely been cut up for scrap by now — much like her Thai counterpart mentioned above!
Bangkok - BKK
Singapore - SIN
Southeast Asians — and Star Alliance loyalists like me in particular (even though I am nowhere close to Silver status, let alone Gold) — are completely spoilt for choice in the form of some fantastic airlines. I have flown only SQ and TG so far, but their state-of-the-art widebody aircraft (with the exception of the 777-200ER) with all their bells and whistles are such a welcome relief from the spartan A320s of IndiGo and Air India that I flew between India and Singapore prepandemic. There is very little reason not to fork out the extra cash and fly a much better product without breaking the bank. I get that SQ can be expensive, but fleet inconsistencies aside, if you get a modern aircraft on TG — bonus points for the A350 and its exceptional tail camera — you have got one of the best economy products in the region and perhaps even the world.
While the blue-and-gold airline with the kris has now launched its ‘Welcome to World Class’ ad campaign, and has consistency nailed across the length of the plane like few others can, the violet ‘Royal Orchid Airlines’ (which Thai Airways may very well have called itself otherwise) remains one of the best in Asia in economy, at least, despite having shrunk a long way fleet-wise and financially.
Thanks for (attempting to) follow along! Up next will be another local airline, but from a different alliance, which has a stronger partnership with SQ than does TG from the same alliance. That aircraft is a 180-degree turn from this A350 — a hint as regards the flight number — but not necessarily in a bad way. Well, as to which airline, all I will say is that I have mentioned it many times above, so all you have to do is search! :)
Gong xi fa cai — Happy New Year!
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Good for you! I hope 2023 will be even better!
I remember that. You poor thing. But those experiences make us stronger. Well, I just try to see the bright side. 😅
And the airport signage is so retro! A pink "ladies wc" sing. Don't tell me the sign for the men's wc is blue. So middle ages! This is looking at you, BKK!
"Industrial" seems to be all the rage these days. The new T2 at SCL looks very industrial in some parts, especially arrivals.
Certainly a city where your holiday plans can be... executed. 🙄
I wouldn't be so tough on them. I think those arches look quite modern. Well,my standards are low and my knowledge of architecture is zero, I must recognize. But I've seen worse.
It's like they expect you deliver your money out of exasperation! "OK, I'll pay, but let me out of here!!"
Oh! That LCFC plush toy is adorable!
Or just more air! Especially when the airport is crowded! Anyway, I'm usually looking at my feet, so who cares.
Look legit to me.
Good idea. Prevents entitled passengers to move to a better seat without paying for it.
Oh, they were orchids! In the previous old monitor they looked like butterflies!
"Mwahahahah. I'm following your steps. We'll meet again when you least expect it," she says.
I loved Suvarnabhumi from what I read and saw here!
Noooo! How disappointing! The Asian delights are everything on an Asian flight!!
How nice that you keep a journal! I don't have patience for that.
And replace the palm trees with stupid politicians and you're in my country!! Well, that's pretty much every country.
I'm very happy to know that you were able to relax and enjoy your flight, and "heal" from the previous, less than charming experience!
Thanks for sharing!! 😄
Hi Proximanova, great report as always!
Nice! 2022 was also one of my most active flying years and I think that's been the case for a lot of people given the huge demand since last year. Obviously being grounded or restricted for close to two years during the pandemic stirred up wanderlust in a lot of the population!
THAI just really know how to design cabins. The colours and finishes really make for a bright and inviting cabin!
The meal looks really good considering it's only a 1.5 hour flight!
How true that is! and even outside of *A, so many high-quality Asian carriers period.
It's so nice to see Asia returning to normal with so many FRs from Asia lately. I'll join the party myself in two weeks with a trip to Japan. Can't wait!
Thanks for sharing!
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