G’Day Y’all! Thank you for continuing this journey with me. I know all of us who share our trip reports have different styles and I thank you for reading and commenting on mine.
For those who are joining us today and have not checked out my other reports of this trip, feel free to check them out.
Previously, I had experienced my very first full-body massage thanks to the perks of flying F on TG and enjoying the offerings at the Royal Silk Lounge and the Royal Orchid Spa. After that I enjoyed my flight on TG 471 BKK-SYD. Now, I got to spend an amazing few days in beautiful and sunny Sydney!
Hotel room at the Fraiser Suites.
One of my morning views from my room.
Another morning view from my room.
Sydney Tower I believe from the corner of George St. and King St.
During my stay the weather had been PERFECT! I wanted to enjoy some cooler weather rather than the annoying heat and humidity of Houston. My time in Sydney consisted of beautiful skies and cold weather, just how I wanted to enjoy this birthday trip!
Sydney Opera House
Din Tai Fung at Westfield Sydney
Dixon House Food Course in Chinatown
While enjoying the various vendors at the Dixon House Food Course, I only had 24 hours left to enjoy Sydney. As I stuffed my face, I checked on my iPad for my TG flight via the TG website. When I checked in I saw it would let me check in for my connecting flight on a fellow Star Alliance airline. I decided to wait till later this evening to see if the available seating choices. Now that I have checked in, I enjoyed my delicious lunch and the rest of my time in Sydney.
Trying to check-in on the TG iPad app.
I'm in 3K for this flight as I try to do online check-in on my iPad.
People queuing up at Messina's
Rivareno Gelato … just like in Milano!
One last stroll by the Sydney Opera House!
Flight looks like it's still on time per SYD website.
On the morning of the 12th, I enjoyed some last minute pastries and pies at Westfield Sydney. Also I wanted to touch the iconic Sydney Opera House one last time. Once done, I wanted to get to the airport early enough to enjoy my lounge time and see which lounges I could use. With the ability for a later checkout from the hotel, I packed and repacked my suitcase trying to squeeze in the extra airline loot and some local shopping.
I checked out and thanked the staff for a wonderful stay. They were delighted I had enjoyed my stay and wished me a safe trip along with a return visit. One of the bell guys asked how I would return to the airport and figured I should just take the taxi rather than schlep my stuff down the steps of the Town Hall station to the airport. I hopped into a taxi to the airport around 11:45 and headed towards SYD.
My Turkish taxi driver makes good time with minimal traffic on the roads and we arrive at the International Terminal within thirty minutes. He drops me off at the entrance for TG. He stops the car and pops open the boot and then goes off to get me a luggage cart and then helps me retrieve my bags. When I am all set, he wishes me a safe trip.
I walk in to the large check-in area and discover that the TG desks had not opened yet, and a couple of people had started to queue up in the Y line outside the tensile barrier. I discovered the desks would not open for another 30 minutes. I decided to stroll around the check-in hall to see what airlines had flights at this time. I then discovered the International Terminal had a viewing deck.
Blurry MH check-in counters
Blurry QF J check-in counters with F enclosed
MH Crew heading towards Departure Control
As mentioned, I found SYD had an observation deck during my walk around the check-in hall. I stumbled upon it when I walked by an outdoor seating area near the UA counters. The seating area had a public elevator that went up one flight to the observation deck. Once upstairs, the observation deck gave a nice view of QF and Oneworld operations at both the International Terminal and the Domestic Terminal.
Headed upstairs to Observation Deck. A 744 in OW livery heads to DFW while neighboring A380 gets ready for LAX.
QF 744 heading for an international destination. VS arrival from HKG
QF planes sitting idle
QF Domestic Terminal
Some smaller planes making an appearance.
Clouds slowly rolling in with the CBD in the distance
International Terminal Arrivals & Departures
More Departure FIDS
A departure to Toowoomba … kind of reminds me of departures to Nanaimo from Vancouver. I just like the sound of saying those names.
VS Gals finishing up their pre-checkin routine for HKG and LHR.
EY check-in signs for AUH.
TG check-in counters still closed
Any changes to my flight? Nope
SQ Check-in counters now open.
JetStar check-in counters
VA check-in counters, the colors sorta remind me of JL's class colors back in the 90s.
Unlike the opening ceremony of the TG counters at HND, the contracted Menzies crew for TG unceremoniously opened the check in for TG 472 to BKK. I arrived right when one of the agents removed the tensile barrier for the F and J desks. I waited a second before proceeding to the F counter. The agent did mention that the line for Y had not opened yet and I informed him that I would be traveling in F today. After apologizing, I gave him a “no worries” and proceeded to the counter where an older gentleman checked me in. He did not utter much while checking me in other than mentioning that my bad would be checked all the way to my final destination, VIE.
I noticed my suitcase weighed under the 32kg maximum. As much as I wanted to add more, I could not for fear of bursting while traversing the underground luggage maze. When the agent finished typing and printing my stuff, he told me that my bags had been checked all the way to VIE, but could only print out my SYD-BKK portion and would have to go to the transfer desk to pick up the boarding passes for my connecting flights. He apologized not having a ticket jacket for me, but I did not need one. He almost included a departure card for me to fill out but then noticed in my passport that I had already filled one out. He then handed over my passport with an invitation to use Express Path so I could “breeze” through departure control. I thank him for his help and he wished me a pleasant flight. Overall he had a courteous way towards him without that pampering feeling.Now I walked around the check-in hall one last time before I headed to the Express Path entrance.
TG Royal First Overhead Monitor
Interesting piece on the way to Express Path Departure Control
Regular Line towards Departure Control
Express Path Entrance.
I utilized the Express Path service, yet this day it did not matter. Passport Control and security seemed faster through the regular channels rather than Express Path because the family in front of me had two kids. Also, I had hoped for a departure stamp in my passport, but the official said they no longer do a departure stamp. Once through Passport Control and security I ended up in the middle of a very large duty free outlet. Nothing interested me, so I rushed out and started my journey around the International Terminal.
Duty Free post Departure Control
Still in the bowels of Sydney Duty Free
Looking to the left after Duty Free, going towards QF gates
Help Desk and Gigantic FIDS
Since my last visit to SYD, I expected many changes, but this trip I did not recognize anything. The last time I visited, we spent more time landside rather than airside, and we should have known better then. This time I maximized my time airside checking out as much of the terminal as I could. I wish I had a chance to visit the QF lounge, instead I had two lounges to check out.
Will I discover Victoria's Secret here at SYD? I wonder what happened to Mambo.
iPhone 5S? Probably not yet ;-)
I believe my gate is this way.
Which way to the QF gates?
Wish I had access to QF's SYD lounge! This lounge is on my list of airline lounges I would love to visit along with SQ’s Silver Kris Lounge in T3 and the long bar at the LX Lounge in ZRH.
QF Longreach - There’s just something graceful of a 747-400!
After checking out the QF/EK/OneWorld section of the terminal, I decided to head to the side my flight would depart which hosts the non-QF/OneWorld flights, except for MH. I do wonder if they would move over with QF and EK.
Time to head towards other side of the terminal for non-OW flights
My ride parked next to a VA and VS planes.
HS-TGY will take me back to BKK from Gate 51
First time seeing a VA 77W
About to pass through more Duty Free shopping
Scoot and MH heading to SIN and KUL, respectively
After passing through another duty free outlet, I made it to the non-QF side of the terminal. I took a quick walk around just to see the layout and soak up the vibe among the other holiday travelers hoping for much warmer climates. This portion reminded me of Terminal 3C at EWR. I saw a couple of items of interest in a few of the stores, but they served more as a want and not a need. After briefly walking around, I decided to head towards the various Star Alliance lounges. First up, I checked out the SQ Silver Kris Lounge.
Passengers waiting for their flights to board
How do I get to the lounges? It seems like this way to my gate, too.
Located on the upper level from the main departure floor, the escalator drops one off in front of the SQ Silver Kris Lounge. I decided to see if I could gain access either with my F status of my TG flight or my UA Mileage Plus Star Gold status. The rather cute lounge agent welcome me into the lounge and let me know that they would not make flight announcements in the lounge. Also, they adequately placed notes around the lounge that it would be the last day of opening before it underwent a major refurbishment. It surprised me that they did not do any refurbishments when SQ started A380 flights to SYD. While it served the purpose as a respite from the riff raff of the travelers below, it did not live up to the SQ image at the time.
SYD SKL, the last day it would be open before it goes through a major upgrade
The rather small SKL.
Nibble and drinks area inside the SKL
View of EY A345 and UA 744 from the Silver Kris Lounge.
SQ 773 getting ready to head back to SIN
I did try some of the food offerings on hand. Food available included chicken tenders with a sweet chili sauce and a good ole Tiger Beer. While the food attendant replenished, I worried about the food temperatures since they were not quite to temperature, especially inside a chafing dish.
A quick plate of nibble while at the lounge.
Another view of the nibble and drinks area.
A small corner in the Silver Kris Lounge
Again, the Silver Kris Lounge had a nice cozy atmosphere away from the busy departure floor. It showed they had the bare minimum left before they closed for the refurbishing. I ended up staying for ten minutes and by 13:45, I decided to check out the offerings at the NZ Lounge, especially the infamous hot dog cart.
Bye SQ Silver Kris Lounge! I hope to check you out when you’re refurbished sometime soon!
All other *G partners could use NZ's lounge
Interesting entrance motif
The motherly NZ Lounge agent kindly welcomed me into the lounge and let me know that they also do not make any announcements for any partner Star flights, but to relax and enjoy the lounge. Because of the UA departures to LAX and SFO, the lounge remained busy for most of my stay. It took me a while to find a spot, but managed to get one by the window and do some planespotting.
Scoot 772 and MH A330 from the entrance of NZ Lounge
Rather busy NZ lounge.
More of the lounge
This is a big lounge and rather busy!
I claimed a 2-person love seat in front of the window as my place to eat and unwind for the next few hours. I scoped out the rest of the lounge and noticed a much quieter section, yet did not have much of a airfield view. Next, I checked out the food offerings available it had some decent offerings that initially hit the spot at the time.
Food Station - They served some great beers, but wished they also offered some sort of ice cream.
Hot food section
Cool food section
I remember reading a trip report that showed the infamous NZ Hot Dog Stand for American-bound passengers. I like trying to find quirky things like that. Upon entering the lounge after checking in, one cannot miss the traditional red cart with the red-and-yellow umbrella.
The infamous hot dog stand at the NZ lounge.
I do like the look of the CO livery on the 744
More snacks now in the NZ lounge
Now that I have loaded up on the snacks, I sat back, relaxed, and enjoyed the parade of planes traveling in front of me.
EY, MH, and UA
VS, MH, and SQ
FedEx, CA, JetStar, EY, and I believe a UA 744
Boarding Passes in TG stock
QF, VS, SQ, and FedEx
Bon voyage VA
EY, Scoot, and UA
SQ & Younger Brother Scoot
Have a safe flight back to AUH
On my boarding pass, it noted boarding time commenced at 15:15. I decided to leave the lounge around 15:00 to stretch my legs a bit before enjoying the flight to BKK.
CA while on my way out of the NZ Lounge
The long corridor where the lounge dragons welcome passengers
It felt like a maze to get to Gate 51 from the lounge since the gate hides behind some walls. I am not sure if these had previously been retail outlets or will be refurbished ones. I noticed seats along the walls and windows. Today’s flight looked like it would have a decent load, not quite 90%. I made my way to the hidden gate desk with the boarding lines still closed off by tensile barriers. The Menzies agents rushed around to ensure an on-time boarding and departure
The gate is a bit hidden, not sure if these are boarded up retail spots
View of HS-TGY from the boarding area
Which lane do I get to use?
I did not have to wait too long once I got to the gate. At 15:15, one of the agents removed the tensile barrier for the Priority Boarding Lane while another agent went on the PA system to invite Royal First passengers to pre-board followed by Royal Silk customers. I conveniently approached the agent by the scanner and scanned my own boarding pass. I could tell she wanted to tell me I could not board yet, but I guess she saw my seat and wished me a pleasant flight. Unlike other flights where Y passengers make a mad rush to queue up to board, no one seemed to queue up either for the priority lane or the general boarding lane. Oh well, I got to enjoy being the first passenger to board and had some time to walk around and possibly take some pics of the cabin.
Heading towards the plane.
Heading towards 1L
As I approached 1L, a female FA wearing yellow and pink (aka YP) greeted me with a wai and a “krup khum ka”. I gave her a nod and a “krup khum krab” as I handed over my boarding pass to her. She noticed my name and greeted me by my last name and handed me off to another female FA wearing lime and pink (aka LP) who then escorted me to my seat 3K. At this point, I noticed I would finally get to travel on the updated F cabin with the suites. It definitely gives that feeling of a single traveler with no one else in sight. After I had placed my items in the overhead, I took my time to check out my suite.
3K in the new seats
Mirror inside the closet
View inside my suite.
A nice modern feel than the layout I flew for HND-BKK-SYD.
My comfy seat!
Cabin still empty. Was first person to board.
Crew waiting to welcome
Pillows, duvet, TV, and a beautiful orchid arrangement
As the passengers continued to board, I noticed they only utilized 1L for boarding. I had never seen general boarding done via 1L, especially on a 744. Thus, I could hear people say “Wow! Wish I could sit here!” At that point I thanked my lucky stars for the chance to travel and build up my mileage account so I could enjoy this trip and be the envy of a few fellow Y passengers.
5 out of 9 tonight
Looks like an A380 gate
Personal remote control screen
At 15:38, our captain welcomed everyone on board in both Thai and English. He gave us a flight time of 8h 50m and ready for pushback once the doors closed. He would let us know more about our arrival into BKK once we got closer. Then he told us to sit back and enjoy their award-winning Royal Orchid service.
UA in *A livery on hardstand
Grainy takeoff video from SYD.
Our current position
Once in the air, I decided to relax after enjoying a couple of days in Sydney and could now look forward to Vienna, a city I had not visited yet. About 15min after takeoff, the chimes went off to release the crew and start their service for this flight to BKK. I perused through the dinner menu to see tonight’s culinary offerings.
As much as I want some Dom, I'm rather craving some Singha
Start of dinner service
Menu - Welcome
SYD-BKK Menu in English-1
BKK-SYD Menu in English-2
Herbs for Health
BKK-SYD Menu in Thai-1
BKK-SYD Menu in Thai-2
A blanket of clouds during service
Enjoying Despicable Me during dinner
Warm and crunchy garlic bread
I got to experience my third caviar service on this flight. The male FA plated the caviar with garnitures while a female attendant in aqua and purple (aka AP), took out a cold bottle of Stoli and gave me a shot of vodka to enjoy with the caviar. Talk about extravagant! I am not much of a vodka drinker, but I had to take in the whole experience and sip the vodka while enjoying my caviar. When I finished the caviar, I downed the remaining half of the vodka and followed it up with a Singha chaser.
Caviar cart service along with chilled Stoli Vodka
Et voila … White Sturgeon Caviar with Garnitures
First course - Duck Liver Terrine, Grill Sea Scallops, and Grilled Marinated Vegetables
Salad course - Mixed Green Salad with Thousand Island Dressing
Main course - Beef Filet with Eggplant in Green Curry, Steamed Thai Hom Mali Rice, and Mixed Vegetables
Beautiful fruit plate
Dessert - Chocolate Mousse Cake
Overall, I enjoyed my meal on this flight. I started feeling great after downing the rest of my vodka and a Singha chaser. While I could not eat the scallop, I did not enjoy the duck liver terrine because of its grainy texture. I have had and made liver terrine that has more of a mousse-like texture without it being too grainy. The salads, the beef and eggplant green curry, and the fruit plate were very delicious and would have liked seconds of the curry and the fruit. By the time of the dessert, I could not eat anymore. I did try it, but it was too sweet and again had a grainy texture in the mousse. By the end of the meal, I needed that nap and after AP had cleared my meal, she noticed my tiredness and asked if I would like a turndown service so I could arrive at BKK refreshed. I let her convert my seat to a bed while I visited the lavatory to change and freshen up. I would not be able to experience my very first semi-private F suite.
Bed turndown service
Mamma Mia to put me to sleep!
I enjoyed a couple hours of sleep until the call to nature woke me up from my slumber. I checked out the additional amenities added during my sleep and took a couple of extra toothbrush kits that have come in handy before I meet afternoon clients.
As I stepped out of the lav, LP, who had changed to her western uniform, carefully approached me and asked if I would like to partake in the second meal prior to arrival into BKK. After giving the affirmative, she asked if she can remove my bedding and prepare my table.
Hot Sour Soup
After I finished my meal, I needed to stretch and decided to take a walk around the plane to admire being in such a classic beauty. While SQ has discontinued their 744 service and NH has started the process, who knows when I would enjoy gracing the skies with the queen of the skies!
The long galley for F & J
Checking out Y cabin
Approaching Vietnamese aerospace
Similar to my HND-BKK flight, LP thanked me for joining them today to BKK and handed me a small pack of Ferrero Rocher and a deck of TG A380 playing cards. I thanked her as she continued to tend to the other F passengers.
Ferrero Rocher F thank you gift.
We fly over SGN on our way to BKK.
We're almost in BKK
Flight information from FlightTracker for TG 472 SYD-BKK.
Proposed flight plan.
We landed at BKK to a torrential downpour and ended up sitting at the gate without being docked for about 20minutes. Join me as I continue this trip in the next episode!
Krup khum krab!
Air New Zealand Business Class Koru Club Lounge
Sydney - SYD
Bangkok - BKK
From the three TG flights I have taken in F, all of them had their great qualities that did not diminish the consistency. While others would have expected more, my only faults lie in the catering, especially from HND and SYD. Please stay turned to the next few episodes of this trip!
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