This trip will be my last big trip for the year, originally I was planning on burning my TK miles before the devaluation kicked in last June. For 70k miles you could fly roundtrip from Europe to the US or Asia. Of course you had to add the taxes which came to about 450 euros, definitely a big amount but still cheaper than purchasing a full J fare. What decided on the destination was an informal gathering in Singapore this November, so I had to get to SIN from CDG :)
I was all ready to book until my wife informed she didn’t want me to travel without her, so I added her to my plans which in turn made me turn to other alternatives to book the trip as I did not have enough miles for 2 round trips in J.
There are alot of experts, whether here or on Flyertalk when it comes to building interesting routings, in my case I benefitted once from an error fare to fly CPT-GVA with TK in J, aside from that, nothing. My thing for this end of the year is to use tricks to get award tickets for as little mileage as possible. I’m certainly no pioneer in this game but that certainly didn’t stop the fun of doing it!
For discretion purposes I won’t say where I booked, those who know where will understand why and those who don’t are welcome to contact me if they are interested. I should also mention that this particular ticket is no longer bookable.
I used a specific Star Alliance carrier for this, with very flexible routing rules, allowing you to basically fly one airline from point A to point B forcing results for that said airline as long as it flew there without code sharing. My first choice was SQ which has 0 availability to where I wanted to go, next up was TG. And this is where I lucked out.
I booked a CDG-DME ticket via BKK for… 22,500 miles and some 170 USD in taxes and fees. A direct CDG-BKK ticket would have cost 67,500 miles so I save no less than 90,000 miles for 2 tickets in business! At a total cost of cca 510 USD one way this is probably one of the lowest cpm ever recorded for a J fare.
There was one last safety precaution to take, visa requirements for Russia. As I had no intentions of ending up in Russia, I purchased a fully refundable DME-RIX ticket at 300 euros per person which I cancelled upon arrival at my destination. I was refunded the whole amount minus 6 euros so 594 euros.
And to get to SIN from BKK I purchased 2 O/W’s at 65 euros each on Tiger Airways
The routing is thus the following:
1) VIE-CDG with Air France: report in French here: http://flight-report.com/en/report-8385.html 2) CDG-BKK with Thai in business (YOU ARE HERE) 3) Arielle et Simba got married here 4) LAX without me 5) Is it Asia ? 6) When business class isn’t business 7) CDG-VIE with Air France in Y
On the 5th of November I’ve been waiting for the OLCI to open. I’m abit frustrated with companies who only allow the process to open 24 hours before the flight is set to leave. Many offer 48 if not 72 hours convenient times, in case you need to print boarding passes, 24 hours is far too short in case you don’t have access to a printer.
In this case I wanted to see if I could print my boarding passes, of course I will not be able to since I am flying to a visa issued country and will be presented with some sort of coupon to present at the check in desk.
D day comes, we arrive at CDG T1 around 10:30 or 3 hours before takeoff. Here are the 3 major A380’s serving T1 (QR is the 4th big addition recently)
HS-TUF. TG’s newest A380, 1.5 years of age
SQ, truly the best of the best in my opinion
I haven’t departed from T1 in quite some time
This is the first time flying the A380 for me. Seeing the queue for check in in economy was quite impressive. There’s a dedicated area for J and P pax with an agent controlling the entrance. Once through we are directed to the P counter as there’s someone at the J one, nice!
The check in clerk seems abit lost with our itinerary and will not be able to print our boarding passes. His supervisor will step in and after asking for our visas I produce our air Baltic boarding passes for our 8th November Flight (this is where early check in comes in handy, had they not allowed OLCI 72 hours prior to takeoff I would not have been able to print these).
After seeing them she’s able to override the system without too much hassle and it is with great trepidation that I am handed the following:
Here’s the A380 setup for Thai, the layout still looks abit dense in my opinion although not as dense as on Air France’s bird, 507 vs 516/ SQ has an amazingly spacious configuration with 409 or 471 seats depending on the bird. I’ve circled our seats in red on the upper deck photo: 15E/F
I’ll be honest I was pretty stressed up until now, whilst driving to CDG I was imagining possible scenarios in my head about asking to short check bags to having overweight cabin bags (we both had 35lbs cabin bags when the allowance is 15 even in business!). Thankfully they did not even question or ask to weigh or bags (which cannot be said about another airline we took later!)
Once our boarding passes in hand, we really felt like the trip was beginning. Knowing we were about to fly business class on the A380 for pennies on the dollar, we were very excited! Having looked a few days prior, a O/W J fare CDG-BKK was close to 3,000 euros with TG (And I certainly do not think it is worth even half that)
Let’s go check out the Stat Alliance lounge as we still had about an hour to kill before boarding
Quite a nice day in early November here
Signs and directions are pretty good here.
Fast track access totally empty, we were through in seconds
The lounges are on the roof of the camembert shaped T1 and sadly inhibits any sort of spotting
My wife at the lounge, a first for her, abit anxious as we just left our 7 month daughter with her grandparents for the next 12 days.
As a whole, the lounge wasn’t bad, our impressions were probably positive due to the low occupancy rate, the problem is that the ceilings are low and it lacks natural light. I can definitely see being claustrophobic if it was packed. The buffet was nothing to write home about, still the breakfast offer, but the coffee machine was there and that’s all I needed anyways as I wanted to save space for TG’s renown J catering LOL…
There’s a bit of natural light at the entrance next to the smoking lounge
You have to come down these stairs to enter (the first class lounge is at the top), there is an elevator which was out of service
The lounge design is very simple, which certainly doesn’t deter from its look
No spotting :(
The time has come for us to meet our very first A380 !
Hard to see her :(
The Misses before entering the whale
The welcome on board is not the best, the attendants seem very busy and not interested in greeting us, the J cabin is almost full, 58 of 60 seats, not sure about F loads
Welcome drink, a Champagne I’ve never heard of before with a pretty bland taste
Oshibori after being seated
The cabin from our seats, these seats are excellent when traveling with someone but as a solo traveler are to be avoided plus there’s no window
The IFE is excellent, superb image quality
The cabin filled up quickly
The menu, the champagne was a Palmer & Co Brut Reserve, which is completely unknown to me
Satays, I will finally get to try them !
Amenity kit: The look is not very business-like, reminded me of a high school pencil case
Its content is definitely decent though
They eye shades are of mediocre quality
The FA takes orders for lunch, they noted well that we had pre ordered our meals (beef steak for me, lamb shank for my wife)
The Flight Attendants were a disappointment for me. Not proactive at all, hardly smiling, though on the left side of the cabin they were better than on mine
These seats are definitely very private
The main galley for the business (and probably First) right behind the 1st door of the upper deck
One of the FA’s comes to me and ushers me to seat 24J so I can film the takeoff (I had requested this upon boarding but was told the cabin was full, pleasant surprise.
Seat pitch is standard for J class, the cubby hole for your feet is too small though (I’m a size 12)
Push back is so smooth I honestly didn’t even realize it had started, unbelievable for me and impressive
Great weather for flying today
Haven’t been to T3 since February, Niki and I aren’t on very good terms lol
ERJ made in HOP
The camera resolution is pretty low, abit disappointing
Runway 27L today! Right after the departure of this cattle airlines 77W bound for some far away land. I ask one passing FA to turn the camera on for my wife so she can geek out a bit too lol
Takeoff roll (cf vidéo)
The plane is so silent, no acceleration, feels surreal compared to the 777
Here are the seats in detail. The side storage bins are super useful because although the sat is pretty big in total, storage compartments are far and few
This is supposed to be a bar area
Time for apéritif
Champagne again with pre packaged peanuts
I was disappointed that a company like Thai did not serve herbal tea which is what my wife had wanted
Satays. I thought they were very good but very small! Asking for seconds which did not please the FA serving me
We are cruising south east towards BKK
The headphones (and the only other ones I can compare these to are TK’s) seem of very good quality and did a very good job when we were watching our movie
Lunch is served about 1 hour after takeoff
Appetizer: Gravlax Salmon with duck pate: The salmon didn’t have much taste, the pate was terrible, 5/10
Bread was good but not hot: 7/10
The salad was good but on the small side : 8/10
Salt & Pepper shakers were pretty original but I didn’t like the plastic base they came with
My main course Beef Tenderloin With Boletus Mushroom (Beef Tenderloin)
My wife’s : Braised Lamb Shank with Sauvignon Cabernet sauce
Only 1 red wine was on offer when the menu showed 3.
My meal was ok I guess, the meat was average, slightly overcooked, the potatoes were good: 7/10
My wife’s meal although super cooked was actually tastier, and was more original, she gave it an 8/10
The cheese course was super generous, I was surprised as Thai Airways seemed to be pretty stingy there! A well deserved 9/10
Flying over Romania
The main FA serving our part of the cabin
One of the main perks of these seats is that you are shelled out from your neighbors, you do not see them nor their IFE
Desert & coffee : The chocolate tart was quite good but the coffee, mediocre : 6/10
The sun is setting as we finish dinner, we are flying north of Turkey and from this point it will be dark all the way until 30 mins before we land. Sleeping on this flight will be impossible given that it’s only 5 PM in Paris
24B, the other empty seat
The cabin following dinner
A bottle of water, the cheapest brand in France is fiven after dinner
The lavatory is ok, on the small side and next to the galley so not much privacy
Back to my seat
Position full flat : The seat is completely flat, but as said a little earlier, the cubby hole for your feet is really small, I think that anyone 5’11 or less should be fine but I am 6’1 and my head and toes touched the front and back of the seat in this position. It was actually more comfortable to be at a slight angle because I wasn’t touching… In lounging position it’s one of the best, really cozy and watching films on it is a joy, our mutual grade :8.5/10 (average of 8 for me and 9 for my wife)
We are here
A funny movie called Chef
My wife wanted something hot midflight, and since they didn’t have herbal tea, she ordered a bowl of noodles which she said was very good, 8/10
Middle of the night
The menu was also available on the screen
The orange juice was not good
Our neighbour sitting in 14D ^^
We will not have slept at all, the seat is narrow and quite nosy when activated, Imagine all these seats going up and down around you, and because the plane itself is so quiet, the motors powering the seats is all you hear!
1 :50 before landing, breakfast is served but we are not too hungry, overall it was ok, but I found out the offering was the same as in economy which to me makes no sense, 7/10
Mediocre espresso, again
For the main course we had to choose (as far as before lunch was served) between eggs and pancakes. The sausages served with the eggs were simply inedible. The potatoes were however good and the eggs weren’t too dry, a solid 5/10
My wife’s pancakes, she liked them: 7/10
Exasperated by the coffee I ask for hot cocoa which is marginally better, 7/10
The sun is slowly starting to clear the night and at this point the only turbulence of the whole flight occur for small half hour
I wasn’t motivated enough to go downstairs, the way was blocked anyways :-P
Upper deck Y cabin
We are slowly approaching
Last shots of the cabin before deplaning
Thai Smile A320
Welcome to BKK!
Again, you may view the full video report here:
Star Alliance Lounge - 1
Paris - CDG
Bangkok - BKK
So the marks: I’ll begin by saying that after reading and watching countless reports online, I basically knew what to expect and I ‘d say I was neither disappointed nor impressed (except by the A380)
Comfort: Thai needs to revisit its product, the hard is good but far from the best, I wasn’t able to sleep, the seat was too narrow and short, it wasn’t hard but still. In lounging position the seat is perfect. The IFE is excellent with a superb resolution.
Catering: The worst part of this flight. Perhaps if I had chosen the Thai option it would’ve been better. The presentation needs to be urgently revisited and the should change silverware
PNC: Average at best, 0 pro activity, no smiles, too bad
IFE: Perfect, lots of films, loved the flight map
OTP: No problems there
The Star Alliance Lounge in CDG: It did its job for the short time we were there but I wouldn’t want to be there for more than an hour, would get claustrophobic
CDG: Flying business out of CDG makes the whole experience much smoother and quick
BKK: Lots of walking, interesting design but poor connection facilities for passengers transferring on LCC’s
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