Subscribe RSS

Tag-Archive for "Boeing 777"

Thai Airways First class–tried & tested Aug 08

IMG_7533I have had the great privilege of trying Thai Airways first class a couple of times and it is no doubt that if you fly a lot, this is a real treat! It all depends on which routing you fly, which plane you get, which crew you have etc but this review is based on experience on first class on an older Boeing 747 and a newer Boeing 777-300ER (leased from Jet Airways). First of all – if you check in at Suvanabhumi airport in Bangkok when flying Thai Airways first class, life could not be any simpler. You just go to the Royal First class check in and they will take your suitcases, your passport and then seat you in HUGE chairs and while you are enjoying a cold drink and a cold cloth, P1000111they will check you in and make sure that you get your boarding pass. After this you get guided through airport priority security check and a separate immigration control and once you are through it leads you straight to the Royal Orchid lounge. But for first class passengers it is not enough with a business lounge – you get picked up by a small “car” and driven through the business lounge and into the first class lounge next door. As a relative young and healthy person I could easily have walked this but I guess this is a part of the special treatment Winking smile

P1000116The First class lounge has been voted the best first class lounge in the world but I’m sorry Thai Airways…I have to object and say that this is not correct. The best first class lounge is in Frankfurt (Lufthansa First Class Terminal) but that is a different story that you can read about here (XXX). But the first class lounge in Bangkok is great –you have lots of good chairs, separate rooms if you are traveling in a group, lots of good free drinks (but only Moet and Chandon champagne) and a good selection of food. You can also take showers, get a PC to get online, the wifi is free etc. But there is also a Royal Orchid Spa where you can get a massage complimentary! There is no better way of starting a long flight than having 1 hour full body massage! Smile

IMG_7534When traveling in June 2012 there was a bit of fuzz as we were supposed to travel through London but when we checked in we got another routing via Frankfurt. Luckily the two flights had take-off at approximately the same time and the advantage was that we got a Boeing 777 leased from Jet Airways instead of an old Boeing 747. Due to this we got a first class with separate compartments like you can find on Emirates first class and Singapore first class. There are only 8 first class seats on the 777 (in a 1+2+1 configuration) and we got first class treatment the moment we got in there. The headset was already in the seat together with the duvet, menus etc. It didn’t take long before we got offered some drinks to start with and it is hard to say no when they ask you if you want a glass of Dom Perignon champagne Winking smile

IMG_7554I was seated in 2A and I got a HUGE seat by the window. It resembles the seat that you find on Swiss airlines first class where you have a big seat and an ottoman in front and when reclining you form one bed. The difference between Swiss and this Thai flight was that the Thai flight included a small compartment where you can close the door to get more privacy around your seat.  Like on Swiss the table is HUGE and it is so large that you can actually invite a guest to come and sit with you so that you can dine together and face each other while you are eating –how great is that? The remote on the Boeing 777 were a bit confusing as there is one large remote just to cover the seat adjustments and then there is one regular remote to control the multimedia. The Thai AVOD system is quite good and it was displayed on a large 17” (or is it 20”?) screen so seeing movies etc was not a problem.

IMG_7548 IMG_7545

IMG_7550It was a bit scary to look behind the seat of the first class seat btw – there was lots of trash there so I’m not sure there are routines in place to handle this – it could have needed a round of vacuuming! The toiletry bag that we got was OK and the TUMI bag included stuff that you normally need: lip balm, mouth freshener, brush, tooth brush etc.  When the service started we started getting hot and wet cloths and I can honestly say that I have never gotten that many in my life before! We got these lovely warm and scented clothes both before and after meals!

IMG_7552 IMG_7536

IMG_7546When the table was set for two it was beautiful with the Thai logo stamped into the butter and fresh bread served. We got real caviar to start with (with garniture), followed but a salmon dish and topped up with a slow cooked beef cheek. One of the pieces of the beef cheeks was quite tough but the rest of the pieces were delicious. We also got an ENORMOUS cheese platter – me and my friend could have easily have shared this and not been able to eat it all but instead we got two large portions of cheese each! The dessert was a bit of a disappointment – I got a small chocolate cream and a pretty dry “muffin” with custard and berries on top.

IMG_7557 IMG_7563

IMG_7564 IMG_7567

IMG_7541The great thing about having a small compartment is that it is easy to get some privacy to be able to slip into the pajama that was handed out. The seat with the huge table in front is also perfect for pulling out the PC and working a bit. The only problem in my seat was that someone had stuck something into the power socket so I wasn’t able to get power to my PC and they didn’t have a plug adapter either. The table was a bit hard to move back and forth – so hard in fact that my friend and I had to really put our muscles into moving it. In the process of moving the table I managed to get my finger sliced but the flight attendant was there to patch me up.

IMG_7577The flight time from Bangkok to Frankfurt is about 10-11 hours so there was time for another food serving before landing. This time I started with breasola served with a mix of mozzarella and tomato and it was delicious. After this we got a tom kha gai (a typical Thai chicken soup which is creamy, a bit spicy and a bit sour) and the main dish was a chicken breast served with garlic mashed potatoes. Having chicken breast on flights is normally not a good idea as it normally becomes quite dry but this chicken was actually quite good. Once again the dessert was nothing special and I was a bit disappointed by that. But you can enjoy some very good cognac if you are into that – they served Otard Extra 1795.

IMG_7581 IMG_7555

The service onboard was great and we were mainly served by two flight attendants and towards the end of the flight they came to say goodbye with a traditional wai. I tried to talk a bit with the one flight attendant to hear what her work schedule was like etc. but she seemed to be very professional and didn’t seem to be interested in getting into personal details which is fine.

IMG_7587All in all this was a great experience. The spa treatment at Bangkok airport is great before going on a long flight and the small suites on board the flight is perfect if you want a bit of privacy for working or for sleeping. As they provide a pajama you can slip into a comfortable outfit while enjoying the great food and drinks served. Thai Airways might not have the same modern layout as you can find on Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa these days but this will change soon when they introduce the new A380 (see presentation here ). I had a great flight from Bangkok to Frankfurt on Royal First Class and I look forward to flying with them again. If you want to read about a previous experience on Thai Airway first class (on a Boeing 747) you can read this blog entry:

Gard – trip reports and pictures

IMG_7569 IMG_7570

IMG_7543 IMG_7553

Air Canada Executive First Class– tried & tested Jul 21

IMG_7612In June 2012 I went from Stavanger in Norway to Calgary in Canada. I started on a Sunday morning from Stavanger and there was only 1 row (3 seats) for business class passengers and I was seated by the window. On the way to London I was served a warm lunch of salmon and pasta and the salmon was pretty good. When we were getting closer to Heathrow it was of course very busy and we had to circle for like 15 minutes before we could approach the airport – at one point we got pretty close to another plane!Both SAS and Air Canada are a part of Star Alliance and in London I stopped by the SAS lounge on Terminal 3 while I was waiting for my next flight and I only had a 1 hour wait.

IMG_7613The next flight was the Air Canada flight directly to Calgary on a Boeing 777-300ER. On the business class (or Executive first class as Air Canada chooses to call it) they have a 1-2-1 seat configuration but they are angled. You can see the same configuration on some of the Thai Airway flights these days (on the planes that they have leased from Jet Airways). The seat itself was not bad as you can recline it all the way down and it connects with a small foot stool in the front to form a horizontal bed. But I’m not sure about the angled configuration. If you travel alone it feels a bit weird as you are looking over to what 2-3 other passengers are doing. And if you are traveling as a couple you get a bit too far from each other to really talk without raising the voice. And if you have a window seat it is a bit tricky to look out the window as the seat is facing in towards the aisle.

IMG_7628When I got to my seat 3D the blanket and amenity bag had already been handed out. The amenity bag was not very impressive as it only contained socks, eye shades, ear plugs and a toothbrush – but then again, what more do you need? J There was also a headset in place and it was actually non-detachable IMG_7622and I think it is the first time I see that on a flight. They didn’t look that great and I was glad I was bringing my own BOSE noise reducing headset. But the sound quality was not great and I’m not sure if it was because of a problem with the socket or the quality of the actual movie. The TV folds out from the side of the seat and I would guess it was about 15” – for me it was a bit on the small side as it was not possible to bring it closer. The screen is a touch screen but I still think there is room for improvement as it was very slow to navigate around the system. But the selections of movies were quite good but games were not working. The TV can also be controlled by a small remote and this contains a small joystick that was not very easy to use. And I think it is the first time that I have seen commercials being shown before a movie on a flight!

IMG_7630We had to wait almost two hours onboard the plane before we could finally take off – Heathrow can be really busy! When I first got on board the plane I was offered sparkling wine and not champagne. I’m not sure why they do it like this as flight attendants were very generous with the champagne later on. The meal was served after a while and the starters were a green salad with tomato and parmesan cheese and with the olive oil/balsamic vinegar it was delicious. The IMG_7631smoked salmon was also served at the same time and that was also quite good. While I was enjoying the starter, the main dish was prepared. There was a choice of 4 main courses and I went for the rack of lamb which was simply excellent. I don’t think I have ever tasted so juicy meat on a flight in a long time. After the main meal I got some cheese and it was fun to try some Wensleydale cheese after seeing a Wallace and Gromit movie on a flight home from Asia recently. To round it of an apple pie was served together with coffee – all in all I have to say I’m impressed by the meal. It must have been one of the best meals I have had on a business class flight.

I took the same route back from Calgary and check-in at the airport was uneventful. The Maple leaf lounge at the Calgary airport looked a bit tired to start with but when I walked around it was quite big with various seats and it also had a nice view towards the planes parked on the outside and towards the city center. There were food, fruit, soft drinks, wine etc on offer.

IMG_7684Going back I had once again a Boeing 777-300ER and I had picked seat 1G. Once again amenities were already laid out on the seat when I got there but this time the toiletry bag was different. I guess it makes sense to have a different toiletry bag on a night flight compared to a day flight. Once again the service was good and I enjoyed the salad for starter together with a small dish including scallop and tiger prawn. There were several options for the main meal and I was tempted to go for meat again but as I had eaten a bit of meat during my stay in Calgary, I went for risotto instead. As I love risotto it is always a potential for disaster. The risotto served on this flight was not great in any way but it was lighter than then meat option. The meal was rounded off with a selection of cheese and a toffee apple cranberry cake.

IMG_7688As this was a night flight I got to test out the seat for real and when reclined all the way down it forms a more or less flat bed that provided a good place for a few hours sleep. I did wake up in connection with breakfast and got served an omelet, sausage etc. After we had landed in London, one of the cabin crew asked me if I wanted to see the cabin crew resting area on the second floor and I have never been offered this before so I said yes of course. There was a small staircase leading up to it and on the second floor there were two beds and two comfortable chairs. After a short stop in London I took a SAS flight back to Norway.

Just a few things that I didn’t like about the flights/planes/service on board AirCanada:
First of all it is a bit strange to be seated at an angle. The seat itself was pretty good but if you are traveling with someone this is not an ideal configuration. On the way over the TV that you fold out was a bit loose and the menu system on the inflight entertainment is not very good. Games did not seem to work at all both ways. And when using the BOSE headset instead of the headset that was supplied, there was a constant cracking sound. Going to Calgary there was a toilet in business class where the sink was not working.

But all in all: the service and food on board the flights were quite good and as the seat provides a flat bed for sleeping.

All in all I would rate the Air Canada Executive First Class higher than e.g. Scandinavian business class as they do provide a lay flat seat and the food is a bit better but it still does not compare with the seat and service from Singapore Airlines.

Gard – trip reports and pictures

IMG_7598 IMG_7683


 IMG_7623 IMG_7625

IMG_7682 IMG_7691

IMG_7692 IMG_7687

Turkish Airlines business class–tried & tested Jun 23

IMG_7389I used Turkish Airlines on a trip to Beijing in May 2012. It was actually my first trip with Turkish Airlines and I chose it as the price was quite good compared to the alternatives for going to Beijing. I have used Scandinavian Airlines a lot as they have had good prices to Asia but their prices to Beijing was a lot higher than on Turkish Airlines and it was one of the reasons for choosing this airline. My trip started in Copenhagen and it was a fairly new Boeing 737-800 if I’m not mistaken. The flight from Copenhagen to Istanbul is about 3 hours and I was seated on 4D on business class. I’m not sure why but it seemed like it took forever to get the people on board this flight – Scandinavian Airlines seems to be better to get people on board more efficiently.

IMG_7393The seat was a proper business class seat with a 2+2 configuration. There was of course an offer of having champagne to start with and they also handed out a big menu where the options were sea bass, chicken breast or pasta. When I wanted some red wine together with the food, the flight attendant asked me if I wanted Turkish or French wine. I have not gotten the memo that Turkey is a great wine producing country so I went for French wine and the FA was like “why does everyone want the French wine?” The various starters were great but the chicken breast was dry as it often is on flights.  My colleague ordered a glass of cognac after the food and we asked what kind of cognac it was. The FA replied that it was “VIP cognac”. It is not a brand that we are familiar with and I guess she could say that we were wondering about her answer. So she went to get the bottle and it was a Hennesey VSOP (so VSOP became VIP) – but all in all we got great service and the FA seemed to be enjoying her job.

IMG_3834As I had a bit of time at Istanbul Ataturk airport I had the pleasure of waiting a bit in the Turkish Airlines lounge. It is a huge lounge and I guess it is needed as Istanbul airport has become quite a busy airport and hence there were lots of people in the lounge. Here you can get something to eat, wine and spirits was available, they have recliners, TV screens and with a username and password you can also get online.

IMG_7397The flight to Beijing was at about 11 pm and I think boarding started about 1 hour prior to departure.  We had to take a bus out to the plane so there was no business entrance into the plane like you often see on larger airports. When we checked in my colleague and I got seats behind each other and when we got into the plane we asked if we could change seats and if the flight was full or not. She replied that the flight was full but it later turned out that there were lots of seats available on business class and we did get to sit next to each other. The Turkish Airlines flight TK020 is a Boeing 777-300ER and the configuration in business class is a kind of strange 2+3+2 configuration.
The seat was good and when inclined it links up with the foot stool (or ottoman) in front of it to form a bed that is almost completely flat (I think it is 177 degrees). Blankets, slippers, amenities pack and headphones were already laid out in advance before I came on the plane which is a good solution in my opinion.

IMG_7404In front of each seat there was a 15” screen and the in in-flight entertainment system seemed to be quite good with lots of movies on demand. But it was kinda annoying to have the control docked in a space next to the seat on the right hand side – it was hard to reach when I started reclining the seat!  I was not that impressed with the headphones – I’m not sure it is noise cancelling or not but they didn’t feel like it at least. After takeoff I got the menu and it was quite extensive. I had a choice of two starters and I chose the potpourri of Mediterranean meze and it also came with a small salad, some yogurt and cucumber etc. It was also possible to get a soup before going to the main meal where I went for the mushroom ravioli.

IMG_7405When they brought in the meal it was served on a tray of course but the various dishes was served on glass plates and I got real cutlery. Each tray also had a small salt and pepper shaker – the only “problem” was that the butter was brick hard! I tried chicken as a starter, I tried the leak soup and finally the mushroom ravioli. At the time I was getting hungry so I found the meal to be very good. After dinner they walk past with a dessert trolley and I asked for the chocolate “fondant” and tiramisu. This was not very good in my opinion – it did not resemble real tiramisu.
The amenity kit was contained in a rather big bag and it contained some lip balm, toothbrush, eye shade, comb/brush, ear plugs, socks etc. The toothbrush was horrible as it was built up by two parts and it kept on falling apart when I used it. The toilet on board the 777 was a bit larger than what I’m used to on the SAS Airbus A340 which means that it is easier if you want to slip into a pajama before you try to get some sleep.

IMG_7407The seat is quite good and when you recline it, it connects to the foot stool in front to give you a long and almost flat bed. It is also great that there is room under the stool as you can store e.g. shoes there. I had a pretty good sleep when flying to Beijing and I actually did not wake up until they announced that we were descending and seats had to be in an upright position. I shouldn’t complain about that of course but when I got the menu at takeoff I did fill out my breakfast menu and handed this over to the FA and indicated that I wanted breakfast but no one woke me up and by the time I did wake up it was too late for breakfast. The 2+3+2 configurations seems a bit strange but it seemed to work out pretty good – there is a small gap between the seats so you can get out without having to step on the passenger next to you – and there is also a small wall that you can raise if you want a bit more privacy. But it can’t compete with the amazing configuration of the business class on Singapore Airlines.

IMG_7410On the way back I flew the same route – Beijing-Istanbul-Copenhagen on business class. The plane on the way back to Europe was also a Boeing 777 so it was very similar to the one that I had when flying to China. Again the amenities were laid out prior to passengers coming onboard – everything was pretty much the same but the toiletry bag was a smaller version with different brand of lip balm and moisturizing cream. It is a bit weird that this has not been standardized.  This time I got a menu with my name on it and the food was once again quite good. IMG_7447The business class was completely full on this flight and it seemed like they were struggling a bit to serve all the business class passengers at more or less the same time so the FA seemed a bit stressed out. One asked me if I wanted some more red wine and I said “yes please” but I never saw the wine. When she was serving dessert I asked for port wine and I think she remembered as she first gave me some dessert and then she ran off and brought me a huge glass of port. Once again I slept pretty well in the seat but again I was not woken up for breakfast even if I had put the sticker on the seat indicating that I wanted breakfast service and once again the breakfast menu that I filled out was ignored. In the end I had to call the FA and ask for breakfast and what I got was not what I had ordered but at least I got something to eat.

IMG_7445From Istanbul to Copenhagen the rather new Boeing 737 was replaced by an older Airbus A321 and it contained seats in a horrible cyan/ turquoise color. Instead of having a proper business class seat and a 2+2 configuration, this plane had standard seats with a 3+3 configuration with the middle seat blocked to give each passengers a bit more space. But once again the service was very good and I got a very good breakfast including one of the best omelets that I have had on a plane.

I think Turkish Airlines long haul business class is quite good. The seat is almost horizontal and provides the possibility to sleep well when traveling for many hours and the service is quite good with a decent menu with various options and several options when it comes to the wine. But it seems like they are struggling a bit with the breakfast menu setup or at least it failed both ways when I used them. The on board entertainment is quite good as you can start watching a movie right away and you can watch it until you land basically – not like SAS where it takes forever to start it and they terminate it like 30 minutes prior to landing.

Gard – trip reports and pictures

Air New Zealand can offer bed in economy!! Jan 26

I think most of us have been there…you are on a looooooong flight and you are stuck in economy class between a couple of strangers. After trying 50 different positions in the seat you discover that it is very, very difficult to get some decent sleep. Well, today newspapers reports that Air New Zealand has come up with a clever “inventions” to also allow economy passengers a good night sleep in something that resembles a bed. So the deal is that if you are flying as a couple you can book a third seat for an extra fee and then the three seats are turned into a bed when you want to sleep. Based on the photos it looks a lot more comfortable compared to sleeping in an upright position. Anyway, the airline also adds that this is not an invitation to join the mile high club :-) Read more about it in Mail Online. So if you are going from the UK to New Zealand in 2011 you might be one of the lucky ones that can catch some Z’s as you in the air.

Business trip to Kuala Lumpur in SAS business class Jul 12

This is a trip report from when I went from Stavanger in Norway to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. I used SAS and I went via Copenhagen and Bangkok on my way to KL. I used my Eurobonus frequent flyer points to upgrade to business class and that it always a treat ;-) Normally I travel with a colleague but this time I traveled alone.

My very first trip on SAS long haul in Economy class Jul 09

In February 2009 I went to Kuala Lumpur for work and I used SAS to get there. On the way to Kuala Lumpur (or KL as it is also known)  I was able to upgrade to business by using my SAS Eurobonus points but on the way home the flight was completely full and I had to stick to economy class. Even if I am a SAS Eurobonus gold card member this was actually my very first trip with SAS in economy class on a long haul trip. Here are some of my thoughts as I was going home…

Flying Emirates Airlines and A380 for the first time Jun 25

Have you ever wondered what flying Emirates Airlines would be like? And do you wonder what it is like to fly the brand new Airbus A380 (you know….the plane with two floors)? Well, this is my experience with flying Emirates Airlines and A380 for the very first time…and it was even on business class :-) The flight took me from Stavanger to London with SAS and from there to Dubai and Bangkok with Emirates. more…