Farewell Miles – A Mileage Burning Party with All Nippon Airlines, Thai Airways and Asiana Airlines in Business Class (with a BMI Leg)
Featuring the ANA International 787-8.
- Oh BMI *shakes head* (The Introduction)
- The Off, Birmingham Airport, Birmingham Airport to Frankfurt with BMI for Lufthansa
- Hotel Savigny, Around Frankfurt
- Frankfurt Airport and Meeting the 787
- Frankfurt-Tokyo Haneda with ANA’s International 787
- The Strings by Intercontinental, Tokyo
- One Time Exception: Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
- Tokyo Haneda International – Hong Kong International with ANA’s 777-300
- Crown Plaza Causeway Bay (Happy Valley)
- One Time Exception: An Emergency Camera Clean…
- Hong Kong to Seoul with Thai Airways International – THIS SECTION
- Ramada Seoul Dongdamun
- One Time Exception: Jongmyo Shrine
- Seoul Incheon to London Heathrow with Asiana Airlines
- Wrapping up
Back to more conventional matters, away from Camera cleaning and being a tourist – the joy of flying as I pick this trip report up again with Thai Airways International…
The short time at Hong Kong was coming to an end, and after checking out, it was a cab ride back to Hong Kong Central station (with the crap I was carrying, the hike through Causeway Bay and Central/Hong Kong station was not appealing – neither was getting the tram or bus was tempting).
After exiting the cab and beeping my Airport Express Octopus card, I completed the check in formalities at the city terminal for my flight. Now this is a lovely feature of Hong Kong. Check luggage in, bypass silly terminal madness, go to lounge.
It was then a simple case of catching the Airport Express back to Hong Kong International Airport, where soon enough, I was deposited back at the Airport.
A quick step through security, and it was lounge time. Well when in Hong Kong, there is only one lounge I really like
Lounge Stop: Singapore Airlines SilverKirs Lounge.
I was sort of welcomed to the lounge, when the dragon said “the Thai lounge is closer to the gate”. A flash of the Senator Card, and I was reminded no boarding calls are made, and after my details were taken, I was let in.
The lounge is done in dark colours and richer tones, but I head straight the food area. Well it is sort of lunch time.
I was pretty relaxed, but saw time was moving on. And there are so many lounges to try. This time, I decided to head out of the lounge, and head to the Thai Airways Lounge which would be nearer the gate. A ride on a train and looking where I was going, and soon enough, I found the next lounge of the day.
Lounge Stop: Thai Airways
Lounge Stop: Thai Airways International Lounge
After showing my boarding pass, I was let into the lounge, which is a appointed with a food area, a work area, a games area and a a general seating area – which was crammed full of people.
The food options were different to the Singapore lounge (and no bottle of bubbles), but it was a nice bright space. The problem with a nice bright space in the air is the noise of the terminal below sadly.
I went to check when the gate opened, and was told to hang back for a bit as an announcement was to be made.
No announcement came.
15 minutes passed and I had a look at the gate area. Looking down at it I noticed it was mostly complete, and yet there was no announcement. I decided to take the initiative and head down. And it was good thing I did as the words “FINAL CALL” were on the display boards.
Thankfully, the gate was still open and i was accepted for travel. After heading down through the gate, it was then a turn for the Business Class Air-bridge.
TG628 Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok International Airport to Seoul Inchon International Airport
Thai Airways International, Boeing 777-200 (Regional Configuration)
Seat 12K, Business Class
I was warmly welcomed aboard, and headed to my seat.
Thankfully I checked in the day before using OLCI… and did a seat shift when I found someone was sitting next to me to a pair of seats which were unoccupied.
I quickly settled into the seat, and got the stuff I needed out for the flight, and read the safety card. Soon enough, the jet-bridges were detached and the safety video begun and the plane begun pushing back.
A slow taxi around the airport as it seemed to be in a usual busy queue. Thankfully the Thai 777’s have a lovely little feature – Nosewheel Cam! It gives a lovely perceptive of where you are and how far away you are from take off.
Soon enough the Rolls Royce Trent Engines roared into life, and our 777 took to the air.
After the initial bumps out of Hong Kong, the plane settled down for it’s trip to Seoul, heading over Taiwan and up to the Korean peninsula.
Soon enough the bumps cleared and the plane continued its climb. This was the perfect time for a service. And sticking once you start on Champagne, it’s rude to change drinks.
Champagne in a thimble glass with smoked almonds.
Food soon followed with various choices. I went for the “local” options again
The service was cleared down relatively quickly with coffee to follow:
Lets get onto the bane of every airline I travel on – In Flight Entertainment. For most of this trip so far, I’ve been relying off my iPhone for content (as my laptop was by this point rapidly running out of hard disk space. Again). But a quick browse through the entertainment listings listed 1) content that looked reasonable and 2) content I liked – in big chunks. So I donned the earphones and watched a fair few episodes of the The Big Bang Theory.
The screen was reasonable, and the content delivered for once. Stranger things have happened in the air, I’ve got to admit.
As we closed in on Seoul, day turned into evening turning into night.
Now when the final cleardown and safety checks are done on other flights I’ve been on, the lights 90% up so the crew can see everything is secure. However on this flight I think they barely turned up the lights and did a quick look in business class and felt the luggage lockers before hiding back in the galley. Not what I’d call great safety performance there.
Thankfully, the decent into Seoul was relatively smooth and soon enough, we were on the ground.
Taxi to the terminal was from the far runways, and once again, I switched from the online map to NoseCam again. It was also fun watching a little “FOLLOW ME” Truck guiding us to the gate during the sluggish taxi around Incheon Airport, and finally to the “Foreign Airlines” Concourse A, where the plane parked and we were allowed to leave the plane
Overall: Whilst the service was good, and the IFE content actually hit this trip reporters button, the lack of attention to landing procedures that I’m used to with other carriers is of concern. And I’m having trouble believing what I saw was a “full’ check. Maybe all this time being stuck in the plane with lights up before landing (before putting back down), and flight attendants “there for your safety” is starting to rub off me…. and I’m watching more carefully. Certainly I know my safety routines (and lets hope I never have to use them), but I felt the crew could had been more “visible” in this respect.
After getting off the plane at Seoul I took this photo.
And the pilots waved back at me. Awwww! I knew I liked Thai for some odd reason.
Anyhoo, it was then a hike to the train station as the most non Korean carriers dock at the International Terminal, which is connected by Train to the main terminal. Alas, as opposed to being every couple of minutes like they are in some places, this thing was every five minutes. And a train pulled out as I was heading downstairs.
5 minutes passed and a planeload of pax boarded the plane – not the most pleasant to loads. It quickly zipped to the other side of the airport, depositing me at South Korean Immigration.
South Korean Immigration used to be look at passport scan passport, bang bang, off you went. Sadly, like Japan and the USA, they’ve caught the biometrics bug and now also collect a photo and fingerprints, which does add to the delay to get into the country.
Still there wasn’t much of a queue when I got there (and a bigger one after I cleared immigration), and I was soon in the vast baggage hall where my bags was one of the first out. Loading it up into the cart, then it was through customs, where I was invited into South Korea.
After clearing immigration, I knew my next priority – getting to the hotel.
It was then a case of buying a ticket for the bus, and praying it would drop me near the right place. W14,000 later – I had a ticket and after double checking where things were (again thank you Incheon International Airport for Free WiFi), I headed for the bus stop.
The bus of course took it’s time, operating fast to Gimpo Airport, then crawling its way into Seoul itself before finally nearing the Hotel Achia… with the Ramada Hotels a few doors down. You don’t know how relived I was when I saw that!
Can a Ramada hotel be actually rather good? Tune in next chapter to find out!