Airline: Thai Airways
Aircraft: Airbus A 380
Cabin: First Class
Seat: 3K, window
From: Hong Kong
Date: 24. August 2013
It’s only at this stage that things got really out of hand when I was planning this trip. I’d got my dates all messed up and realised rather late that instead of spending one night in Hong Kong before eventually heading home, I’d be spending two full days in Hong Kong. Of course the easiest thing would have been to simply rearrange the rest of my schedule. Like that I might have had a full day in Perth for example, which I really liked the look of – from what little I saw.
Or I could do something else that would be tremendously fun. I could significantly increase my carbon footprint with yet another bout of senseless flying, simply for the joy of cruising at 38’000 feet.
GETTING TO THE AIRPORT
At 11:00 I check out of The Peninsula. It’s such a beautiful hotel. Even the lobby is a work of art.
And this here will be taking me to the airport today. Sitting in the back, the sound of the engine is but a mere murmur, like the satisfied purr of a fat cat that’s just polished off a bowl of rich cream. It’s quite sexy actually.
The journey by car from Tsim Sha Tsui on the southern tip of Kowloon to the airport takes approximately thirty minutes to complete. We pull up in front of terminal 2, where a porter from the hotel is already expecting me to take my luggage and escort me to the Thai Airways check-in counters.
Thai Airways has got quite an operation here in Hong Kong. Check-in is quickly done for the flight to Bangkok as well as the onward connection. I am also issued a lounge invitation.
Before I leave, I inquire about the possibility of paying to upgrade to First Class. The check-in agent informs me that all seats are already taken, but one passenger has failed to turn up so far. She instructs me to contact the lounge attendant about thirty minutes before departure to check on the situation of the seat.
From check-in I am escorted to the entrance for the security check. The porter bids me farewell and hopes I enjoyed my stay at The Peninsula. Oh you have no idea!
Terminal 2 is essentially a separate building with a set of check-in counters on the opposite side of the road from the main terminal building. Behind security and immigration there is an escalator leading down to the automated shuttle that takes you across to the gate area attached to terminal 1.
From there I change trains and take the shuttle to the far end of the pier where gates 33 through 80 are located. The Thai Airways lounge is one floor up from the gates, overlooking gate 40. My flight today will be leaving from gate 62.
The lounge is very colourful, with a good selection of hot and cold dishes.
The big bird arrives.
About thirty minutes before departure I approach the lounge reception where I am informed that the upgrade worked – jay! The flight has been closed for check-in with one empty seat up front. I am advised to go to the gate and pay the fare difference there, where I will also be issued a new boarding pass. The fare difference is merely HKD1600.
So I contact one of about ten gate attendants for my flight to pay the fee. The new boarding pass is promptly issued and I shall be on 3K for this flight, a window seat.
There are three separate queues for boarding. The left one is for Economy on the lower level of the vessel, the middle one is for First Class and the right one for Business Class, both of which are located on the upper deck.
The cabin is very nice. Using a combination of wood and beige colours, there is something very soothing and inviting about the seat. There are two comfy pillows on my seat, as well as a day blanket for this short flight. There is also a folder with A 380 and Thai Airways stationary.
We begin with the obligatory hot towels. If I’m not mistaken, they’re scented with Bulgari’s Essence de Thé Vert, which has a very refreshing and subtle perfume.
Next, another flight attendant comes through the cabin with the Dom. I think he’s a bit upset when I ask him if I could have a Perrier instead. A bit later on, the same attendant brings me the menu and the wine list for today’s flight.
Just before we push back, another big bird arrives at the gate next door.
Take-off is sluggish, to say the least. You’d think we were flying all the way from Hong Kong to Europe, judging by how long it takes us to get airborne. Once we do take off, we hit some rather severe turbulence. It’s quite impressive really. To see or rather feel a little 737 doing all sorts of summersaults in the sky is one thing, but when it’s an A 380 it’s quite another. Fortunately before long we’re clear of the clouds and cruising through much calmer air.
It’s quite funny to watch the other passengers. One guy has already lowered the blinds and another has changed into something a little less al dente. I’m not quite sure what’s going on exactly, the flight time to Bangkok is only two hours and ten minutes anyway.
Once the fasten seat belt sign goes off, I decide to explore the loo and the lounge area on the top floor.
The loo is very stylish, I must say. It has a changing area which kind of sectioned off from the toilet.
We begin with an amuse bouche of smoked salmon on cucumber and grilled vegetables. To drink I have a Singha beer.
Then the table is set for the meal. The crew pay a lot of attention to detail. For example they make sure that the logo of the tablecloth is the right side up. And whenever one of them fills up my glass, they make sure the logo on the can of beer is facing toward me.
There is also a breadbasket. Initially I think I may have been spared the temptation to overindulge on garlic bread. But it turns out that they bring that separately. In the end I think I have seven pieces of the stuff. I can’t help it, it’s a compulsion…
The first course is boiled Canadian scallops with capers mixed with almonds, sundried tomatoes and frisée lettuce and cucumber. A very tasty dish.
Next comes the main course: pan-fried sea bream filet with a garlic sauce, served with vegetables and herb millet. It’s a nice chunky piece of fish, although it is perhaps a little on the dry side.
Then comes a plate of anonymous cheeses with crackers and fruit – it doesn’t say on the menu what cheese it is.
And finally for dessert we have Mövenpick yoghurt ice cream with diced fresh fruit.
The meal concludes with a coffee and another scented hot towel. By this time we’re only 34 minutes out of Bangkok. Not bad at all.
The weather in Bangkok is pretty much the same as in Hong Kong: overcast, occasional rain and a temperature of 30 degrees Celsius. Before the take their seats for arrival, the three cabin crew working the First Class cabin stop at every seat to say good bye, which is a nice touch.
As I exit the airbridge I am already being expected by a Thai Airways representative with a golf mobile. We wait for another passengers and then off we go to the security check for my next flight.