Impressions of QF/BA/CX/AK - a mix of Y, Y+, J and LCC respectively!

Discussion in 'Trip Reports and Trip Photos' started by Keith009, Jul 27, 2007.

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  1. Keith009

    Keith009 Established Member

    Mar 6, 2005
    4,438
    245
    Brisbane / Sydney
    QF430 MEL-SYD, Economy
    Scheduled dep – 1200
    Actual dep – 1214
    Aircraft type – B767-300
    Seat – 34B


    I’d booked a BA World Traveller’s Plus fare to Bangkok, and consequently had to fly QF over to SYD to pick up the BA flight.

    I strode purposefully to the eastern end of Terminal 1 where the ‘Domestic-International connection’ check in desk was located, meaning to check in for both QF430 and my connecting flight to BKK. The queues were manageable and before too long I’d been handed a boarding pass for my first flight by the rather expressionless check in agent. I’d OLCIed for my BA flight and like previous attempts with OLCI where the preceding flight was not BA, it had messed up with the computer systems with QF at MEL not able to issue the BA BP. I had not PYOBPed as I collect BP stubs and the ‘real’ BPs tends to last longer. My bag was successfully tagged through to BKK though.

    Soon enough I was in the domestic Qantas Club at MEL where I promptly got my seat changed to an aisle seat at the emergency exit row. As the bar was not open until 1300, I simply surfed the net on my laptop. I was supposed to meet RickyT (QF FT) to ‘guest’ him into the QP.

    A pleasant surprise ensued as I bumped into Aerotec (BA FT), who hails from EDI and who I last met at a BA mini Do in LON. It was completely unexpected and was all the more rad meeting each other in this part of the world for a change as I’d only ever met him in EDI or LON prior to this.

    Surprise number two when aforementioned QP guest of mine revealed that he’s a fellow law student at unimelb even though we’d not even met each other around campus. It’s a small world!

    The boarding call for my flight was made and I hurried to join the scrum to get on to the Cityflyer shuttle bus ;) to SYD. Twas a rather straightforward service to SYD, not overly eventful. I declined a panini and opted for some juice along with a green apple. Strong turbulence meant a rather rushed service; those down the back had to gobble down their lunches pretty quickly and an apology for this was made over the PA with a pre-emptive comment that ‘safety came before service.’

    We ended up arriving in SYD ahead of the scheduled arrival time.
     

  2. Keith009

    Keith009 Established Member

    Mar 6, 2005
    4,438
    245
    Brisbane / Sydney
    BA10 SYD-BKK, World Traveller’s Plus
    Scheduled departure: 1640
    Actual departure: 1658
    Aircraft: B747-400, mid J config
    Seat: 11J


    Upon arrival in SYD, I proceeded to the transfer lounge, opposite gate 1 in the domestic terminal, to board the courtesy bus to the international terminal. Timing was on my side as I did not have to wait at all for the bus.

    Since I did not have my BA BP, I had to go back to the check in desks before heading airside. The queue at the Club check in desks were rather short and it was with a huge sigh of relief that the seat shifters spared me and I kept 11J, bulkhead aisle in WTP. A lot has changed on BA since I’d last flown the airline and I was pretty disappointed with the new black and white boarding pass, which was certainly a depressing way to start the journey. Prior to this I’d read the howls of protest on the BA board on FT, but reality only sank in when I held the puke-inducing BP in my hands.

    Immigration and security were chaotic, and choked with amateur travelers who took an age to clear security due to multiple failures to observe security regulations.

    I then spent a couple of hours downing Moet in the QF J lounge. It was with a tinge of envy as I walked past the gleaming new Flounge, and I wished somehow I could fast forward till I achieved AA EXP/oneworld emerald which was a prerequisite status to enter the Flounge. The J lounge now seems like a high school cafeteria in comparison.

    Boarding

    Occurred at the furthest possible gate from the lounge. As a oneworld sapphire, I was entitled to use ‘Fast Track’ boarding which was a relief as the line for WHY snaked back for miles. Once onboard I was greeted by name despite being a dirty AA sapphire instead of a BA one. ;)

    Seat and Cabin

    I had the ‘mid J’ config which sees the WTP cabin sandwiched behind F but in front of Club, a major source of consternation amongst many. The crew seemed to have overcome this problem by using velvet ropes to secure the WTP cabin – not an ideal solution but certainly the optimum way to protect premium cabin integrity IMO, especially when deplaning (more later).

    Seat 11J in this config is identical to 17J on a ‘low J’ plane. So no solo bulkhead seats unlike row 28 on ‘high J’ planes alas. There was ample legroom and the seat was sufficiently comfy for the 8 hour journey to Bangkok. I’m not sure if I’d fly in WTP all the way to LHR though, then again I’d survived that trip in WHY on QF with only a teeny break in SIN halfway, as I’d like to boast to mates every now and again.

    My failure to achieve an op up to J was more than made up by the pleasing aesthetics of the bloke sitting next to me in 11K, who was off to LON for his grandma’s birthday, bless him.

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  3. Keith009

    Keith009 Established Member

    Mar 6, 2005
    4,438
    245
    Brisbane / Sydney
    Catering

    Booze on BA was generously offered and came in doubles. I had copious amounts of wines which came in 175ml bottles. This reduced the need to disturb the crew as 2 of those lasted me a bit longer than the measley 1 bottle on QF WHY, or the tiny glasses of wine served on SQ WHY. My seatmate and I used the bassinet as a cocktail table at the suggestion of the FA. The WTP FA was great at bringing out extra wine when I’d finished - mostly without the use of the crew call button which I only had to use thrice throughout the flight.

    The food was nothing spectacular, but perfectly edible. Dinner was a choice between lamb and pasta accompanied with salad as a starter and some cake as dessert, whilst a roll of some sort was served for the pre-landing refreshment.

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    IFE

    The flight was equipped with AVOD which mercifully worked without a hitch. The movie selection was average and I ended up watching Harry Potter in anticipation of the latest book and movie releases of the series, and an episode of Friends. I either read my book or chatted with my seatmate for the rest of the flight.

    De-planing

    Everyone was required to get off at BKK regardless of whether they were terminating there. Two doors were used to de-plane the aircraft. It was re-assuring to note that the crew did a great job of making sure Club and F pax got off before WTP was allowed off.

    For the most part, WTP pax, including yours truly ;), were well-behaved and respected the premium cabin entitlement to de-plane first by not impatiently pushing or fidgeting to disembark. Or maybe they’d transitted at Suvarnabhumi once too often and were instead dreading to get out.

    Baggage

    It took such a long time clearing passport control that my suitcase was already doing its merry go round on the carousel when I arrived.

    A rather pleasant experience on BA on the whole. I wish they’d come up with a better designed BP, menus in WTP, and had better choices for the IFE though. I knew what to expect from the WTP cabin having been on it before – the extra space is certainly a plus, but at the same time I wish BA would look into making WTP an actual ‘premium’ experience like what its competitors, notably VS, have done. But until QF’s Premium Economy cabin launches, BA WTP remains the only viable option in oneworld for this cabin of travel. The 1.5 Qpts/mile when accruing to AAdvantage also helps heaps. ;)

    Next: Plaza Athenee Bangkok, a Royal Meridien Hotel
     
  4. Keith009

    Keith009 Established Member

    Mar 6, 2005
    4,438
    245
    Brisbane / Sydney
    #4 Keith009, Jul 27, 2007
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2007
    I'd neglected to mention the amenity kit BA provided for both WTP and WHY pax. It contained a pair of socks, a toothbrush and some industrial-tasting toothpaste - very similar to the SQ kits. Like SQ does, it's great that BA provides these things even on day flights.

    Plaza Athenee Bangkok, a Royal Meridien Hotel
    Wireless Rd
    Stay duration: 3 nights


    Location
    Taxi drivers often have trouble finding the hotel as many have no clue as to where Wireless Rd is. My taxi driver had to stop in the middle of the highway from the airport to downtown to contact the hotel and enquire about its whereabouts. A rapid burst of Thai and a thumbs up sign indicated that he’d worked out the LM’s location. The solution to this is to obtain a name card from the concierge folks which indicate the address of the hotel in Thai; otherwise have the phone number of the hotel handy.

    The hotel did not have as good a location as the WGS or the SGS on Sukhumvit Rd, as Wireless Rd was nowhere near good nightlife. There was a BTS nearby though and it was a cheap and convenient way to commute to places such as Soi Cowboy or Silom.

    Décor

    The LM’s decor is pretty dated. Unlike the SGS which seemed to have deliberately made itself feel old, the LM’s rather 90s décor was in want of an update. There were also too many weird wooden fixtures for my liking, and too much unnecessary paraphernalia adorning the lobby.


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    Room
    I’d booked a regular room on the Club floor, which was huge and seemed a bit like a junior suite. The datedness of the décor was compensated by a big LCD television.

    The bathroom was spacious and well-equipped with every imaginable amenity. I was pleased to not have to request for dental kits. OTOH I wished the hotel had standard LM shower amenities (my fave is the Lime Basil shower gel!) instead of the foul-smelling stuff they offered.


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    Club lounge

    A rather fulfilling hot breakfast was served every morning between 0630 and 1030. There was also free wifi, otherwise one was entitled to use the computer terminals on a complimentary basis up to 30 minutes. Happy Hour in the evenings meant free booze and canapés. The selection was rather limited unfortunately.

    Service

    Aside from the annoying dude at check in who tried to up sell me into a larger room, service at the hotel was generally excellent. Every member of staff I encountered was courteous and friendly. Staff I met around corridors or in lifts would enquire about my stay or otherwise make small talk. The porter who brought my suitcase to my room did not grovel for tips like staff in some other hotels, and instead thanked my very sincerely when I did tip him.

    Can't comment on SPG Gold recognition - I did not know whether I got a 'Preferred Room' since it's my first time at the property but I was certainly happy with what I got. I did not have to utilise the late check out perk but I was asked as to what time I'd like to check out.

    In summary, whilst the service of the LM was great, the property is let down by its dated décor and its location could also be better. It’s back to the Westin on Sukhumvit in future, or the recently announced aLoft whose completion I’m eagerly looking forward, W it ain’t but an aLoft should have the same Whatever/Whenever service that I feel would significantly boost SPG’s selection in one of my favourite cities in the world.

    Next: CX713 BKK-SIN, Business Class
     
  5. Keith009

    Keith009 Established Member

    Mar 6, 2005
    4,438
    245
    Brisbane / Sydney
    #5 Keith009, Jul 28, 2007
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2007
    CX713 BKK-SIN, Business
    Scheduled departure – 1145
    Actual departure – 1152
    Aircraft – B747-400
    Seat – 86A


    There was nobody at the J check in desks when I rocked up, which made for a rather fast check-in. I was debating as to whether I ought to pay for an upgrade to F but ultimately decided that the extra cost required was not worth it for the short sector. I was also issued an invitation to the CX lounge in concourse G.

    It was a pretty long trek to concourse G, particularly as I was distracted by the ability to purchase reasonably cheap champagne for my parents along the way.

    The CX lounge at BKK was disappointing. The whole place felt pretty dull and drab Despite overlooking the tarmac, there did not seem to be much natural light in the lounge, which could probably be attributed to the poor interior design. Apart from the dim sum, there was very little in the way of catering. As the QF/BA lounge next door was not open, I had to stick to the CX lounge.

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  6. Keith009

    Keith009 Established Member

    Mar 6, 2005
    4,438
    245
    Brisbane / Sydney
    Boarding

    Soon boarding for CX713 was announced, and I dutifully made my way to the gate. As the flight was nowhere near full, there was entirely no queue for boarding.

    Once onboard I was greeted cordially, directed to my seat and served pre-departure champagne.

    Seat/Cabin

    I did not manage to score a 74A configuration but the older config was perfectly fine for the short flight.

    Seat 86A was a window seat at the emergency exit row on the upper deck. It’s nice of CX to allow other oneworld emeralds/sapphires to preselect row 86 seats in addition to their own MPC elites. I had ample legroom and a whole row to myself.

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    Service

    I’ve never had the best of luck with CX cabin crew, and I’d always wondered how they received such rave reviews on virtually every travel forum I frequent. However, this flight proved to be totally different from my previous (albeit limited) experiences with CX.

    As I was sitting opposite the jump seat, I’d already built up a good rapport with the charming Senior Purser during taxiing and take off. The crew seemed to remember pax names without the help of a pax list, which I found pretty impressive. Throughout the flight, the Senior Purser and her team were most attentive and truly lived up to the reputation CX enjoys. My champagne flute was never empty. Eventually, to save the junior FA from going back and forth my seat to top up champagne, I decided to join the crew at the galley and was welcome (“but don’t expect Lan Kwai Fong!”) with a bottle of bubbly all to myself. :D

    Catering

    Menu and wine list as follows:

    *my choice

    Contrary to what the Purser warned when I decided to pay a visit at the galley, the list of drinks was enough to start a Lan Kwai Fong cocktail party onboard. I certainly enjoyed the champagne, which never stopped flowing.

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    Lunch however was a poor affair. To begin with, the portions were miniscule. The presentation left much to be desired, and this substandard presentation was matched by the mediocre quality of the pork main course, which was soggy and overcooked.

    I’d also flown the BKK-SIN sector in J with SQ, TG and LX, and also once with CX two years ago, and this latest meal indicated such a drastic decline of CX’s meal service that I’d have to rank it the poorest out of the lot. Given CX’s position as one of the world’s premier carriers, I thought the airline could lift their game in the food stakes a little.

    The lovely dessert ended up saving the day – being full of flavour and of the right texture, it was a sure winner.


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    IFE

    I did not make use of the IFE. However I wouldn’t have enjoyed what Studio CX really had to offer even if I had as only short features were shown due to the flight’s duration.

    Despite the sub-par lunch, I enjoyed the short flight on CX, thanks to the great set of crew I got. The junior FA was a little reserved initially but let her guard down eventually. Both the Senior Purser and the Purser were cheeky and entertaining characters who made my time on the aircraft a fun one. I think the light load, and thus optimum crew-pax ratio helped. The stellar crew more than made up for my grievance with the food.

    We landed early in Singapore’s Changi Airport. And as I’ve come to expect from Changi – no queuing was necessary at passport control and despite the lack of queues, my bag was already waiting for me on the carousel when I emerged from immigration.

    Next: AK6352 JHB-KUL, LCC
     
  7. simongr

    simongr Enthusiast

    Jul 10, 2006
    14,229
    1,742
    Interesting so far. What a range of experiences :)

    I agree that the food on CX is not as amazing as it is made out to be - I though have had exemplary service on all occasions :)
     
  8. littl_flier

    littl_flier Active Member

    May 1, 2007
    898
    0
    Brisbane
    Another great TR QF009! I can't think of a more relaxing way to spend a Saturday afternoon than reading yours and Simongr's TR's. Bring on the rest! :p
     
  9. Keith009

    Keith009 Established Member

    Mar 6, 2005
    4,438
    245
    Brisbane / Sydney
    #9 Keith009, Jul 28, 2007
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2007
    AK6352 JHB-KUL, LCC
    Scheduled dep – 0925
    Actual dep – 0921
    Aircraft – A320
    Seat – 1D


    My first time on an LCC other than Virgin Blue! I’ve to say compared to Air Asia, DJ felt positively luxurious! AK seemed to be truly an LCC in every sense of that term, whereas DJ is positioned somewhere nearer to full service.

    Early this year I was alerted to zero dollar fare deals AK was running to mark its success as the premier LCC in the region. Since I knew that I was going to be in Malaysia and would be visiting KUL, I was well-positioned to take advantage of the deal. And since the total only amounted to MYR80 (slightly more than A$25), I could always forfeit the fare and rebook myself on MH if I got cold feet.

    And forfeiting I nearly did. I’d been reading about flight delays, cancellations and various other atrocities AK had inflicted upon its pax, most of whom seem to be infrequent or first time flyers who do not appear to know their rights. I was questioning myself as to why I would voluntarily lump myself with these flyers…

    LCC pax always seemed like a special breed of individuals to me. More than anything I have lots of respect for the toughness of these folks – who’re used to jostling their way to the front of queues, fighting each other to death over seats, and not to mention putting up with delays which seem to be the norm. Coupled with the need to do a walk on the tarmac in order the board the aircraft, my impending first time experience was starting to sound like an obstacle course. I feared that I wouldn’t live through ‘Survivor – LCC edition.’

    A reprieve came for AK in retaining my patronage in the form of its new ‘Xpress Boarding’ service. For the token sum of MYR20 (or less than A$7), holders of XB passes would be able to board the aircraft ahead of anyone else, even pax with special needs. There was still no allocated seating. Nonetheless I found it pretty good value considering that the alternative is a Business Class ticket on MH, given that Malaysia is largely pristine from the clutches of oneworld or Star Alliance and their associated elite privileges for pax down the back holding shiny plastic cards.

    Pre-flight

    As I was staying at my parents’ holiday house in Johor Bahru, it was pretty easy for me to get to JHB. The journey from downtown to the airport was merely an uncomplicated 45 minutes taxi ride that cost MYR40 (or approximately A$13).

    Those with luggage to check in would need to place their luggage through a scanner before proceeding to the check in counter.

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    The check in counters were divided into counters for pax with checked in luggage and pax without, however they did not appear to be organized as such as people were queuing at random regardless of whether they had luggage to check in or not. Check-in was a zoo, with a huge group of giggly girls who did not quite get the concept of queuing in a straight line and hence caused much confusion for latter pax. The process was delayed by each of these girls needing to pay extra for oversized luggage. Message to Tony – if you’re thinking of an ‘Xpress Check-in’ service, I’d be the first to pay for it! As is, it took nearly 30 minutes to check in.

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    The rather harassed check in agent confirmed that I held an ‘Xpress Boarding’ pass, which was noted on my BP as an SSR [PAX SSR (XB1)]. Users of XB should check their BPs for that note as they’d be unable to take advantage of XB if the SSR is missing. Like DJ, the AK BP was printed on cheap-looking Maccas-receipt type paper.

    Having no lounge access privileges nor any possibility of purchasing access, I spent the rest of my time at the airport sipping coffee (they had soy latte at the airport Coffee Bean outlet!), and watching an episode of Friends on the public TVs.

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  10. Keith009

    Keith009 Established Member

    Mar 6, 2005
    4,438
    245
    Brisbane / Sydney
    Boarding

    I headed up to the boarding gate at the suggested boarding time and it was not long before boarding was called. I tried to take some pictures of the duty free area but was stopped by a staff member who rudely told me that I’d need to make a purchase before I was allowed to take pictures…:S

    XB pax were invited to queue on the right hand side (just myself and a fellow Aussie traveller!) while I watched the hilarity of 150 odd pax wrestle with each other to get to the front on the left.


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    A DYKWIA situation occurred at the gate when a ‘public servant’ was pissed off that she received no priority boarding privilege with AK. Not content with taking down the GA’s name and threatening legal action, she thought it acceptable to unleash a torrent of profanities in a mixture of English and Malaysian on the visibly upset GA.

    XB pax were then invited to walk to the aircraft first. The tarmac walk wasn’t too long, but the combination of heat, stench of jet fuels, and startling noises from the aircraft made me wonder why some of my friends found walking on the tarmac so appealing.

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    I was greeted by a rather listless ‘Senior Flight Attendant’ when I reached the entrance to the aircraft. Said ‘Senior Flight Attendant’ was the chief stewardess for the flight but unfortunately did not appear to have an ounce of enthusiasm in her bones.

    Seat/Cabin

    I was pleasantly surprised by AK’s fresh and clean cabins which were a nice change from MH’s grimy 734 cabins. AK’s new fleet is certainly an advantage in that regard and the crisp cabin gave AK a significant edge over MH.

    I was seated in 1D, with the chick who also had XB across the aisle in 1C. We both agreed that the bulkhead aisle seats were adequately comfy for the short flight, and provided ample legroom.

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    Service

    As it was a very short flight I did not feel the urge to buy anything to eat or drink. I was satisfied by the hearty fry up of eggs, toast and sausages I had prior to leaving for the airport, and my Coffee Bean beverage.

    The FAs were not a friendly lot. Zero smiles, no Ps and Qs, and the ‘Senior Flight Attendant’ was someone who should not be employed in any job that involves dealing with other human beings. She was literally shouting at a pax who did not comprehend the pre-landing safety instructions. Instead of performing the pre-landing cross-check, I noticed that her colleague seemed more interested in disappearing into the toilet to touch up her make up.

    Arrival

    We landed early, however the extra time gained was consumed by the lengthy taxi. Several pax could not wait to get off the plane though…

    There was another tarmac walk to get to the arrivals hall but at least a major part of it took place on proper pavements and in a shaded area.

    For short domestic flights in Malaysia shorter than an hour, I’d certainly consider flying AK again. XB and the clean cabins are major advantages of AK. For anything longer, I think I still prefer flying real airlines and their full service complement. Besides, the difference in costs would probably be absorbed by the need to purchase onboard catering and XB.

    Next: The Westin Kuala Lumpur, and AK6351 KUL-JHB, LCC.
     
  11. Keith009

    Keith009 Established Member

    Mar 6, 2005
    4,438
    245
    Brisbane / Sydney
    #11 Keith009, Jul 29, 2007
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2007
    The Westin Kuala Lumpur
    Bukit Bintang
    Stay duration: 2 nights


    Location
    The Westin is centrally located in KL’s so called Golden Triangle. It stands at the edge of one of the city’s premier shopping streets, Bukit Bintang and is near plenty of decent restaurants and nightspots. Virtually everything is within easy reach – either by walking, monorail, or the insanely cheap taxis. Be prepared to be stuck in endless traffic jams during peak hour if you do elect to take the taxis though.

    Décor/Ambience
    The interior design of this Westin simply exudes chicness. I love the industrial feel of the lobby and its sleek grey and brown walls. Rock music was playing in the lobby which is a nice change from stereotypical 5 star hotel grand piano music. I’m glad that the Westin KL did not adopt the white-out corporate look that’s become the prototype for the Westin brand of late.


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    Room
    I’d booked the cheapest room category and was allocated a spacious room (the biggest on the floor other than the suite according to the fire escape map) with a view of the Twin Towers. The room was splashed in soothing grey and brown tones, with smart black panels to match.

    Certain bits of the room were already showing wear and tear, such as a small chip on the top right hand edge of the writing desk. And although nice to look at, the design of the bathroom basin was rather impractical as it was impossible to prevent water from splashing out.

    The Heavenly Bed at this property was very much on par with brand standards, with a very soft mattress which almost rendered it a crime to wake up in the morning.

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    Service
    As I’d arrived earlier than the official check-in time, my room was not ready. However it was a good two hours after check-in time before my room was ready. I suspect that the occupant before me had been an SPG elite customer who’d utilized the late check out perk. The front desk agent was very apologetic and explained that there was no alternative room for me as the hotel was running at capacity. As compensation, I received a fistful of drink vouchers which I did not hesitate to redeem on a few glasses of Veuve at The Living Room.

    It was disappointing that there was no priority check in desk for SPG Gold/Platinum members. When I enquired about this, I was told that SPG only required participating properties to display the sign (which was sitting pretty on a filing cabinet and being useless) but it need not actually be used. Huh?

    Despite the haphazard check in, service was generally of a very good standard. The concierge was highly knowledgeable and delighted in sharing information on his favourite restaurants, as well as the nightspots in KL which do not seem to be immediately obvious to visitors unlike BKK.

    I would certainly stay at the Westin KL again as its décor is infinitely superior and felt more luxurious than the Sheraton Imperial, which seemed like an overdecorated birthday cake. The location of the Westin is also better than the SI or the Le Meridien at Sentral. In spite of the hiccups at check in (which IMO was redeemed by their generous offering of free drinks), the service at the Westin is also heaps superior to the SI.
     
  12. Keith009

    Keith009 Established Member

    Mar 6, 2005
    4,438
    245
    Brisbane / Sydney
    #12 Keith009, Jul 29, 2007
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2007
    AK6351 KUL-JHB, LCC
    Scheduled dep – 0815
    Actual dep – 0826
    Aircraft – A320
    Seat – 1D


    I had to wake up ridiculously early to catch this flight as the airport was by no means in the vicinity of KL. Locals jokingly refer to the airport as Seremban International Airport, Seremban being the name of the town which the airport is actually near to. The journey from hotel to airport took nearly an hour and 15 minutes.

    I was grumpy that morning, having only had two hours of sleep the night before. The ghastly sight that awaited me as I arrived at the KUL Low Cost Carrier Terminal did not help. The architecture of the LCCT is about as imaginative as a garden shed’s. The crowds and the humidity created an impression of the place that is akin to a warehouse clearance sale of factory-rejected goods. Or the comedy that occurred when Stella McCartney designed for Target

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    After I escaped from the chaotic check-in area, I found a wee bit of tranquility at a Coffee Bean outlet and spent the rest of my pre-boarding time there. Alas they did not have soy milk.

    Xpress Boarding worked well again as I did not have to join the rugby scrum to board the flight. Pax with XB were paged individually and invited to queue up as a separate gate.

    The rest of the flight was uneventful and similar to my outbound, except with marginally better FAs this time around.

    Next: CX712 SIN-BKK, Business Class
     
  13. Keith009

    Keith009 Established Member

    Mar 6, 2005
    4,438
    245
    Brisbane / Sydney
    #13 Keith009, Jul 30, 2007
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2007
    CX712 SIN-BKK, Business
    Scheduled dep – 1330
    Actual dep – 1332
    Aircraft – B777-200 (Old Regional Business config)
    Seat – 11D


    A few wrinkles surfaced at check-in as the trainee agent was having difficulty tagging my bag beyond BKK. My itinerary did raise a few eyebrows (SIN-BKK-SYD-MEL), but I’m sure some of you hardcore mileage runners are probably stifling a yawn. Eventually a supervisor sorted things out but could only tag my bag to SYD due to Australian CIQ regulations.

    I settled with the Skyview Lounge which CX shares with a few other carriers as the QF/BA lounge was closed at that hour. Ironically the Skyview Lounge (located near D gates) was much further away from the gate (C20) than the QF/BA lounge (located near C gates). The Skyview Lounge was slightly better than the CX lounge in BKK due to the abundance of natural lighting. The selection of alcohol was still fairly limited although there was one more choice of white wine than the BKK lounge.

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    My BP beeped when it was swiped at the gate, with an “Oh you’re the one!” from one of the GAs. It turned out that they’d changed my baggage tag to a brand new one through to MEL. I thought it wasn’t necessary as I’d have to take out my bag in SYD but good on them for trying so hard.

    Seat
    The seat was the classic regional cradle configuration and was comfortable for the short flight. I had the whole centre row of 3 seats in row 11 to myself. I considered myself lucky that in my entire CX-flying experience I’ve yet to get NRBC config, given the negative feedback I’ve heard about the NRBC seats.

    [​IMG]

    Service
    I was blessed with a great crew for this flight, or at least an awesome Senior Purser and ISM. A trend that I noticed on CX flights – it’s the SP or ISM who actively engage with pax, and the rest of the crew do not really interact with pax beyond service delivery. Some of the junior crew came across as slightly aloof in fact. The SP and ISM OTOH were very warm individuals who added that nice personal touch to the service. When the SP saw me with my nose stuck in the latest Harry Potter novel which was released the previous day, she quipped that Business was only half full and yet at least 5 of her pax were reading the same book.

    Catering

    Lunch was served on this flight:

    *my choice

    Drinks and wine lists were identical to the previous flight on CX.

    I’d hoped that the food on my last flight was an anomaly, however I was once again disappointed. The fish, or should I say cardboard was disgusting and would not be out of place in Economy especially with the simplistic presentation. It might be a short sector but I’ve had better food from a variety of other carriers on the same sector, including both CX’s SIN-based rival and a host of other airlines that I’d normally consider to be inferior to CX. And once again it was up to the dessert to save the day.

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    Nonetheless the bubbly kept flowing freely, even without prompting. The SP appeared to be an avid Harry Potter fan and could not resist asking about key plot details as she’s had no time to read the novel thus far, to which I could not help but be deliberately vague to add to the cloud of suspense hanging over her head like a Dark Mark over Hogwarts Castle…

    Next: BA9 BKK-SYD, New Generation Club World, and QF415 SYD-MEL, Economy.
     
  14. simongr

    simongr Enthusiast

    Jul 10, 2006
    14,229
    1,742
    He he Potter - so we would have both been airborne and reading at similar times I think :)
     
  15. serfty

    Moderator

    Nov 16, 2004
    39,257
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    MEL
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    View my flight map
    While I actually prefer the Skyview lounge to the QF J lounge, it seems surprising it was closed.

    The QF website lists it as being open from 0630 to 0030 daily. There have been reports of the F lounge closing during the day; but not the J lounge. :confused:
     
  16. Keith009

    Keith009 Established Member

    Mar 6, 2005
    4,438
    245
    Brisbane / Sydney
    #16 Keith009, Jul 30, 2007
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2007
    That's what I thought. I even saw someone using the J lounge computers when I was sitting at the food court with my parents. But when I got there it was shut.

    Skyview lounge had no champagne. :(
     
  17. Keith009

    Keith009 Established Member

    Mar 6, 2005
    4,438
    245
    Brisbane / Sydney
    Hehe I spent the better part of the previous day reading while at hotel mum and dad. I finished it not long after that CX712 flight. Good read hey. :)
     
  18. Keith009

    Keith009 Established Member

    Mar 6, 2005
    4,438
    245
    Brisbane / Sydney
    #18 Keith009, Aug 1, 2007
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2007
    BA9 BKK-SYD, New Generation Club World
    Scheduled departure – 1810
    Actual departure – 1836
    Aircraft – B747-400 (mid J config)
    Seat – 20B


    Pre-flight
    I deplaned from my CX flight just as the climax of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was nearing. I was keen to get my onward boarding passes as quickly as I could in order to rush off to the lounge for some quality reading. Little did I know that I was in for a little more excitement than what I’d expected.

    The queue at the QF/BA transfer desks was extremely long as they had to handle 2 busy flights simultaneously. I continued devouring my novel as I waited in line. It was my turn to check in after 30 minutes of queuing. I couldn’t help but continue to sneak in several pages of the almost literally spell-binding book. When the BPs for both BKK-SYD and SYD-MEL were shoved under my nose, the first thing I noticed was that my seat 11J on BA9 was replaced with 20B.

    Not having been used to the mid J config’s seat numbering and suffering from a bout of seat snatching paranoia, my immediate reaction was to stare blankly at the check in agent and asked what happened to my original seat. She chuckled, and advised me to take a closer look at the BP. It was then I saw that not only was the BP in nice BA tones of blue, but under the ‘class’ column was a nice ‘J.’ :D

    “A nice surprise for you, sir!” said the check in agent cheerily. I felt both like a zillion dollars and like the biggest idiot in the world for not noticing an op up at the first instance at that point. I thanked her profusely, and made my way towards the joint QF/BA J lounge in concourse G.

    The lounge was a huge improvement over what CX had to offer at BKK. The décor was sleek and sophisticated, with a generous dose of class. The layout was extremely well-organised, in a way that made the lounge seemed spacious, yet privacy was in abundance with heaps of cozy spaces to work or relax in. Drinks wise there was a choice between two reds (a Rhone cab franc and a Rosemount estate cab sauv – both cheap and nasty unfortunately), a white (can’t remember what it was), and the bubbly was Green Point by Domaine Chandon, a perfectly quaffable pre-flight beverage.

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    I simply had to hop on to the net to broadcast the great news of my op up to family and friends, putting Harry Potter aside for the first time that day for a more pressing mission to fulfill.

    The lounge became quite full with 2 744 loads of pax (QF2 and BA9). I eventually had to share my table with a woman who made herself very much at home by resting both her feet on the table. As politely as I could I made known of my disgust; initially she was quite determined to persist, but she eventually experienced what seemed like delayed epiphany and perhaps enlightenment on the difference between a table and a foot stool. Eventually the lounge was emptied of half its occupants, including Ms Feet-On-Table, when the boarding call for QF2 was made.

    Boarding
    The boarding call for BA9 was well-timed as the gate area was completely empty when I arrived. Yet I knew it was a busy flight due to my op up which could only have been caused by an oversold flight. Boarding full flights at BKK can be trying at the best of times, with a congested gate lounge filled to the brim with stressed out pax all trying to push through two small doors. The sight of a gate entirely devoid of people was thus refreshing.

    To be continued…
     
  19. JohnK

    JohnK Veteran Member

    Mar 22, 2005
    40,179
    8,696
    BNE, SYD and CNX
    Very nice trip report. I am glad you received an op-up from WT+ to J as a Oneworld Sapphire. I guess status does not count as much as luck does when handing out op-ups.

    The QF J lounge is definitely open at that time of the day. As I reported on another thread, I had the same CX departure 2 weeks ago and used the QF J lounge isntead of the Skyview lounge. Just remember no food other than nibblies at that time of the day though.
     
  20. Keith009

    Keith009 Established Member

    Mar 6, 2005
    4,438
    245
    Brisbane / Sydney
    Status is meant to count according to the BA Board on FT. Perhaps there weren't too many emeralds and QF/BA sapphires in WTP that day? It's probably easier on a mid J plane with more J seats than the low J plane they used to fly on the route.

    I swear the SIN QF/BA J lounge wasn't open the day I was there. The glass doors were locked with no one at reception. I wouldn't have gone to Skyview at all if QF/BA was open.
     
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