My Finnair adventure from HEL | Australian Frequent Flyer
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My Finnair adventure from HEL

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JohnK

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My Finnair trip

I have never done a trip report and thought it may be time to have a go at doing one. I have all the notes but very difficult to decide what to include and what to leave out.

The trip is not recent, last April, but it was an exciting trip for me with it's highs and lows. This was the first time I had flown in paid business class, the trip that got me over the line to QF Gold and planted the seeds for my current path to QF Platinum.

I have already posted in earlier threads some of the fun that I encountered along the way.
 
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JohnK

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Monday 10 Apr 2006

I am awake at 6:20am. The excitement of going back to Thailand again ensured that I didn't get too much sleep the night before. There are 12 flights in 13 days, I would experience my first ever Songkran in Thailand and at the end of it all I should have the bonus of QF Gold status.

I need to get ready but remember that the US Masters telecast is on Channel 9. Can't stop myself from switching on the tv. Phil Mickelson is leading narrowly. Come on Phil. Very hard to switch it off. The excitement is just hotting up. Lucky that I had packed my luggage the night before but still some things to include.

I manage to turn myself away from the tv long enough to get ready. Mum had woken early and cooked a nice juicy pork chop for me. I am spoilt for breakfast. It is now after 8:00am and I need to go but find myself drawn to the US Masters telecast again. Phil birdies the 15th and a win seems a formality now. Come on Phil. You can do it. Fred Couples is still hanging in there as well.

I am rushing for time now. Call for Silver taxi hoping for it to arrive at 8:50am as my SYD-BNE flight is at 10:05am. Pacing around outside impatiently waiting for taxi to arrive. Taxi finally arrives at 9:06am but it is not my favourite Silver taxi but a Taxis Combined station wagon. No big deal, will have to do for now. Arrive T3 at 9:25am after a smooth run on M5 and Airport drive.
 

JohnK

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QF516 SYD-BNE

Scheduled departure 10:05am Scheduled arrival 11:35am

No queue so head straight for Qantas Club checkin. Oops! Mistake on my part. Even though at T3 I need to go to international counter. I am told to go to the end counter. Getting close to cut-off for checkin and there is a lady waiting in the queue. I explain my situation and she kindly let me proceed before her.

Check my one and only bag through to BKK. My QF and Finnair bookings are not linked again. I called QF 2 months ago to get this done. Oh well! Receive my boarding pass for seat 30F, seq #203, for SYD-BNE flight. It is a 767 and flight is close to full. Not a bad seat for a mere QF Silver. Also receive boarding pass for seat 25G, seq #46, for BNE-SIN flight and need to go to transfer desk in SIN to collect boarding pass for SIN-BKK.

Arrive at security check point and 2 huge queues. Lady officer walking around informing people that there is another security check point near gate 7. Some people taking her advice leave the queue. Surprisingly both queues are moving quickly and find myself at gate 2 at 9:40am.

Time for a quick beer. Head across the corridor to bar Roma and order a Crown Lager. This one did not touch the sides. I am one of the last to board at 9:55am to find the flight very full. Only a few spare seats. After a long taxi had a smooth take off from runway 34L/16R.

The flight was smooth with reasonable cloud cover out towards the Pacific Ocean but the views inland were crystal clear. Had a muffin and lemonade for breakfast. I find out that this is one of the BA leased 767's VH-VXF. Flight attendants Eve and Angela would love to have the aircraft named after them when I mentioned that I may be writing a trip report on AFF.

Touch down in BNE and got to gate 23 about 15 minutes early. Slight delay in disembarking and I hurried to get to the airtrain. Just arrived as the 11:31am was leaving. Need to wait another half an hour for the next one which does not leave a lot of time in the Qantas Club using my QF Silver complimentary invitation.
 
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matthecat

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I'm looking forward to seeing if it was a trip from HEL(L) or HEL(SINKI)

Nice start - always like a man who can have a pork chop for breaky and an hour later be having a Crownie.
 

NM

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matthecat said:
I'm looking forward to seeing if it was a trip from HEL(L) or HEL(SINKI)

Nice start - always like a man who can have a pork chop for breaky and an hour later be having a Crownie.
Considering it started with a visit to SIN, there should not be any doubt :p .
 

Kiwi Flyer

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matthecat said:
I'm looking forward to seeing if it was a trip from HEL(L) or HEL(SINKI)
I believe the OP is from SYD, therefore it must surely be a trip from hell :D
 

NM

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Kiwi Flyer said:
I believe the OP is from SYD, therefore it must surely be a trip from hell :D
as opposed to going through SIN on the way to HEL :p .
 

JohnK

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matthecat said:
I'm looking forward to seeing if it was a trip from HEL(L) or HEL(SINKI)
A bit of both actually. The two flights which had problems originated from HEL(SINKI) which caused me to feel like I was in HEL(L).

matthecat said:
Nice start - always like a man who can have a pork chop for breaky and an hour later be having a Crownie.
Spoilt!
 

JohnK

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Kiwi Flyer said:
exactly - after SIN ay goes to HEL
Actually after SIN it goes through paradise, aka BKK, aka LOS, before going to HEL!
 

JohnK

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BNE International Airport

Airtrain arrives a little early and departs on time at 12:01pm. Arrive in international terminal a few minutes later. As I already have my boarding pass I go straight to immigration and within 15 minutes I am through.

Plenty of time before departure so I head off to the QP to use my QF Silver complimentary invitation. I am surprised to find reception unattended and after waiting a few minutes and seeing other people walk straight through I do the same.

I know we have had this discussion on AFF a number of times. There are way too many children today in the QP for my liking. They are hogging the few terminals available, unsupervised, playing loud games on the internet. There are no staff anywhere to be seen. What are the parents doing? Probably gone to a quiet area of the lounge to escape their children!

Time for a quick snack and 3 Crown Lagers! I finally notice a terminal on the other side of lounge become available so I rush over and log on to AFF to see what has been happening today.

Boarding is called at 1:30pm so I head off to gate 83.
 

JohnK

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QF051 SIN-BNE

Scheduled departure 1:55pm Scheduled arrival 7:50pm

Aircraft is an A330-300 VH-QPE Port Lincoln. I wait until the last stages of boarding and finally board at 1:45pm. I head to my seat of 25G and we are now sitting around in the aircraft waiting for the last passengers to arrive. I notice that seated next to me is a couple with a young daughter.

Finally the late passengers arrive and the aircraft pushes back at 2:00pm. As this is an Air France codeshare they start the safety demonstration in French. Didn't last long as they switched to the conventional English speaking demonstration. Subtlely....

Right about now the young girl starts her temper tantrums. She refuses to sit on her dad's lap for takeoff, does not want to sit in her own seat with the seat belt on. I have just about had enough and the aircraft has not taken off yet! Finally take off at 2:13pm. We are told that this will be a quick flight today and the flight path is taking us over the Northern Territory and Kalamantan.

As soon as the seat belt sign is off I am out of my seat and looking for a new haven for the next 7 hours. I find 33EFG empty with a lady sitting alone in 33D. I ask if it is OK for me to sit here and she nodded. I return to my original seat of 25G and inform the couple that I will be moving so they can have an extra seat to cope with their daughter.

I noticed the flight supervisor going around the economy cabin and welcoming all Emeralds and mentioned to them if they needed anything not to hesitate to ask. It was a smooth flight and managed to watch 3 movies, Richard and Jane ^, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Tristan & Isolde.

Getting close to descent I went searching forward again and found 23D vacant. I decided to sit here, for quick getaway, just as the seat belt sign was activated. It was a smooth landing and arrived at gate C13 around 15 minutes ahead of schedule.

^ The movie is not really Richard & Jane but if I put the real title the forum software substitutes **** for the original title.
 
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JohnK

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AY098 SIN-BKK

Scheduled departure 9:50pm Scheduled arrival 11:10pm

After taking a forward economy seat before descent I was one of the first economy passengers off the aircraft. I hurriedly make my way over to transfer desk D to get my boarding pass to BKK. I was seq #97 and was given my original allocated seat 29C.

Have some time to spare before boarding so decide on a casual stroll over to Terminal 2 to familiarise myself with the area where I had planned to meet Kiwi Flyer briefly on the 19th April. Sampled the free internet that was on offer which seems to have been upgraded since the last time I was here.

It is now 9:00pm so I take a ride on the skytrain back to Terminal 1 and proceed to gate D36. There are only 10 people in the security queue so clear security early. There are not many passengers at the gate so I guess tonight's flight will have a light load.

Aircraft is a Boeing MD-11 OH-LGG. Aircraft pushes back on time at 9:50pm and after what appeared to be a taxi half way to Thailand finally took off at 10:12pm. Only a short flight today of 1:52 so should arrive in BKK ahead of schedule. Food service tonight is chicken & rice with noodle salad and wash it down with Koff a Finnish beer with 4.5% alcohol.

Fall asleep and awaken still in the air with BKK city lights bright below. The aircraft is circling and not even attempting to land. The captain switches on the intercom and advises that some VIP is on the runway. So no aircraft is allowed to land and I assume take off. Finally after what seemed like an eternity touched down at 11:24pm and arrived at the gate 11:35pm, half an hour late, after another long taxi.
 

JohnK

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Quality Suites Hotel, Chaeng Wattana, Bangkok

Long queues at immigration but cleared OK at midnight. Go downstairs to carousel 9 to find that my luggage was already waiting for me. Quick detour to 7Eleven to buy a Lenso phonecard and head straight for the airport taxi queue. Short taxi queue tonight and after 15 minutes taxi trip I arrive at hotel at 00:40am.

This is my first stay at this hotel and it looks really nice. I was able to secure the suite for 1900 baht/night (~A$70/night) including American breakfast. It is a quiet area and the reviews were good. Laksi Technology Plaza is not far away. First impression at this time of the night and it looks nice.

Check in to the hotel is quick and I am taken up to my suite on the 7th floor. The suite is nice with a seperate lounge room and bedroom. The rooms are cool and a perfect haven from the Bangkok heat. Take a few minutes to look outside for some very beautiful night views of the city. Bangkok is captivating at night. I fell in love with it as soon as I first saw it.

Watch a bit of BBC news and now time for some much needed sleep after a long day.
 

JohnK

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Tuesday 11 Apr 2006

I am awake quite early today. It must have something to do with the long day flying the previous day and not sleeping in my own bed. Time to relax a little before heading off for the airport. Turn on the tv and catch up on the latest news on BBC.

I have a complimentary breakfast coupon so I head off downstairs at around 10:00am. This is one of the only places in Thailand where I have been able to ask for soft egg or sunny side up and actually get it cooked that way. In my usual hotel I get eggs done in ways I have never seen before even though I always ask for soft egg. I even had a friend write it in Thai but they still get it wrong! How hard can it be? This is Thailand.

I wander outside and try to see if I can organise a taxi to the airport. This hotel is very close to the airport but is out of the way slightly. The hotel driver says he will take me but he wants 400 baht. No thanks it is a 70 baht meter taxi. Anyway they hail a taxi parked across the road and off we go to the airport. He wants 200 baht. Scam artist! I say meter or I leave. OK No problem. Arrive at the airport at around 12:15pm for my 2:40pm Finnair flight to HKG. Meter in the taxi comes to around 70 baht and hand over 100 baht and tell him it is OK.

Check the screen only to see that the flight is delayed until 11:20pm! What!!!! I am due to be back in BKK at 11:10pm. Proceed to business class check in and I am advised that this flight is delayed from HEL due to unscheduled maintenance. What do I do? Go to SIN instead. I can't as the Finnair tag flights are on alternate days.

I am offered a choice of 4 alternate flights, China Airlines (already full), Emirates, Cathay Pacific departing much later and another airline but I wasn't taking any notice at this stage. The only reason I am doing these flights is for the SCs and FF points. Checkin agent calls Finnair upstairs and is advised that all will be OK. I can sense a problem here and as I found out later all wasn't to be OK.

Anyway I choose the Emirates flight and I am allocated seat 3B on the 777-300. Oh well no window seats. I will have to organise return flight in HKG. Hopefully someone to talk to about the SCs and FF points. I am given an entrance card for Royal Executive Class Royal Orchid Lounge (that is a mouthful) and I have enough time for a salad and a couple of Singhas before boarding.
 
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