CX713 Bangkok BKK – Singapore SIN
11 December 2010
Scheduled ETD/ETA: 1245-1630
Actual Time of Departure/Arrival: 1301-1616
Seat No: 16K
On the last morning, I had another nice serving of coffee with danish pastries which I had while watching the day’s news from the bed. Then, it was time to prepare myself for the flight back to Singapore as I began to pack my bags and check that I don’t leave anything behind. With my flight from Bangkok due to depart at 1245, I checked out after breakfast and called the bellboy to pick my luggage from the room and requested for a taxi as I settled the hotel bill. The hotel stay was nice except for one incident when I requested for bedroom slippers, and the housekeeping staff was like checking the room for the slippers since there wasn’t one in the room. Somehow I don’t see what is the big deal over a bathroom slipper that he had to search the whole room.
I took a taxi from the hotel as I didn’t really want the hassle of taking the public transport and for wanting to check out Cathay’s Lounge in Bangkok. Being a Sunday morning, there wasn’t much traffic along the roads and it was a smooth journey in the city centre, as the taxi driver pointed out to me some of the malls I have yet to visit in Bangkok. He was also quite talkative, and we got into a chat on car prices in Thailand and comparing that to Indonesia, albeit in a mixture of English and Thai involved since he wasn’t that fluent in English. Before long, I arrived in Bangkok and was dropped off at Section gate 6 of the departure hall with lots of time left to explore the airport. First though it was to check-in for my flight and I headed towards the self check-in counter which was the shortest amongst all the lines and was served almost immediately. Like my Singapore-Bangkok flight, I got upgraded again on this journey which was really nice since I got to be able to travel on Business while paying for Economy. I was handed my boarding pass and the lounge invitation. With Bangkok being a small hub for Cathay due to connecting flights that departs from Bangkok, CX actually operates 2 lounges in Bangkok, and the check-in agent indicated on a map the closest lounge to my boarding gate.
Security check and immigration which followed after check-in was quick and efficient, and I was soon through into the main departure concourse, greeted by this large sculpture of Thai mythical guardians and people carrying what looked like a three-headed dragon. The concourse spread out on both sides of the airport and with lots of time to spare, I decided to do some shopping first at the airport and found some really good prices on a winter jacket which would be useful for my upcoming trip to North America for snowboarding. Then at the Tod’s boutique I got another good deal on a pair of their loafers and they had the size that would fit my Dad, and it would be my souvenir for him from Thailand then. After much shopping, it seems I have lot of carry-on items, though luckily I am traveling on Business Class so I hope its not gonna be much of a trouble. I explored parts of the airport terminal and came across an interesting photo taken by the Royal Family on the sixtieth anniversary of the ascension of the King to the throne. The photo did not just have the Thai Royal Family in it but also other royalties from around the world. With roughly an hour more before boarding, I proceeded to the Cathay Pacific Lounge, but this lounge located at the G Concourse, which was closest to the boarding gate at G3 was relatively small. I didn’t bother to check out the other lounge as I found the airport to be quite inconvenient in providing access from one concourse area to the other. This is one area where it lost out to other international airports.
Food inside the lounge was alright and I thought the lounge offerings were better compared to that in Singapore. I had a plate of Pad Thai and tried one of the Tom Yum flavoured Instant Vermicelli. There were also packets of crackers, potato chips and nuts which guests could help themselves too. I picked a few to put inside my bag just in case I didn’t like the food provided or if I needed some snacks on my flight. The small lounge had a view of the tarmac, but the steel trusses around the airport meant that the view wasn’t as good, though I did manage to get a glimpse of CX713 from the lounge.
Boarding was soon called and I left the lounge and proceeded to the boarding gate. Many passengers have started boarding and I joined the short queue to board the plane. Onboard the plane, I found my seat and stored my shopping bags on the overhead compartment while taking out my camera. The first thing I noticed about the seat was the newer seat in dark green compared to the blue furnishing of the older seat. Instead of the 3 toggles that one use to operate the foot rest and recline of the seat, there was a touch-button controls by the side of the seat as well as an inflight entertainment controller by the hand-rest. Seat pitch seems similar to the old style Business Class seats, though I found the older seats to be softer and slightly more comfortable.
I was offered drinks and I initially requested for the Pacific Sunrise drink which is another of Cathay’s signature drink, but the stewardess thought they were only offered on flights to Hong Kong. Since it was not available, I stick to Apple Juice, though not long afterwards, the same stewardess returned and apologized, stating that the drink is actually available and asked if I would like one. Since we were due to take off soon, I declined. My seat mate has not arrived, but I had picked a window seat for this flight and the check-in agent was pleasant enough to give me the window seat. I was also given hot towels to refresh myself and offered newspapers to read. I relaxed on my seat and looked out of the window, before my seat mate who is an Indian businessman arrived and took his seat. An Iran Air Jumbo Jet soon arrived just before the doors of the plane was closed and the captain requested for ground crew to leave the plane. It was the second time I saw an Iran Air plane, with the first time when I was in Hamburg Airport. This 747 is also interesting in its size and shape since it was the 747SP which I no doubt believe that Iran Air obtained from Boeing well before US sanctions was placed on Iran. Besides that, I also got to see a Qatar Airways jet, a Finnair A340 and of course the beautiful Thai Airways in their home base.
The plane took off at slightly past 1 pm and was a little bit behind schedule, though the clear day at Bangkok provided great views during take-off, including that of a distant downtown Bangkok covered in smog. Once again, it seems I was in the right side of the plane providing some nice views on take-off.
It wasn’t long before the plane reached cruising altitude as it makes the journey down towards the Gulf of Thailand, and there was some interesting fields patterns seen from the air. Now I wonder what those fields contain, or what kind of plants are grown there. As we entered the Gulf of Thailand, there isn’t much else to see, as I reclined my seat and started on the personal inflight entertainment by drawing out the TV screen from underneath the hand-rest. I got to watch an episode of CSI on the flight, though with no AVOD in place, it meant I couldn’t pause or choose to start another channel without losing the start of that program. Not good for a long haul flight, but acceptable for this short flight.
The menu for lunch that day were as follows:
Main Courses 主菜
Salmon chu chee curry, steamed jasmine rice and stir-fried kailan with carrots 椰汁咖喱三文魚 配白飯，芥蘭及胡蘿蔔
Häagen Dazs Ice Cream 雪糕
Tea and Coffee 名茶及咖啡
Obviously from the photos above, I chose the stir-fried lamb loin thinking that the fried rice might be more savoury. The lamb was frankly speaking quite terrible as it was too tough, and I was kind of regretting my decision, though I was quite full from my meal at the lounge. The salad was good but I think the scallops salad was much better. The meal was also served with the usual choices of bread from the basket and service was beverages were replenished. The wine list was similar to the one I had on my flight to Bangkok, and I got a glass of Billecart-Salmon Brut Champagne which was a pink champagne. I am not an avid wine drinker, and the taste of the pink champagne just doesn’t do it for me. Throughout the meal service, I could tell one of the crew providing very attentive attention to the Business Class passenger right behind me. In the nearly full flight, I also noticed he was sitting alone on the window seat. It seems like he’s some VIP in the cabin as I didn’t notice any other passenger getting such an attentive service. Somehow in both flights to and returning from Bangkok missed out on the pralines, which was something I enjoyed as a passenger on the Dragonair flight between Hong Kong and Shanghai.
By the time the dessert was served, I have already finished my short film and was looking at the flight map. I did enjoy the Häagen-Dazs Ice Cream provided and took a short half an hour nap, before the captain announced the start of descent into Singapore. The clear weather upon descent meant it was another fantastic opportunity for me to capture some nice aerial views. Heavy air traffic control at Singapore perhaps allowed me to soak in views of Batam and the nearby Indonesian islands surrounding Singapore. This meant I got treated to a nice tour of Batam Island from the sky as I got to see the booming shipyard industry in Batam Island.
Landing in Singapore, I managed to capture a shot of the planes lining up for the runway, including a Singapore Airlines Boeing 777, and several Airbus A320s. The weather at Singapore was partly cloudy and it was already afternoon when we arrived. All the passengers disembarked and once again, business class passengers were allowed to alight first. I packed my belongings to my bag and took my shopping bags but not before taking a shot of the overall Business Class cabin which was still in the antiquated 2-3-2 configuration. Passing through Immigration was fast enough that day, albeit there was a little wait. The real irritant that day would prove to be the baggage claim. Even with priority baggage tagged on my luggage, it took a long time for it to appear on the carousel. I even had to enquire about my baggage to one of the service crew in the airport. It was one of the most inefficient at Changi Airport ever and this small incident left me a bad impression on the airport. Singapore’s Changi Airport jolly well improve its efficiency if it doesn’t want to lose tourism revenue since many cities like Hong Kong, Shanghai, Bangkok and even Jakarta is making it more efficient in immigration and baggage handling for travelers.
The flight back to Singapore did not really leave much impression except the views on landing. With a short flight, relatively bad inflight catering, and crews who doesn’t have thorough understanding of their menu offerings made this an average flight. Nothing special even in Business Class.