Monday, June 21, 2010

Thai Airways 315 ( TG315 ) - Bangkok to Delhi Economy Class Boeing 777-300

AIRLINE: Thai Airways International
AIRCRAFT: Boeing 777-300
CLASS: Economy Class
ROUTE: BKK-DEL
SEAT: 38K

SCHEDULED: DEPART 1755 ARRIVE 2055 (4 hours 30 min)
ACTUAL: DEPARTED 1850 ARRIVED 2150 (4 hours 30 min) 55 minutes late

NOTE: Keep in mind, whilst reading this report, that I took this trip right in the middle of the 2010 political protests and Thailand was already suffering big tourism losses although the more serious incident in Mid may was still a couple of weeks away.  For this reason, it is much quieter around the airport in my pics and Thai Airways suffered big losses in passenger numbers during this time.

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Well, this was to be my first ever trip to the fabled sub-continent and I must say I was pretty excited to finally be on my way to India. I have a fantastic uncle who really loves the place and does a lot of business there so who better to accompany me on my first visit? We met up in Bangkok the day of our departure...

My uncle, although he flies regularly on Thai Airways only manages to maintain Star Alliance silver status through Royal Orchid Plus, so he has never actually seen the inside of an airline lounge! Today will be his first time! For this reason we plan to arrive nice and early to enjoy the lounge facilities with my Star Gold access. We set off from central Bangkok in heavy traffic but about 15 mins into the trip my uncle realised he had left an item in the hotel, so we had to ask the taxi driver to turn back. After sitting in such heavy traffic we were both quite frustrated to say the least! Anyway, we finally got back to the hotel and underway again, making a quick stop at my apartment on the way to pick up my case for the short trip before heading off to Suvarnabhumi. The whole time the taxi driver muttering under his breath, I have to say I'm not too sure what he was saying but I don't think he was impressed with the diversion... even if he did get more money for it!


Star Alliance Gold - Check In

First things first, its off to the Star Alliance Gold check-in rows at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport. To the lowly Silver card holder (my uncle), things were already looking up with a premium checkin zone. As you can see in the picture above there was no wait whatsoever! As always is the case for me with Thai Airways the system was not printing my BMI gold status automatically on the boarding pass, but the very experienced and efficient check-in agent managed to force the status to show and handed us our boarding passes. I had selected 38H and 38K, I assumed the middle seat would not be occupied, and I was told it was not. Lovely, 3 seats for the 2 of us!

Next... it's off to the Singapore Airlines lounge to show my Uncle how the other half live...



cardboard Singapore girl directs us to the lounge

The friendly girls at the desk did not question why I was using the SQ lounge on a TG boarding pass, which is a good thing! They were very friendly and welcoming indeed, just asking to see my gold card and putting the number down on the guest list. It was still a little early for the Singapore Airlines passengers so the lounge was nice and quiet but the food was well stocked.

My seat in the lounge. Garden view to the left of shot

After a nice helping of dim sum, haagen dazs ice cream, and vodka and orange juice it was time to bid farewell to the SQ lounge and head for the Concourse C Thai Airways lounge. This next lounge was located a short stroll from gate C2, where our flight to Delhi was departing.

As we strolled through the front doors to the lounge we saw a piece of paper stuck on the wall saying that TG315 to Delhi would be delayed 25 minutes, ETD would be now 18.20. No problem for us, more time for lounging and my Uncle was enjoying every minute!

Concourse C Lounge


View from my lounge seat - out an A340 can be seen at gate C1

At about 17.55 we decided we should head to gate C2 to board...


Gate C2 - but where is our plane!

We arrived at gate C2 to find no plane connected to the jetway, I remembered that there was some works going on around this part of the tarmac... looks like it will be a bus to the aircraft today.

I usually get angry when Thai bus me out of a perfectly good jetway but today I had consumed numerous vodka's so I didn't mind so much! We found that everybody else had already been bussed to the aircraft and only the 2 of us plus about 5 others would be on the next bus. On the way through the gate we saw this hand written note explaining the situation:

No need to ask why we have to take a bus... 

Here is some pics from the bus ride, with the sun rapidly setting to the west....

bus features 50th anniversary stickers.. nice!





Thai A300-600 pulls in to a domestic gate at A concourse

Bangkok Airways Airbus (Druk Air and Orient Thai behind)

After a lengthy but scenic taxi ride (if you like plane spotting like I do!), we finally arrived beside HS-TKC, a Thai Airways Boeing 777-300 that was first delivered to Thai in October 1999. That makes this bird 10 and a half years old.

Only one set of stairs was set up at door 2L... up we go:


sun setting behind the aircraft

We were warmly welcomed by the crew and directed across to the right side of the aircraft, by this time most of the other passengers were all seated. The passenger load looked to be well under 50%, even in the forward economy cabin. 

Our seats, colourful and very comfortable!

Leg Room Shot

According to the Thai Airways seat map documents, the forward cabin of the B777-300 has 34 inch seat pitch. This seemed pretty correct to me, I found there was even enough leg room for me to cross my legs. I am 178cm tall and found it all very spacious, particularly with the middle seat free to spread out. All quite ample for an early evening 4 hour trip to Delhi.  I glanced out my window and noticed an unmarked Boeing 747-300. That aircraft belongs to Orient Thai and was recently acquired form Japan Airlines.

HS-UTV to our right, Orient Thai Boeing 747-300 (ex JAL)

At this point the captain came on the PA to inform us we would have a further delay as they were holding the aircraft for several passengers connecting from Manila. My uncle was slightly annoyed that it would end up being quite late before we arrived at the hotel in Delhi... I was still presenting a vodka smile so wasn't too concerned.

Eventually, our transfer passengers arrived, the doors were closed and we had a quick taxi to Runway 19L, taking off with the sun all but gone...

Shortly after take-off

With the lights of Bangkok glistening below we turned right and tracked west towards Myanmar and onward to India. It did not take long for the crew to arrive with the pre-dinner drinks trolley. I decided to switch to Beer at this point (not a wise move as I had a cracking headache when we landed in Delhi).


Beer Singha please!?

The drinks were accompanied with a packet of cashew nuts and broad beans:


Soon after we had finished off our drinks the meal service commenced. No menu's were offered for this service. There was a vegetarian or a chicken option, this is how it looked:



Meal

I am usually very happy with Thai catering but this meal left a lot to be desired. The appetiser was a mix of cold vegetables and it was very unappealing, the main meal was passable but the indian style dessert (I have no idea what it's called) was absolutely awful. I only ate the main course and bread roll. The crew were regularly offering wines with the meals and several top ups along with handling any other drink requests. With not all that many passengers the meal service was over pretty quickly and I was settling back watching the audio video on demand. As soon as the trays were cleared the crew dimmed the lights, a few people slept while most watched movies...

In cruise, the cabin is dimmed

I took a quick look down the back of the aircraft and noticed there was plenty of vacant seats, anybody could have gone and had a nice make-shift bed down the back if they felt like it. We were quite happy though in row 38 watching the inflight entertainment system.

After my movie I managed to doze off, so I'm not sure whether the crew were coming around with drinks trays or not.... when I woke we were almost ready for descent. The captain made an announcement with the arrival time and weather which was mostly fine. During the descent, we entered a holding pattern to the east of Delhi:


Just one circle around and we continued on towards the Indira Gandhi International Airport, making a smooth touchdown. We taxi'ed past the new terminal under construction and parked next to an Air India 777.


Well, the flight was over but the adventure was only just beginning... I was in a new country, and knew I was in for a blasting of the senses as soon as we left the airport. I stepped off the plane fairly satisfied with the Thai Airways experience again, it was a typical Thai flight with decent service, the food could have been better, but perhaps it was appealing to the Indian passengers?

There was a bit of a queue at immigration but nothing too bad, it wasn't long and we were out into the stinking hot night fending off touts and looking for a meter taxi, and when we found one I was shocked to see how old it was!!

Delhi Taxi outside the airport

My Uncle gave me a "WELCOME TO INDIA" and off we went to our hotel....

Here is a couple of pics I took from around Delhi:










I was only in India a short time, but I would love to go back sometime and see more. Thanks for reading!



7 comments:

  1. great report, thanks so much for sharing!

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  3. hey, how come this wouldnt let me leave a comment on the latest post ... hmm - anyway, just wanted to say thx for these blogs! so interesting going on a virtual travel ^^ keep it up ~

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  4. I think you have to go onto the actual page for the post to leave a comment rather than the main page of the blog

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