Pearls of the Orient: HKG, PEN, USM, DMK/BKK, AS f, CX F/J, FY Y, DD Y

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by eponymous_coward, Dec 26, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. eponymous_coward
    Original Member

    eponymous_coward Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,901
    Likes Received:
    2,971
    Status Points:
    1,470
    http://www.gcmap.com/mapui?P=HKG-PEN-USM-DMK,BKK-HKG

    AS Bored Room™, SEA
    0DarkThirty, Dec 26


    I don't seem to sleep well before 8000 mile trips. Woke up at 3 am without an alarm, and did my final checks of my one bag- a dinky CalPak duffel bag (we're going to try this before investing in the Red Oxx or Tom Bihn), gathered up the iPad and assorted stuff, showered, shaved, got ready to face the long long travel day, and then got in my Uber-provided towncar and sped to the airport, scattering Frangos to assorted airport staff as Boxing Day treats en route to here, where I write you today and now.

    I know some of you are annoyed with incomplete trip reports; I am choosing to ignore your pique. I'm going to try and write this stream of consciousness as I go along; my choices for hotel and transport will largely afford me the opportunity to write as I go along. Feel free to ignore my reports if that suits you.

    My goal in all of this was to be somewhere sunny, warm, tropical during a dreary, rainy time in my beloved corner of the world, and burn through an obnoxiously large balance of Alaska Airlines miles before devaluation shrunk them like snow in a chinook. After dithering extensively (sometimes in public here), I settled on an itinerary that put me in CX F (because why not?), got me to Koh Samui (because also why not?) and took me to Penang due to liking the way it was portrayed in a No Reservations episode. I also get stopovers through Hong Kong and Bangkok, cities that I find fascinating yet approachable for a Westerner such as myself.

    So, equipped with nothing more than an iPad and a crummy cell phone digital camera, feel free to join me. Now, if you'll excuse me, I am off to get a decaf and sip it overlooking a dark tarmac and planes with Eskimos on the tail...
     
    violist, rookie10 and Kalboz like this.
  2. eponymous_coward
    Original Member

    eponymous_coward Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,901
    Likes Received:
    2,971
    Status Points:
    1,470
    AS 305 SEA-SFO
    737-400, N771AS
    Seat 2C, 12/12 f cabin, Y ~90ish% full before they let standbys on


    No, that was not a typo. AS's premium cabin is definitely f compared to CX F.

    Hard to blame them and the entire USA domestic f experience when so much is it is given away to the likes of, well... me.

    And AS does preserve some niceties; I got lounge admittance as part of my F award, there will be granola and fresh fruit breakfast this morning. And I have to admit f is f, as opposed to Y (or y, if we're talking NK).

    I finish scattering Frangos on this flight and take my seat, well-worn as it is, like old boots., and take my PDW (pre-departure water). People around me are clipping nails, chatting, browsing iPads, sleeping, waiting for our departure. I wish it wasn't necessary to take the oh-dark-thirty flight to be sure that I don't miss a connection due to SFO air traffic control ground holds... but sometimes things can't be avoided (and YVR and LAX are fresh out of F seats, after checking, rechecking).

    We're promised a mostly gentle flight of 1:40 from the deck, and thanks to a bit of an early departure, even making it in 15 minutes early (more about this later- one passenger that I ovverheard mentioned a 40 minute AS-AA connection that will require reclearing TSA)... and it turns out that I've drawn a bum GoGo WiFi steer as part of the luck of the draw (one of the few AS 734s sans GoGo, most likely this plane will be returned soon as AS removes 734s from the fleet), so this post will likely show up from the AS or CX lounges (I think I will hit the AS lounge first; most likely to have good WiFi, even if the sparkling wine might be of questionable provenance). Since there will apparently be a 4-ish hour layover at SFO, that's plenty of time for both lounges and lounging about.

    Our cheery flight attendant comes through the cabin asking for orders. I stick to water and granola, along with catching up on reading for going back to school next year. I also note an effect I've seen before involving Alaska cutlery; I term this the Bay Pisco Shark Effect. Where's the Amazing Randi where you need him?

    And then, it's time fo our scenic tour of Point Reyes and Half Moon Bay. Remember that 15 minutes early? More like 15 minutes late when it's all said and done. This is why I pad my longhaul connections at SFO by a lot, and take the first flight out...

    http://flightaware.com/live/flight/ASA308/history/20121226/1430Z/KSEA/KSFO

    But all is well when we get on the ground, I dole out Frangos to the SFO Bored Room™ attendants, and now I sit in and tell my little tale (pictures to be added later, including obligatory foot shot, meal shot and manifestation of the Bay Pisco Shark Effect).
     
    rookie10 and Kalboz like this.
  3. eponymous_coward
    Original Member

    eponymous_coward Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,901
    Likes Received:
    2,971
    Status Points:
    1,470
    CX Lounge, somewhere not so close to my gate

    Free protip while I slurp some dan dan noodles: it seems the BA lounge that's much closer to the CX gates lets people in during the day, even though it's the KE lounge at that point (no midmorning flights to Blighty).



    The Solus chairs are comfortable, though they don't have a great view...

    And apparently the Frangos are a hit with the CX lounge staff.
     

    Attached Files:

    rookie10 and Kalboz like this.
  4. calvinoeh
    Original Member

    calvinoeh Milepoint Guide

    Messages:
    313
    Likes Received:
    343
    Status Points:
    520
    Looking forward to your impressions of Penang! Haven't stayed there for ~5 years, let me know if you have questions.. I'm missing the food....
     
    eponymous_coward likes this.
  5. eponymous_coward
    Original Member

    eponymous_coward Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,901
    Likes Received:
    2,971
    Status Points:
    1,470
    CX 879 SFO-HKG
    747-400, B-HOW, F is 8/9
    Departure: 25 minutes late, arrival 45 minutes late. Oh damn, extra time in CX F. What ever shall I do? Have another glass of Krug, perhaps?


    I reserve the right to revise and extend my remarks. The problem is that there are approximately 474884 reports on CX F. Very difficult to say something new and original about it.

    I will say that I've sat in seat 2A on a 747 twice; CX and UA. The underlying seats have somewhat similar hardware, but the furnishings and the software are very, very different, and CX is much better. I think it has worn well (though I noticed a towel taped up under a cabin leak- B-HOW is probably nearing time for when it needs to be retired).

    I have finished dispensing my Boxing Day Frangos now.

    I bet there aren't too many trip reports done from the A11 Cityflyer immediately after a very nice ride in CX F, though. Yes, it's a bus. I have sat in worse pitch in aircraft (think NK), and free WiFi and a drop 2 blocks from my hotel is enough for me to part with my 65 HKD.

    Next up: the Ibis Sheung Wan.
     
    Kalboz likes this.
  6. eponymous_coward
    Original Member

    eponymous_coward Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,901
    Likes Received:
    2,971
    Status Points:
    1,470
    Back on the Cityflyer A11 again. I will be using lots of chances to revise and extend my remarks, it seems, but some initial ones:

    - The Ibis Central/Sheung Wan is new, clean, utilitarian- all that you could want for an inexpensive overnight en route.

    - It's also down the street from one of Sheung Wan's best dim sum restaurants on Openrice.com, Lin Heung Kui:

    http://www.openrice.com/english/restaurant/sr2.htm?a=1&shopid=31507&region=0

    I can't just mindlessly follow Anthony Bourdain everywhere, can I? (I am getting a sports jacket at Simpson Sin, though).

    I knew this was a winner when I showed up and I was the only white dude in the place. I'm also pretty sure that with the prawn cheung fun and char sieu paw I ended up with tripe in a broth. And I ate it all up, because it was all tasty.

    Anyways, slept to get on something resembling Asian time zones, dim sum, suit jacket bought and Star Ferry ridden, I am on my way to Penang and a rendezvous with laksa and nasi kandar. I think I will be skipping the lounge food and the inflight meal...
     
    Kalboz likes this.
  7. eponymous_coward
    Original Member

    eponymous_coward Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,901
    Likes Received:
    2,971
    Status Points:
    1,470
    The food here is good enough that it even made fish stomach (in a curry sauce) delectable. Even the airport char koay teow stalls are good. Now I am lingering over a teh tarik, having parted with my trusty bag when it turned out it was overweight (and I was not in a mood to pay a 50 RM fine and risk it not showing up on my flight, since PEN-USM is only a 3xweekly flight on FY).

    I'm next to some AK employees at the food stall (attendants, ground handlers). They collectively look like they are all teenagers.
     
    Kalboz likes this.
  8. eponymous_coward
    Original Member

    eponymous_coward Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,901
    Likes Received:
    2,971
    Status Points:
    1,470
    CX 693 HKG-PEN
    B-HLV A333, 14A, nearly full J cabin

    No equipment sub for me, it ends up being the regional A333 that I was promised. I am escorted to my seat and given some Brillecart-Salmon, and soon enough the cabin fills up and we are off.

    Well, this flight does have IFE, though it is unbelievably washed out- it made my crummy camera phone pictures look like masterpieces of art. I can see why CX is redoing their shorthaul business class if it's that bad.

    I choose a beef rendang with okra (might as well go Malaysian) and it's fine- stews and braises are pretty hard to mess up on an airline. My red wine with the dinner arrives a bit tardy (it ends up coming with the Haagen Dazs chocolate fondant).

    And despite a modest menu (SQ's HKG-SIN menu was nicer, as ai recall, a tasty duck appetizer, better whiskey) and a unimpressive hard product... this cabin is mostly full. And people PAID to be here.


    FY 3602 PEN-USM
    AT72, 9M-FYC
    Delayed one hour


    Penang's airport is new enough to still have new airport smell, along with all kinds of half-finished shops, gates. But it's clearly going to be a nice place.

    Bad news was not only was the flight delayed, other than one announcement, nothing else was done. I figured out we were boarding when I saw a wave of people moving towards a Firefly plane at the gate, inclding the Firefly GAs (no "boarding now" announcement). Showed a boarding pass and I was on my way.

    On the other hand, that plane did a 20 minute turn. Maybe they could go work for WN if they ever start flying to PEN...

    We are passed out blueberry pies and drinks, and our pilot does say that our "sched-jeweled" landing in Ko Samui will be happening shortly (fancy that, it's the Firefly flight that has that, not the CX flight!).

    A quick 150 baht minivan ride later, and next up- some days in tropical paradise in Ko Samui.
     
    Kalboz likes this.
  9. Kalboz
    Original Member

    Kalboz Gold Member

    Messages:
    9,000
    Likes Received:
    22,426
    Status Points:
    15,020
    All the awesome stops at this great trip & only one photo ... I am disappointed! ;)
     
    uggboy likes this.

Share This Page