5 Airline Down-under trip report

kaptainrob

Administrator
I flew ThaiVietJet, a good service, CNX to BKK the afternoon before my NZ outbound flights (which would require early check-in at Swampy). This necessitated an overnight stay and so I took the Airtrain (@35bt) to Makkasan which is an easy 25 minute ride with some decent eye-candy 😋

I checked in at the FX Metrolink Makkasan Hotel (628bt) at 3pm. Nice room, smallish but recently modernised, squeaky clean and with all the little necessities like coffee/tea, soap, shampoo etc. Whilst their soi doesn't impress, it is surprisingly quiet and just across the road from the station, a 3 mins walk. I'd use it again.

Being a cool 28c afternoon, I walked south to Sukhumvit, hung a left to the Radisson and checked out their rooftop bar, Brewski. Good service, superb craft beers, the view ... nothing special. Tables and decor appeared a tad weathered before the sun went down though food items looked very tasty ... but I had other plans for dinner.

Next morning saw me on the Skytrain by 0730 and at BKK Departures level by 0800. 3 hours ahead of take-off. I don't like cutting things too fine and as it turned out I had ample time. It took exactly 55 minutes from Check-in to exiting Immigration and heading for the departure gate which took another 10 minutes.
Suvarnabhumi have installed the new pre-departure security gates :rolleyes: which all pax must pass thru before you even head upstairs to the main security check ... shoes/belt/jacket etc off and yes there's always a long queue. Then you have to queue again for Immigration ... slow as a wet week. I was lucky to do it all in under an hour. Wait until travel really picks up!

Cathay Pacific to HKG on a near new A350-900 was a 3hr flight and among the best experience of economy with any airline! Cabin crew were really lovely, food excellent and seats comfortable ... top marks! HKG airport was relatively easy to negotiate, far less busy than pre-covid.

I found my way to the AKL connection gate with a certain amount of trepidation, it was a Cathay code-share AirNZ operated B787 flight. I had not flown international with my home-team for some 30 years and wasn't looking forward to experiencing the changes I'd heard of. Boarding was chaotic, I've seen dogs herd sheep into a shearing shed in a more orderly manner. My aisle seat was ok, not as comfy as AirAsiaX, let alone Cathay. And the flight was full of code-share pax from all over the World ... too many screaming kids and bogans. Worst of all were the massively over-sized female cabin crew, some with a pretty face, others old and wrinkly. OMG I thought ... is this the face of NZ they present to international visitors? Food loaded ex HKG was good but they only serve drinks AFTER the meal cart, stingy as! ... and their safety video is a disgrace, canoes can't fly! FFS. Those lie-flat x 3-seat economy beds ... what a laugh watching the kerfuffle to make them up and see couples attempt to sleep on them!

A very late departure was made up with a little help from a high level jet stream and we landed in AKL on time at 0830. I entered the same old dingy arrivals hall ... 2 years of covid and not even a coat of paint. Customs queue was long but I was passed thru without a baggage search. My sister was there to meet me and we headed off to have coffee and shopping before I could uplift a key for a serviced apartment in the city.

To be continued ....
 

MarcTwoSix

Well-known member
Cathay was my very 1st experience with Asian airlines on my 1st trip to Thailand and to say I was blown by it would be an understatement

Ao and I dont take it at all these days but we absolutely loved that airline


Even through they held my dog Bishop hostage in Bangkok
 

kaptainrob

Administrator
Booked them for my Udon to BKK connection next March for my PAL flight to Cebu and hoping they are reliable?
Normally very reliable and by March they should be far more so than at present whereby airlines are frequently re-scheduling or even cancelling flights to maximise profit. I had my TVJ flight rescheduled and family had a Cathay flight cancelled (ex BNE). Thankfully it's no worse than Jetstar/Qantas .... Shonky Airline of the years award winner! LOL
Cathay was my very 1st experience with Asian airlines on my 1st trip to Thailand and to say I was blown by it would be an understatement

Ao and I dont take it at all these days but we absolutely loved that airline
I wish Cathay flew all the way BKK to NZ as it's a great airline compared with AirNZ ... will summarise that experience later but in 2 words, NEVER AGAIN.
 

kaptainrob

Administrator
My week in AKL was part business, part pleasure. I had to rearrange finances and investments due to covid, many Bank cards expired or cancelled thru non-activation + they'd introduced 2f authentication.

There's no compatibility between NZ and Aus when it comes to Bank security measures:-
> BNZ, owned by NAB, require their App to be installed on a very late model phone (Android 11 or above) to handle 2f authentication.
> ANZ/nz, can manually insert an o/s mobile number, but only by personal application (not online) - In Australia, an App is required.
> WestPac, in NZ, hopeless - need to book an appointment online for a/c opening and changes - 3 week queue - domestic number only for 2f anyway, so useless.
> WestPac in Aus, easy as ... their 2f system had picked up my Thai number from profile automatically even b4 I left home + I opened a fee-free a/c (took 3 mins) online and moved cash across from ANZ in anticipation of having no valid card upon arrival. Westpac's new Debit card had already been delivered!

Back to flights ....
 

MarcTwoSix

Well-known member
I wish Cathay flew all the way BKK to NZ as it's a great airline compared with AirNZ ... will summarise that experience later but in 2 words, NEVER AGAIN.
Air Canada stepped in and took some of the better and cheaper routes when a lot of the Asian airlines stopped flying because of Covid

I'd much prefer most of the Asian airlines
But as long as it's a big plane(Obviously it is on long haul) and new I don't really care
I don't care about the food and don't drink on flights anymore and bring my own downloaded shows on my IPad

So I have very little interaction with the crew

One complaint I have is I have found "white " airlines make zero effort to not bump into your shoulder if you are in the aisle
They do it to me and I see so many others
Where as the Asian girls make an effort to move around people


One aspect I am curious about with my 1st ever direct flight from Vancouver to Bangkok is the clientele on board
I'd imagine we won't have as many rude and ignorant Chinese
 

kaptainrob

Administrator
From AKL to BNE I had limited choice when booking - Jetstar and Qantas flight schedules simply didn't suit, either too early departures or very late arrivals. Prices all similar, a rip-off! Possibly the most expensive sector in the World may become more competitive with AirAsiaX resuming AKL connections soon.

Having booked AirNZ @ ~$400 with 1 checked bag, I was expecting half decent service ... wrong! You pay EXTRA for food and movie - water or juice was free, big deal. Their FREE wifi, which was kind of useful on the HKG - AKL leg, was out of order on this A320, but I had an e-book to read anyway. Cabin crew were just as HUGE as the previous flight. And the uniform ... OMG, such a drab look in mauve or green ...

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kaptainrob

Administrator
One complaint I have is I have found "white " airlines make zero effort to not bump into your shoulder if you are in the aisle
They do it to me and I see so many others
Where as the Asian girls make an effort to move around people


One aspect I am curious about with my 1st ever direct flight from Vancouver to Bangkok is the clientele on board
I'd imagine we won't have as many rude and ignorant Chinese
Don't ever fly AirNZ ... they not only bump your elbows and shoulder at the same time but the aisle seat tips slightly toward them as well!

It is most pleasant to fly around Asia without the obnoxious mainland Chinese tourists and the same goes for getting around town whether it's BKK or CNX ... the latter still as quiet as when you were here recently.
 

kaptainrob

Administrator
I was seriously looking forward to SIA/Scoot flights BNE - SIN - CNX.
Unfortunately the 2019 A350-900 (type 2 layout) has terrible seating. Seat pitch is 32" which on other models, eg B777, is perfectly acceptable, but with this seat design it doesn't work as the reclining mechanism moves the base forward, literally jamming you up against the hard rear shell of the seat in front. To make matters worse, the head-rest is oddly aligned and the seat in front, and TV screen, ends up 10 inches away. I had to place a pillow behind my head to comfortably watch movies ... late releases, excellent choice. The seat base is also too short for 6' farangs and I was constantly shifting my legs to ease the pain in my thighs.
This from SeatGuru is spot on >

Submitted by SeatGuru User on 2019/09/29 for Seat 45C
Whoever came up with the idea of cramming so many seats into this aircraft should be made to take a ten hour flight in economy. I'm not tall, but my knees were up against the seat in front for the entire flight. As someone else said, when the seat in front of you is reclined your nose is almost touching the TV screen making it impossible to watch anything. It seems as if Singapore's sole purpose was to fit as many people into the space as possible and they didn't care in the least about their comfort. Never again will i get on this aircraft.


If booking SIA, avoid this model for long haul unless going business class. Otherwise, Cabin Crew were gorgeous, helpful and forever passing out drinks during the night without bumping seats ..' it was an orderly and relatively quiet flight. Somehow I managed a few hours sleep.
Food loaded in BNE was below SIA's usual high standard. A cold roll in a bag and tough tasteless beef stew. Crackers and Coon Cheers cheese were good :rolleyes: Just one meal service was miserly but you can call for snack food at any time.

Late departure but arrived SIN on time. Changi wasn't all that busy so I made my way slowly from T3 to T1 and spent an hour on wifi or reading a book.

Scoot's flight thru to CNX was excellent, a nice meal friendly crew and we arrived on time. CNX Immi was swift, no arrival card needed and queues simply flowed on thru to the baggage claim. I had a total of 29kg of checked baggage including a 4kg oversize box of 6' in length, all arrived in perfect condition. I was out the door, almost home, faster than any arrival anywhere.

AirAsiaX Thailand is resuming Downunder flights BKK to Aus/NZ in December and I will look forward to using them again. Their Premium Economy often compared favourably with full service (eg TG or SQ) economy fares.
 

kaptainrob

Administrator
No BNE-DMK flights that i can find as yet.

Couldn't beat the $350 return HKT-OOL flights back in the day. Often had a whole row of seats to myself 😃
AAX not flying to BNE as yet. They may restart with the Thai division soon. Currently it's via KUL to Syd (&Akl) or Melbourne.
 
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