A Long Weekend in Bangkok

Hong Kong - Bangkok
CX 617
18 Feb 2016

Cathay seems to be getting less reliable these days. With a nasty 2.5 hour delay, I asked check-in to put me on the next available flight to reduce the wait. I got what I wanted, although the agent didn't even apologize that my original flight had the major schedule change.

I got some more time to eat a snack at the credit card lounge. This used to be my favourite food at the airport - beating even the Business Class lounge, but as patronage skyrocketed, they started cutting corners and now tastes like a typical MSG-laden chain store noodle.

Elsewhere around the airport, Chinese New Year decorations were still plenty.

I didn't crowd around the seats next to the gate. There were rows of empty seats a few gates away just as a Cambodia government plane was boarding. There were plenty of security agents hovering around the boarding gate so I stuck to the windows only.

A fish ball noodle is not enough for dinner, so I got a second dinner on the flight as well. Although Bangkok is only about 2 hours away, we still got a complimentary hot meal. Yes, we're spoiled in Asia.

Unfortunately, this delay meant I had to taxi into town at the late night.

Bangkok is a great place to spend a long weekend. There is no shortage of luxury hotels although prices are not so cheap anymore. KL can give Bangkok much more value for money. The food options are also very varied with lots of dirty street food yet also proper restaurants in air-conditioned comfort.

Bangkok - Hong Kong
CX 708
21 Feb 2016

I originally wanted to take the express train and save some money after taking a taxi into town on arrival. The notorious Bangkok mid-afternoon traffic got in the way, and in the end I conceded to taxi all the way to the airport, with a short margin of error left to check in. Bangkok's airport looks nice but the experience is nowhere near award-winning standards.

Bangkok gets a lot more interesting airlines than Hong Kong, although spotting here is far worse with windows covered up and not easily reachable since the gates are a floor below the main walkways. I had to make the best of what I've got.

In order to get into the gate's holding area and seats, they scanned my boarding pass first. When boarding was called, the boarding pass does not need to be scanned again.

Cathay is stingy with releasing award seats, so I had to capitulate and fly Premium Economy today. My only other PEY experience was with Qantas many years ago thanks to an unexpected online check-in upgrade. I wouldn't pay the premium to buy PEY with Cathay since they still can't get their pricing model right, but BA avios actually has a generously low premium to redeem it. My Y outbound and PEY inbound costed 22,500 avios while an all Y itinerary would cost 20,000 Asia Miles.

The PEY seat is actually very comfortable with lots of legroom, and can pass as a decent J product on medium-haul flights. I probably can get a few hours of good sleep for longer flights so perhaps a transpacific trip is do-able here if the price is right.

Upon departure, I enjoyed spotting some interesting birds from Uzbekistan, North Korea, and more.

We took off into a beautiful sunset and I started exploring the amenities. The noise-cancelling headset was good but everyone got a Y meal. If they want to charge such a premium over Y, they really need to differentiate the product more.

The meal is not any more upscale than Economy.

After the meal and enjoying the IFE, it was time to descend into Hong Kong. For a short flight, I should be grateful there was a hot meal. Here is Asia, we are quite spoiled.

My Bangkok photos : click here