The flight in from ICN had parked at an apron position. I shuffled towards the airstairs, ready to be jammed into a bus that would bring me towards the terminal. I was a connecting F passenger, but I didn’t think TG would pick me up until after I got into the terminal, I was wrong.
When I got to the bottom of the stairs, there was a TG staffer holding a placard with my name on it. He pulled me off to the side, and into an air conditioned van. I was apparently the only connecting F passenger, and I got nasty looks from the other passengers waiting for the big bus.
The van dropped me off at the terminal, and more TG employees led me upstairs to a waiting golf cart. From there, I was driven to the F lounge and checked in.
No matter how many times you go through BKK, TG’s ground handling for their F passengers is always impressive, if a bit over the top.
I was in the F lounge now, but I couldn’t stay. I left my carry-ons in the lounge staff’s charge and went off to find N2.
He had landed in BKK the night before, and in the eventuality that our phones were not working, as mine was not at the moment, I told him to meet me in front of door 1 at a time we had previously agreed upon.
I was already slightly late, so I hustled to the border. Again, I had to explain to the immigration agent that I had no hotel listed, because I was only entering Thailand for a few hours (it actually turned out to be a few minutes in this case).
I went past customs, upstairs to departures and outside. I found N2 waiting in front of door 1 with his gear.
We hadn’t seen each other since I was last in Japan in March, so we caught up briefly, he started to tell me about his exploits in Bangkok the night before, and then we went back inside the much cooler confines of the airport.
I was traveling in F to SYD, and N2 was in J. We were on the same flight. I already had my boarding pass, but I ducked into the F check-in area with N2, and we decided we would try to see if there was a way for him to buy up to F.
I gleaned two things from my conversation with the agent, one good, one bad. Unfortunately for N2, F was booked full 9/9. Fortunately for me, there were 9 F seats on our 747-400, which meant I was going to be on one of the TG 74R’s that had been fitted with TG’s newest suite product.
In the time leading up to this trip, the internet had been showing that the 74R would be the equipment on my flight, but this is TG. You never know what you’re actually going to get until you arrive at the airport.
N2 got his boarding pass and arranged for a J seat on the upper deck, as he’d never flown on the upper deck of a 747 before. We went through Thai’s private security and their immigration checkpoint. They stamped me back out of Thailand and I set a new personal record for shortest visit to a country. I think I was officially “in” Thailand for maybe 15-20 minutes.
Another TG golf cart brought me and N2 back to the F lounge, I guested him in, and we settled into some seats. The Beach was playing on the lounge TV and it seemed appropriate that the iconic movie about backpacking in Thailand would be randomly playing while we were in the TG lounge.
We had a solid 4-5 hours to go until boarding, so we ordered some Dom and asked for food menus. I told N2 that the club sandwich was pretty great, and he decided to follow my lead.
After lunch and champagne, it started to get harder and harder to keep my eyes open. I love flying, but at some point, your body is not that happy about it. I had flown 14 hours from JFK to ICN, spent ~12 hour in a hotel, and I was now about 12 hours into this day, with six of those hours having been spent on a plane, and roughly 11 of those 12 hours spent either in the airport or on a plane.
About an hour an 20 minutes before boarding, it was time for my massage appointment. I drifted in and out of consciousness during the complimentary 1-hour massage, and when it was over, I was left feeling very relaxed. I took a hot shower, slapped myself in the face and tried to pep up a bit.
Back in the lounge, N2 and I counted down the final minutes until boarding. When the appointed hour arrived, a TG staff member called boarding for TG 475 to Sydney, and we got moving.
Boarding had already begun, and we were escorted right to the door of our 747-400, registration HS-TGY and handed off to the cabin crew.
I think the new suites on the 74R’s are fantastic. There is much more privacy than the old F product, although obviously less than you have on the wet-leased 9W 77W’s with closing suite doors. The seat was very comfortable in seat mode and while lounging, but it was truly spectacular in bed mode. Maybe it’s because these seats haven’t been through the wringer yet, but this was one of the most comfortable beds I’ve ever slept in on a plane. The one down side, is due to the size and # of the suites in the nose, it feels a bit cramped in the aisles. The old 7443 configs on TG had a very open and spacious feeling cabin. I don’t mind this at all though, as I like being isolated in the little world of my suite and forgetting other passengers are on board.
I drank more Dom before takeoff, because that’s what you do on TG. This was the first TG F flight I’ve ever been on with a full F cabin. I think there were a lot of mileage redeemers, and possibly other FlyerTalk readers based on the # of pictures of the cabin, seats and food I saw being snapped. The weirdest part of boarding was when two guys came up to the F cabin, posed for a bunch of pictures, then left to go back to their seats in coach. It was weird because 1. Why? What’s the point of even doing that? And 2. That the TG cabin crew allowed them to walk into a cabin other than the one they were traveling in. TG is always laid back and friendly, but not always super professional.
Once we got up in the air, it was terrible movie time again. I had tried watching Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter once before at the end of a very long night, and I fell asleep well before the end. I knew that the movie was going to be awful, but based on the title, I had to watch it.
This kept me busy during the meal service, which in typical TG fashion, left a lot to be desired. My notes from the flight are sparse. Outside of the aircraft registration, and the name of the movie I watched, the only things written are “I am sooo tired,” and “compared to Asiana, this is amateur hour.”
The shredded chicken salad and the caviar were almost the only edible parts of the meal service. Most of the rest I just mashed around with a fork until the crew took the plates away. Given that this is an overnight flight, and most people want to sleep, the crew took an unreasonably long time in clearing courses and serving the next. Also they forgot to serve the palate cleansing sorbet. By the end of the meal service, I was nodding in and out. I think for the cheese course (which I didn’t eat anyway) and the dessert (which was pretty good) the FA had to tap me until I woke up, prior to serving me.
When the meal service ended, I forced myself to gut it out for the last few minutes of the horrible, horrible war crime of a movie. When the credits began to roll it was mercifully time for sleep.
I asked the FA to do the turndown service and went to the bathroom to change. TG have phased out of the old purple pajamas, which I rather liked. Their new ones are gray. The tops have a zip neck and the pants have pockets. They are certainly higher quality than the old ones, but they aren’t purple. Also, for those who care, the Tumi amenity kits were offered on this flight, not the popular Rimowa ones.
I asked the FA not to wake me for breakfast, and I was out like a light almost as soon as my head hit the pillow. The bed was soft and comfortable, and I slept fantastically.