The Long Road to Australia: The Marathon Begins

TG B773 HS-TKA ICN-BKK

TG B773 HS-TKA ICN-BKK

Coming home from a long night when the sun is already up is one thing. Waking up to start the day while it’s still dark out is quite another. I could see my breath as I waited in front of the Hyatt Regency Incheon for the shuttle to bring me back to the terminal.

Once inside, I found the TG J counters and got my boarding pass (Seat 16K). While all my previous flights in or out of ICN have arrived at the main block of gates, this flight was from a satellite portion of the airport, and I had to hop a tram to get there.

In this annex to the main terminal, there was an Asiana lounge. I had arrived in OZ F less than 24 hours before, and I was now poised to depart in TG J. The rules get a little hazy about exactly what gets you FCL access at ICN. As I mentioned, last time I arrived at ICN in OZ F, I was departing the next day (sub-24 hours) in OZ J, and I managed to talk my way into FCL access. I was in a similar situation now, but with the added hurdle of departing in TG J as opposed to OZ.

In the annex portion of the airport, the lounge is divided with a business class section to the right, and first to the left, not wholly separate lounges like in the main terminal.

I tried my best to charm the girl at the desk, but she said that since I was departing in TG J, there was nothing that she could do, but had it been an OZ J departing flight, she would have bent the rules and granted me access. No great loss, it was early in the morning and I really just wanted a reasonably comfortable chair to sit in and some free wifi.

OZ J Lounge at ICN

OZ J Lounge at ICN

OZ J Lounge at ICN

OZ J Lounge at ICN

The J section of the lounge wasn’t too crowded. I set an alarm on my phone just in case I were to nod off, wouldn’t be good to miss the flight to BKK. This turned out not to be an issue, as some asshole family brought their bleating infant into the lounge and it didn’t stop screeching at max volume for the next hour.

I know that my dream of having airlines force children under let’s say the age of five to ride underneath the plane with the other animals is unlikely to come to fruition. However, I don’t think it’s unreasonable for airline lounges to ban children under a certain age.

The people who are using the lounges have either 1. Paid for an expensive membership, 2. Flown enough to qualify for access based on status or 3. Are traveling on expensive premium cabin tickets. They use the lounge to try to get a measure of calm and tranquility before being herded into an enclosed space with hundreds of strangers for a few hours. I don’t think it would be out of line for the airlines to keep children out of the lounge if they can’t help but scream their heads off at 6:30 in the morning. I don’t see why a family who wants to travel with a child they can’t control should be able to impose their little bundle of joy on everyone else. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…such are the horrors of commercial air travel.

I tried to reseat myself a few times, getting further and further from the wailing epicenter of crying baby, but no matter how close to the fringes of the lounge I got, the cries would echo and carry. I went to the gate early in order to escape.

Our chariot to Bangkok was a Boeing 777-300, registration HS-TKA. I had only previously been on the TG 777’s that they have wet leased from 9W. These 777’s are in a two-class configuration, with business set up 2-2-2. The seats are of the angled lie flat variety, and are the same as the ones that TG have on their most up to date A330-300’s.

Like a fool, I had been relying on seatguru, whose hugely out of date information told me that all of TG’s 777-300’s had old style recliners. I thought that seemed a bit odd for a six hour flight, but I had no choice as this TG ICN-BKK flight was the only way for me to get to BKK on time to meet my connection on to SYD. Upon boarding and finding these, newer, more comfortable shell style seats, I was a happy camper.

TG B773 J Seat

TG B773 J Seat

TG B773 J Cabin

TG B773 J Cabin

As I mentioned, my strategy for this marathon day of flying, was to stay awake for the six hours from BKK-SYD, meet my buddy N2 at BKK, guest him into the F lounge, have some lunch, get a massage then board the flight to SYD and sleep soundly until touchdown.

Luckily for me, TG had a number of movies loaded in the IFE system that I hadn’t seen, and was not totally averse to watching.

Shortly after takeoff, I started The Election. Will Ferrell has been phoning it in a lot recently, seemingly just taking any script thrown his way for the paycheck. Thus, I didn’t expect a lot from this movie. I was pleasantly surprised. It was much funnier than I had expected, and there were a few genuine laugh out loud moments.

The meal service was so-so. You never expect Thai to knock it out of the park, even in F, so for a J meal service, it was about what you would imagine.

PDB

PDB

Bag of nuts

Bag of nuts

Prawn balls

Prawn balls

Smoked salmon

Smoked salmon

Main course

Main course

Cheese

Cheese

Blueberry walnut cake

Blueberry walnut cake

After the meal and the first movie, I watched Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World. Keira Knightly…also very hot. It was a pretty good movie, and I must say (nospoiler) that I was surprised with the way it ended. Hollywood usually pulls some deus ex machina crap at the end to tie everything up in a happy, convenient bow.

After Seeking, there was still a good bit of time left in the flight, so I figured I would try to get one more movie in before arrival. I went with The Amazing Spiderman. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t they just reboot the Spiderman franchise with Toby McGuire like 5-7 years ago? Was it necessary to reboot it AGAIN already? Does no one in Hollywood have an original idea?’

Retread gripes aside, it was a reasonably entertaining way to spend 1-2 hours.

By the time Spiderman ended, we were very close to touchdown. I always like taxiing at BKK. Due to Thailand’s geographic position in the world, there are always planes from all over the place sitting at the gates at BKK. It’s not everywhere that you see Druk Air.

We pulled up to an apron position. It was time to stow my winter coat, we were back in the heat.

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