Saturday, April 1, 2017

Mini-Shopping Holiday in Bangkok in March 2013 (Enhanced Version) ~ Section 1

Welcome to the first section of my mini-shopping vacation to Bangkok, Thailand, in March 2013. This will be a revised edition of the existing report, which was published in March 2013 itself, and will be divided into a total of four sections. There will be two main focus topics that will be covered in this segment, which will mainly be the in-bound flight towards Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) and the journey towards the LIT Hotel Bangkok.

All of the vacation videos posted onto this report may also be found on my YouTube channel. However, please take note that for the safety and security of my YouTube videos and channel, the publishing of comments on any of these media is strictly disallowed at all times, as is the displaying of advertisements alongside them. If any user is determined to be in violation of these strict policies, they will have their comments deleted and will be dealt with accordingly.



Part 1 ~ The Opening Credits

After spending several weeks of careful decision-making on where to travel overseas for the one-week school vacation during my first year in pre-university college in March, my parents finally decided on a mini-shopping vacation towards Bangkok, Thailand. I soon became rather excited since Bangkok was a metropolitan city that I had known and been to many times in my life since young, and I mainly went there to shop.


On the morning of Friday (15 March), all of us woke up at around 10.45 a.m. to pack up our remaining baggage in preparation for the trip towards Bangkok. The very first thing we did was to have a nice, hot shower and to change into our attire for the trip. My parents had packed most of their baggage the night before the trip, and had arranged for a MaxiCab to come and fetch us to Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1 at one o' clock later that afternoon in advance.


Our itinerary for the regional in-bound journey towards Bangkok would be to fly with Thai Airways International on flight TG 414 bound for Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi), which would be expected to depart Singapore Changi Airport at 3.55 p.m., and arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport at 5.15 p.m.. We would then arrange for a cab to take us to the LIT Hotel Bangkok, where we would spend the next six days of our mini-shopping vacation in Bangkok.


As soon as all of our baggage had been packed and laid out in the house living room, our pre-arranged MaxiCab finally arrived at the doorstep of our home at 12.55 p.m.. The driver of the cab immediately got out and offered to load our baggage into the boot of his cab, while we boarded for the journey towards Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1. Soon enough, once all of us were on board with our baggage loaded, we finally departed the compound of our home at precisely one o' clock, with the entire journey towards Singapore Changi Airport taking no more than just 20 minutes.


Upon arriving at the departure and drop-off area of Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1 at 1.20 p.m., the MaxiCab driver went to get a couple of baggage trolleys for us, as we unloaded our baggage from the boot of his cab. Paying the MaxiCab driver our fare, we thanked him for his warm and kind services and went into the departures and check-in area towards the SATS Premier Check-in Lounge to check in for Thai Airways International flight TG 414 bound for Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi).


Terminal 1 is currently the oldest airport passenger terminal building operating at Singapore Changi Airport today. The terminal was opened on 1 July 1981, in collaboration with the opening of Singapore Changi Airport on the same date. Singapore Airlines used to operate out of this terminal until Terminal 2 was opened in the early 1990s, where it shifted all of its flight operations to Terminal 2, with its long-haul operations moving to Terminal 3 in early 2008.


A majority of foreign carriers (i.e. Air France, Cathay Pacific, Emirates) serving Singapore utilise Terminal 1 today. However, between the late 2000s and early 2010s, some foreign airlines shifted their operations to either Terminal 2 or Terminal 3 to offer improved facilities to their passengers. Philippine Airlines re-located from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1 on 28 October 2013. As of 1 May 2014, the following airlines used to operate out of Terminal 1 prior to shifting to Terminal 2 or Terminal 3:


1) Air India (Future Star Alliance carrier - Moved to Terminal 2 on 29 March 2009)


2) Air India Express (Moved to Terminal 2 on 29 March 2009)


3) All Nippon Airways (Star Alliance carrier - Moved to Terminal 2 on 1 October 2008)


4) Asiana Airlines (Star Alliance carrier - Moved to Terminal 2 on 29 March 2009, Later to Terminal 3 on 30 September 2013)


5) China Eastern Airlines (SkyTeam carrier - Moved to Terminal 3 on 25 March 2008)


6) Garuda Indonesia (SkyTeam carrier - Moved to Terminal 3 on 22 February 2011)


7) Jet Airways (Moved to Terminal 3 on 25 March 2008)


8) Korean Air (SkyTeam carrier - Moved to Terminal 2 on 29 March 2009)


9) Lion Air (Moved to Terminal 3 on 18 October 2013)


10) Qatar Airways (Oneworld carrier - Moved to Terminal 3 on 25 March 2008)


11) Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) (SkyTeam carrier - Moved to Terminal 3 on 22 February 2011)


12) SriLankan Airlines (Oneworld carrier - Moved to Terminal 3 on 22 February 2011)


13) United Airlines (Star Alliance carrier - Moved to Terminal 3 on 25 March 2008)


14) Vietnam Airlines (SkyTeam carrier - Moved to Terminal 3 on 22 February 2011)

After walking through the departures and check-in area of Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1 for approximately five minutes, we finally arrived at the SATS Premier Check-in Lounge at 1.25 p.m.. Entering the lounge, a few check-in lounge porters came over to assist us with our bulky baggage, while we went towards the Thai Airways International Royal Silk Class check-in desk to check in for Thai Airways International flight TG 414 bound for Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi). While we had some light beverages in the SATS Premier Check-in Lounge, the entire check-in process took no more than approximately 10 minutes.


Thai Airways International (Thai: บริษัท ภารบินใทย จํากัต) is the flag carrier and largest airline of the Kingdom of Thailand. Maintaining its central hub at Suvarnabhumi Airport, the airline offers a variety of destinations within Asia, Africa, North America, Oceania and the European Union, using a mixed fleet of narrow-body and wide-body aircraft Airbus and Boeing. The airline is a co-founding member of Star Alliance, the world's first and largest airline alliance formed on 14 May 1997, with its regular-flyer program being Royal Orchid Plus.


Thai Airways International, together with Air Canada, Lufthansa and United Airlines, worked together to form Star Alliance, which has a total of 26 pure members, as of 1 May 2014. The airline also used to offer long non-stop flights from Bangkok to Los Angeles and New York with its Airbus A340-500s. However, due to rising fuel costs and the planned withdrawal of aircraft, the airline terminated its New York service in 2008, and had its services to Los Angeles make a brief stopover in Seoul (Incheon) using a Boeing 777 aircraft since 2012.


The SATS Premier Check-in Lounge is a special premium check-in lounge that is operated by Singapore Airport Terminal Services Limited (SATS Ltd.), or most commonly known as simply SATS. This special and exclusive check-in lounge is available only in Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, and is mainly used by certain foreign carriers for their First & Business Class passengers.


In Terminal 1, certain foreign airlines, such as British Airways, China Southern Airlines and Turkish Airlines, are among the participating carriers to use this special check-in lounge for their First & Business Class passengers. In Terminal 2, certain foreign carriers, such as All Nippon Airways, Korean Air and Lufthansa, are some of the participating carriers for their First & Business Class passengers.


As of 1 May 2014, the following foreign airlines make use of the SATS Premier Check-in Lounge in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1 for their First & Business Class passengers:


1) Air China (Star Alliance carrier)


2) Air Niugini


3) British Airways (Oneworld carrier)


4) China Southern Airlines (SkyTeam carrier)


5) EVA Airways (Star Alliance carrier)


6) Japan Airlines (Oneworld carrier)


7) Myanmar Airways International


8) Qantas (Oneworld carrier)


9) Thai Airways International (Star Alliance carrier)


10) Turkish Airlines (Star Alliance carrier)


11) Xiamen Airlines (SkyTeam carrier)

Part 2 ~ The Flight to Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi)


Airline: Thai Airways International
Flight No.: TG 414
From: Singapore Changi Airport (SIN / WSSS), Singapore
To: Bangkok, Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK / VTBS), Bangkok, Thailand
Aircraft: Airbus A340-642
Registration No.: HS-TNE (Named "Nonthaburi")
Class: Royal Silk Class (Business Class)
Seat No.: 20A
Date: Friday, 15 March 2013

After spending about 1 hour 25 minutes of relaxing and having some light beverages in the Royal Silk Lounge, the clock was finally showing 3.05 p.m.. Knowing that boarding for Thai Airways International flight TG 414 bound for Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) would commence in 25 minutes' time, I packed up my belongings and decided to proceed to Gate No. D34 first, with my family agreeing to catch up with me later on at the gate. Without wasting anymore time, I left the Royal Silk Lounge by 3.10 p.m..


The entire walk between the Royal Silk Lounge and Gate No. D34 took no more than just 10 minutes. Soon enough, I finally arrived outside the entrance towards Gate No. D34 at 3.20 p.m., which was just in good time for boarding to commence in 10 minutes' time. Once my family met up with me outside the entrance to the gate, we headed in for a hassle-free security check and were finally in the passenger waiting room of Gate No. D34 by 3.25 p.m., just five minutes before the first boarding calls were made.


Today, Thai Airways International flight TG 414 bound for Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) would be operated using an Airbus A340-600 aircraft, registered HS-TNE and named "Nonthaburi". It was also powered by four Rolls-Royce Trent 556A2-61 engines. HS-TNE was delivered new to Thai Airways International on 9 December 2005 as the fifth Airbus A340-600 and the ninth Airbus A340 for the airline. The overall delivery would make the aircraft approximately 7.3 years old at that time. Thai Airways International is one of the very few airlines that names its aircraft after certain cities.


The Airbus A340-600 is the latest and most stretched version of the Airbus A340 family. The aircraft is powered exclusively by four Rolls-Royce Trent 500 engines, like the Airbus A340-500, and is the second-longest aircraft in the world after the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental. Its main competitors from Boeing are the Boeing 777-300 and the Boeing 777-300/ER. The Airbus A340-600 may eventually be succeeded by the upcoming Airbus A350-1000, which will also compete with the Boeing 777-300/ER.


While the Boeing 777-300 is powered by three choices of two General Electric GE90-92B or -94B, Rolls-Royce Trent 800 or Pratt & Whitney PW4090 engines, the Boeing 777-300/ER is powered exclusively by two General Electric GE90-115B engines, which are some of the most powerful jet engines on the planet. Due to limited powers of the CFM International CFM56 engines used to power the existing and older Airbus A340-200 and Airbus A340-300, Airbus selected the Rolls-Royce Trent 500 engines to power the Airbus A340-500 and Airbus A340-600.


After spending just five minutes of anticipated waiting in the passenger waiting room, the first boarding calls for Thai Airways International flight TG 414 bound for Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) were finally made at 3.30 p.m.. The Royal Silk Class passengers, and the Royal Orchid Plus club members, along with the passengers in need of special assistance were called to board the aircraft first. It was now and then that I knew that I would be ready for my first flight on an Airbus A340 and the -600 series.


With the first boarding announcements being made, we held on to our belongings and rolled up for the boarding process to go through smoothly. Given the large number of passengers in the waiting room, I knew that Thai Airways International flight TG 414 bound for Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) would be filled to the brim. As we walked along the jet bridge towards Door A, we were finally on board HS-TNE by 3.40 p.m., which was just in good time for a 3.55 p.m. departure.


At Door A, a cheerful-looking stewardess extended a very warm welcome to us on board and showed us the direction to our seats in the Royal Silk Class cabin. Bypassing the Royal First Class cabin, we saw that the Royal First Class seats were sold as Royal Silk Class seats given the short distance between Singapore and Bangkok. Arriving at the Royal Silk Class cabin, we stowed away all of our belongings and settled down into our assigned Seats No. 20A, 20B, 20E and 20F for the short regional journey of 2 hours 20 minutes towards Bangkok.


The Royal Silk Class seats we would be using for short regional journey towards Bangkok were the first new generation of angled shell designed seats. The first new generation of these seats were introduced following the delivery of Thai Airways International's fleet of Airbus A340-500s in 2005. They were then rolled out on the Airbus A340-600s, certain Boeing 747-400s and Boeing 777-200s. These seats are capable of reclining up to 172º.


At exactly 3.55 p.m., all the aircraft doors were closed, and we finally pushed back from Gate No. D34, which was just as scheduled. While the safety briefing information video was being shown on our front video screens, the flight attendants went around the aisle to take down the main meal orders in preparation for the in-flight afternoon tea later on. When a flight attendant came by to our seats to take down our main meal orders, I opted to have the grilled beef with port wine sauce, roasted potatoes, carrots and green beans.


Once all the main meal orders were taken, we began our taxi towards our assigned runway for take-off, taxiing past several aircraft parked at Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 along the way. After a relatively long taxi along the tarmac for approximately 25 minutes, the four Rolls-Royce Trent 556A2-61 engines spooled into action, and we finally lifted off from Singapore Changi Airport at 4.20 p.m.. We then climbed into the bright late afternoon sky for a regional flight time of 1 hour 50 minutes over the South China Sea and the Malaysian straits towards the capital city of the Kingdom of Thailand.


In accordance with the Thailand Standard Timing, the seatbelt sign was switched on again at 4.55 p.m., approximately 15 minutes in preparation for descent into Suvarnabhumi Airport. Knowing that it would not be a long time before arrival into Bangkok, we immediately stowed away all of our belongings and buckled up in preparation for the descent into Suvarnabhumi Airport. After a short regional flight time of 1 hour 50 minutes over the South China Sea and Malaysian straits, we finally touched down in Suvarnabhumi Airport at 5.10 p.m., just five minutes ahead of schedule.


Suvarnabhumi Airport (Thai: ท่าอากาศยานสุวรรณภูนิ) is one of the two airports serving the Bangkok Metropolitan Area in Thailand. It is the largest and busiest airport in the Kingdom of Thailand, and the central international airport serving the Bangkok Metropolitan Area. Opened on 28 September 2006, the airport took over a majority of the international flights previously operated at the older Don Mueang International Airport.


However, on 28 October 2012, all low-cost international flights moved back to the older Don Mueang International Airport. The airport serves as the central hub for Bangkok Airways, Orient Thai Airlines and Thai Airways International. As Bangkok plays a key role in Southeast Asian market, the airport is an important focus point for certain foreign airlines such as Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways.


Part 3 ~ The Evening Journey Towards The LIT Hotel Bangkok



After disembarking from Thai Airways International flight TG 414 from Singapore, we had to walk along a movable staircase at a remote stand and board a free airport terminal shuttle bus to access the main passenger terminal building at Suvarnabhumi Airport. I personally think that this is very troublesome as walking down a movable staircase with lots of disembarking passengers is like struggling down a crammed rabbit hole.


Arriving at the foot of our remote stand by 5.20 p.m., we boarded the airport terminal shuttle bus for the short ride towards the main passenger terminal building of Suvarnabhumi Airport. Once all of the passengers were on board and accounted for, we finally departed our remote stand at 5.25 p.m. for a short airport terminal shuttle bus ride of just five minutes towards the main passenger terminal at Suvarnabhumi Airport.


Soon enough, we finally arrived at the entrance to the arrivals and transit mall located near Concourse D at 5.30 p.m.. Alighting from the bus with our belongings, we took the escalators up to the arrivals and transit mall of Suvarnabhumi Airport before heading to the immigrations area. The immigrations area was relatively crowded that evening, with lots of foreign travellers coming to Bangkok either for leisure or for official business.


Upon clearing the immigrations process, I immediately headed over towards the baggage belt information screen to check which baggage belt our bulky check-in baggage would be arriving at. According to the baggage belt information screen, all check-in baggage from Thai Airways International flight TG 414 from Singapore would arrive at Belt No. 10. Without wasting any time, we grabbed a couple of baggage trolleys and proceeded to Belt No. 10 to claim all our bulky check-in baggage.


This officially brings the second edition of my mini-shopping vacation in Bangkok, Thailand, in March 2013 to a formal conclusion. Questions and / or comments will always be open to all trip reports. The remaining three segments of the report once photographs and videos of better standards have been selected for them.

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