SFO to BKK

My flight from SFO to HKG was nearly 15 hours, thanks to some quite strong headwinds which added about an hour to the already long flight. Seatbelt sign was on for most of the first two hours of the flight, thanks to some rather choppy air. It was a very bumpy ride for awhile there, but otherwise AOK.

Of course, it didn’t help that I intentionally stayed awake for most of the trip in an effort to combat jet lag once I arrived in Bangkok. I slept for maybe 45 mins toward the end of the flight, but other than was up watching TV and movies: all season 2 of “Catastrophe”; “Legend” starring Tom Hardy as twins (!) with laid-on-thick Cockney accents (hot); “The Big Short” which was pretty good, though don’t understand why Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling and Steve Carrell all had to be so distractingly made-up and bewigged to look like their non-famous real-life characters; and a large dose of “Family Guy” and “Archer.” So, yes I was clearly bringing my intellectual A-game…

As for flying business class (using miles obviously) on Cathay Pacific? Well, it was pretty darn great. The experience at SFO was a delight. No line to check in; priority lane through security; then an hour or so in the lounge enjoying made-to-order won-ton soup and a bit of champagne in a spacious, comfortable and quiet space. When boarding was announced, I walked from the lounge and directly onto the plane, with no queuing for the jetway or battling fellow passengers for overhead space or armrests.

Now, while I’m certain I was more comfortable than all the folks back in coach (both regular and premium varieties), I did have some difficulty finding a comfortable position for the seat (I know, I know – #RPP). When reclined into the sort of lounge chair position, my feet kind of hung over the edge and it was awkward to rest them on the ottoman. Of course this was partially due to the fact that my same hamstring injury that was bothering me on my last trip to BKK was making it just generally uncomfortable to sit. The seat also afforded me a great deal of privacy and I really didn’t see much of my fellow passengers, so that was a huge plus.

Flight attendants, in addition to being super-friendly and helpful, address passengers by name. “More champagne, Mr. Cohen?” always gets a favorable response from me… The food was all quite good, too – the on-demand “snacks” of won ton soup and cheeseburger were both quite impressive for being prepared at 35K feet over the Pacfic. 

Layover in Hong Kong was fine. The airport is huge. Popped into The Bridge lounge which was just steps from the transit security line (which was basically non-existent since I was about the first person off the aircraft) and had a shower, which left me feeling refreshed, though still exhausted. I’d really wanted to check out the Noodle Bar at The Wing lounge, so I schlepped (and it was quite a schlep) down there. And honestly? Sure it’s nice to have this type of food on offer, by my dan dan noodles were just OK – though the accompanying pork bao was pretty tasty. I headed back to the The Bridge, since it was closer to my gate and really had the superior atmosphere – quiet and comfortable – to wait for the the last leg of my journey.

Cathay’s regional business class is certainly nice – though the seats are more “old school” – that is, they aren’t “pods” but large and roomy recliner-stye seats. There were only four passengers in biz that evening so I had a window seat and no one around me. They served dinner, but I skipped it and slept for half of the 2.5 hour flight to BKK.

Again, I was first off the plane and made a beeline for immigration, hoping I wouldn’t need to forfeit my “priority” pass for the business express lane, given that the pass is undated and could come in handy when I’m back to flying coach into BKK. I thought I was done for when I got caught between four huge groups of elderly tourists on the moving sidewalk, but they had to stop and re-group before immigration. Happily, lines were short – even more so when I shot an “Are you in line?” at the two farang backpacker types who were attempting to maintain their place in line while simultaneously filling out their immigration forms which they were finding to be quiet baffling apparently. “Oh, no, you can go ahead!” – which I did.

My bag was about the sixth to hit the carousel – those “PRIORITY” tags really work! –  and I was soon in the main terminal and spotted my driver holding up the sign with my name on it. A half-hour drive into the city, a quick and friendly check in at Le Méridien and I was finally here. 26 hours door-to-door from my place in SF. Slept well and was up-and-at-’em by 9AM with no jet lag and enough time before my spa appointment downstairs to unpack and really settle in. Now to start another adventure in Bangkok!

 

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