• Plumpflyer

FLIGHT REVIEW: 3 HOURS TURNED 15 HOURS JOURNEY(HANOI TO SINGAPORE)

INTRODUCTION


It has been a while since the last flight review! I hope you are catching up with my other posts in other section as well!


Today i will bring you along on my journey from Hanoi to Singapore and i can tell you that it's going to be a long post. You must be thinking what's so special about a 3 hours flight from Hanoi to Singapore?


The other day i was browsing on Singapore Airlines website looking for a one way award ticket from Hanoi to Singapore. As someone who loves to be onboard the plane as much as possible, i tried searching for the longest way possible back home.


For redemptions of Krisflyer Miles, you can redeem Singapore Airlines Flights as well as Star Alliance Partners & Partner Airlines(Airlines that's not part of Star Alliances).


Under the Star Alliance Partners option, I was lucky enough to find an irresistible itinerary that i couldn't avoid. It would be a big disappointment to myself if i don't go ahead with the booking.

A 3 Hour Journey Turn 15 Hours!


The 15 hours journey will be served by fellow Star Alliance Partners which in this case, Thai Airways & Ethiopian Airlines(5th Freedom Flight).


My plan is to have

- Breakfast at Hanoi Airport Lounge

- Brunch onboard TG561 (Hanoi to Bangkok)

- 1st Lunch at Eva Air Lounge Bangkok

- 2nd Lunch at Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge Bangkok

- Coffee Break at Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge Bangkok

- Early Dinner onboard TG417 (Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur)

- Dinner at Plaza Platinum Lounge Kuala Lumpur

- Supposedly supper onboard ET639 (Kuala Lumpur to Singapore)

So the total amount for this itinerary is 20,000 Krisflyer miles + USD59.57 taxes (SGD$81.00). If i could give an estimate "street value" of the miles plus tax, it would cost about SGD$441.00. But how much will it cost if i were to pay cash for this trip? Let's find out!

A check on Thai Airways reveal that it would cost USD$605.52 for a one way business class ticket from Hanoi - Bangkok - Kuala Lumpur. That's a estimate of SGD $827.00! Not ridiculously expensive for those who are willing to spend.

Where else for Ethiopian Airlines, it would cost Malaysia Ringgit $2,269 for the short 1 hour flight from Kuala Lumpur - Singapore. That's a whopping SGD $766.00 for this flight! Now this is called ridiculously expensive!


The amount that i would have potentially saved is SGD $1152! I can do a return domestic flight on Vietnam Airlines B787 Dreamliner & Airbus A350. Something that i hope to do soon!


Without further ado, join me on this awesome 15 hours journey home!


1st leg: Hanoi to bangkok

Departing from Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, i arrived at the airport around 8am in the morning. It was a sunday morning hence there isn't any morning rush hour traffic.

Check in counters open 2 hours before the departure time and as expected no queue at the business class lane.

Business class passengers are invited to the ACV Business Lounge at level 2. Separate review can be found here.

Boarding was delayed for about 15 minutes due to late arrival of the aircraft. Serving me today is HS-TET, an 8.5 years old Airbus A330-343X fitted with 2 X RR Trent 772B-60.


Boarding process was seamless for business class as well as Star Alliance gold members. At the doors, i was warmly welcomed & ushered to my seat by the super friendly stewardess.

The seats onboard this A330 are the 2-2-2 Regional Business Class configuration. At press time, they can still be seen deploying the A330s to as far as Tokyo (6 hours flight).


I am not sure if Thai Airways will be introducing a new business class product but i feel they should do so soon. It may still be acceptable now but in time to come, this product will be seen as outdated and people might not be interested to fly on them anymore.


Sitted at seat 17E for this regional flight, the stewardess asked if i like to move slight forward. I told her i purposely pick the last row so that i can take photos. She nod and understand what i am trying to do. She then asked if i like to have a drink? I said Sure! Bring your signature drink!


I also noted that the seat is reserved for crew on long haul flights. They can be identified with the curtains at the side.

Sipping a glass of their signature "Violet Breeze” which consist a blend of chilled lime juice and pressed Thai butterfly-pea blossoms.

Boarding were extremely fast and we departed on time despite the delay earlier. For sure the seat pitch is longer than Singapore Airlines A330 Regional Business Class. There is much more legroom to stretch and i can hardly reach the seat in front of me. (Shortie)

After take off, meal service began promptly. There were only 4 of us in the whole business class cabin. That means there are 32 empty seats. The crew certainly had a easier day today!

I choose the Salmon option on this flight and it's accompanied by a smoked duck potato salad & a Beautifully Designed Yam dessert.


The salad and salmon dish was delicious but i had mixed feeling about the dessert. While it's aesthetically pleasing, i didn't quite like the taste. Maybe i am just picky? I don't know.

Privacy wasn't an issue on this flight because there were 32 empty seats! I can just seat wherever i like. Nonetheless even on a full flight, you don't have to worry about much privacy even though this is not the most favoured business class product out there. You can just slide out the privacy wall after takeoff. *Here you can see the certain which can be deployed for crew rest area.

I wouldn't expect a flat bed product for this short flight but i did try the angled recliner seat and found it be comfortable and acceptable for day flights.

I don't usually sleep onboard a day flight so i returned to the original upright position and play around the seat features. Notice this ancient IFE remote? While it's fully functional, IFE remote these days are getting smaller and smaller. So it's a matter of time before it's gone! I also just learnt that i can actually make a call to another seat. I am sure it would be fun to make prank calls to kill time on a long haul flight.


The IFE monitor display is definitely not HD. It's grainy and blur but served the basic purpose for this flight. I didn't even bother exploring the IFE. There wasn't any headphones given for this flight to begin with.

Right after the seatbelt sign is switched off, the crew shut down windows shade by the unoccupied seats so as to make the cabin atmosphere relaxing without all the bright sunlight shining thru the cabin. Perhaps it makes the cabin a little cooler this way too.

We begin our approach shortly and landed in Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport.


LOUNGE RUN


Once arrived in Bangkok, i went straight to the lounge since i have about 4 hours to kill. My first choice in Suvarnabhumi Airport is none other than the Eva Air Lounge, followed by Singapore Airlines Silverkris then Thai Royal Silk Lounge(which i didn't bother to write a lounge review because it's simply just not up to standard).

I had a coconut inside the Eva Lounge, some simple hot food before heading for the business lounge where i managed to print some work documents before heading for a nice shower in their very nice shower rooms.

With 3 hours left, i hit the SilverKris Lounge for a nice plate of chicken rice and a mug of watermelon banana smoothie. Simply delicious. SilverKris is still the best lounge for food.

I also noticed 2 beautiful photo frames, can someone tell me where can i get this?

With 1 hour till boarding, i visited the underwhelming Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge. It was a disappointment and the interior felt very ancient and outdated. I just had a quick cup of latte before heading to my boarding gate. Thankfully tho, the latte was great.


2nd Leg - Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur

Boarding lounge was extremely packed with families, kids & businessman. I assumed that this flight will be full.


Servicing us on this short 2 hours flight to Kuala Lumpur is HS-TKQ, a 5 year old Boeing 777-300ER fitted with 2 X GE90 engines.

This Boeing 777-300ER are fitted with 42 Long Haul Flatbed Business Class Seats. These 1-2-1 configuration business class seats are divided in to 2 section. 24 seats upfront and 18 seats in the rear cabin as shown above. All windows seats are staggered. You either have the ones nearer to the window or the exposed seats near to the aisle.


I purposely picked the rear for exclusivity and hoping that it will be as empty as the previous flight but i was wrong. In fact the whole business class cabin were filled up! Even kids are here too!

Seated at 21A, this is my kind of favourite business class seat onboard any plane. Sitted next to the window, i have the shell to shield me away from other passengers. This particular seat arrangement should be the most private seat in the plane.

Champagne and towel were served. At the side you can find the seat controls, IFE remote as well as a compartment to put your phones or passport. I was able to fit 2 phones and a passport wallet without much difficulty. It slips in perfectly.

Nice afternoon sun shining thru the cabin as we started our pushback. The IFE remote here is slighty newer than the previous leg. It also has a qwerty keyboard on the back.

This photo deserved to be a standalone simply because of the Queen of the Skies parked next to our gate. I am hoping to fly on one of these 744 before they completely phrased out in the next couple of years. In fact, many airlines had already phrased them out. Such a pity.

Noice cancelling headphones were provided for this flight but did you see the cracks on the ear paddings? Is this what they are supposed to provide? Where's the quality check?

Right after we took off, i took my shoes off and i slot right in the compartment below until landing.

Meals service began promptly. I also like how i am able to push the table away so that i can visit the washroom in the middle of the meal service.

Toilets were sufficiently big. Amenities were simple, there were no disposable toothbrush, comb, shaver that we can find on Singapore Airlines. Oh and you can't miss the Orchid Flower. They are everywhere.

Option for today's early dinner is Salmon Fillet, Prawn or Chicken.

I choose the salmon option again. Same quality as the previous flight. The spicy chicken salad was very salty but the fruit and dessert was great. The chocolate mousse was super delicious! I wished i had a 2nd serving.

After meal service, i asked for a cup of hot camomile to smoothen my stomach. While waiting, i explore my surrounding. I then noticed the rubber lining which is starting to fall apart. I also notice the big gap between the seat and the window.


The inflight entertainment option was great but there were many old movies which can be a good and bad thing depending on individual. I love to rewatch old movies that i think is nice. The screen were much sharper in resolution but i find the screen a little small. If they can make it retractable so that passengers can bring it closer to our sitting position.


The screen doesn't seem to have the ability to tilt down which makes it difficult or impossible to watch movie on flatbed position.

A cup of hot camomile and water was served. Pictured here is the flatbed position. At this moment, i realised that the whole cabin wasn't given a blanket. I assumed that you have to request for one. Perhaps a cost cutting move.

We started our descent in to Kuala Lumpur shortly. I went for another quick toilet break and the crew left the fast track pass on my seat. Although i am not going to clear immigration, i still kept it as memorabilia.


We landed safely & on time. Great job, Thai!


LOUNGE ACCESS

As my next flight is with Ethiopian Airlines, i should be able to access Star Alliance Lounges like Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge & Thai Royal Silk Lounge in Kuala Lumpur but both are super underwhelming hence i decided to Plaza Platinum Lounge which accepts Ethiopian Airlines Passengers.


I hardly fly out of Kuala Lumpur with any airlines that uses Plaza Platinum Lounge hence i thought this will be the best opportunity to find out what the lounge has to offer.

But there was one problem. I didn't have the lounge access coupon which was usually given by the check in counter. I was issued the boarding pass from Hanoi and hence there was no lounge coupon or anything like that.


The counter staff tried calling Ethiopian check in counter but to no avail. They told me to just proceed in to the lounge and they will inform me of the outcome. There was no news from them which i assumed was good news for me!

It was pretty busy when i was there at 7.30pm. Huge turnoff for me.

There wasn't much hot food option. There were a salad bar and fridge full of canned soft drinks at the side.

What i like about the lounge is the bar area where you can get some really nice freshly brewed coffee and some cakes. I highly recommend the dates cake!


So after 3 hours of eating/drinking/resting, i thought it was time to board but the receptionist told me that the flight hasn't even arrive yet.

They even told me that the Ethiopian crew are inside the lounge too! Only then i realised that it will be a new set of crew who will fly back to Singapore and then onwards to Addis Abbas. So i decided to eat something with them in the background. After about 20 minutes, the crew started making their way to the gate. I left about 5 minutes later.


3rd Leg - Kuala Lumpur to Singapore

By this time, i was already tearing(tired) and i can't wait to go back home. It was too dark to take any picture of the plane itself. I was also issued a new boarding pass at the gate. No biggies i thought, just bring me home now!


Wait a minute, you might be thinking what is Ethiopian doing in Kuala Lumpur and why are they doing Kuala Lumpur to Singapore. That's because they are flying this route under the 5th Freedom Flight rule.

Bringing me home tonight is the modern B787-9 Dreamliner from Ethiopian Airlines. Fitted with the 2-2-2 configuration of business class cabin also known as Cloud 9, the slightly slanted 4 rows cabin is ready to take 24 passengers but there is only a total of 3 passengers. The relief pilot were seated in business class as well.


Ethiopian Airlines also operates the B787-8 which features a older business class product. What you see here is the newer version that Ethiopian install in their 900 series.

As you can see, the seats are slanted slightly to the side.

You can also see that one seat positioned slightly forward than the other. The window seats on last row(Seat 4A & 4K) doesn't come with windows. So do take note and avoid the seat if you like to have a window.

You are not seeing things. It's indeed champagne! I was pleasantly surprised when they serve champagne on this flight! They pour the champagne from the bottle right in front of you. Many airlines only do that for their first class passengers. They also offered a bottle of water to me.

In flight magazine and safety card can be found at the side. Their IFE remote is one of a kind that i see in my travel. Their in flight entertainment screen display is very sharp in resolution, very sensitive but lack of a range of contents.


From my understanding and what others told me , Economy class passengers won't be getting any water or peanuts on this one hour leg to singapore. I wasn't expecting to have something to eat too until the air stewardess came by my seat and told me that it will only be a 30 minutes flight , would you like to have something to eat?


I know she was hinting in a way that since the flight time is too short, i should forgo the meal service but i am really curious to know what they serve for this flight hence i guiltily asked for something to eat.

Still they served with a smile, placed a cloth over the table and served me what looks like a plate of night snacks. A spring roll, mushrooms and pizza. I also like the 3 cute mini bottles of condiments at the side. Tomato Sauce, Mayonnaise & Mustard. I really like how they go for the smallest detail like placing a cloth over the table before laying the tableware piece by piece. It felt like they are about to start a full meal service but only exception is that there is only one dish.


I felt bad enough to make them busy for this flight, so i quickly finished up the food in 2 minutes before signalling the stewardess to clear my table. I went to the lavatory for a quick one before they started descending in to Singapore.

Lavatory were expectedly clean and there isn't much amenities. But i see this hygiene wipes that's placed at the side and it comes in small packets like the wet wipes that comes with any screen protector. Not sure what's the main purposes though. It could be used as a hygiene wipe to wipe down the toilet bowl cover or for general disinfection wipes after a lavatory visit.


This is the first time i have seen something like that in any lavatory.


Conclusion


Although it was a super tiring day of flying, i did enjoyed myself because i love spending time on the plane. Most importantly i get to fly on 2 airlines other than Singapore Airlines & Malaysia Airlines which i fly very often on.


I love the hospitality by the Thai Crew. They are very friendly and seem ready to help anytime. Most importantly their service felt very genuine and they smile a lot.


As for Ethiopian Airlines, they may not have the best business class seats in the industry but however they provided full service even on the shortest flight. Champagne was surprisingly served from the bottle right in front of you which so far i only see it in first class & the tableware were placed piece by piece rather than serving the whole setup in a tray. However they don't smile as much as the Thais.


However, Ethiopian Airline did left a great impression on me and i certainly like to fly with them if i ever visit Africa in the future.


I am sorry to take up 15 hours of your time reading this post.


Thanks for reading! Check out for my other post & stay tuned!


Happy Flying,

Plumpflyer

© 2018 BY PLUMPFLYER.COM

Republic of Singapore

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED