After several hours in the British Airways lounge for a much needed shower and food, we boarded at 9:30 for our 10 PM departure. I had 61J an aisle and Katy 60A the window on the far side. Somehow we were split up and the gate agent suggested that I asked the passenger in 61K to switch with Katy. He agreed although made a bit of a fuss as “the lockers are not quite as large up near the nose of the 747 upper deck“. He struggled through the inconvenience and all was well.
I’m surprised my bride wanted to sit next to me. I was cranky flyer all afternoon and the more little things that went awry the worst it got. I was just plain exhausted and no patience whatsoever. When we found out in London that we were departing from T4 instead of T5 that was just too much for me. The 18 minute ride to the next terminal was all a plot by British Airways to ruin my day and I was going to write the company president and demand my money back.
Back in the real world, little Rickie was flying around the world for free with the love of his life. I was riding up top with a nice comfy bed and free food and I’m pitchin’ a fit for nothing.
As we settled in the seat configuration was indeed as I remembered. There just seems to be much more space in the 747 seat than the 777 seat I was in from Rio to London. The movies and TV are on demand. The tray table slides in and out away much easier. There is more storage space and most importantly there is an extra half inch it seems between seats. Fully reclined, my feet still touch the back of the seat in front of me, but it is a curved surface and so much more conducive for my planned flight activity.
The dinner options were only fair in my cranky mood, but one of the appetizer offerings was pan seared scallops, one of my favorites. Being the rather large eater, even though I’d packed it away in the lounge, I ordered the scallops and showed my discretion by passing on the main course.
My next alert moment was somewhere over Islamabad, without the after taste of scallops. It seems I fell asleep before my meal arrived. After a quick personal stop and search with an attendant and flashlight for my missing glasses, my next conscious moment was over the Bay of Bengal with 1 hour 40 minutes left to go before touchdown. A English breakfast was the offering and I reluctantly took the tray.
As much as I love the British, Irish, and Scots, with their dry sense of humor and ability to put an American in his place in a wink of an eye, the food is just not that good.
Again to my surprise, the meal of scrambled eggs, and large piece of bacon, mushrooms and sausage was quite tasty. As always I have to push the tomato off to the side. Makes no difference the country of origin, the tomato or tomatoe, shall never again touch these lips.
The ultimate torture for me would be forcing me too consume tomatoes and egg salad. My two least favorites in the world. This makes little sense as I eat ketchup, spaghetti sauce, chili and hard boiled, soft boiled, scrambled or fried eggs.
Back on target.
Upon arrival in Bangkok the first thing I noticed was the heavy aircraft metal from all around the world, the bright new terminal and the breathing masks. It was not 100%, maybe not even 50% but masks were prevalent primarily among the workers and locals.
Immigration was a breeze. No line and really very few people around this monstrosity of an airport for a 4 Pm arrival. I guess the uprising has had an effect on the tourist population.
We took the cowards way out and took the AOT limo service at $34 US to the city. Sometimes haggling is not just worth it to me. The car was new, air conditioned and no problems. They did try to pass us off to the City tour but we declined quickly and headed into the city.
The Plaza Athenee Hotel is not in the best part of town although I know nothing about Bangkok, I can tell by the drive in, there are better neighborhoods. The lobby was stunning and our 22nd floor room was spacious, clean and well appointed. The picture above is from our window.
We asked at checkin about a tour on our way out of town to the Great Palace but were informed tomorrow is a holiday and not the best day to visit. Katy seemed adamant that she wanted the day off, so we will see it on our return from the Phi Phi Islands on the 19th when we overnight here again. So it is a day of rest until our flight to Siem Reap tomorrow afternoon.
After a few hours of quite time we headed back down to the lobby for people watching and some Thai food. It seems we walked into the wedding reception for the daughter of the current Prime Minister of Thailand. Lots of fancy dresses on the ladies and security guys and military in the lobby. Everything seemed to go off smoothly.
BTW: tourism is way off. We spoke to a gal that works for the hotel ( she filled us in on the big doin’) and said the combo of politics, swine flu and world economic downturn has crushed them. But it is a great time to come as the prices are as low as she has ever seen.
The Prime Minister walked by not 10 feet from us and was ushered quickly into his awaiting car without greeting Princess Katy from the USA. It was a small snafu on his part, but maybe he wasn’t informed of her arrival or was more concerned about his daughter’s big day.
In the interest of international harmony, Katy is willing to forget the whole incident. She is such a stateswoman.
We really are on the far side of the world, and still at prices we all can afford.
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Rick Ingersoll is one of the world’s experts on frugal travel and flying free and the author of The Frugal Travel Guy Handbook. A retired mortgage banker from Traverse City, Michigan, he has retired to Hilton Head Island,... All Articles
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