January 17, 2013 FRA-BKK-RGN, FCL B, SEN B, TG F, RFL, TG C
The plane landed in FRA on time. It’s dark out and I am exhausted and it is only going to get worse. You remember the gent siting behind me demanding car service? Well he started harassing the first LH rep he saw on the jet bridge. Yeah like I said, he’s not only a jerk but a jerk in multiple time zones. Money doesn’t buy class I guess. Have you been through the wonderfulness that is Fraport? If not count yourself lucky, the airport redefines airport batman show on all levels. So here is the basic rundown on Fraport terminal 1. There are three piers: A, B, C,. C pier is international flights, B pier is divided in half, domestic EU and international 1-19 domestic, 20 and higher international. A Pier is the same as B pier except they have dual use gates; Z gates are international and the A gates are domestic EU. To navigate Fraport successfully you must do three things: one, identify your gate; two, follow the signs; and three, don’t think.
I’m dead freaking serious, do not exercise independent thought when it comes to navigating Fraport.
Ving Rhames in pulp fiction says it best. (NSFW F-bomb)
You know what happens Fraport if you think, you get lost. Period.
Now, back to the story. So I get off the plane and I do the smart move, I follow the signs. But there is a problem, I don’t have a boarding pass for FRA-BKK flight. The LH transfer desk people were less than useless, so I resolved to get as close as I could to the B gates and then reassess. I should back for a second, I arrived in the Z gates and had to change piers to the B gates. I followed the signs and I found myself looking at German immigration; ok I guess I am entering the EU. That dumped me out into the new A pier and I just kept walking. I found the elevator and the underground tunnel to the B gates. I ended up the domestic side of the B-gates, I was so close. I walked to the immigration counter that blocked my way. This immigration officer had some questions for me upon looking at the entry stamp I got moments ago. I had to explain that I was on the flight to BKK and that it left from the B gates. He found that to be an acceptable answer and let me pass.
I got in. Note at no point did I clear transfer security. I cleared immigration twice, but not security. Next stop the B First Class Lounge.
I found the FCL on the second floor of B. The lounge matrons took a few moments to verify my eligibility for the lounge. Lufthansa for reasons best known to themselves has some of the world’s most complicated lounge rules. In fact they are so complicated they had to make a chart. As an arriving first class passenger on LH I was entitled to access the arrivals lounge if FRA was my destination, if I was leaving on an another LH international flight in F I could use the First Class Terminal, If I was leaving on any other flight I could use the First Class Lounges. If I had arrived on an non-LH Star Alliance flight in First I would have been limited to the Senator lounges. My head hurts just typing this.
I don’t have any pictures of the FCL. The lounge is very nice and very quiet. Well quiet except for the Russians who were letting their kids run wild. I had a shower in the First spa. The shower rooms are large and have three foot long shoe horns, clearly so you don’t have to bend over. The only thing I love about the FCL showers is rain showerhead and exfoliator. I like high pressure showers, I think that’s because I am man, maybe not as manly as this guy,
but still a man. I got my girlfriend a duck from the shower attendant who was pleased as punch to get me one. Since I had a five hour layover I signed up for a day room to have a few hours rest. I collapsed in one of the lounge chairs facing the tarmac and took these pictures.
The 744 pictured was my ride in Fraport and would later be headed for BOM. Speaking of whisky I had a JW Blue on the rocks. You know I am not a big fan of scotch whisky but JW Blue was pretty damn smooth. I got some food from the Buffet, passing on the restaurant dining. The catering for LH’s FCLs and FCT is done by Do & Co and it is masterful. I helped myself to some cold cuts and rested while waiting for my day room. At around 9:30 the attendant came and got me for my day room. The room is a bed with some personal space. You can’t turn the lights all the way off and the bed the standard European rock hard twin. That being said I was out like a light. Two hours later, I revived myself grabbed some of the lunch grub and headed for the gate to get my boarding pass.
The B pier seems to have been recently renovated because I do not remember it looking the way it did the last time I was there. I made my way to the TG gate just in time for the gate to open. At the gate I checked in not only for BKK flight but also for my RGN flight. The agent again looking through TIMATIC wanted to know where my RGN visa was. Well I didn’t have an RGN visa. A lot of people got their RGN visa in advance, me no way. I could have used a service but again I am not going to pay double for a service that will charge double the visa cost. I went hardcore straight visa on arrival. I got the form from the RGN US Embassy website and kept it in my passport. The agent looked at the form a minute, asked someone else and cleared me. I have no idea if this was going to work in RGN, but I didn’t care, I just needed the boarding pass to BKK which I got.
I had sometime before boarding, so I went to the Senator lounge close to the gate. I could have gone back to the FCL but it was a 10 minute walk and I decided it wasn’t worth it. I passed the BOM flight where I noticed D-ABVK pushing for departure. TG F passengers get to use the Senator lounge, I would have got in anyways as a star gold card holder, and arriving LH F passenger. The lounge was a zoo. There were a couple of Air Canada flights prepping for departure and the place was packed. The food was pretty good, I had a curry and bread pudding. I didn’t take any pictures because it was packed, but I took some of the ramp.
The money shot didn’t come from the photos but from a gentleman at the food counter. He was helping himself to German sausage and asked the attendant for a couple of “hot dog buns.” The poor attendant who probably was not German looked like he was hit on the head and said they didn’t have any. I don’t think the attendant knew what a hot dog bun is much less that Germans do not eat sausage in a bun.
Well when boarding came an attendant came and escorted us to the gate and onto the plane.
Thai decided to put F on the second deck. This is different from most A380 carriers I think and certainly different from KE and SQ.
You can’t see it in these pictures, but the cream colors TG chose for the seats was a bad idea I think. The white scuffs to easy and despite only being in service what three months now, the seats were already showing wear and tear. These are seats that have to last 10 years and they are already looking damaged.
Also due to the fact that they were on the upper deck they were a little narrower than the KE F seat which is very similar in design to this seat. Service was a best muddled. You know how when you go to a restaurant just after it opens and service is genuine but rough, that perfectly describes this flight. There was just no order to the service. F shared galley space with business class and I think the higher demand of business service negatively impacted F service. Both KE and SQ share a galley with economy.
So food porn time.
The food was very good, and I am sorry about lacking a picture of the salad and the main course it was the duck and it was amazing.
Appetizers, notice the nicely plated terrine of duck.
Breakfast which was ok.
What I regret most about this flight was not getting a shot of the bars in business class and the first class lav. The first class lav had a changing space a little vanity area so you could change into and out of your PJs without being near the toilet. Seriously, who hasn’t thought changing on the toilet is gross. I passed on getting the Thai aircraft model from the duty free because I wanted to save space. I ended up running out of space later in the trip so maybe I should have sucked it up. We landed on-time and went into the E gates I think. BKK is not the biggest airport, but it sprawls like nothing else. It is quite easy to find yourself a kilometer or more away from your gate or lounge. TG provides golf carts for F passengers. However, TG didn’t really think it out. My golf cart had four passengers and one driver. I guess that works if the passengers are fun sized, but we were three burly Germans and me. One of the Germans had to wait for another cart. We sped through the terminal trying not to hit anyone, but still people were jumping out in front of the car GTA style. We made it to transfer security and were escorted into the Royal First Lounge.
Royal First Lounge
People rave about how amazing this place is. I don’t see it, I guess they rave because they get access to the spa and the services there are free. I don’t do strange people rubbing on me, I just don’t. The lounge is all table service, there is a buffet but it is only for you to look at then order from the server. Here are my pictures from the lounge.
Service was slow, the servers rarely made rounds and I had to flag them down several times. I had some fruit (including one redish orange colored piece that tasted like cheese) and a bowl of Thai soup with rice which was quite spicy. I did have a shower which was ok it wasn’t anything memorable. In fact the whole lounge except for the food was meh. They had day rooms, but I didn’t know about them so I didn’t use them. Eventually after a few hours it was time to go; rather than take a golf cart to my gate, I walked. I needed the exercise.
Here is the view from the gate area including my A300 bound for RGN.
BKK-RGN, A300, C
I was inordinately excited about this flight. I would be my first flight on an A300, filling in a gap in my flight memory. The flight was full in C and this is important because the attendants did a full service on an hour long flight. In the US the flight attendants can barely be bother to get out of their jump seats on an hour long flight, these people did a full service with multiple drink runs. Lunch was boiled chicken Singapore style with rice noodles, an appetizer of fried and marinated fish, and a coconut cake dessert. It was all served on a single tray and very tasty. The plane was wired for overhead IFE, but they just kept the flight map up the entire flight. While the A300 appealed to my aviation nutter-self, at the end of the day it was just a short flight in C to Rangoon. The man sitting next to me was Thai but apparently he went to Notre Dame as was unhappy with the turnout of the national championship.
Next up RGN, and my trip to ICN.