Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Thai Airways B777-300

I took Thai Airways (TG) B777-300.  This is typical TG B777-300.  The flight registration is HS-TKB

Seat picth is ok, considering I am 6feet (180cm) tall, with typical colorful TG cabin.  It has Personal TV with ok selection for 2 hours flight.   But the full IFE is only turned on slightly late.  I can only see TV selection (no movie selection)

What interesting to me, they stick the announcement that the toilet is at the back.  I never see this in any B777-300 before.  May be too many passanger go to the front part of cabin and looking for toilet.

Here are the plane from outside

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Birthday Getaway - Kuala Lumpur (6-8 Jan 2012)

As an annual ritual to give a birthday present to myself, I decided to visit Kuala Lumpur (KL in short) to pamper myself, as I do not want to spend so much time and money on the flight.  The ticket cost me SGD 67 and Air Asia also sell the bus ride from KLIA-LCC to KL Sentral both way for only SG7.  I think if you buy on the spot it will cost you RM10 per trip.  Also they sell the Tune Talk (i.e Sim Card) for SGD2.50.

I do not like with Air Asia pricing model is lack of transparency.  As you saw on the picture above.  The "actual" cost for the flight is only SGD 7 each way (2x7 = 14), that's what it showed when you choose the flight.  When you start finishing the transaction you will see all the fee and fuel surcharge come up and they cost more than the "actual ticket" cost.  Why can't they just simply add it up as these fee/charges I cannot opt out anyway.  Mr.  Tony, if you read my blog, please be more transparent please.  You thought you will pay SGD14 and end up it  becomes SGD67, it likes more than 300%!

Arriving at KLIA-LCC is quite an experience.  It is really very basic and like warehouse.  I am quite amaze on how things works there.  Kudos to Mr. Tony!

One thing very funny is there is a TuneTalk outlet just after you pass the immigration (and custom?).  But my prepaid card cannot be collected there and can only be collected at the outlet outside.  A bit strange.  If I order pre-paid, I should get it as soon as I off the airplane right? 

So I took the SkyBus, which is owned by AirAsia group also, to KL Sentral.  The bus was not that punctual as it was trying to fill all seat before it left the airport.  The journey took about an hour to reach KL Sentral, which is the main train station in KL.

For my accomodation, as I cannot decided if I should stay in Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel or The Westin Kuala Lumpur, I finally decided to stay at both properties.

Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur

Location wise althought it is located at Jalan Sultan Ismail, it is not really that near Bukit Bintang area.   It is 2 station away from Bukit Bintang Monorail Station.   The Medan Tuanku station is like 200 meter away from the hotel.  The hotel is located by Jalan Doraisamy which I was told by the cab driver used to be one of the popular KL night spot until recently.  Later on, I also found out that the Dan Wangi station, which is an MRT station is also a short walking distance (about 5 min lesiure walk).  This MRT will bring you direct to KL Sentral.

The hotel itself is quite huge.  It has nice lobby but the decoration shows that this hotel is built probabbly sometimes in 1990s.  Upon check in, I was told, as SPG Gold, I has been upgraded to City View room.

The room is huge and I like to see that the room is really prepared for me even before my arrival as I can see the welcome message on the TV screen.   Also I like the chocolcate with the strawberry dip, very nice!

This room has a really nice view of the twin tower from far.  No wonder the front office desk told me this is an "upgrade" as I am a Gold member :)

The bathroom is also quite huge with seperate shower area and bath tube

Verdict - no complain about this hotel.  I like the the spaciousness of the room, but the design is a bit "old" although it is quite well maintain.

The Westin Kuala Lumpur

Locationwise, it beats the Sheraton Imperial as Westin KL is located at the heart of Bukit Bintang.  It is directly opposite the Pavilion which is one of the most upscale mall in KL.

I decided to take the offer of last minute upgrade to Club Floor Room at extra RM 100.  Upon check in, I was asked of a choice of mix nuts and something else (which I forgot, chocolate?).  I took mix nuts and I do love it!

The club floor room benefit include access to the Lounge for Breakfast and evening cocktail and also 50% off the Internet in the room.  I found the lounge food both during evening cocktail and breakfast is quite lacking.

I feel the Westin room is smaller than Sheraton.  I am not sure if this is the case of just my feeling due to the design of the room.  The room is much modern here with very Westin's style, I suppose (I have not stayed in any Westin properties after the rebranding of Westin in Singapore).

I got the room with city view, mind you, this will not give you a twin tower view.  Later on I found out from the Front Office staff that they are getting less and less Twin Tower view room as there is a new building erected across the street.

The bath room is not as huge as Sheraton but again come with seperate shower area and a bath tube.  Interestingly, the soap is in the shape of leaves!

Verdict - nice hotel with good location.  But I do not think the club floor upgrade of RM100 is really worth.  I rather pay for the full amount of the Internet access which I think is RM40 and take proper breakfast.

So, is it Westin or Sheraton?  It is still tuff call for me.  If I go KL for shopping and eating, may be I will choose Westin due to its location rather than anything else.

When I was there, in front of Pavillion which is just across the street from Westin, it displayed this cute looking bear.  Later I found out this is a charity even with the name of United Buddy Bears in Malaysia.  It has bear from eveyr nation in the world!  Here is some sample.

Last few fotos just to show you how the KLIA-LCC terminal looks like.  It is fully functional terminal with even Duty Free Shops.  However, you have to walk quite far to your plane. 

And I am quite amaze that CIMB has an ATM in the LCC with foreign currency notes!  I did not try it though.

Finally, I think this plane is really awesome.  You can see the better picture here.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Experience with KLM B777-300ER

I have not been flying with KLM since they have rerouted its AMS-CGK to AMS-KUL-CGK from AMS-SIN-CGK, which is quite some years ago.

Finally, I have an opportunity to fly with them again (16-19 March 2012) as their SIN-DPS-SIN is the cheapest that I can find for that period.   KLM has been flying AMS-SIN-DPS vv for almost a year now and indeed they have upgraded the second legs (SIN-DPS) to daily service now from 5 weekly service.

They are using their B777-300ER for that particular day, although I notice on some day, the equipment listed as B777-200.  And I was lucky that day the plan is the one with the SkyTeam Logo.  Registration : PH-BVD, with the name of "Nationaal Park Amboseli"

You need to be aware that you need to do self printing for the boarding pass as the check-in staff in Changi will not print the boarding pass for you.  If you have not printed the boarding pass at home, you need to go to the selfservice kiosk to print your boarding pass before heading to the service desk to get your document verified and drop your bag.  I was told that you still need to go to the service desk to get your document checked before proceeding to the Immigration.  I found the process is a bit stupid!

Another thing I chose the KLM flight because I want to see how tight is the 3-4-3 configuration in the B777-300.  All of the B777-300 that I have been are with 3-3-3 configuration.  Although the seat is ok, but the alley is rather narrow and very annoying if you seat on aisle as you may get bumped when people walking along the aisle

Pitch-wise is ok and I am 6" (180cm) tall.  IFE is quite fine with ok selection, but I do not like the location of the remote as it can be quite annoying during meal time.

The first 4 rows in this section of cabin is designated as Economy Comfort.  Personally I do not feel any different when I was seated on it on the DPS-SIN leg.  There is some "divider" between Eco Com\fort and normal Eco which again I found it a a bit weird.

Meal service is quite good for a short flight and seem it is pre-packed from AMS.

This is the plane that take me back on DPS-SIN.  

It was late due to late arrival from AMS.  We departed at 2300 instead of 2145.  the problem is very hard to get in touch with KLM office in DPS.  I have been trying to call their office in CGK and was told as far as they are concern the flight will depart as per schedule, although I had checked that the plane scheduled to arrive SIN late almost 1.5 hours.  I can only get the confirmation from KLM AMS via twitter which direct me to check their website.

Will I fly KLM again?  May be not for long haul, but I will be happy to fly them again on SIN-DPS-SIN if the price is right