Tag Archives: airlines

3 freebies for anyone booking an SQ ticket this month

Mastercard and SIA are running a promotion until 30 Sept where those who use Mastercard to pay can redeem special gifts. If you’re already intending to buy an SQ ticket why not use your DBS Woman’s World Mastercard and get something out of it?

Offer 1: Free Movie Tickets

For every SQ ticket purchased from 1-30 Sept 2016 on Singaporeair.com departing from Singapore and paid for with a Mastercard, you are eligible to redeem a free Cathay movie ticket.

Image result for cathay cineplex

Redemption is straightforward

Step 1: Purchase a Singapore Airlines Ticket within qualifying promotion period departing from Singapore through Singaporeair.com to a MasterCard Credit Card which is in good standing.

Step 2: Head down to Singapore Service Centre at ION to redeem the movie pass between1 Sep – 30 Sep 2016 with your Digital/ Print out electronic ticket receipt. One movie ticket per e electronic ticket receipt

Step 3: Staff will verify the details for redemption.

This is limited to the first 1,000 redemptions but a friend who just redeemed this said her tickets were number 74 and 75, so apparently there is still quite a bit of stock available.

Offer 2: RWS Invites Silver Membership

This one is a bit more intriguing. For every Premium Economy or Business Class ticket bought on singaporeair.com or singaporeairgetaway.com until 30 Sept and paid with mastercard, you can get a complimentary RWS Invites Silver Membership.

RWS Invites Silver Membership comes with a choice of welcome gifts

  • Halloween Horror Nights (value: $163.80)
    • 2 admission tickets to the RWS Halloween Event
    • 2 light up lanyards
    • limited edition Halloween card
  • USS Package (value: $178)
    • 2 USS one day adult passes
    • $30 of dining vouchers
  • SEA Aquarium & Adventure Cover Waterpark (value: $176)
    • 2 SEA Aquarium one day adult passes
    • 2 Adventure Cover waterpark one day adult passes
    • 2 Ray Bay interaction program passes
  • RWS Dining Vouchers (value: $200)
  • Dolphin Island (value: $196)
    • Dolphin discovery interaction program for 2 adults
    • 2 Adventure Cover waterpark one day adult passes
  • ESPA at RWS (value: up to $225)
    • Choice of 60 minute personalised massage or Indulgence Hammam Ritual

Also remember the general privileges that come with RWS Invites Silver Membership

Invites$ Rebate

  • Earn Invites$ rebate at participating outlets all year round. Invites$1 is equivalent to S$1
  • Use your Invites$ to redeem hotel stays, attraction passes or to offset your next purchase

Earn:

  • 20% Invites$ rebate on:
    – Dining at our star and celebrity chef restaurants
    – Regular priced a la carte treatments at ESPA
    – Regular priced day passes to Trick Eye Museum, Dolphin Island and Ultimate Marine Encounters
  • 15% Invites$ rebate on:
    – Regular priced day passes to K-Live Sentosa
  • 10% Invites$ rebate on:
    – Regular priced day passes to Universal Studios Singapore, S.E.A. Aquarium and Adventure Cove Waterpark
  • 3% Invites$ rebate on:
    – Every dollar spent at other participating outlets

Redeem:

  • Use your Invites$ to redeem all-day parking, hotel stays, attraction passes or to offset your next purchase

Parking

  • Redeem all–day parking with Invites$1.50

Priority Access

  • Priority entry to Universal Studios Singapore, S.E.A. Aquarium and Adventure Cove Waterpark² when you show your RWS Invites Card
  • Complimentary access to Typhoon Theatre with purchase of S.E.A. Aquarium One-Day Pass
  • Universal Express™ and Adventure Express at discounted rates

Hotel

  • Complimentary wireless high-speed broadband Internet access during your hotel stay²

Kids Club

  • 1–for–1 hour at Kids Club, where children are enriched with arts and crafts, interactive story–telling and fun activities in a safe environment

Birthday Benefits

  • Receive special privileges during your birthday month. For more info, click here

Only 500 redemptions are available for this promotion, and remember that you must be on a revenue business or premium economy booking as per the T&C (although I’ve got reports that even redemption bookings are passing muster for this- YMMV, but if you’ve already made a booking and paid for the surcharges with a MC you might want to try your luck?)

Full T&C for this promotion can be found here.

Thanks to Milelion reader Hannah for this tip!

Bonus Offer: S$10 KrisShop voucher for any booking on Singaporeair.com

When scrolling through the website I found another freebie- receive a S$10 KrisShop eVoucher when you book your flight on singaporeair.com during September. To receive your voucher, click on the KrisShop link found on your booking confirmation e-mail and register your e-mail address.

This doesn’t require you to book with Mastercard or anything, so if you’re buying an SQ ticket this month be sure not to leave money on the table. S$10 won’t get you much but still…

The Long Way to New York: Thai Airways First Class BKK-HND

Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge, Singapore
Singapore Airlines Business Class SIN-BKK
Thai Airways First Class Lounge & Spa, BKK
Thai Airways First Class BKK-HND
Getting from HND to NRT
ANA First Class Lounge, NRT
ANA First Class NRT-ORD
United Club ORD
United Economy ORD-EWR
Visiting the US Open
Sheraton New York Times Square
Hilton New York Midtown
Wingtips Lounge JFK & Delta to DC
Exploring Washington DC
Element New York Times Square West
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, JFK
Singapore Airlines Suites JFK-FRA
Lufthansa Senator Lounge FRA
Singapore Airlines Suites FRA-SIN


Although it is old and on the brink of retirement, the 747-400 still holds a special place in my heart, as I mentioned in my review of the Asiana First Class product during my RTW trip. There is something quite special about boarding an aircraft as culturally important as the 747. The recent passing of Joe Sutter, the manager of the design team for the original 747, reminded me how the aircraft single-handedly revolutionized the way we travel. To put things in perspective, the predecessor to the 747 was the 707, which carried 110 passengers to the 747’s 360. The 747’s length is longer than the Wright Brother’s first flight.

Unfortunately the 747 is not long for this world; the 747-8 has sold poorly and more and more airlines will be phasing out their 747-400s in the near future. Cathay Pacific, for example, will be retiring theirs in a matter of weeks. So if you’re a child of the 90s or earlier and want to say a final farewell to this glorious machine, no better time than the present.

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My flight to HND was departing from Gate A6 on the far end of BKK airport. We were escorted there by a lounge staff member, which seemed to me to be sort of redundant given that it’s pretty much impossible to get lost in an airport.

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Thai Airways has a total of 11 747-400s in its active fleet. 5 of them have the old Royal First and 6 have the new, Suite style product.

Helpful information from this FT thread

The old seats:

Boeing 747-400 (5) | HS-TGO, P, T, W and X | Seat map
Also referred to as: 74R, 7443, Boeing 747-400, «10F»

Royal First (10) | First row: 1-1, second and third row: 1-2-1 | Full flat «pods» | PTV AVOD AC | View
Royal Silk (Main deck: 14, Upper deck: 26) | 2-2 | 1st gen angle flat | PTV AVOD AC | View 1 View 2
Economy (325) | 3-4-3 | Standard | PTV AVOD AC | View

This is how the old Royal First looks. The seats are full flat, but don’t have a lot of privacy. The throne style seating sort of reminds me of SQ’s old Skysuite product, without the leather.

Photo of HS-TGX Boeing 747-4D7 by Patrick Teubner
photo credit: jetphotos.net

The new seats:

Boeing 747-400 (6) | HS-TGA, B, F, G, Y and Z | No seat map available
Also referred to as: 74N, Boeing 747 All series, «9F»

Royal First (9) | First row: 1-1, second row: 1-1-1 and third row: 1-2-1 | Full flat «suites» | PTV AVOD AC USB | View 1 View 2
Royal Silk (Main deck: 14, Upper deck: 26) | 2-2 | 2nd gen angle flat | PTV AVOD AC USB |
Economy (325) | 3-4-3 | Standard | PTV AVOD AC USB | View

Photo of HS-TGY Boeing 747-4D7 by Pawarin Prapukdee
photo credit: jetphotos.net

Although we were booked to fly with the new First Class, Thai is notorious for doing last minute equipment swaps, so I was relieved when I entered the cabin and saw that nothing untowards had happened.

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There are a total of 10 suites in Royal First on Thai’s refurbished 747s. I had seat 1A in the nose of the plane.

1A offers a good degree of privacy because of the way the nose is curved. Unless someone is standing right next to you, it’s impossible to look into your suite.

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Each suite is spacious, with a ton of leg room to stretch out into

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The seat has a good amount of storage area for everything you need. There is a nifty tablet built into the seat that lets you control all the different features. really though, it’s a duplication of the buttons below the tablet so I’m not sure why they felt it necessary to include. Maybe at one point the tablet was supposed to be integrated into the IFE system but they gave up.

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Each seat also has its own flower vase just off the side of the TV screen with an orchid in it. Lufthansa has roses, if I remember correctly.

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Thai gives out Rimowa amenities kits to First Class passengers. The only other airline I know who does this is Eva (they don’t have First Class, so Business Class passengers get them). I believe Lufthansa used to offer them but on my latest flight I received a different branded one so they might have changed.

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There is mouthwash, a comb, Monteil branded facial moisturizer, lip balm, hydration spray, a pair of socks and a cheap toothbrush kit (although to be fair I haven’t seen any airline go all out on the airline toothbrush- why not?)

I read conflicting reports about whether or not Thai offers PJs in First Class. Fortunately they were available on this flight. The PJs are not branded, like Cathay Pacific’s Shanghai Tang, but they were comfortable enough and still better than nothing.

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Thai’s headphones are supposedly noise cancelling, but the sound quality was very poor. They don’t offer the same high quality headphones that SQ has (Bose QC15s).

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The attendants came around to introduce themselves and serve pre-departure drinks. Dom was offered and accepted.

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Menus were distributed and orders taken for dinner. Even though this was First Class, dinner would be a very short affair. I suppose it’s more similar to the supper service on SQ, even though SQ’s abbreviated supper service is still somewhat longer than this.

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For comparison’s sake, here’s the SQ menu for a Suites flight (albeit on a longer, 13 hour route)

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Here’s the drinks list. The only name you’re really interested in is Dom Perignon 2006

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With red eye flights like this maximizing sleep is the name of the game, so I was interested to see how quickly the crew could finish serving a full First Class cabin of 10 people.

Within 30 minutes of taking off the first course was delivered. So far so good. The scallops were nicely done, the cream of fennel soup was passable.

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After this was cleared, I waited for the main course to be served.

And waited

And waited

30 minutes later I asked the stewardess about the main course. She looked completely surprised and said “we serve it before landing, would you like to have it now?”

I was completely taken aback. I mean, I had never encountered a situation where an airline split one meal into two parts, and I certainly wasn’t told about it when ordering. I suppose if you look at the menu you might be able to tell that it’s split into two, after all it’s a bit weird to serve yogurt and cereal for supper. But still, I was quite annoyed that I had basically waited another 30 minutes for nothing, which on a short overnight flight makes a difference to quality rest.

The main took another 15 minutes to arrive and was decidedly mediocre. There were exactly three pieces of Sanma fish, the accompaniments of deep-fried fishcake ball, simmered prawn and konnyaku were soggy and stone cold. The best part was really the steamed Japanese rice.

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I do regret not trying the rice vermicelli noodle soup with pork balls, something that sounds a lot more Thai and should have come out better but by now I just wanted to sleep.

I ate as quickly as I could and asked the crew to turn down the bed so I could get some rest.

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The bed is actually really comfortable. There is a special mattress pad they put on the seat and a softer blanket is provided (not the scratchy woolen one you find at the seat). With earplugs I managed to sleep about 3 hours in total. I ended up sleeping through the breakfast service (but in any case already had my “breakfast” the night before.

I think that TG’s First Class hard product is solid, although the older 747 invariably has issues of its own with engine noise, toilet quality and the disconcerting tendency for everything on the aircraft to creak when it banks. Soft product wise, the crew definitely don’t speak to non-Thai passengers as much as they interact with Thais, I’m going to put that down to a lack of confidence in English ability. But they were always available for requests.

Although TG is definitely not in the same league as the Star Alliance’s MVPs of NH and SQ (possibly a strong case to be made for BR too), it’s pleasant enough to take for short flights. I’ve never experienced long haul TG on their newer aircraft and that might be a good route to review in the future if Lifemiles availability shows up.

We landed on time in HND. I now had about 4 hours to get to NRT.

The Long Way to New York: Thai Airways First Class Spa & Lounge BKK

Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge, Singapore
Singapore Airlines Business Class SIN-BKK
Thai Airways First Class Lounge & Spa, BKK
Thai Airways First Class BKK-HND
Getting from HND to NRT
ANA First Class Lounge, NRT
ANA First Class NRT-ORD
United Club ORD
United Economy ORD-EWR
Visiting the US Open
Sheraton New York Times Square
Hilton New York Midtown
Wingtips Lounge JFK & Delta to DC
Exploring Washington DC
Element New York Times Square West
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, JFK
Singapore Airlines Suites JFK-FRA
Lufthansa Senator Lounge FRA
Singapore Airlines Suites FRA-SIN


It’s been said many times before but it’s always worth repeating- SQ still hasn’t quite mastered the ground experience yet. Although its hard product is unrivaled in the air, on the ground its lounges and other amenities leave a lot to be desired.

It doesn’t have Etihad’s chauffer service, for example, which picks up and drops off first and business class passengers to and from the airport. Singapore is so small; if Etihad can offer this service throughout the entire UAE (that is, you can be picked up at the airport and dropped off anywhere in the UAE), why can’t Singapore at least offer this service in Singapore?

It doesn’t have Virgin Atlantic’s awe inspiring lounges which offer you haircuts while you watch planes take off.

It doesn’t have a separate terminal for First Class passengers like the awe-inspiring Lufthansa FCT in Frankfurt.

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And it doesn’t have the Thai Airways First Class spa (before anyone says that spa services are disproportionately cheap to run in Thailand because of supply, that’s true but there are a lot of other airlines which offer complimentary spa treatments to passengers eg British Airways and Elemis)

Of course all these carriers all don’t have anything close to SQ’s quality in the air. I’m just asking why we can’t have the best of all worlds.

I digress.

SQ 979 had landed on time in BKK at around 2000 and I had until 2245 to get a spa treatment, dine and take lots of photos. I heard conflicting accounts about whether Thai does pick up transiting F passengers at the gate so I didn’t expect anything, but was nonetheless delighted to see a staff member with my name on a sign as I moved quickly down the jetway after disembarking.

“Are you Mr Wong?”

I giggled coyly and conceded that I was.

“Please to come with me to First Class lounge”

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I got on the cart and we headed off. For those of you familiar with the layout of Suvarnabhumi Airport, you’ll know that the walking time between gates can be quite long as the airport is laid out in a sprawling fashion. There are numerous travelators laid out but even so you can still spend up to 10-15 mins just getting to immigration from your plane, depending where you taxi to. Anyway that wasn’t a concern today.

As the cart picked up speed and we drove past other transiting passengers, I mocked them in my mind. Those bipedal perambulating savages. From now on I would only cart places. Walking was so beneath me.

It was at this point that my hubris proved fatal as the cart came to an abrupt stop at an escalator. Apparently we have not developed stair climbing carts yet so we had to get off and go up the stairs to clear security.

After security it was still a good 5 minute walk to the lounge. As we walked she took out a roster and asked to check my baggage tags, mentioning that there seemed to be some discrepancy in their system. Ruh roh, I thought. It turned out this was all down to that incident back in SIN where the counter staff told me she could tag my bag all the way through to ORD, HND-NRT transfer notwithstanding. The tag was eventually corrected in Singapore, but apparently the first tag was what went through to the TG system in BKK.

The TG lady was extremely helpful. She took a photo of my luggage tag and told me not to worry and they would sort everything out. And sure enough my bag came out at HND with no problems.

She dropped me off at the lounge and left, and I asked the staff if an immediate appointment was available at the spa and surprisingly, despite it being the evening prime time rush, there was no wait.

They escorted me out of the lounge and 10 steps away to the First Class Spa. As per the TG website, the spa is open from 6am to 1130pm every day. The spa is divided into two zones based on class of travel-

 First Class Zone Facilities:

  • 3 Touch Of Silk Suites (Body Massage)
    · 6 Neck & Shoulder or Relaxing Foot Massage Corners
    ·         2 Steam Rooms
    ·         2 Sauna Rooms
    ·         4 Shower Rooms
    ·         Toilets

Silk Class (Business) Zone Facility:

  •  8 Neck & Shoulder or Relaxing Foot Massage Corners

Before anyone asks, no, you have to be flying on TG to access the spa. First and Business class passengers on Star partners do not get access. You can read the full FAQ on this FT thread. 

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Another bucket list item checked, I thought as I surveyed the treatment list. First Class passengers get a complimentary 60 minute treatment, Business Class get 30 minutes

Touch of Silk (Full Body Oil Massage – 60 minutes for First Class only)

Start your journey with a relaxing Touch of Silk, full-body oil massage. Performed with the unique ‘Thai touch’, this massage will help to prepare your body for your onward flight by increasing blood circulation as well as relieving muscular tension and helping to provide necessary hydration for your skin. On completion of your Touch of Silk massage, you will be left with an overall sense of well-being and total relaxation.

Royal Thai Massage (Full Body Massage – 60 minutes for First Class only)

Thai massage is perceived as one of the most precious of Thai traditional therapies. Royal Thai Massage helps to stimulate blood circulation, reduces edema caused by travelling and reduces body fatigue. With its unique acupressure techniques, expertly applied to your body, you will find your mind relaxed and muscles relieved, following the stress of your journey.

Neck & Shoulder Massage (30 minutes)

The Neck & Shoulder Massage is a great way to relieve stress which has built up from the rigors of everyday life from working long hours at your computer. Using specific techniques the therapist will work to loosen tight muscles around the neck and shoulders whilst simultaneously assessing how much tension is held in the body and how best to release it. You will board your flight feeling more relaxed and a little lighter around the shoulders.

Foot Massage (30 minutes)

Let’s help prepare you for your onward journey, by taking the weight off your feet and giving them a relaxing massage, which they truly deserve. Foot massage is a well-known relaxation therapy to help take care of tired feet. The gentle touch of the therapists hands and the deeper pressure from their fingers, create a sense of overall relaxation and will help to stimulate your vital organs.

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The waiting area is pleasant enough, but it was completely deserted. There were some packaged snacks, water and a selection of teas available. All the real food is over in the lounge.

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In no time at all I was invited to the treatment room. The treatment room was ridiculously large. I mean, I’ve been to luxury spas in downtown BKK that were half this size.

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There was a separate walk in wardrobe to hang your clothes.

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And there was a full-sized shower room as well as a toilet. Toilet amenities were L’occitane branded.

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As for the massage- let’s just say that I don’t think I’m perceptive enough to know a good spa treatment from a bad one. All I know is that I had a relaxing massage in an international airport in a huge spa suite for free. And there’s very little more awesome than that.

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After the treatment I headed back to the main lounge and made a beeline for the dining room area. There are buffet stations scattered around the lounge but from what I gather the dining room is their equivalent of SQ’s private room- a sit down area with made to order items.

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Where it’s dissimilar from The Private Room is that the menu selections are decidedly Thai comfort food based. No lobster, no steak. All options are local perhaps with the odd addition of a mushroom cream soup. And that’s not a bad thing per se, I suppose. But it’s definitely aimed at the locals more than international travellers.

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I ordered the pad thai and the grilled pork. Pad thai was alright, if not really small. They serve you bite sized portions here, perhaps to encourage you to order more variety of dishes. I thought the portions would be full sized so only ordered two dishes. The dishes took about 15 minutes to prepare and by then it was too late to order anything else.

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The grilled pork was probably the stand out of the two dishes. I also tried ordering prawn cakes but they were out. Had I more time, I would probably have sampled other dishes but time was running out and I still had photos to take of the lounge.

Similarly, the drinks menu didn’t really have anything special. The champagne wasn’t anything near what you find in The Private Room. Non vintage, Moet quality stuff (Mumm was unavailable that day).

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Here’s an idea of the buffet spread outside the dining room- nothing hot, just a selection of pre-prepared items

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None of them were very memorable, and I was suspicious of the fried rice plates they left out given they were stone cold.

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The rest of the lounge had computer working terminals and TV rooms. No slumber rooms were available.

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I was also surprised that you couldn’t directly connect to the wifi, you had to go a terminal to generate a code with your boarding pass.

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They had a few pop up displays of local handicrafts

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So if I were to sum up the TG First Class lounge, I’d say their catering was disappointing for a place with such awesome food as Thailand. Their drinks selection was similarly nothing special. The spa is really the saving grace, because otherwise the lounge would more or less be a writeoff. That spa suite was luxuriously furnished and I understand other suites have jacuzzis too.

One thing that wasn’t made clear upon arrival would be that we’d get escorted to our gate when the time came. They should probably have mentioned that upfront, because when I started to head out a staff member called me back and said the flight wasn’t ready to board yet.

When the time came to board a staff member came to find me. As we stepped out of the lounge these two vehicles pulled up. They looked absolutely awesome but unfortunately they weren’t for us. Imagine riding one of those down the hallways. Haters gonna hate.

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In the absence of any carts it was time to take a long walk to the departure gate and see how Thai’s 747s have been holding up.