Tuesday, April 25, 2017

First, I'm ruined 1/27/17

I'm not kidding when I say I'm not sure I'll ever fly the same ever again.  This should have been rolled into my last post but it was so important that I thought it deserved its own post.  First I should add I can't afford this plane ticket and so no I did not pay cash for it.  This is merely the first major award booking I have done.  As a reminder I spent 72.5k United miles (40k came from Chase Ultimate Rewards) and 106$ for a first class flight from Sydney to Bangkok as well as a business class flight from Bangkok to Seoul and an economy flight from Okinawa to Manila.  What follows may seem a little long and drawn out but it was too much fun for me not to write the blow by blow.

Getting to walk down the first class aisle, gah, you should have seen the grin on my face.  It got even wider when the woman behind the counter looked at me like I was an idiot in the wrong place after catching one glance at me and my backpack.  The surprise on her face when she looked up my ticket from my passport was priceless.  She tried to play it off but it was very entertaining.

The boarding pass, oh, what a boarding pass

My soon to be chariot.  One of the last Queens in the sky (the 747 is called the Queen of the Skies).  As most airlines are shifting to smaller more efficient aircraft I was excited to get to fly up front before these planes are retired forever.  If you are curious the 747 is easily identifiable because of the beluga looking head caused by the short second floor, the only other passenger plane with 2 decks is the A380 and the 2nd deck on that bird is the full length of the plane.

I know I just ate and had that epic sandwich but my boarding pass got me into the Air New Zealand lounge and they had tons of incredibly pretty food.  I couldn't help myself and ended up snacking a bit (this was a mistake).

Oh man, look at that pretty seat.... too bad... this was my only real disappointment on this flight.  Thai flies 2 different kinds of 747s on this route.  One has been remodeled and has these phenomenal new seats with brand new entertainment systems and are these incredibly pretty fully enclosed suites.  That is what I thought I was getting... Thai is notorious for switching their planes at the last minute and that is what happened to me.  I did get over it pretty quickly though.

Sitting down made me realize I was finally getting a chance to sit way up in the nose.

This picture is thanks to the only other person in first class on the entire plane.  This was why I ended up being okay with the old seat.  We had the cabin to ourselves completely and that includes the 3 or 4 flight attendants that we basically had to ourselves.  One of said flight attendants handed me the following soon after I had boarded.

The wine list.  I unfortunately didn't have much but it was only because the endless bottle of Dom Perignon was too damn good not to keep drinking.

Said champagne option

The epic menu, be prepared to witness a feast

Looking out my beautiful window

Wishing I had had more time to explore that beautiful beach

Even in first class you have to watch the godforsaken safety video

Oh hey there was a little box with a goody in it on the counter next to my seat, no idea what it was except for delicious.

My disappointing entertainment system alongside the beginning of an epic meal.  You see Perrier, Dom Perignon, and warmed macadamia nuts.

These are the canapes and I'm sitting here thinking that these are delicious but if this is the size of the courses I'm going to be hungry again in a minute even though I just ate twice

Oh, yeah then they brought out the bread basket, yes I got my own basket with like 6 different kinds of bread

It was really good bread but what comes next is where it really gets cool

That's right caviar, and seemingly super fancy caviar.  I'm not sure I understand why it is as valuable as it is.  I mean it was good but there are plenty of other things I think I'd pick first for an appetizer.

Oh yeah apparently caviar is supposed to be had with vodka.  It was damn good vodka (and I don't even like vodka)

The first of several courses, this seafood plate was really good.  That shrimp was legitimately epic.

This soup was way spicier than anything I would order but damn if it wasn't one of the best soups I've ever had.  It really did clear me out too.

The main course covering the table (and yes I still haven't finished my macadamia nuts)

The sausage and the vegetables were damn good but the pork curry really was the star of the show.  It was absolutely incredible.  Also not what I'd normally order but I asked the flight staff to suggest something she would get and went with it (I had 4 options for my main course.... 4 options on a plane...this is honestly like a flying restaurant experience)

Oh the fruit and cheese plate, this is where I was starting to regret eating in the lounge.  I wasn't even able to finish all that beautiful cheese, I know blasphemy but I'm still not done (or should I say the flight attendants weren't because they still had more to bring me)

The actual desert, I did manage to finish this because obviously everybody has a separate dessert stomach.

After regretfully finishing that epic meal I had about 7 hours to kill so I took a little nap while watching a few movies.  It is incredible how different the experience is when you are wearing provided pajamas and stretched out completely in first class vs dealing with the drool from the person sleeping in the seat next to you.

Did I mention there was a second meal?  I didn't get great pictures of all the courses because half asleep and eating too fast.  I did end up with both of the options for this meal somehow (not going to complain).
The tortellini and sausage was really good, I was impressed that they had made a pasta sauce that was that good especially on a plane

And who can say no to chicken skewers

Eventually we landed and I was asked to leave the plane... I know it was sad for me too.  What happened next was one of the coolest things I've ever had in an airport.  I had my own personal golf cart complete with driver.  Yes I was half asleep while trying to take this picture.  What made this amazing was it just completely skips the lines at immigration.  The guy drove me there I walked to my own agent with absolutely no line and then the guy escorted me out the other side to exit the airport and made sure I figured out how to get to my hotel.  This level of service was entirely unexpected and completely took away the pain of the international arrival.  I'm honestly not sure if I will ever feel the same about flying economy ever again.

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