Part 1: Getting To Sydney – The Long Way

Intro: Off Peak To Australia On A Sweet Spot USAir Award
Part 1: Getting To Sydney The Long Way
Part 2: Stunning Sydney And A Climb To The Top Of The Harbour Bridge
Part 3: Exploring The Outback
Part 4: Cairns And A Trip Up The Coast To Port Douglas
Part 5: Beautiful Tasmania
Part 6: Melbourne And The Ride Home On United Global First


Thankfully I arrived at the Tom Bradley International terminal at LAX early. In the rookiest of rookie moves, I had neglected to secure an Australian visa beforehand and the ANA agent would not print my boarding pass without one. The wonderful ANA ground staff  contacted Qantas on my behalf and they were able to issue me the necessary visa in less than 30 minutes. Would this have happened if I werent holding an F class ticket? Who knows.

I made my way through security and to the lounge for a quick pit stop before heading to the gate.  I had been looking forward to trying ANA’s first class product and this particular 777 had the new “square” suites which others had raved about.  Unfortunately that would have to wait, the flight was delayed an hour.  With a one hour connection time in Narita, this was not good news.  I relaxed and hoped for the best.

Boarding finally commenced a little over an hour late.  I was hopeful we’d make up enough time in the air so that I wouldn’t miss my first class ride on the Thai Airways A380.

I was assigned to suite 1A at the front of the plane.  I didn’t find it especially comfortable (compared to other F class products I had tried,) and in fact found it a bit claustrophobic due to the ‘cube’ design obscuring several of the windows.   But hey, I was in first class it certainly didn’t suck!  I was offered a pre-departure drink of Krug champagne and some warm nuts, and I settled in.

square seat ana
F Class ‘Suite’

Rimowa amenity kits and pajamas were handed out and I was asked if I wanted my bed made up.  I declined, wanting to stay awake during the 10 hour afternoon flight.  The lavatory was nice, with a special feature I had never seen before on a plane – a bidet style toilet!

Asian Style Toilet

The AV selection wasn’t anything special, so after a while of flipping through the offerings, pulled out my book and ordered a pot of tea.  Before I knew it, the crew was preparing for arrival in NRT.

We  made up time in the air, and I arrived with about 20 minutes to get to my next connection.  The cabin crew had called ahead, and I was met by ground staff and escorted to the gate where the Thai Airways A380 was parked.  It was also delayed, so I made a quick trip to the ANA lounge to grab a beverage before boarding.

The Massive A380

The F cabin is at the front of the upper deck of the massive plane, and is configured 1-2-1. I had one of the middle seats and when I arrived, my Rimowa amenity kit was already waiting for me, as was my pre-flight beverage.

My First Class Seat In The Thai A380
Well, If You Insist!

It was an evening flight and I since I hadn’t really slept on the previous flight I passed on the full dinner, opting for the caviar appetizer only.


When finished, I made my way to the biggest restroom I’ve ever seen on a plane to change into the Thai Airways PJs handed out shortly after take off.  The bathroom was huge with signature Thai orchids everywhere and a separate changing area and vanity.

Changing Area With Vanity In Bathroom
Flower Laden Commode

There was even an area with a small sofa, though no one used it and it seemed a like a bit of a waste of space since there was nothing else around.

Lounge Area In The F Cabin

When I returned, my seat had been made up into a bed, and I settled in.  Before I knew it we were landing in Bangkok, where all F class passengers were met with private escort and golf cart to be taken through fast track immigration.  With formalities completed in no time flat, I made the five minute walk in the underground tunnel to the Novotel and collapsed for the night.

My flight wasn’t until 7:20pm, so there was no rush to get up early.  I could have taken the train into Bangkok for the day, but having been there twice before, opted to sleep in, have a late breakfast, and relax at the surprisingly nice airport hotel.

Pool At The Novotel BKK Airport Hotel

I made sure I was at the Thai check in counter early so that I would have plenty of lounge time, and most importantly, time for my complimentary hour massage in the Royal Orchid Spa.  I was also anxious to get to my final destination by now, Australia.

I was handed my boarding pass, and escorted by golf cart through immigration and to the first class lounge.  I made my massage appointment and was seated in a private area of the lounge for dinner.  I ordered  from selections presented on an ipad.  The food was delicious but to be honest, I was more looking forward to the massage.  Which was divine.  After, I showered, re-packed and got ready for my ride up front on the 747 to Sydney, which I was soon boarding.

The F cabin of the 747 is in the nose of the plane, with 8 seats total.  I was seated in 1A.  It was an older interior, and since I was more than stuffed from all the lounge food, decided to forego dinner and instead go right to sleep.  I made my way to the unremarkable lavatory, and into my Thai issued PJs and when I returned, my bed had been made up.  The bed was comfortable, but turbulence kept me awake for most of the flight.  I was happy when we landed at SYD a  nine hours later.

NEXT –  Part 2:  Stunning Sydney And A Climb To The Top Of The Harbour Bridge


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