Intro – Building A Trip To Singapore And Thailand Around A Major Devaluation
Part 1: Getting To Singapore The Long Way
Part 2: The Singapore Do
Part 3: Tumultuous Thailand – Bangkok, Koh Samui, Koh Lanta, And Krabi
Part 4: At Long Last – My Ride Home Up Front In Singapore Suites
I knew I could find award space to Singapore. There are a lot of options for getting to Asia, and I had a few months to search. I would have welcomed another first class flight on Cathay Pacific via Hong Kong, definitely at the top of my favorite airlines list, but I was hoping to find premium space on a carrier I had never flown before.
Asiana had just announced new enclosed first class suites on their 777s flying JFK to Seoul but they don’t release a lot of first class award space, ever, so I had no high hopes. Around two months prior to my departure date, there was an unexpected glut released (probably an IT slip up.) I put the perfect JFK – ICN segment on hold while I searched for the feeder flights that would get me to Singapore, surprisingly also readily available. Final routing LAX – JFK – ICN – HKG – SIN (booked using 70k United miles) with overnights in New York and Seoul. I was extremely lucky to find all flight segments in either business or first class and to book before the massive United devaluation.
I arrived very early for my United 6am transcon featuring the new lie flat business seats. Even though my award and onward flight were in First class, I wasn’t allowed to use the United Global First lounge at LAX, since the onward flight was the following day (and even though first class doesn’t exist on UA transcons!) I did hit up the UA Business lounge and made sure to get my fill of the delicious pretzels while signing in on the guess board.
The new United p.s. Premium Service was comfortable, though nothing special. It was an early flight, so after sampling the rubber omelette and hockey puck sausage, I caught some sleep.
We landed on time, and I made it to the Hyatt Place Midtown (booked with annual free night cat. 4 certificate) in Manhattan via a combination of Air Train, LIRR, and a brisk walk. After a nice dinner with a friend downtown, I turned in early so I could be up with plenty of time to make it back to JFK for my much anticipated ride up front with Asiana the following afternoon.
Terminal 4 check in was fast, but the lounge options weren’t great. I received an invite to the Swiss lounge, but the first class section wouldn’t open until later that afternoon. Unimpressed, I planted in the Priority Pass Wingtips lounge, which had more room and better food options.
Soon it was time to board. I headed to the gate, where I caught my first look at the 777.
Once on board, I couldn’t help but be amazed by the ultra luxurious cabin and private suites! The super comfortable lie flat seats were enclosed by sliding doors, allowing for ultimate privacy and comfort during the 14 hour flight. There was a 32 inch TV and even a personal mini bar, all contained within the suite.
After take off, pajamas and amenity kits were handed out, and the FAs prepared the cabin for dinner service. I ordered a fish entree for the multi course meal, and of course there was a lovely caviar starter. The caviar was served with a proper mother of pearl serving spoon, apparently Asiana being the only airline flying that does so.
I finished off my meal with a delicious dessert, though it was disappointing and a bit strange to not be served premium tea in a proper tea service on an Asian airline. My tea looked and tasted as if it came in bulk, from a machine. We all have our ‘things!’
After the meal service, beds were made up, window shades and doors closed and cabin lights dimmed
The cabin was equipped with a night time twinkling star motif.
Before landing we were served another meal. I chose a traditional Korean dish.
While preparing for arrival, I switched over to the Airshow and noticed the captain steered well clear of Pyongyang on our approach to Seoul.
A short time later, we were on the ground. The 5:30pm arrival meant that there wasn’t really enough time to head into Seoul, so I booked the Hyatt Regency ICN airport hotel (using UR points transferred to Hyatt) which was a quick shuttle ride from the airport. I was really just too excited to get any real sleep on the ultra cool sparkly plane so was happy to make it an early night, and be up in time for maximum first class lounge time the next day.
The Hyatt Regency is not just an airport hotel, its also a casino hotel. Having said that, I was there in the winter and it wasn’t very busy. And given that I had no plans to gamble, I didn’t really explore much. The room was clean, convenient, and in need of some updating. But perfectly fine for an overnight stay with an early departure.
My flight was at 9am the following day, so I was up early, through security and in the first class lounge by 7. My itin for the day would take me to my final destination, Singapore, via a short stopover in Hong Kong.
Being that it was early morning, the lounge was pretty empty. Even so the food and beverage options were plentiful.
The lounge was fairly large, and in addition to comfortable common seating options, there was a TV room, private showers, and quiet relaxation rooms and work areas.
Soon enough it was time to board my next Asiana flight to Hong Kong, followed by a short hop on Singapore Air to my final destination, Changi International. The short connection time in HKG meant there wasn’t any time to explore lounges, but by then, I was more than ready to just get to Sinapore and settle into the Conrad for a good night’s sleep.