Living in Canada can sometimes mean taking a long flight to reach your next big adventure. Our Flightie Jennifer recently had the opportunity to visit Thailand which meant a lot of flying and a lot of stop-overs. From the airport lounges, to the in-flight entertainment, she shares with us what to expect on each flight and her tips for making the experience a good one:
Nine flights in ten days. I’ve always been a very on the-go person but this took it to a whole new level! I had a total travel time of about 69 hours from Toronto to Beijing and some flights within Thailand that I survived with a few glasses of wine, some food, a couple flight delays and bearable jet lag. I flew with Westjet, Air China and Bangkok Airlines which all had their pro’s and con’s.
First off, Westjet is such a dependable airline and they really stand behind their quality of service. I find all of the people at Westjet at check-in and on board extremely friendly and helpful. It is also really great to know that when they say your flight is going to leave at 9:30 you can bet you are leaving at 9:30! The only downside is that they charge $5.99 for a movie but luckily the 25 TV channels (and my own excitement) kept me occupied for the 5- hour flight.
The next lag of our trip was Vancouver on route to Beijing, China. Air China was wonderful in taking care of our group and even offered us access to the Plaza Premium Lounge. I strongly recommend if you have a three hour or more stopover this is a nice way to pass the time with hot food, drinks, coffee, an open bar and free WiFi. Time flew by and next thing I knew I was boarding the Air China flight. I was fortunate enough to be upgraded to business class and boy was it ever a treat! I was directed to my seat where I was greeted with a glass of champagne, wet towel, pyjamas, blanket and pillow and a pair of slippers. I had my own TV with movies, TV shows and games all topped off with a seat that laid all the way back like a reclining lazy boy! With a 10 hour flight ahead of me, I wasn’t going to complain. Although the food wasn’t the best I’ve had on board a flight, I left feeling rested and ready for China.
My remaining flights were all within Thailand on Bangkok Airlines. If you are a nervous flyer, this may be a rough flight for you. They use small propeller planes and you feel every little bump and shake that the plane does. Thankfully they were short flights, only an hour or so each, so it was up and down in no time. The great thing about Bangkok Airlines is that they served food despite the length of the flight and it was actually half decent. There wasn’t any in-flight entertainment, so bring a book and an ipod and take it as an opportunity for a quick nap or a good reading hour.
If I were to do this over again, I would avoid having so many stop overs. We flew Bangkok to Beijing to Vancouver to Toronto on the way home which was a total travel time of about 34 hours and wouldn’t want to spend another whole day and a half of my life that way again. You will save yourself a couple hundred dollars flying with Air China, so if that is important to you then I say do it, but I will definitely give Cathay Pacific or Air Canada a chance on my next Asian Adventure to really make the ultimate comparison.
Jennifer Wideman is a Groups and Weddings Specialist in Toronto and can be reached by E-mail or calling 1-866-585-7717.