Tag Archives: layover

Flying to Bangkok, Thailand

My sister would be driving me to the San Diego airport in the morning. We agreed on the schedule, 20 minutes to the airport, and arrive a bit more than an hour before the flight, plus leave extra time for good measure. I wasn’t checking any bags so I could skip the lines and use a kiosk for check in.  The next morning, we left the house only about 5 minutes behind schedule. A quick stop for a coffee at Starbucks, then on to the airport. The morning rush hour traffic was just getting started so there was little worry even though we were about 15 minutes behind schedule now. What happen next however, ate up all the spare time and then some. While chatting about my trip, we got distracted and missed the exit to the airport, now we were headed for downtown San Diego. After waiting anxiously at several red traffic lights, and dealing with the one way streets, we got turned around and headed back toward the airport. By the time we arrived I only had 20 minutes to get my boarding pass and get though security.

When I tried to get my ticket at the kiosk, my flight was no longer listed! Off I went to the counter to see the friendly ticketing agent and find out what has gone awry. As it turned out I was too late, and they could no longer issue a boarding pass for that flight. Oops. The next available flight was in about 2 hours, but making the connection would be challenging with only 30 minutes between flights in Seattle. With little choice I booked the flight. The ticketing agent mentioned than I may be able to get transfered back onto my original flight once I pass through security and get to the gate. The travelers in line at the security checkpoint were helpful, and let me jump to the head of the line. I put my backpack and jacket on the conveyor to be xrayed and headed for the metal detector. BEEEP.  In my haste I had forgotten my mobile phone was in my pocket and it set off the metal detector. Now TSA decided a full check over was in order, shoes off, through the back scatter x ray machine (aka naked scanner), and backpack searched and rescanned. No problem of course, but a loss of time that I didn’t have to waste.

With my shoes back on, and my backpack zipped up, I was finally off to the gate. To my amazement my original flight hadn’t left yet. The ticketing agent at the gate was very helpful and was able to swap me back onto my original flight to Seattle.
Piece of cake. Lol.

Forty minutes later the Boeing 737 was crusing at 35,000 feet and bound for Seattle, Washington. Breakfast was offered, and since I hadn’t eaten yet, I opted for the egg sandwich on ciabatta bread. It was scrambled eggs (powdered) with cheese and some sort of meat-like patty. I think it was what they refer to in Sci-Fi movies as, a protein pellet.  It was really, really awful. Reminded me of a scene from the movie “Crocodile Dundee” where, refering to a goanna lizard roasting over a fire, he states, “Well, you can live on it, but it tastes like shit.” I ate it anyway. The TAZO black tea, that I chose for a beverage was a welcome accompaniment.

Two hours later I landed in Seattle and settled into the two hour layover before the next flight to Tokyo, Japan.

The flight from Seattle to Tokyo was just over 10 hours; a long flight by almost anyone’s standards. On board the Airbus A330-300, all food and beverages were complimentary, including beer, wine, and spirits. With the recent troubles now behind me, and looking forward to a long, relaxing flight I ordered a libation. Dewar’s blended Scotch whiskey was the house brand which was fine with me. At the same time dinner was being served. Teriyaki beef with a salad, vegetables,  rice, and a dinner roll. It was decidedly better than breakfast, of course that wouldn’t take much. It was a good flight without much turbulance, but long and tiring. The entertainment system, which had dozens of movies on demand, helped pass the time, and I watched three or four movies before we landed.

A two and a half hour layover in Tokyo awaited me as I disembarked. I’m not one for sitting still for long periods of time, so I wandered around the terminal and fiddled with my phone a bit, swapping out the SIM card so it would work in Thailand when I arrived. The boarding seemed to take longer than usual, but maybe it’s just because I was getting tired. I walked around some more, waiting for my boarding zone to be called, zone two. After what seemed like half an hour, and lots of wandering around, it was time to board. I guess all that wandering made me look suspicious, I was pulled aside and searched again. Backpack checked, shoes off, arms out, and the metal detecting wand scans me once again. Maybe I’ll try to sit still next time. Na, probably not.

On board the Boeing 747-400, I was feeling pretty weary. I had been traveling now for over 23 hours without sleep and still had this six and a half hour flight, plus a cab ride to the hotel. I did mange to nap a bit on the plane dispite sitting nearly upright, maybe two or three hours.

Again food and beverages were complimentary, though I only had water and tea on this flight, skipping any meals and adult beverages. I wanted to be sure I had my wits about me (as much as a sleep deprived person can) when I arrived in Thailand.

The plane arrived almost an hour late due to a delayed departure from Tokyo. A retativley short, 30 minute foray through customs and immigration and I was officially in Thailand.

Having read internet posts about getting a taxi at Suvarnabhumi (pronounced: su-wan-na-poom) Airport in Bangkok, I knew I needed to head downstairs to the public taxi stands. No waiting. I was assigned a cab, and handed a form with the cab driver’s information on it and my hotel destination. This is used to report the driver if he tries to overcharge you or take you somewhere other than your requested destination. The cab was an older model and had no rear seatbelts. A few small dents and scratches, but clean and reliable enough to get me to downtown Bangkok. A twenty minute ride later and I arrived at my hotel. The cost for the taxi ride was 270 baht, or about $9.00.

Now, a little problem at the hotel with check in, the room I booked on Expedia was not available. I booked a room with a single king size bed, and all they had left was a room with two smaller beds pushed together. They wouldn’t upgrade my room, and I was in no mood to argue after traveling for 34 hours. Up to the room I went. Make some phone calls to update family on the progress of my trip, and finally into bed at 4:30 am, in Bangkok.

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Up next, my first day in Bangkok. Feel free to leave questions or comments.