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Trip Report Bangkok, Penang and Chiang Mai - Kathie's 2006 Trip Report

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Hello, Fodorites, here is my trip report. I'm writing it in sections, and I'll post each section as I finish it.

Air Travel: We flew United in Business Class from Seattle to Bangkok and return. There is a change of planes in Narita. We always buy coach tickets and use miles to upgrade to Business. The flights between Seattle and Narita are on Boeing 777s ' my favorite plane. I like the huge overhead bins that swing up, so you can stand at your seat, even in a window seat, and I find the seats very comfortable. (The biz seats are not lay-flat, which for me, is an advantage). The entertainment system has 5 channels of movies and a couple of other video channels, plus perhaps a dozen audio channels. It is not on-demand, but runs repeatedly through the flight. The flights between Narita and Bangkok are on 747s. These planes have the tilt-flat seats, which I find uncomfortable. It was especially annoying as I had a mal-functioning seat from Narita to Bangkok and Cheryl had one from Bangkok to Narita. In both cases, the seat would not stay in the upright position, so would gradually move to flat, which is excruciating for my back. The champagne was Pommery on the outbound flight and Pol Roger on the return.

Domestic flights were all on Thai, all in business class. The flights between Bangkok and Penang were on an Airbus, and the seats and amenities were similar to US domestic first class. The flights between Bangkok and Chiang Mai were on an internationally configured 747. The biz seats were of the type that moves within the confines of a hard module, so when you recline the portion of the seat facing the person behind you does not move. It allows both a tilt-flat recline and a bent knees recline (more comfortable for my bad back). These seats have me thinking about whether I'd be willing to fly to LA to catch the Thai non-stop to Bangkok' They also have on-demand entertainment at each seat.

The new Bangkok airport: We had good experiences with the new airport. Our luggage took about 15 minutes to get to us ' not bad. The signage was good. I've written elsewhere about the Thai Lounge, which is not impressive so far. I hope it will improve. While there are things not yet working well at the airport, our experience was fine. The four trips we took between the airport and the Royal Orchid all took between 25 and 30 minutes. Airport limo prices are higher than before: we paid between 800 and 1200 baht, depending on the company. AOT prices were the highest.

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