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My Day in Bangkok

My Day in Bangkok

Off to Bangkok

Today I'm off for a quick 4 day trip to Bangkok having found round trip Japan Airlines First award seats with perfect connections to Thai First Class.

The itinerary for my four days:

• American First Class to Chicago O'Hare
• American Airlines Flagship Lounge at O'Hare
• Japan Airlines First Class to Narita
• Thai Airways New First Class to Bangkok
• St. Regis Bangkok
• Moon Bar Rooftop at the Banyan Tree Hotel
• My Day Touring Bangkok
• Dinner at Amazing Gaa Bangkok, ranked #33 in 2022 Asia's Best. 
• Thai Royal First Class Lounge at BKK
• Thai Airways First Class to Narita
• Japan Airlines First Class to San Francisco
• United First Class SFO to Denver
Denver to Chicago
American 2771
July 18, 2022
First up today is a crazy 5:38am American flight to Chicago... to connect to the only Japan Airlines flight that lets me make a same day connection to Bangkok.

Dreadful Oasis interior seats.  Mercifully only a two hour flight.

Gorgeous morning in Denver.

AA hot towel(ette).

Puny as always.

Beautiful day in Chicago.

I headed for the Flagship Lounge with more than three hours to spare for my 12:55pm JAL departure.

The ORD Flagship Lounge is one of the nicest ones in the system... mucho better than the dump at JFK.

AA's less than stellar wine offerings...

But an excellent Bloody Mary station.

I arrived in time for the breakfast spread...


And a little later, a Gin station although someone forgot to put out the Fever Tree Sparkling Lemon.

And now lunch...

All in all, a pleasant nearly three hour stay.  Another nice thing about the Flagship Lounge is that there is a JAL agent on duty prior to JAL departures, making doc check very easy.

For those into Instagram, I've posted some IG videos...

Japan Airlines First Class to Tokyo Narita

Chicago ORD to Tokyo NRT
JL 8009
12:55pm-3:30pm +1
July 25. 2022
Departed 5/8
Happy to see a new refurbished First Class.  Gone are the yellows and brown and the bus-like schedule holder on the bulhead at the front of the cabin.


Since JAL didn't want to pay Illinois taxes on alcohol served on the ground, our pre-departure champagne was no name champagne as it was pour from galley. 

Colorful amenity kit...

... with some nice Shiseido takeaways.

I still don't get the BEDD thing.  Somethings just don't translate.  At least F pax get complimentary WiFi although cumbersome to set up.

Lovely champagne selection with today's ex-US flight being Cristal.

But dreadful wine list.  Looks like I'll be sticking to champagne.

In the air, the good stuff!

But sadly, JAL only loads ONE BOTTLE PER FLIGHT.   Say what?  And you are SOL if everyone wants champagne like today.

Showtime, JAL style.

Today, I'm going with the Japanese menu which was excellent.

Once the SINGLE BOTTLE OF CRISTAL was gone, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the back-up was the lovely Taittenger Comte de Champagne which Air France recenelt served as their inflight La Première offering.

OK, if you insist.  LOL.

After that fabulous Japanese meal, I moved over to my cross aisle bed for a solid 5 hours of sleep.

After a good sleep, delicious meal #2 a few hours out from Narita.

A lovely 12 hours flight with wonderful service by an excellent JAL crew.

A couple more Instagram videos of my day with JAL.

Thai First Class to Bangkok

With Japan still closed to the world, JAL wanted to make sure that they got rid of me.  Upon arrival at our NRT gate, everyone was asked to remain seated.  One of the F flight attendants then asked me to deplane where I was met by a JAL rep who escorted me the entire 10 minute walk from our gate to the bus gate for the transfer to Terminal 1.

Unlike my last visit in May, with a lot more passengers, the shuttle bus is no longer on demand but rather on a every 20-30 minute schedule.

Lots of passengers on the long, long walk to Gate 42.

Tokyo NRT to Bangkok BKK
Thai Airways TG 677
5:25pm-9:55pm (sked)
5:30pm-9:00pm (actual)
July 19, 2022
Departed 4/8

Thai recently acquired three 77Ws one of operates the BKK-NRT flight.  Beautiful new cabin.

My Suite 2K.

OMG, unlike JAL, Thai serves the good stuff on the ground.  

In the air, wonderful Thai service.   Another glass of Dom, thank you.

Showtime, Thai First Class style.   Sadly, no in flight menus or wine list, an apparent cost saving measure.  But seriously, how much does it cost to print a menu on the two routes with First Class.

Wonderful seared ahi.

I went Thai for my main... a lovely duck dish.

Gorgeous cheese plate... and more Dom, now onto my 2nd bottle.  LOL.

And fabulous desert sampler.

Along the way, spectacular sunset show over the South China Sea.

We touched down nearly an hour early and made our way to closest to immigration Gate B4.

What a superb Thai First flight.   Looking forward to my result flight in less than 36 hours.

And more Instagram videos of my Thai Flight...

St. Regis Bangkok

SInce this was a quick solo trip and I had two expiring Bonvoy free night certificates, the St. Regis was a great choice.

Even better as my Free Suite night upgrades come thru and with a further upgrade to a beautiful St. Regis suite.


Since the night was still early, I headed out to visit one of Bangkok's best rootop bars, Moon Bar at the Banyan Tree Hotel.

Very cool.

After a good night's sleep, the view from my room of the Royal Bangkok Sports Club.


Instragram videos...

My Day in Bangkok

The St. Regis concierge arranged a last minute private half day tour and I meet my guide and driver at 10:30am.  FIrst stop was the Wat Traimit Temple.

Then off for a quick cruise up the Chao Phraya River...

From the cruise, a walk thru the flower market.

Next stop was Wat Pho Temple...

... home of the massive Reclining Buddha.

A short 5 minute walk was lunch at Rongos, a family owned traditional Thai restaurant.

Wonderful Thai food.

After an afternoon power nap, down to the St. Regis Bar for the complimentary Bonboy Elite Appreciation hour(s).


And a couple of Intagram videos from today...

Restaurant Gaa - Bangkok

What a treat tonight as I thoroughly enjoyed an amazing 15 course dinner at Garima Arora’s Michelin star Indian restaurant Gaa Bangkok, currently #33 in Asia’s Best 50 restaurants. Mumbai-born Arora honed her talent at Copenhagen’s Noma, currently #1 in the World’s 50 Best. She was recently named Asia’s Best Female Chef in 2019. This is one special experience. Great atmosphere and marvelous sensory overload of food, wine and service. My best meal of the year.

Beautiful decor at Gaa's new digs.



Chef Garima Arora.

What a marvelous meal.  My best meal of the year.​

And my Instagram video of Dinner at Gaa Bangkok.

Thai First Class from Bangkok to Tokyo Narita

With an early 4:00am wake up, it's time to head home, starting with a 7:30am Thai flight to Narita.  Early morning means very little Bangkok traffic and I arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport at around 5:15am.

Thai has a civilized First Class check-in area, away from the masses.  Come on dude, you couldn't find another place to stand?

Pleasant TG agent checking me in and doing the doc check dance.

My personal Thai escort to security and the lounge.

Newly refurbished in the past year, much different feel from the old First Class Lounge.

After I settled in, I headed to the dining area for some breakfast.

Both the Patongko and Won Ton were delicious.

Although I had asked to board early, that never happened as my personal escort finally showed up at T-25 for the long long walk to E8.  In the pre-Covid days, Thai used to use golf carts to transport First Class passengers around the airport.  Not sure what the deal was today.

Bangkok BKK to Toyko NRT
Thai Airways TG 676
7:35a-3:45p (sked)
7:50a-4:15p (actual)
July 21, 2022
Departed 1/8


I was warmly welcome on board by Purser Kit and Chef "Bob".   This was the same 77W that flew my from NRT two days ago and apparently still experiencing seat issues.   Not a problem since I was the only passenger in First today.   I was moved from 2A to 2K on that flight as 2A was not fully functional.  And today, 2K was having issues.  Kit moved me to 1A which he assured me was fully functional... "the best seat on the plane".  LOL.  

Gorgeous cabin.

In the air, fantastic service again today.  As with NRT-BKK, no printed menus although Kit showed my the options on his iPad.

Perfect Eggs Benedict.

After breakfast and a movie, I moved across the aisle where Kit had made my bed.  Very comfy and I got nearly three hours of sleep.

We landed about 30 minutes late but didn't mind as the service was wonderful and I had plenty of connect time.

And my Instagram video of my enjoyable day with Thai First Class.

Japan Airlines First Class Toyko to San Francisco

My wonderful day with Thai ended abruptly as I deplaned.  Unlike pre-Covid, there was no Thai First Class escort to security (since Thailand is not a clean country according to Japan) and to the bus gate.  

The long, long, long walk to International Transfer security,

What a mess.   Hundreds of connecting passengers in queue.

And this is the Priority Lane.  LOL.

Some 45 minutes after deplaning my Thai flight, I'm at the Japan Airlines First Class Lounge, the 2nd worst First Class Lounge in the world after the Star Alliance LAX First Class Lounge.

Naturally, the best part of the lounge is CLOSED, just like the damn country.   

Upstairs in the part that is open, crappy worn out instituational seating.  This is not even a good Business Class Lounge.  And indeed, that is what it is and most of the folks here are not flying First Class but gain access due to One World's ridiculous let-even-middle-tier-elites in policy.

And crap food options.

At around T-50, I headed to the gate.   Not that this was any better.  NRT gates are narrow, poorly designed and today loaded with gate lice.

Tokyo NRT to San Francisco SFO
Japan Airlines JL 58
July 21, 2022
Suite 2A and 1A (bed)
Departed 6/8

Simply chaotic boarding as no JAL employees seemed to know what they were doing.


First Class get their own jetbridge at least for a while... until JAL decided to close 2L early and funnel half the plane thru First Class.  Sheesh.

Nice cabin... pics from earlier in the week.


Pre departure beverages were offered.  When I asked for and inquired about a glass of champagne, our flight attendant admitted that it wasn't the good champagne.   She poured the changpange in the galley and delivered it passengers.   I guess I was only one that inquired what we were being served and she went to retrieve the bottle.   Delamotte is just OK, but I was glad they served it on the ground because no wanted any more champagne in the air.  LOL.

In the air, an amazing $600 bottle of Salon 2007 Le Mesnil but sadly JAL only loads one bottle per flight.  Really??  I drank it quickly in hopes that I could get at least one more glass.  That's when our flight attendant told me that I was only one drinking champagne today.  OMG - what a treat!

Showtime, JAL First Class style.

And today's menu...

I went with Japanese again today, knowing that ex-Tokyo would be pretty darn good. 

I happily finished the entire bottle of Salon... and then moved on to the Japanese Whisky of the Day.  Wow, the wonderful Hibiki Blender's Choice.

The Hibiki was a nice nightcap and I moved up to 1A and slept for four hours.

About 90 minutes from San Francisco, my morning snack.


Deep fried Junwakei Chicken over Rice.  Delicious.

And delicious Jean-Paul Hévin macarons.

SFO in the distance as we prepare to turn around and land.

Once on board and once the door was closed, it was another marvelous JAL First Class flight.  Flawless service from a lovely cabin crew.

More Instagram vidoes of my day...

United Clubs and home to Denver


With a 4 hour connection, I first headed for the main United Club in the F concourse.  Cool clock and rotunda.

But, I'm not a fan of this dated and worn out club.

After a while, for a change of scenery, I moved to the newer United Club in the E concourse.   Much nicer, quieter and more relaxing.

Cool vintage photos.

Nice plane spotting views.

At around T-45, I headed out to Gate E12.

San Francisco to Denver
United 1299
July 21, 2022

Yeah, good luck on upgrades clearing these days.

What the heck, one more drink...

My United chicken dinner which earned me $50 in Travel Credits since UA failed to load my pre-ordered Burger.  Nice deal.

And the best part of United catering... Eli's chocolate chip Pie In the Sky.

We arrived on time and I was home an hour later.   What a fun trip.  Thanks for following along.

And my Instagram video of the flight home.