Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Bangkok and Beyond

We boarded the Eva Air 777-300ER on time but the aircraft was about one hour late pushing back. I'm afraid no announcement was made but there was a lot of bumping and clanging going on under the floor so I rather think they were late loading cargo containers. I couldn't see anything from my (port) side so I assumed loading was from the right hand side. After taxiing a short way in the shadow of the new control tower, we were stopped by red taxiway lights. Within a few minutes, we continued following the line of green lights, making a right turn to head east on the main taxiway which is parallel to Runway 27 Right (the departure runway in use that evening). A procession of aircraft roared past on their take-off roll as we advanced up the queue for departure. After eight or nine aircraft had preceded us, we took off, making a left-hand climbing turn to gain our route across southern England.

View of Heathrow's Runway 27 Right as our aircraft lines up for a rolling takeoff.

I managed to work out how to drive the AVOD system (Audio Visual On Demand) and had a brief look at 'Cars 2', but I wasn't in the mood for CGI so I switched to 'Too Big to Fail' about the banking crisis which I found gripping. Odd that, because it's just a series of scenes with people talking - no action. Meanwhile, they served a reasonable supper before closing all the window shades and dimming the lights. The seats are partially electric recline but not fully-flat and I slept only fitfully, in between watching a bit of 'Boardwalk Empire' and an episode of 'Mad Men'.

Our flight time was twelve and a bit hours, mostly at 600 m.p.h. and 35,000 feet. Our route took us overhead Myanmar (I always fantasise about parachuting out at this stage to avoid the rest of the flight to Bangkok, transiting and flying back to Myanmar). On the approach to Bangkok signs of the recent serious flooding were apparent. We turned south, flying parallel to Bangkok Airport which lay to our left. We continued to the coast, made a 180 degree left hand turn over the sea and a straight-in approach to the runway. Heading east, of course, we'd 'lost' hours so it was 3.15 p.m. local time when we arrived at our stand and the two airbridges were attached.

As I've said before, the architecture at Suvarnabhumi Airport isn't too bad - at least it's light and airy but the distances to walk are huge. The arrival concourse is one floor up from the ground and the departure concourse is up one further level. I followed the signs for 'Transit' and soon came to the security lounge where passengers and their hand luggage are scanned. A whole-body scanner is now in use for passengers. At least the staff are pleasant and helpful and after a few minutes an escalator disgorged me on the departure level, a few yards from the Thai transfer desks where I got my boarding pass and an invitation to the Thai lounge nearest my departure gate - a walk of over half a mile! So the Thai lounge is where I type this update, prior to boarding flight TG 305 for the short flight to Yangon.

View of the Thai aircraft at Suvarnabhumi Airport shortly before boarding for Yangon.

There are more pictures of Suvarnabhumi Airport here.

I don't know what Internet access I'll have in Myanmar but, as possible, I'll keep you updated.