Traveling to Thailand
I was so excited to be traveling to Thailand this month, that I sort of blocked out how long it takes to get there. Southeast Asia is really far away, especially when you live in the middle of the United States. While my air travel to Thailand was alone, I was meeting up with two friends (sisters) from college. One of them has been living in Bangkok for the last year, so at least we had someone to pick us up at the airport after all of that flying.
My family takes advantage of points and rewards earnings opportunities on a daily basis, sometimes without a specific trip in mind. I’ve posted about a few of those points earnings strategies here. So when the sudden opportunity to visit Thailand came up, I was glad I had miles/points waiting for just this scenario. To get to Bangkok, I used 110,000 American Airline miles and about $200 in fees to fly business class roundtrip to Bangkok. One of American Airlines partners is Japan Airlines, so I flew a combination of both airlines. That also meant that my luggage could be checked all the way through to Bangkok. Thank goodness.
My jumping off point from the United States was Los Angeles. I had a 12 hour flight from LA to Tokyo on Japan Airlines. While I had flown foreign airlines within Europe, this was actually the first time I had flown a foreign airline across the ocean. My business class cubicle was spacious and inviting. It came equipped with headphones, a Tumi amenity kit (eye mask, earplugs, chapstick, toothbrush, etc.), blanket, duvet, and slippers. I really liked the USB port so I could charge my devices in flight. My flight attendant, Otani, was really nice and seemed to want to take me under her wing. Maybe she was concerned that I was alone? Whatever it was, her attention to detail was appreciated.
Even though there was a western menu, I decided to embrace the spirit of the trip, and chose the Japanese menu. It was large and varied, so while I didn’t eat everything, I did not go hungry. If you don’t like seafood, don’t pick the Japanese menu. There was a lot of it, and the smell was strong. Everything about the presentation was so refreshing. Their english movie selection was small, but good. I fell asleep watching a movie while in the completely lie flat seat. When I awoke, I noticed that Otani had covered me up with a second duvet when my original one ended up beneath me. It was an extra touch that did not go unnoticed.
Once we landed in Tokyo, it was easy to follow the signs to connecting international flights. Although I did have to go through security again. The security area looked like it was out of the 1970’s, but the line moved quickly and I was at my connecting gate in no time. The Tokyo airport really made it easy by having english speaking employees with clipboards offering assistance at every turn. My layover was only a little over an hour, so I didn’t wait long to board the last flight on my journey.
The 6 hour Tokyo-Bangkok flight was on a smaller plane, so business class was an angled lie flat seat. I was actually grateful I only slept about an hour on that flight since I was arriving in Bangkok at 11pm and would need to head straight to bed in order to reset my internal clock to Bangkok time. I ordered the Japanese menu again, but only picked at it a little. I was over the abundance of fish, and not that hungry anyway. The flight attendants made sure we filled out our entry form for passport control, as well as a premium lane voucher so we could bypass any long lines. I definitely appreciated that since it was so late when I got into Bangkok anyway.
Overall, traveling to Thailand was a great experience. I think the long flights were easier to put up with since I was so excited to visit Thailand and meet up with my friends. Using the miles to fly in business class was definitely worth it for such a long trip. I also used the help of an award booking service, which I wrote about here. I don’t sleep sitting up very well, so the fact that I slept 7 or 8 hours on the LA-Tokyo route alone, was a definite win for me.
I’m excited to share my trip to Thailand with you in the coming weeks. Getting there was just the beginning of an amazing experience. Stay Tuned!