This week we are taking a walk down memory lane with a vintage first class trip report. I’m sharing photos and brief commentary from a trip I took in the final days of 2010 and first days of 2011 that included many first class flights from five Star Alliance carriers. As we enter a new decade, the goal of this trip report is to examine how airlines have changed over the last one. Although this trip report has never been published, I will not be publishing a detailed, word-heavy review as I do for current trip reports. Instead, commentary will be limited and the focus will be on photos. For the final post, I will summarize, as generally as I can, how premium products have changed over the last decade.
- Prior Segments
Fifth Freedom flights are declining. New, fuel-efficient long-range aircraft like the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 have made it possible to offer direct flights to more cities in a way that never made sense in the past. Back “in the day” (even less than a decade ago), many carriers offered several Fifth Freedom routes. Only a handful remain. Today’s report looks back on how I traveled round-trip from BKK to SGN.
Flight #5: Qatar Airways A330 Economy Class Bangkok To Ho Chi Minh City
- We booked this flight for less than $100 a few days before travel
- This was prior to my Priority Pass days, so we had no lounge access prior to departure
- The flight was 30 minutes late
- It was my first time on Qatar Airways and my first time on a Gulf carrier.
- Before takeoff, a towel and candy were offered…in economy class.
- I remember being struck by the international crew onboard: there were flight attendant from all over the world onboard
- I also remember one flight attendant interaction.
- During beverage service she asked, “Would what you like to drink?”
- I said, “Do you have sparkling water?”
- She looked at me for a moment, then said, “Yes.”
- Then said nothing and did nothing.
- I then asked, “Um, may I please have some sparking water?”
- She said, “Yes,” and poured it.
- The snack board was a savory hot pocket with cheese and tomato sauce inside.
- IFE was turned off for flight.
- Legroom was very tight.
Flight #6: Lufthansa 747-400 Business Class Ho Chi Minh City To Bangkok
- We purchased economy class tickets for about $150.
- At check-in, I asked if an upgrade was available.
- The agent said nothing, typed for a few moments, and handed my brother and me business class boarding passes.
- Onboard, we were seated in the forward downstairs nose of the plane (the 747-400 had first class upstairs, but has since been removed).
- German crew was proficient, taking beverage orders prior to takeoff for the 445 miles flight.
- A meal was served after takeoff – a cold plate with noodles that was not very tasty.
- IFE was a looping promotional video about Thailand – other choices were unavailable.
- We landed on-time in Bangkok and headed right for the Thai Airways First Class Lounge.