Wednesday, June 25, 2008 Taiwan Taiwan / Thailand Thailand

A pleasant surprise

Our plane to Bangkok arriving [Enlarge]

We were second in the queue to check in to our KLM flight from Taipei to Bangkok. Why does Dutch carrier KLM fly from Taipei to Bangkok? Because Bangkok is just a stopover en route to Amsterdam. As always, Glenn asked very politely for a seat with extra leg room. The check in desk person allocated us a pair of seats at the front of a section with no neighbours, which was very nice of her (as we've noted before, Asian women love Glenn).

After immigration we searched for ways to spend our final 122 Taiwanese dollars (GBP 2.02 / USD 4.02) on food. The best value, we eventually decided, was two Starbucks toasted paninis costing 55 and 65 dollars. That's all we needed, because we would be getting another sandwich or something later during our lowish-priced flight.

Thirty minutes before boarding we went to our gate. The plane was a 747—our first 747 ever!—and it looked like it was going to be full. As we sat waiting there was an announcement "Could passengers Malte Isla and Livett Glenn please contact a member of staff." Our first thought was that they'd done something to our luggage. Detonated it in a controlled explosion? We showed the man our boarding cards to say who we were. He told us that because the flight was overbooked, we were going upstairs to business class! Oh yeah, baby!

We said a few posts ago that we feel that travelling by boat or train is really travelling, and flying is cheating. Well we were wrong. Flying is best, KLM is our new favourite airline and Holland is the Greatest Country In The World. We really should visit some day.

As we supped our pre-flight champagne we checked out the dinner menu options, and donned our active noise reduction headphones to flick through the available movies. After we took off, we dined on a smoked halibut and salmon starter followed by a choice of Siam perch, sweet and sour pork or beef Penang (we both had the beef), and fresh fruit salad with opera g√Ęteau. We swilled it down with a surprising Austrian red, Johanneshof Zweigelt 2006 ("cherries, herbs and oak"), then finished with a glass of VSOP cognac. After dinner we reclined in our lie-flat seats with massage function and we hoped that maybe there would be a strike at Air Traffic Control or Bangkok would be fog-bound which would prevent us from landing. But sadly the four-hour flight came to an end in no time.

We don't know why we were chosen over the other 386 economy people for an upgrade. But we don't care. The only downside to our flight to Bangkok is that it's going to be very hard to go back to a tatami mat on the floor after this.

Map of Day 578

Day 578
Taipei to Bangkok

This map shows the route we took in this post. Click it to see larger maps of our whole route at flickr.

Maps are taken from the CIA World Factbook.