Surviving the flight to Bangkok from the East Coast of USA

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#1
Westbury, New York
83 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Is there any way to make the flight less of a chore. We will be traveling business class but before we make the final decision to go on the cruise need to know how people feel about it the long haul. Was it worth it? In advance, I appreciate your comments. My husband and I are seniors. Thank you
#3
Sydney
200 Posts
Joined Feb 2015
Do you have health issues? If not the flight is likely to be a bit boring and tiring but otherwise fine, especially as you are flying business class. On a long haul flight I usually have dinner, watch a movie and then at around 11pm I'll have a glass of wine and 2 valium and that usually does the trick. Noise cancelling headphones and an eye mask are handy as are comfy clothes and nice warm socks.
#4
100,447 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
It will be challenging.

You could break it up into multiple flights with stay over but it can get pricey such as:

Bangkok to Hong Kong

Hong Kong to Honolulu

Honolulu back Home.

You could stay over one night in each area.

Flying business class would help too.

Keith
#5
The Netherlands, wintermonths in Puerto vallarta, Mexico
6,854 Posts
Joined Sep 2004
Most airlines offer comfortable sleeperseats in businessclass, that will make the trip so much more comfortable. Also you will have a private screen to watch movies etc. Often also an USB connection to use your laptop. Food is also much better and served in a nice way. All that makes flying in business very doable!
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#6
Manchester UK
1,124 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
Your post made me smile - particularly linking business class and chore. I dream of having chores like that!
Good luck to you - I'm sure you'll be fine😎
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#7
SF Bay Area
1,563 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
Which airline? Usually the Asian airlines like Cathay Pacific or Singapore will be better. Check out a few reviews of these two on YouTube.
#8
Big Apple
7,386 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
Choice of airlines, aircraft and business class seating configuration (lie-flat seat for sleeping) will take most of the hassle of a grueling non-stop flights, typically flown on a polar route over/near the north pole - its departure and arrival schedule overseas can further make a difference in coping with the unavoidable effects of long distance air travel ... known as jetlag.

Majority of flyers do not have the blessing of flying in the forward cabin, we've done this time & time again in "coach" or economy class, sometimes in what's known as E Plus with more legrooms ... alas, wide-bodied jumbo's in the 1970's and 1980's that I've flown TPAC had 18" wide seats with 34" recline - it is still the frugal way to travel these days for many.

Wear loose, comfortable clothes & shoes and in layers, cabin temperature can be cooler and dry - nobody else care what & how you look ... you can freshen up and change back before you leave the airport (better yet, wait till you get checked into your hotel). Allow 1 to 2 days, 3 is better - to adjust to the new time zone, typically upside down .... 11 to 13 hours of difference in the clocks, before you embark on a cruise or tour, or, else - you might find yourself napping all over afternoon or tired by high tea time, and wide awake at midnight.

Our TPAC carrier of choice is Cathy Pacific, the B777's and A330/A340's - and Korean Air's Queen of the Sky, A380 double decker's - both with legendary services and meals. But, suprisingly, AIr China and it is flying new A747-8's and B777's from NY's JFK and EWR ... and, a Star Alliance partner so our air miles earned can be banked & put to good use, not to mention it's usually easier for us to get upgraded from Y to J class, especially flying outbound. CA's food is nothing to brag about and onboard services from FA can be hit-n-miss, but for the savings and other advantages we have, it's a good tradeoff to us.
#9
Gold Coast
10,604 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
Originally posted by upgrayders
Is there any way to make the flight less of a chore. We will be traveling business class but before we make the final decision to go on the cruise need to know how people feel about it the long haul. Was it worth it? In advance, I appreciate your comments. My husband and I are seniors. Thank you
I am a senior, who has flown long haul business class from Australia to New York, as well as to London. If your business class flights have flat beds, flying is a pleasure rather than a chore. It is certainly worth it!

If you have to change flights en route, you can request wheelchair assistance, even if you are physically able.
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#10
Westbury, New York
83 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Originally posted by CHPURSER
If you told us the airline and the itinerary, we could be helpful with advice.

We have not chosen the airline yet. We will be leaving from Southeast Florida (Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach)
We will probably have to do an overnight in California. We just want the sanest method of getting there. Someone suggested Emerits(?) with a stop in Dubai then off to Bangkok. We will be flying business class.
Thank you in advance for your insights.
#11
Westbury, New York
83 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Originally posted by mking8288
Choice of airlines, aircraft and business class seating configuration (lie-flat seat for sleeping) will take most of the hassle of a grueling non-stop flights, typically flown on a polar route over/near the north pole - its departure and arrival schedule overseas can further make a difference in coping with the unavoidable effects of long distance air travel ... known as jetlag.

Majority of flyers do not have the blessing of flying in the forward cabin, we've done this time & time again in "coach" or economy class, sometimes in what's known as E Plus with more legrooms ... alas, wide-bodied jumbo's in the 1970's and 1980's that I've flown TPAC had 18" wide seats with 34" recline - it is still the frugal way to travel these days for many.

Wear loose, comfortable clothes & shoes and in layers, cabin temperature can be cooler and dry - nobody else care what & how you look ... you can freshen up and change back before you leave the airport (better yet, wait till you get checked into your hotel). Allow 1 to 2 days, 3 is better - to adjust to the new time zone, typically upside down .... 11 to 13 hours of difference in the clocks, before you embark on a cruise or tour, or, else - you might find yourself napping all over afternoon or tired by high tea time, and wide awake at midnight.

Our TPAC carrier of choice is Cathy Pacific, the B777's and A330/A340's - and Korean Air's Queen of the Sky, A380 double decker's - both with legendary services and meals. But, suprisingly, AIr China and it is flying new A747-8's and B777's from NY's JFK and EWR ... and, a Star Alliance partner so our air miles earned can be banked & put to good use, not to mention it's usually easier for us to get upgraded from Y to J class, especially flying outbound. CA's food is nothing to brag about and onboard services from FA can be hit-n-miss, but for the savings and other advantages we have, it's a good tradeoff to us.
thank you for the information on the airlines you fly. What do the initials CA and FA mean?
#12
Westbury, New York
83 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Originally posted by Philob
Which airline? Usually the Asian airlines like Cathay Pacific or Singapore will be better. Check out a few reviews of these two on YouTube.
Thanks for the advice about YouTube.
#13
Westbury, New York
83 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Originally posted by wagtail_syd
Do you have health issues? If not the flight is likely to be a bit boring and tiring but otherwise fine, especially as you are flying business class. On a long haul flight I usually have dinner, watch a movie and then at around 11pm I'll have a glass of wine and 2 valium and that usually does the trick. Noise cancelling headphones and an eye mask are handy as are comfy clothes and nice warm socks.
#14
Sydney
200 Posts
Joined Feb 2015
I'm personally not a fan of the overnight stop. Even on 24 hour plus flights I'd rather just get it over with in one hit rather than prolong the pain. When we have stopped overnight we've often ended up not enjoying the stopover as we were too tired and the time spent clearing customs, checking in to the hotel etc just added to the already long trip. Also didn't sleep well as worrying about the alarm not going off/missing connecting flight.
If you are flying business class you will have access to the lounge anywhere you are transiting so you'll at least have the chance for a shower and a change of clothes.
I had a look at options from Miami to Bangkok and it does look pretty grim unfortunately. Most options include 2 stopovers and are >24 hours. Qatar fly Miami to Bangkok with only a short stop in Doha. I have flown long haul economy with them before and found them to be excellent. Other options with 1 stop are British Airways (yuck!!) and Austrian (haven't flown with them since the 90s so no idea what that would be like).
#15
Big Apple
7,386 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
Originally posted by upgrayders
thank you for the information on the airlines you fly. What do the initials CA and FA mean?
CA is the airline short code for "Air China" (whereas AC is Air Canada, and, CX is for Cathy Pacific ... KE is for Korean Air, and LH is for Lufthansa)

Now that we know you are snowbirds ?? leaving from a Florida (int'l) airport - and with common gateway airports and connections, I fully understanding what you are referring to, as being grueling for being in the air ... tradeoffs between 1 stop and longer time in-flight and 2 stops (or more) and maybe shorter time in the air but more transfers inside connection airports for boarding & making the next one.

I strongly suggest giving your business and plans to a local travel agency/agent familiar with Asia and can come up with optimal flights, routing and competitive fares ... with one of the better, if not highly rated airlines - let them do the hard work for you, maybe work in a complimentary overnight stopover somewhere and free airport/hotel transfers, and to get you into BKK (that's official Bangkok, Thailand's airport code) ... whether this is connected to a cruise or not, or just a land-based / river tour.

Will you be returning also via BKK or is this a one-way, coming home to the US via another Asia city/airport ??

US's air traffic (FAA) systems aren't the best and I would not recommend flying out to the West Coast for a stop going outbound to BKK, reasons - among others - is that it will most definitely be a polar routing flight, up over the "top" of the world - over Canada airspace, across/near the North Pole/Alaska and down coming south again - over Soviet/China down to BKK. Absolutely not a fun way to deal with TSA at LAX and/or SFO (Los Angeles or San Francisco) again for airport security in addition to home airport in FL, and/or be overnighting in an airport hotel to make the next day connection.

You are better off doing this half way around the world first, fly 2/3 of the way across the globe to the first gateway city in Asia - rest, maybe a 1/2 day sightseeing (optional) with an airport hotel - although, jetlag will still be wrecking your body clock, more or less. For example, flying CA, CX or KE from Texas or Atlanta, or even JFK or EWR (in NY) ... a 3 hour nonstop - then, on a wide-bodied jumbo jet into Asia, 12 hours for Seoul, SK but it's 15 hours into Hong Kong, Beijing is about 13 hours or less - depending on jetstream and wind on the route.

When you are flying business class, you have free & complimentary access to airline's club lounges - both Cathy & Korean Air has excellent business class lounge, with free shower facilities for arriving & in-transit passengers, etc. Air China aren't quite up there, far from but trying hard, with club & lounge services & their offerings - but, fares can sometimes be surprising good for being in J or B class.

The other routing are via Europe, but the flights will still be up north before across the North Atlantic, sometimes near polar - skirting Canada's eastern coastal and then down to ... maybe Munich, Germany if using LH or London if via BA (British Airways) as a fairly long nonstop - 11 to 13 or 14 hours + ... from MIA (Miami - I haven't look at the details to see who's doing what, just a generalized idea, so you can visualize your options). Then, it's another - long, non-stop from the European city's airport direct into Bangkok, 10 to 12 hours, could be more.

Thus, when you add up the actual flight times involved, airport connecting waiting times and transit, easily 25 to 30 hours (and, more - if there are delays in transit or a connection is missed.) Good thing is that, as paying business class passengers - airlines involved will take care of any routing issues for you first. Still, make sure you have travel insurance for the trip - needless to say, even if that's the "basic" included free from your AE Gold or credit card issuer's coverage.

There are expertise here on CC, among those in the travel industry who can offer more tips, helps & ideas - if you don't mind, please list more specifics like months of travel, etc. and folks can work up some suggestions ... which you can then take to your local TA as a template or framework, and, let them work a little to "earn" your money and their commissions for the booking.

(P.S. I'm in full agreement with poster above, especially flying business on routes like this - and, having the benefits of lie-flat beds, to just get the flying part done ASAP - the body clock is going to be disrupted from multiple time-zone changes, can be worst with en-route stopover. Get there first, adjust to the new clock and give yourself & spouse 2 or 3 days to transition, recover & then enjoy what's waiting for you ... outside the hotel and/or join the local tour/cruise, etc. The flight routin g options out of Florida aren't pretty or good, no matter which way you look - planes don't fly, really, in a straight line across. But, my oldest SIL, 65 years old then - flown nonstop New York to Los Angeles, immediately connect nonstop to Sydney & back ... alone, in coach, about 22 hours end-to-end, no stopover - and still laughed about it. Next Spring, Singarpore & Hanoi on her bucket list ... probably a combo of business & economy plus for comfort.
#16
Ontario, Canada
2,147 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
We are in our seventies and will be flying from Toronto to Shanghai next month, 13 hours non stop in economy. We have done several similar flights, Singapore, Beijing, Sydney and just bite the bullet and do it. Last year we scored business class with points from Tokyo and it was a real treat. We just regard flights as a necessary evil if we want to see the world. If we flew business class every time we would not be able to afford as many trips.

Sheila
#17
Shanghai, PRC / Sete, France
3,938 Posts
Joined Jun 2002
I fly round trips between Tokyo and North America or Europe about once a month.
I always fly Business or First Class.
I never fly US airlines except in an emergency.

1. Get a good night's sleep the night before your flight.
2. Eat well, but light, the day before your flight.
3. Arrive at the airport early, relaxed and calm.
4. Dress smart, but relaxed.
5. Make full use of the VIP lounge. Good airports like Narita and Changi have reasonably priced massages, showers, steam rooms to use before your flight.
6. Wheelchair assistance is free and gets you past most of the lines. You only need tip the pusher at the end.
7. Use the priority security gate for Business/First, instead of the regular one.
8. A few Ibuprofens can mediate some of the negative effects of Airplane Cabin atmosphere.
9. I always pack some leisure clothing (Japanese jinbei) in my carry-on bag. I change into them after dinner, for comfortable sleeping. My travel clothes stay fresh for my arrival.
10. Comfortable ear plugs are essential.
11. Noise-cancelling headphones / ear buds are essential. The airlines furnish the headphones in Business/First, but they are difficult to sleep with. My tiny Sennheiser earbuds were very expensive, but well worth the money.
12. Keep toothbrush, shaver, Cologne, alcohol wipes in a very convenient and accessible place.
13. Longer flights are better. You need time to eat meals, watch a few movies, have a few drinks, and still get a solid 8 or 9 hours of sleep.
14. If your flight has Duty Free shopping, buy a box of chocolates and give them to the cabin crew. You will be amazed at all the extra things you can get on an airplane.
15. Some fliers find that an antihistamine tablet washed down by a few drinks results in a much better feeling upon arrival.
#18
Lee-on-the-Solent, England
12,049 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Originally posted by upgrayders
Someone suggested Emerits(?) .
Close.
It's Emirates.
Very good airline, though I don't know about your route.

JB
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Anyone who looks like their passport photo is too ill to travel (Will Kommen)
#19
12,665 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
Absolutely agree with avoiding US airlines for long trips to Asia. Mirrors our experiences.

We find the same with travel Europe and beyond.
#20
Toronto Canada
1,369 Posts
Joined May 2010
Done this from Toronto many times including this year.
Sometimes we score business with flat beds which make it a piece of cake.
Other times it is economy. Dress in loose fitting close, not hanging so it is not on the ground in toilet, buy little travel slippers, they roll up in package and are stretchy not tight fitting things for swelling, use travel compression socks for healthy circulation, bring your own ear phones and a book. This way if you do not like the movies you have reading material you like.
With regards to drugs like Valium do not touch especially if you plan to drink, as my son a Dr had to revive a woman on a trans pacific flight who did this.
If no alcohol best to use Meletonin or my preference the Dr suggested is Gravol I think in US it is called Bonine ( for nausea ) it makes you sleepy but ok for high blood pressure people.