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What You Need to Know About Thailand's New Visa Regulations

Where: Thailand
September 2, 2014 at 1:42 PM | by | ()

In response to decreased tourism returns this year due in part to the country’s political woes, Thailand has doubled the amount of days that tourists are allowed to stay in the country on a visa-exempt stamp from 30 to 60.

Passport holders from 49 nations, including the United States, do not need to apply for a visa to enter Thailand. Instead, travelers from these nations receive a visa-exempt stamp upon arrival which grants them 30 days in the country. Under the new rule, tourists can now obtain a one-time, 30-day extension stamp when their initial 30 days expires by visiting an immigration office. The extension will be granted same-day and costs $59 (1,900 baht).

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Goodbye and Good Riddance to the Old Business Class on a Japan Airlines 767

Where: Osaka, Japan
August 5, 2014 at 10:44 AM | by | ()

If the overnight leg on an old angled lie-flat Finnair seat showed us how far business class seats have come, our recent flight on a Japan Airlines Boeing 767 between Osaka-Kansai (KIX) and Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK) almost took us back to a different era, with the above, ageing, manually-controlled cradle-style seats still going strong.

Almost literally coming apart (torn fabric, wobbly armrests), the likelihood you’ll find this seat on your flight is luckily decreasing, having serviced regional routes in Asia, as well as the crazy busy Honolulu to Tokyo return for a long time (in fact, the in-flight entertainment still had destination features on Hawaii on it). Japan Airlines is phasing in its new 787 Dreamliner, as well as upgrading 767s with “Sky Suites”, fully-flat, all-aisle access seats – check them out below.

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Nearly Alone in Business Class on a Qatar Airways 777

Where: Doha, Qatar
July 31, 2014 at 2:55 PM | by | ()

We’ve shown you that business class on a Qatar Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner is not a bad place to spend a few hours, but how does one of the airline’s latest additions compare to the workhorse of the fleet, the Boeing 777? With 34 in total, split between 777-200 and 777-300 versions, Qatar has more of the triple-seven than any other aircraft type at the moment. Connecting from a 787 onto a 777 recently gave us a good opportunity to compare.

We flew the 777 between Doha and Bangkok, a flight that connects further to Hanoi (Vietnam) after a brief stop in Thailand. Consistent on both legs? A virtually empty business class cabin, with less than ten passengers across the 42 seats, which guaranteed not just a seat pair to ourselves, but multiple rows.

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Surprisingly Yummy Airline Meals: A Songkran Special on Thai Airways

Where: Thailand
July 25, 2014 at 10:43 AM | by | ()

We have all had a terrible meal on a flight before. In fact, we have shown you some of the sadder trays slid in front of us. With this new series of amazing airline meals, we can revel in the airline culinary delights and give kudos to the airlines that got it right.

Flying on a country's flag carrier like Thai Airways is especially exciting when your travel happens to fall during a national holiday. In our case, it was Songkran, a celebration in April to welcome a new year (according to the lunar calendar). Not only were we excited to be part of the festivities on the ground, but the airline made sure their Songkran travelers had a little surprise in flight.

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The Days of This Qantas Business Class Seat are Numbered

Where: Australia
May 28, 2014 at 2:22 PM | by | ()

What you see above is the original Qantas “Skybed,” the angled flat seats which are still found on the airline’s Airbus A330s and which we experienced on a recent flight from Bangkok to Sydney. They wont be around for much longer though, as an improved business class seat—fully flat, and all seats with aisle access—is being rolled out from the end of this year.

While we had a pretty good flight on this overnight sector, and spent most of it stretched out in our window seat trying to get some sleep, we’ll be looking forward to the refurb for a number of reasons. We’ll give you a quick rundown of what things are like today, and what you can expect going forward:

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Three Airlines Cut Flights to Bangkok Amidst Protests

January 7, 2014 at 10:52 AM | by | ()

The political unrest currently underway in Bangkok has convinced at least three airlines, including Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, and Hong Kong Airlines, to reduce the number of flights into Thailand's capital during the second half of January and February.

"We've learned that Singapore Airlines plans to cut 19 flights between Jan 14 and Feb 25. Cathay will probably follow suit because passengers are uneasy about the political situation in Thailand," Suvarnabhumi Airport General Manager Rawewan Netrakavesna told the Bangkok Post. Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt said that Hong Kong Airlines was probably going to cut about 60 flights as well.

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New Airline Alert: Asia Atlantic Airlines

Where: Thailand
August 8, 2013 at 11:38 AM | by | ()

If you've made it through all of the alliteration in that title, we are excited to bring the news of a new airline based in Thailand. The fresh-faced carrier is a mixture of Thai and Japanese travel companies and will bring a 'New Dynamic Force' in chartered tour groups between the two countries.

Capitalizing on the country's leisure market, the airline will be based in Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport and flying their two Boeing 767s from the Thai capital to Tokyo Narita and Osaka. Each of the planes will be equipped with both the cushy seats of business class and the cheaper seats of economy.

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Flight Review: $130 from Singapore to Bangkok on Scoot

Where: Singapore
June 26, 2013 at 11:23 AM | by | ()

We talked at length last year about Singapore Airlines’ low-cost off-shoot airline called Scoot, which promises low fares and lots of Scootitude all around Asia, giving travelers a full review of a journey from Australia’s Gold Coast to Singapore. Almost a year on, we've now given Scoot another whirl on a shorter leg, from its base in Singapore to the Thai capital of Bangkok.

We ended up on Scoot for a number of reasons: the late afternoon departure fitted our schedule perfectly, ScootBiz (the airline’s business class product) fares were not far off economy fares on other carriers, and there was of course the novelty factor of trying yet another airline.

Our experience in a few words? A deserted ScootBiz cabin, young and enthusiastic staff, decent seats and space, and—like last year—uninspiring food and moderate cleanliness. Read on to find out more.

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Flight Review: A Small Flight in a Big Business Class Seat on Thai Airways

June 24, 2013 at 11:57 AM | by | ()

Ok, before anyone starts berating us for the unfair comparison of intra-European business class with what we found on our domestic sector between Bangkok and Phuket, hear us out. We know comparing a short-haul, single-aisle plane that’s flying, say, London to Rome, is pretty much guaranteed to come up short in the space and comfort department against the wide-body Airbus A330 Thai Airways used for our flight. We know the dynamics of the business class market in Europe are vastly different from domestic/regional Asia traffic.

But still, anyone who has forked over the substantial cost of a European business class ticket and found themselves with the "luxury" of exactly the same seats as in coach bar the empty seat in the middle, a curtain separating the cabin that might as well not be there looking at the amount of traffic that finds its way from said coach cabin to the forward washrooms, and a hardly inspiring "meal" service, will agree that it can be a bit of a lackluster experience. In contrast, there were lots of things to like on our short 1.5-hour hop from Thailand’s capital to one of its main beach destinations.

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The Most Visited City in the World is NOT New York

June 11, 2013 at 3:08 PM | by | ()

If you prefer to travel the 'beaten path' and visit cities that see more than their fair share of tourists, you may want to rethink your itinerary since there has been a shift in where the planet's travelers are heading. It's actually Bangkok, and not New York, that reigns as tourist capital of the world.

The figures are based on a recent survey put forth by Mastercard. The Global Destinations Cities Index lists the Thai capital as tops for foreigners coming to see the sights, eclipsing London, Paris and New York.

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The Cure for a Long Layover: Transit Tours at Six International Airports

June 11, 2013 at 10:50 AM | by | ()

Hanging out in Amsterdam

A 6+ hour layover sure sounds like guaranteed misery, right? Wrong, if you're between flights at one of the several international airports that offer city tours for passengers in transit.

Some airports provide these tours absolutely free as a way to promote tourism, but all require that you clear immigration and customs in order to take them.

So before you settle down for a 10-hour boredfest on a bench near an airport Sbarro, try out one of the transit tours at these six airports:

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Flight Review: Helsinki to Bangkok in Finnair’s New Business Class (Part 2)

June 6, 2013 at 4:20 PM | by | ()

Having talked you through the basics of our time in Finnair’s latest business class, we’re finishing up today with more on the airport experience, seat comfort, and in-flight service during our two, 11-hour runs between Helsinki-Vantaa and Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi airports.

Airport experience

Helsinki’s Vantaa airport must be one of the easiest in Europe for passengers rushing to a connecting flight, with a minimum time required between flights of about 30-40 minutes. The business class lounge, however, is not one with which we're super impressed, owing to the fact it's one large open space that's often so crowded you can barely find a seat. If you do magically have your choice of seats, head for the recliners facing the windows. There are at least shower facilities if you want to freshen up before catching your next flight.

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