Manila To Bangkok On Thai Airways
After spending three months in south east Asia and a quick overnight stop in Manila, it was time to pick up my round-the-world itinerary again, starting with a quick hop back to Bangkok on Thai Airways.
Getting to Manila Airport
From Makati, I took a cab to Manila's Terminal 1 via the Skyway expressway. The drive took around half an hour, most of which were spent in traffic on the streets surrounding the airport. The meter cost was 183 pesos/$4.20 plus another 35 pesos/$0.80 we had to pay at the Skyway toll booth.
Manila Terminal 1 (Gate G8)
It was a quick breeze through the security at the entrance and to the check-in desks, bypassing the long queue for Economy check-in. With the boarding pass in hand, I paid the 750 peso/$17.30 international departure fee (there are two ATMs in the terminal) and got in line for immigration, followed by another hectic line through security as male and female passengers are separated into two different lines in a tight space while being fed by about eight immigration desks. It took me about twenty minutes to get through all of this and soon I was on the way to the lounge with an hour to kill.
Royal Silk Lounge
I was a bit surprised to learn that Thai operates their own lounge at Manila airport since it is not their hub. Unfortunately, it was the lest appealing lounge I have been to yet - a small room crammed with small, semi-comfortable seats (seats inside the terminal were better) with small selection of food items and decent selection of alcohol (both beer and spirits). There were no restrooms, no coffee machine, no flight information display and the free WiFi kept cutting out making me reconnect VPN again and again. Since Priority Pass' Pagstop Lounge was located before security screening, I did not have a chance to go check it out by it could not be worse than the Thai lounge.
We were flying the A330-300 back to Bangkok, the same type I flew to Manila from Bangkok when I arrived to the Philippines back in November. As such, the business class was equipped with old style seats with limited recline but a nice foot support that did not kill my ankles as it usually happens. The boarding was delayed by about 15 minutes and after pushing back, we spent a bit sitting at the end of the taxiway before departing at about forty minutes late. Otherwise, the flight was uneventful and I thought the time flew by (quite literally) pretty fast.
A selection of champagne, orange juice, sweet ice tea, and water was served during takeoff. Once we got going, a nicely packaged bag of roasted cashew nuts appeared at my seat, soon followed by a tasty first course tray - Smoked Salmon Rosette with Caper, Marinated Pimiento, Coral Lettuce with Vinaigrette Dressing. Main course offered two seafood options as well as beef and pork selections. I settled down for Pork Stew Wushi Style With Bell Pepper, Steamed Thai Hom Mali Rice and Broccoli (who comes up with these long names anyways?). The rice was pretty plain so I skipped the carbs and munched on the somewhat fatty pork tips with broccoli and mushrooms - it was ok, but nothing to write home about. Next, was a small fruit/veggie/cheese/cracker plate with a couple pieces of each, accompanied by a glass of Warre's Warrior Port. I finished up with a shot of (mediocre) espresso, proudly skipping a piece of pumpkin cheesecake.