On to Bangkok!

We had booked a shuttle to the airport. Due to covid, shared rides are apparently no longer an option, so we had a car to ourselves. Since we had to leave at around 4:30 am, we didn’t really expect to have any traffic, so the drive should take no longer than a half hour. Our condominium is a little difficult to find, so I had left explicit directions with the shuttle company on where to reach us (GPS doesn’t work for our address). But I guess they were not explicit enough because the driver got lost. Fortunately, we had built in some extra time “just in case” and it is a good thing we did! He finally found us and we were off.

In order to check in at the airport, I had to show my Thailand Pass and negative Covid test results. Check-in was easy and so we headed to the United lounge to hang out and grab some breakfast before the flight to San Francisco. When we boarded the flight, we were surprised to learn that it was completely full! We definitely have not been around that many people in that close of quarters for a while, but fortunately, everyone wore masks without issue. The only problem was that the flight took off a half hour late, and we only had an hour layover. Nonetheless, we were able to get to the next gate with plenty of time to spare.

Even though our documents had been checked in Seattle, we had to queue up to have them checked again prior to boarding. The gate agent checking Clayton’s thought he was supposed to have a visa to enter Korea, even though we were just transiting through there. She quickly realized her error and he was able to board. I had no problem whatsoever checking in. The flight to Seoul was just shy of 13 hours. We had used points to book and were in the Business class section. We were living large! The flight itself was very pleasant. The food was good and the service excellent. Clayton has the gift of sleeping on flights; I am not blessed that way. He slept virtually the entire flight while I watched lots of cooking competition shows. The flight left late but our layover in Seoul was 2.5 hours, so we were not concerned.

In order to check in for our flight to Bangkok, we had to go through yet another process with Asiana. We were called up one by one. Clayton’s check in went smoothly; mine did not. The agent told me that my test was not within the 72 hour window required and that I would not be able to board. I told her that I was sure that it was; that we had received the results within that time frame. Apparently, the lab issued the results hours before notifying us…and after 24 hours of no sleep, my brain was not firing on all cylinders so I thought she might be right. She would not budge but did agree to check with her superior. I had to find a place to sit while she investigated. I pulled up a patch of floor (there were no seats) and waited. While I waited, I realized what the problem was – the agent was counting from when we took the test; not from when the results were issued. Additionally, she had told me that the 72 hours started from when we left San Francisco, not from when we left Seattle. She was wrong on both counts! And, her supervisor corrected her so I was able to get my boarding pass. Whew!

We were able to get to the gate about a half hour before boarding. The airport in Seoul (Incheon) is supposed to be world class, but due to Covid, it was almost empty and nothing much was open. Our flight to Bangkok was uneventful; flight time was just under 6 hours.

We finally arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport (pronounced something like “soo wanna boom” and had our final hoops to jump through – examination of our documents and getting through Immigration. Thailand isn’t usually known for its excellent organizational skills but the arrival process was extremely efficient. We were directed down a long, long corridor to two rows of chairs that were all set 6 feet apart. Our flight was not very full so we did not have to wait long to be called up to the checkpoint where we had our Thailand Pass scanned. From there, we headed to immigration. We picked the shortest line, but it definitely wasn’t the fastest line. Rather than having printed out any documents, the gentleman ahead of us in line had to take out his laptop, start it up, and locate his paperwork. Sigh…I have a rare talent for picking the worst line to stand in…

We switched lines and decided to go through immigration separately. My only concern at this point would be if the officer wanted to see proof that we were leaving Thailand within 30 days; the maximum allowed for a visa-free entry. He asked how long I was staying (30 days, of course!) but didn’t ask for proof. Since we had been to Thailand previously, our fingerprints were in their system so we were quickly identified and basically waved through. Whew!