After a few relaxing days at Six Senses Ninh Van Bay’s sandy beaches, we headed back south to Ho Chi Minh City to catch our home bound night flight via Bangkok. We decided to try to upgrade to business class. At HMC ground staff was of no use and we were told to contact the transfer desk in Bangkok.
We boarded the plane on schedule for take off at 8.40 pm on 6 May for our second flight in a row. The unusually early announcement by the captain in Thai alarmed us, and the directly following English equivalent did nothing to shake the feeling that this might become a long journey. As a former frequent flyer I am aware that “a minor technical problem” means hours of delay.
After taxiing back and waiting three hours on the plane, I started to get anxious and decided to investigate what was going on. Wandering down the aisle I noticed approximately 15 so-called technicians standing around the right hand side Rolls Royce engine. The captain announced that the problem was fixed, but the technicians weren’t able to close the engine so we should expect further delays.
After waiting four hours on a 777-200 packed with locals who frequently used the toilets, I found myself a seat with a view of the technicians outside. The scene was absolutely ridiculous! They were acting like a bunch of apes trying to put together some IKEA furniture, ending up banging on the engine’s lid. This was the moment that I knew we weren’t flying anywhere.
At 2.15 am the Thai Airways crew started disembarking from the plane, taking us back to a closed Third World airport. The scattered ground staff was overwhelmed by the situation and unable to reorganize flights for the long-haul passengers. So I called Lufthansa in Germany (the flight operator in charge) to arrange for new flights back to Zürich the next day. The impolite twat on the phone refused to do anything helpful for us and laughed at me. I could have killed the b****.
At 3 am we were told to exit the airport and proceed to the pick-up level in order to get transferred to a hotel. Never mind that we only held a single-entry visa for Vietnam. So, the airport was closed and abandoned. The sleeping night guard didn’t understand a word of English. (As I like to catch foreign vocabulary at least I could ask for the “loi ra.”)
After 90 minutes of sleep and a quick shower we headed back to the airport at 6.30 am, happy to find ourselves to be the first passengers to queue up at the service desk. It took us two and one-half hours of heavy discussions, insisting and shouting to be rebooked for the first outbound Thai flight to Bangkok. The ground staff was absolutely useless, running around like beheaded chickens and basically doing nothing. It took six girlies to print one ticket, giving us the impression the Vietnamese are the most stupid people ever. Finally, we boarded the 10.20 am Thai flight to Bangkok. Same shit, different plane! This time the problem wasn’t entirely fixed, but we took off anyway, giving us a further two hour delay, enough to miss the connecting flight via Munich.
In Bangkok ground staff was equally useless and unprofessional as were the Vietnamese. We were left queuing up for another three hours to get a new ticket. Only four desks were open with approximately 180 people in line for reticketing and eight ground staff hanging about doing nothing but holding walkie-talkies with an insane grin!
Thirty-eight elderly people accompanied by three Buddhist monks came into Bangkok with us. They were pilgrims going to South Thailand, and the ground staff refused to give them any kind of help. As the monk asked for assistance pointing at two grannies in their wheelchairs, the staff only laughed at him and turned away. This was the most disrespectful gesture I experienced in my entire life!
After arguing at the service desk – again – we managed to gather two seats on the actually “fully booked” sex tourist night link directly to Zürich, which we avoided at initial booking. We begged to buy business class tickets for money, as we were absolutely exhausted after 36 hours without sleep and endless hours of queuing and waiting. Of course we were refused due to being “fully booked”!
Thai Airways promised to take us to an airport hotel to get some rest and dinner. We were taken to a shabby run down no-tell motel with a closed restaurant kitchen. The promised dinner we received on 7 May at 5.30 pm was a cold and disgusting set of leftovers, accompanied by a glass of dodgy water.
After a few hours at this filthy brothel we were transferred back to the airport and we again tried to buy a business class ticket, as we were hoping that seats would stay empty up to the last minute. Same answer, “Fully booked!” Due to our devastation and exhaustion, we asked at the gate and received another “fully booked” response.
At boarding we asked if the flight was really fully booked. The guy at the gate looked surprised and informed us that business and economy class were nearly empty. We boarded the plane and I was shattered to tears. How could this be? Why does Thai staff not give a f***?!! We tried to buy an upgrade on the plane itself and the purser’s facial expression looked promising. Praying for the possibility to buy an upgrade, she returned to tell us that it was too late as the doors were closed and asked us why we didn’t care for an upgrade earlier on…
We just arrived at Zürich Airport with a 25 hour delay, agitated and fed-up! I feel I need a holiday again straight away. I will never ever fly Lufthansa nor Thai again! Now I know “fully booked” means “I don’t give a sh** and I’m too lazy to work. Shove it!” Most disappointing: the poor and unprofessional service of Lufthansa – aiming to become a five star airline… This experience was a complete nightmare! I flew Swissair the day the airline grounded and had less issues. Thai ground staff, you are Thailand’s shame! Thanks for ruining my vacation!