A milestone birthday OW award

Discussion in 'Trip Reports and Trip Photos' started by Captain Halliday, Sep 10, 2018.

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  1. Captain Halliday

    Captain Halliday Established Member

    Jun 1, 2014
    As some of you may know, Mrs H is celebrating a milestone birthday this year. She’s just turned 21 (+228 months).;)

    But not satisfied to celebrate on the day, Mrs H likes to spread the festivities out over an entire month. This year the celebration will last around seven weeks.:rolleyes:

    Among her requests to mark the occasion: trips to Japan, Hawaii and for me to do my first TR. Okay, one of those is a fib, but a milestone should be recorded right?

    So, following are some mostly true tales about our trip as we celebrate the Festival of Mrs H!
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  2. Jacques Vert

    Jacques Vert Established Member

    Jun 24, 2008
    Coffs Harbour
    Dare I snare 1A again? Why not?
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  3. Captain Halliday

    Captain Halliday Established Member

    Jun 1, 2014
    #3 Captain Halliday, Sep 10, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2018
    The itinerary

    We began with a positioning flight to SIN to make the most of the OW award miles and get two awards in one.

    BNExMEL-SIN on QF in Y. A couple of bonuses here, DSC from a delayed booking, first F lounge visit and first A380 for Mrs H and Miss H.




    Next year we have HEL, CPH, OSL to complete the award.
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  4. Captain Halliday

    Captain Halliday Established Member

    Jun 1, 2014
    #4 Captain Halliday, Sep 10, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2018
    First time F loungers

    BNE-MEL allowed both Mrs H and Miss H to experience the BNE J lounge following my recent bump to WP.

    Once onboard and comfortably seated in 4DEF, the Y cabin supervisor introduced herself. The milestone came up and two serves of bubbles quickly appeared.

    Once in MEL we made our way to the F lounge for a second, (or was it third?)o_O breakfast. Mrs H and I both tucked into the eggs Benedict, while Miss H had a ham and cheese omelette.

    I may have have first time F lounge stars in my eyes, but this was among the best eggs Benedict’s I’ve ever had. So good, I was two bites in before I remembered that without a photo it never happened.

    We then endured an agonising;) 23 minute wait for the clock to strike 1100 and the famed salt and pepper squid to be available.

    It’s certainly good. But the Enjoy Inn in Fortitude Valley (BNE) does it better IMHO. YMMV.

    I wouldn’t normally have a red with S&P squid, but once I spotted the 2012 Peter Lehmann Stonewall Shiraz, there was no other option. It was simply sensational.

    Halfway through the glass a boarding call was made and it was decision time: savour the last of the Shiraz and fight it out with everyone else in Y for space in the overhead locker, or skull the Shiraz and make sure our backpacks had a bed...

    Oh the first world dilemmas...
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  5. ellen10

    ellen10 Established Member

    Jul 18, 2008
    Great start ....... looking forward to the next instalment.
  6. Captain Halliday

    Captain Halliday Established Member

    Jun 1, 2014
    #6 Captain Halliday, Sep 11, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2018
    ...so I downed the Shiraz faster than an AFFer trying to click on a DSC offer and headed for the aircraft.

    MEL-SIN: Consistently inconsistent

    We’d selected seats in the mini-Y cabin on the upper deck. 32A for me and 33AB for Mrs H and Miss H. I had been told the armrests between 32A/B were fixed due to tray tables, but this turned out not to be the case, so we could have taken 32ABC. Seats for the return sector may need a rethink.

    As it turned out another glass of Shiraz would have been fine. Not only was there plenty of space in the overhead locker and side compartments, but Mr 32B was running late.

    Once underway and the seatbelt sign was off one of the crew looking after our part of the cabin came to offer Mrs H a wine. My ears pricked up and I turned around so fast I gave myself whiplash.:p

    You see, Mrs H is a NB. She has a different surname to me having not changed it after the wedding and due to using the delayed booking method;), she was also on a different PNR to me. The reason for the wine offer to a NB remains a mystery to me.

    Luckily there was also enough wine for the WPs. The first glass turned out to be a Shaw and Smith Shiraz. Very nice. Off to a good start I thought.

    I thought wrong...:eek:

    <boarding call for my next flight - To be continued>
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  7. kookaburra75

    kookaburra75 Member

    Mar 26, 2017
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    This sounds like one of my trips. Settling in with the popcorn.....
  8. LadyC

    LadyC Established Member

    Feb 21, 2012
    I like the idea of a birthday month. I think I will introduce that tradition in my house. Sounds like you have a fun holiday planned - look forward to reading more.
  9. Briar1078

    Briar1078 Member

    Dec 7, 2013
    Country NSW
    I'm also a fan of the birthday-month celebration. Well played Mrs H.
  10. Captain Halliday

    Captain Halliday Established Member

    Jun 1, 2014
    MEL-SIN: Lindt revenge.

    When the meal service started a different crew member was on the job. Reaching my seat I was asked if I wanted lunch. “Yes, I believe I pre-ordered the beef.” I replied.

    The flight attended grunted in response and dropped, yes dropped, the tray onto my table. To be fair she only dropped it about two centimetres, but it was enough for the garlic bread to bounce.

    Another flight attendant then offered more wine. “Sure.” I replied.

    “Shiraz or Cabernet?” She asked.

    “I’ll stick with the Shiraz please.” I said, hoping the Shaw & Smith would appear.

    But it wasn’t to be. The miniature bottle was delivered and its contents fell well below my already low expectations.

    Then things began to look up as Weis ice creams and Lindt chocolates were offered to pax on the righthand side of the cabin.

    True to the Qantas ethos of being consistently inconsistent, on our side of the cabin only Weis bars were served. The sweet creamy mango flavour did nothing to mask the bitter aftertaste of not getting a Lindt ball.:mad:

    After what I assume was her rest, the delightful flight attendant reappeared to offer more wine.

    She asked if I wanted to stick with the Shiraz, then spotted the mini bootle. A very subtle, but unmistakable look of horror flashed across her face :eek: and she whisked away the poison and tainted plastic cup.

    She returned soon after with real glass containing Wynns Black Label Shiraz. :)

    A little later, this wonderful flight attendant engaged Miss H and offered a special tour of secret places. Miss H was shown the rear galley where she pocketed a few Tim Tams, then down the rear stairs to the lower rear galley to pocket some soft drink. Then it was off for a quick look at the crew rest area in the lower centre part of the plane.

    The tour concluded with a quiz: To win a handful of Lindt chocolates (presumably the ones that 32ABCD and 33ABCD didn’t get during the meal service) Miss H had to correctly explain why there is a hatch where seat 70D should be?

    Sadly Miss H passed, but I knew the correct answer and was able to walk back to my seat passed the flight attendant who served the meals looking very happy with my haul of 8 Lindt chocolates.:cool:
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  11. Captain Halliday

    Captain Halliday Established Member

    Jun 1, 2014
    SIN: The jellyfish, a naked pizza & the phallic ice cream

    In Singapore we stayed at the Grand Mercure Roxy Square. It’s the hotel used by AU based JQ crew and was recommended to us by a friend who is a JQ captain.

    It has a free shuttle to and from Changi, but also offers free shuttles to the nearby MRT station and into the city.

    We were delighted to be upgraded to a club room with this view:


    The construction you can see in the lower left went all night but we couldn’t hear a thing on level 16. Once complete, the hotel will have an MRT station virtually out the front. Super convenient.

    The other benefit at this hotel (which my apply to all Accor hotels, I’m not sure) is 30% off the in-house dining options. This takes the sting out of what might otherwise be an expensive meal when you don’t feel like going out.

    The upgrade also meant we were comped breakfast and lounge access. In the lounge I was able to try something new for me, jellyfish:


    It had a slightly chewy texture, rather like al dente noodles or pasta. The flavour was a little bitter and slightly vinegary. I didn’t rush back for seconds, but it was good to try something new.

    Out and about in Singapore, Miss H wanted pizza, so after a long day walking we found a place called DePizza at Clarke Quay. It offers mainstream pizzas, plus a few unusual options such as chilli crab pizza or chicken and egg pizza.

    Mrs H wanted the meat lovers. It had a fancy name, but it was a meat lovers. The menu description said “so much meat we didn’t have room for the dairy” and was accompanied by a photo of the pizza.

    Somehow between the description and the photo Mrs H completely missed that the pizza came with no cheese.


    Delicious, even without the cheese.

    These were good too:


    DePizza is easy to miss, so if you want to try it look for Fatboy’s which has a much larger sign, then head up the stairs to the right.


    Finally we went for a walk to show Miss H the Merlion. Right near the Merlion was this:


    On first glance I was certainly not thinking ice cream shop!
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  12. Captain Halliday

    Captain Halliday Established Member

    Jun 1, 2014
    #12 Captain Halliday, Sep 16, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2018
    SIN-NRT: Consistently consistent.

    Having explained the OW Award rules to Mrs H, she was determined not to miss the first sector and void the entire ticket. So on her insistence we were at SIN airport at 0445 for an 0810 departure standing in the J queue while staff organised things at the checkin counters.:rolleyes: Mercifully the opened early for us.

    Checked in, we headed for the Dnata lounge. It’s just slightly better than a QF Dom J lounge, but not at the standard of QF int J.

    There was a good mix of western and Asian breakfast options, but the best feature was the coffee. Good coffee is hard to find in Asia IMHO, but they had genuine espresso. The only downside was they use UHT milk. Perhaps playing to the Aussies, they prominently displayed signs promoting the coffee brand being from Melbourne.


    It may have been 5am but I decided to try the Pinot. Just a half glass. Maybe it was my breakfast tastebuds, the wine itself, or a little of both, but it wasn’t flash. The Shiraz was a Wolf Blass yellow label, so I expect the Pinot was in the same price bracket.



    Our aircraft was operating from the furthest possible gate from the Dnata lounge at the end of the C pier.

    Remember Mrs H not wanting to miss the first sector? Sadly she remembered too! Were were at the gate a full 45 minutes before departure. Naturally, we were through security in a heartbeat and had our choice of very firm grey or blue seats in neat, bureaucrat-pleasing rows.

    Pro tip for boarding JAL: Their order of boarding is JL elites including OW Sapphire, then Business class, PE and so on... Rather than wait for J to be called I played the OW Sapphire Card, literally, and board with the JL elites.

    Our aircraft was a B772. JL operate this aircraft in two configurations. The J cabin is a 2-2-2 config for domestic ops and a 1-2-1 config for international.


    The seat, menus and service were reviewed by @drron who flew this sector a couple of days ahead of me. So if you’re not subscribed to his TR, I’d highly recommend it. Check it out here: Picking up the pieces in Japan.

    For comparison purposes, here’s my meal pics. You’ll notice they’re consistently consistent with @drron’s. Imagine if all the OW airlines could manage that!;)



    A special mention at this point to @doctork who offered up this delightful Ansett travel wallet on the free to a good home thread last year. I promised him I’d put it to good use and will aim to include it in the TR more than once.


    Having never landed on NRT RWY34R I wondered if we were just overflying the field to go around, but we touched down eventually.



    And boarded the business class bus :eek:, AKA Armpit Express;) for the ride to the terminal.

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  13. Captain Halliday

    Captain Halliday Established Member

    Jun 1, 2014
    Towers and temples

    In Tokyo we decided to stay in Asakusa at the Richmond Premier Hotel.

    The room was very cosy once the third bed for Miss H was wheeled in but it had a nice view of the Skytree day and night.



    It also overlooked the Sensoji Temple - the oldest in Tokyo.


    In the grounds of the temple are the Asakusa Temple and Five Storied Pagoda.



    Also near the hotel were several blocks of small shops and market stalls. A mix of indoor and outdoor vendors were selling everything from flea market style items to high end clothing and electronics.


    We also walked through downtown Tokyo to the gardens of the Imperial Palace, then on to the Hamarikyu Gardens.



    Attached Files:

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  14. Welsh-Kiwi

    Welsh-Kiwi Member

    Apr 1, 2013
    Great TR so far! Boarding pass scanned....
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  15. JohnM

    JohnM Senior Member

    Jun 7, 2006
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    I'm in 1K again...
  16. Captain Halliday

    Captain Halliday Established Member

    Jun 1, 2014
    Turds & toilet translations

    From Hamarikyu Gardens we caught a water bus back to the hotel.

    I grabbed a beer and settled into 1A to enjoy the view. :)



    Approaching Asakusa we passed the Asahi Building. It’s the golden coloured building on the left and is meant to represent a beer mug with a frothy head.


    To the right is the Asahi Beer Hall which has the Asahi Flame on top.

    The 360 tonne structure is said to represent the burning heart of Asahi. But locals know it as “the golden turd” or “the poo building”. :p

    Which reminds me... Google Translate couldn’t cope with the hotel’s space age toilet. :eek:


    Attached Files:

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  17. GarrettM

    GarrettM Active Member

    Sep 17, 2015
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    We stayed at the GMRS in May, for just one night, before moving on to our other hotel in Little India, which was a mistake.

    Was quite taken by the Roxy's location, although concerned it wasn't that close to the MRT. Clearly that's being rectified.

    It's definitely on the list of hotels we would return to.
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  18. GarrettM

    GarrettM Active Member

    Sep 17, 2015
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    I hope you went up the SkyTree!
  19. Captain Halliday

    Captain Halliday Established Member

    Jun 1, 2014
    Sadly no.

    A friend recommended the Metropolitan Government building on the other side of town as a good, free alternative. However, certain members of the travelling party are fond of sleeping in and we never made it by 5pm on the Friday. And it’s closed on weekends.

    By the weekend the weather had deteriorated and the Skytree would have been pointless.
  20. Captain Halliday

    Captain Halliday Established Member

    Jun 1, 2014
    #20 Captain Halliday, Sep 20, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2018
    Tokyo DisneySea: A cost benefit analysis

    Now I know what you’re all thinking, every Disney is the same. I don’t want to read about the 90 minute wait for the Toy Story ride. Don’t worry I’m with you.

    Far more practical, I present my cost benefit analysis of our day at SeaDisney for Mrs H, Miss H and me. To simplify things I’m using an exchange rate of AUD1: YEN80

    Metro Asakusa-Ueno: $7.50
    Train Ueno xTokyo-Disney: $11.91
    2 x coffees & 1 donut $13.63
    Disney entry 2 adults, 1 child: $247.74
    3 burgers, 1 chips, 1 soup, 1 soft drink $22.88
    Hot dog $6.10
    Ice block $4.00
    Dinner (half chicken & veggies; seafood lasagne; two beers) $59.53



    An extra beer $9.86 (approaching the 9 hour mark I needed it!)
    Train Disney xTokyo - Ueno $11.91
    Metro Ueno-Asakusa $7.50

    Give the crazy lines to get on most rides we managed 47 rides for the day. That 15.66 rides per person.

    We also watched the Fantasmic show which was okay, but nowhere near as good as the original at Disneyland in LA. Given the crowds, and difficulty seeing hearing I’d put a notional value of $5pp at best.




    Miss H claimed to be too old for character photos and we didn’t see any other shows. So all up our outlay for the day was $402.56

    Minus the notional value of Fantasmic, which leaves a total of $387.56 or $8.25 per ride per person.

    We were there 9am to 8pm. So an alternative measure could be $134.19 per person or $12.20 per hour.

    Given the cost to attend major sporting events, concerts etc. Disney doesn’t look too bad on a cost per hour basis. :eek:

    Now I acknowledge this wouldn’t pass as an economics thesis. For example, even if we hadn’t gone to Disney we would still have had meal expenses.

    Personally I could extract far better value for my $400 on a sale fare to NZ:), but you can’t put a dollar value on a child’s happiness.

    So for the joy it brought Miss H, I’m saying it was worth it. But only just.
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