Go directly to KL, do not pass Go, do not collect $200

Discussion in 'Trip Reports and Trip Photos' started by NM, Mar 25, 2007.

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  1. NM

    NM
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    Aug 27, 2004
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    This Wednesday morning started the way most other Wednesday mornings start, with a few early morning conference calls and helping get three kids off to school (two to be there by 7am, the other for 8:30am). By the time Mrs NM left home to drive Mini#3 to school, I was finishing up my last planned call for the morning and about to start processing the overnight emails. Then a little after 9am I got the phone call I dread most. It was like landing on the Monopoly Chance square and turning over the card that reads "Go directly to KUL; do not pass go; do not collect $200".

    I jokingly responded saying there was a flight that departs at 1:45pm that would have me there before midnight (its a concern that I know the flight schedules without looking them up), fully expecting there s no way I could be on that flight knowing our company's travel authorisation bureaucratic bottleneck could process international travel approvals in time. But the boss thought otherwise and assured me he would look after the approvals and I should get it booked and get packing.

    So a call to the corporate travel centre resulted in a reservation being made, but the agent really didn't think it was going to be possible to process it in time. She said she needed the approval on her desk within 30 mins if she was going to be able to get the ticket printed in their Brisbane office and couriered to the Brisbane airport in time for me to check-in for the flight. And that approval requires signatures from my boss (Director level), his boss (VP level) and the CEO.

    15 mins later I saw the emails flying as the approvals were all forthcoming and forwarded to the TA. The ticket was issued by 10am and arrangements made for printing and urgent courier to the airport. So I had to start packing.

    I know I will be there for at least a week, but have no idea just when I will be able to return. So I tell the TA that the flights must be fully flexible with no change penalties. She books a BLFF fare basis for me which pretty much does the trick. Would have been nicer if they would spring for J, but then again the J cabin was sold-out so I would not get on the QF51 that day if business class.

    The next problem was to let Mrs NM know I was going to be away for a while. She had plans to take Mini#4 to Playgroup after dropping Mini#3 at school and they that normally means she won't be home until lunch time. So I called her mobile phone to suggest she comes home early so she can drive me to the airport. Hmm, I call her number and hear a phone ringing on the other side of my desk. She had gone out without her phone today and I had no way to contact her.

    I packed and waited for her to return ... and waited ... and waited. When it came to 11:45 I had to call a cab or I was not going to get to the airport on time. So I did the only thing I could and left a note on the kitchen table explaining I was leaving for the airport and had no idea when I would be back. Oops, this is not going to be good when she gets home :shock: .
     

  2. NM

    NM
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    When the cab arrives, the driver is a friend of mine (pure coincidence). I get to the airport at about 12:20pm and head to the ticket counter hoping the courier had made it. The ticket was still sitting on their desk. I had probably passed the courier as I got out of the cab.

    Then over to the Business Class check-in line. The TA had inserted my QF FF number into the reservation, but when you make the reservation just a few hours before departure, the automatic seat allocation system is not very successful. Out spat my boarding pass reading seat 55E. The check-in agent looked at it and said "ouch - lets see if we can do any better than that". He tapped away and then went to speak with a colleague. They both nodded and he returned. I knew it was not a op-up since I also knew that business class was J0. He had moved me to 34D and blocked off 34E and F for me.

    He also confirmed that business class was in fact oversold by 1, so unless someone no-shows there is going to be an interesting check-in experience for someone shortly. I asked what will happen if they all show up. He said they would offer a few options to the unfortunately traveller, such as if they are going through to London (very common for business class passengers on QF51) they may offer Y to SIN and F SIN-LHR, or re-routing on QF29 via MEL/HKG possibly with an upgrade to F. So we can see why QF likes to leave some premium cabin seats available rather than use them all for waitlisted upgrades.

    The whole check-in process takes just a few minutes and I am soon heading down the escalator to the immigration desks. There is almost no queue there and I am through in about 2 mins, through the security screening and heading to the FLounge to try to catch my breath and understand what has happened in the last 3 hours.
     
  3. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
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    Did you get to talk to Mrs NM from the airport?
     
  4. Keith009

    Keith009 Established Member

    Mar 6, 2005
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    Thanks for sharing NM. I'm thinking of flying the same route with QF/BA - seems like the only way to get to KUL on the same day is to catch QF via BNE and get the last MH SIN-KUL flight of the day.
     
  5. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
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    There are same-day options on MH and SQ.
     
  6. NM

    NM
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    Now at the FLounge, and knowing my ticket was a B class fare, it was time to ensure the FF number was changed to AA. AA will pay 1.5 EQP/mile for a B fare, which is the same rate as for J and F fares. So I get maximum status qualification value for the B fare. But B fare on QF FF program is discount economy so would only earn me 30 SCs each way.

    So for QF FF program, I would need to do 20 BNE-SIN flights to get to Gold status (well I have lifetime Giold so what's the point in requalifying it with SCs) or 40 flights for Platinum! With AA, I will earn 5724 EQP, which means I would need 9 such flights to requalify AA Platinum or 17 for Executive Platinum.

    The FLounge agent takes my BP and AA card and changes the entry while I am enjoying a few glasses of Moet before boarding.

    Luckily Mrs NM gets home ad sees my note before I depart. I explain my morning and she is sympathetic - phew! But I know I need to source an appropriate peace offering before I return. Perhaps a bottle of Grandfather port may be a good starting point. I send an SMS message to Mini#1 letting him know about my trip.

    I grab a few plates of food (cold meats, sandwiches, fruit etc) knowing its Y food that awaits me onboard.

    Boarding is called about 1:20pm and its time to stop pretending I am an F passenger and bring myself back to the world of the Y cabin as I follow the heard of sheep towards Gate 84.
     
  7. NM

    NM
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    The only real option on OneWorld is QF51 to SIN and then I normally use MH610 to KUL. Going via HKG is more expensive and poor timing.
     
  8. NM

    NM
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    From BNE, the MH flight is different timing at each end of the week. Beginning of the week the northbound is daytime and southbound is overnight, and the end of the week it changes. SQ routing is similar to the QF/MH option.
     
  9. Keith009

    Keith009 Established Member

    Mar 6, 2005
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    I usually get there MEL-SIN-KUL on SQ238/116.

    But uhh...thinking of an alternative route this time. ;)
    Seems like QF51 is my best bet, and MH610. I wonder if MH will accept my *G card for entry into their lounge, or if the SATS lounge will accept an MH BP - since KUL is operated as a JSA between MH and SQ.
     
  10. NM

    NM
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    Consider just buying an F seat on the MH flights. The incremental cost for F on that route is very small and it gets you into their Golden Lounge at SIN (pretty basic lounge, but still better than the main terminal) and the FLounge at KUL (a wonderful lounge). It also gets you an invitation to use the premium channel for inbound and outbound immigration processing at KUL. Last time I did it, the cost difference was about $35 each way. Unfortunately I didn't get the chance to do that this time due to the short notice.
     
  11. Keith009

    Keith009 Established Member

    Mar 6, 2005
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    Did you get a separate ticket or was the MH/SQ fare part of the QF ticket?

    The difference between Y and F on a one way is about 80 bucks I think - with an SQ ticket on its own but it'd be the same with MH. Wonder if it'd be cheaper if the whole thing is part of the QF fare, but with the SIN-KUL-SIN in F?
     
  12. NM

    NM
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    Always on one ticket. I won't risk multiple tickets for business travel. I am not sure if the fare is constructed as BNE-KUL-BNE or if it is two separate fares added together. This trip is a single BNE-KUL-BNE fare, but may not have been when I have done a mixed economy/first class ticket.

    Looking at current prices for SIN-KUL-SIN, I see Y fare is A$257 and F fare is $357. So the difference is $50 each way.
     
  13. Keith009

    Keith009 Established Member

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    Cheers. :)

    Mmmm...1500 miles vs MH F lounge in KUL....
     
  14. NM

    NM
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    Flight: QF51
    Route: BNE-SIN
    Aircraft: A330-300 VH-QPC
    Seat: 34D

    I took seat and spread out onto the adjacent 34E knowing it had been blocked off for me. Its always nice to have some space to leave the pillow, blanket etc. I took a look through the IFE program guide and selected a few movies to watch during this daytime flight to Singapore. Pushback and takeoff were pretty much on time.

    The AVOD system was started soon after take-off and I drilled through the menus and launched into watching "Night at the Museum".

    The drinks cart was next to come by. Knowing the bubbles in Y are to be avoided, and also knowing the poor quality scotch on offer, I opt for a can of ginger ale to accompany the scotch.

    Its not long until the food cart is clanging up the aisle. The choice were described as Chicken or Beef. They had run out of beef in the trolley serving my seat area so I was handed a chicken on the assumption that was what I wanted. The label on the meal read "Chicken in Oyster Sauce". It was quite acceptable for a Y meal.

    When the tray was collected and they were offering drinks refills, they only had wine and juice/soft drinks on the trolley. I asked for some more scotch so I could complete my can of ginger ale and was told by the FA that she would bring it to me. I sat and waited and waited for it but it didn't show until I asked again several hours later.

    Soon after the meal service was cleared away, there was a lot of movement in the cabin. An FA brought two Sweedish women to sit in 34E and F since their AVOD was not working and it was for those "blocked" seats. Grrr. I now lost my extra space.

    After the movie I have a look around the AVOD for something new to watch. I checked our progress on Flightpath and noted we were approaching Darwin. I don't fancy starting another movie so select Mythbusters for a bit of fun.

    Not too long later the trolley was back. This time we were offered "Macaroni Cheese". Well it was macaroni, but I would have described it very differently. It was more like a bolognaise sauce with cheese. It came with a Tim Tam so that made it good meal. I was finally provided the second glass of scotch for my ginger ale.

    We soon started the decent into a wet Changi airport for an on-time arrival.

    I noted that at no time during the flight did the CSD or any other member of teh cabin crew welcome me as either a QF Platinum or AA Platinum FF member.
     
  15. NM

    NM
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    I had about 2 hours from arrival at SIN Terminal 2 and departing on my MH flight to KUL from Terminal 1. So while walking from the arrival gate I turned on my phone and called Mrs NM to see how she was coping with my sudden departure. All was fine at home.

    I had plenty of time so decided to visit the QF FLounge before heading over to Terminal 1. I did not yet have my MH boarding pass (had to collect it at the Terminal 1 transfer desk) so the QF FLounge agent took my ticket and QF Plat card and entered the details into the computer and welcomed me to the FLounge.

    I was disappointed with the food on offer, so settled for a glass or two of champers, a can of soda water and some cheese and crackers.

    After about a 15 minute FLounge visit, I headed for the train over to Terminal 1. I was side-tracked on the way there by a bottle of Talisker 18yo. Check-in for the MH flight was quick with no queue at all at the MH counter at the transfer area. I spent the rest of the time before boarding wandering through some of the shops since I had no lounge access at Terminal 1 before a MH flight.
     
  16. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
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    I would think it is separate fares (which can be combined on a single ticket). Whenever I've flown to/from KUL, anything other than first class books into economy for the KUL-SIN vv legs, unless purchased SIN-KUL-SIN as first class add-on to xxx-SIN-xxx.
     
  17. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
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    Does Malaysia have a liquids rule? Might be an issue for your return (unless you plan on consuming the lot in KUL :shock: ).
     
  18. BlacKnox

    BlacKnox Active Member

    Jan 29, 2005
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    Good read NM. I trust you're staying at the Hilton there. Pretty decent yeah. Or is there some other new beaut hotel I haven't heard about yet?
     
  19. Keith009

    Keith009 Established Member

    Mar 6, 2005
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    The liquid rule kicks in 1 APR IIRC. :(
     
  20. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
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    It has reached the point now where it is easier to say which countries don't have liquids rule - not many.

    :evil:

    Hopefully rules will be relaxed a bit once duty free sales crash (and airports lose their significant cut of the action).
     
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