Not a CircleAsia tour of ... well umm Asia

Discussion in 'Trip Reports and Trip Photos' started by simongr, May 24, 2007.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Welcome to Australia's leading independent Frequent Flyer and Travel Resource!
Our site contains tons of information that will improve your travel experience.
Joining AFF is fast, simple & ABSOLUTELY FREE -  join now by clicking on the JOIN NOW button, and take immediate advantage of these great BENEFITS.
Once registered, this box will disappear. And you will see fewer advertisements :)
  1. simongr

    simongr Enthusiast

    Jul 10, 2006
    14,229
    1,742
    #1 simongr, May 24, 2007
    Last edited: May 24, 2007
    Well as widely reported in this thread this is not a CircleAsia fare to Asia – it’s just a really expensive ticket :oops:

    The objective of this trip was to visit a new business that we had bought who have offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. The guy that works with me (tgtwwmTM) is also on this trip. Through lots of messing around we finally decided to scale back the work at the new businesses and do a normal audit at our existing Shanghai office. This meant an extended visit to Hong Kong shared service centre (where at least 1 of my bosses is based).

    So my routing is:

    SYD-HKG-PEK[stop]-HKG[stop]-PVG[stop]-HKG-SYD

    This is a maze of flying for me – I have my first whY flight in a long time (waitlisted for J) but we are travelling SYD-HKG-SYD in F on QF – so that will be nice. Although a little too early to sample the new SYD F lounge and F service (I will need to work on that).
     

  2. simongr

    simongr Enthusiast

    Jul 10, 2006
    14,229
    1,742
    Journey – SYD-HKG
    Flight no. – QF127
    Class – First
    Seat – 2A

    After a crazy weekend for my birthday staying at the Hilton in Sydney I was very rushed getting ready for the trip. So it was a bleary eyed simongr that was putting the final touches to packing and burning DVDs as the car arrived on Monday morning. This the foggy day in Sydney where a number of flights had been diverted inbound to Sydney.

    The new Lane Cove tunnel is a dream and made my trip to the Airport take about 40 minutes rather than 60. At the airport I was through check in quickly as ever in F and its off to the lounge.

    Sadly as this is a morning flight I won’t be tucking into the Moet too heavily. A nice little breakfast of ham and cheese rolls and a latte was ok. This lounge with its lack of any view really does need to be closed (and I am now wondering what will happen to it when the new F lounge opens?).

    I am still fuming at the lack of free wireless in the lounge. Fortunately I have a Telstra account so it’s a simple connection for me. A little while catching up with AFF after the weekend off and my colleague joins me in the lounge and we discuss my antics over the weekend and our plans for the week. He is disembarking at HKG whilst I head on to PEK.

    The flight isn’t quite called but we head off to the gate anyway – unsure how far away it is. After a minute or two waiting to board we are off. On board the F cabin does look a little old. It will be strange (if I get the chance to fly F again soon) to go from the new sleek F lounge to a tired and old looking F seat on QF – that old A380 problem again.

    The onboard welcome is great. The staff member takes care of everything with a nice glass of champagne and some almonds (I decline the olives on the grounds that they are the devil’s fruit). We have a brief chat about the fog at Sydney this morning and the journey in and I am thinking this is going to be a good flight.

    I am straight into my PJ’s (I still waited for one person to crack and change first) but tgtwwm is adamant that there are no PJ’s on daytime flights). He does however succumb to a Crown lager after take off whereas I stick to the (now) traditional G&T. This is ok if a little strong.

    As ever I have trouble finding the power outlet (yes I now know its near the ottoman) but eventually I am settling in to watch Smallville and Lost from this week. The menu looks interesting but there is nothing that grabs me. Whilst deciding they bring out these fantastic appetisers – Cold cauliflower soup with salmon roe (much, much nicer than it sounds) and a thai beef roll wrapped in seaweed – absolutely lovely.

    I opt for the Calzone (I am trying to be more innovative in food choices) but sadly the experiment fails :( There is a choice of cheese or tart and of course I opt for the cheese (there are even sufficient biscuits).

    I am slowly slugging back the shiraz and sliding down in the chair whilst watching laptopTV and eventually I crash out for a couple of hours (good or bad thing – not sure at this point). Eventually I wake up and find that I don’t have any in seat power any longer even after fiddling with the outlet. Ah well – no work for me then :D

    I then discover that the pax in the seat across the aisle is in fact staff (I see that written on the menu choices that the staff are writing down (I really am too nosey for other people’s own good) and he doesn’t touch a drop of alcohol on the flight – good news for the shareholders ;)

    Eventually they run out of crown (I Blame tgtwwm) so I have to switch to HP :bleh:

    About 90 minutes before descent I am offered and accept a delicious steak sandwich – this is good preparation for me as I don’t expect food on the ground. It is a really good steak sandwich. As we descend they switch on the purple mood lighting (mrssimongr would love it) and we are soon into HKG.

    My reflections on this flight is that the staff were superb and were all asian which makes wonder if they were HKG based staff with an understanding of service, the seats are old and tired but the control panel is neat and effective. Finally I realise that on my last (and only other) QF F flight there are two extra F seats in the cabin. I am sure in the SYD-SIN flight the front two F seats in the centre of the aircraft weren’t there – maybe that was CX…
     
  3. simongr

    simongr Enthusiast

    Jul 10, 2006
    14,229
    1,742
    Journey – HKG-PEK
    Flight no. – KA906
    Class – whY (dear god please save me from this)
    Seat – 43H Yup you read that right – 43H

    Well here we are – its time to face the music, pay the piper, let the mice run free, hang out the washing on the Siegfried line and swallow done my pride – I am back in whY. Its clear from both lounges that I try it on – I aint getting no lounge access today. It’s more annoying as I don’t have any juice in the laptop, I am tired and I need a glass of champagne (ok maybe that last part sounded a little snobbish).

    I manage to find the departure gate which seems to be as far from the rest of the airport as humanly possible. It comes time to board and despite having asked about 12 times now I really am not going to be sitting in J. I am not even getting priority boarding – this is just not cricket.

    Way back in 43H I do however have 3 seats to myself which is nice (as I had moved from 38A) but I am wondering if I have walked off the aircraft as I cant even see the front of the plane!

    Right so this is economy – I think I remember this. Seats so narrow my legs have to be at an angle to fit in. No-one has offered me any champagne (that must be coming soon) and I don’t seem to have any PTV or AVOD.

    Well off we go. After a while I notice the seatbelt sign hasn’t gone out – I guess that must be turbulence. Also no-one is offering food and the FAs are in their seats still. After about 90 mins of this (the flight is about 3 ½ hours) I am really wondering what is going on – the turbulence isn’t even that bad. Finally an announcement:

    Hmm – this is not turning out well….

    R-O-A-R

    A little noise might be an understatement….

    Anyway back to HKG an don’t back to the lounge it’s onto the BUS after deplaning and back to the terminal for a cookie and a bottle of water. Some people aren’t taking this well (one woman stamps her feet as they tell she needs to get a transit passenger card – don’t think she was too happy earlier that her and partner were in AB with someone in C and I had 3 seats to myself :oops: )

    This is my first serious flight delay whilst travelling on business and I am tossing up whether to proceed to PEK but I push on – imagine the stress when people realise they are going to be more delayed whilst they get my bags ;)

    I phone the hotel and explain the situation and ask that they re-arrange the car that is going to collect me – I have no idea if I managed to get the message across – my visit to PEK is looking worse by the minute.

    I notice on re-boarding that although the aircraft is the same the seats are slightly different. I decide though as it is now 11PM my time it is really time to sleep. This was a tricky exercise given I am 6’ 2” and no matter which way I fold I am not going to fit. I actually skip dinner as I am so tired I even doze a little.

    We arrive at 2AM (note the lack of curfew) into a very quiet airport. It was interesting going through immigration to see that I could decide rate the performance of the immigration staff – as I had no benchmark I decided against that ;)

    The baggage was pretty much ready at the carousel and the Sheraton guy was waiting for me – he took both bags and then handed me off to a very silent driver for the ride to the Sheraton on the Great Wall.
     
  4. Shano

    Shano Established Member

    Aug 17, 2006
    1,229
    23
    Melbourne
    Flight Map:
    View my flight map
    Good reading simongr, look forward to the rest.

    Just a hint of English satire.....;)
     
  5. garyjohn951

    garyjohn951 Active Member

    Jul 21, 2006
    561
    2
    Melbourne
    When you become a WP you shouldn't have that lounge problem !
     
  6. simongr

    simongr Enthusiast

    Jul 10, 2006
    14,229
    1,742
    Literally just got home (not even unpacked) - sadly I wont be WP as i am aiming for AA EXP - but might go for WP f from Sep 2007 qualifying period.

    PLan to potentially finish this today - but deadlines do tend to whoosh by ;)
     
  7. NM

    NM
    Moderator

    Aug 27, 2004
    15,760
    1,211
    Flight Map:
    View my flight map
    QF has always had 14 F seats in Zone A on their 3-class 744s. CX has 12, with no 2E or 2F seats.
     
  8. BlacKnox

    BlacKnox Active Member

    Jan 29, 2005
    732
    13
    Good stuff simongr - keep it coming. And PS, I'd be reluctant to ever order a calzone, burrito, tortilla or anything "tex-mexish" on a flight. Best left to restaurants and those wonderful curbside stalls found in California and Texas (& for the adventurous) Mehico ;) .
     
  9. simongr

    simongr Enthusiast

    Jul 10, 2006
    14,229
    1,742
    Sheraton Beijing – Sheraton on the Great Wall (technically it isn’t in fact ON the great wall…) - Part 1

    I check in at 2:20AM local time – about 4AM my time. I am given an Executive Floor room but no executive floor benefits – basically breakfast isn’t free :( I was offered the opportunity to “upgrade” my room to include Executive Floor benefits for 1,500 Starwood points per night. As I have commented elsewhere given that Starwood points are very hard to earn I wasn’t going to give them up for breakfast that the company would pay for (yes I know the company paid for the original hotel stays that earned the points but ethics is a discussion for in the lounge one day).

    Although I was exhausted I couldn’t sleep. I am the sort of person that if I am truly knackered I can have a 15 minute “power nap” and then I am ok for another 6 – 7 hours so my little kip on the flight is in fact having adverse effects on my sleeping.

    Eventually I get to sleep at about 3AM local time – that is 5AM Sydney which ironically is when I normally would be getting up :)

    I iron a shirt and head down the Trattoria for breakfast – yes that is correct an Italian restaurant in a Western Hotel in Beijing is responsible for breakfast. I am glad now that I didn’t upgrade with points as the buffet is pretty good and sets me up for the day.

    Now the real expedition begins. I have in my hands a piece of paper (no not like Neville Chamberlain), a very important piece of paper. Written on it is the English and Chinese (with Chinese characters) is the address of my office in Beijing. The Soho Buildings – Building B. Pretty easy I think. I had the paper to the bell captain (he looks more like a lieutenant but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt) and he instructs the driver exactly where to go. This is a relief for me as I have no idea where I am in Beijing, where our office is and I don’t speak a word of Chinese (perhaps my readiness for taking on an APAC role is not as ready as perhaps it should be).

    We set off into the calm and measured world of driving in Beijing. Hmm – let’s reconsider that phrase – there are about 10-14 marked lanes on the road outside the hotel and we seem to be using all of those plus a few in between and around the edges. I don’t feel in any real danger – perhaps that is the lack of sleep and all blood has drained from my body in fright. The drive is slow but scary and eventually I see signs for SOHO. Thank god for that this little nightmare will be over soon.
     
  10. simongr

    simongr Enthusiast

    Jul 10, 2006
    14,229
    1,742
    #10 simongr, May 29, 2007
    Last edited: May 29, 2007
    Part 2

    We pull up outside building B and I hop out and pay the pittance that the ride costs. Into building B and I look for suite 601… hmm we don’t seem to be listed in this building at all. Perhaps the signs are out of date… I grab a lift to level 6 and look for suite 601 – which appears to be a now closed import/export business. Oh dear.

    A not so quick call to our new business and I eventually find Raymond and try and work out what is going on:

    Raymond: Hello simongr is there a problem?
    Simongr: Well the cab brought me to Building B in the Soho buildings and you don’t seem be here…
    R: Which SOHO building did you go to?
    S: Which? There is more than 1?
    R: Grab a cab and call me back and I will direct the driver
    S: Riiiiight….

    Back outside and into another cab who when he reads the instructions shakes his head and points into the distance. At this stage I take a punt and ride with it eventually landing outside the red SOHO buildings (the others were white). Phew we are actually here.

    A good day’s work is done and I manage to make it back to the hotel without much drama. I then decide to take a walk to do some shopping (I need a USB Bluetooth adaptor for Skype as I left mine at home). Beijing is so different to both my expectations and anything else I have experienced. Where we are at this hotel I don’t really get a feeling of the Chinese history and culture – in fact as I look out over Beijing I don’t get much of an impression of anything at all. What I do see though is people everywhere and very expensive German cars.

    After a longish walk around and a little bit of browsing its back to the hotel. A bit of dinner from room service and I crash out only to wake at 4AM local time – this is going be a tiring trip I feel.

    Again I am screwed over by the cab driver and AGAIN I am taken to the white buildings. this time he refuses to believe that we are at the wrong place - are we having fun yet?
     
  11. simongr

    simongr Enthusiast

    Jul 10, 2006
    14,229
    1,742
    Journey – PEK-HKG
    Flight no. – KA901
    Class – Business
    Seat – 17D

    At the airport it’s a very different experience getting to the lounge. First you pass through some form of customs check, then it’s up to check-in who laugh when I enquire as to whether an AA card has any value. Next it’s through security and immigration. Security is very thorough even if people seem to never be able to remember to get their stuff together to be ready for screening. Some of these people look like seasoned travellers as well.

    One tip I am starting learn (not fully explored yet) is to go to the xray machine close to the staff/diplomat/VIP channel as I have now been called a couple of times to that channel and I get to skip past a few queues.

    Finally it’s off to the lounge – and what a sad experience that is. It’s an Air China lounge and very disappointing. Very little food and drink, 19070’s chairs and the faint whiff of smoke in the air. I kill some time watching TV on the laptop (report for Beijing is half written) and try and access the internet but there is neither wifi or lan.

    I am eventually so bored and hating the lounge so much I decide to go and spend time with the little people in the public areas! A couple of pandas purchased (one for new nephew and one for the dog) and I wait for boarding. There is a strange experience as everyone starts to queue for boarding – even the elites and business class. I follow the herd and eventually I am sitting in business class.

    This is only a 2 ½ hour flight but it’s a three class service which I find strange. What is also scary from a oneworld perspective is that if this A330 is three class with lie flat F seats then is this their long haul product – it makes AA’s J seat look quite reasonable. There isn’t huge seat pitch even. There is no AVOD or PTV – looks like its back to the laptop.

    The journey is however very nice. The staff are exemplary. The cocktail on boarding (gin lime and something else) is ok and followed by a nice glass of Pipe Heidseck for with lunch I am starting to like Dragon Air. The sticky pork dish is tremendous and the “mushu rice” is a great complement. The garlic bread (must be a CX influence) is not as good as CX but is better than a bread roll.

    Overall the flight is pleasant. The service balanced the poor quality of the seats but this is not something I would sit in for more than 3 hours.

    Arrival into Hong Kong is fine and I stretch the old calf muscles quickly out walking the rest of the PAX so I am the only person at immigration and am quickly through – this is my third time in HKG so I can now apply for the Frequent Visitor Card (although I am not sure if that is necessary).

    It’s only about 5PM by the time I am in a cab an on my way to the JW Marriott
     
  12. simongr

    simongr Enthusiast

    Jul 10, 2006
    14,229
    1,742
    JW Marriott Hong Kong

    After the usual lengthy taxi ride from the Airport I pull up at the Marriott. It is certainly an impressive structure and the little chaps are swarming all over me to take bags etc. The check in process seems pretty lengthy and I am getting a tad frustrated. Initially I am confirmed into a room with a King bed (my preference). Another little chap takes over the check in process and I am asked to follow him to my room.

    Aside #1 - I wonder if they do this for all guests – they are going to need heaps fo check in staff if every guest gets a personal escort to the room.

    As we step into the lift he tells me how he has switched me to a room with twin queen beds I have king preference for a reason – I like a big bed so I am less than impressed to be switched to a small bed. He tells me the room is larger (somewhat sceptical again) but when we walk in the room is large – very large. There are great views back towards the Peak and then also off to the side are great views of the harbour.

    Aside #2 – Ok so who checks into a room with twin queens? Is this designed for ageing American couples who do not share a bed? Are there that many couple woho would be happy sharing a room with another couple? The 70’s were the swingers’ era – not the noughties

    The first night I am straight into the Peking Duck (yes I should have had it in Peking/Beijing but I didn’t – deal with it) which was 100% yum and also about 80% fat :)

    We actually manage to do some sight-seeing – we head up to the top of the Peak and look out of spectacularly cloudy views of Hong Kong and Kowloon. It’s a little bit of a downer but nonetheless impressive.

    Saturday afternoon is a little quiet as we build up to watch the FA Cup final in a pub and then have a couple more beers after that. Three AM rolls around an d due to some tricky downhill footing challenges I awake with my right knee feeling like it has been hit with a bat, a tasty set of bruises and a number of bloodstains on the bed near my elbow… I remember now why I stopped going out clubbing when I started to get older…

    Sunday was neither my nor Hong Kong’s best days. I didn’t really surface until about 4PM and even then it was from bed to desk to watch TV. One tip, if you don’t want to be disturbed then turn on the “Do Not Disturb” sign rather than the “Please Make Up My Room” sign…

    The view though out of the windows is truly awful – I can barely see the Conrad which is across the road – let alone any of the sights of Hong Kong. Anyway a quiet night in is required. I get an SMS from my colleague saying he did not feel the best either – so I don’t think he massively enjoyed his flight to PVG.
     
  13. simongr

    simongr Enthusiast

    Jul 10, 2006
    14,229
    1,742
    Journey – HKG-PVG
    Flight no. – KA934 or KA872 or KA something else – I lost track with all the changes
    Class – Business
    Seat – 10G

    I am leaving tomorrow so I start to pack and then decide to leave that until the morning. My knee still isn’t up to much on Monday so it is a cab to the office and a cab to the airport (serfty I promise I will take the MTR one day).

    I have phoned to change my tickets to PVG so I get in on Monday evening rather than Tuesday afternoon. At check in I am “offered” to move to the 6PM flight rather than the 7PM flight. I am bit torn. I have my car arranged to the hotel (which means to help Dragon Air I incur a call cost) and I want to chill in the lounge and download some TV to watch on the flight. Mind you the way she said it didn’t really indicate that I had much of a choice. I acquiesce grab my BP and its off to the Dragon Air lounge which was a very, very long way from check in and from the gate.

    The lounge itself is not at all impressive – it’s very bland and the drink selection is meagre. I have just enough time to call the hotel, download something to watch, grab a couple of beers, chat to mrssimongr online and chat to mum d’simongr before I make my way to the aircraft.

    I left the lounge at 17:30 even though I had been told it was boarding at 17:25 but the screens had no indication of boarding. On the way up to the gate I stopped to buy a book (quite amusing to read a book with the main theme being 9/11 as I boarded a plane) and was pretty much the last to board or so I thought.

    Again this A330 has no overhead lockers (yes I know that is a design feature – but it’s not one of the options I would have gone with). Thankfully the plane isn’t too full of Americans so some of the hand luggage looks designed to be lifted by the average bear – but I decide to slip my bag under the seat in front as I want to watch TV asap.

    I have started doing a little people watching as I become more comfortable with flying and the process. It’s easy to spot the business travellers, the “experienced” travellers – people so focussed on getting off the aircraft and through immigration quickly they would walk over, through or under any obstacle in their way.

    I am also intrigued as to how this route supports a domestic F class seat. There are I think about 12 seats (3x 2-2-2) on board and there have been maybe 6-8 people in them at most. The advantage is that if KA ever actually get into oneworld then at least we have access to F on a CircleAsia fare.

    I am actually asleep before take off and only wake just as they are setting up the tray tables for the meal service. The meal is ok but nothing special. The salad is poor and the crab linguine although tasty is actually very difficult to eat with a small fork and knife and potentially quite messy. The post dinner drink service is very slow and overall this is not as nice an experience as my journey down to HKG last week.

    Eventually we land at PVG and I get to stretch my legs. The front row of J is great for service but leg room is limited of course – the primary advantage is that I wasn’t stuck with my usual recliner :D

    Deplaning is amusing. Thinking back to my observation on the road warriors I compare myself to one of them. Yes I definitely surge through the airport normally but as I am 6’ 2” with long legs its more of a case of covering ground a lot faster than scurrying across the concourse. It’s more giraffe than rat – the distance covered is the same but the number of steps involved is considerably smaller. As we deplane the ladies in F are slow to move. I am ok with this knowing that I will walk past them soon. However on my left a short (yes I have a thing about short people) road warrior is like a rat up a drainpipe and almost pushes them over as he barges through. What is amusing is the ladies comments as he passes. He seems to have a somewhat small rollaboard and the ladies are unkind in comparing his bag to his – umm – manhood.

    The airport is very busy so I am not looking forward to immigration. It seems like most of the ageing population of Britain has missed their flight to the Costa Del Sol and ended up in PVG – someone is in for a shock. The queues look horrendous and I can see lines of people asking ach other “Betty do I have to fill in this form? What nationality am I? Can you see my glasses anywhere? Are we carrying more than RMB10,000?” and I fear for my sanity.

    Thankfully another four desks open up (now that’s an innovation for SYD – open more desk when you are busy) and I am through immigration pretty quickly. Down to the baggage area and I barely have time for a “bio-break” and the bags are out so I am offski.

    The little chap from the Hilton is there with his sign and again he makes a good attempt at my time but let’s just say that a name with so many l’s r’s and an e at the end is not designed for the Asian tongue. I note he has three names on his list to collect. Sadly this is where the Verucca Salt in me boils up to the surface “I booked car daddy and I want it NOW” – so I am all set for the “No – I will not wait whilst you collect someone else” discussion. Sometimes I am not a particularly nice person…

    Thankfully the other chap is there quickly (he looks pretty haggard after his flight – someone really should have lent him a comb) and we are off to our respective cars to the hotel. The greenie in me is thinking that having too limos from the airport to the hotel is not enhancing my carbon footprint…
     
  14. simongr

    simongr Enthusiast

    Jul 10, 2006
    14,229
    1,742
    The Shanghai Hilton

    After a delightful drive to the Hotel (I managed to watch a bit more TV until we got to the outskirts of the city) I am blown away by Shanghai. Think New York spread out a little so you can actually see the lights and high rise – the whole place looks like Times Square on steroids.

    My first impressions of the Hilton are not great. Instead of going to the normal check in desk I am directed to a seated check in area and am checked in my an Assistant Manager. Sadly this is a slow process – this person seems more familiar with running a hotel than getting a guest to their room quickly. Again I am told of the great new room I am being sent to (yeah right).

    The bell boy takes my bags to the room and tells me he has never been to one of the new rooms – ok so now I am intrigued. I open the door and completely blown away. This is not a room this is an apartment. The room is light and modern – lots of light wood and soft tones – really very nice. The bed is huge (woo hoo) and there is a 40” Plasma TV opposite the bed. The desk is spacious and ergonomically designed. The chair is sleek pale brown leather and exactly the right height for me. The plugs are all international plug sockets so no more switching between appliances (charging one whilst using another).

    Through from the bedroom/study and into the dressing room. A neat little space between the bedroom and the bathroom. A good full length mirror, a place for my bags and a good sized wardrobe.

    Finally the bathroom – this is huge – almost the size of the room I had in Beijing! There is a very nice bath where you could sit and watch the city go by – two very modern sinks and a really nice shower.

    After a bit of a hectic week and a half this is exactly what I need – I think I am g oing to like Shanghai.

    If you are in Shanghai any time soon – room 2318 is the one – just give them my name and you should be fine ;)

    Finally the next morning I get to see Shanghai proper with my colleague. He is not in the best of moods (this trip was bad timing for him) and matters were made worse yesterday when he misread the meter in the cab and handed over RMB200 instead of RMB20 and the driver just drove off!

    The driving here is insane! I thought Beijing was bad but this takes the cake, the cake stand and the Women’s Institute prize for best cake taker in the South Western District (Third Division). Beijing was crazy because there were 14 lanes of traffic all trying to get into 10 lanes. Here there are 6 lanes of traffic going down a three lane street! Taxis overtake into oncoming traffic at all times, cycles drive diagonally across cross roads, pedestrians have a death wish and the taxis seemed to be made of a blend of tin and thin card. I LOVE it!

    We don’t have a lot of time in Shanghai as I am really enjoying it. I am reminded when I look out of our office window as it gets dark of Bladerunner and how close that future really us to us (without the replicants and the flying cars). Dinner on the first night is interrupted as I realise that I have a conference call mid dinner that I thought was tomorrow! I am however very disappointed by the fortune prawn – this is meant to be a delicacy but it is a disaster – I have seen more meat in a pie at Telstra Stadium.

    It does however mean that I can wrap up my work tomorrow rather than staying until Friday – so I can get home a little sooner. However what I realise now is that I wont meet up with jasonja3 in HKG :(

    The weather coming out of PVG is atrocious and I am a little sad to be going. Of all the places I have visited on this hurried and harried trip I am most sad that I haven’t experienced Shanghai more – looks like I might have to sense some control issues that need a follow up later in the year ;)

    We have some concerns that we might not in fact be able to go straight to the airport after having changed our tickets. Qantas staff advise us to go to the QF city office first and then to the airport. We wont have time for that so decide to take a punt! Thankfully all is ok at the airport and I am getting more confident that KA will be an asset to oneworld (I bet they are thankful for that endorsement).

    The airport is interesting – I don’t quite understand why they break up the customs and immigration process – you get one form , go through one gate, get another form and go through another gate. I would hate to think that the communist government with the surplus of people are creating “busy work”. Bizarrely both tgtwwm and I “accosted” by another pax before customs asking us to carry a bag through for them… unsurprisingly we both decline.

    Through immigration and I manage to get into the VIP security lane again so I am quickly through. Sadly the lounge seems closer to PEK than the gate we leave from and its not much of a lounge – I am hoping that once they are oneworld the lounges will be enhanced or we will get access to a decent lounge – please don’t dispel that vane hope too quickly.

    We have been allocated seats together (across the aisle PVG-HKG and next to each other HKG-SYD) which we plan to change at HKG. Finally we are on our way.
     
  15. simongr

    simongr Enthusiast

    Jul 10, 2006
    14,229
    1,742
    Journey – PVG-HKG
    Flight no. – KA803
    Class – Business
    Seat – 11G

    Another day another KA flight. I am at this point getting a little tired of KA – four flights in 8 days on the same carrier is a little bit much. I must though again compliment their cabin staff. I saw after boarding that someone was about to squash my bag of potato chips that I had been carrying from HKG (Ruffles Sour Cream and Onion – literally to die for :)) and after I barked at the pax the cabin crew asked me by name if I wanted them to take the bag and hang it for me so it wasn’t squashed :)

    Despite the warnings at the airport that departure times are not guaranteed as the pilot is only told take off time after push back from the gate we do get away pretty much on time.

    The food was however uninspiring – teriyaki beef without much teriyaki and a little too much hint of leather texture…

    The wine did flow on request until I remembered that I actually had some work to do whilst in HKG :oops:

    I reflect at the end of this flight on my KA experience and overall nothing was great but nothing was terrible (I don’t count the mechanical fault as that is just a fact of life when travelling). Its not a carrier I have a desire to fly with but at the same time if KA appears on a boarding pass then I wont cry – unless its in whY…
     
  16. simongr

    simongr Enthusiast

    Jul 10, 2006
    14,229
    1,742
    Hong Kong – The Pier

    This is a special mention just for the Pier – what a wonderful experience but also what a tale of two people’s approach to flying. I love the Pier although I don’t get much chance to use the cabanas.

    The restaurant is nicer than the Wing – more delightful ambience – especially with the pool running through it. However being there on a hot day with no air con (the lounge is not contained so gets very warm at times) I partly wish I was in the Wing.

    I relaxed, worked (a little), downloaded, ate, had a few drinks and had a great time. I decided to do a little shopping. I looked at a Tumi wash bag for about HK$1,400 and was very tempted – I was even tempted by the HK$4,100 Tumi hand luggage but I just don’t know what I want from my hand luggage and what I need. I have a neat grey rollaboard (not many pouches but good enough) that I will use on THE BEHEMOTH as my laptop bag is great for travelling light but not great for multiple transits. So I think I want a new rollaboard but am not sure I will get the use out of it – so as usual I don’t buy anything :)

    I reflect though on people’s different impressions of the Pier. I loved it (was that not clear above) but tgtwwm really didn’t enjoy it. He thought it was cold and sterile – like a funeral almost. He actually thought the QF F lounge was better – more like what he expected of a lounge – we will not be travelling together in future ;)

    Again one of the unpublished benefits of the lounges are the staff. We had our seats changed without even moving from our seats in the lounge. We were advised to change our BP at the gate just to make sure – great service.

    So after a glorious 4 hours in the Pier we are off to the QF F lounge to change BPs (actually need to do that at the gate) and to compare. I hated the F lounge by comparison to the Pier but it takes all sorts. I am just thankful that all the people in the QF F lounge don’t know they can access the Pier ;)

    The BP is changed and my AA number is inserted so we are off to experience QF F service again :)
     
  17. simongr

    simongr Enthusiast

    Jul 10, 2006
    14,229
    1,742
    Journey – HKG-SYD
    Flight no. – QF128
    Class – First
    Seat – 4A

    Finally I am homeward bound :) I don’t have many notes from this flight as I really used it to sleep and be ready to be home. On board the staff seem very rushed and flustered. I guess a number of people on board have transited through from somewhere?

    [rant]

    I am sick of people whinging about the amenities though – half the time was spent apologising for the amenities being separate. One guy in front was quite and he didn’t even use any of the amenities! He didn’t use the pyjamas or the slippers and b*tched that there wasn’t a bag for it all – mate there is a bag the pyjamas came in. The amenities were designed to help the pax get to their destination and feel human – not designed as some sort of show bag – even if that is what they have become.

    [/rant]

    It is amazing how little interest people have in the safety briefing – I don’t think a single pax is paying any attention to it at all.

    Dinner is ok but now the service is incredibly slow – we don’t actually eat until after 11PM – and that was with a 9:10PM take off. The food is ok but I am disappointed with the service. Ah well – the main thing is the bed.

    I didn’t think I slept well but I awoke just after breakfast was served (unlike BA I wasn’t offered a back roll at this point – just coffee or tea). I decide it’s time to get up and dressed and wonder why the seat wont go back up – then I see my book and notebook in the side pocket :oops:

    I am stunned as to how long the chick in front of me takes in the bathroom – about 10 minutes in reality. Bizarrely when she comes out she is still wearing the pyjamas…

    We have fantastic views of the city on landing and finally we are home. I fly through the airport and into duty free – tgtwwm bypasses Duty Free and says “see you later” – he seems to believe he will be through immigration before me. I remember to ask for my 20% Amex discount – cheers serfty – although they claim the office has already expired (it hasn’t) and that they were only doing it “upstairs” – which given it is only on arrivals discount is a little confusing for me. I am then down the duty free immigration channel. As no-one had been going through it they were taking people from the main queue. As I rock up I feel a little guilty when the customs staff call me forward in front of about 60 people – but not that guilty :) tgtwwm looks a little confused – but I was sure I told him about this before.

    Baggage is not too bad. I am annoyed that I didn’t ask for First tags rather than just priority as I see all the First bags coming off – well First. Quarantine is it’s usual dog’s breakfast but I declare my potato chips (just in case) and its only about 20 mins until I am through to the car and home.

    The dogs are overjoyed to see and as I unpack my bags I just have time to check the blackberry and realise I now have to start planning my boss’s trip to visit SYD and China and put the wheels in motion for my next trip to the US. It’s a never ending story ;)



    COMING SOON – THE BEHEMOTH
     
  18. garyjohn951

    garyjohn951 Active Member

    Jul 21, 2006
    561
    2
    Melbourne
    Point to remember in China.
    Just because you have an address in chinese does not mean you will arrive where you want to go, as you found out. Generally it is wise, once in the cab, if you have a phone number of where you are going, ring them, and get them to talk to driver to confirm he is taking you to the right place.
     
  19. serfty

    Moderator

    Nov 16, 2004
    39,091
    7,710
    MEL
    Flight Map:
    View my flight map
    #19 serfty, May 29, 2007
    Last edited: May 29, 2007
    One day you will find it necessary; I have one of these and once it saved me about 30 minutes. (After arriving on QF29 from MEL). On a side note, mrs serfty was able to come though with me.
    When you do, you will wonder why you have not done so before. My last use was a 5 minute taxi from hotel to Central Airport Express station for about HKD25 (~AUD4). (With in town check in you can check in up to 24 hours before your flight here and really get that wing/pier experience - unlike the airport where it's 3 hours. :cool: ). Checked in and waited 5 minutes for the next train (They run every 12 minutes) and was inside the Airport 22 minutes after departing Central.
     
  20. serfty

    Moderator

    Nov 16, 2004
    39,091
    7,710
    MEL
    Flight Map:
    View my flight map
    I hope you received you 20% discount since this "upstairs" or "expired" IS Incorrect: American Express Selects

     
Loading...

Share This Page