A Trip of Firsts (FCO-LHR-SIN-HKG-BKK-FCO | BA C, QF F, CX C, TG F)
I recently got into the points game, and ended up with about 80k points on UA and AA, each. I've always wanted to go to Asia, and I thought this was the perfect opportunity to do it, and to do it in style. Because of different reasons, I decided to hire Ben, a.k.a. Lucky, from Points Pros to help me with the booking, and his first proposal, visiting Singapore, Hong Kong, and Bangkok, was approved with some minor tweaks. This would be a Trip of Firsts, and not necessarily because it would feature different F products, but because I would get to do some things for the first time.
I ended up taking about 2k pictures, so this will be a mainly graphical report. And also because I have forgotten some details. But don't worry, I won't publish every single picture. Although, if you want to see them, you are welcome to visit these sets on Flickr.
I book my flights in December. By April the wait had been quite long and I was really excited. I usually wait till the last minute to pack, but this time I had already packed before I went to bed the night before.
I left for the airport about three and a half hours before my flight. I usually don't go to the airport this early, and I didn't do it this time because of the excitement, but because I was able to get a free ride with a group going to France. These group of friends had an earlier flight, and instead of paying €40 for a cab on my own, I thought it would be wiser to get a free ride and just wait for my flight at the lounge.
I went to the Club Europe checkin counter right away, but I was told I needed to wait about 20 minutes before I could checkin. I just went for a shoert walk and came back a little later, but this time I tried a different counter, and I was able to check in. Well, I had already done it online, but I needed to drop my luggage. But there was a problem, or at least that's what it looked like. Apparently she wasn't able to check my luggage, since I had not specified that when I checked-in online the night before. A quick call to a supervisor, and my luggage was on its way to Singapore via London.
I went through security using the premium lane, and in a few minutes I was already enjoying my first glass of coke in the lounge and enjoying the view.
At the indicated time on our boarding pass, we were told that check in was about to start, and I left for the gate. The boarding process was nothing special. The only difference is that I didn't have to walk all the way to the back
British Airways 547
FCO - LHR
April 8, 2012 15:20
Airbus A320-200 (G-TTOE)
The meal offered was tea service, with a couple open-faced sandwiches. At this time I was really hungry, because all I had eaten were a couple of mini sandwiches from the lounge, so I really enjoyed the meal.
After an uneventful flight, we landed in time. I took the shuttle to T3, and went straight to the transfer counters to retrieve the boarding pass for my next flight. I was then directed to the Galleries First Lounge, where I had a relaxing time.
I had been looking forward to this visit, so I could try the famous BA Burger, but unfortunately I felt I needed to eat something lighter and ended up eating the Club Salad. So, if anyone here is going to be in LHR T5 on the morning on June 16 and would like to help me try the burger by guesting me into the lounge, just PM me.
I don't know how guys who travel all the time by themselves can handle it, but after a couple hours in the Galleries First Lounge I was already bored. As soon as the gate for our flight appeared on the screen I headed there.
LHR - SIN
April 8, 2012 21:30
Airbus A380-800 (VH-OQF)
At the appointed time we were called for boarding. I was one of the first people to make it to the plane. In fact, I believe I was the first person on the F cabin.
I was greeted at the gate, escorted to my seat, and immediately asked what I wanted to drink. This will be disappointing for most of you, but I went with water. I was given an amenity kit, although one for the wrong gender, and pajamas. I later asked the FA to change the amenity kit for the right one, which he kindly did. In no time I was already wearing my pajamas and enjoying my comfortable seat.
Our departure was slightly delayed because they couldn't move one of the jet bridges, but waiting in such a comfortable seat was not a problem.
At some point the purser came to introduce herself, and ask if there was anything she could do for me. I told her I wanted to visit the cockpit, and she told me she would let me know with the FA if that was going to be possible.
Something worth mentioning is that every time I interacted with the FA or the purser they would call me by name, which I appreciate specially because I have an uncommon and hard to pronounce last name.
My meal seemed to be synchronized with the movie I was watching, and so, after they both were over I decided to go to bed. I slept for about 4 hours. Then I woke up and waited for breakfast while watching another movie.
I can't believe it! I'm in Asia! A childhood dream had finally come true. Well, at this state, several dreams had come true, but this is one that I thought very distant.
When all the flights had been booked, I needed to find a hotel for my overnight layover in Singapore. I had accrued 50k hhonors points, so I was going to stay at one of their two properties, the Hilton or the Conrad. They were bot 40k for a night, so I decided to go with the Conrad, mainly because of its location.
So, after I went through all the immigration formalities at SIN, I headed out and looked for the ground transportation stand. I had already read that one of the easiest and cheapest options to head to the city was to take a shared shuttle, so that's what I did.
Because of my recently gains Gold status, I got upgraded to a business room with a great view of the city. I also received the traditional rubber duck and teddy bear, along with some chocolates and fruit.
After settling in in my room I decided to go out for a walk and to get something to eat. I had read about different hawker centers, and decided to try Makansutra's Gluttons Bay. I was a little tired, and I didn't feel like having a heavy meal, even though I had already planned to try the famous chill crab and satay, so I just ate a lemon chicken, which was delicious.
After my light dinner I went towards the Merlion to take some pictures. I even took a bay/river cruise to appreciate the beauty of this city from a different angle.
After a while I headed back to the hotel where I had a good night sleep. I guess that even though I had a ben on board, it is still not the same as sleeping on a real one.
The next morning I decided to stop by Oscar's, one of the restaurants at the hotel, for breakfast. After a delicious meal I headed out for a walk into town. It is not a secret that I'm studying to be a Catholic priest, and whenever I travel I like visiting Catholic churches, so that's what I did that morning. I only had a few hours, though, because I needed to head to the airport to catch my flight to HKG.
Shortly after noon I checked out of the hotel and took a cab to the airport. My flight was not till 4pm, but I wanted to visit the lounge, and hopefully even visit the Hard Rock Cafe at the airport. Unfortunately I found out that it was in a different terminal after I had already cleared exit immigration.
Check in was easy, immigration formalities were a breeze, and just a few minutes after my arrival I was airside.
I headed to the lounge and had lunch there. In fair honesty, that lounge was rather disappointing. The food options were limited, and the view partially blocked. I did use their internet, though, to call my family.
After a while, and before that made the boarding announcement I decided to walk towards the gate. I saw they had already allowed people into the secure area, so just went in, so I could do some plane spotting.
Cathay Pacific 734
SIN - HKG
April 10, 2012 16:05
Boeing 777-200 (B-HND)
A few minutes later and the gate area was packed. It looked like this was going to be a full flight. A few minutes before boarding time there were already two long lines, one for Y, and one for C, and they were both long. It was confirmed, this flight was definitely full.
The boarding call was made after a short delay. There seemed to be a race towards the plane, and there was no pre boarding for C or elite members. Well, it was announced, but nobody cared.
As for the meal, I was tempted to order the beef tenderloin, but I thought this would be my last chance to try some Singaporean cuisine on this trip, and ordered the laksa instead. All I can say is that it was delicious.