About Flying

So I’m back from my Great Adventure. And November 2014 is a month to be remembered.

I didn’t get a chance to write here while I was away but I did write notes on my phone with the intent of posting later so here are some thoughts pondered as I flew myself around the whole world in 30 days.

  • I forgot how cold it is on the plane! Even with my air vent turned off completely, it’s still freakin cold. And the blanket I had on my United flight to SF was too short to cover me shoulder down to toe. But as it turns out, United must have been the only airline to have freezing cold air pumping through their planes because on every other flight (flying a mixed bag of airlines) I was fine.
  • A face oil is the perfect thing to use when on a long haul flight. My skin usually gets so dried out from all the air conditioning pumping through that normal moisturisers and hydration sprays have never really helped but a Rosehip oil does the job and locks in moisture for 10+ hours.
  • I felt intimidated at the thought of new and unfamiliar airports but it’s actually really easy because you just follow the signs, or listen to the PA for announcements. Or you can ask a staff member. Security is a bit here and there though because each airport has its own standard and regulations on what items need to be put through the scanner separately. The No Liquids Exceeding 100mL on Carry On Baggage applies everywhere I flew in/out of but Heathrow was exceptionally insistent on presenting your liquids, gels and pastes in a clear ziplock bag when passing security. Which was a bit of a pain for me as I’d packed my liquids/gels/pastes into a velcro detachable clear makeup travel bag but I was asked to empty that and transfer all my products into the ziplock bag. Boo.
  • Make sure you check, double check and triple check your flight times!! Fortunately I didn’t miss any flights but I was a whole 24hrs early for my flight from Heathrow to Hong Kong via Frankfurt. Luckily, Dayna is a gem of a friend and came all the way back to Oxford to pick me up and hang out with me for another 24hrs before dropping me off back at the bus station all over again. Missing your flight because you’re late is devastating and often due to unforeseen circumstances preventing you from getting to the airport but being über early is just embarrassing. But funny.
  • I flew a mixed bag of airlines which meant that not all of my flights were eligible to earn Frequent Flyer points but it was great opportunity to test out a few different airlines I’d never flown with before.
    – I flew Qantas from Melb to Syd which was really quick so I really don’t have too much to say there as it felt like as soon as I buckled my seat belt we were making our descent into Sydney. Qantas is pretty standard these days. The flight was on time and no meals were served so I can’t comment on how bad the food was.
    United had a bad rap even before I stepped on board. Many friends were saying that the airline was still in the dark ages not having individual in-flight entertainment available – a travesty since I was flying with them for the longest journey from Syd to SF. But to my delight they did have screens on the back of the chairs so you could watch movies and play games. Which may have been more of a curse than a blessing because I was landing in SF in the morning so technically I should have treated my plane ride as night time and slept. But I’d be lucky to have slept 3 hours on that flight. I also flew United from SF to NYC which didn’t include access to free in-flight entertainment or free food but the flight was short. The only comment I will make is that the flight attendants were a little rude in bitching about a difficult passenger to each other still within earshot of that passenger, and other passengers. I don’t think it’s respectful and it doesn’t represent the airline well at all.
    – I most looked forward to flying with Swiss Air because my uncle and cousins fly with them all the time! My flight from NYC to LDN (via Zurich) was only 6 hours but in that time I got a hot towel (!! I didn’t think they did this anymore), lemon cake, 2 beverages, and a Swiss chocolate! *nom* I also noticed that the upholstery of the seats were very sophisticated – even in cattle class. Unlike the jacquard type fabric that most airlines I’ve seen go for, Swiss opted with a simple camel coloured fabric with white and red trimmings. In-flight entertainment wasn’t accessible on such short flights but you did have the option of USB charging your devices which I hadn’t yet seen on Qantas or United.
    Lufthansa was a great surprise and I would have to say is my top pick out of all the airlines I flew in this trip. The seating design wasn’t hideous, they offer you a glass of champagne on board and give out menus prior to receiving your two meals. They had really friendly staff who were multi-lingual. My flight with Lufthansa was from LDN to HK via Frankfurt so I had a Chinese girl serve me who spoke Mandarin, German and English fluently. There was also an older air steward who just epitomised the perfect German gentleman who was very friendly and charming and took delight in being able to serve you and made every effort for you to enjoy your flight. Food wasn’t amazing because a German airline was trying to do Chinese food. But the charming air steward offered me a white wine to drown the flavour.
    – My parents organised a quick side trip to Taiwan when we all met up in Hong Kong so Mum booked us flights on Hong Kong Airlines who were a nice surprise also. They gave out refresher towelettes and the food wasn’t bad. You just have to be patient when they do the announcements in Cantonese. Then English. Then Mandarin.
    Cathay Pacific is an ol’ faithful. They had the best in-flight entertainment because they had touch screens and no remotes to confuddle with, and their touch screens were sensitive enough that you didn’t find yourself poking the screen so hard that your front neighbour keeps getting woken up by a sharp prod through their seat. The dinner was good – I had a beef stew with mash and other veggies which I enjoyed. The breakfast, however, wasn’t my favourite because I opted for scrambled eggs over the congee as on the morning that I left, I already had a bowl of congee with Dad. I knew the eggs were a mistake but I thought I’d take the gamble. I lost. The seating was hideous though. Their brand colours are that green, white and red and yet their seats were in shades of screaming cyan!
  • I was quite disappointed that out of all the airlines I flew with not one of them had a kick-ass safety video/demonstration like Delta and Virgin America do :(