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The joys of International travel

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Steve1960
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The joys of International travel

Postby Steve1960 » Wed, 11 Jun 2014 2:30 am

So I am in the US for a few days this week. When our Singapore travel agent offered the flight alternatives it was Singapore Airlines via Seoul or British Airways via Bangkok. Both return flight costs were expensive and comparable.

Being a good soldier for the company I suggested to them they might check Philippine Airlines via Manila. Sure enough it was 50% of the cost of the other airlines (asking myself why I am doing the travel agents job for them). I knew I should have kept my mouth shut, anyone who has flown with Philippine Airlines knows that their airline code PAL stands for ‘plane always late’!

I rocked up at Singapore airport and guess what a 2 ½ hour delay which of course actually turned into 3 hours. Still I had time to make my connection in Manila, just. We arrived in Manila taxied off the runway and came to a halt. The pilot announced there was another plane at our gate and we had to wait for them to clear………………………..another 30 minutes went by. You should note terminal 2 at Manila is exclusively for Philippine Airlines so it wasn’t another airline taking our gate. Then you have to experience flight transfer in Manila. You walk for half a mile, then go down four flights of stairs with your hand luggage. Then you get ‘processed’ at a desk then you wait for a porter who takes you back up four flights of stairs, bypass immigration and go to the security screening. During this process I had to give up my aisle seat apparently for an elderly passenger who needed it. I hate window seats, makes me feel claustrophobic especially long haul and with my back problems I like to get up and move around a lot.

I thought I had missed my flight but no the second one was delayed too! Never seen this before, there were 24 wheel chair passengers to load on the flight and they didn’t have enough porters or chairs. To add to the confusion the final wheelchair passenger was a large very badly disabled chap in an electric wheelchair which was clearly too wide to get on the plane and they didn’t seem to have the equipment or knowledge on how to get him on the plane. When it was finally time for the rest of us to board forget the system and process. Business Class first, parents with kids, then everyone else by row number. No, in true Filipino style when they did announce boarding it was a free for all, a stampede, and the ground staff did nothing to stop it. It was chaos.

The lady sitting next to me was not that old at all but boy was she grumpy. I spent the entire flight in fear of what she might say if I even breathed let alone tried to get up and go to the toilet. I am pleased I didn’t have a pop at her though (it did cross my mind). When we landed and she switched on her phone the messages from her family arrived and she burst into tears. When the air stewardess asked what was wrong she said she was returning home as her husband had died unexpectedly. Just imagine if I had decided to have a pop at her for taking my aisle seat or being so grumpy……………………………………….

From the time I left home to the time I walked into the hotel room in San Jose I had been in transit for 27 hours. That is a record, in all my life I have never travelled for that long in one stint. And some people think business travel is exciting………………………..uugghhhh if only they knew.

Here is the fun part. On the way home the travel company kindly booked tickets that give me a 2 hour window in Manila to get my connection to Singapore. I think you can see what my chances are. I had the travel company check other flights. Philippine Airlines have nothing available until Sunday so if I miss my connection I could be facing two nights in a Manila hotel before I get home. That is not an option as Sunday is Father’s Day and my wife would kill me.

I just asked the travel agent to cancel the Philippines Airlines flight and get me on a Singapore Airlines flight which leaves 4 hours after I am due to arrive in Manila. Better safe than sorry.

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Postby uscate » Wed, 11 Jun 2014 3:41 am

I feel your pain. 29 hours travel time from Sing to Boston….

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 11 Jun 2014 6:54 am

With then semi-polar route and entering the US via Chicago instead of LAX or SFO in Calif, my 28 hour normal journey with minimal layovers is now down to just 24 hours from SIN to BWI in Washington DC. The Japan to Chicago flight is 14 straight though.

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x9200
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Postby x9200 » Wed, 11 Jun 2014 8:09 am

Go via Paris on airfrance on any route in winter and you may end up close to 48h journey if there is only a few cm of snow on the tarmac. You luggage will be likely lost too.

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Max Headroom
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Postby Max Headroom » Wed, 11 Jun 2014 10:05 am

Steve, there's a lesson in there somewhere :)

But look at at this way, this was the transit from hell. After this, you're sitting pretty for 10-15 years.

By the way, I beat you by 4 hours; Amsterdam to Auckland, the scenic route.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Wed, 11 Jun 2014 10:08 am

I've enjoyed PAL from Singapore to Manila in business class from time to time but somehow, I've never been able to pull the trigger for the trans Pacific flight. Your story makes me glad I didn't.

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Postby the lynx » Wed, 11 Jun 2014 10:11 am

I've never taken PAL before but NAIA in Manila is hell by itself. Terminal to terminal especially. Almost missed my flight because the terminals are in opposite ends and the traffic jams weren't helping either.

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PNGMK
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Postby PNGMK » Wed, 11 Jun 2014 10:29 am

SIA from Singapore to Frankfurt, Lufthansa from Frankfurt to Charlotte for the win.

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rajagainstthemachine
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Postby rajagainstthemachine » Wed, 11 Jun 2014 10:36 am

haha! i had the same experience once, I flew Qatar Air
Bangalore -> Qatar ->Washington - > Raleigh

I had to give up my aisle seat for an arthritic old lady and I earned free arthritis and a stictched bladder for the next 23 hours stuck in the middle seat

Qatar airport was marginally better than Manilla but as I can remember it was still in shambles, the stench from toilets permeated throughout the airport. Everyone headed to the USA was herded towards a common pen, painted terror suspects until proven innocent, had to strip off everything and be throughly examined by a lady named Bruce.

the cigarette and a hot shower at the end of all this was just amazing!
To get there early is on time and showing up on time is late

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Postby zzm9980 » Wed, 11 Jun 2014 11:55 am

x9200 wrote:Go via Paris on airfrance on any route in winter and you may end up close to 48h journey if there is only a few cm of snow on the tarmac. You luggage will be likely lost too.


In the summer there will be a strike. :cool: :P

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JR8
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Postby JR8 » Wed, 11 Jun 2014 12:13 pm

zzm9980 wrote:
x9200 wrote:Go via Paris on airfrance on any route in winter and you may end up close to 48h journey if there is only a few cm of snow on the tarmac. You luggage will be likely lost too.


In the summer there will be a strike. :cool: :P


And I KNOW, that you have a scar on your right knee.

! :-$

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x9200
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Postby x9200 » Wed, 11 Jun 2014 12:42 pm

zzm9980 wrote:
x9200 wrote:Go via Paris on airfrance on any route in winter and you may end up close to 48h journey if there is only a few cm of snow on the tarmac. You luggage will be likely lost too.


In the summer there will be a strike. :cool: :P

This will be BA and Lufthansa.

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Postby Saint » Wed, 11 Jun 2014 1:00 pm

I've got to get me, Mrs S and the twins back to UK for a visit in November :o

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Postby ecureilx » Wed, 11 Jun 2014 1:15 pm

Philippine Airlines is good for some things ...

like almost every morning am flight leaving Singapore or leaving Manila invariably gets delayed half an hour for departure while they wait for missing passengers ... no, not J class but Y class pax ... and they keep announcing that we will leave as soon as the passengers have boarded and invariably a couple of sleepy guys come dashing in ... before 'crew doors to auto and cross check ...'

which other airline will do that?

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rajagainstthemachine
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Postby rajagainstthemachine » Wed, 11 Jun 2014 1:27 pm

ecureilx wrote:Philippine Airlines is good for some things ...

like almost every morning am flight leaving Singapore or leaving Manila invariably gets delayed half an hour for departure while they wait for missing passengers ... no, not J class but Y class pax ... and they keep announcing that we will leave as soon as the passengers have boarded and invariably a couple of sleepy guys come dashing in ... before 'crew doors to auto and cross check ...'

which other airline will do that?


some Indian carriers.
To get there early is on time and showing up on time is late


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