A Travellerspoint blog

Emirates into Hong Kong

View The one trip where I spent more nights on a plane than in hotels on NT01's travel map.

Flight details: EK89 J A310 Dep0600 Arr 0800 MNLHKG 702 miles

I had to wake up very early as my flight would depart at 6AM. So I had to be at the airport between 3-4AM, two to three hours prior to departure. With me I brought only two handcarry items (didn't want to check in luggage due to the numerous connections and wait at baggage claim) - a garment bag (with my suit), and a 22" carry-on with wheels. Good thing business class allows for up to two hand-carry items. The most important item in my possession - the proposal (won't mention how much the deal was but it was a big amount in those days).

Emirates is one of my favorite airlines, even way back in the 90s. They were the first to offer individual video screens in economy (early 90s), and their business class seats (even on the A310) had leg rests that extended farther than a Laz-y-Boy. Immediately upon getting into my seat (first row), I was "mobbed" by 3 Filipina flight attendants, (I later found out they were complaining about their purser who was too uptight), given first class treatment, and well-looked after. Why don't we have these services as much anymore? Do passengers have to book $10,000 first class seats to be treated like royalty? In any case, times have changed.

This first leg of the journey was a great way to start of the long trip. I managed to enjoy it overall even though I was in for some challenging times in JFK.

Posted by NT01 17:00 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (0)

Getting the Argentinian visa in record time

View The one trip where I spent more nights on a plane than in hotels on NT01's travel map.

After preparing my documents for the Argentinian visa, I had to apply in person. Good thing my employer had significant clout to arrange for an appointment on Tuesday and the visa to be processed extra fast. I got my visa one day afterwards, on April 16th. This is it - will be flying out in the fastest route available.

Since I used to work in the travel industry, I put my skills to great use. The unrestricted business class fare to Buenos Aires was about $6,200, any route notwithstanding. The following were my options at that time:

1. Malaysia Airlines via Kuala Lumpur, Johannesberg, Capetown, and then Buenos Aires - flying in a westerly direction

2. A combination of airlines via Los Angeles, Miami and then Buenos Aires

3. Any combination of airlines via Europe - Manila [Manila-travel-guide-885524] to Frankfurt, Paris or Amsterdam, then Buenos Aires

4. A combination of airlines from Manila to New York via Tokyo, then south to Buenos Aires.

5. A combination of Cathay Pacific and Canadian Airlines/Air Canada via Hong Kong and Toronto

I had to go with the fourth option even though no.1 had the shortest flying time, the schedule didn't jive. I also couldn't go through Europe because I didn't have a transit visa. More so the United States because I didn't have any visa since the last time I lived there. Option number 2 would be the most hassle - Filipinos without visas were not looked well upon by Immigration officials back then (no need to elaborate, but many Filipinos back in the 90s know what I meant). So I had to risk the fourth option, even if that meant transiting in New York without a visa. I already had a Canadian visa (having visited earlier that year, during my Vancouver and Calgary trip), but the route via Toronto was too northerly and had the longest flying time.

So I calculated my itinerary and dictated it to the travel agent. The final outbound route was the following:

* Manila-HongKong on Emirates
* HongKong-Tokyo on United
* Tokyo-New York (JFK) on United
* JFK to Buenos Aires on United

Or roughly about 36 hours travel time.

On the way back, I had more flexibility with time. So I decided to route via Toronto, as I haven't visited the city yet. The return leg would like the following"

* Buenos Aires to Toronto via Sao Paolo on Canadian Airlines
* Toronto to HongKongvia Anchorage on Cathay Pacific
* HongKong to Manila on Cathay Pacific

Good thing our business travel policy required business class due to the duration and distance of the flights. The beauty of travel back then - nowadays, many companies require employees flying longhaul to get the cheapest fare, never mind if it is a 16 hour non-stop flight. Only the highest level employees are usually allowed to fly business or first class these days.

Posted by NT01 17:00 Archived in Philippines Comments (0)

The proposal I had to deliver in person in Buenos Aires

View The one trip where I spent more nights on a plane than in hotels on NT01's travel map.

During the week of April 14th, my team was rushing a proposal to be delivered to a French client who was based in Argentina at that time. The absolute deadline was Friday, April 18, 1997. If we missed the deadline our bid would not be considered anymore. It is Monday and they still are piecing together the proposal. On Monday afternoon, my colleague Raffy approaches me and tells me that we might have to deliver this in person if the proposal is only completed by Wednesday.

For those of you who grew up with email (and not snailmail), we were not as backward back then as you might think. There was already Windows 95 and MS Office was already present. But remember, I did not work for Microsoft. So our proposal was drafted in another office suite application. And despite having a high end email system, we could not send emails larger than 3MB. Our proposal ran way above that limit, so email was out of the question.

So the next option was to send by air courier. I checked out Fedex and UPS but they said the earliest they could deliver (if the documents were given by Wednesday) would be Monday, April 21st. So that still won't make it.

And there were no other faster options - except to fly somebody out to deliver the proposal in person. And among my team, my colleagues had to stay behind to complete writing the proposal, which left me as the only person who would be available with the time to personally apply at the Argentinian embassy and get the visa. Well, who am I to refuse a trip of a lifetime? :-)

Posted by NT01 17:00 Archived in Philippines Comments (0)

(Entries 11 - 13 of 13) « Page 1 2 [3]