Saturday, September 18, 2010

Trip to England Part 1

I wrote this in Kuala Lumpur where I had a 5 hour stop over.

"It’s been a while since I’ve flown long haul, and the last time I was spoilt by the excellent service of Cathay Pacific. That was over 5 years ago when I emigrated to Australia. I am now flying back to England to visit relatives, and I am travelling on the less lucrative, but incredibly cheap Air Asia. You do get what you pay for! Air Asia are using airbus rather than the more spacious 747’s of Cathay and there is no in flight entertainment. There is also a bare basic food service which you have to pre-order. Everything is aimed at cutting the price and getting people to places at affordable rates. It isn’t comfortable, it isn’t great, but it is value for money. Of course, the best the consumer can hope for is that the other airlines start to bring down prices in response, because I would happily fly Cathay or Singapore, or Malaysia long haul if they were just a couple hundred dollars cheaper.

The flight itself was no hassles and the ground staff were really helpful. At Kuala Lumpur I had to fill in arrival documentation, pick up my baggage and go through customs. Then I had to re-enter through departures. It would have made my life a whole lot easier if I could have gone through transit. Another annoying thing was the lack of wifi at KL, with the airport guarding their network. I suppose I could have gone into McDonalds, but I haven’t quite got that desperate yet. The good thing is that my phone works in Malaysia, so I’m guessing it will work in the UK too.

My first reaction when I got off the plane (and it was a bit of a walk to the terminal) was OMG, warmth!! It has been a cold winter in Melbourne this year, so to experience 25C at 7.30am was a shock. I had to take off my fleece, and change into my sandals. My feet will freeze when I sample a Stansted September evening.

One embarrassing thing about this trip is that I have no foreign currency and have absolutely no idea how much the Malaysian currency is worth. At KL airport, I needed a drink so I went to an ATM, put in my visa card, and then had no idea what was a reasonable amount to get out. Anyway, I think I might have enough left over for my 4 days here on the way back. Another bizarre thing that I do when I travel is not to change the time on my watch or phone, but I keep it at my home town time. If you have appointments it can be a bit risky, but when you’re on holiday I don’t believe you should be a slave to time. And if you really need to know the time, there are usually plenty of clocks around the place, and you can always ask someone."

Air Asia use airbus rather than Jumbo which is cheaper, but less comfortable.

The hustle and bustle at Kuala Lumpur Airport.

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