going carless

i was prepared enough to brave hours of sitting in a traffic jam in manila. i forgot about preparing for the hours waiting to have the opportunity to sit in a traffic jam.

…it took us 3.5 hours to get from SM Megamall to the borders of Pasig. almost 3 hours of that was spent trying to get a taxi/fx/bus. grrrr.

manila

i can think of a thousand and one reasons why i should not stay. but i can think of a thousand more reasons why i should.

i am finally home. 

the cebu pacific experience

i’m beginning to think that the real catch with going via budget airline oasis is that you have to fly via cebu pacific to get from hong kong to manila.

at £40 one way, maybe there really isn’t much to expect. flight was scheduled at 9:50pm and was taxiing down the runway a whole hour later. but landed in manila only about 15 minutes late. it was a small plane – 3 seats on each side and no business class. free mango juice was served an hour into the slightly turbulent flight. extra food was available but not free. i think they offered sandwiches, peanuts and instant noodles.

the staff hardly smiled but were quite polite and did the obligatory greetings.

there were no inflight entertainment at all but at least the magazine showcased the beauty of the country.

but with the flight time under 3 hours, it wasn’t much of a sacrifice to fly cheaply.

…but there were no clapping when we landed. that was a first for me. i did feel i was shortchanged there.

the oasis hong kong experience

we had wondered what’s the catch with a low-cost airline flying from London to Hong Kong.

for one, we had to travel all the way to gatwick, a couple of hours away from Stevenage. but with friend simon driving us there, we hardly noticed the distance. thanks again simon!

we were at the airport at 5pm for our 8pm flight. there wasn’t any queue to check in (maybe because we’re early?).

we quickly made our way to the departure gates as there’s this long queue snaking around the lobby to get in as there’s stringent security measures in all London airports.

we had to do some last minute postings and were half-running to get to the gate at 10 past 7. made it just in time when our seat numbers were being called. boarding time was at 6:55pm for the 8:10pm flight.

the flight was still delayed 5 mins on take-off.

seats were not any different except that they were in this barney-purple colour. we think the legroom is about a couple of inches shorter. not really much of a problem for me, but would probably make a lot of difference to everybody else.  there’s no foot rest. there was a projector screen in the middle of the plane though, that i thought would hit the people seating in front of it, as the bottom was loose and did not tilt with the plane. (don’t sit in row 50, middle seats!)

al was on an aisle seat and me in the middle. the lady next to me, by the window, decided she didn’t want to sit with us and moved. anyway, lucky me – as i had 2 seats to myself.

dinner was served at 9:30pm. usual airline fare – overcooked vegetables and pork and rice.

i think this is the only flight where i managed to sleep a bit better. but only because i had my feet up in 2 seats.

water was regularly plied throughout the night. but no snacks. i found a pricelist of other drinks. but water, tea and coffee were free.

hot towels were this flimsy disposable thick tissues. but did the job anyway.

breakfast was a couple of hours before landing. a portion of scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon and half a tomato.

movies were oldish – the likes of ‘rumour has it’, ‘v for vendetta’ and a few selections of chinese movies, jacky chan included. everybody has their own screens. not good quality screens though that i thought it would give me a headache from watching, but (luckily) didn’t. the movies don’t start right away when it ends, so if you wanted to catch the start, you have to wait for a bit (i think until all the other movie offerings end). earphones supplied were not the usual headband-types which i thought was great only that there were no foams.

total flight duration was 10 hours (i thought it was 17!). we landed early.

would i fly oasis again? there’s really not much difference for me as with emirates, and with a possibility of a couple of hundred savings (or more) on a return ticket – yes, i would. (al wasn’t complaining much except that he got hungry)