After a fun and delicious two nights in Singapore, it was time to turn around and head back home to the States. We took an early cab to Changi airport and arrived in plenty of time. Check-in was a breeze and we since security isn’t until the gate, we had a little bit of time to kill. So we headed to the Sky View Lounge in Terminal 1 since it was the only lounge accessible to oneworld Emerald members at that hour in the morning (the Qantas and British Airways don’t open until later in the afternoon).
The lounge was quite comfortable with some decent hot and cold breakfast options. I grabbed some noodles to go along with a Diet Coke and took a seat with my friends by the floor-to-ceiling glass windows just as the sun was coming up. We checked e-mail and surfed the Internet for a bit before it was time to head to the gate.
There was a very long line for security and boarding, but we were able to board with business class passengers despite being ticketed for an economy seat (59A). After security, I went to have my boarding pass scanned by the gate agent, and it beeped a few times. The friendly gate agent informs me, “Mr. Ryan, thank you for being a valued oneworld Emerald customer. We have upgraded you to Premium Economy Class for this morning’s flight.”
Now, I’d heard of oneworld Emeralds being upgraded before by Cathay and other airlines like LAN, but I’d never experienced it before, so this was quite unexpected. Sometimes, unexpected upgrades like this one are some of the best and most satisfying upgrades that there are.
She re-printed my new boarding passes, and I was on my was to board this A340-300 for Hong Kong!
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We arrived in Singapore from Hong Kong on a Cathay Pacific flight at around 8pm. We easily made our way through immigration and Singapore’s beautiful Changi International Airport, out to the curb to hail a cab for our hotel. We booked a room at the Grand Hyatt Singapore for this short stay.
The cab ride couldn’t have been any more than twenty minutes and I think it ran around 20 Singapore dollars. When I booked the room a few months earlier, I used one of my last remaining Hyatt Diamond Suite upgrades for our two night stay, and we were upgraded to a Grand Duplex Suite.
And it sure was Grand…
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After spending over 18 hours on American Airlines’ longest flight from Dallas / Ft. Worth to Hong Kong, I was quite ready to stretch my legs and move around. We got to Hong Kong immigration after about five minutes and had about a ten minute wait to clear immigration.
Outside of immigration, we went by the Hong Kong Airport Express and MTR kiosk where I purchased a round trip transfer from Hong Kong Airport to Kowloon Station for HKD 160 (about USD $30). The Airport Express is a direct rail link between the airport, Kowloon and Central Hong Kong that runs every ten minutes. It is very quick and very efficient, as is much of the public transportation in Hong Kong.
We intentionally worked in a long, 22-hour layover in Hong Kong into our itinerary because, frankly, we all wanted to spend a night in Hong Kong!
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Last December, there was an interesting airfare to Singapore from Toronto with American Airlines. The base fare was low enough to grab my attention, as it included the newish, long segments from Dallas / Ft. Worth (DFW) to Hong Kong on the new B777-300ER. I had several newly acquired American eVIP, system wide upgrades burning a hole in my pocket, so I decided to see what I could do.
With an open weekend, I decided to try to put together the most convoluted routing possible to get me to Singapore. The impressive part was that I was able to convince a couple of my travel junkie friends that this was a good idea, and they decided that a night in Hong Kong and a couple of nights in Singapore were completely reasonable for a weekend trip. Continue Reading →