Friday, May 02, 2008

The LONG Flight From Singapore To Los Angeles

Cathay Pacific CX716 took me and 10 others from Singapore to Hong Kong. Singapore's security check was smooth, with a big sign telling you to separate your laptop and bag containing the liquids, creams and aerosols from your carry-on luggage, giving you ample time to prepare yourself and not hold up the queue.
It was a flight with old furnishing, probably because it is a short haul flight. There was some fault with the in-flight entertainment system, thus, we had to choose from the program lineup for the flights from Hong Kong to Singapore. The flight was smooth overall and dinner, well, just taste like all normal in-flight foods.

At Hong Kong airport, we kinda got confused because the in-flight entertainment system says that the transit area is W2, but there's only either E2 or W1. In the end, we proceeded to W1 as the gate was within that area.
HK airport was freaking huge lor. When I watched the TVB serial 冲上云霄, I kinda knew it was big, but what I didn't knew was that it was BIG. We were kinda rushing after the toilet breaks and smoking breaks by the 11 of us. We took travelator after travelator to reach our gate. Finally when we did, there was a LONG queue. Everyone was waiting to board. To speed things up, the ground crew had to check the boarding passes and passports instead walking through the queue and stamp to certify that they had indeed check already, while at the boarding gate, the staff quickly took the boarding passes to scan and confirmed that the passenger did indeed board the plane.
When we stepped in, there was another queue. It was a queue for security checks right before you board the plane. There we are, in another queue, scrambling to open up the zips of our bags and taking out the bag of liquids, creams and areosols because there was no signage informing us that we had to do so. The bag of liquids was examined carefully, the officers looked into every single one of them, reading the labels and making sure that they do not exceed the safety requirement.
After passing the security checks, we had to board the plane immediately. But as blur as I am without proper instructions, I was looking around for an entrance to board the plane. Finally an officer started speaking in heavily accented English, which I did not understand. I "huh-ed" and he said "checked?". I replied in Cantonese "check zor". Then he told me to enter the plane, and pointed me in the right direction.

Onboard Cathay Pacific CX880, the in-flight entertainment system was so so much better! The screen is more stable without jumps nor rendering lines seen. There was so much more selection of games and shows.
But, the seats do not fully recline, instead, seats slide forward and the seat backs slide down, while the head rest follow suit. The head rest was at a better height for me compared to the earlier flight, but it was tough finding a good position to sleep because the seats do not recline. In the end, I found a not too bad position, slump-ing sideways all the way down to the seat with the pillow placed at where the armrest meets the seat, with my head on the pillow instead of the headrest. The longest I managed to keep my eyes shut in this postion was one and a half hours, but I slept no more than 4 hours in total. It wasn't deep sleep at all too. I could keep hearing the humming of the plane engine and could feel the plane move when riding through rough air currents.
The stewardess were all not so friendly, they are only friendly to Hong Kong-ers. They were all smiles to the HK people, while to the rest, their face remain solemn and talk to you as if they are relunctant to handle your request.
Throughout the time I was awake, I entertained myself with games, an episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S, an episode of Diamond Club (a Taiwanese variety show) and Juno!
Dinner was good, braised pork with potatoes. But breakfast, sigh, made a wrong choice. It was a choice between rice rolls and omelette. I chose omelette. If I knew rice rolls was cheong fun, I would have taken that lor...

Finally touched down at LA airport. At the customs clearance, the queue was so so long. Call it bad timing, as we joined the queue, they diverted the queue and the people behind us actually cleared customs first. So we waited and waited, seeing people joining our queue, got diverted to another and then got through customs first. We were not directed to join the other queues and thus had to stay put. In my mind I was wondering if it was pure coincidence or not as only the non-yellow skin were diverted.
Got through the customs very smoothly. The officers had a little chat with me and asked where I was going to study and how long I'll be here. He also asked what time is my connecting flight, and I told him 6am. He asked if I'm going to sleep at the airport, and I told him I want a quick breakfast before boarding the plane and he laughed. Honestly, I was hungry lor. But he was damn nice! He warned me not to venture out as it was dangerous and to stay in the airport.
At the conveyor belt, staff were helping us offload the luggages from the belt and placing them on the ground. When I saw my pink luggage, I wana cry sia. It was so dirty lor...

We then proceeded to the departure level and had McDonald's. Not that we want to, but we were hungry and there wasn't any other food. Here at Macs, I got my first lesson of learning how to buy food. Whatever the price is displayed, it is not the nett price; these are prices before any tax is included.
After breakfast, we took the airport shuttle to Terminal 2 where our domestic flight is located. We were early but it was good to sit around and relax for a while, while some of us repacked our luggage so as not to exceed the maximum weightage for our luggage. While some of us decided to feel at home...


Domestic flight details coming right up!
07:58 OK time...

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