Saturday, 21 November 2009

Best Airport in the World. Really.

As I got off the plane at Changi a while ago, I got the beep on my mobile. The message said :
"Dr. Lik Meng. We missed the person who contributed alot to greening campus in Malaysian universities or can we say the most influential person. Man where are you? Are you huffed with us?".
The sender of the sms knows how he is. Wow, thank you, you made my day. I do feel a little embarrassed with the accolade. Am I huffed with you guys? Man, what's with me these days. I seems to be getting people pissed off with me (including a few of the bosses). Or people think I might be pissed off with them. Not good, man! Anyway, thanks for the text. I shouldn't apologise for blowing my own trumpet here. If I seemed to be huffed with anybody, it must be due to the hormones.

Am on my way to Ahmedabad again for the APSA (Asian Planning Schools Association) Congress and series of meetings with the Global Planning Education Association Network (GPEAN). Will be back next saturday.

It's 5 pm here at Changi. My flight is 7.05 pm to Mumbai and than a long lay over of more than 7 hours before the connecting to Ahmedabad at 5.30 am the next morning. Air travel can be really very taxing. Especially if you have idiots working at the travel agency (let's name them, MIVS in Penang).

Want the long story? First thing I did was tell the HBP clerk to tell the travel agent make sure that there is enough time between connecting flights. The last time I got back from Paris, the bag decided to stay back in KLIA. I had actually asked my other clerk to confirm whether the 1 hour between flight at KLIA was sufficient. Apparently the agent said no problem (that one was Tabung Haji Travel).

Well for this trip, the first thing I noted was the connecting at Changi to Mumbai would be only one and half hours. I asked the clerk to ask the travel agent. The clerk at the travel agent said no problem just tell the check-in staff to check the bag in all the way to Ahmedabad. Sigh, she didn't understand the problem. But never mind. The flight the travel agent gave me was from Penang to KLIA, wait for 3 hours, then hop on another MAS flight to Singapore and then to Mumbai and finally Ahmedabad. Query, query, query. Response : no seat. Not even Penang-Singapore direct? No seat.

This morning at Penang Airport checking in, chatted with the lady. She was surprised why I wanted to stop over in KLIA on the way to Changi. I said the travel agent said no more seat on the direct flight. She checked, still got seats. In fact, there were still 20 empty seats. Good thing I don't blow my top so easy now. The MAS lady took me to the other MAS ticket lady, got me on the direct flight to Singapore. Hey, that's Malaysian Hospitality. MH you know?

So, the day started well. My flight was now 1 pm instead of 12 noon. So the two love birds went for some expensive cappucino (RM27 for 2) and chatted still almost 12 noon.

Changi Airport, I discovered walking around just now, tries really hard to make the air traveller happy. There's free movie (I sat in for about 15 minutes). There's transit hotel. Reflexology. And just outside that is a place with a sign of a lip with a finger indicating no noise please, people sleeping here. Internet is free, except you have to go to the information kiosk to get a username and password, unless you have a Singapore mobile phone. And there are numerous standing Internet kiosk which you can use for free (with time limits). Ooo, there's a butterfly farm. Go Kart. Shopping, Food. And for the kiddies ... funland everywhere (actually, the kids are really noise in this corner). Oh, they give out sweets too. And you must also love the orchid garden.

Can you believe this is the place where they put comfy chairs for travellers to sleep? Of course, they don't say that is for you to sleep. It's called "Rest Area". Man, I wish Mumbai would have place like that when I reach there this evening.

Nice design huh? It some kind of company doing community service or something.

The Singapore Postal Service fighting for survival in the electronic era

For the record. Terminal 3 is not the Low Cost Carriage Terminal. Low Cost Carriers operate from Terminal 3 but so does other "expensive" airlines. I remember Tony Fernandes (the AirAsia guy) complaining that the Malaysian authorities provide low quality terminal for the low cost carriers at the LCCT, compared to Changi.

And Jet Airways (which I am flying with next) is not a low cost carrier. I was surprised when the USM clerk said that the travel agents wanted to know whether I wanted to order food on the Jet Airway flights. I said of course. And that made me think it is a low cost carriage. But I asked the guy at the check-in at Changi - no, it is not a low cost carriage and food is included. What the ...? Oh, and Jet Airways is Indian owned.

For the record, the wireless here is good, but uploading photos to the blogs takes a bit of time. Still good. And there have lots of places where you can plug in and sit and surf with your notebook. Wait a minute. I think I paid for all these services in the Airport Tax, right? Hey, Charles De Gaulle Airport - are you reading all this? Calling Chicago and LA Airports, please take note.

It's 5:42 pm. Time to go walk around a little. And check out the best airport in the world. Bye.


Abe said...

Couldn't catch u before u fly..anyway some other more 'important' ppl couldnt journey and catch u coming week

Omid Reza Saadatian said...

safe journy prof. I told the whole audience the Mr Inventor is not the conference during my presentation.

Michael Peter Foo said...

Have a safe and pleasant trip.