Airline: Singapore Airlines
Aircraft: Boeing 777
Route: Hong Kong - San Francisco
Date: April 2011
After some days on the Chinese mainland we had the last day off for some sightseeing and took the Airport Express from Kowloon to the airport. Of course we were there too early. There was a check-in lane open for the next departing flight back to Singapore and only an early-bird check-in for our flight SQ2 to San Francisco. The early-bird check-in was crowded, but we had plenty of time, so we queued up there. The other CI back to SIN was empty, so step by step they started to pick people out of the queue to SFO. When we were picked, we showed our passports and the girl turned pale. She disappeared with a non understandable excuse and returned some seconds later with the boarding pass forms for First Class. We got rid of our bags and went straight through security and passport control to the Silver Kris Lounge. This lounge is huge. It looked like it had enough capacity for all SQ C and F travellers of the whole day, maybe even more. The selection of drinks was quite good and the buffet in the restaurant section was excellent. We only had some small bites because we were curious about the food served on board.
As with every other flight on this trip, boarding was announced in time; we boarded again after elderly passengers and families with children had gone on board and took off in time. Excellent food, excellent service, even better bed and we slept for almost the whole flight.
On this last leg I just had one small problem with the service, because they did not understand that for me a single cup of coffee is not enough to get awake. I almost had to beg for some more, but finally got them.
We arrived in San Francisco an hour ahead of schedule.
This was the end of a long and wonderful journey ... and the beginning of a nightmare.
Airline: United Airlines
Aircraft: Airbus A 320
Class: Economy (Plus)
Route: San Francisco - Los Angeles - Washington, D.C.
Date: April 2011
From the airport we took the shuttle to the Best Western San Matteo. Everything worked fine, and in spite of the long sleep in the plane before, I managed to get some sleep in the hotel, too. The next morning, during breakfast, I asked at the reception when the next shuttle to the airport would leave. On their website it says that the shuttle to the airport leaves every 15 min. The girl looked at me with big eyes and said 8:30 (our flight left at 8:40). If nobody had told us, that we would have to ORDER the shuttle a day in advance? What? We arrived the night before, we came with the shuttle, we stayed only one night and had asked for a wake up call at 6:00 a.m. and the girl at reception didn't have the idea that we could need the shuttle the next morning and tell us to order it? Welcome back to the United States. We asked for a taxi which arrived 20 min later. 8 min before the check-in counters would close. Although the girl drove like crazy, we were two minutes too late. When we tried to check in, I took my buddy’s luggage on my account, as I only had hand luggage with me and because I’m Star Gold it should be free. The system forced me to re-book (75 Dollars) but issued the boarding passes for James. But they were only for the flight from SFO to LAX. We agreed to meet in LAX at the gate for our flight to IAD and walked together to the "fast lane" for security. This "fast" lane was about “100 people long”. Good morning, it is the first Sunday of spring break and SFO was as chaotic as no airport I had been to before. Of course my buddy did NOT make his flight. At the gate the girl told him something about waiting till late night and then taking a redeye. Sorry, but that sounded nuts. He went to the United service centre and got the last seat on a non-stop flight to IAD. I had to fly via LAX and we agreed to meet in Washington. The flights were a nightmare. On the flight to LAX I ended up in a middle seat (luckily Economy Plus) and from LAX to IAD in one of the last rows of Economy in a window seat (26 A). You get what you pay for.
I spent thousands of dollars for round-the-world flight in First Class and because of 200 dollars difference I flew Economy instead of First on this transcontinental flight? NEVER AGAIN. I arrived in IAD with every single bone in my body aching und lucky as I was I still had to drive about 4 hours back home. I managed it, but don't ask me how. I ended up in my own bed some time after midnight and swore to myself that this was the last long Economy flight in my life.
But nevertheless the RTW in F on SQ is an unforgettable experience and you get more than a perfect value for the price of this ticket.
Part 1: New York JFK - Frankfurt
Part 2: Frankfurt - Singapore
Part 3: Singapore - Hong Kong
Part 4: Hong Kong - San Francisco - Washington