Friday, July 17, 2009

My 24-hour journey......

I am now on holiday in the United Kingdom with Jester. We are here for a week-long holiday and will be spending most of it in Manchester.

It took us around 24 hours to get to Manchester from Brunei; a journey which can be broken into three parts.

The first part was from Brunei to Singapore by Royal Brunei Airlines. Nothing much can be said the national flag carrier's service. The inflight magazine, Muhibah, was not available; apparently it was not available anymore though it was only the 14th day of the month. Perhaps it was a commemorative issue on the Sultan's birthday, but not a copy was available.

The second part was from Singapore to Dubai on an Emirates flight. We had a four-hour transit at the Singapore airport, which we used to explore the new Terminal Three. The terminal was impressive and huge. It felt more like a shopping mall than an airport terminal. I also had my first encounter with an Airbus A380. It was huge! We left for Dubai just after 1am that morning. The flight was largely empty. The service by Emirates was much better than our national carrier. There was an individual screen, which was touchscreen monitor, from which we had a choice of more than 500 music and video channels. The food was not too bad either.

This plane is huge! And I saw three more after that, one is Singapore and two in Dubai.

When we arrived in Dubai, we had another three-hour wait for the last leg of the journey. We did not do much at theDubai Airport. We went browsing but could not find anything to buy. The flight from Dubai to Manchester, also on Emirates, was almost full. We were seated next to this friendly English gentleman who shared his month-long motorcycle expedition in Vietnam. The service by the Emirates staff was equally good.

The touch-screen individual monitor. Incidentally, one of the available channels showed the Top Gear episode where they were on a motorcycle trek from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi. This apparently inspired our neighbour on the plane to do the same thing.

One of the snacks provided by Emirates

When we arrived in Manchester, we were ushered to queue for almost 30minutes before we got our passports stamped. I could not understand that there were only four counters avaiable for non-EU passports, which required longer time to process, compared to the ten counters forEU passport holders, who were moving very fast.

The new UK landing card. And I noticed the Immigration Authority is now called UK Border Agency

Finally, after almost 24 hours leaving Brunei, we reached the hotel in Manchester, where I was glad to get to to freshen up....

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