A Travellerspoint blog

New Zealand

Arrive home on a high note

While boarding our flight, we noticed a group of three wearing masks (across their face and mouth). They sat right in front of us. Soon after takeoff they removed their masks … only to put them on for arrival. I’m not sure what their concerns are … the risk of contracting something at airports?

Anyway, going through the terminal in Auckland [Auckland-travel-guide-1139106], they were picked-up by medical staff for swine flu checks … they must have looked suspicious or sick wearing those masks … perhaps like the Japanese as they wear masks when they have a cold or flu to contain their sneeze droplets.

The 2-5-2 layout of the aircraft seating worked well for us ... we were lucky to get a block of five seats to share between the both of us. It was possible for both of us to lie down at the same time, heads at either aisle and our legs pointing towards the middle. Still cattle class but time flies when you're horizontal and shut-eyed.

Our flight with Malaysia Airlines ended on a high note. The nasi lemak breakfast was good … coconut rice served on banana leaf, accompanied by chicken rendang (curry) and prawn sambal (chilli jam) topped with crunchy anchovies and peanuts. Heaven at 39,000 ft.

Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Leaving home ... and the Mile High Club

View 2009 Scuba with Barracuda on alexchan's travel map.

Leaving Auckland [Auckland-travel-guide-1139106]

A trip to Sipadan has been long on the cards but prompted by expiring frequent flyer miles on Malaysia Airlines’ programme “Enrich”. In these days of fuel surcharges, the programme turned out very disappointingly compared to, say, Emirates’ very generous programme called “Skywards”.

We needed 60,000 points from Auckland to Kuching, open-jaw to Tawau, then return to Auckland. On top of that was a hefty fuel surcharge of about NZD700 (about USD350). The savings from a paid fare was about NZD1000 … not to be sneezed … but a similar redemption on Emirates would only attract the airport taxes.

Due to government regulations, fuel surcharges are now invisible to the customer (absorbed into the fare), but the still exist theoretically and raise its ugly head in situations like these ... and to travel agents in terms of being non-commissionable I guess.

Love is in the Air

Our flight from Auckland to Kuala Lumpur was uneventful for us ... but in the two seats across the aisle from us, there was a bit of romance brewing. A man and woman came on separately, introduced themselves and exchanged travel stories. Soon into the flight, her head went on his shoulder, then hand on hand, then her arm across his chest, then leg across leg ... They didn’t leave their seats at the same time, so I don’t think they made it into the mile-high club in the cripple toilet (as they are sometimes referred to here, not by the politically-correct terminology).

Swine Flu & Prawn Sambal!

We landed in KL and were subject to swine flu or Influenza A checks by way of thermal imaging scans supplemented by temperature checks for naturally warm people like Kim. The Malaysian authorities seem to be taking this more seriously than in New Zealand where we were approaching a hundred suspected cases.

While in transit to Kuching, we ran into my late sister’s best friend Felicia who also lived in Auckland and travelled on the same flight. We had missed each other on our earlier flight as she was seated in a different area.

We had plenty to chat about on our shorter and more pleasant flight to Kuching. Much tastier fare is served on the domestic flights compared to the longhaul ones ... we had a chicken curry and prawn sambal served with coconut rice, accompanied with a pudding and Ferrero Rocher chocolates ... all in a highly presentable box. Much better than the bland food designed for the international palate out of Auckland.

Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

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