With the semester starting soon for my MBA, I had to find flights to Vancouver. Unfortunately, heavy student traffic makes it pretty impossible to book a flight between Hong Kong and Vancouver in late August. My miles that I had accumulated for the past 2 years with Cathay Pacific came in handy and I was able to score a First Class seat on a 747 towards San Francisco. Having a seat on 1A in the nose-cone of the Queen of the Skies before they get retired from service, how cool is that? It would also satisfy my curiosity about how the well-heeled travel…
Now that the longest route of them all has been settled, I had to get tickets that will bring me from TKG (Bandar Lampung Raden Inten II Airport) to HKG, and flights from SFO to YVR. As much as I like how Garuda has improved in Indonesia, their widebody fleet is still lacking and even having asked my Dad to buy its shares on its listing early this year (their share has underperformed…) I have not really considered them for my overseas travel since their prices are that much closer to Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific. That’s when another idea struck me: having had some miserly Krisflyer points from regional routes, I topped up my account with credit card points, and voila I have enough for a one way ticket from Jakarta to Hong Kong in Business Class. An SIA flight in Business – now that’s another thing to look forward to. But sadly, direct flights between Singapore and Hong Kong are lacking in redemption slots, so what’s the next best idea? I found a variety of flights from Singapore to Guangzhou.
If my Geography serves me right, Guangzhou and Hong Kong seems near enough, and this would be an excuse to visit Guangzhou as well. It was then time to settle the overland crossing from Guangzhou to Hong Kong. The most direct choice would be the KCR train that will bring me directly to Hong Kong from Guangzhou, but it isn’t a high-speed rail. In this modern day and age, I think high-speed rails are necessary but the one connecting Hong Kong to China wouldn’t be completed until a few years later. But the Guangzhou-Shenzhen route is served by the CRH-1A, a version that I took for the short route between Kunshan and Shanghai in 2010. Since Shenzhen is as close to Hong Kong as it gets, I figured I could stopover in Shenzhen and find some means to get to Hong Kong from there.
After drafting the general route in mind, I went on to book my SIA flights with miles, and as luck would have it, I was able to find certain dates that allowed me a 2 nights stopover in Singapore! And with the ‘free’ stopover that takes place over the National Day Holidays, it would give me some time to enjoy the festivities and food in the island city. The next step was to settle the last flight to Canada from San Francisco and having seen the gleaming new Embraers of Air Canada in SFO early this year, I settled on Air Canada. Since Air Canada had a sale on their Executive class tickets and considering the luggage I would be bringing plus the perks of Air Canada’s executive class such as lounge access, snacks and refreshments onboard and the bonus miles, I got a front cabin seat on the Embrarers.
The best part of this trip was the cost of tickets which was perhaps the equivalent of half a trip to Canada from Jakarta on Economy (since I had to pay for the taxes and surcharges and the one way between SFO and YVR) but considering all but one of my flights would be in the premium cabin, with 13 hours in First, I think I got a bargain! My final flight itinerary will look like this: