31 hours of travelling [YQrtw Day 59 Jun 5]

I travelled 31 hours and live to tell the story.

When I first bought my ticket from Istanbul to Buenos Aires, I didn’t know how long it would take. Judging from the times in the different time zones, I guessed it would only take about 12 hours.

I didn’t realize that flying on Day 1’s 7pm and reaching on Day 2’s 7pm probably doesn’t mean 12 hours.

So at the airport at Istanbul, I tried counting how much time I would be travelling. To my horror, the total time, including transit, would take 31 hours.

In this post, I recount what happened at different time milestones.

Hour 0 [Istanbul 17:00]
Reach airport. Airport shuttle bus takes less time than taking the public transport.

Tickets for my 31-hour journey
Tickets for my 31-hour journey

Hour 1 [Istanbul 19:20]

Emirates plane
Emirates plane

Board plane. Sit next to two ajuma (Korean middle aged ladies). Ajuma II said “Annyeong hasseyo” to me.

Find loads of goodies to watch. There’s even Mad Men season 5, all add into favorites list.

Seafood meal is nice. Ajuma does not eat but kept talking and talking.

Mad Men binge on Emirates
Mad Men binge on Emirates

Hour 5 [UAE 00:12]

Watch Mad Men S5E5. Ajuma stole my seat belt and couldn’t figure out how to wear it. She seems to be annoyed at me even though she’s the one who took my seat belt.

Stickers you stick on your seat so the cabin attendant knows to wake you up for food or leave you hungry.
Stickers you stick on your seat so the cabin attendant knows to wake you up for food or leave you hungry.
Electrical plugs on Emirates plane.
I am in heaven!

[UAE 00:32] Plane lands. Frank SInatra song “It’s Nice to Go Travelling” blasts from speakers.

Finally reach Dubai! But I have 7 hours to go before I board my plane to Buenos Aires.

Dubai airport
Dubai airport for transit

Hour 6 [UAE 01:00]
Walk around airport, trying to find bench to sleep. No luck. The facilities here are not as good as Changi Airport.

Hour 7 [UAE 02:12]
Retrieve laptop to type things. Laptop difficult to balance on knees so I keep the laptop again.

Hour 8 [UAE 03:05]
Sit at Costa Coffee with a hot chocolate. Try to connect to Dubai Airport Wi-Fi but fail miserably.

Hot chocolate at Dubai airport
Hot chocolate at Dubai airport

[UAE 03:55] Play a bit of Candy Crush. Still cannot pass that stage I’ve been stuck at for 2 months.

Hour 9 [UAE 04:40]
Use the free shower in the airport. Since I have no towel, I use my pashmina instead. Realize I look like a hobo with my luggage in the trolley.

Hobo in the airport
Hobo in the airport

Hour 10 [UAE 5:30]
Take train to correct terminal. Find a bench near boarding gate which I can lay down horizontally. Set alarm and start snoozing with airplane blanket.

Dubai airport train
Dubai airport train

Hour 11 [UAE 06:30]
Finally able to board the plane. Hurray! Breakfast is served really soon. Sadly, it’s only omelette with unknown seafood.

Emirates omelette
Emirates omelette

Hour 14 [Buenos Aires 02:44]
Finished “Far Away Places” from Mad Men season 5.

Hour 15 [BA 03:32]
Finished “Lady Lazarus” from Mad Men.

Alternate between napping, Mad Men, tiny food.

Starry night on Emirates flight
Starry night on Emirates flight

Hour 21 [BA 09:17]
Watch Hitchcock after season 5 of Mad Men.

Hour 25 [BA 13:28]
Watch Parks & Recreation.

Hour 26 [BA 14:50]
Land in Rio airport. Play a bit of Bejewelled before leaving plane.

Bejewelled on Emirates
Bejewelled on Emirates

Hour 27 [BA 15:00++]
Weather outside of airport looks very warm. Registers onto free Wi-Fi in Rio airport and desperately use my iPhone.

Rio airport
Rio airport

Hour 28 [BA 16:26]
Back on the plane. A socked foot appears at one arm rest away from mine. Korean ajuma behind has her foot stretched.

Cinderella looking for her slipper
Spot the thing that is not supposed to be there. Cinderella looking for her slipper.

Hour 29 [BA 17:00++]
After “lunch”, I find a snug corner and put on my eyemask to sleep.

Hour 30 [BA 18:00++]
ZZZZzzzzz.

Hour 31 [BA 19:30]
Wake up when plane lands with a jolt. Plane finally in Buenos Aires. A lot of people are too eager to go out of the plane even though the door isn’t open.

Immigration officer only gives me 30 days in Argentina. Oh well…

Manuel Tienda Leon shuttle service
Manuel Tienda Leon shuttle service

Hour 32 [BA 20:15]

Bought A$90 shuttle bus ticket to the hostel. Weather isn’t as cold as I thought.

After thoughts…

Even though it took me a long time to get to my destination, I don’t feel that the time is wasted. The biggest reason is that I had the chance to watch season 5 of Mad Men, that alone is priceless.

This day last week…

I was in Turkey. At Pamukkale, I visited the cotton candy castle.

What was the longest time it took for you to get to your next destination?

How to beat AirAsia’s b***s**t extra charges

airasia booking

AirAsia revamped its Web site in November, changing all of booking pages. This is a refreshed version of the original “How to beat AirAsia’s b***s**t extra charges” with new screencaps and new step-by-step instructions.

Update: Feb 23, 2014. I’ve shifted some of the steps because AirAsia changed their sequence.

Update: Jan 13, 2013. Changing publishing date so the post will be higher up, ready for this round of Free Seats.

AirAsia Booking
AirAsia booking first page

AirAsia has revamped its whole Web site. Good news is, some of the sneaky charges in the previous booking procedure have been taken out.

However, there might be still some confusion with the booking, I’m doing up a new version of the guide too.

For this money saving activity, you will need

  • Internet connection
  • Browser
  • Direct debit e-payment method (save RM4 per journey)

I am using a return flight from Singapore to Kota Kinabalu as an example. Please ignore the exorbitant flight price.

Step 1: Pick a good price

Unless you are flying within the month, I recommend that you wait for a while for the promos to roll in. The AirAsia Facebook puts up updates about the sales frequently. I haven’t figured out the promo fares’ cycles but they come quite quick.

Plan as far in advance if you can and do not buy tickets at full price. If you are booking during the promo period, remember that a lot of people are doing the same so you need to strategize your booking.

Step 2: Beat the charges I–Luggage

When you have selected the flight with the best price and time combo, you are ready to eliminate those sneaky fees.

At the page where you fill in the passengers’ details, you will come across the first extra charge–baggage fee.

AirAsia lists the 20kg as default. You can select 0kg if you are hardcore.

Get rid of AirAsia Baggage Fee
Get rid of AirAsia Baggage Fee

I’ve been travelling with only a carry one for many of my trips now. It takes some getting used to but it is possible to stuff a laptop, two dresses and other things into one backpack.

Be careful, you will need to deselect luggage twice on the same page if you have booked a return trip.

Money saved with 0kg: S$17 one way (for default 20kg price).
Total saved: S$34

Step 3: Beat the charges II–Insurance

With the revamp, AirAsia has made it much easier to skip buying insurance. But it’s still a bit sneaky.

To remove insurance,

  1. untick the box
  2. click  [Cancel]
  3. click [OK]
Cancel AirAsia Insurance
Cancel AirAsia Insurance

A word of caution: I do not recommend having no insurance when travelling. I have an annual travel insurance by another company so I do not buy from AirAsia.

Money saved no insurance S$12.
Total saved: S$46

Step 3: Beat the charges III–Seat allocation

Hurray! There is no sneaky extra charge here.

Just head straight to Confirm on the lower right.

AirAsia seat selection
AirAsia seat selection

I was given the “Hot Seat” once (for free) but I didn’t feel that it was any better than the rest of the seats. Maybe the red faux leather was prettier than the boring black, but everything’s the same.

Unless you and your darling are two lovebirds who cannot bear to be apart (nice ad by the way, AirAsia) or you need to take care of your child/elderly, please be sensible and do not add any seats.

No sneaky charges. Hurray!.
Total saved: S$34

Step 5: Beat the charges IV–Processing fee

We are almost there!

The last fees that you will encounter is very much like the Boss level in video games. You will need that “Direct debit e-payment method” I prescribed up there.

If you pay using a credit or debit card, AirAsia will charge you something they call a “processing fee” for each flight that you take.

It doesn’t mean that you can buy 10 person’s tickets in one transaction to even out the processing fee. It means it’s 10 x [processing fee]=A lot of wasted money.

[Update Sep 16, 2013] Since a month ago or so, AirAsia has started charging processing fee for direct debit payments as well. However, you will still save a measly RM4 if you use direct debit.

In Singapore, we can use ENets as the direct debit payment option, which eliminates the processing fee. Just change the currency to Singapore Dollar to get the ENets function.

AirAsia Direct Debit
AirAsia Direct Debit

For other countries, there are other ways so please research before you start your payment.

If you are buying tickets departing from countries without your Direct Debit option, change the currency to the one your account is based to see if they have the option for you.

Money saved with no processing fee S$16 return trip.
Total saved: S$62

Step 6: S$62 richer (+pre flying tip)

So by being careful, I just saved myself S$62 for a single person return trip–enough to fund for another trip to a closer location! The amount also adds up if there are more travellers.

Also, remember to use Web check-in because they might charge you extra at the counter.

My tips are targeted at AirAsia. At my favorite money saving site: UK-based MoneySavingExpert, there’s extra tips on how to save money on budget flights with a focus on inter-Europe cheap flights.

That is all I have to impart. Go on your money saving journey, my friends!

Related posts

Do you like budget flights? What was your cheapest ticket?

[Retired post] How to get rid of AirAsia extra charges

[Note: Nov 13. 2012] This is the original “How to beat AirAsia’s b***s**t extra charges” before its Web site revamp in November. For those booking with the new interface, the new post lies under the old title.

Since the revamp, there has been changes to booking so all of the screencaps are not applicable. A lot of the angst in the original post are not applicable too.

START OF OLD POST

Other titles considered: “Tips for first time AirAsia bookers” or “How I saved S$80 by not clicking blindly when booking with AirAsia”.

First thing first, I am a frequent AirAsia passenger and I’m glad that “now everyone can fly” because of it. Thanks @tonyfernandes.

What I’m not glad is that AirAsia hides its extra fees sneakily. So sneaky that you wouldn’t really know how on earth that fee for extra baggage, seats or insurance (seriously?) came into your bill.

If you are an experienced AirAsia flight booker, you won’t need my tips. But if you are a first timer or just haven’t been on the site for some time, here are some ways you can beat the BS charges.

Continue reading “[Retired post] How to get rid of AirAsia extra charges”