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Low Cost London To And Around SE Asia (Oasis...)  
User currently offlineGeoffm From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2004, 2111 posts, RR: 6
Posted (7 years 2 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 6618 times:

Just a quick report comparing various airlines that we travelled on recently. I won't go into any great detail, just the main features, good and bad, of each airline. All flights were on time unless otherwise mentioned. Sorry, no pictures at the moment.

It was our honeymoon, and having travelled Oasis Hong Kong before, we thought we'd try it again. They had a two-for-one offer on business class which worked out, in total, just a few pennies more than flying economy class with the likes of Cathay or the other full cost carriers on the route.

So at Gatwick we got entry to the Servisair lounge. This isn't anything out of this world, just a couple of fridges with some beer, wine, snacks, etc. A good view of the apron and part of the runway though. We strolled the long walk to the satellite terminal and walked straight onto the plane - upstairs on the B744! I wasn't expecting much, and reclining seats was what we got. Not so much recline as I thought though.

Champagne was offered copiously (free) and consumed (freely!). A couple of small dainty pastry things (smoked salmon nibbly things) preceded the main meal, which was a choice of pork or chicken. Not a great meal but, again, I wasn't expecting too much with Oasis being a low-cost airline.

About 2.5 hours after take-off, we passed slightly to the north of Moscow. Being late at night, we could see the lights of the city laid out 35,000 feet below us. Absolutely spectucular sight - imagine a spider's web lit up in orange. We were too high to see detail like the Kremlin though.

A nice surprise on landing was the bulkhead TV monitors showing a nosecam view of the landing at Hong Kong. Being "up top" we asked the captain for a cockpit photo and he really welcomed us in to view and take photos.

Next flight a few days later was to Siem Reap via Siem Reap Airlines (operated by Bangkok Airways). Although the website had offered a meal selection, I wasn't really expecting food. But indeed we did receive a very pleasant Khmer hot meal.

Visa on arrival consisted of giving USD$20 and your passport to one official, and twelve officials later, receiving the visa at the other end. Laughable but at least it was pretty quick. Off-topic, but it's well worth going to Siem Reap before the tourists really discover it (they expect visitor numbers to DOUBLE this year, and double again the next year also).

Bangkok Airways again to Suvarnabhumi airport. Short flight but still received a pre-packed cold meal. Immigration took quite some time and they really hadn't allocated enough space for the queues. Not impressed. In fact, I didn't like the airport's look inside as it was very grey and dull, looking unfinished. Even Don Muang, despite being old and frayed, had more character than this airport.

Now for the only bad flight. Thai Air Asia to Singapore. Baggage allowance just 15kg per person (we had to pay THB640 - about GBP£10 or USD$20) for 4 additional kilos of baggage. The bad part came to boarding the plane with unassigned seats. Now, I can't remember whether it was an A319/A320 or a B737. What I can remember is that plane was nearly full and we had a single bus taking all the passengers to that plane. That bus was more of a coach than an airport bus with low floors and wide doors. Apart from squashed standing room only, there is also no provision for the elderly, infirm, or those with small children. Arrival at the plane consisted of a scram to get off the bus. A north American behind me was forcefully pushing me, whereupon I nearly descended the steep stairs head first. My saving grace was an overhead grab rail - which resulted in my elbow making rapid contact with his jaw (unintentionally but I was not unhappy). His loud complaints for people to get moving immediately ceased. Once onboard, service was minimal to say the least, with dirty seats and uncleaned toilets.

Next airline: Jetstar Asia to Manila. Now, we'd reserved Cebu Pacific tickets from Manila to Hong Kong over the phone because, for some reason, their website would not accept UK credit cards. We were due to pick the tickets up upon arrival in Manila. But Philippine immigration require you to have proof of onward travel which I obviously did not have (and Cebu Pacific's reservation systems are not available to Jetstar). Jetstar, quite rightly. refused me travel unless I bought an onward ticket - to anywhere. I insisted on a fully refundable ticket (minus service charge) to ensure that I could get my money back upon arrival in Manila. But whilst booking using Jetstar's computer, the agent noticed I had a Filipino passport with me and asked why. I said that it was my wife's whereupon he thought for a moment, asked whether I had the marriage certificate (luckily, yes), and then said "oh, in that case you don't need an onward ticket"! So after a mad dash through the airport, we managed to board and get to Manila without further incident. I have no complaints on Jetstar; they were simply doing their job - and they did assist me rather than leave me stranded.

Now on to Cebu Pacific. Three flights, Manila to Dumaguete, Bacolod to Manila, Manila to Hong Kong. The former two were fairly straightforward in terms of picking up the tickets. The latter was more problematic. First they were reserved, then only requested, then I really don't know what happened. The agent in Bacolod said we'd have to find out when we reached Manila. I was not happy about this but had to accept it. He quoted "agent error". Indeed, upon check-in at Manila queries were raised over our tickets which we had bought in good faith from Cebu themselves. There were mutterings of a USD$30 change fee per passenger but quotes of "agent error" soon got that cancelled. In all that confusion they overlooked our 10kg overweight baggage. To this day I still don't know what was wrong with the tickets. But we got to Hong Kong safely, so that's the main thing.

Finally, Hong Kong to Gatwick. The CNAC lounge at HK was quite pleasant and conveniently very close to the gate. We could look over the balcony to see when boarding started and just stroll down at our convenience. I made full use of the wine and snacks available, plus free internet access.

Boarding and departure were 20 minutes late due to some technical glitch upon arrival from Vancouver. We settled into our (better) seats upstairs. I know Oasis bought planes from different suppliers so I expect this one was from a different supplier to the one we flew out on. The recline was far better and had more automatic controls. More champagne was offered but not quite so liberally as on the first flight, though I was quite sedated enough already anyway.

Despite a late departure, landing at Gatwick was 15 minutes early... only to wait for half an hour near our gate due to another plane partially blocking the gate. No nosecam view on landing though, but we wouldn't have seen much being low cloud and chucking down with rain.

From my own experiences, and seeing those of other travellers, I really can't stress the importance enough of buying tickets for low cost airlines direct from their own websites. A couple I saw had trouble with forged Jetstar tickets who bought from a travel agent instead of booking online. There simply is no reason to buy through a travel agent as they will only charge commission. So book direct if at all possible. And have all your confirmation paperwork/tickets with you for immigration requirements.

All in all, quite a range of airlines and experiences!

11 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineBMIFlyer From UK - England, joined Feb 2004, 8810 posts, RR: 58
Reply 1, posted (7 years 2 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 6231 times:

Nice report man.  Smile

Any pics to come?  Wink



Lee



Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
User currently offlineLeonB1985 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (7 years 2 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 5759 times:

Nice report! Do you have any further info on the Business Class product on Oasis? I'm able to get a return flight with them in Business for £595 and am trying to decide if it's worth the extra money (only £150 or so more than BA economy, but double the price of Oasis economy!)

User currently offlinePlymSpotter From Spain, joined Jun 2004, 11648 posts, RR: 60
Reply 3, posted (7 years 2 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 5710 times:

Quoting LeonB1985 (Reply 2):
Nice report! Do you have any further info on the Business Class product on Oasis?

I believe it is the same as the Singapore Airlines business class was - but I am sure Geoffm will be able to tell you more on this.

Quoting Geoffm (Thread starter):
Now, we'd reserved Cebu Pacific tickets from Manila to Hong Kong over the phone because, for some reason, their website would not accept UK credit cards. We were due to pick the tickets up upon arrival in Manila. But Philippine immigration require you to have proof of onward travel which I obviously did not have (and Cebu Pacific's reservation systems are not available to Jetstar). Jetstar, quite rightly. refused me travel unless I bought an onward ticket - to anywhere. I insisted on a fully refundable ticket (minus service charge) to ensure that I could get my money back upon arrival in Manila. But whilst booking using Jetstar's computer, the agent noticed I had a Filipino passport with me and asked why. I said that it was my wife's whereupon he thought for a moment, asked whether I had the marriage certificate (luckily, yes), and then said "oh, in that case you don't need an onward ticket"!

I had the same problem - in the end my flight came to less than a £37 international phone call. I also had the same issue with the onwards tickets being needed, but luckily I managed to print mine out in HKG before flying to MNL, perhaps next time it would just be easier to get married to someone there  silly 

Vary varied report on many airlines - it would be good to see some pictures, not just of the aircraft but of the places you visited too.


Dan Smile



...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
User currently offlineGeoffm From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2004, 2111 posts, RR: 6
Reply 4, posted (7 years 2 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 5401 times:

Quoting BMIFlyer (Reply 1):
Any pics to come? Wink

Just a couple I'm afraid. I only take pictures if I can get a decent shot without all the trucks, airbridges, and people standing in the way! I'll post this then work out how to add them in my next post.

Quoting LeonB1985 (Reply 2):
Do you have any further info on the Business Class product on Oasis? I'm able to get a return flight with them in Business for £595 and am trying to decide if it's worth the extra money (only £150 or so more than BA economy, but double the price of Oasis economy!)

First of all, bear in mind that not all their aircraft (I think 3 in operation currently) have exactly the same configuration. The seats were different on the outbound and return legs. Note that they simply recline by under 45 degrees and have leg/foot rests. Tables come out of the side armrest; same for video. 14 video channels in biz class; 12 in economy, so not much difference there. Airmap is available in both classes.

Basic lounge access is offered at both ends. Biz class has free beverages and snacks; economy class only offers drinks for free with the meal; other times they cost money. Seperate boarding for biz class which usually means you can walk straight on to the plane at your convenience.

Comparing Qantas/BA and Oasis business class on the route (well; the former to BKK and SIN rather than HKG, but similar nonetheless) I would very happily go Oasis again. The price difference alone is fantastic. The onboard service is pretty much identical, except you pay £1 for a can of coke on Oasis and £120 for the same can included in the ticket price on BA/QF. Okay, that's extremely simple terms and ignores factors like frequent flyer and any other "perks" that BA/QF offer. But for A to B travel, I don't see the point in paying extra for BA/QF with their current products. However, if they upgrade to AVOD and increase the seat pitch to rival Oasis', then I *might* reconsider (BA's seat pitch is tighter than Oasis).

Now, should you pay for business class? If you can afford it then definitely go for it, purely for the seating alone. The other features aren't what I'd pay for. The fact we got 2-for-1 was an instant decision factor for us. Just remember: you're on a low cost airline, so don't expect Virgin Upper Class treatment.

Geoff M.


User currently offlineGeoffm From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2004, 2111 posts, RR: 6
Reply 5, posted (7 years 2 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 5388 times:

Okay, here goes. Planes only, no local scenery, sorry!

Big version: Width: 2272 Height: 1704 File size: 1174kb

Our plane from Hong Kong upon arrival at Siem Reap. Bangkok Airways' planes are very colourful and feature several different liveries.

Big version: Width: 640 Height: 480 File size: 55kb

My parents in the cockpit of the Oasis plane upon arrival at Gatwick.

Big version: Width: 640 Height: 480 File size: 44kb

My parents enjoying Business Class on Oasis.

Big version: Width: 640 Height: 480 File size: 44kb

Dinner on Oasis - lemon Dover Sole fillets. Champagne was offered for free.

Big version: Width: 640 Height: 480 File size: 45kb

Breakfast on Oasis. Tasted better than it looked!


User currently offlineBMIFlyer From UK - England, joined Feb 2004, 8810 posts, RR: 58
Reply 6, posted (7 years 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 5290 times:

Nice pics  Smile


Lee



Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
User currently offlineLevent From France, joined Sep 2004, 1718 posts, RR: 5
Reply 7, posted (7 years 2 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 5105 times:

Thanks for the report!

Quoting Geoffm (Thread starter):
Now, I can't remember whether it was an A319/A320 or a B737

It would have been a 737-300, Thai AirAsia will receive its first new A320 in October I think.

Quoting Geoffm (Thread starter):
That bus was more of a coach than an airport bus with low floors and wide doors.

Yep, I know what you mean. They use the same coaches as the ones used for intercity travel throughout Thailand. They are not really suited for airports and it is quite difficult to get in and out, especially with a trolley.


User currently offlinePagophilus From Australia, joined Oct 2006, 114 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (7 years 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 4933 times:

Quoting Geoffm (Thread starter):
Off-topic, but it's well worth going to Siem Reap before the tourists really discover it (they expect visitor numbers to DOUBLE this year, and double again the next year also).

I would have said that 5 years ago. It's already too late to visit Siem Reap and really enjoy it.

[Edited 2007-08-18 10:48:44]

User currently offlinePagophilus From Australia, joined Oct 2006, 114 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (7 years 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 4927 times:

Quoting Geoffm (Thread starter):
Now, we'd reserved Cebu Pacific tickets from Manila to Hong Kong over the phone because, for some reason, their website would not accept UK credit cards.

The Cebu Pacific website rejected my Citibank (Australia) Visa card but accepted my Westpac (Australia) Mastercard debit card for some reason. I bought tickets with them in 2006 also but can't remember which card I used, either my Citibank Visa or my Westpac Visa debit card. Sometimes it pays to have a few cards and try all of them.


User currently offlineMHG From Germany, joined Dec 2004, 778 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (7 years 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 4920 times:

O.K. !
So, if i can afford next time i´ll choose Business-Class over Ecnomy !

Since it seems that meal service is also superior over that in economy. I went on OASIS last may in Economy (HKG-LGW ow) and was NOT disappointed !

Next time i´ll try to book Business first of all to get more space. Better meals are just an additional argument ... (still i never would expect the same level as let´s say EK - that i went on Business-Class before)


Btw. it seems OASIS is satisfied with the HKG-LGW route as they are adding another 3 flts a week (from november ???)



I miss the sound of rolls royce darts and speys
User currently offlineGeoffm From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2004, 2111 posts, RR: 6
Reply 11, posted (7 years 2 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 4888 times:

Quoting Levent (Reply 7):
Quoting Geoffm (Thread starter):
Now, I can't remember whether it was an A319/A320 or a B737

It would have been a 737-300, Thai AirAsia will receive its first new A320 in October I think.

Now you mention it, yes the plane felt "old" and scruffy as well.

Quoting Pagophilus (Reply 8):
I would have said that 5 years ago. It's already too late to visit Siem Reap and really enjoy it.

I wouldn't say that *just* yet. We went off-peak and did the opposite to the tour groups, which meant that although it was moderately busy, it wasn't teeming with people. In fact a couple of temples were nearly deserted. But there are dozens of large hotels under construction along the main road to the temples and airport.

Quoting Pagophilus (Reply 9):
The Cebu Pacific website rejected my Citibank (Australia) Visa card but accepted my Westpac (Australia) Mastercard debit card for some reason. I bought tickets with them in 2006 also but can't remember which card I used, either my Citibank Visa or my Westpac Visa debit card. Sometimes it pays to have a few cards and try all of them.

We tried a grand total of seven - Visa, Mastercard, and Visa Debit. Each time "connection to the payment gateway failed". I wrote to Cebu and just got a stock reply. I know others who have had problems also. You *can* book certain tickets on Opodo (not Expedia though) and probably a couple of others, but that then incurs an agent fee.

Quoting MHG (Reply 10):
Btw. it seems OASIS is satisfied with the HKG-LGW route as they are adding another 3 flts a week (from november ???)

Yes, 10 flights a week from Gatwick. Economy class always seems to be over 80% full, business class less so. Not bad for an airline thatt started from nothing less than a year ago, then 3 flights to Gatwick, then 7, now Vancouver, and finally 10 to Gatwick!

Geoff M.


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