This is my first trip report and I guess the language is somewhat terse, but I hope you all enjoy it.
United Airlines UA1947
Pittsburgh International to Chicago O'Hare
The first day of my trip home has finally dawned. Not that I was really raring to go; thanks to some last minute research work I didnt sleep till 5AM and woke up at 11AM for my evening flight to Chicago. Thought I'd leave early and try to standby on UA1669 that left at 4:30PM. Reached PIT at 3:45, but 1669 was overbooked, so I was faced with a 2 hour wait for my flight. I proceeded to the food court for something to drink; I'd not had lunch but didnt feel hungry. The flight itself was uneventful; just drink service. and snack mix (which I declined). The lady sitting next to me had 3 Snickers bars + the snack mix on the 1.5 hour flight... wow, did I feel malnourished Landing in Chicago was a pretty good experience. We seemed to come in too fast and for some reason (runway incursion ?) the pilot pulled up a few seconds before we were supposed to land and we banked sharply and flew over Chicago downtown while circling for another attempt. Second time was uneventful and I was in O'Hare for the third time in 10 days, which is something for a not-so-frequent-but-still-an-enthusiastic flyer like me.
United Airlines UA137, changed to UA953
Chicago O'Hare to San Francisco
Walking into Concourse C to find the flight to SFO before mine was cancelled. Not a good omen. I originally wanted to fly out through LAX but I've friends in SFO... Anyway as expected my 19:44 flight was delayed because of 'ATC restrictions' at SFO. I was feeling pissed. UA137 seemed to be ontime all week and now it had to get delayed! Why does Murphy keep reminding me of his law ? I wanted to have enough time in SFO to make my connection on SQ001 at 01:50hrs (which was on another itinerary) and have time with my friends. So I asked the gate agent if she could book me on UA953 leaving at 19:55 and she proceeded to do so. A brisk walk got me to B3 and into the waiting 767. Apparently a lot of people had rerouted to this flight (a number of them appeared to be Australians) and I sat in my Y-class seat as seemingly half the population of the town walked past me to their seats. Pushback was delayed about 20mins and takeoff was around 20:35 . Dinner was pretty good; I picked the chicken selection. The FA on my aisle was a young bubblegum-chewing blonde and not one of the prison matrons I'd read so much about, so I proceeded to ogle her everytime she walked past, before diverting my attention back to either my paperback, the inflight movie (a Keanu Reeves starrer - didnt catch the name - November something) or 'Air Force One', that the guy in the seat next to mine was playing on his DVD player.
Singapore Airlines SQ001
San Francisco Intl to Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok Intl
Landed in SFO around 10:50PM and headed to the International Terminal to checkin for SQ001 and then got back to the UA terminal food court, the agreed rendezvous. Checkin was ok. They asked me the usual questions despite my telling them I'd checked in my luggage all the way to MAA at PIT itself. No sight of my friends; I (correctly) guessed that they'd been tracking UA137 and thought I'd not yet arrived. I didnt like SFO much. Walking between UA and Intl terminals was a bit too much a pain; maybe they could have more walkways between them.
Anyway I proceeded to call my friends and unfortunately they assumed my flight would be in too late and changed plans; they live in San Jose. Damn I should have informed them from ORD but then I didnt have much time for that then. Anyway we proceeded to chat on the phone for quite a while before agreeing to meet at SFO when I got back. As I headed to the gate I was in luck - the SQ FAs were heading to the plane! It was quite a sight and I proceeded to innocently walk behind them at a leisurely pace all the way to G102 Boarding was uneventful and I proceeded way back to 62K, because I checked in late and insisted on a window seat even if it was in the lav 62K was pretty good and the curve of the fuselage meant lots of room around me. Pushback was ontime and we took off at 0217. This was my first transpac so I was looking forward to a good flight.
Dinner was soon served and I'd preordered an Indian meal and it was quite good, though I'll try out the menu selection the next time around. Service was exemplary, and I found it quite a few notches above what I experienced on my dozen odd transatl trips on LH. KrisWorld was a bit overwhelming and I couldn't make up my mind what to see, and basically ended up seeing bits and pieces of all the movies on the first 2 runs. By this time I was really sleepy and proceeded to conk about for about 4 hours, and then spent some time on my laptop. No laptop power in Y so I proceeded to type furiously before the 4 hours of power on my Vaio ran out, while the FAs kept plying me with drinks. After more Krisworld surfing I conked out again and woke up some hours later, by which time we were flying just southeast of Japan, about 3.5 hrs from Hong Kong. Post-breakfast we encountered some turbulence and there were a couple of cases of so-near(-the-airsickness-bag)-yet-so-far Despite the turbulence touchdown at HKG was really smooth.
Singapore Airlines SQ001
Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok Airport to Singapore Changi Airport
HKG is a really good place. I spent most of the layover walking around exploring the place. Photography was tough, since the dark overcast weather gave me little opportunity to take snaps of the planes. I managed to catch the reg of my plane though, it was 9V-SMY. HKG-SIN wasn't nearly as great as SFO-HKG. The F/As seemed a tad less friendly; I thought the SIN runs would have the best among them. Anyway I skipped breakfast on this leg except for the Haagen-Dazs ice cream and proceeded to watch 'Enemy at the Gates' instead, followed by a French movie starring Gerard Depardieu which was quite amusing. Anyway I was looking forward to getting into SIN.
Arrival at Changi was just a few minutes behind schedule at 1135, though we took a while to reach the gate. I headed straight to immigration and then met my aunt who was waiting at the arrival area. We headed out to Bukit Purmei where she lived and had a bath and lunch as we talked our mouths off After a hearty meal we headed out to Orchard Road for some window shopping, and then decided to take the MRT to Jurong. However by the time we landed up there it was nearly 1730 and my next flight to MAA was boarding at 1935. So we just took the next train back and got off at Outram Park. Another change of plans ensured (as if there was any at all!) , and we took a cab to Pasir Ris to meet another relation of mine, and then headed out to Changi. Had dinner at the airport which turned out to be a mini-gettogether with my aunt, grandaunt, uncle, his Japanese wife and their little son (my nephew). It was real fun!
Singapore Airlines SQ410
Singapore Changi Airport to Madras/Chennai International Airport
Boarded at last call, thanks to rather protracted goodbyes and last minute talk This flight was hardly memorable. Service was quite good but some pax seemed shady. Dad is in airport customs and had told me about how SIN-MAA is a popular smuggling route Anyway thanks to lack of sleep I nodded off soon after rotation (I love the experience of takeoffs on a 747), and declined dinner, preferring a coffee instead. Could barely keep my eyes open at this point and was rather relieved when we finally came in for landing at MAA. It was 2150 and I didnt see the BA and LH flights, they probably come in after a while; but then I'm not sure they operate to MAA on Wed/Thu. Anyway I was quite drowsy as I stepped out; I forgot to catch the reg. no. of this plane.
Dad was at the arrival area, having come to MAA that day for some work. My suitcase took quite a while to turn up and I was wondering if it made the connection at SFO at all, when it finally clattered onto the belt. We headed off to the airport guest rooms for the night, and I proceeded to give him a brief account of my trip before some channel surfing and then went to sleep around 1:30AM, since I'd a 6AM flight to BLR.
Indian Airlines IC7559
Madras/Chennai International Airport to Bangalore Airport
Woke up at 5:10AM and headed down to domestic departure section. Met some of dad's colleagues and checked in luggage. For the first time in a long while, I boarded using stairs rather than the jetbridge! The rather ratty looking IC aircraft didnt inspire much confidence and I was glad it was just a 50 minute hop to BLR. The interior sucked, though the F/As were quite nice. IC needs to revamp their old B732s if they're to keep using them. Only the first and last MAA-BLR flights of the day are on B732s, the rest are on the much better A320s. They had breakfast service on this flight, though I declined it; mom wouldnt have liked it if I couldnt have the breakfast she had waiting at home Landing at BLR was slightly bumpy despite perfect weather and we were soon out of the plane. Mom was at the airport to pick us up and it was a nice reunion after a year. She said I looked 'bloated' from sitting in a cabin so long! Is this something common or is it just me ?! Anyway the opinion is I have shrunk back to normal now As we headed home over the smooth and relatively traffic-free roads I thought back about the long trip home. Flying transpacific sure was far more interesting than the regular transatlantic runs and I'll probably take this route a lot more in future!