Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Homecoming Trip 2022 ✈ Christmas in Malaysia + ANA The Room

After wrapping up my 2-month work trip in India, I took a detour home to Malaysia to celebrate the holidays with the family before returning to US for busy season. Thankful to be able to travel home again for the 2nd time in 2022 after my last home trip in April 2022.

22-23 December 2022 (Thurs-Fri): Kolkata - Singapore - KL

Arrived Kolkata airport at 8.45pm, 3 hours before my 11.50pm flight to Singapore. Glad I arrived earlier as I ended up having to repack my luggage to reduce the weight from 37kg to 32kg, and had to pay for excess baggage of INR 24,765(total weight of all my bags was 65kg). Then I had to take out all electronics from my backpack at security (almost emptied my whole backpack), and even got ecsorted on a 'tour' to the basement of Kolkata airport to retrieve batteries from my checked bag (dumb dumb me only took out my power bank and forgot about the batteries). Thankfully, everyone was nice and helpful so it was all good and I still had time for a quick visit to the Travel Club lounge.

Can't remember why I didn't look up the seat map for this flight before my trip and was a lil' dissapointed by the 2-2 layout for business class. This is a lay-flat seat but when the Japanese guy seating next to me reclined his seat, I had 'climb over' him to go to the lavatory. Granted this was only a 4-hour flight so it was ok, and I shouldn't be complaining traveling in business!

Penhaligon's amenity kit in a leather pouch. 
Supper was served shortly after take off...cheese stuffed paneer tikki chaat (appetizer), pan seared chicken with red wine sauce (main course), and blackcurrent crunch chocolate cake (dessert). Not really my type of food so I didn't eat much. I enjoyed the Singapore Sling and champagne though. =P

Landed in Singapore at 6.45am and wnet to the Krisflyer Lounge at Terminal 2 during my 1.5 hours transit before my 8.30am flight to KL.

I was in the middle of getting a bowl of Singapore laksa when I heard my name being paged asking me to go to the reception. I took the half-filled bowl with me to the reception and the staff told me that the officer of the flight wanted to talke to me. I'm like huh what trouble am I getting in again?

The officer told me on the phone that the business class for my next flight was overbooked and asked if I'm willing to get bumped to Economy. To compensate for that, they'd offer me SGD 200 cash and refund the price difference between business class and economy class for my flight. Since the flight from SG - KL was only an hour, I thought the offer was pretty good so I took it. The officers came to the lounge to meet me and handed me the cash and new ticket. Apparently, they've been asking a few people before me and they couldn't find anyone who was willing to get bumped.

Post-trip update: I never got the refund for the price difference from Singapore Airlines. I contacted them via email and phone several times to follow up but was asked to contact my travel agent. After several emails and weeks of following up, I gave up. Disappointed with Singapore Airlines.

Landed in KLIA at 9.33am, got off the plane at 9.50am, got through immigration at 9.55am, got all my luggages at 10.10am, bought the KLIA express ticket at 10.20am, and was on the train to KL Sentral at 10.27am. Amazing race speed with my many heavy!! Bro came to KL Sentral to pick me up and gave me a ride to the hotel before returning to work.

Visited aunt and cousin and had lunch at their home. Been awhile since I last saw them so it was good catching up and meeting them. 

Spent the night at The Majestic Hotel KL. This is my 3rd time staying at this hotel.

Got a complimentary upgrade to the Junior Suite. =)

One of the Marriott elite benefit at this hotel was afternoon tea at the Colonial Cafe. I had the lounge all to!

The buddies brought dinner to my hotel and we had dinner together in my room. We had a good catch up and I had fun playing with Rachel's cute kiddos. =)

24 December 2022 (Sat): KL - Penang

Complimentary buffet breakfast at the hotel before checking out and taking a grab over to Westin KL to meet up with big bro and family. 

Had lunch at Din Tai Fung in Pavilion before driving back to Penang. They traveled to KL with the kids to visit the new Eslite bookstore and offered to give me a ride back. I had already booked the train back to Penang so I forfeited my ticket.

25-31 December 2022 (Sun-Sat): Penang

It's been a long time since I was back for the December holidays so I was glad to celebrate Christmas with the family this year. Twin bro's family also traveled back from KL for the holidays so it was a full house with all 3 kiddos.

Lots of presents for the kiddos.

Always thankful to spend quality time with the family.

Met up with ex co-workers/comrades.

Asian food feast for the week.

And the week flew by just like that. It was time to say goodbye again. Thanks mom for dropping me off at the airport for my 11.10am flight. 

I had 50kg baggage alloance and my packing skill is on! I got an email from Batik Air/Malindo the night before my flight notifying that my flight from PG-KL was delayed by an hour, leaving me with only 2 hours to recheck-in for my international flight, which was on a separate ticket. I was so anxious the entire morning coz I couldn't afford to have any other hiccups on the first flight. The one hour delay pushed the estimated arrival time in KL to 12.10pm. I had to collect my bags, and go to the departure area to check-in for my ANA flight which was departing at 2.15pm. 

My flight landed in KL at 12.18pm, got off the plane at 12.25pm, bags came out so slow and I finally got both my bags at 12.50pm, dashed up to the departure level and made it to the ANA check-in counter at 12.55pm, 5 minutes before they closed check in. Phewww!!! Pretty sure I was the last one to check in for that flight. Thanks Batik Air for the 'Amazing Race' rush. =.=

Quick visit to the MAS Golden Lounge for a quick bite and drink to 'Revive' from the rush and stress.

6.5 hours flight from KL to Tokyo Haneda on ANA. Only 4 out of 18 seat in this business class section were occupied. 

The seat felt very private and comfortable but I couldn't find anywhere to charge my phone. =.=

Very basic amenities provided on this flight. I asked the flight attendant if they had any souvenirs for kids and she gave me two paper plane toy. =)

There's Japanese and International menu, and I opted for the International cuisine - Asparagus and chicken ham roll with sesame sauce and edamame (starter), salmon & scallop tartar, smoked duck & marinated prawn (appetizer), beef fillet steak with wasabi sauce (main plate), ice cream (dessert). Had Ippudo ramen and Kirin beer from the 'order any time' menu after my nap.

Took a 3 hour nap on this lie-flat bed.

Landed at Tokyo Haneda airport at 9.50pm and was welcomed by airport staffs in pink checking for the Health Check QR code for arrival. I had a 12 hour transit from 10pm till 10.40am the next day and  thought about going out to the city for New Year's Countdown celebration but decided to just stay in the airport and chill, and welcome 2023 in the!

The ANA lounge opens at 5am and I was there right as it!

First things first, a nice warm shower before my long flight. They had Dyson hairdryer and a free Ginza skincare amenity box in the bathroom.

The lounge was still empty at 5.30am. =) 

Self serve food and drinks...and of course my favorite beer machine.

There is also an app that we can use to order noodles from the noodles bar.

Had ramen (2 rounds) and Japanese curry for breakfast, with Kirin. =)

First sunrise of the year! The lounge started getting busy at 6.30am.

After chilling for about 5 hours in the lounge, I left the lounge at 10am and did some shopping before heading to the boarding gate at 10.50am to board the flight (NH112) from Tokyo to Chicago.

So excited to travel in 'The Room'. I chose seat 19A, backward facing seat as the seating area is closer to the window. Each seat had 2 pillows, a blanket, and a seat pad.

Contrary to the earlier flight, business class for this flight was completely full. Champagne for welcome drink.

Amenity kit, slippers, and headphone. Cockpit view of the take off on the 4K 24-inch HD entertainment monitor.

Awesome view of Mount Fuji and Tokyo during take off.

Menu for the flight

2 rounds of Suntory Hibiki to kick off the flight.

Opted for Japanese Cuisine for this flight. Fancy presentation but I don't know half of the things served...haha!

Watched 'The Bucket List' from 2007 and Blackpink's documentary.

Then it was time to get some rest in this lay-flat seat. Closing my doors...anti-social mode on. Ample space in my 'room' to stretch out comfortably.

Ippudo ramen and champagne for 'midnight' snack after 3 hours of sleep.

Japanese cuisine again for breakfast. Roasted green tea and Kayanoya vegetable soup to wrap up my in-flight meals.

2nd sunrise for Jan 1, 2023. Definitely a special New Year's Day for me which lasted 39 hours and saw sunrise twice.

Landed at Chicago at 8.05am, 45 minutes behind schedule due to late departure from Tokyo. Surprisingly, there was no line at the immigration and it only took me 5 minutes to get through immigration with Global Entry, and another 5 minutes to get all my bags. =)

Everything went smoothly in Chicago and I had ample time to connect to my flight to Huntsville. Made it back to Huntsville at 1pm. Home sweet home after being away for 10 weeks and 40 hours of traveling. Thankful to be able to experience 2 of the world's best business class flights on this work trip - Qatar Qsuite and ANA The Room.