Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Homecoming Trip 2023 ✈ Malaysia 2.0

After wrapping up my 1.5 month work trip in India, I took a detour home to Malaysia to visit the family before returning to the US. Thankful to be able to travel home again for the 2nd time in 2023 after my last home trip in May 2023.

14-15 July 2023 (Fri-Sat): Kolkata - Singapore - Penang

Arrived Kolkata airport at 8.55pm for my 11.10pm flight to Singapore. Check-in was quick and thanks to my Star Alliance Gold status (with United Premier Platinum), I was able to check in all 3 bags (total weight of 68.7kg) without paying excess baggage fees. Learnt from my mistake last year and asked the hotel conceirge staff to help weigh my heavy bag before going to the airport, so I didn't have to repack my bags in the airport this time. Went to the Travel Club Business Lounge to chill before boarding the flight.

3hr 50min on Singapore Airlines business class from Kolkata to Singapore. Business class was fully occupied wih a family taking 7 of the 10 seats. This flight had a 2-2 layout so I chose the aisle seat coz I didn't want to 'climb over' someone to go to the lavatory. Singapore Sling, yoghurt patties with tamarind and mint sauce, and herb crusted chicken roulade for supper at 1am. Slept for about 3 hours in the lay-flat seats.

Landed in Singapore at 6.40am with a 3-hour transit so I went to the Singapore Airlines Silverkris Lounge in T2 to grab some food and took a shower.

Had Dim Sum, Singapore Laksa, and champagne for breakfast at! Do not judge my breakfast combo.

Singapore Airlines business class from Singapore to Penang at 10am. A meal was served on this short 1hr 20min flight but I was too sleepy to eat, even the flight attendant noticed I and said I looked so! Instead, I opted for a Tiger and some snacks.

Landed on time at Penang at 11.25am. Received all my bags within 15 min but was held up by the custom and was taxed $5 for excess alcohol...whoops! But blessing in disguise, the custom officer noticed that my bag was damaged (I didn't notice) and asked me to file a complaint with Singapore Airlines. Singapore Airlines wanted to repair my bag initially but after seeing another crack, they decided to just give me a new replacement bag, and didn't even bother taking my damaged bag coz there was too much stuffs in it.

15-20 July 2023 (Sat-Thurs): 5 Days in Penang

Being home means spending quality time with the family even though this was a short trip of only 5 days.

Celebrated dad's early birthday with the family and conveniently repurposed the cake for our August birthdays.

How time flies!

Caught up with friends.

20-21 July 2023 (Thurs-Fri): Penang - Hong Kong - Doha - Chicago - Huntsville

After a short trip home, it was time to say goodbye again. Arrived at the airport at 10.30am and the Cathay Pacific counters were still empty. I did not weigh my bags at all after packing at home and surprisingly both bags were on the dot (32kg + 31kg) for the baggage allowance of 32kg per bag...I'm legit amazed by my packing!!

Had 2 hours to wait before my 1pm flight so I went to the Plaza Premium Lounge to grab some food. The lounge was pretty busy as there were 2 international fligts departing around the same time, SIA and Cathay Pacific. Cathay Pacific passengersget to choose an ala carte item but I wasn't hungry so I juts had some koey teow soup. 

4-hours on Cathay Pacific business class from Penang to Hong Kong. Was lucky to get this lie-flat seat on this relatively short flight.

Salad, Thai style prawns salad with pomelo, Hainanese chicken rice, and a not so bubbly champagne was served. Took a 2 hour nap after meal. 

Landed in Hong Kong at 4.40pm, 20 minutes ahead of schedule.

Call me crazy but one of the main reasons I chose to transit in Hong Kong (instead of KL) was to visit this First Class lounge even though I wasn't flying First Class. I had access to this lounge with my Oneworld Emerald status.

What I didn't know was that this lounge had been closed since Feb 17, 2020 and was still closed when I booked my flight. I got lucky that the lounge reopened just one day before my transit...couldn't have timed it better than this! Perfect timing for my 7-hour transit!

First things first... a complimentary 15 minutes foot massage or neck and shoulder massage. I opted for the latter.

Then it was time for some food and drinks at the Dining Room. Everything was ala carte like a restaurant. I ordered the Double boiled forest mushroom soup, the signature wonton soup, Movenpick ice cream, and of course, champagne. 

Went back to the Retreat for a shower to freshen up before another long flight. The shower room was nice with brass finishes.

Had 4 more hours before my flight so I went to the Day Suites for a nap. 

Went to the Bureau at 9pm to get some work done, and had a work call at 10pm, accompanied by a Hong Kong beer. :P

Went back to the Dining Room at 10.45pm for the signature Dan Dan Mien. Checked out the fancy bathroom before heading over to the gate. It was time to say bye bye to the lounge at 11.25pm after spending the last 5.5 hours here.

2nd leg...8-hour on Qatar business class (not Qsuite) from Hong Kong to Doha.

Even though this was a Qatar flight, the seat was exactly the same as the Cathay flight earlier. No Qsuite on this flight but it was still better than a 2-2-2 layout.

 I wasted no time changing into the pyjamas even before take off. I wanted to sleep as soon as possible so I requested the flight attendant to serve both Hainan chicken rice and congee after I woke up. Unfortunately, the Hainan chicken rice wasn't available so I got the congee instead. Also got myself a 'fancy' corn flakes and cappucino.

I asked the flight attendant if I could get an extra pajamas for hubby and she graciously gave this nice amenity kit to me as well.

Arrived Doha at 3.30pm, 35 minutes ahead of schedule. Our flight was taxied further away from the terminal so we had to take a bus. Business class passengers get separate bus where everyone gets a seat. Btw, I was just here at this airport 2 months ago.

Went straight from the main terminal to the new terminal for the Al Mourjan business class lounge. The lounge was pretty empty at 4.20am. 

Had about 3.5 hours before my next flight so of course gotta get a shower coz the next flight was a 15-hour long flight. Then it was time for more champagne at!

Headed to the boarding gate at 7am for my flight to Chicago.

15-hour on Qatar business class (Qsuite) from Doha to Chicago. Yayy for anti-social.

Food and drinks menu on this flight.

Pretty impressed with the food menu. Started off with the 'light' option...Chicken Tikka Masala with jeera rice, then it was time for a good 6 hours of sleep. 7.5 hours into the flight, had the cauliflower soup and Classic Arabic mezze with pita bread. Continued sleeping for another 4.5 hours and got this fancy lobster meal 2 hours before arrival.

Landed Chicago at 2.47pm, 13 minutes ahead of schedule. Took 15 minutes to walk from our gate to the immigration and there was no line at all for Global Entry, and I was through immigration by 3.16pm. Got my bags pretty quickly as well but I was 'welcomed' back to the US where the escalator and airport tram didn't work. Deja vu of my experience in Atlanta airport 2 months ago.

Had 5 hours transit before my next flight. Glad I was able to access the AA Flagship Lounge as I was connecting from an international flight. One last round of champagne before wrapping up this wonderful journey.

1.5 hours on American Airlines business class from Chicago to Huntsville. Finally made it back home at 10pm after traveling for 48 hours, and my buddy was waiting for me. :) My poor luggage was officially done. That's all for my short trip and my long journey home.

No comments: