July 21, 2014

I Won an ANA Facebook Contest....

You can't have a more direct (and lame) post title than that, right?

BUT, YES, I WON AN ANA FACEBOOK CONTEST! WOOT! :-)

Last May, ANA ran this Facebook contest where they asked their followers to come up with the "perfect amenity"....

Image from ANA
The winner will  be awarded by ANA with a re-creation of his/her idea. Twenty entries will also be chosen to win ANA Original Cabin Attendant Figurines.

I don't exactly remember the "idea" I submitted but it may be an "Aromatherapy Eye Mask". I didn't go through the lengths of coming up with an image design or what have you, which the rules said you can to support your entry, but if I did -- I think that my idea had a good chance of winning. It may not be a very original idea but I don't think the winner's idea is either -- a "child jet-setter bag". :-)

Anyway, for the twenty figurines, they held a random drawing -- and I was one of the lucky winners! :-)



I didn't open the box because, aside from the fact that I'm not going to display it or (worse) play with it, I think I'll hold on to it until its value increases in ten years' time :-)

I wish it was a ticket to Tokyo from Chicago but I'm not complaining. After winning a two-night stay at the Pullman Shanghai Skyway in an Accor Hotel Twitter Promo back in 2012, I think that I may really be lucky with these things -- the free tickets will come soon :-)

Thanks, ANA!

July 16, 2014

Typhoon Drags and Damages Two Planes at Manila's Airport

It is typhoon season in the Philippines again. Just the other day, a really bad system (named "Glenda", locally) crossed the country's capital and news/photos of the destruction are only now being published.

Being born and raised in the Philippines, this news isn't actually surprising anymore. It is a way of life for us out there, so to speak. But what is not normal is seeing/reading news about how parked airplanes were damaged because they were dragged by the typhoon's strong winds.

This is exactly what happened to a parked Singapore Airlines 777 yesterday at Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1.....

Photo from ABS-CBN news.com/Raoul Esperas
According to the source article (click here) the plane was dragged a few meters damaging its left wing when it hit an air bridge.....
Photo from ABS-CBN news.com/Raoul Esperas
Ouch!

I don't have photos of the Malaysia Airlines 737-800 plane, but it was reportedly spun around and damaged when it hit a mobile equipment close to where it was remotely parked.

Typhoon Glenda - 2; Boeing Planes - 0. 

To read the full story, click the source article's link here.

July 9, 2014

13 Airlines Where You Are Allowed 3 Checked Bags in Business Class

I didn't realize how important free luggage allowance is until my recent move back to Chicago from Manila. Well, let's just say that I had to move most of my bedroom across the Pacific. Hehe. Fortunately, though, I flew First Class on Japan Airlines and was allowed three checked bags with a maximum weight of 70 lbs. each. A quick check on FedEx's website shows a fee of around USD670 for shipping (FedEx International Economy) 70 lbs. from Manila to Chicago; and it doesn't even get there until after five days.

Not all airlines are as generous, though, and it is quite surprising that this is not standard across the board. Maybe they think that if people are able to fly First Class and are crazy enough to check-in a lot (read: more than two) of bags, then they probably have the means to pay for any excess baggage fees -- even if that is not always the case.

With that said, what is even more surprising is that there are airlines that would actually give their Business Class passengers an allowance of three checked bags. Yes, more than what other airlines' First Class passengers would get. 

The list below is composed of airlines from the three major alliances that allow their Business Class passengers three checked bags for flights to/from the USA. The weight limit information provided is restricted to a single-airline trip. This may vary when connecting on two different carriers.

1. Japan Airlines - up to 70 lbs. each
2. American Airlines - up to 50 lbs. each
3. US Airways - up to 50 lbs. each
4. Qantas - up to 70 lbs. each
5. Air New Zealand - up to 50 lbs. each
6. British Airways - up to 70 lbs. each
7. Iberia (Business Plus) - up to 70 lbs. each
8. Finnair - up to 50 lbs. each
9. LOT - up to 70 lbs. each
10. LAN Airlines - up to 50 lbs. each
11. Virgin Atlantic (Upper Class) - up to 70 lbs. each
12. Aerolineas Argentinas - up to 70 lbs. each
13. China Southern - up to 50 lbs. each

This may be very trivial to most passengers, but for those who always find themselves paying for excess baggage fees due to overpacking (read: overshopping. Hehe) the difference in the number of allowed checked bags may be the last deciding factor in choosing an airline.

July 7, 2014

Hotel Review: Crimson Hotel Manila

Before I left Manila for Chicago, I decided to check out a newly opened property in the growing south area. Crimson Hotel in Alabang is the second hotel opened by this promising young local brand. Their other property is a luxury resort located in Cebu.

Check-In







Since I was staying with a few family members, I requested for the rooms to be beside each other (or at least on the same floor) when I made the reservation. When we got to the hotel past the standard check-in time, I was informed that they have blocked the rooms for us but one of them was unfortunately still not ready. After inquiring and being told back that there were no other available set of rooms, I just accepted the guarantee of getting the other room in 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes of being in the room and seeing no activity of any sort to get the other room ready, I called Front Desk to follow-up. The Duty Manager who checked me in had no idea that nothing was being done to get the other room ready and promised to prioritize my concern. After another 20 minutes of not being able to get on with our day, I decided to to demand for another room; regardless of the location. It was only then that I saw the Housekeeping staff start to clean the room beside our first one, panicking to get the job done. I told them to not worry anymore, that it is not their fault, and that there is no need to rush since we already requested for another room. We couldn't risk wasting our afternoon by not being able to settle in immediately.

I just chalked up the whole thing to the property just having opened for a few months. Although since I was dealing with the Duty Manager, I thought things could've been handled better.

The Room





We got Premier Rooms which are basically Deluxe (their entry level category) Rooms with double beds instead of two twins.


July 1, 2014

A Sneak Peek Into Singapore's Future Changi Airport Terminal 4

Singapore's Changi Airport recently released a video of how the future Terminal 4 would look. The terminal is being built over the space the old budget terminal used to occupy and it is set to open in 2017.

Cathay Pacific is reportedly the first airline that will use the new terminal that is being dubbed as "The Terminal For The Future"........



Click here for the source article.

June 23, 2014

Trip Report: Road Trip to the South - Holiday Inn Louisville Airport South

We decided on staying a night in Louisville because it was the halfway point on our trip from Alabama back to Chicago. That and because Nashville was super expensive that weekend because of the CMAs, so this was the next best option :-)

Anyway, in keeping with our being cheap and not really knowing what we are doing :-) we decided to book this property with 4,600 AAdvantage miles and USD74. The hotel's average rate is around USD120.

June 20, 2014

Trip Report: Road Trip to the South - AL to KY

Here's a quick post on our drive from Alabama to Kentucky (where we would spend a night at the Holiday Inn, review to come after this post).

Driving from Birmingham, Alabama we took Interstate 65.....


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