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:: Fly away ::

Having heard its reputation and improvement for being a reputable airline (A 5-stars airline sourced from SKYTRAX), then I gave it a go this time for a regional route that lasts for around 5 hours of flying. During the journey, I have found some flaws that I wish to highlight and share but then again, hopefully they would be treated as constructive feedback somehow.

Onward journey was fine, speedy check-in procedure was a plus, nobody was queuing and thanks for online check-in facility that is available 48 hours prior to scheduled departure time (it was 24 hours before). This time, I was in the old B777-300 with an ageing regional product. This translated to old-looking cabin and actually it was totally different from what you may see in the airline’s website and what it has been promoting all over the place, and I mean totally. I had a glimpse through business class section upon boarding and I believe that our national carrier has a better business class product.

Back to my seat, the standard pitch was alright but the bulky type of seat at this era seems soon be forgotten (and your competitors have just installed slim, ergonomically designed and more appealing seats on their fleets). Added to a picture where no AVOD (audio video on demand) was available for almost 5 hours of flying, that means just watch whatever was being viewed on your private screen. No pillow was on seat unlike its rival. Blanket would be made available only IF you ask for it (the other airline offers pillow and blanket in every seat), another box is not ticked.

Would you like to read some magazines? Oh yes, that is the only one in your seat pocket. Having traveled for sometimes, I personally prefer a wide arrange of reading materials that would keep myself busy during the journey. I was looking for them at the end of the section where the crew normally would put a selection of magazines, but there was none other than the frequent flyer forms.

Meal service then began. The breakfast or brunch was offered with 2 selection of main course (no menu card was distributed unlike the other one), chicken noodle or beef with rice. The tray consists of your selection of main course, a plate of fruit (3slices to be precised), a Biokul yoghurt and a danish. Nothing fancy really but would fill up your morning hunger for sometimes and that was it.

Returning journey was about the same. Same old aircraft, same regional product offerings (despite having read the forum that it is actually based on your luck – whether you get a new product or the old one; and you would not know until you board the aircraft, but hey we are paying dollars and we do have a certain expectation to make our trip a memorable one). The only thing that made up the returning journey was the meal service, where this time it was tastier and more proper food than the first sector.

In general, in-flight service was only OK. Note that one of the crew faked the smile and was not genuinely interested in doing her job while the only thing I asked was a glass of water after the meal service and nothing else! For your interest, there was none being offered after the meal service and only another round of drinks 30 minutes prior to land. It was very contradicting where I read this tag ‘people, make airline’ almost everywhere. Oh yes, either the good or the bad.

To sum up, it was not as I expected and I would think twice to fly with this airline again in the future. Well, ok it has a 5stars rating but for me the stars may not be the shining ones.

Melbourne offers a different vibe as compared to Sydney. This city will mesmerize you with its magical charm and never-ending beauty. Well, a little like London I would say but it is in Australia.

LET’S FLY

Full service airlines may be your choice to fly direct to Melbourne. Regional carriers such as Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, and Malaysia Airlines do offer daily flights to the capital of Victoria. If you are traveling from Sydney, then you can either choose to fly with Qantas, Tiger Airways, Jetstar or newly rebranded Virgin Australia. The connections are countless starting from the wee hours to almost midnight, kind of like a shuttle service between the two capitals, that is almost one flight in every 40 minutes. Alternatively, if you are on budget then AirAsiaX offers a one-stop service (through KL) from Jakarta to Melbourne (that is if you don’t mind arriving at 11.30pm!)

LET’S GO TO THE CITY

Melbourne has two airports, one is called Tullamarine and the other is Avalon. Make sure that your flight is landed at Tullamarine as it has a better transportation option as compared to the other one. My pick to the city was SKYBUS, the fastest and the most convenient transfer to town. One way adult ticket costs you at AUD17, however for return ticket costs you AUD28. This shuttle bus runs everyday including Sunday and public holiday. Here is the deal, it takes you to the bus port where you would be delivered to your respective hotel by a minibus (and that is inclusive in your ticket).

LET’S STAY

Melbourne’s CBD would be in a square of  Collin’s Street, Bourke Street and somewhere there. It is very easy to navigate. For your convenience you can book yourself in any hotels within this proximity and you are right in the heart of CBD. I was staying at Grand Hyatt Melbourne (recently refurbished and renovated!) at 123 Collins Street and everything is within walking distance. Westin Melbourne is another choice that is located nearer to the iconic Flinder’s Station. Other than those, the city itself offers a numerous accommodation choices depending on your budget and your preferred location.

LET’S EAT

My first destination in Melbourne is to have lunch at NOBU in Crown Tower. Its signature dish by Nobu Matsushita ‘black cod in miso’ would make you beg for more. Have your lunch here when they offer lunch set and you would have a little bit of everything in that lunch box. Trust me it should satisfy your hunger (Bento box with black cod costs AUD45). Along the way from Collins Street to Crown Tower there are lots of cafes, restaurants, for sure something for everyone.

LET’S SHOP

International brands and local brands are everywhere, get lost yourself in the city (and practically you won’t be lost anyway!).

LET’S IMAGINE

and start to book your ticket now!

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:: So so Sydney ::

The charm and beauty of this city will make you beg for more or even linger for a little longer. Sydney it is! Located in the Eastern coast of this kangaroo continent, Sydney has becoming much more like melting pot simply because you would find everybody from everywhere here.

LET’S FLY

Numerous connections are offered between JAKARTA and SYDNEY. One can opt to direct service by flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, despite its weird timing (arriving in Sydney by mid-morning) maybe would give you a good chance to just in time for check-in. If you want to splurge a bit more then why not fly with Singapore Airlines or Qantas. Please note that Qantas uses its budget carrier for JAKARTA-SINGAPORE service before continuing its journey to Sydney (oh yes, with Qantas of course!). Other than that, the good news is SCOOT will play its luck to the continent with merely SGD168 from SINGAPORE to SYDNEY one way; or even you can choose AirAsia if you do not mind transiting in KLIA before flying to Sydney.

LET’S GO TO THE CITY

Upon arrival in Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport, you can take the AirportLink which will take you all the way to town in about 20 mins. 1 adult ticket would cost AUD15 one way. Hop off in Town Hall or Central and you are right in the middle of the city. Find your way is easy with the city’s public transport.

LET’S STAY

If you plan to stay a bit longer in the capital, try to search for serviced apartments such as Meriton, Medina or even Fraser Residence. Normally the unit would be equipped with all basic necessities, including washing machine, dish washer, cooking utensils plus laundry drier. Advance booking translates to cheaper rate for the whole stay (starts from AUD145 nett for studio apartment in Meriton). Other than that, various hotels with various gradings are also available throughout the CBD and beyond, but again transport makes things easy to go and hop.

LET’S EAT

Sydney offers all kind of cuisines, ranging from Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Modern Australia and so on. Sushi has made its trend here, seems being well accepted by the locals. Believe it or not, frozen yoghurt has also sets its footprint in the capital with long queue over hours. The tips is to order one or two dishes first, see if they are enough for everybody, yes, I am talking about HUGE portion here. Don’t forget to try the local pie chain and the cupcakes too.

LET’S WINE

Book yourself for a winery tour, lunch and wine tasting are inclusive. Learn how to do a proper wine testing from the experts, see how the good wine is produced and last but not least drink responsibly! Some wines are only being sold in Australia and not meant for exported to other countries.

LET’S IMAGINE

and start to book your ticket now!!

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The coverage by Good Housekeeping magazine April edition

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The coverage by HERWORLD magazine April edition

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The coverage by ME Magazine no.126, please visit our fanpage in FACEBOOK http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lina-and-LimH/183337348877

Beauty&Hair Magazine March edition, please visit our fanpage in FACEBOOK http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lina-and-LimH/183337348877