Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Tiger Airways (SEAIR) to the Philippines (HK-Clark)

Aircraft carrier: SEAIR (under Tiger Airways booking)
Aircraft type: Airbus 319-132
Flight duration: Approx. 2 hours

In-flight food rating: N/A
Staff friendliness:  8.6/10
Overall flight rating: 8/10

Budget airlines are well known for their special promotions which pop up every now and then.  My friends and I took advantage of a great deal and booked our tickets to the Philippines early.  When friends found out that we were travelling just before the exam period, they questioned why we chose to book these flights.  In all honesty, I never for a single moment regret having done so.  It was a well deserved break which gave us plenty of energy to return and study hard!  

Our flight was booked through Tiger Airways and was destined for Clark Airport in the Philippines.   When we arrived at the Hong Kong Airport terminal, we were a little confused as there was no 'Tiger Airways flight'.  We soon found out that it was run in partnership with another airline:  SEAIR (South East Asian Airlines).  I didn't mind as it gave me another chance to review a new airline and aircraft type.  Usually budget airlines opt for the Airbus A320, this aircraft was the Airbus A319.  

For those who have not visited Hong Kong airport, you need to be aware of just how large it is.  Never arrived late, as you'll may have to take the airport train that operates between terminals and gates.  It is a fantastic idea, but it does take time so you don't want to be late!  Our aircraft was not parked at a gate so we had to take the airport tarmac bus which took us to a bay.  For aviation enthusiasts, it can be a thrilling experience as you are metres away from all types of aircraft and airlines.  For those who don't like the fuss, you may be disappointed to know that not all aircraft are assigned gates.  For locals, this is no new information but for those who frequent smaller airports, you may take for granted that idea of boarding via an aerobridge.

SEAIR is renowned for their very plain and, at least in my opinion, dull livery.  This is a shame as the airline is fantastic and the staff were lively.  The crew and pilots were very friendly, and their uniform (which I unfortunately do not have a picture of) is aesthetically pleasing, not to mention how well groomed they are.  The one thing that surprised me most, was that boarding was extremely quick and the flight attendants were the most relaxed I have ever come across.  This provides a strong contrast with other airlines such as SPRING AIR (blog post here) and CHINA EASTERN (blog post here) who seemed stressed out most of the time.

Every adventure out of Hong Kong is exciting, and there is always a large line up of aircraft.  Anyone want to guess the dominant airline in Hong Kong?...

The benefits of taking a bus to your plane = getting this close to giant aircraft!

Oh how I wish I wasn't shooting against the sun...

Some amazing overviews of Hong Kong Airport

Last sight of the airport and now we begin to overfly Hong Kong city.

Yes, a clear day in Hong Kong and some stunning views!

The old Kai-Tak Hong Kong airport is above - famous for its spectacular approaches and landings.  Nothing really left of it now...

Photos cannot replicate how amazing our view was.  They turned out quite dull in comparison due to widow glare and reflections.

They should look into fixing this...

Absolutely loved this view from the air!

Yes, that's exactly what you may be thinking it is...

Some luscious green colours!

A-M-A-Z-I-N-G !!!

Seconds from touch down.  It was definitely a faster approach than usual!

Thank you to the captain and pilot :)

I hope you understand what I meant by 'dull' livery...

Yes, the passage way to our arrival hall :)  I still laugh every time I look at this photo!

The flight itself was smooth and the approach and landing was much faster than we anticipated.  Thankfully, the runway was long enough and we didn't end up in the fields...

Although there was no in-flight entertainment or beverages provided, we didn't mind travelling with SEAIR.  

In a nutshell?
SEAIR is an airline that lacks a distinct identity and is in need of a strong re-branding to portray a  consistent image to match their competitors (especially in the Philippines).  I would not hesitate in flying with them again, even if they really are a 'no-frills' airline.    

Here is a link to their website if you want to check prices, but be sure to book early regardless of whether directly through their website or via Tiger Airways!   

I hope you enjoyed this review as the upcoming posts will be about our adventures in the Philippines, which loves its Coke, Schweppes, Street fried food, Jollibee and Halo Halo - all of which you'll hear about!

Have a wonderful Festive Season and a Safe and Prosperous New Year in 2012!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Ozone Bar - World's highest bar?

Well, depending if you classify the measurement of 'highest' from sea level or from street level, Hong Kong certainly tops the list as having the highest bar in Asia.  If you count it from sea level, then it is the highest in the World.  If you count it from the ground then if is the second highest after 'at.mosphere' which is in Dubai situated in the Burj Khalifa on the 122nd floor.  Either way the view is phenomenal and you'll soon be returning as it is beyond breathtaking!

Marvellous view isn't it?

I visited it with friends for the second time last month and thought it would be worth sharing my experience with readers of Aussie-traveller.com.

The bar is situated on the 118th Floor of the International Commerce Centre situated in Kowloon, Hong Kong. It is entered via the Ritz-Carlton hotel.

The bar certainly leads towards  'more expensive' on the spectrum, but even if you pay for a drink or snack it is worth every cent.  Not only is the view towards Hong Kong Island as well as Kowloon impressive, the futuristic and abstract interior designing is aesthetically pleasing, encouraging you to spend a while taking it all in.

Here are some photos to prove my comments are not an exaggeration...

Some splendid patterns...

Mood lighting is refreshing as there is no single monotonous colour theme

Some wild reflections!  It was extremely challenging to get this to turn out exactly as hoped - in the first photo of the series. 

It's really worth sitting outside, a very refreshing atmosphere.

From 'ground-level'

Bar outside

One of my favourite photos from the night

Back inside...

Bar inside of the 118th floor

Ritz-Carlton Hotel lobby - you need to enter here to access the bar.  A few lift changes - be sure to ask staff and they will take you to an elevator with a high ceiling which is equally cool.

It's always challenging finding new perspectives of the same city, but this time I'm happy to say, at least in my opinion, "I've nailed it!"

Outside of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel

The usual suspects parked in front of the hotel to ensure those who are staying there:  that the hotel 'screams class'

Leaving the Ozone Bar and Ritz-Carlton, the International Commerce Centre (ICC) mall named: 'Elements' had Christmas decorations which were thankfully not 'overboard'

The usual brands...  

And finally back home via Kowloon Station which - might I say - is very impressive and looks like an airport terminal

I hope you enjoyed the post.  If you reside in Hong Kong, there's no point getting excited about it via photos.  You MUST go and experience it.  If you're leaving soon, DO NOT forget to 'check-off' this destination.

It truly is an experience - 'beyond heights imaginable...'

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