Sept 23, 2016
I went to work as usual. The sun was shining and a cheerful song was playing in my head while I walk, just like in the movies 😀 Haha. I had chicken satay for lunch, thinking it might still be after two weeks before I eat another Asian food. Bottomline, I was crazy that day. After weeks of overthinking and preparation, this trip will finally materialize!
I arrived in NAIA Terminal 1 at 430pm, still early for my 8pm flight. After paying travel tax, I went to Thai Airways check-in counter. There’s already a long queue there, and a much shorter queue for those who already checked- in online.
TIP: Always check-in online! I have always wondered why people won’t do so when there’s always internet at every airport. After spending time in different airports for 8 times in 2 weeks, I realized that the goal of checking-in for your flight is not really for your “checked-in baggage” (which I have always thought, further thinking that those who don’t have checked-in baggage don’t need to check-in? LOL stupid me), but more importantly, for the airline to secure your seat by giving you your boarding pass. I’ve read somewhere in the internet that, if you don’t check-in, your seat will be “up for grabs” – in other words they will sell your seat if ever there are last-minute buyers or might give it to passengers going to the same destination but on a different time that day.
So anyway, I just checked-in there using my mobile phone while on queue. I took a screenshot of my boarding pass (there should be a code there – either bar code, QR code or raw alphanumeric code, and you should see the words BOARDING PASS, obviously). I waited until the check-in counter opened at past 5pm. I simply handed my phone with the screenchot to the lady, dropped my big luggage, and got my printed boarding pass for MNL-BKK flight and BKK-ARN flight. Welcome to the digital age. (Also, other airlines should keep up with this. I remembered when we went to Hong Kong via AirAsia and the lady got my printed boarding pass on bond paper, and told me I should have printed two copies, the other one for our flight back. Huh?)
After checking-in, you go through security, then fill up a small sheet of paper for immigration, then go to immigration, then locate your gate and wait for boarding time. I still had 2 hours waiting time, so I had dinner first then called my banks.
TIP: When going to other country, you don’t have to go through the hassle of finding money changers to get your destination’s local currency. You can simply call your bank where your money is, tell them where you’re going to, and inform them that you will be withdrawing money from there. If you don’t call them beforehand, you might not be able to withdraw – it’s their security protocol, because why on earth would someone suddenly withdraw money from East Timor using your card? 😀 Call your banks! Chances are, you can withdraw from any ATM with Maestro or Cirrus logo. Check your ATM card if you have those. If none, I don’t know. LOL. The difference between exchange rates in money changers and ATMs should be negligible, though your bank will charge 3.5 USD per withdrawal and 0.5 USD per balance inquiry.
After not finishing my sumptuous (and expensive) dinner of rice/pork humba served on a styro that I ate while standing (kudos to that eatery in NAIA Terminal 1! Their food is delicious though understandably expensive), I went to my gate, then learned that our flight is delayed due to NAIA air traffic. And then at about 9pm we finally boarded the plane. You can imagine the smile on my face then. *kilig* I chose a window seat since it’s just a 3- hour flight to Bangkok. We were served dinner (I wasn’t able to take a photo because my phone was in my bag which was under the seat in front of me, and my table was already filled with food). I remembered it was pasta with some veggies, salad, and the super soft mamon-like cake I forgot what was that but it was so darn good. Didn’t finish everything (actually all of the airline meals I had, I wasn’t able to finish because the servings are too many for me). Also, the plane was a big one (3 columns) and each seat had built-in entertainment. There are new movies! But was not in the mood for movies, so.
We arrived at Bangkok at around 11pm (BKK time), and realizing that boarding time for my connecting flight is just minutes away, I panicked. We had to ride a shuttle from where we were dropped off to the other side of the terminal. I ran like mad woman as soon as we got there. I ran, carrying my small luggage, neck pillow and travel bag. I asked the information counter where my next gate is, because it was not in the friggin’ monitor. I ran, and ran, got through security, ran again, contemplated why on earth did the designers of Suvarnabhumi Airport made it a long rectangular complex where you can host a marathon from point A to B. But that’s just my selfish opinion because I was running late for my next flight. And when I was finally seeing my gate, there was no queue, I thought I was REALLY late that they closed it already. I asked a Thai Airways staff and showed my boarding pass. We were supposed to leave at 1145pm, and then she informed me.
“I’m sorry Madam, but your flight is delayed.” She then wrote “0345am” on my boarding pass. I can’t believe my next flight is 4 hours delayed. I realized the people around are my plane-mates. Some are sleeping on the chairs. I breathed in, and out, and in and out again to normalize my breathing after my little fun run. So that’s why the flight was not in the monitor. I just sat there and connected to WiFi, informed Rean of the misfortune and that I will be arriving in Stockholm later than the planned time. I found a restroom (far far away) and did my nightly ritual of washing my face and brushing my teeth and changing my clothes, because I was so tired I was so in the mood for sleeping. Though I wasn’t able to do so. I was just awake until 0300am when they handed refreshments to compensate for the delay. (?) I’m not even mad. The pies and pastries were good. Shortly after that we boarded the plane. As soon as I was seated I got my shut-eye. I didn’t even remember my favorite part of the flight which is taking off. Everyone slept and didn’t care about anything else at all lol.
Wow this is so long. And we haven’t even reached Stockholm yet. 😀 #virtuallytalkative