It’s a pleasant Sunday morning here in Frankfurt, the weather is sunny and the temperature is a balmy 19 degrees centigrade…, time to get out of here!
Suggested song: Yogyakarta by The Kla Project
Half past ten in the morning, local time Frankfurt, and I am just about ready to board the first flight of the day. To fortify me for 2 weeks of potentially mediocre coffee, which is the nectar of life, after all, a quick cup of decent Java (coincidentally also the destination of today’s three-flight journey). Security was a breeze, with ultra-polite personnel checking my carry-on luggage — well, actually my entire luggage, since carry-on is all I am taking on this trip.
And on that subject, everything fit quite neatly into the bag pack: toiletries, medication, 6 shirts, 7 boxer briefs, a pair of pants and two of shorts, sandals, espadrilles, gym shoes, gym clothes, and, of course, swim wear.
Final boarding call, time to grab the bag and go… next stop: Qatar!
Doha, HIA, arrival on time. Well, aside from the baby in the next row that would not stop crying, the flight here was as uneventful as expected. A nice chat with the guy sitting next to me, a very brief (thank you, screaming toddler) nap and Qatar Airways sat me down at the coast of the Arabian Peninsula. Some moseying around here, and then it’s off again to Singapore!
Another ultra punctual arrival courtesy of Qatar Airways. And, thanks to the marvel of modern technology that is online check-in in combination with carry-on only travel, it turns out that changing planes here was a breeze. In fact, it involved nothing but a leisurely stroll, accompanied by ubiquitous lounge music, from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2, coffee in hand. All that excitement I talked about in the previous post was unwarranted.
Next stop, Yogyakarta. Goodbye Qatar Airways, hello Air Asia!
After a typical short-haul flight (Airbus A320, pretty standard, but row 1 seating), Air Asia deposited me in beautiful — to be honest, it’s actually too early to tell — Yogyakarta. Grabbed a taxi from the taxi line (80,000 Rp fixed price), after turning into a millionaire at the ATM. A 20 minute drive to the hotel, check-in, shower (blessed be the shower spouts), and now it’s high time for a beer and a bit of lounging about. The scooter for tomorrow’s exploration is booked as well. So, stupas, temples, sights galore… brace yourselves!
3-Airport Starbucks Comparison
Well, nothing much to report, Grande Non-Fat Sugar-Free Vanilla Lattes are exactly the same all over the world!
The Malay Mission Airplane Smackdown
Outward-bound flights, long range:
Boeing 787 ‘Dreamliner’ vs. Airbus A350 XWB
The Malay Mission began with a Frankfurt-Doha connection on a Qatar Airways service. The plane was a brand new Boeing 787, with flawless service by the crew. General impression: The Dreamliner is a good plane, comparatively quiet and equipped with Qatar’s excellent onboard entertainment system, Oryx One. This, I perused extensively, due to sleep being made impossible by a toddler on ‘constant cry setting’, dialed up to 11. The food was, by airplane standards, entirely palatable.
Now, the seats… it appears as though Qatar ordered this particular 787 in a medium-range configuration. I was slightly too tall for the seating to be comfortable, and when I got off, I probably not only smelled like a sardine (ahh, the joy of sweaty airplane travel) but felt a bit like one just released from the can. Well, I guess there are disadvantages to being tall. Still working out the dark and handsome part, and its impact on air travel. 😉
However, for a flight duration of just over five and a half hours, at the price I paid for the flight: No complaints! Go Qatar!
The second leg, Doha to Singapore, also with Qatar, brought me onboard an equally freshly assembled Airbus A350 — the Dreamliner’s direct competitor. This particular one was the 900 variant, and boy, was I happy with it. Legroom, totally subjectively compared to the previous leg, was spacious, the seats more comfy, no toddlers in sight and 15 minutes of complimentary wifi. Service, food and the entertainment system were the usual Qatar standard, that is, two thumbs up. The meal was roasted chicken with raspberry jus, a step up from the pasta for the Doha connection.
This round goes to the A350, for more legroom, comfier seats, better physical configuration of the entertainment system and me getting some shuteye.