Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Do Not Fly Jetstar Airlines

We got back from Hong Kong last night, frazzled and exhausted. The trip itself was a lot of fun: I love Hong Kong for its exciting city vibe, its fantastic food, the views of the harbor and the hills, and because you can buy anything there (live eels? 1000-year-old antiquities? Gucci purses (real or fake)? swallows' nests? don't worry, Hong Kong has you covered). Unfortunately I had so much fun touring the city that I neglected to give little R her two daily naps (and she went to bed late every day as well), so that by the end of our trip, she was totally exhausted and thus quite unhappy.

In addition, we flew the budget airline Jetstar. It was cheap, which was the only good thing about it. In particular, there is no baggage allowance, so we had to pay $45 each way for our bags (really little R's stuff: babies have lots of baggage despite their size), as I didn't arrange the baggage ahead of time (when it would have been cheaper). Paying the money in itself wasn't a huge deal, but due to the incompetence of Jetstar's staff and organization, it took an hour each way to accomplish that task. Examples of their suckitude: they didn't have a working credit card machine (so we had to make an extra visit to the ATM on the way out of Hong Kong, just to pay their baggage fee); they had to HAND WRITE receipts both ways (which took forever); the airline does not give you water while on board (it costs $3 for a bottle), let alone food or other beverages; they don't have any blankets or pillows available. The flight to/from Hong Kong isn't that bad, about 3.5 hours, but it is too long to be without any water or (edible) food.

The lack of amenities on board was annoying, but if I had been better organized it wouldn't have been a big problem. Having it take an hour just to pay a simple baggage fee, though (in addition to the time spent waiting in line), is inexcusable. Little R was not at all pleased to wait and wailed sadly as we waited in Hong Kong. Perhaps for this reason the airline worker wrote down the wrong terminal on our ticket? (All Jetstar flights leave from the same terminal, so it's hard to understand how she could get it wrong). This added an extra 30 minutes to our travel time. Luckily we still made the flight!

The flight was not especially good (little R cried for the first 30 minutes and the last 45 minutes) but was relatively short. We were all glad to return home.

Traveling is a lot of fun, but it is certainly more exhausting with an infant. This was my first time touristing with little R (on her previous trips we were just visiting family), so it was good to get experience on how I ought to arrange things in the future.

Lessons learned:
Hong Kong is amazing;
little R needs at least one good nap/day (meaning return to the hotel);
little R needs to be in bed by 8 almost every day;
travel essentials include our travel crib and a baby carrier (using the stroller in incredibly crowded Hong Kong would have been a nightmare);
when in Hong Kong, eat as much Cantonese food as you possibly can (because it won't be as good anywhere else);
and traveling with a baby is still lots of fun!

No comments:

Post a Comment