As expected, we only completed our packing the morning before we left for the trip. But unlike before, I didn’t rush around like a headless chicken grabbing stuff before getting out of the door. We had everything ready to go 5 minutes before the cab arrived. Buddy was pretty excited about the trip to Toyland (our term for “Disneyland”), and he put on his shoes even without us telling him to do so.
With Buddy travelling with us, I find myself being a little paranoid when planning for the trip. One of the essentials is medicines for every one. Then there is the transport issue. We are not taking along the stroller nor car seat because Hong Kong is not disabled nor child friendly. I was told that a number of subway stations do not have convenient escalators, and street pavements are narrow and very crowded which makes pushing a stroller difficult.
Though it’s convenient to take a cab from airport to the hotel, my husband is not keen since Buddy won’t be able to strap down like us, and the driver is likely to speed along the highway into the city. And besides he thinks Buddy will enjoy taking the airport express train. The plan is to take the train to Kowloon station and switch to a taxi to go to the hotel from there.
My husband will carry Buddy while I handle the bags. Like I mentioned earlier, I am a little paranoid about Buddy’s safety. A vacation is supposed to be relaxing but at the back of my mind, I’m telling myself to be on alert in a foreign land, that we have to keep Buddy in our sight 24/7.
Jetstar doesn’t have check-in counters at the airport. Instead the budget carrier takes cost-cutting literally, by setting up self-check terminals and self-check baggage systems with only a couple of service staff around. I was initially concerned if one of our baggage might not be allowed as a carry-on. The thing is bloody Jetstar reduced the carry-on baggage to 7 kg per passenger and any excess is charged an arm and a leg if we don’t pre-pay for check-in bags.
The staff helping us at the terminal told us the security at the gate would weight the bags and we could pay to check them in later, so I was relieved about it. But when we asked the customer service desk at the transit area, we were told no such service is available and that the airlines staff would have checked in the baggage if they don’t qualify as carry-on. My husband said Jetstar might be trying to scare the passengers to pack light or pay for check-in baggage, though I, on the other hand, was still worried that the carrier might screw us at the gate. My husband was dismissive, “wanna bet?”
We went for breakfast after clearing immigration. There was not much good dining options inside Terminal 1 transit, and most eateries are located near to each others. The food court is the most convenient choice and so we parked ourselves there. I was surprised to find some people having noodles and rice with dishes in the early morning. I can’t do that. Instead I wanted to get a couple of mineral water. Maybe because we’re inside the transit area but each bottle is S $2! And I bought two bottles without first checking if I could take them into the plane!!!
Anyway I think we might have been a little too relaxed when we settled down for breakfast, because by the time I realized we should get going it was 25 minutes to departure. And I still wanted to withdraw cash at the ATM, get a HK SIM card and get more bottled water. Luckily there are ATMs next to the travel shop, Changi Recommends , which offers WiFi routers and SIM cards, among other things, but too bad all HK routers are taken.
I checked the flight info screens and next to our flight was the remark “gate is closing”, and I panicked. It was 15 minutes before take-off. There wasn’t time to get more water. I rushed my husband and son to get going, and thank God for the travellators, which help to speed us up. My heart was pounding as I moved quickly, and at the same time thinking up of excuses if we were stopped at the gate, like Buddy had stomach ache or someone accosted us along the way. My poor husband had to carry Buddy and pull along a luggage and couldn’t move as fast as I, and I heard Buddy yelling at me, “mama, mama!”
It was relieved when we arrived at the gate and I saw a couple of stragglers having their bags checked at the xray machine. (Admittedly we are too.) My husband looked at me puzzled, wondering why I was in a mad rush, he was not perturbed that we were the last passengers at the gate at less than 10 minutes before departure. And guess what, the security allowed us to take in the bottled water. Still we don’t have enough water for everyone, and I should have expected the airlines to take the chance to gouge the captive passengers. It costs S$4 each on board. What can I say?
Perhaps because Jetstar being a budget airlines, the gate is located at the end of the terminal, so it took quite a while to taxi to the runway for take off. I realized that the air traffic is so busy. There is literally a line of planes waiting to depart
So how has Buddy been so far? He was a little naughty at the airport, refusing to walk and wanted my husband to carry him, and ignoring all strangers who spoke to him. But otherwise he handled the flight pretty well, though a little tense as the plane was taxi-ing on the runway but curiosity got the better of him. He didn’t want to nap on the flight, and instead rather watched the ipad. At least that kept him entertained.