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Re: Pictures taken from or on the plane/airports (only taken yourself) Here are a bunch of random pics I took over the past few years. There are EWR, LAX and a few others in here. Hope its not too much of an overload.


June 30, 2017, 04:20:27 PM
Chicago and 2 United 777ís in 12 hours Who wouldnít spend 4 hours on 2 flights to Chicago for just 7.5 hours on the ground? Most people I asked this said they would not. Here is my story:
I was originally scheduled to be in Chicago for a day of meetings on Tuesday (8/8). I was planning on going to Chicago on Monday (8/7) for some prep, visit my sister and her fam Monday night, and fly home Tuesday night after work.

I have United 1K status and therefore qualify for free upgrades on domestic flights. However, I have been finding from experience that upgrades are far and few between. There are very few seats on most domestic planes to start. On corporate heavy flights (NY, Boston, Chicago, DC, etc,), its almost impossible to get upgraded even with 1K status. This is usually due to other 1Ks on higher fare classes snagging the few remaining seats. Therefore, when booking, I try to find flights with as many business seats as possible. Additionally, I love big widebody jets. I find them more comfortable and roomy aside from the cool factor they seem to have. I also find that WB flights are usually not delayed as much as others since they are needed for the longhaul flights and cannot easily be swapped. For my trip, I booked the outbound on a internationally configured 777-200 that makes a daily trip from the EWR to ORD hub in E fare class (4th to highest UA class) and the return on the standard 737-800 in V fare class. I figured that Iíd have good chances on the outbound and might get lucky on the return. Thursday morning I got the notification that I had been upgraded to Business Class. I quickly went to select my seat as I did not want to get stuck with the middle seat in Business!

As life would have it, last Friday I got news of a critical meeting in Philly on Tuesday morning. The meeting could not be moved and I was getting strong indications from the important folk (whose opinions matter) that I needed to be in Philly Tuesday morning. I was quite disappointed. Not only was I excited about flying in J on the 777, I had been looking forward to the meetings and spending time with my sis. Oh well. As Dan has pointed out many times in the past, you never cancel your ticket until the last minute. There are always travel waivers and cancellations that can work in your favor. Little did I know that this was my case.

On Sunday afternoon, less than 24 hours before my original flight, the United travel waiver came through. There was bad thunderstorms predicted on the northeast and United was gearing up for the upcoming issues. My flight was scheduled to take place before the issues, but this didnít matter to me. In fact, my original flight had no issues in the end. Regardless, I hit to see what my options were. I could not cancel my flight for a refund unless the flight was cancelled or delayed. I could rebook my flights for anytime during this week (before 8/12) in any fare class of the original cabin. I checked my schedule and Wed was looking like a super light day. Being that I was not traveling for work, I did not want to leave my DW and kids for an overnight if I didnít have to. If I would go, Iíd have to do the round trip in 1 day. Right then I found the perfect set of flights. Iíd take UA 977 a 777-200 at 8:30 AM and catch the return on UA 1995 another 777-200 at 4:05 PM. Iíd have enough time in Chicago to visit my sister and maybe visit Shallots or Milts for some good Chicago food! Checked with the DW and while she thought it was crazy, she was on board. I went about changing my flight.

Being that it was just two days before the flight, there were not too many open seats in business. I had just recently come across an article that discussed using the travel waiver to boost chances of an upgrade. The method uses the travel waiver to jump from whatever class you booked in to any available class (even Y, or B). With those classes, I could get an instant upgrade! The article even recommending using this method to change the class without changing your flight at all. I tried to do this on, but it kept offering up W even when I specifically requested Y,B,M. I decided to call the 1K line and ask for help. The agent was confused and told me that I would be rebooked into my original class. (Being that I had originally booked this with my companyís corporate travel company, I could have called them and have them rebook me. I only realized this later on.) I told the agent no thanks and went back to the web site determined to work it out. By using the flexible fare option, I got the system to offer me E class for both ways. E class is right under Y,B,M fares and as a 1K in E class, there are few others that would beat me to an upgrade. I got the upgrade for ORD-EWR that night and EWR-ORD Tuesday morning. Time to pack, I was going to Chicago!

I packed a really small bag with some exercise clothes, reading material, Daf Yomi Gemora, and some work material (big benefit to the day trip). Left my house at 6:30 for the quick early morning trip to Newark. With my company no longer paying for the trip, I was more careful about transpo costs. No Verrazano bridge or short term parking here!  I went for the daily parking option at EWR $34 since Iíd get access to the Airtrain. There are cheaper options, but I was short on time here. Whisked my way through security with Precheck and I was at gate C125 before long. By the time I arrived, boarding had just started. While the standard lines for boarding usually do the job, they are no match for the 777 which had lines snaking out right into the terminal. Group 1 was just finishing up, so right on I went. I was pretty excited. I donít do much travel outside of the US, the last 777 Iíd been on was an El Al flight many, many years ago. I was taking pictures of everything!

Private first class suite aboard the Airtrain: :-)

Long boarding lines:

Part 2 and a bunch more pics coming soon...

August 10, 2017, 10:14:55 PM
Re: Shabbos at a hotel master thread
Does any one have experience staying at the Residence Inn West Orange for Shabbos?


I stayed there for a Shabbos. Rooms are great with a big kitchen and place to eat. I went with another couple and we all ate together in one of the two bedroom suites.

The shul is a 15 minute walk from the hotel. Using the eruv is a bit challenging since the utility poles to which the eruv is tied to go right up to the sidewalk on the same side of the hotel. For a brief period, you need to squeeze around a utility pole and then stay inside of the utility poles until you reach the first street. There are closer options, but I liked the kitchen in the rooms of the Residence inn.

August 15, 2017, 11:18:18 PM
Re: Parking at JFK
Is there an address for the sanitation

15367 146th Ave, Jamaica, NY 11434

February 28, 2018, 10:24:16 AM
Re: Amtrak
Very sneaky and bad

Yes, very sneaky! I got hit with this last week. Had no idea why I was being hit by the fee. I ended up just changing it instead of cancelling. Then the snow storm hit, so I got a refund. You would think they would want to find ways to satisfy customers these days with all their bad press as of late...

March 25, 2018, 07:58:59 PM
Re: Parking at JFK
Is there any alternate side restrictions by this address?

April 03, 2018, 11:35:23 AM
Re: Hidden City Ticketing
If I buy ticket say ORD>LGA>YYZ, will I get baggage in NYC because the last leg is international? Is anyone familiar with this?
Your luggage will not come out at LGA. It may delay the flight to YYZ since you won't be on it.

International flight TO the US have luggage come out on the first US destination for customs clearance. No such luck on the way out.

July 05, 2018, 06:36:22 PM
Re: What's the best way to book?
Thanks, do you know what their prices are?
AA - 30K/37.5K business/first
BA - 37.5K/50K business/first

July 26, 2018, 11:06:44 AM
Covenant Wine 40% off all wines code: UPWAYTOOEARLY BF special is from 6 - 10 PST. Ordering a case brings shipping down to $28

Red C came out to $26..


November 23, 2018, 11:57:01 AM
Re: El Al Takes off without suitcases... cant make this stuff up Better get there before shabbos without luggage than not getting there in time for shabbos. I'd say El Al learned something from last week
November 23, 2018, 02:28:38 PM
Re: Optimum internet
I was on a $39.99 promotional rate for Internet only at 100 mbps for the last year. I just got a letter that in January, my rate will raise to $44.99 plus $10 for 'Optimum 100' basically, new rate will be $54.99. What has been people's experience with extending the promotion, I'm wondering if it's worth my time or I should just let it be..

Call the retention dept. and find out. They will usually try to "sell" you another service that lowers the price. But call and see: 877-936-4778

December 03, 2018, 09:06:50 PM
Re: Ethiopian Airlines 737 crash. 150+ dead
March 13, 2019, 02:38:13 PM
Re: Narrow-body across a wide-body (of water) Great TR!! This route has been on my bucket list too!

The dates in the post are a bit off FYI

July 01, 2019, 12:52:34 PM
Re: Alaska Airlines Update, it is possible to book the trip with a stopover even if the separate segments won't show up. As long as there is availability on both dates for each individual segment, they will book it

Married Segments Q:

I found CX F Availability TLV-HKG-JFK (TLV-HKG in J). I'd like to stopover in HKG for a week. There is no F availability from HKG alone without starting at TLV (married segments). There is availability on the date I want to depart TLV & HKG if using TLV as the origin.

How can I request AS to book the award with a stopover in HKG in this case?

Bonus Q: Can I get AS to break the married segment if I only want the HKG - JFK segment?

July 23, 2019, 09:53:25 AM
Re: KSML (Kosher Airline Meals) Master Thread
I'm flying JAL NRT-MEL J.  Does anyone know what meals we will be getting?  We fly a lot (and LOVED QF from MEL-HND) and the kids are picky.  Better to take meals from home (in Tokyo) or brave the food?

You should expect Stogel frozen. I'd bring along from home.

July 23, 2019, 10:17:34 AM
Re: What Award Itinerary Did You Just Book/Hold?
Called, txt took too long. First guy was lost, second guy in Cape Town call center wanted to know what's going on in tlv that everyone in ny wants to go there.

July 31, 2019, 04:26:53 PM
Re: 5 Towns/Rockaway Master Thread
Is this the ToysRUs one?
Classic YWN very vague article
Ugh, it reads like a total advertisement. They should be more transparent.

August 09, 2019, 09:24:30 AM
Vietnam with a mix of Israel As a kid, I remember reading about faraway places in books my mother bought me. I recall being fascinated by the varied cultures across the globe and especially in Asia. My interest in world travel has brought me to some interesting place in search of learning cultures. Itís this curiosity that brought me to Vietnam this time. I am writing this en route to Vietnam and plan to start in Hoi An (central), work my way up to Hanoi (capital), and then finish it out on the Ha GIang loop (North) by myself for the next 2 weeks.

Being that Iíve ventured into solo travel in the past, I came across the subreddit dedicated to solo travel. When I first began planning a trip to Southeast Asia, I was looking for info on Thailand. I had heard good things about it and it had a nice amount of award hotel options. However, many people on Reddit strongly recommended Vietnam over Thailand. The more I read about Vietnam, the more I wanted to go there. Vietnam is a large country north to south and with a maximum of 12 days (including tavel), I knew I had to be selective in order to make it meaningful. Ha Giang province is in the northern tip of Vietnam bordering with China. It is a mountainous region with beautiful views and a motorbike loop that goes around the region. It takes 3 - 4 days to travel the loop where you have the opportunity to stay in small Vietnamese villages through the trip. The pictures I saw were surreal and I added this as the only must do for my trip. With it decided that Iíd spend my time in the north, I added Hanoi for the weekend. I was planning to do a 2 day trip to Ha Long Bay (the big tourist attraction in Vietnam) which looks beautiful too, but was convinced otherwise by the very touristy feel of it. I added Hoi An and an overnight train ride to my trip instead as a way to get to know the country when I get there (and the availability of Chabad there). Plus, Hoi An being the custom tailor capital of the world added it to the list

With my location wish list settled, I went to work on logistics. Vietnam currently has no non-stop flights to and from the US. The common options for the stopover from the US are in Tokyo & Hong Kong. I was hoping to fly in F (my first time) on either JAL or Cathay Pacific as I had heard incredible things about both. Another decent option I had found was Qatar via DOH where I could try the Qsuite. However, routing via DOH using AA miles would have required two tickets due to their routing rules, so I was back to choosing either JAL or Cathay. I wanted to one on the way there, and one back to try both, but that all changed due to CX (Cathay) F availability.

On Cathay First, their 777-300ER has a total of 6 seats making it pretty exclusive. Cathay used to release at least one award ticket when the schedule opened and then one at a time around 2 weeks prior to departure (at 10 PM eastern). Now ever since the Vietnam mistake F fare back in Jan, CX F has been very difficult to find (if not impossible). I began planning to find availability on JAL (excellent last minute availability) both ways in case this was my only option. Then I came across a couple of articles on how Cathay restricted awards  based on married segments so that searching HKG Ė JFK mights show no availability, but select other routes (e.g. HAN-HKG-JFK) might have availability. So I went about searching many routes in SE asia for CX F availability, but nothing showed. Back in 2017, Dan wrote a post about using only 70K Alaska miles for TLV-HKG-JFK with a free stopover in HKG. I put TLV Ė JFK into Qantas booking tool, and boom there it was: TLV-HKG in J on the A359 and F on the 777-300ER. I called Alaska and they had no trouble booking it with this timing:

8/20 Ė TLV Ė HKG 2:40 PM
8/29 Ė HKG Ė JFK 4:30 PM

Now all I had to do was book a ticket to TLV and a round trip to Vietnam from HKG. This would be my first trip round the world. I booked JFK Ė TLV on 8/17 using Qantas points on LY Y during the whole availability on LY debacle. I hoped that J would open prior to my departure.  I only had 16 hours on the ground in Israel, so I opted for only direct flights. With slim options, nothing opened prior to my trip.

SE asia flights are very cheap (especially on LCC) so I booked options that best fit my timing. On the way out, I got on HK express for ~$100 early morning. For the return, I selected Jetstar for the return using Qantas miles (6400) which includes checked baggage.

Iím a pretty last-minute traveler in that I like to wait to book anything even if I have a plan. The freedom of having options gets me. It has come to bite me at times (just ask my DW 😊). On this trip, I booked all accommodations day of the check-in. Iíll cover accommodations when I get to each part.

Packing and Food
I spent a bulk of my planning on packing, so I want to share this info for those who find it useful. If you want to go to the trip itself, go here.

Being that I was going to be traveling around to many placed, I learned early on that a standard carry on wouldnít do. I would take a backpack instead. This turned out to be difficult for me as I had to be very selective on what to bring. With this, I still overpacked. For my two week trip, I selected:

∑         Osprey Porter 46 medium size backpack
∑         Ebags packing cubes
∑         A messenger bag
∑         Luggage locks
∑         A backpack rain cover
∑         Electronics
o   HP Pavillion x360 11Ē laptop
o   3X 256 GB micro-SD cards (with shows & movies)
o   Amazon Kindle
o   Fire stick
o   Anker power brick
o   Power plug converter
o   Samsung buds

I packed enough clothes for a week without washing. After I got here, I found that getting laundry done here is VERY easy and cheap. I could have packed less.

I had been planning on bringing frozen food with me in my cooler bag. Being that there was a Chabad house / restaurant in both Hoi An & Hanoi, I decided to rely on this and leave the extra baggage at home. I picked up pastries & cold cuts in Israel for my time up i9n Ha Giang where there would be no food options. I also obtained tuna and rolls from the Chabad in Hanoi prior to my trip up north.

Part 1: Israel
LY8 8/17 23:50 departure, arrives TLV +1 1750 Boeing 787-9 seat 53A

Itís been 10 years since I was last in Israel. Even though this would be a short trip, I was excited. I arrived at JFKís T4 for my check-in to LY8 at 1.5 hours prior to departure. The check-in line was quite short and I was through El Al security and baggage check within 10 min. I was taking a bunch of supplies to the Chabad in Hanoi and had to check the bag. Since I didnít need it in Israel, I asked if my bag could be checked all the way to HKG on CX. They said that it could not being that it was a separate ticket. Iím not sure how legit that reason was. I headed to TSA security where my Pre-check status had no use on El Al. There was a short line at that late hour and I was through in 2 minutes I headed to the gate where the flight had already started boarding. I was ready to go and boarded the plane right away. I find it interesting that on domestic flights, people rush to board early where as here, most people simply wanted to sit at the gate for longer. I imagine it has to do with bin space and it running out on domestic flights. I had selected my seat via Whatsapp and noticed that many seats in the back of the plane were open. I hoped it would stay that way, but was doubtful on a summer sat night flight. As the plane filled, I was delighted to find that the seat next to me (middle seat) remained open! This was the best I could hope for in Y for my flight to TLV. At a few minutes before 11:50 (our departure time), the door was closed and we pushed back from the gate. After a short taxi, we were taking off. This would be my first ride on the 787 dreamliner and I was amazed by how quiet it was. I also played with the new window shade buttons which enable some cool photo opps. Shortly after takeoff, they came around for drinks where I ordered some wine and water. I started watching a movie and was dozing off within 20 minÖ

No line for security

Etihad A380 ready to depart for AUH

Empty JFK T4

My bird tonight

Nice new clean interior

Seat 54A

Decent legroom

Some Kosher wine (Barkan classic) to settle in


I woke up about 4 hours later, I had missed dinner which I was quite happy with. The El Al shachris was about to begin in the back of the plane, and I went to join. The flight attendants that occupy the back area were quite accommodating in having us all up in their space. They simply moved through the crowd to do their job.

Small side note about my feelings on El Al. They take a lot of heat for the way they operate an airline. While I do agree with some of the criticism, I also have an emotional admiration and appreciation for how authentic Israeli (and Jewish) it is. Their attitude, the davening, the basic kosher standards, the Hebrew is just a beautiful way to feel like you have entered Israel before even getting there.

I also got to get a peek at the crew resting quarters in the back. While I could not see what itís actually like in there, I found it fascinating to see the crew go to sleep there during the flight. First time Iíve seen such a thing. After davening, I used the wi-fi to find a place to stay in Jerusalem for the night using Chase points. At $20, itís a good value with good speed. I booked a boutique hotel right outside the old city and ben Yehuda called Villa Brown for 12,712 Chase UR points instead of $191 for the 1 night including breakfast.

I had breakfast about 2 hours before landing Ė which was ok Ė about what youíd expect from an airline meal. Soon enough, the pilot announced our decent into TLV. As we crossed the shores of the Mediterranean, a feeling of excitement came over me to be back in Israel. We taxied for a few minutes before parking at the gate. I headed to passport control, then to get my baggage and was out in about 30 minutes. Overall the travel experience was a perfect 10 in my book. Everything worked like clockwork from A-Z.

Davening Shachris




Shadow Dreamliner

BA 777 & DL A330

Welcome to Israel

The best lounge at TLV ;-)

More to come...

September 11, 2019, 09:13:18 PM
Re: Vietnam with a mix of Israel I exchanged $100 at the airport for the trip (I know, bad exchange rate but I needed it then). I tried to get a sim card, but they all wanted $20 for a few days and I didnít want to activate my Google Fi service since I was unsure about using it in Vietnam. I took a Sherut to my hotel (after doing some research about the train and being told to avoid it).

The Villa Brown hotel turned out to be perfect to my needs. Itís a nice very small boutique hotel right between Meah Shearim & The Ben Yehuda area. The room was small, but modern. Itís a 3.5 star hotel that Iíd rate 7.4/10. It was very comfortable for the night. The location was amazing being that I wanted to go to the Kotel for early Vasikin Shachris the next morning. I settled in and went to meetup with some friends in Machane Yehudah for some food. Got amazing fried fish at some random Fried fish place and some American fast food from Hatch. The food at Hatch was authentic with some of the best wings Iíve ever had. That said, I should have gone with a good Shwarma in Israel than American foodÖ After eating I went to the Kotel for an emotional Maariv before heading back to my hotel. I took the #2 bus back to my hotel. When I got on, I was told that Egged busses donít take cash anymore. You can only use a RavKav card which is very hard to find. At that point I was done and just went on anyways. I figured Iíd deal with this RavKav business tomorrow. More on this later.

I set my alarm for 5 to ensure I had time to get to the Kotel for the first Shachris (vasikin). The experience of davening at the wall and having all the minyanim come together for Shemonah Esrei is quite inspiring. I took a taxi at the early hour to the kotel and arrived right on time. After davening, there is a booth that opens to offer free coffee to everyone there. Itís another part of this experience (although the coffee itself, eh ??). After spending some time at the kotel, I walked back to my hotel for a good Israeli breakfast which was excellent! I packed my bags to be ready to head to the airport and went to the Machane Yehida shuk to pickup supplies for my trip to Vietnam and shop for a Rav Kav card.

Ok, so the Rav Kav system is quite the Balagan today. Iím sure some of you know more of the background here, but what a pain especially for tourists. The idea is to have a single rechargeable card that can work across all public transportation systems in Israel. The implementation is still lacking. First I had to buy a Rav Kav card. I went to 5 stores before I found one that carried them (a small cell phone store near Davidka Sq). Once I bought one, I paid to put 30 Shekel onto it. When I tried to use it for the train, I had to go to a kiosk to purchase a discounted ticket onto the card. I could not use the money stored on the card but had to add money for the ticket to be loaded onto my card. Huh? I captured the confusion of other Israelis experiencing similar issues.

I picked up some pastries, cold cuts, and bread for my upcoming trip. Had I known about the lack of kosher snacks in Vietnam, I would have picked up those too. I headed back to my hotel and then off to the airport.

For the way back to Ben Gurion, I decided to try the train. It seemed quite compelling on price and time if things went smooth. I caught the 18 bus right outside my hotel to the train station. At the train station I went through security, purchased my ticket, and made my way down to the train. There were 4 long escalators that take you down what must be around 300 - 400 feet underground. The train to Ben Gurion is quite fast. It takes something like 20 minutes from Jerusalem. We departed on time and very shortly arrived in the airport. The whole trip with the bus took 35 minutes of travel time and about 50 minutes with all the rest. It only cost me a total of 12 shekel (including the bus)!

I whisked through security, checked in my bag to HKG (which was a mistake Iíd realize later), immigration & carry on security (where my water was fine!) and headed to the Dan lounge contracted by Cathay Pacific. I had very low expectations thanks to reports Iíve read here and spent about 10 minutes before it was time to board. I headed over to my gate and spotted my beautiful ride for the next 10 hours.

This trip in the Sherut (shared taxi) was quite chaotic, but got me to Jerusalem within an hour

Hotel lobby restaurant

Hotel Lobby

Yaffo Street on a warm summer night

Veggie pizza thing in Machaneh Yehuda (5.6/10)

Fried fish Ní chips in Machaneh Yehuda (8.2/10)

Beer Bazar

Beer Bazar local beers

Dirty fries @ Hatch Machaneh Yehuda (7.2/10)

Short Rib Sandwich @ Hatch Machaneh Yehuda (4.6/10) although I could see this having better potential if it was hotter

Buffalo Wings @ Hatch Machaneh Yehuda (9.6/10) Ė best wings Iíve ever had!

Jerusalem before sunrise

Jerusalem before sunrise

Kotel Vasikin

Kotel sun coming up

Free coffee for the early risers

Notes in the Western Wall

Garden outside Old City

Garden in hotel entrance

Outdoor breakfast @ Villa Brown Hotel

Lavish Breakfast @ Villa Brown Hotel

Omelet @ Villa Brown Hotel (6.8/10)

Machaneh Yehuda market

Rav Kav madness

5 of these to get down to the train platform

High speed train in the Jerusalem station

Can you spot the design flaw?

Two story

Ben Gurion station

Red carpet for taking the train?

Sad DAN lounge

Food DAN lounge (2.5/10)

Carlsberg beer DAN Lounge


More to come!!

September 22, 2019, 08:40:28 PM
Re: Vietnam with a mix of Israel Part 3 Travel TLV to DAD (Danang) Vietnam

CX676 8/19 14:40 departure TLV, arrives HKG +1 05:30 Airbus A350-900 17K
UO552 8/20 07:55 departure HKG, arrives DAD 08:50 Airbus A320 6D

Many firsts for me on this flight, First time on CX, first time on the A350, first time in J on an Asian carrier. Can I just say, the winglets on the A350 make the plane for me! I selected seat 17K on the right side of the plane since its next to the windows and has two of them. There are some rows that have misaligned widows on the plane in J so that youíll have 0, 1, or 2 depending on your seat. I was greeted by the cabin crew, and offered a pre departure beverage. I selected sparkling soda and settled in. At my seat were noise cancelling headphones and a nice amenity kit. The kit had a nice selction of everything I could use Ė earbuds, eye mask, moisturizer, etc. The bag (a soft cloth material served me quite well for the rest of my trip in Vietnam as it was small and versatile for stuffing into my bag.

Right before takeoff, I was offered the opportunity for the flight attendant to show me my kosher meals, not sure why. She came by and presented the meals for the flight. I buckled in as the door was closed. We were held at the gate for 25 minutes due to air traffic control before a quick taxi and takeoff from TLV. The airport is pretty quiet at that time of day.

The seat was quite roomy and spacious. I especially appreciated the large storage bin next to the seat for my smaller bag. It was decently comfortable, but not very plush. One negative is the wear on the seat is noticeable. With peeling leather on parts of the seat, itís not a good look. I read about this The screen and entertainment systems were superb! Big screen, great selection, live TV, interactive map on remote control, and wifi all made for an excellent experience. The bathroom had a window in it, which is pretty neat. Only other plane Iíve see that on is the A220 by Delta.

After settling in, drinks and the lunch meal was served. I had been expecting a decent meal (hoped for Hermolis) and had not eaten lunch prior to the flight. The meal was catered by Hamasbia and was very sparse. For example, my frilled vegetables had 1 slice of zucchini and one mini pepper. The main was the highlight being that it was a meat dish and tasted pretty good. The small meal meant that I was not full after eating the entire meal. All of the snacks had no kosher symbol so I had to Oh well. I did like that Cathay offers a kosher wine Ex-TLV which was soft as butter! After dinner, I got a scotch (chivas) and watched Kirsk for a bit. When I got tired, I got to setting my seat for bed. CX does not offer a mattress pad in business and the bedding is ok. This is about to be upgraded in the next few months so that should be a welcome change. The bed was ok and before long I was sleeping.

I woke with about 2 hours left in the flight and ready to get the day started. I had my breakfast (again, decent but small) and added fresh orange juice and coffee to it. I saw that my neighbor across the aisle had requested the Ben & Jerryís ice cream (offered for dinner earlier in the flight) for a breakfast desert and decided to do the same! (I got to schmoozing with him for a bit. He was headed to the Maldives on what sounded like a killer vacation using points. We were marveling at even with the points game changing so much over the past few years, itís still pretty cool. Iíd never consider paying for J or F if not for points.) The presentation of the small things (life coffee on a tray) on CX impressed me quite a bit. Itís the attention to detail that matters to me. When I go to a restaurant, I can usually get a feel for Itís authenticity by how the bathroom looks. Someone into the experience will spend on the bathroom style. I finished my breakfast, got comfortable and finished up the Kirsk movie. I liked the story and the political underpinnings of trying to save the trapped sailors.

As we came in for landing, I turned on the front facing plane camera (so cool) to get a front row seat to the landing. These outdoor cameras are all an AV Geek can hope for. The landing was smooth, we taxied for a while before reaching our gate. We arrived about 30 minutes late. I found the service to be quite good but nothing over the top. Much stronger than the US 3, but I was expecting more from my first business flight on an Asian carrier. I now had about 2 hours to get to my connecting flight to Danang. Plenty of time I thought, and then the trouble began. to be continued...

Didn't post map earlier, so here it is

Always board left


CX A350 Business Class seat

Worn out seat

Legroom: More than enough

CX Business Class amenity Kit

CX Business Class amenity Kit

Kosher wine on CX Business Class Ex-TLV

Iíll miss you Israel!

Cathay A359 Business Class cabin

CX Business Class dinner (Hamasbia)

CX Business Class meat dish (7.8/10)

Cathay Pacific Business Class bed

Chivas & Kursk movie in my comfy seat

Breakfast (5.2/10)

Window in the bathroom

Chunky Monkey ice cream

Flight map on remote

Coffee presentation

Approach to HKG

View of landing from front camera

Approach to HKG with mountains in the background and Tsing Ma Bridge

October 06, 2019, 06:04:02 PM
JetBlue $31 sale for flying on 10/31 For those who can travel tomorrow:

DO opportunity?

October 30, 2019, 11:53:18 AM
Re: JetBlue $31 sale for flying on 10/31
You have to get the other way, though...
You can do a round trip on the same day for the same price

October 30, 2019, 12:01:54 PM
Re: Vietnam with a mix of Israel Thanks for all the feedback. Glad this is hitting the mark!

Part 3 continued

I had read conflicting reports about having luggage transferred to a second airline without clearing immigration at HKG. I was hoping the HK Express transfer desk would help. I made my way to the train in this early morning at HKG. The airport had an eerie empty feeling as it had been rocked by protests the week before. I arrived at the transfer desk and was told by a completely disinterested employee that Iíd need to clear immigration, pickup my bag and go through regular check in. Suddenly my decent layover was super tight! What I have since learned is that in order for this to work, it would have required CX to originally tag my bags for Danang on HK Express (which Iím not sure they would have done) in TLV. Once it was only tagged for HKG, it would come out on the belt and I had to go get it.

I raced through immigration (empty this early in the morning) and all the way to luggage belt 16 at the end of the row where my bag was going round the belt. I grabbed it and hurried all the way to T2 (20 minute walk) where HK express departs from. I get to the check-in area at 7 AM (55 minutes before my flight) to be greeted by a mob of about 200 people on line. Iím thinking there is no way Iím gonna make this flight. I ask an employee holding a sign that says last call what to do. He advises me to wait in line for 5 more minutes and they will open final call for my flight. Approx. 45 min before my flight is set to depart, they wave signs for my flight and direct me to separate empty counters where final call passengers can check bags and get boarding passes. Iím not sure why passengers wouldnít just show up 45 minutes before and never wait on lineÖ I prepaid for checked baggage (approx. $55 for 30 kg) before arriving at the airport since itís much cheaper to do so.

With my bag checked in, I hurry back through immigration, security and arrive at the gate a mere 20 minutes before departure. My backpack is really weighing on me and I begin to wonder if I have too much stuff to be lugging around with a backpack & messenger bag. HK Express uses buses to get from the gate to the plane. I board the packed bus which takes me to the A320 that will take me to Danang. The crowded bus was hot and smelly but was well worth getting an opportunity to board the plane via stairs from the tarmac. I got a great view of our A320 aircraft and got some excellent pictures #AVgeek. I boarded and got to my pre-selected seat @ 6D. The seat had adequate legroom for what was a quick 2-hour flight to Danang on a low cost carrier. We departed right on time and before long were airborne over the skies of Hong Kong. The cabin crew came around to sell meals. They delivered my pre-ordered water bottle. According to the airline, they check handbag weight (needs to be under 7 kg) and donít allow you to bring on your own food or water. In practice, I did not see them enforce these rules at all from what I could see. It was the beginning of what I learned about rules that donít get followed in Vietnam. I sat back for the quick trip and soon was descending into Danang airport for the beginning of my stay in Vietnam. Time to get out my VisaÖ

Empty HKG at 5:30 AM

HK Express Check in line

CX 777s lined up at HKG (can you find the one that doesnít belong?)

Boarding plane (A321) from the tarmac HKG

HK Express A320 HKG

Boarding UO552 HKG-DAD

Legroom in seat 6D HK Express A320

Ready to Jet

Canít imagine what this would taste like. Asian version of Greivin I guess

November 05, 2019, 07:54:27 PM
Re: Ex-TLV Routes and Flights Discussions
I have them back in my account.. but now they are just sitting there..
That's the best outcome I can see here. Use them to book something.

September 29, 2020, 09:07:47 AM
Re: 5 Towns/Rockaway Master Thread Whats the deal with Cork & Slice? Been closed for couple of days.
November 16, 2020, 10:46:44 PM
Re: Vietnam with a mix of Israel
@brodes18 we need part 4 :)
Thanks for the reminder. I have it written up, working on pics and captions.

December 13, 2020, 06:56:58 PM