Saturday, April 23, 2005

I broke the record!

I made it from the front door of my apartment to the check-in desk at the hotel in Baguio City, Philippines, in just 38 hours.

My worst time is 46 hours.

We're not talking those cheap as chips trips from Melbourne to London with 12 hour stays in obscure airports taken by backpackers on a very tight budget. Nope, we're talking travel booked on 3 hours notice where the price seems not to be an object as long as it's not outlandishly high.

I've mentioned our travel agent in previous posts. He's not great but he does have one overwhelming advantage from my point of view; I don't have to do an expense report on him. I ring him, arrange the flight and it's a done deal. I half suspect I could arrange a flight to Melbourne and no one would notice; but it's only half a suspicion; I'm not game to put the suspicion to the test!

The downside is that he tends to take the first flights that offer; this means that one often finds oneself sitting in an airport for 7 or 8 hours waiting for the next connection. When I need to fly within the US I now spend the hour necessary, on company time, searching for the best schedule and I ring him with exact flight details; not, 'I need to fly to A this arvo, book it' but rather 'book me on flight X to Y and then flight Z to A', where I've done the legwork and minimised the sitting around waiting for the next flight.

I usually can't do that for international flights.

This time he surprised me; a mere 2 hours wasted in Los Angeles.

So how does that 38 hours break down? Remember I'm flying international so I really do have to front up 2 hours ahead of first flight time even though that first flight is Phoenix to LA. There's the little matter of my checked baggage (and let's not even mention that booking a flight on only 3 hours notice is a guarantee you're going to go through secondary inspection!).

So here's my timeline!

Left home at 3:35 PM Tuesday. 30 minutes to Phoenix Sky HarboUr Airport. First flight at 6:09 PM Tuesday. 2.5 hours.

Arrived in Los Angeles at 7:15 PM AZ time, Tuesday. 3 hours 40 minutes.

Leave LA at 9:20 PM AZ time, Tuesday. 5 hours 40 minutes.

Arrive in Singapore at 3:15 PM AZ time Wednesday. I've crossed the International Dateline so it's 6:15 AM Thursday Singapore time. Flight time was 18 hours so that makes a total, so far, of 23 hours 40 minutes.

Leave Singapore at 9:45 AM Thursday Singapore time. 27 hours 10 minutes.

Arrive Manila 1:00 PM Thursday Manila (Singapore) time. 30 hours 25 minutes.

Find driver at 1:35 PM Thursday Manila time. 31 hours.

Arrive at hotel at 8:35 PM Thursday Manila time. 38 hours!

It's still the dry season here so that helped with the drive from Manila to Baguio (about 250 Kms) but on the other hand, we set off early afternoon on a weekday. It took almost 2 hours to cover the 20 Kms from the airport to the start of the Northern Luzon Motorway. Believe me when I tell you, Manila traffic is heavy!!!

No comments: