In this post, I’d like to share tidbits about my trip to Manchester, UK, for TERMIS-EU 2023 conference. I’ll try to cover the flight, about Manchester, and about the conference itself.
For the flight to the UK, I went through 29 h long journey, divided into three legs. The first flight was from Kansai International Airport, Osaka, to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The second leg was from Kuala Lumpur to Doha, Qatar. And finally, Doha to Manchester, UK. Although all flight were listed as using Qatar Airways, only the flight from Doha to Manchester were using Qatar Airways, while the first two parts were operated by Malaysian Airlines.
The flight using Malaysian Airlines were good, about 7 hours each. Since I got the window seat, I can see the view of the takeoff and landing, plus a bird-eye view of “Semenanjung Malaysia” or “Peninsular Malaysia”. In case you didn’t know, Malaysia is divided into two regions: Peninsular Malaysia, where the capital Kuala Lumpur is located; and East Malaysia which located in Borneo or Kalimantan Island, together with Brunei Darussalam and Indonesia (Figure 1).
Figure 1. Map of Malaysia. (source: https://malaysiajp.com/geography/)
Anyway, back to the flight, the flight started with rain in Kansai. In case any of you were afraid of flying, I’d suggest watching the pilot’s point-of-view (POV) videos, for example, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLrZloqULnY. It is quite fascinating to see the procedures, which are all done precisely as the checklist. Probably, the fear of flying comes from the lack of control (duh, surely we can’t pilot the plane) and knowledge of what the pilots are doing (we can’t see them, see what they’re doing, etc. which is different from riding bus, trains, or monorails). But, after you watch enough of those POV, you can see what the pilot (and co-pilot, of course) are doing. Just example from the top of my head:
- From the taxi process (release from parking brake, push-back, checking the wing(?) full left, full right, actual taxi in which the plane ‘walk’ sometimes behind queues of planes waiting to take off.
- Takeoff checklist (final check, flaps sets to full to ensure the lift),
- planes go full speed, once they reach the necessary speed, the plane begins to take off, if they have a positive climb, they will reduce the flap (you can see the wing becomes flatter, as the flaps were retracted), and you may notice the sounds became more quiet, due to the landing gear up.
- After this, actually, the auto-pilot is normally activated, and the pilots will input the altitude (for example, 38000 feet) and the direction (e.g., 330 degree).
- After we reach the maximum altitude and the route, the plane will cruise to our destination until landing.
- For landing procedure, you can check the video as well.
Anyway, ever since I watched those videos, I’ve always been fascinated with the procedures, so, I managed to record a time-lapse of the take off and landing!
Movie 1. Takeoff from Kansai International Airport (KIX)
Okay! Back on the flight itself. During the flight with Malaysian Airlines, we were given a salted peanuts snack called “Kacang Masin”. After we get the complimentary drink, we were given with food, another snack (if I remember correctly, it was a cake), and interestingly, ice cream!
(Since, I was fasting during Ramadhan, I didn’t get this, so I don’t have the pictures, sorry!)
One probably important point is that on my flight, the available charging port is only USB (Figure 2). If you have an iPhone, and if your charger is using USB-C to Thunderbolt or USB-C to MagSafe, please prepare a USB to Thunderbolt cable, so you can charge your devices on the flight. Probably not so much trouble for Android. And I guess it also depends on the type of plane used in your flight. But, better be prepared. (Lesson learned as I thought there would be a USB-C port on the flight!)
Figure 2. USB port on the airplane for charging.
And after 7 h, I arrived in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia! See Movie 2 below to get a glimpse of Malaysia from the air.
Movie 2. Landing in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur International Airport is quite nice (Figure 3). Personally, I found the food relatively similar to Indonesian food, within my palate. And since there are many spices, the food is quite tasty. 10/10 I’d recommend you to try Nasi Lemak, etc.
Figure 3. Photo of Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
If you already have your ticket from Kansai to Manchester, there is no need to queue for a transfer flight, and you can directly go to your gate. Here, I spent about 6 h in transit. If you have a long transit time, I’d recommend you get a “Priority Pass” (99USD for 1 year), which allows you to access their lounge. In the lounge, you can take a bath, and have a buffet (rice, bread, fruits, beers, wine, and ice cream), while relaxing and watching sports, without additional payments for 3 h (Figure 4a). Just need to show the card, and you can freely use the lounge. Here, I also get to have some Ringgit, which is the Malaysian currency (Figure 4b). The electricity port in Malaysia is different from Japan, but, similar to the UK (Figure 4c). So, please prepare the converter!
Figure 4. (a) Priority Pass card (top left) and lounge (bottom right). (b) Malaysian Ringgit (20 sen, 50 sen, 1 ringgit, 5 ringgit), (c) Electrical port converter which can be used in Malaysia and UK.
One interesting (or shocking) point is that actually, most people already didn’t wear masks! So.. brace yourself, I guess.
Okay, moving on to the second leg of the Journey to Doha, Qatar.
As I mentioned, this flight also used Malaysian Airlines. So, there is no big difference from the previous flight. It was a night flight, and since we were going with the rotation of the earth, most of the flights were at night.
But, this time, I can show you the on-flight foods! In addition to the “Kacang Masin”, we were also given a dinner set, consisting of, Chicken Curry, Cake, Bread, and Salad (Figure 5a). Quite tasty, but, maybe because of the faulty taste bud caused by the high altitude, it was less tasty than usual. But, nevertheless, the important thing is we got fed! About 2 h before arriving in Doha, we were given snack, a chicken sausage hot dog (Figure 5b).
Figure 5. (a) Dinner set and (b) snacks on Malaysian Airlines flight to Doha
Important! If you go through a long-haul flight crossing several time zones, do not drink coffee! I had a super bad jet lag due to that! Just drink lots of water, and the jet lag should be less suffering.
And finally, the plane landed in Hamad International Airport. Hamad International Airport is actually among the best airports in the world. 1-2 with Changi Airport in Singapore. But, unfortunately, my transit time was too short (should be 1 h to boarding, but, due to delay, we landed 40 min before boarding), so, I couldn’t explore and only able to take few pictures (Figure 6). But, it is a very, VERY, luxurious airport. There were supercars in the airport!
Figure 6. Hamad International Airport.
Finally, for the final leg, I got to fly in the actual Qatar Airways. I’d suggest you apply for “Privilege Club” (it’s free!), since you can enjoy the benefits, such as complimentary in-flight Wi-Fi.
Movie 3. Takeoff from Doha
The plane is superb! Super awesome! The in-flight entertainment is good! Since there are two cameras facing front and downwards, we can actually see clearly like the pilot’s view (Movie 3). The movie was good, recent, and there are interesting games. To test my vocabulary, I played crosswords (and got humbled, totally humbled, too many difficult words!). I think the in-flight meal was British meal (Yoghurt, Fruits, Omelette, Chicken Sausage, Bread and Butter) (Figure 7). More importantly, they actually have USB-C port!
Figure 7. Cockpit view (top left), follow plane view (bottom left), flight route from Doha to Manchester (center), crosswords game (top right), and in-flight meal (bottom right) on Qatar Airways from Doha to Manchester.
Finally, after a gruelling 29 h, I arrived in Manchester, UK! The Qatar Airways flight was super comfortable! 10/10!
The entrance process is not complicated. Immigration check, collect baggage, and out! Finally, Manchester (Figure 8)!
Figure 8. Manchester Airport International Arrivals (left). Qatar Airways plane (top right) and bus in Manchester Airport (bottom right).
From here, you can use a taxi, bus, or tram. In the next post, I’ll take you on the TERMIS-EU 2023 conference and Manchester (and London)!