Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Aeroline's Bento Box to KL

Aeroline's Bento Box to KL

Of all the flying that I do every year, the one route is really quite burdensome is the one from Singapore to KL. Sure, the flight is less than an hour, but one spends so much time schlepping luggage around, getting to the airport early, clearing security and immigration, going through all of the pre-flight announcements, and repeating the process all over again when getting to the other side that it effectively makes it a four to five hour affair in total, especially given how far KLIA is from the city center. And I barely even get any miles for all of that hassle!

So this time around, I declined the flight to KL and requested the bus instead, the idea being that at the expense of an additional hour or so of cumulative transit time, I get nearly no interruptions, much more comfortable seats, cellular and BlackBerry use all the way through, and even power outlets at each seat...at least, from these Aeroline guys (I took the competing NiCE coach once a long time ago, but this double-decker is clearly leagues beyond that). In short, it should be much less stressful, more productive, and all the while also saving the company a bit of money.

Was it everything I expected it to be? In general, yes. The seats, while certainly not Raffles Class SpaceBeds, were still much better than peanut class in the back of a plane, with enough room to recline with a leg rest. Two power outlets were provided in every row of the upper deck (so if you're in the aisle seat, then you'd better hope that one of your neighbors is not using the outlet...although I didn't see many people using them today anyway). And the only real interruption was getting out at the border to go through immigration formalities, although it was pretty quick going through Tuas today. (One can't help but chuckle at the announcement that the toilet on board is for "light use only," and that if you need any "heavy use," they'll have to pull over to some more adequate facilities.)

Anyway, after clearing the Malaysian border, they served some food. Well, one can't exactly expect much here (and if you've ever had any of those bento boxes from a train in Japan, then you'll be sorely disappointed with this), but this was certainly much better than some bento boxes I'd been given in Taiwan a couple times. Unfortunately the rest stop that we did hit along the way here didn't have any Ramly Burger stall, but they did give us some fruit later into the ride.

There is a competitor called Transtar that allegedly has even better (wider) seats and individual VOD screens (rather than that movie blasted out over the loudspeakers on the central screen, which was a bit annoying when you're trying to listen into a conference call like I was today). But I think I still prefer these guys given the nicer embarkation points on both sides. Note to self: there are no overhead bins, so a good seat to try to get next time appears to be the front aisle seat (good view plus you can leave your carry-on bag in the aisle without blocking anyone). The solo seats on the left are nice too in that they have dedicated power plugs, but your carry-on at your feet will block your leg rest from coming up unless you can find an empty seat next to you to dump your bag at.


lola said...

aeroline sounds like a nice bus. Transtar is not that great, in fact it sucks big time. Their service is pathetic.

absolutjoiz said...

I like Aeroline too; the food served is much much better than NICE. Safe driver too, except that it means you'll reach your destination a bit later.

Anonymous said...

Lucky lucky you! The last time I took Aeroline, I did not even get the bento set, it was just a pathetic pack of greasy fried noodles with no fruits, no dessert, no salad whatsoever. I suppose they have upped the food service due to competition from other providers.