The Bucket List: Train Travels in France and thoughts on Ouigo

I hope you have enjoyed both of my previous post regarding my trip to the Champagne region. Since I was based in Paris, I had to take a train to the Grand Est region and the only one that works out for my timing was Ouigo. I am sure this is rather new to you guys, in fact, despite being that well travelled, it is also my first time hearing of it. I would just like to share my experience on Ouigo in this post since it is rather unique in terms of train travels in Europe. Furthermore, hopefully I will be able to highlight the various key points that you have to take note of when travelling with Ouigo! Trust me, it is a direct contrast to the fuss less, common train travels in Europe!

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The Bucket List: Aer Lingus EI524 A320 DUB – CDG Economy Class

Continuing on my journey I am headed to Paris. It is so nice to be back to Paris after close to 7 years back. I guess I need to be back before the “7 Year Itch” happens. I was at the airport bright early in the airport. Check in was smooth and there was a little queue but there was plenty of counters open and it was done in no time. I was flying Aer Lingus this time around, the home airline of Ireland. It is such a delight to be flying Aer Lingus. Everything is so amazing after the disastrous Ryan Air! Checked baggage, getting your boarding pass from the gorgeous staff who so nicely circled out my gate number. Staff is polite and not stingy with allowance. I never know how these small little things matters. I know I am so spoiled. Security was smooth as well. Leaving the lounge near Gate 400. It was a short walk to the gate from the lounge. However this is just a gate for the bus which will take us to a satellite mini terminal and from there we could board our Aer Lingus flight. It is kind of annoying that when you are flying out of the airline hub, you have to use a stand.

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The Bucket List: Ryanair FR5773 737 GLA – DUB

Penning down my very first time on Ryan Air, I am sad to say that it is probably going to be my very last time as well. This is going to be less of a flight review but rather more of my whole flight experience on board Ryan Air. Europe most infamous budget air. Or the one that tries to milk out everyone. I do not know much but perhaps it seems that they have a much more profitable model than conventional ones. Continuing on my journey, my next destination is Dublin. The only direct flights are Aer Lingus but operated by Stobart Air or by Ryan Air. Ryan Air timing works better and they are like cheaper by 300. In total I paid for 195 SGD for 3 tickets and 2 add on bags. Which is why I go ahead with them. I guess it is also interesting to try out the most notorious airline in the world.

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The Bucket List: Virgin Trains London – Manchester

This is gonna be a rather short post, also one of the rarer ones where I share about my train journey rather than a flight experience. I always like to share about my very first experience on a particular train product so that people can get an idea how it is like. Especially since in Europe there are so many different trains, the ICE, Railjet, etc etc. Furthermore this time around, it is my very first time taking a train in the UK. The funny thing about trains in UK is that there is no unified national rail operator like the DB or SNCF in other European Countries. Rather, the National Rail just regulate operating companies, for example in this case, Virgin Trains. Comparing my options, it does seems that taking the train would be the most efficient and cost effective way for me to get to Manchester. Bus is out of the equation since it take such a long time. Virgin Trains also seems rather quirky and fun.

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The Bucket List: Singapore Airlines SQ322 A380R SIN – LHR Business Class

Welcome onboard Singapore Airlines flight, SQ322, from Singapore to London Heathrow. This is a line that I wish I could hear everyday, maybe I should record it and use as my ringtone. It was quite an uproar back then when SQ refresh their cabins and released the new hard products. I have also always wanted to try out the new J Class and Suites onboard their newest A380, also known as the 38R in the community. Currently as of writing they are only flying the plane to London, Zurich, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Sydney. Tokyo seems to be next as well although I can’t say for sure. I went all out to secure a business saver ticket onboard SQ322, one of the flight on the newest 380 with the new products. Super excited to try out the new business class seat after having high praises for the old ones. SQ are always known to be the benchmark for the industry. Previously, I have shared about my lounge tour in the airport. The flight depart from Gate A5. In Singapore, security is located at the gate, perhaps on the bright side you do not have to wait for super long, on the other hand you can bring liquid onboard. Thankful there was a premium line with no queue and boarding literally started once I cleared security.

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A Cathay Present: SilkAir MI631 737-800 DAD – SIN Business & Economy Class

Having just flew on Cathay Dragon, CX regional arm, I was particularly interested to see how SQ regional arm, SilkAir, pit against them. From my previous 2 flight, it does seem that Cathay Dragon is pretty not bad. With an awesome Business Class as well. As part of my whole routing for flying the Cathay error fare, I need to base myself from Da Nang and only SilkAir flies there. Previously, I have said that I have redeem 12,500 miles for a Economy ticket to Da Nang and add on the DAD – SIN sector on Business class to my next long haul ticket at no additional miles. I gives me the perfect routing to try both Economy and Business.  SilkAir is also in the midst of merging into SQ, thus it is important to see their seats and the crew caliber in comparison to the big leagues. SilkAir flies out of Terminal 2 and I was there around 2 hour early. It is definitely crowded, but at least all the queues move.

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A Cathay Present: Cathay Pacific CX865 777-300ER YVR – HKG First Class

I stayed onboard after the previous flight as I was continuing on to HKG, there is a stop for about an hour where the plane is refreshed. There is also a change of crew. It was actually pretty interesting to see the behind the scene action. It sure is busy and furious. In fact I think it was the first time. Seems like I actually wasted my money in getting the Canada Visa.It actually feels to be a little weird to be onboard when the cleaning crews are around. Perhaps they could keep a bottle of Krug to keep me accompanied. There was full occupancy in First on this sector to HK. Besides the 3 of us continuing on. 3 more Asian man board to join us. The crew for this leg is also a mixture of a Vancouver and HK set as well. For this 12 hours flight to HK, I was in 2F, the first row on the right.

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