Tuesday, 12 February 2008
Of Trains, Planes and Hotels
Well I have been travelling so I could not spend too much time on the blog in the meantime. Anyway recently I went to Bintulu again to accompany a mission to a meeting with a client over there and I must say that it only took an intermission of three months to change my travel experience. Well first of all I must talk about the train ride I took on the ERL transit service to KLIA. It is a little sad to note that these trains most times travel quite emptily even though they provide excellent speedy service to those who have easy access to their stations to and fro the KLIA. But I guess that is just it. It is only convenient for those who have easy access to their service and coupled with the fact that their fare for two persons makes it more logical to take a ride to the airport from your doorsteps, makes the service not so popular I guess to the majority of the people.
Anyway the check-in service at the airport for people like me who travel for business with as little luggage as possible so that I can usually check-in without baggage has changed a bit. Now they have service kiosks similar to what I have seen overseas. It has made it convenient a bit for people like me who has no problem interfacing with a machine, and I like that for Enrich card holders like me I can choose my seat, but it does take more time than before because the interface is not that userfriendly and the touchscreen is not that sensitive that you may need to touch a few times before it registers. In fact I see many people having problem of not knowing what to do when they make an error so it is no wonder that a ground staff still has to be stationed to assist the people. It does defeats the purpose a bit I guess especially since I saw that for those who needs to board urgently still has to be manually check-in to speed things up. The airline should have done a better job informing people about this new system so that they give sufficient time to get familiar with it. Anyway I did not expect to see the infamous breadbox being served on this three hour flight but it was duly served. On the flight in it was salad roll and chicken pita while on the way back it was three sandwiches. Served in a pretty box that you can take away if you have no appetite to eat bread on board, the bread are just barely appetising and I do miss the rice or noodles they used to serve on board as they were more filling. And I do not know if they really can economise with such expensive looking breadbox. I guess that the real cost saver in making service this way is the fact they managed to save at least one cabin crew from the roster, as there is only two crew to serve the whole economy class instead of three or four previously. But I pity the crew, even though there is not much work in the way of food serving, they do need to jump around when they are paged in the cabin. Well let's see if they can maintain their level of service with such a skeletal crew.
Meanwhile on the ground I found out that there is a new business all-suite hotel just opened in Bintulu. The fact is the hotel was still under construction when I was last there so it was a surprise to me that it managed to open in about three months. In fact they have not even advertised in the net so it was no wonder that I could not find any information when I googled for hotels in Bintulu. Looks quite impressive with nice modern looking suite rooms with king sized beds, hanging LCD widescreen tvs and separate bath and toilet stalls. As the room rates is comparable with the usual hotel I stay in, I will definitely stay here in my next visit but that means saying goodbye to the seaviews and cute wall hanging pictures in the washroom. Nah just kidding as I will not miss the hotel that is actually getting a bit musty and old in room amenities. The only problem I foresee is that the new hotel only has one coffee house, so entertaining would still be a problem but since it is attached to a shopping complex, I foresee no problem for personal shopping. Nonetheless I would still have to go to Bintulu town proper to get my regular fix of layered cake as there is no good bakeries in the immediate vicinity of the new township. Well with things looking up for business in Bintulu, I may make a return visit sooner rather than later. Until then, cheers!