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Flying to New Zealand in February

(38 Posts)
namo Mon 09-Jan-12 18:17:13

I'm having anxiety attacks - not about flying - but about what I don't know! (That does make sense..) Does anybody out there know what I should know please? Travelling on my own. First flight 10 hours. Stop at Singapore to change planes for 2 hours. Second flight 12 hours - to Auckland. Going for 2 weeks - staying with my daughter. In February. Panic now - right now. Documents, passport, packing, hand luggage, etc.. Example: can't do online check-in because I don't have a printer attached to my computer so won't get decent seat away from toilets because all decent seats will have been taken by time I reach Heathrow. Plus : don't sleep very well normally - how can I sleep on flights and arrive 10am after 22 hours flying with a smile and loads of energy for my granddaughter?

Butternut Mon 09-Jan-12 18:35:41

It can be a stressful time looking ahead to a long journey, namo, but here are a few tips that may help. smile

Perhaps you know someone who has a computer and printer attached that you can use for online booking?

At the airport always ask - anyone in a uniform - there is always someone who will point you in the right direction.

I don't think anyone will expect you to be full of beans after such a long journey.
I am sure your daughter will understand that you'll be a bit 'out of it' for a couple of days.

Singapore Airport is fascinating. Lots to look at, plenty of lovely places to sit and gather yourself for the next part of your journey.

Keep packing and hand luggage simple..........and I hope you have a really wonderful time. smile

Seventimesfive Mon 09-Jan-12 21:06:02

When I visited me DD in Australia for the first time I was so excited I did't sleep! Arrived at 6 p.m. went to bed about 8 and woke up the next morning with no jet lag. Maybe I was just lucky!

Greatnan Mon 09-Jan-12 21:28:36

I am writing this from New Zealand and I also few into Singapore with Singapore Airlines. The Flight Transfers are very clearly marked and they will handle your luggage for you. It really is very straight-forward and all the staff speak English.

Your local library or computer repair shop will be able to print out your e-ticket. You can google 'Aircraft seats' to find out the pros and cons of all the different seats and this facility is also on the Singapore Airline site.

I don't suffer from jet-lag, but you might need to allow yourself a day to recover. I don't sleep much on planes, just doze. They give you a blanket and a small pillow and I also carry a blow-up neck pillow.

Remember that liquids and creams in your hand luggage must be in containers or no more than 100 ml and in a clear plastic bag. You will have to buy another bottle of water when you change planes - I like to keep one in my hand luggage.

If you are given an apple on the plane DO NO PUT IT INTO YOUR HAND LUGGAGE. I only escaped a $400 fine because they took pity on my age!

This is my second visit to my daughter - I was here last February and March and the weather was perfect.

I am sure you will have a wonderful time and I look forward to hearing about it. If I can be of any further help, please send me a pm.

Annobel Mon 09-Jan-12 21:44:01

Hello namo I recommend an aisle seat so that you can easily get up and stretch your legs and/or go to the loo without climbing over anyone. The cabin crew are pretty good about handing out water and juice even during a night flight. If they don't come round, you only have to ask. Make sure that one of the things in your plastic bag is toothpaste and remember your toothbrush. It's nice to arrive feeling fresh. I always take spare knickers in my hand luggage. Don't wear socks with elastic tops in case your ankles swell - this is not abnormal. In fact, don't wear anything tight. I find that the in-flight movie almost invariably sends me to sleep!
If all else fails, you may be able to print out your eticket and seat bookings at your public library.
It will all work out well. Don't worry; have a great time - it's a lovely country and February is usually a good month, but don't hold me to that!

Greatnan Mon 09-Jan-12 22:27:45

I wear flight socks to guard against DVT, and shoes I can slip on and off easily. I usually like a window seat on European flights, but I agree that easy access to the toilets is a must on long flights.
I also carry wet-wipes although they come round with hot towels two or three times on long flights.
I did a lot of research before choosing Singapore Airlines and they were highly recommended. However, I chose the vegetarian option for meals and it was very unimaginative, so I will go for the meat next time.
In February, I chose Cathay Pacific and it was a nightmare as they were trying new seats, inside a fibre-glass pod, so that the person in front did not recline into your space. Unfortunately, the seat inside the pod did not recline properly and I had to sit bolt upright for 24 hours - not a good idea for an arthritic old lady!
I will probably keep thinking of things and I will post them whenever I do!

Annobel Mon 09-Jan-12 22:38:39

When I flew on Singapore Airlines, I seem to remember that they had a fish course, but I had ordered the veggie option. can never remember what I have had to eat on flights, except that, out of sheer boredom, I usually eat the lot. Once, on Air NZ, I had the same meal twice consecutively. Not good!

JessM Mon 09-Jan-12 22:56:02

Pack a very light hand baggage. Last time I flew Virgin were being very strict about only 6KG. Sent me away until it was lighter... (much stuffing of things in pockets).
I put my hand luggage under the seat in front not in the locker. So i can get at stuff without opening overhead locker.
Take one tiny pot of vaseline (handbag sized) for dry lips, nose etc with your toothbrush.
If you have a kindle it means you can read without having your light on.
Flight socks help to counteract swelling ankles.
Some chewy mints to chomp on if your ears start playing up on descent.
Take onto the plane an empty water bottle (water drunk while waiting to board) You can then ask the crew to fill it up for you, so that you don't have to juggle with plastic cups.
Don't be afraid to ask crew for cups of tea, glasses of juice etc. Get up and walk to the galley. There will always be someone there happy to get you a drink.
Dont be afraid to ask for help with the onboard entertainment if you cant get the hang of it.
You might find plane not too full as it is the end of the NZ summer in Feb.
On your first day there stay awake, outdoors if possible. This will help your body clock.

You can still do the online check in on your computer. You will still have to go to the desk for an international flight. Just go through the process and then when you get to the airport, go to checkin. They always seem to give you another boarding card anyway.
There will be orchids to look at when you walk around singapore airport.
Finally make up your mind that you may as well enjoy the flight, and that it will pass quickly and easily.
And have a great time!!!!!!!!!

Stansgran Tue 10-Jan-12 16:42:24

Flying to singapore doesn't necessarily mean singapore airlines does it?
They have massage armchairs at the airport-worth having a go at one to get rid of aches and pains of inflight seats. Always pack a complete change of clothes-ie undies and nightwear in hand luggage and travel in clothes for destination not UK(even if it's snowing here when you leave)-a pashmina is a godsend as the blankets are often synthetic and crackle.your own neck pillow is good and tie something neon to your case(we once shot off to our hotel with someone else's case in Sydney-really dozy when we got off the plane) My eyes get very dry so I take eyedrops. avoid wearing trainers at check in or metal belts as they ask you to remove them. I wear old soft casuals as feet swell. And love it all.

Annobel Tue 10-Jan-12 17:55:17

Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand are members of the Star Alliance group of airlines and often the link at Singapore is between the two. Singapore on first leg, Air NZ on the second.

JessM Tue 10-Jan-12 18:16:29

hmmm so are Virgin. If you fly back from NZ via LAX it is a bit mix and match between the 2
sad
But the good news is that LA is building a new international terminal At last!
They are joining the rest of the world and entering the late 20th C. (yes I know, but some things about the states is like the 70s. and that is one of them. When i detoured to seattle i though the crews on Alaska AIr could teach the Virgin guys and girls a thing or two about human interaction though. I think they all have showbiz backgrounds)

Annobel Tue 10-Jan-12 19:26:50

That's true, JessM, last time I flew to San Fran by Virgin and onward to Auckland by Air NZ. Virgin Atlantic was a good flight and, unusually, they gave economy passengers a toiletry bag with toothbrush and toothpaste and, I think, comb and a few other odds and ends.

Greatnan Tue 10-Jan-12 22:52:21

I got the toilet bag and toothbrush/paste on Singapore Airlines. I hasten to add that I always travel economy class!

Annobel Tue 10-Jan-12 23:50:53

They must have improved their service since I flew with them - mind you, that was eleven years ago.

Greatnan Wed 11-Jan-12 03:22:52

The service and punctuality were fine - my only quarrel was with the food.
In hundreds of flights over 31 years, I can remember only about five decent meals. The best was on Lufthansa and the worst, oddly enough, on Air France.

namo Thu 12-Jan-12 14:37:18

I'm just amazed by all your replies - I never expected such a response. Thankyou so much. I'm working my way through all your tips, and writing a list. It's made me feel very supported. I love living on my own, but sometimes it's so good to have some help.

Carol Thu 12-Jan-12 14:58:39

Greatnan the best meal I have ever had on an airline was Air France, flying from Manchester to Paris. It was a simple meal of shrimps in beurre blanc, and I remember having delicious soft brie, a few pieces of baguette and a delicate red wine. All beautifully served with linen napkins and nothing was too much trouble for the cabin crew.

The worst meal I have ever had was on American Airlines going from Heathrow to Los Angeles - rude cabin crew who bitched about the passengers for 10 hours, then dashed around one hour before landing, dropping sandwiches in our laps and walking up and down the aisles saying 'water or coffee?'

namo let us know what you decide, won't you?

Butternut Thu 12-Jan-12 15:40:50

I'm with you Carol - best flight/food Air France, worst American Airlines (with similar experiences, unfortunately!). BA not bad, but expensive.
Singapore Airlines have more leg room than Air France, and the service is wonderful.

MaggieP Thu 12-Jan-12 15:58:33

Has anyone mentioned Emirates? After three years flying often to Dubai and also onto Sydney and New Zealand, we are total converts and now our friends fly regularly to see their sons in Both countries with Emirates.
Good service and mostly charming cosmopolitan crew.

GrandmaAnge Fri 13-Jan-12 08:53:12

Hi namo, We make the trip to NZ via Singapore every year and have done for the past 10 years - we're very lucky. Please, just relax and enjoy the pampering. Singapore Airlines is one of the best in the world at customer service. There are drinks available whenever you want one, just ask. The airline food is typical but plenty of it and imaginative, and if you fancy a glass of wine at 11am that's fine.
The SA staff are lovely, very helpful. You've your own entertainment screen in your reclining seat with lots of the latest films, TV programmes and music at the push of a button. Slip off your shoes, put on the woolly socks they give you, get under your blanket and relax - the time will go by.
Do get an aisle seat and walk a little regularly to exercise. Stand by the loos if you can and you'll soon get chatting to other travellers and take advantage of a rare time when you're waited on. In fact, just make the flights part of this glorious and rare adventure. All the best on your travels!

NanaAnna Fri 13-Jan-12 12:15:14

Hi - don't panic I did the same trip in 2006 and all was fine, though having curry for breakfast was a little odd! Just beware though they charge you to LEAVE the country so make sure you have CASH for that. Can't remember how much it was.

Jacey Fri 13-Jan-12 12:48:49

25 New Zealand dollars NanaAnna

Butternut Fri 13-Jan-12 12:57:10

The best tip is to stay cool, namo, the only way to travel. smile

marti Sat 14-Jan-12 03:22:33

Go to local library to print before hand if you don't have a friend, or get to the airport early, it is worth it, look up seat allocation on seatguru.com

After boarding looka round to see if there are any spaces where you could sit where no one is next to you and ask to move, or just move, - it does happen, and it makes a lot of difference not to be rubbing shoulders with a stranger

Don't expect a great sleep, it is unrealistic, instead catch up on movies and read, and who knows, you may just drift off.

in the Singapore stop over walk around a lot, go over to another terminal. Termainal 2 has a great foot spa where small fish eat dry skin off, and it feels great, but maybe you won't have enough time. But do walk around when you can.
A few drinks relax me and also drink a lot of water

It is worth it!

namo Wed 18-Jan-12 19:42:27

Hi everyone. I thought I'd let you know how things are going. Your replies reminded me that once I'd dealt with the practical stuff, like weight of luggage, and passport expiry date, I could actually relax into it, and you were so reassuring, I found myself thinking "well, as long as I've checked the main things, I'm really okay." So my gratitude and thanks for that. It did help. The panic has subsided and I've actually started to look forward to my trip! Yeh!

But if anyone wants to get to grips with the practicalities of flying to New Zealand, there are quite a few things that it's definitely helpful to know beforehand and I now have quite a list - thanks to you, (and to various websites). For instance, I checked more thoroughly about the online check-in process and discovered you actually don't need a printer at home - you can save the details to print out at the airport. It was ironic because I discovered this after I'd "relaxed" into it, and was thinking "it's fine - it doesn't matter, I'll check-in when I get to the airport"..