I’ve been wanting to write about our recent trip to Hong Kong’s flight and airport experience.
So here goes.
We flew to Hong Kong on Tiger Airways last December. They offered this promotional price sometime in August, and we went to grab it. Not too long after that however, we kind of found out that Tiger Airways’ reputation kept on going down the hill, with its many flight cancellations, bad service and all.
Frankly, the thought of NOT going to Hong Kong at all (and losing all our money altogether) did cross our minds.
Thank goodness the flight was NOT cancelled, and the Singapore-Hong Kong flight was delayed for just 30 minutes! Not bad, we thought.
[The queue at the waiting area of Singapore's Budget Terminal - to board the plane - was SUPER DUPER long though! It was just very crowded!]
Now. Here’s how it was like for us when it was time to return to Singapore.
We reached Hong Kong International Airport 2.5 hours before its scheduled departure time. The check-in counter was still closed, so we went to check out the shops.
[The airport is btw HUGE, nice and spacious]
Now the thing is, when we got back to see if the counter was opened (ie. just a little less than 2 hours before departure time), the queue at Tiger Airways’ check-in counter was already snake-like!
It was REALLY long! And so we quickly joined in and waited.
[Tiger Airways' queue at Hong Kong International Airport!]
The whole checking-in process was unexpectedly SUPER SLOW though. We queued up for more than an hour and by the time we were checked in and went passed the immigration (which again was another long queue), we’re only left with 45 mins before take off.
We really wanted to see the rest of the airport before we left, but obviously we couldn’t (especially when we’re told how we MUST be on the plane at least 15 mins before departure time)
And here’s one thing that I wanted to highlight to you, just in case you plan to travel from Hong Kong to Singapore on Tiger Airways: it took us THIRTY MINUTES to get to the boarding gate.
You see, … after you’ve passed the immigration officers, you still have to get on TWO trains to reach your boarding gate.
The trains do come every 2-3 minutes, which is great, but the boarding gate was FAR from the immigration point. And the fact that Tiger Airways’ boarding gate was the one located at the VERY END didn’t help.
[Nice afternoon sun. Taken while Wilson queued and waited to check in]
So you could only imagine how the four of us literally RAN across the airport towards the gate (okay, I was half-running while holding my tummy at the same time. It was hard).
There weren’t that many people around somehow, which was weird, and it made us think that we were probably the very last few people who’d be boarding the plane.
In the end, we reached the plane 15 minutes before the scheduled departure time. And we were like, phew!
But you know what?
Apparently many more people came even later than us (they probably didn’t expect that it’d take them 30 minutes to reach the plane?).
The plane (which was there on time!) was delayed for almost an hour because of them. And in the end, the pilot decided to go without those last, very late, six passengers (I was impressed that the plane was actually ready to take off on time!)
[Running is fun, when you're a kiddo, but not quite for parents with kids and bags in tow]
Anyway. Here’re three quick tips from me, if you’re taking Tiger from Hong Kong:
1. If you’d like to look around the airport, be there 3-4 hours earlier! Trust me, it’s safer that way. There are heaps of things to see there. It’s a nice airport.
2. Even if the counter is not yet opened, it’s best to hang around the Tiger Airways’ check-in counter (at Terminal 2) at least 2 hours before its scheduled departure time.
3. Do factor in at least 30 minutes for you to get to the boarding gate. Running towards the gate is not something you’d really want, especially when you have a pregnant lady and two little kids in tow.
Travel safe, everyone!
PS: If you have any traveling tips or other airport / Tiger Airways experiences, please do share! I’d love to hear from you!