14 December 2015

Five Years Ago in Hong Kong

The year was 2010. I will never forget this holiday trip. It was from December 27th to January 2nd. My family of infinity(seems like) and I came from the United States and the Philippines to meet up in Hong Kong. This was also a memorable time for my lola, my grandmother, was with us. And of course, it was our first time non-revving, flying standby as space-available passengers, as a party of five from San Francisco, and another lucky one from New York during the holiday season, which was a big no-no for the experienced airline non-revs. NEVERTHELESS, we gambled our travel bug selves and we were able to get on the flight to Hong Kong. Yaaaaaaaas.

~ Day One: SFO - HKG ~

The one and only UA869 on the queen of the skies, Economy class
(Gotta be humble! T'was the holiday season)

Right when we got settled in our hotel that late evening, of course we went out to explore to eat. We even got in trouble for bringing these two cousins of ours. Don't remember if it was because they did not tell their parents that they left the hotel with us or if they left the hotel even if their parents told them not to come with us. Hah. Teenageros...

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~ Day Two ~ Rounding up all the families. What are we up to today? Welp, it took me a while to figure out the chronological order of these pictures since all of these images were from different digital cameras. Yes. Digital Cameras. When digital cameras were actually cameras by themselves.

Shopping in Hong Kong is like no other. Tsim Sha Tsui.
Disneyland Hong Kong. First-timers



Dinner time at that one restaurant. Ugh. Whats-it-called... We always go to this Chinese Restaurant every time we travel to Hong Kong. I shall find out. Coming soon.


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~ DAY 3 ~

Another lovely morning in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. We pretty much spent the whole day eating and shopping. Treat yo selves.



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~ DAY FOUR ~

And... Another day of shopping, eating, and creating more memories.


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~ DAY FIVE ~

Last day of our family reunion holiday trip. On this day was New Year's Eve. We were planning on non-revving back to SFO on this day while everyone enjoyed the fireworks and parties but it was just not meant to be for us to separate families just yet.

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~ DAY SIX ~

Okay. Maybe we should have gone yesterday because the day was January 1st of 2011. EVERYONE was pretty much traveling back to their homes just like us. Only... They paid for their seats. And as non-revenue passengers, we are on standby just in case someone, or better yet a group of people, do not make it to their flight on their paid reserved seats.
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~ DAY SEVEN ~

Har har. At this time we were bumped off from all the flights yesterday and I was also not employed under an airline just yet. I was an enrolled friend from a United Express sub-contract company. SO, non-revving was on a different level to begin the year like this. My sister, who definitely made everything happen, was THE one that persevered through all the frustration.
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~ DAY EIGHT ~

At this time, standby lists were not shown on television screens nor did the United App existed just yet. Non-revving in 2011 was based on verbal announcements only. SO, In summary of our trials, we attempted the following everyday ad prayed to the non-rev gods to help us go home:


HKG - SFO (UA / CX)
Nope. Persevered, but nope.
HKG - LAX - SFO (UA)
Not a chance. I will never forget the three non-rev family, mom/dad/toddler. There were only three seats that opened up! The CSRs  just printed out boarding passes to announce names that made it. To our understanding, my family were next in line in regards to company seniority rules. BUT OF COURSE, the non-rev family that we befriended decided to PURCHASE OUR SEATS! All hope was lost that day as we went back to the Starbucks for the free wi-fi to update our friends and family that we did not make the cut and that we will be staying another night in Hong-Kong involuntarily.
HKG - ORD - SFO (UA)
Hah. No.
HKG - NRT - SFO (UA)Not even close.
HKG - KIX - SFO (UA)
My mom and dad got seats! But they accidentally brought our US passports with them on the plane. So dad had to request open the aircraft doors and exit customs to save his children while mom went on ahead to KIX - SFO.
HKG - EWR, (CO, at the time)
Our cousin who was also non-revving got on this flight. He lived in New York, so it worked just in time before he had to go back to work. Fate.
HKG - PEK - SFO (KA)
Yeah that failed horribly. We forgot we needed Chinese visas to stop in Beijing or at least a confirmed ticket to the states. We were getting desperate and running out of patience.
HKG - YVR - SFO (AC)
AND THE SKIES CLEARED AS LIGHT SHINED ON US. YES. First time flying Air Canada and forever appreciated the airline. My dad, my two sisters, and I got seats! It was a very positive experience. We were already just happy to be able to sit on the flight but the flight was even more unforgettable as the flight attendants were memorable, the food was so much better than the cheap food we had to budget back in Hong Kong, the in-flight entertainment at the time was just right, and the seats we rested on were at full-comfort level in economy class. Just perfect.

And ironically a year later, I got hired at Air Canada. The SFO team are the most heart-warming and number one customer service agents, that will go above and beyond, you will ever meet.