Tag Archives: guestwriter

An Unplanned Flight on the BB-8 plane

ANA First off the checklist too!

Flown August 2016
Published January 2017

At Narita Airport

It has been some time since my last entry and I finally got the time to share my first flight report for this blog, which is not going to be very common since I prefer to focus on hotels.

Maybe this is considered the second, but I guess my Medical Emergency does not really count as a flight report, does it?

Continue reading An Unplanned Flight on the BB-8 plane

A different kind of trip report

This report is a special request from Aaron to add variety to the usual commercial airlines trip reports. Its been almost 2 months since this trip. However I am not as eloquent in writing as Aaron, plus my camera skills is no better than him, thus the delay of this trip report.

We all have been on commercial airliners before, but what better than to impress friends and family if you can actually gain control of an airplane? The opportunity came during my recent holiday to New Zealand where a particular flight school has a trial flight programme to cater to tourists and aviation enthusiasts who dream of being in control of an airplane, and no flying experience is required. Not only that, you are allowed to bring a friend onboard. In my case, my wife and son took the leap of faith.

Wanaka flight training, located in Wanaka airport, about 1 hour drive from Queenstown in South Island, offers trial 20 min for NZD$149, 30 min for NZD$199 and 1 hr for NZD$349. It is advisable to book a timeslot in advance to secure your place especially during summer months and I booked a 30 min flight for NZD$199.

The flight starts with a safety video and before long, an instructor will lead you to the aircraft. Wanaka flight school uses the Piper Cherokee, a 4 seater aircraft as shown here:

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All pre flight inspections are done by your instructor and before long, we are in the aircraft doing preflight preparations.

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My son seems apprehensive on his dad’s ability to fly a plane.

Pre Flight preparations took about 10 minutes and soon after we are on the way. You will be taxiing the aircraft to the runway hold area on your own with radio communications all handled by the instructor.

In no time, control tower cleared us for take off:

I have been through flight training years ago, and the instructor being aware of his student being able to handle an aircraft, gave instructions on take off speed (80 knots) and leave the entire flight to my control. His role thus is reduced to providing me with flight directions and acting as a safety pilot, leaving flight controls such as yoke and trim to me.

The flight flies along Lake Wanaka with spectacular million dollar views:

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Time passes quickly when you are having fun and in no time, the instructor asks me to reduce power on the throttle to begin our descend and started giving me directions to get back to Wanaka airport.

Landing Approach towards the grass runway

And touchdown!

A certificate at the end of the flight. For pilots, you can clocked this flight into your pilot’s logbook.

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Verdict:

It’s flying at its most basic, a good introduction to the dynamics of flying in 30 mins and you get to taxi the aircraft, take off, experience flight controls such as trim and bank and of course landing, all under the guidance of an instructor. For those who has some form of flying experience, a chance to be in the controls of an aeroplane again and at the same time marvel the beautiful sights of New Zealand South Island landscape.

DASH-ing through the snow on a 4-mile-per-dollar sleigh…

Ho ho ho! It’s that time of the year again, and sounds of festive cheer are in the air. Or maybe that’s just the sound of holiday tunes being piped in stores. Whatever the case, hopefully this post can help put you in the holiday mood.

I’ve been trying out this mode of payment recently and have been successfully gaining 4 miles per dollar on it for some time now. Didn’t think to write about it earlier because I was pretty late to the party myself, it’s pretty troublesome, and I only see it as useful for Singtel users, but if there’s anything recent news has taught me, it’s there there are plenty of Singtel users in Singapore.

Also, what are MileLion readers if not brave folk ready to jump through hoops in order to maximise mileage gain?

MileLion Circus Charlie

What is (Singtel) Dash?

Dash can be a rather confusing product, mainly because it includes multiple services like a bank account, personal loans and insurance. What’s immediately relevant here is Singtel Dash, a mobile app [Android | iOS] that acts as a mobile wallet. Think of it like an EZ-Link card on your phone that you can use to make payments (though somewhat more limited).

The website states that it is accepted at “20,000 stores and counting”, so if you happen to see Dash being accepted where you buy stuff, you’re all set!
Dash merchants

(Unfortunately, it’s not quite as simple as that – coverage can still pretty limited; I was disappointed to find out that FairPrice Finest outlets are excluded, for instance!)

If you’re a Singtel user and have an NFC-enabled phone (for most people – the more advanced Android phones), you can even get a Singtel Transit NFC SIM to use Dash to tap for public transport. You can also tap to pay at Dash merchants (regardless of telco), though iPhone users have to manually input a counter code, which slows down the process noticeably.

How do I get 4 miles per dollar via Dash?

Singtel Dash is essentially a prepaid account that you need to top up before use. Most people would do so directly from their bank accounts, but Singtel users also get the option of topping up via Singtel bill (edit: this is capped at $200 per monthly billing cycle).

This allows you to effectively channel a chunk of your spending to your Singtel bill, and since Singtel allows you to make payments via their website (or through their app), which codes as online spend…

Now, if only there were some way to get 4mpd on online spend… Hmm…

(You might also want to take a look at the crowdsourced Google Spreadsheet to check which cards have been successfully clocking miles on online payments to Singtel.)

Isn’t this a whole lot of trouble?

Yes, it is. This is especially so for me since I’m on an iPhone, and payments can be painfully slow when there’s a line behind me at the cashier. Still, we’ve gotta do what we gotta do, right?

I also prefer not to leave extra funds in the mobile wallet, so I have to top it up every time I make a Dash purchase. It’s not that difficult, but the extra steps can get annoying.

(To be frank, I’m still evaluating if I want to continue doing this in the long run. Still, it seems to be a more painless procedure for Android users, especially if you’re willing to leave funds in the mobile wallet.)

Other deals on Dash

One thing that’s kept me coming back to Dash is the abundance of promotional deals it’s been running. For instance, they’re currently offering 5% cashback on a number of merchants (e.g. FairPrice, taxis) – coupled with the 4 miles per dollar (which I value at about 2¢ each) I currently get about a 13% return of value on my Dash purchases.

This particular offer is set to last until 31 Dec 2016, though, so I’m not sure if that’ll still be the case come 2017.

Conclusion

If you happen to spend a fair bit of money at merchants that accept Dash as payment (e.g. FairPrice), this could be one way to gain 4mpd on that expenditure, if you’re a Singtel user (edit: up to $200 per month). The additional promotional deals don’t hurt, either.

Admittedly, it’s rather troublesome, especially if you’re an iPhone user. However, there’s no set up cost, so maybe you’d like to get the app [Android | iOS] and see if you think it’s worth the effort?