Current Writer: Alvin Tse

11d22f67-d5a0-451e-86ec-db06fa6517d4My name is Alvin Tse, and this is a collaborative blog which I currently run. I’m an aviation enthusiast who looks into airline cabins and elevating the travel experience with airline mileage programs and hotel points.

I’ll start off by facing the cold, hard truth. Before my sister was born (2007 – nearing nine years ago), I used to hate flying.

Literally, every time I’ve been on a flight, I would cry. It wasn’t on a few turbulent flights – it was every time. I was the person every business traveller hates to see – and thanks to the magic of miles and points and my parents’ extensive travelling as a young couple, I normally ended up in business class.

On February 10th, 2008, I boarded Cathay Pacific’s flight 580 from Hong Kong to Sapporo Chitose for a skiing trip. It was the first time I realised what class I was in, what price my parents pay for this class of service and, most importantly, how cool the seats were. I fumbled around, I chewed gum like a noob traveler, and I enjoyed it. It was the first flight I can recall, and the first flight in my life I enjoyed. I’ll never forget that flight.

Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300 Business Class

On the inbound, I learned a lot about boarding service, servicing problems and aircraft maintenance issues when our flight (also on Cathay Pacific) was delayed by a couple of hours. Despite older recliner seats, apparently subpar crew (quoting my mom) and the delay, by the end of the flight, six year old me had his own imaginary airline (Alvin Express) mapped out. I was loving it.

As I grew up more of our flights were shifted to economy, though I did get a taste of the “high life”. In 2009, I took my first fully flat bed in the air on Cathay Pacific’s herringbone business class. In 2010, I took Singapore Airlines’ A380 to Singapore (it was an awful flight, due to the fact that the turbulence was too much to handle even for that big bird). In 2011, I had another go at a fully flat bed. In 2012, I got business class on a roundtrip to Beijing (it wasn’t a good experience – though in no way related to Dragonair).

IMG_5046Singapore Airlines Airbus A380-800 Hong Kong Airport

In 2013, I flew to Koh Samui in February on Bangkok Airways, and as usual I got my “post-flying high”. Except, at 11 now, this newfound passion didn’t die. I started getting addicted to airlines and airline cabins. I met Jason, my current work partner, who started introducing me to all the perks of business class, miles and points and how good Cathay Pacific is. Plus, with all those remote stands I went through (Bangkok Airways usually departs from the satellite terminal at Hong Kong, which requires a bus ride, and Koh Samui doesn’t have any remote stands), I probably got more airplane porn than I could possibly handle. Oh, and I actually enjoyed my first airplane sunset from the inbound.

DSCF3392Bangkok Airways Airbus A319 Economy Class View of Sunset

On that same trip, I stayed at the W Retreat Koh Samui, and got that same “hotel high”, which I guess has died, though I continue to review hotels extensively nowadays. Prior to that (and the March 11 earthquake) we used to go to northern Japan very often, where my sister couldn’t give up on the Century Southern Tower Tokyo (in Sapporo, we normally stayed at condos) – this explains why I can’t say much about hotel competition even these days. Later, a few highs included watching a sunset at the W Taipei and flying on the Hello Kitty Jet by EVA Air.

DSCF3296W Retreat Koh Samui Villa Overview

DSCF4539W Taipei Fabulous Room View of Sunset

In 2014, I discovered Hong Kong Airline News, an aviation geek site that was more on “my” level – non-full time, but still pretty obsessive. Talking to Sergio, I immediately jumped in as a guest writer, also reviewing every flight I took. My first flight was an economy flight to Auckland, which caused a kerfuffle on AusBT, which young me used to piss off the readers of.

IMG_0255Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Hong Kong Airport

I think I’ve documented my travel side pretty extensively, especially after moving the blog here at Young Travelers of Hong Kong (due to technical difficulties, though I took that as an opportunity to step up and lead) – feel free to travel around the blog to know more about me, original writer Sergio and Jason. I’ve travelled much less than all the other bloggers out there – all the 71,500km I’ve flown since the blog started has been reported in my trip reports. Next year, it looks like I’ll be flying a lot more, which I’m happy with, though I guess it won’t stay on the upward trend as I near IB exams and university as I grow up.

mapAll the sectors I’ve flown and reviewed since I joined the blog in early 2014

I plan to fly more in the future, which I sometimes, out of excitement or out of assuming your interest, document on the blog.

While other bloggers write to talk about the beauty of miles and points, I’m still learning how to utilise them, and don’t have my whole schedule to use them as effectively, though I do plan to pursue such a career in the future. Rather, I try to focus on the beauty of travel, because I think I have enough to say on that level. And by travel, I include more of the first world elements such as flights and hotels, as I know I can’t compare to the best city visit sources out there – however, I do try to record my special experiences – such as biking in Lijiang or teaching kids for four tiring days in Bagan, Myanmar.

IMG_0617One of the days in my life I’ve been less proud of

If you’re looking for reviews of airlines (we’ve only reviewed eleven airlines as of now but I definitely have more planned for the future), click here. If you’re looking for reviews of hotels (admittedly most of them are in places people normally wouldn’t go, but I don’t remember a place I went that I haven’t enjoyed), click here. If you’re looking for one of Hong Kong’s or one of the few lounges outside Hong Kong that I’ve reviewed, click here.

If you’re looking for my photos, feel free to look at my YTHK Instagram page.