Thursday, January 28, 2010

Air China Review (SIN - JFK)

Air China Review (SIN - JFK)

After completing a Trip from Singapore - Beijing - New York (JFK) and back, I guess I have sufficient experience to review this flight.

First and foremost I would like to say that the flight was the cheapest I could find. I flew American Airlines, United, Malaysian Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Etihad, Eva Air, Singapore Airlines, Japan Airlines, and more, but for my trip on 28 Oct 2009 - 28 Jan 2010, Air China has definitely the best price.

Airport - Beijing Airport.

Flying Air China, the hub is Beijing Airport, and you probably have to stop over for a connecting flight.



Beijing Airport is pretty new looking, looks rather clean, and nice from photos, however, I find the following very strange:

This area looks nice and I sat on the couches and it smelled like someone shit on it. There are a few more areas near Gate 57 where I can smell shit. I approached the cleaners and informed them and 2 ladies quarreled loudly with each other and I felt uneasy and walked away, I think they actually found some shit in the "drain" near the viewing area.

Another note, I found spit near the rubbish bins, and the locals were very loud and pushy when the boarding gates were opened, they would cut the queue and get friends in. I guess this is not Air China's fault.

The stores are also closed really early. I was there at 6 am, and stores were not opened, and on the return flight, I walked around at 7 pm and most of the stores were packing up and closing. I guess they just do not have much transit traffic.

Food is "airport priced" US$15 for a meal with a drink is expected, not terribly expensive, but marginally better than airline food.


Airline Comfort

The seats are rather average sized, the screens are relatively far away, and with the passenges chatting loudly, you can probably not hear with the poor quality headphones which break on contact. Don't expect inflight entertainment. (There are also lots of ads during inflight movies)

The airplane is old and it shows, the carpets are dirty and the side of the plane on the inside is caked with dirt. I had grey socks and the darker shade of grey can be seen of the bottom of the socks after taking shoes off for a brief hour.

The passenger beside me and my row had no reading lights, the cover for the ashtray lid is missing and the seat beside mine cannot be tilted. But seat belts work and plane did not crash, and I'm happy to be alive.

Again, my main complain is with the passengers, they use their phones in the plane before take off, try to smoke "electronic cigarettes" bring too much luggage on board, are loud and have no personal hygiene. I saw a lady sneezing and using the fabric at the head rest to wipe her nose... Yuck!

When plane lands, everyone stands up and takes their luggage down before the plane come to a stop. When I first arrive at JFK, the plane jerked a little and few fell down.



1) YanJing Beer is kinda good, make sure you try it.

2) The flight is awefully cheap, 20% cheaper than Cathay Pacific.

3) Air China is a member of Star Alliance, you can earn United miles and Cathay Miles

4) SIN - JFK (1 stop in Beijing only!)

5) Beijing Airport looks relatively new and nice, there is a slight chance you need to get on the bus to get to your plane, but otherwise, the staff at the airport is pleasant.

6) Flight seem to be on time.



1) Food in flight is really terrible. I ordered noodles and got rice, and same thing happened on next flight. The rice is dry and crunchy, and meat rather stale and definitely reheated.

2) Nice shops, but now open! WTF?

3) Passengers are loud and obnoxious, they cut queue, and smell bad.

4) Plane is not really clean, maybe get disposable clothes to burn after the flight?



If you are budget conscious and this flight is significantly cheaper, you don't need to read this review, you probably have already considered taking this flight.

For SIN - JFK, I would say take it if you had no other choice, if I get to pick again, I'd pay the 20% more to fly Cathay Pacific. Avoid Airports in China... Passengers may be really annoying.'

--Reviews Guru.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Bank of America Review

Yeah, many people have many prejudice of this bank, but I'm going to attempt to have an honest review.

Some Information:

Bank of America is a financial services company, the largest bank holding company in the United States, by assets, and the second largest bank by market capitalization. Bank of America serves clients in more than 150 countries and has a relationship with 99 percent of the U.S. Fortune 500 companies and 83 percent of the Fortune Global 500. The company is a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Global Consumer and Small Business Banking is the largest division in the company, and deals primarily with consumer banking and credit card issuance. The acquisition of FleetBoston and MBNA significantly expanded its size and range of services, resulting in about 51% of the company's total revenue in 2005. It competes directly with the retail banking divisions of Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase. The organization includes over 6,100 retail branches and over 18,700 ATMs across the United States.

Bank of America is a member of the Global ATM Alliance, a joint venture of several major international banks that allows customers of the banks to use their ATM card or check card at another bank within the Global ATM Alliance with no ATM access fees when traveling internationally. Other participating banks are Barclays (United Kingdom), BNP Paribas (France), China Construction Bank (China), Deutsche Bank (Germany), Santander Serfin (Mexico), Scotiabank (Canada) and Westpac (Australia and New Zealand). This feature is restricted to withdrawals using a debit card, though credit card withdrawals are still subject to cash advance fees and foreign currency conversion fees. Additionally, some foreign ATMs use Smart Card technology and may not accept non-Smart Cards.


In essence, Bank of America is a very big bank with a lot of customers. As the largest bank, the Bank own the largest number of branches and ATMs in America. Together with some of their interesting programs like "Keep the Change", Bank of America seemed to be a very good bank by looking at their numbers.

I've personally had accounts from Sovereign Bank, Citigroup, Citizen's Bank and HSBC. And starting an account with Bank of America seemed very easy. For instance, you can do it online, and within a few simple steps, the bank account was setup.

I liked this service and received my account information and ATM card in 1 week. Depositing my first $25 transfered from Sovereign Bank somehow failed, and I tried calling Bank of America, and after being on hold for 15 minutes, I gave up, and deposited $100 in cash.

My first experience with customer service was bad, but I tried using the ATM card, depositing checks and doing basic banking and it all worked fine.

One of my roommate owned me money, and signed a check over to my name, so I deposited it, and it worked. I checked the account and the amount of $75 was deposited in a few days. So when he needed to borrow a little more again, I gave him some money for holiday shopping and got his pay check the next day. Everything seemed fine.

A week later, my bank account was closed by Bank of America. I could not access my ATM card, could not get to the customer service. I did not receive a phone call, nothing. Bank of America just terminated the bank account with fund inside. I was rather frustrated, and the ATM card did not say anything, it simply did not work. I went to a branch and after speaking to a customer service agent at the branch, he called and told me it is a "Corporate Decision" and did not elaborate any further.

3 days have passed and I just received a letter that my account was closed, no reason was given, just a note saying that they have the right to do it, and that my money may be returned to me in the next few days.


For a bank that has so much advantage over their competitors, Bank of America seemed to be totally unreasonable and simply "un-bankable" with.

I sure hope I receive my money that was deposited in the account.



If you never needed to use any customer service, you simply have a direct deposit and you just use your ATM card to withdraw money, then Bank of America may be fine -- until your debit card is compromised and you need to contact the customer service where there is none.

-- Reviewsguru

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Boston First Night 2010 Review.

New Years Celebration occurs in most big cities, and this year, I was in Boston on New Years Eve.

Every year, on New Years Eve, December 31, First Night Boston happens. The following things generally occur on First Night:

1) Parade at 5:30pm (Hynes Convention Center)
2) Fireworks at 7pm in Boston Common
3) Fireworks at 11:59pm at the Boston Harbor.

I would like to thank the First Night Committee and the City of Boston for making this happen. The volunteers for First Night and the Boston Police should also be commended for making the event flow smoothly and keeping order.

I like First Night Boston, for a few reasons:

1) Everything is relatively in walking distance, visitors who visit the events can get to know the city well.
2) Free MBTA Train Rides after 8pm! (Encourages people to get out and use public transportation)
3) Both FREE and "First Night Button" Events to cater for people of all ages.

The following are the "FREE" Events in Boston that I went to.

The Parade at 5:30pm.

The Parade was fun, if you arrive earlier, you may even be able to participate in the parade. The Parade is down Boylston Street towards Boston Common, and every year, regardless of the weather, thousands of people will gather to watch it.

Besides the Parade, you could also see the Ice Sculptures. They are usually located by the Public Library near Copley and in Boston Common.

You can't find ice sculptures in tropical countries, and it is a real treat as the theme for each year is different. If you are a visitor to Boston for the first time, you should go to First Night earlier in the day and watch the artist chisel and chainsaw the sculptures, and then view them at night again. It is really interesting and enjoyable to see them being made.

Like I said before, the ice sculptures are scattered around the city, and you will be able to see the pretty sights getting to them.

I've been around Boston for many years, and walking in Boston on New Years is special and very much different as the crowds seem to make the walk more enjoyable. Everyone is in a festive mood and ready to party!

Next: Fireworks.

There are 2 Fireworks Display.

One at 5:30 pm in Boston Common, where you can get photos of the Fireworks which are launched pretty low above the tree line, and even get great shots of the State House.

The other Fireworks is at Boston Harbor, near The New England Aquarium.

The finale fireworks. I feel something special every year when I watch the fireworks. It always amaze me that "Land of the Dead" when Zombies are transfixed with Fireworks and it happens here a lot in Boston as well. At midnight, when everyone looks up in the sky after the first explosion, there seemed to be this moment of happiness inside that tells me "Whatever happened last year, this year will be better."

Watching the fireworks is one of the most wonderful experience where all the worries disappear during those moments of explosions and everyone seemed to look up in happiness.

To everyone reading this, thank you and have a Great 2010!