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December 6, 2006

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WHERE'S JOHNNY JET?                             MALAYSIA AIRLINES

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Selamat from Malaysia! I'm on a round-the-world ticket, coming to you from the heart of Asia! How cool is that? Last week we left off in beautiful Stockholm, Sweden where I spent only a night (here's the link to the archives). Instead of flying the 5,500 miles back to Los Angeles, I went in the other direction. This is my maiden voyage circling the globe, and my first time in Malaysia. If you want to come with me on a journey halfway around the world, hop on: A Malaysia Airlines Golden Club Class (business class) seat has your name written all over it. If you’re in a hurry or have ADD, don’t worry; there’s a 1-minute Johnny Jet video at the end of this week’s story. Also: Because I can't be in two places at once, my good friend Debbie Cloyed (from the Amazing Race) traveled all the way to Macau to tell us what's going on there. Who knew it had so much culture, and is becoming the Vegas of Asia with the brand new Wynn & Venetian Casinos ( click here to check out her story)?

I admit I was a bit nervous about this trip. Not only was it my first time around the world, but I didn't know anything about Malaysia. Some Fox News Channel- loving friends put the fear of God in me when they said I was crazy to travel there. They made me feel like I would either be killed in an anti-American rally, or framed – then hanged – for smuggling drugs. This was on top of all my others concerns: How would my asthma hold up in the pollution? Were there huge poisonous snakes? And would I contract malaria or other diseases because I did not take the vaccinations my doctor recommended? (Huge sigh.)

Note: I was on the June 2004 inaugural Singapore-to-Newark flight (here's the link). It's still the longest nonstop commercial flight in the world. But I don't count it as "going around the world," because instead of circling the globe, it travels over the polar cap.

Most of my fears subsided the moment I checked-in at Malaysia Airlines. The Golden Club Class check-in line was empty (the economy line wasn't much longer). The pretty agent was friendly; she laughed at my jokes, took my Delta SkyMiles frequent flier number (Malaysia Airlines is partners with Delta and Northwest), and pointed me toward the short security line as she handed me my boarding card and pass for the lounge. My first stop after clearing security was the Novia lounge. Malaysia Airlines shares it with two dozen other airlines; it is reserved for business class passengers and/or club members. The lounge was a nice haven from the crowded gate area. But it was too quiet for me, and had nothing special to offer. So after a glass of orange soda I hit the duty-free shops.

As I spent my last Swedish kroners I glanced up at an airport monitor and saw my flight flashing "final call." I looked at my watch in a panic. I could not understand why it was final call. According to my clock I had over an hour left. But I had no time to find out if there was a mistake, if my watch broke, if there was a time change the night before, or anything. I could only react. So I ran through the airport like a crazy man – passing all the slow, reserved Swedes on the way. I arrived at the gate, where I appeared to be the last person to go through passport control and secondary screening. Once inside the gate area, I realized I wasn't the last. In fact, I was one of the first. They had not even begun boarding! The agent said they do this "final call" so there won't be a bottleneck at secondary security, which in turn would make the plane late. It makes sense -- but I wish someone informed me, so I would not almost have a coronary or asthma attack.

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Copyright 2006 JohnnyJet, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Pictures From

The Trip


Sweden to Malaysia


Stockholm Airport


Terminal 2




Security Line


Airlines That Use The Lounge


Inside The Lounge


Gate Area


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