My Trip - Part 2, Heathrow to Singapore
Monday 1st November 1999
After the short flight from Aberdeen it was now a long wait till the flight to Singapore, about 5 hours in fact!
There was no need to check in as all my seating arrangements right through to Australia were made in Aberdeen. At least I knew that I had window seats all the way!
As no windows to see the aircraft from inside the terminal I spent my time wandering through the shops, Harrods was full of teddy bears?!. I decided to have a drink and something to eat to help pass the time. It didn't. The only other thing I could do was watch the flight departure screens showing American, Virgin and United flights in various stages of readiness for departure.
Finally, at 1905 Singapore Airlines flight SQ317 was called for boarding. On arrival at the entrance to the gate there were already many passengers there, being ushered through to the departure lounge. The boarding pass collector looked twice at my card as it was issued by BA, only to realise it was a Singapore Airlines flight.
Once in the departure lounge I got a closer view of Boeing 747-400, 9V-SMM, parked at the gate. After a while the lounge was pretty full. I then realised that the plane would be full too.
At long last the aircraft was ready for boarding, middle to rear of aircraft first. That included me as I was in row 44. I sat myself down at the window seat, hand luggage under the seat in front, and had a look through the seat pocket to find out what goodies were there. Brand new copies of SilverKris, KrisWorld, KrisShop, KrisFone and the usual safety card and sick bag. Outside, to my right was a Virgin A340 in the new colours.
Doors closed and the aircraft was pushed back from it's stand. After being turned round I spotted another two Virgin A340's and a 747. 9V-SMM trundled along the taxiway, safety demonstration under way and I was off. It was about 8.05pm, the scheduled departure time.
Being dark outside, I couldn't really see much apart from a couple of Alitalia MD82's taking off, a Varig MD11 in special colours and what I think was a Qatar A310.
After watching a British Airways 747-400 departing, 9V-SMM was lined up on LHR's runway 27L and the flight to Singapore was about to begin!
After lift-off it was a right turn over West London, right turn again and the aircraft headed east. London was all lit up in the night sky. The night sky was dotted with a few clouds. I spotted Heathrow through all the lights and it looked good, a few aircraft strobes caught my attention.
The only thing between me and Singapore was 13 hours!!
Soon the champagne was doing the rounds in the cabin and the KrisWorld system was turned on. A few latest movies were shown, which included Runaway Bride, The Haunting, Deep Blue Sea and and oldie, Mrs Doubtfire. I pulled the remote control from the armrest to have a go at the games. One side was the games/tv/audio controls, the other was the KrisFone telephone. I resisted using this as it cost US$0.79 per six second block!!! The graphics of the games were a bit dated, but it did help pass the time.
Dinner was served with a choice of beef or braised fish fillet. No beef left so the fillet was mine! It wasn't that good and have tasted better meals on aircraft, sorry Singapore Airlines! After another glass of champagne I settled down for the rest of the flight and to watch a few movies and have a sleep........well try to. I can never seem to sleep on planes.
Below me the cities of Amsterdam, Berlin, Tbilisi, Delhi, and Calcutta passed. Soon daylight emerged and got my first glimpse of the the Bay of Bengal and then the Anadaman Sea. Not far ahead on the flight plan was Phuket and Penang. After those points the aircraft routed Kuala Lumpur then on to Singapore.
My camcorder and camera found their way out of my bag for a few shots. It was pretty cloudy below but there were a few breaks. Where I was, it was sunny! The wing was huge and flexed now and then in the turbulence.
9V-SMM started it's decent and I realised that we might have been going a little fast as the airbrakes were deployed for a while. It was a bumpyish decent but I didn't mind at all.
It was a straight in arrival on Changi's runway 02R. Camera at the ready, I captured my touchdown on film. Taxiing to the gate I saw many SQ aircraft, including my first Boeing 777-300. Others included Air Lanka A340, Finnair MD11, Swissair MD11 and a few of the SilkAir fleet. On parking at the gate, the inflight magazines were placed neatly into my hand luggage along with a safety card!
The doors were opened and I soon found myself in the fantastic, very beautiful and air conditioned Changi Airport.
The story continues.....................