Having just arrived on my flight from London on the A380, I made my way into the Changi Terminal 3 feeling really quite exhausted. Once I entered T3, I immediately asked where the transfer desk was. Yes, I already did have the BP for SIN-ICN sector already but I wanted to see whether I could switch to SQ016. Of course, that flight is operated by 77W so it has a much better F product, but also I really wasn’t in the mood for a 16-hour layover even though I could relax in the lounges and go into town. I really just wanted to go home and sleep. Clearly, Y on A380 is good, but not that good!
I had my doubts as to whether they would let me, but how do you know until you try? I wasn’t sure whether to be particularly optimistic or not, since 77W would normally mean paying a surcharge and it’s not even open for redemption for other Star carriers, which is what I did. So, I walked up to the J transfer desk (as the F one was busy) and asked her to check for me whether it would be possible to take the SQ016 instead. She didn’t seem to think it was a big problem and merely called to check whether they could cater for an extra passenger, and told me that although they’ll do their best, my BTC Lobster Thermidor may not necessarily be loaded in time. Well, I really didn’t care about that – if it meant going home 15 hours early!
After waiting for a response regarding the catering, she called me over and I received my new boarding pass I was really, really excited; as much about experiencing the new product as the fact that I avoid waiting for 16 hours for the SQ602.
Next stop: SKL F T3
I had clearly underestimated the size of the terminal, since I found myself walking a lot further than I expected to in search for the lounge. Maybe it was just general tiredness (staying up all night then catching a 13-hour flight ) Anyway, the escalator up to the lounge revealed itself soon enough, and I walked into the lounge.
I had heard so many different reports, mostly negative, about the lounge. So I didn’t really know what to expect. Not that I particularly cared too much, since I will only be staying for an hour instead of 16 hours The very first thing I did was ask where the showers were, went there, and took a long hot shower. I can count on one hand the times when a shower felt so good. As reported elsewhere, the door to the cubicle does indeed have a gap that an unscrupulous peeping-tom could take advantage of but the reports of lukewarm water was untrue in my case. The water pressure was very decent, and the temperature exactly how I wanted it to be.
After making myself decent again, it was time to take a brief look around the lounge while I waited for my flight. I could see why people were disappointed – it really was nothing more than a bog-standard average lounge. There was no bar service (only in late evenings), the food selection was good but not great, there were no comfortable relaxing chairs (only normal chairs) and there was just nothing that was remotely exciting as far as a lounge goes. If VS can manage a great lounge even for its J passengers (and not just at LHR either!), why can’t SQ do something more for its F passengers? Not that it mattered too much because once I had sat down with a few bites to eat, it was time to head to the gate and avoid being offloaded!
When I reached the gate, clearly I was one of the last passengers to board as the area was completely deserted. I walked onto the flight, and that’s when the magical 6-hour flight began…
Big! Everything was twice the size of anything I had ever seen! (Well, until I saw the A380 anyway, but that wasn’t my seat so it didn’t count!) There were 8 seats in F in total, in 2 rows of 1-2-1 configuration, and the F “suite” was just enormous. I now realised what people meant when they said that two people could fit in the seat comfortably.
I was approached by the Leading Stewardess (LSS) who showed me to my seat and asked me for my choice of drinks. I would have normally gone for a nice glass of champagne (obviously!) but this time I wasn’t really in the mood for alcohol so I opted for orange juice instead. She offered to take my coat but I decided to just stick it in the foot-well instead.
There were 2 staff serving in F today – the LSS and the Leading Steward (LS). The LS was perfectly pleasant enough, but LSS was the one who really shined from the start. Her style of service was simply perfect – the right mixture of enthusiasm and experience. The more experienced SQ F flyers may have been able to find fault, but I certainly couldn’t!
Then she came around with the menu (which, by the way, was a full Lunch service rather than the abbreviated service on the overnight SQ602) which was enough to make me hungry just by looking at it, a pair of headphones, the useless sockettes (socks designed for in-flight use), eyeshades and slippers – slippers! I thought they only loaded them on the NRT flights! I use the slippers at home so I was glad to see them. However, as predicted, this was a day-flight under 7 hours so there were no PJs or the Ferragamo amenity kit. I did know this beforehand and realised that a pair of colour-unknown PJs and a little pouch of some perfume was not worth the very long wait, so I wasn’t too disappointed.
I asked the LSS whether my BTC had been loaded, and she said unfortunately it wasn’t. I also asked her to check whether my bag made the flight, but the flight pulled away before she was able to get a response so she kindly sent an over-the-air message and advised me that the ground staff at ICN should be able to tell me. She also asked me whether I would want to eat right away or later, and I told her I’d prefer to eat a bit later as I wanted to get some rest first – she couldn’t have been more understanding. When they say “eat when you want to eat”, they really meant it!
As I only arrived 15 minutes before departure, it wasn’t long before the flight pulled away and we were on our way soon. I was really, really tired but couldn’t fall asleep as I was too busy being like a kid in a candy store with my new surroundings. So I remained awake until the seatbelt sign was turned off and then the service began.
I was in the mood for some coffee so, out of the 4 different varieties of coffee onboard, I settled for Jamaican Blue Mountain. It was brought to me quickly and I was glad to get some caffeine into my overworked system. I thought about whether I wanted to rest first as I had previously decided, but when she came around and offered me some satays if I wanted them, I couldn’t resist and decided to eat first and rest later.
I then switched to the Krug, thinking that I would want some alcohol so that I can get some shuteye after the meal. I’ve first tried Krug on a flight back in 2001 when I travelled in NH F, but of course I don’t remember the taste from a flight 7 years ago. Either way, it was really quite good. I didn’t quite get around to trying the Dom, however.
Lunch from Singapore to Seoul
Satay With onion, cucumber and spicy peanut sauce
Oven-baked warm oyster with tomato salsa and coriander cheese sauce in half shell
Terrine of crabmeat and avocado with tomato confit Green Sauce
Cream of chanterelle mushroom and ceps with chicken
Clear Oriental broth with bamboo piths and Yunnan ham
Butter lettuce heart with baby cress and cherry tomato
Sesame soya dressing
Singapore dressing infused in shallot oil with sambal, lime and honey
Pan seared beef fillet served with green peppercorn sauce, sautéed wild mushrooms and baby spinach
Korean style chicken with spicy sauce, jap chae and steamed rice With soup and kimchi on the side
Seafood and rice vermicelli soup Rice vermicelli with prawns, fish and vegetables in broth
Rack of lamb in red wine jus with roasted vegetables and garlic mashed potatoes
Salad of oven-dried romatomato with mozzarella cheese, couscous and rocket Basil pesto and balsamic dressing
Black and white chocolate cake with passion fruit coulis
Selection of emmenthal, caprice des dieux, rambol walnut and boursault vache cheeses served with garnishes
Fresh fruits in season
- Exclusively created by Georges Blanc, Vonnas
- Specially prepared meatless selection
I didn’t have all the courses because I knew I would just burst – especially since I seemingly never stopped eating ever since the first meal on the SQ317 before this flight. I had the crabmeat terrine which was fairly ordinary save for the fact that it went so well with the small potato pieces. Then the salad – the freshness and flavour of the lettuce was just amazing and it went so well with the dressing. It was like I’ve re-discovered the humble lettuce. Then there was the “chef’s surprise” which seemed to be some sort of a fruit-flavoured soup. I think LSS told me but I can’t recall exactly. Then the rack of lamb…
It was good. No, it was amazing. I don’t know whether I was particularly hungry by that point or what other reason there is, but I enjoyed it so much that the bones were almost polished clean. By now I had switched to a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon (Sequoia Grove Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 Napa Valley) which worked very well with the lamb as well as being a very good bottle overall.
By this point, I really couldn’t breathe due to eating too much, so I asked to have a small break before continuing with the dessert. Naturally, the LSS answered with a bright smile and asked me to let her know. Then, the First Officer came out of the flight deck and was hanging around in the galley so I realised it was my chance to ask him to do me a favour; no, not divert the plane to somewhere that involves flying for an extra 6 hours (although that would have been nice!), but to ask him to take a picture of the cockpit with my camera (since passengers are not allowed in during the flight anymore). He seemed happy enough to grant me my wish, so I gave him my camera and waited.
After a few minutes, I thought I can handle some more food, so when I saw the LSS again I asked her for the dessert. My camera came back as well with a very good photo of the cockpit both with flash and without flash – the windows were completely white from the light, however. The cake was a strange dome shape which I suppose was somewhat lacking in terms of presentation, but the cake itself was great. I had to really restrain myself to only eat half of it so that I don’t burst. Needless to say, when the LS came around to offer me cheese and fruit, I had to wave a white flag and tell him I can’t really eat anything else.
To finish the meal, I asked for another cup of the Jamaican Blue Mountain. After that was done and dusted, I decided to try out the bed position with about 3h30m flight time remaining. Of course, it was done instantly with a smile. I thought it would make more sense to ask her to convert 2C into the bed so that I can just switch back and forth.
I was really surprised at just how comfortable it was. Granted, it wasn’t a completely flat mattress like it is in the Suites (presumably), but if there were any bumps or gaps that were enough to detract from a good sleep, I certainly didn’t notice it. I could sleep on my back, on my side, or probably even on my front (though I didn’t try that one). After listening to seat 1A seemingly finish every single item in the galley for a bit (he was still eating 3h30m into the flight and I think he even had an extra helping of the appetizer as well as all 8 courses on the menu!), I fell asleep and had a decent sleep. Well, I was seemingly caught between extreme tiredness and being kept artificially awake by the excitement of the First Class :p because I woke up with about 1h30m flight time remaining rather than being woken up by the LSS roughly T-1h as I asked her to. I had around 1h30m of sleep on the incredible bed and it was amazingly relaxing.
No sooner than when I had moved to my original seat, the LS magically appeared and passed me a small bottle of Evian and asked me whether I wanted anything to drink. I asked for an orange juice as it tasted so great. Armed with a refreshing glass, I explored the 23-inch screen KrisWorld for a while, playing around with a film and also some music. The high resolution of the 23-inch screen was apparent in the menus and the flight map, but the actual video material was different. On feature films (I watched Lions and Lambs for a bit), the resolution was not too bad although the MPEG artefacts were too easy to see. On things like Friends (which seat 1A was watching), the quality couldn’t have been more than a very poor SD. I guess they import the material at different resolutions, but the HDTV resolution of the screen seemed somewhat wasted on the poor quality video.
Before long, it was sadly time to prepare for landing into ICN. I decided to overcome my fear of appearing like a complete tourist and asked the LSS to take a photo of me in my seat. Naturally, it showed all too well that I had overindulged on the food (although clearly it has been a problem for some time judging by the picture!) but also showed the immense proportions of the seat – even for my relatively large frame, it could obviously fit another person next to me!
Also, because I actually use those slippers you get on flights, I asked for another pair. I think I read somewhere that they were the pairs that are handed out in Suites – certainly they were pretty well made and comfortable.
I asked the LSS for her name as this was, by far, my best flight in recent years. But I guess she didn’t want to take all the credit, because she went away into the galley and put the names of the IFS, LS and her on a post-it. Then, the LS brought (without asking) another cup of the Jamaican Blue Mountain, saying “One last cup of Blue Mountain before landing, Mr Stargold?” Much appreciated and quickly finished. I knew it would take all my efforts to actually wait till a sensible time in Korea before zonking out so the caffeine was very helpful.
Then the final preparations were made and we did the final approach. We landed without any incident and taxied to the gate in about 20 minutes. An EK 77W had also just landed (and I thought, I’d much rather be in this cabin than the EK offering with the 2-2-2 layout and a tacky mini-bar!) and a few other flights within a short space of time, so I had a moment of “Oh no, what will happen at the immigrations?” which turned out to be groundless, since the queue for Korean nationals was pretty short.
When the door opened, the LSS remembered to ask the ground staff about my bag, but they seemingly confused the question so I wasn’t any wiser - the ground staff just told me to go to the belt and check whether it has arrived. :mad: So I did, and after waiting for all the F bags to come out, then all the C bags, I guessed that it hadn’t arrived and went to the Lost Luggage counter.
OZ handles the ground services for SQ at ICN, and they were basically useless. I realise that they handle a number of airlines, but from the way they acted, it might as well have been the first time they’ve seen an SQ baggage irregularity. 30 frustrating minutes later, my report was filled in (or so I thought, until I received a phone call 45 minutes later asking me for the description of my bag since she forgot to ask :angry1: ) and I went through to the arrival hall.
So… some thoughts:
1. Service: From this flight, I now totally understand why SQ has such a devoted following, especially in F. Apart from my last flights in F which were in 2001, I don’t normally travel in F so I don’t have a lot to compare with, but I simply could not find anything that I could possibly have imagined to make the flight any better. The service was absolutely flawless, certainly from the LSS. Perhaps due to the low load of only 3/8, but nothing was ever too much trouble, ranging from my fickleness as to when I wanted to eat, to asking for various things during the flight. Just amazing.
2. Seat: Some people suggested that the SkySuite might be better for a day flight and the new 77W F better for a night flight. I haven’t been on a SkySuite yet, but I had no problems finding a comfortable relax position on the seat. The leg rest was far too short to be useful, but I found that once I reclined the seat back, I could put my feet on the shelf of the foot well and that was just fine. The sheer width of the seat is something of a waste without someone sitting next to you , but it wasn’t a problem in any way.
The 23-inch screen was very nice and made a lot of difference when watching films. It wasn’t so clever when the video was of such a low resolution that it looked worse on the larger screen, however!
Lots of small storage areas. The table had a great range of flexibility as to its position but it was not sturdy enough. – it flexed too much when you pressed on the non-hinged end.
Sleeping position – wow. As I said above, apart from the completely flat surface of the Suites, I can’t really imagine a better seat for sleeping. I could sleep in any position I wanted, the surface was nice and flat and quite well cushioned, and the seat overall was wide enough to not feel like you’re hemmed in.
Overall, I really enjoyed the seat and personally, I would not hesitate choosing it for both day and night flights. The privacy was particularly good, as it was basically not possible to see anyone or be seen by anyone else on the flight while you’re sitting on your seat (apart from people walking in the aisles).
3. Meal: Overall, the food and beverage selection was really enjoyable. I didn’t get my Lobster Thermidor but the rack of lamb was so good that I really didn’t feel let down in any way. The appetizer was fairly ordinary, and I skipped the soup. But the salad was amazing and so was the main. Naturally, the choice of coffees and the Krug/Dom choice are hard to improve.
Thanks everyone for the kind comments - soon to come: two more shamelessly decadent First Class segments, OZ ICN-HKG and SQ HKG-SIN. And the HKG-SIN is on the SQ865 which should hopefully mean a SkySuite finally!
The photos from the flight...
Plenty of room for my carry-on. I preferred this to putting it in the overhead locker!
The flight was lightly loaded today, only 3/8 which made for an especially great service
The legroom - I was able to put my feet up on the foot well shelf, so I didn't mind too much about the less-than-useless leg/footrest which were clearly made for midgets!
The seat control panel. The IFE controller had a nice LCD panel with a constant "flight time remaining" display which was useful...
The immense 23-inch screen. Can't this flight go to... I dunno... LHR instead or something??
View of the seat. As others have pointed out, it's simply huge - and I quite liked it that way!
A glass of Krug to start off the meal...
View out of the window towards the back, showing the unusual shape of the wing etc.
Two photos that the First Officer kindly took for me inside the cockpit in-flight - I was really, really pleased about this one!
The intuitive Panasonic ex2 AVOD system. And a very nice CD too!
The post-meal chocolate truffle and the Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee!
Bed mode. Oh yes. I could sleep for hours and hours in this thing on a long flight - alas, I only used it for about an hour and half on this short flight...
Seat 2A. If only this happened more often!
The brought-by-LS-without-asking final cup of Blue Mountain coffee just before landing!
SOBHI51 From Saudi Arabia, joined Jun 2003, 3419 posts, RR: 17
Reply 2, posted (6 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Very nice report.Makes very jealous.I flew SQ DXB-SIN-DXB in F and all i got a777 regional.Terrible F seats very limited food offering specially on the SIN-DXB leg.Felt robbed.Flew Etihad AUH-SIN the week after in C and it was better by far and cheaper.Till when is SQ going to keep those rubbish 777 regional on those over 7 hours flights?
BTW i wrote to SQ and left my e-mail address heard nothing from them.Do they really care? Well i don't as i found a better airline to get there.
Just to be fair,the service on SQ was excellent,on both flights.
[Edited 2008-05-20 11:29:14]
I am against any terrorist acts committed under the name of Islam
I am very pleased you had superb flights on board Singapore Airlines' First Class and New First Class!
Thank you Singapore_Air. It was truly superb, though (as you may have read on my TR available elsewhere) the return trip on HKG-SIN was a considerably less impressive offering, with a last-minute equipment change and getting the Regional F. Still, it was all good fun, with plenty of Dom and a fantastic Meursault to console my lack of a SkySuite
Hoping to experience the SkySuite (finally!) when I book some more flights in a few days... Amazingly, SIN-LHR seems quite free for redemption in F None of the F seats are assigned yet on the days that I want to travel, which is rather encouraging as I am hoping for a near-empty flight!
Quoting SOBHI51: Very nice report.Makes very jealous.I flew SQ DXB-SIN-DXB in F and all i got a777 regional.Terrible F seats very limited food offering specially on the SIN-DXB leg.Felt robbed.Flew Etihad AUH-SIN the week after in C and it was better by far and cheaper.Till when is SQ going to keep those rubbish 777 regional on those over 7 hours flights?
BTW i wrote to SQ and left my e-mail address heard nothing from them.Do they really care? Well i don't as i found a better airline to get there.
Just to be fair,the service on SQ was excellent,on both flights.
I've gotta agree with you. As nice as the crew are, it's hard to overlook the pretty horrendous Regional F seat and the not-always-great food offerings. I guess the timing of the SIN-DXB means that it's a very reduced meal service - I would have experienced the same, if I chose to (or had to) fly on my originally booked flight that left at 2350. As for your experience, I doubt there's much they can do - they'll keep those in service for a long time yet, I fear! As you say, there's always a choice of airlines and it's part of the fun to find the best one
Quoting BA319-131: Great report and photo's, looks like SQ F 77W service is excellent!
The food looks just great, far better than other F class meals i've seen recently.
- Amazing, SQ can do great things in the air but can't even give the lounge relaxing chairs!
The meal on this segment was, indeed, amazing. The Lamb was the highlight of the meal, although everything was really quite good overall. Even the LSS said "excellent choice" when I told her what I wanted to eat (though I have a feeling she said that to everyone )
The lounge... *sigh* What can I say? I'm definitely not arriving at SIN T3 any earlier than I have to, just to try the lounge - which would definitely be the case if I was flying out of LHR on VS or BKK on TG!
Kanebear From United States of America, joined May 2002, 953 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (6 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Haven't had the 'pleasure' of regional F, but the description makes sense. Last summer I did a redemption ticket for a friend HKG-SIN-HKG in F for a short visit. Her employer only pays for coach, so I figured this'd be a treat, but when she arrived in SIN, she didn't say anything about the flight. I just chalked it up to her not being very interested in flying.
On the return, we were both on SQ866 back to HKG and from there back to LHR for her and FRA for me. We boarded the 744 and made the fabled 'left turn'. When she saw the cabin, her jaw just dropped. I asked why she was so surprised and she said she'd never seen anything like it! As you can guess, the flight down was in regional F. She was so excited she literally started jumping up and down. Thankfully we boarded early and no one else was around. I landed and was welcomed by an Email 'thanking' me for totally wrecking her for coach knowing she was going straight on BA in WT.
So, long story short, even for the great unwashed, apparently SQ Regional F stinks.
MilesDependent From Australia, joined Sep 2001, 856 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (6 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
I've sat in the seat behind where you were (11A) in business class on the SQ 77W, and there really seems to be very little difference between the seats. Both configs are 1-2-1. Of course, the difference is in food, alcohol and service. But on planes given I normally just want to sleep, don't eat much, and don't have more than 1 alcoholic drinks, I think I'll stick with J class. Like on my last flight SIN-SYD I passed on both the breakfast and lunch. For breakfast I just wanted 2 x croissants, and for lunch, just some garlic bread and the dessert. I find eating too much on planes I end up feeling quite uncomfortable.
I actually find the SQ service too much in premium classes. Although I've not flown F, last time I flew the 77W there were only 9 pax in the entire J class (47 capacity) - so I expect the service was much the same. I didn't like it. They were watching me every minute of the flight. As soon as I'd wake up, they'd be over asking me what I wanted. If you get up to go to the bathroom, they notice, and as soon as you're finished, they go in there to make sure things are still in order. I dunno... I don't like that level of attention myself.
I prefer a semi-full J cabin where the service is decent, but not over the top.
SQ772 From Singapore, joined Nov 2001, 1792 posts, RR: 5
Reply 8, posted (6 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Quoting MilesDependent (Reply 7): I actually find the SQ service too much in premium classes. Although I've not flown F, last time I flew the 77W there were only 9 pax in the entire J class (47 capacity) - so I expect the service was much the same. I didn't like it. They were watching me every minute of the flight. As soon as I'd wake up, they'd be over asking me what I wanted. If you get up to go to the bathroom, they notice, and as soon as you're finished, they go in there to make sure things are still in order. I dunno... I don't like that level of attention myself.
I believe you'll feel very much at home on a UA or NW flight then.
Stargold From United Kingdom, joined May 2008, 83 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Quoting FlyboyOz: wow...how did you allow to visit the flight deck? I tried to ask them (mostly female) about visiting flight deck. They kept saying no no no. You are very lucky!
Actually, I didn't quite make it into the flight deck myself... I bumped into the First Officer when he was out for his break, and gave him my camera. Definitely no flight deck visits still.
Quoting Kanebear: So, long story short, even for the great unwashed, apparently SQ Regional F stinks.
Although the Regional F "should" be sufficient for a relatively short 4-hour flight such as HKG-SIN, I still couldn't get over the disappointment when I was previously supposed to be flying the SkySuite.
No matter, because missing out on the 744 on HKG-SIN has resulted in some degree of obsession with flying it, and now I have SIN-LHR in SQ F booked for July - 14 hours, not 4 hours, of the SkySuite wonderful-ness!
Quoting MilesDependent: I actually find the SQ service too much in premium classes. Although I've not flown F, last time I flew the 77W there were only 9 pax in the entire J class (47 capacity) - so I expect the service was much the same. I didn't like it. They were watching me every minute of the flight. As soon as I'd wake up, they'd be over asking me what I wanted. If you get up to go to the bathroom, they notice, and as soon as you're finished, they go in there to make sure things are still in order. I dunno... I don't like that level of attention myself.
Well, in my opinion, the LSS on my SIN-ICN flight had the perfect balance of attention and giving me my space. Yes, she was incredibly attentive - but at no point did I feel like I was being overly mobbed. Generally, I think the flight attendants serving SQ F are good at reading people's preferences so those that enjoy being a PITA can get all the attention to their heart's content, but the FAs can also sense those that don't like it. That's the skill of it, isn't it?
The only time that I really felt the attention was when I walked into the galley, when they were seemingly alarmed that they might have failed to anticipate my needs resulting in a First Class passenger to actually go to the galley to get something I told them I was just stretching my legs and browsing the magazines, and they left me in peace. I wish I had this problem more often!
Quoting SQ772: Wow, lucky you. Congradulations on an excellent trip report. I wish I could try out the SQ 77W sometime soon.
The 77W is indeed a wonderful aircraft, and although the 77W F seat has its critics, I really enjoyed it. Add the "service that even other airlines talk about", and it makes for a trip where you wish you had an extra 10 hours at the end!
LHR-NRT in ANA First Class - I'm actually more excited about this one than I think I would have been if I was flying the Suites!
ICN-SIN in SQ First Class, although in the regional F again *groan* (I'll just have to tank up on the Krug to compensate...)
SIN-LHR in SQ First Class - finally, the SkySuite! And enough food to feed a small army. I might need a seatbelt extender
MilesDependent From Australia, joined Sep 2001, 856 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 32487 times:
Quoting Stargold (Reply 10): Well, in my opinion, the LSS on my SIN-ICN flight had the perfect balance of attention and giving me my space. Yes, she was incredibly attentive - but at no point did I feel like I was being overly mobbed. Generally, I think the flight attendants serving SQ F are good at reading people's preferences so those that enjoy being a PITA Big grin can get all the attention to their heart's content, but the FAs can also sense those that don't like it. That's the skill of it, isn't it? Smile
The only time that I really felt the attention was when I walked into the galley, when they were seemingly alarmed that they might have failed to anticipate my needs resulting in a First Class passenger to actually go to the galley to get something eek I told them I was just stretching my legs and browsing the magazines, and they left me in peace. I wish I had this problem more often!
Can you tell me what camera you used to take those great pics - or are you just a natural photographer?
Aww, thanks! I just use a Canon IXUS 800IS compact P&S - I think the part that helps the photo most is the Image Stabiliser, which allows flash-free photos in much darker conditions than before. I unfortunately spilt half a mug of beer all over it in Tokyo, but have replaced it with a newer version in the range (IXUS 860IS) which also seems very nice indeed.
Stargold From United Kingdom, joined May 2008, 83 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (5 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 21058 times:
Quoting Directorguy (Reply 16): Smashing trip report well done. But I thought that the SKL T3 lounge had independent shower rooms, non?
Thank you And re. shower rooms at SKL T3, they are independent, but someone had a sleepy day at work while designing the cubicles which means that each door has about 1cm gap that you can definitely see inside the room. Quite disconcerting - more so for the person who would be looking inside my room, than for me!
I guess so long as US carriers continue to fill their cabins with upgrades, they're never going to have the same level of F product that Asian/European airlines do, simply because the cabin does not pay for itself!
I also realised just now that I never posted the return portion of the trip... so here it is!
OZ721 ICN-HKG 20APR08
I reached the airport roughly 2 hours before departure, at around 7am and made my way to the First Class counter. Before I reached it, a service agent asked me where I was travelling to, and which class I was travelling, to which I replied Hong Kong in First Class. Why, of course! Once I reached the desk, I did the usual routine – interestingly, they had already pre-printed the lounge invitation and my e-ticket receipt and put it inside a ticket sleeve alongside a blank boarding pass, so that they only had one thing to print. I guess it’s supposed to make you feel more special, but unless they go the whole way and phoned me ahead to ask me how many pieces of baggage I was carrying so that they meet me at the kerbside, tag my bags and take them straight away, the whole “seamless check-in experience” seemed like just an attempt rather than anything too meaningful. Oh well, at least they tried! I chose seat 1K because… well, just because! The flight wasn’t too full, I was told, so the seat next to me should be free.
I had to tell the check-in agent who was all smiles (must have been something on my face ) not to print my next boarding pass on SQ HKG-SIN (it’s such a tiny thing, but I wanted it on the proper SQ stock not the Asiana one!), and also tag my bags through to my SIN-LHR flight tomorrow as well. All was done very quickly and I was on my way armed with a lounge invitation for the First Class section.
The queues for the x-ray were suspiciously short this morning – must be the fact that in order to reach there for 7am, you really have to wake up at something hideous in the morning – 5am in my case. Very short too, was the immigration queues which normally takes 5-10 minutes. It was so amazingly quick that I was in front of the Asiana Lounge before I knew it.
A quick note: Of course, having used it before, I know that the Silver Kris F lounge at ICN is a very nice one and, in all likelihood, I would probably prefer it to the Asiana one, but I couldn’t quite face walking across the terminal just to use a different lounge when really, all I wanted to do was sit down with a tea and catch up with some emails and so on. As I was only going to stay for about 40 minutes, it didn’t really make any difference.
Once in the lounge, I gave my invitation to the lounge receptionist who called the lift and I made my way to the first floor. Once there, I walked through the small corridor to the First Class lounge, which had another receptionist who had been expecting me. She asked me whether I wanted anything to drink, and she seemed momentarily not sure what to do when I told her “I’ll just get something for myself in a few minutes; that’s no problem for me”.
Sat down and logged into the free wireless at the lounge, I brought myself a bottle of cold tea and caught up on emails etc. Then I thought, “1K might not be so great because I’ll end up staring at a wall”, so I went to change the seat at the reception which was done without any problems.
After about 45 minutes it was almost 8:15am, and I left the lounge to change some money and have a quick look at the duty free. Then, at 8:30am I made my way to the gate which had a long queue for the Y-class boarding door but empty for the F and C-class boarding door. When I gave my boarding pass to the gate agent, another person came up next to me and said “Oh, there you are! I was meant to escort you from the lounge to the gate but you left already so I came to the gate!” She then escorted me the very short distance between the boarding gate and the aircraft doors, and handed me over to the cabin crew.
In the cabin
I knew the equipment was 747-400 Combi with the old F seats so I knew what to expect, but now having seen the future (i.e. SQ 77W), it did feel like a bit of a throwback to the previous era. There was plenty of space so that wasn’t the issue; but the pairs of seats with the potential to sit next to a stranger on a long-haul flight in First Class were. The cabin was otherwise quite neutrally decorated and spacious (well, with only 12 seats in the nose section you’d hope it was).
View of the seat and the legroom. It goes 180 flat, and was decently comfortable for sleeping an hour or so. But definitely old school!
Air-tube earphone system :eek:
You could almost see forward when landing, although the on-screen displays on NH are much better!
Overview of the cabin when leaving the flight
Once I sat down, I was offered a pair of slippers and also the headphones. The headphones were the Sennheiser PX100 which is: 1. not noise-cancelling, and 2. an open design which lets all the noise in. I wasn’t planning to watch anything on this flight so they remained in the plastic wrapper until they were handed back. And the slippers… well, they were very nicely made and would probably last 10 times longer than most of the other airlines’ offerings, but they were the most hideous shade of red (think hooker rather than vintage wine) so I didn’t keep them.
Then I was asked for my choice of pre-departure drink, and I chose some chrysanthemum tea alongside some warmed nuts. The nuts were another point worth noting since, although they were nicely warmed , they consisted mostly of peanuts… I was expecting anything other than peanuts especially as I’m not a big fan.
As I waited for the doors to shut, it became apparent that there was only going to be one other passenger in F today, which should theoretically make the service flawless. But if I can just use this moment to express my thoughts about the service, I must say I prefer SQ’s style over OZ. The flight attendants on OZ were perfectly pleasant and professional, but it was a bit too “Korean” – i.e. deferential to a fault and a little too uptight. I thought it could possibly be because the passengers in F that they are used to seeing were the Korean high-ranking directors and government officials, in which case they would probably prefer the servile style of the flight attendants. Me – well, I felt I was on the wrong side of 40 to enjoy it, and preferred the flight attendants that are perfectly composed but also more jokey, more engaging and more interesting. Some posters have commented before that they thought they would enjoy the service more if they spoke Korean – hmm. I spoke to them in Korean and didn’t really feel any difference. Maybe it’s just down to personal preference.
Soon enough we pulled away from the gate and headed towards the runway. Because the seat was in the nose section, I was able to get a better view towards the runway due to the curvature of the cabin. One thing I had forgotten about the flights in 747 is just how loudly you feel the landing gear pull up once you ‘rein the air – well, it almost made me jump!
The seatbelt sign was switched off and menus were handed out. Sadly no lobster on this Brunch meal sector, although the return segment had it – my hopes of comparing the two lobsters on OZ and SQ were thwarted Here is the menu:
Egg Custard with Abalone, Prawn and Salmon Roe
Prosciutto Ham with Mixed Salad Served with French Dressing
Stewed Beef with Pastry Served with Phyllo Pastry Topping
Accompanied by Anna Potato and Vegetables
Deep Fried Prawn Served with Oriental Sauce
Accompanied by Fried Rice and Vegetables
Korean ‘Abalone Porridge’ A Famous Korean Healthy Porridge
Accompanied by Assorted Side Dishes & Watery Plain Kimchi
Selection of Cheese & Fresh Fruit
Dessert Opera Cake with Vanilla Sauce
Coffee & Tea
*We are pleased to offer hot Ramen upon your request
Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 1998
Champagne de Castellane Commodore 1998
Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru 2004
Gewurztraminer Herrenweg de Turckheim 2004
Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, Grand Cru Classe, Graves 2004
Charmes Chambertin Grand Cru 2004
Blandy’s 10 Years Old Malmsey Madeira
Port Sandeman 20 Years Old Tawny Porto
Jackson-Triggs Vidal VQA Ice Wine 2006
Medium Dry Sherry Sandeman
Scotch Whisky Johnnie Walker Blue
Bourbon Whiskey Jack Daniel
Canadian Whisky Canadian Club
Koean Traditional Liquors
“Hwarang” Made from rice and herbs
“Mae Chuy Soon” Made from plum
I chose to drink the Taittenger Comte de Champagne with the meal, feeling slightly guilty that I was dipping into the sauce even before 10am It was actually very good, and I almost even preferred it to the Krug although there are so many variables that you can’t really make a comparison. The appetizer of steamed egg custard with seafood came inside an egg shell (so you could imagine there wasn’t a lot in there!) The taste was fine – very subtle but pleasant. Then the salad came, which had quite a strongly flavoured sauce (with a slight kick of chilli) but the vegetables were very fresh and the ham and melon were decent too. Also came the bread selection, and I chose a hard roll which tasted good and warmed just right. Then came the most disappointing part of the meal: the main course. I chose the fried prawns expecting a jumbo prawn (maybe 15cm?) but the dish, as can be seen in the photo, contained three rather anaemic prawns that you would expect in Y. The side of the fried rice was also pretty bland. But as I was so hungry (how is this possible? I had a full Korean breakfast before leaving home!) nothing was left on the plate. Once that was cleared away, I had a top-up of the Taittinger and the fruit and cheese was served – well, I declined the cheese but the fruit (which I forgot to take a photo of) was fresh. Then finally, the dessert of the Opera Cake was served, and here the taste was very good. I also asked for jasmine tea with the cake, both of which were quickly finished.
I’m not sure whether it’s the fact that this flight was a Brunch flight rather than Lunch, or whether the short-haul meal service is considerably less elaborate than the long-haul, but I came away feeling distinctly underwhelmed with the food overall. Most of the courses were the quality you might expect in a good C-class meal, and the main course really wouldn’t have looked out of place in Y Maybe I was already permanently spoilt by SQ… this could well be a curse for life!
Having finished the 2nd meal of the morning, there was roughly two hours left of the flight and I decided to catch up on my lack of sleep from the 5am start. By now, all the window shades were pulled down and the cabin lights were dimmed. I’ve experienced these recline-flat seats before when I flew NH in F ages ago, and these were just fine for the brief nap I was going to have. In fact, I slept like a log until just before they switched all the cabin lights back on, feeling pretty refreshed and much better. After that, it was a very uneventful final 30 minutes with the flight attendants getting ready for landing and me briefly making a start on the trip report.
When we landed, we taxied to the gate which was right next to a Korean Air 747-400 which made me wonder whether the same flight on KE would have been a better experience. It’s really difficult to put a finger on it, but there was just nothing special about the flight – the service style was a bit stiff, the food was very unremarkable, and most crucially, I was comparing this flight to the amazing experience on SIN-ICN. It was going to be very, very difficult to beat that.
Headless chickens in a zoo…
While I was in the queue for the passport control, I managed to log onto the Singapore Airlines website on my iPod Touch using the free wireless and found out to my absolutely horror that the equipment had changed to 777-300 (non-ER). This was exactly what I had feared all along, as the 747 flights seemingly have a tendency to suddenly be swapped with a B777-300 which, while it is probably fine for a short run such as HKG-SIN, is really quite unacceptable for a longer run such as SIN-MEL. In any case, I knew that I would have to think about what I want to do about this development when I reached the check-in desk to have my boarding pass issued.
After clearing immigration and customs, I made my way to the departures level and found the SQ check-in desks quickly enough. There was one person in front of me so I expected to wait no more than 5 minutes – this was not to be, since this person ended up taking more than 10 minutes. There was an overall feeling of chaos around the check-in areas, with service agents running around, passengers waiting around, passengers visibly being agitated by the waiting time and service agents feeling flustered.
Once it was my turn at the First Class desk, I made the decision to take the later SQ873 flight and just spend more time in Hong Kong. I knew they would most likely not have a problem with me switching the flight especially as the equipment was, quite frankly, severely downgraded on my originally booked SQ865. What also convinced me to switch was the fact that there were only two other passengers booked on this flight whereas the SQ865 was almost full in the SkySuites so the flight had almost 12 passengers, and I thought the service would be better on the quieter flight.
The switch itself was not the problem, but I found out that the process of actually moving me to the next flight can be, in the overall atmosphere of general chaos. It took roughly 15 minutes for the check-in agent to establish that she will not be able to give me my boarding pass straight away, as she could not track down the correct people who will offload my luggage from (or avoid it going onto) the SQ865. What made the process worse was that she didn’t quite manage the “swan on water” poise (i.e. elegant and composed on the outside, swimming madly under water) and instead managed to convey every bit of her own confusion and impatience. After the 15 minutes, she then asked me whether I could perhaps go away for 20 minutes and wait for her to sort it out in the meantime – well, I knew I wanted to take the later flight, and the friend I was meeting in HK didn’t mind waiting, so I waited on the bench just next to the desks typing some more of my trip report while she tried to resolve the situation. After the suggested 20 minutes (in fact, more like 30) I went back to the desk where she was now no longer there – I found her sitting at the Oversized Luggage counter helping someone else. That’s fine, I thought, although I was beginning to be mindful of the delay to my lunch with my friend. After a while, she realised I was waiting and went back and forth to the F/C desk, and after involving two other check-in agents, she managed to sort out everything… or so I thought.
She pressed “Print BP” and every time, the BP came out blank. She went to the next desk, and the BP was blank again. After trying this a few times, they (now a team of 3) decided the boarding pass would have to be hand-written. Ugh. Another few minutes trying to locate the older BP stock which is easier to write on. Half way through writing the new BP, yet another one of the colleagues came back triumphantly with the boarding pass for 2A. Finally! But no boarding pass for tomorrow’s connecting flight to LHR. The whole process took an hour and 15 minutes, which was really an hour too long. And having experienced the “moved flight, no bag” incident on the SIN-ICN leg, I wanted to make sure my bag would be loaded – I was asked to check at the desk when I return for my flight later in the day, whether the bag had been loaded or not.
Brief break in Hong Kong
So I finally went into town on the Airport Express (probably one of the nicest airport shuttle trains I’ve found, perhaps except the Shanghai Maglev just for the sheer cool factor!) and met my friend. We had a fairly unremarkable lunch at the poolside restaurant at the Grand Hyatt, had a fantastic mango dessert at the IFC mall, had a drink in a bar also at IFC with a nice view, and it was already time to head back to the Airport Express station after talking more or less non-stop for 4 hours. Oh, and continuing my reliance on alcohol for the day, a glass of Chardonnay and Chianti respectively were consumed during the afternoon.
Making my way through the airport
Once back at Chep Lap Kok, I made my way to the SQ desks again and approached a Business Class desk (mostly because the agent there seemed nicer) and asked about my bag. She told me it was going to be loaded and told me not to worry. But she couldn’t get through to the catering department so she couldn’t tell me whether my BTC lobster will be available or not – it seemed that I was going to be without any lobster at this rate!
Immigration and security were both relatively quiet, and I made the choice yet again to visit an inferior lounge based purely on convenience of location. I could have gone to the Virgin Clubhouse (and with a couple of hours to spare, I would have done) but it was only an hour until boarding time when I reached the Silver Kris lounge so there just wasn’t enough time to go all the way on the SkyTrain and visit the CH. Next time, I guess!
The sorry excuse of a lounge that is the SKL HKG
The SKL at HKG has got to be the single most substandard Silver Kris lounge I have visited so far, although that’s really only from a small sample of LHR, SIN,ICN and NRT. I was actually quite surprised just how poor the lounge was considering there are 5-6 flights a day. There was no view of any sort, the seating area was very generic and boring, the food offering consisted of some small nibble snacks and a particularly appetizingly described “Fried Oily Vegetable Noodles” (!) and the state of the toilet was just inexcusable. Oh, and since the toilet acted as a connecting corridor between the Business and First sections with no-one to keep watch, more and more people seemed to drift into the First section over time. Good thing that the only two things I wanted to achieve from that lounge was charging my laptop briefly and getting a bottle of water, because I don’t think it could have coped with anything more challenging.
More drama (-lite) at the gate…
30 minutes to go until flight departure, I went to the gate which was no. 16 today. The gate was an absolute zoo and the pre-boarding seemed almost finished, so I was keen to avoid the rush but thought it might be a good idea to check whether the bag had in fact made the flight. Surprise surprise, no it had not. The gate agent told me to wait around if I want to make sure my bag was loaded, and also told me there were now a total of 6 passengers in F now. I waited for another 10 minutes while everyone boarded the aircraft, then checked again. This time, 3 different gate agents all seemed to know which bag I was talking about, and told me it was loaded now. So I made my way to the dreaded 777-200.
On the monstrosity… I mean, the 772
I was the last passenger to boarding in the 12-seat F cabin, and thankfully the adjacent seat remained free. The cabin crew for F consisted of the IFS, LSS and LS. Immediately, I realised I didn’t like the LSS as much as the one on SQ16, but then again her predecessor was a hard act to follow to say the least. This LSS was less refined, less smiley and lacked warmth, although she remained professional throughout. The IFS on the other hand was a welcome change from the previous flight where I felt the IFS did very little and seemed just bossy – this one was much more talkative, much warmer and seemed genuinely pleased to be serving the passengers. And because the FS served the right hand side of the cabin mainly, I didn’t get to speak to him until later on in the flight, and he turned out to be very charming and chatty.
The view of the SQ 777-200
Another view of the SQ 777-200... How I wished it was a 747-400!
Picture of the seat - it's no Sky Suite, I tell you!
Legroom was okay if you were in the middle two seats, but sitting in 2A, it would be impossible to climb out if both 1C and 2C were fully reclined. Not good in F.
Legroom (and my favourite slippers from the 77W flight)
Picture of the seat fully reclined
The non-AVOD screen which was pretty scratched up. I only used it for the air-show.
Now, the seat – well, just as the seats on OZ were from the previous generation, so were these. There was no in-seat power, the IFE system was pre-Wisemen 3000 (so no AVOD) and the screen quality was… well, what can I say, after using the 23-inch HDTV screen on the 77W? It was just simply depressing! My seat 2A was pretty decent for legroom, although my perception would have altered considerably if 1A was occupied, as I was to find out later on in the flight. Basically, 2A and 2K are total disasters if both 1A and 2B (or 1K and 2J) are occupied, because the row 1 seats recline too much and there’s no room to get out. And moreover, it’s different to Y-class because you can recline quite far back with the legrest up, so it would be a lot of hassle for the row 2 aisle passengers to move out for you. Row 1 is also not great because row 2 passengers end up looking into your sleeping space and can even potentially drop stuff on top of your face if they’re not careful. So, in conclusion, the only desirable seats are row 2 aisle seats unless it’s a very quiet flight with lots of free seats. I could definitely see that people would be majorly hacked off if they were expecting the 744 (or worse, a 77W) on a long-ish flight like FRA and end up with this regional configuration.
In terms of the seat itself, it was really getting on a bit and felt like it’s just about holding up. The table on the non-hinged end would always hover about 1cm above the resting place on the centre armrest so it always wobbles if you exert force on it. The electronic controls are nice and, unlike the 77W, the legrest actually extends to a useful length (probably the only positive point for the 772!)
The menu and the headset were handed out. I also received a pair of the sockettes (the slippers that resemble a pair of socks) and the eye shades – the eye shades were the upgraded version that have been around with the 77W. Drink orders, as well as orders for the meal, were taken and the IFS gave me the good news that my lobster managed to be loaded in time.
I made a concerted decision to eat and drink a healthy amount (so, not very healthy then!) so that I can easily fall asleep when I reached Singapore at the transit hotel. So I made a good start of it by opting for a glass of Dom before take-off. The IFS came round with the bottle and poured me a glass, which I savoured until the cabin was being readied for take-off. After turning off all the cabin lights (which made looking outside very easy), we taxied to the runway and took off.
After a few minutes, we reached cruising altitude and the seatbelt sign was turned off. Then warm nuts were served (and unlike the tacky mix on OZ, these were high quality cashews and macadamia nuts) alongside my order of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee. I couldn’t believe that I was hungry for my fourth large meal of the day, but I was – so I ended up finishing all the nuts. Then the LSS came round to set the tables and the meal service started.
dinner from Hong Kong to Singapore international selection
Baked scallop with chilli veloute on a bed of sautéed mushrooms
Tian of lobster with avocado and lotus root Chilli mango coulis and basil oil
Cream of spinach with roasted herb green asparagus
Butter lettuce heart with baby cress and cherry tomato Balsamic and virgin olive oil dressing
Thousand Island dressing
Grilled fillet of beef in peppercorn sauce with vegetables and potatoes
Unagi Donburi Grilled Japanese style eel with pickles, miso soup and steamed rice
Chicken and abalone noodle soup Egg noodles in rich chicken broth garnished with poached chicken, sliced abalone and vegetables
Eggplant parmigiana with tomato sauce, basil oil, wild rocket and shaved parmesan cheese
Book The Cook - Lobster Thermidor
Warm dark chocolate fondant with vanilla ice cream, raspberry coulis
Selection of cheese with garnishes
A selection of fresh fruit
from the bakery
Oven-fresh rolls with a choice of extra virgin olive oil or butter
Freshly brewed coffee
Espresso or cappuccino
Selection of tea
Soya Bean Milk (Sweetened/Unsweetened
To end on a sweet note
Specially prepared meatless selection
shi quan shi mei (十全食美)
- “a complete and perfect Chinese culinary experience”
cold xiao chi
Scallop with pomelo salad
Chicken with cold noodle salad
Spring roll with “ma lan” root
Roast beef with chilli oil
cuisine from the wok
Sweet and sour prawn
Steamed chicken with flower mushroom
Wok fried pork with ginger and spring onion
Leafy greens in oyster sauce
from the paddyfield
Choice of steamed rice or porridge
Cantonese pork broth with beancurd, gingko nuts and barley
a sweet note
Warm almond delight with sesame dumplings
selection of Chinese teas
Pi Lo Chun, Jasmine, Oolong, Tie Guan Yin, Long Jing
Exclusively created by Yeung Koon Yat of Forum Restaurant, Hong Kong
Macallan 12 years old Single Malt Whisky
Cognac XO – Hennessy
Johnnie Walker Blue Label
Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey
Bombay Sapphire Gin
Smirnoff Red Label Vodka
Premium Ginjo Sake Tamanohikari (Available on flights to and from Japan
Baileys Original Irish Cream
Choya Umeshu A traditional Japanese fruit liqueur enjoyed straight or on the rocks
(Available on flights to and from North Asia)
Dom Pérignon 2000
Krug Grande Cuvée
Reichsgraf Von Kesselstatt Piesporter Goldtropfche
Riesling Kabinett2005 Mosel-Saar-Ruwer
Beaune Du Chateau Premier Cru 2006 Bouchard Pere Et Fils
Meursault Les Clous 2005 Bouchard Pere et Fils
Chianti Classico 2001 Castello Di Brolio
Chateau Leoville-Poyferre 1999 Saint-Julien
Dow’s20 Year Old Tawny Port Portugal
(Tea and Coffee selections omitted)
No satay, so we went straight to the starters – I had chosen the baked scallops and, considering the inflight meal aspect, it was not too bad (but the sauce turned a bit stodgy as it normally does). It was quickly gobbled down with my 2nd glass of Dom. Then the salad came, and unfortunately the balsamic dressing that I had chosen was a bit overpowering, and the lettuce was not at its freshest (and not a patch on the SIN-ICN segment). The next course was the soup which was quite enjoyable if a bit salty, and there were batons of asparagus at the bottom which I didn’t know was there. I didn’t finish it though, as I knew I had to leave room for the famous lobster thermidor which came next, alongside my glass of Meursault which was very good indeed. The lobster? Hmm. I wouldn’t say it was particularly memorable save for the novelty factor of having it in-flight, but it looked better than the other options in the menu so I was glad to have ordered it in advance. The side vegetables were quite fresh but a bit undercooked, the mashed potato was a fairly standard issue, and the lobster itself was not bad but there was too much sauce and too much salt. I seem to remember this from my last flights in Raffles when I ordered the same dish ex-SIN – maybe it’s catered to a different taste.
After all that, I was getting quite full but I was curious what the fruit plate consisted of. The fruit plates on airlines such as NH and JL tend to be elaborately pre-prepared (unpeeled, sliced and decorated) but I was a bit taken aback when the IFS set the small plate and knives, then brought a basket of… fruits! It only had whole fruits that were unprepared, so either I was going to get my hands dirty unpeeling them etc, or I was just going to eat everything. In any case, I chose just an apple but the IFS also suggested I try the Chinese apple – certainly unique but not quite sweet enough. I declined the cheese because I really only had room for the dessert. By now my 2nd glass of Meursault was finished and I decided to try the Saint-Julien with the dessert course of vanilla ice cream and warm chocolate fondant. It was probably the best course of the meal overall – everything just worked. Once the dessert was finished, there was roughly 1h10m of the flight remaining.
One difference I really noticed comparing the meal service on the 77W to non-77W is the size/design of the plates. Because the 77W plates are bigger and more of an open design, it allows a much better presentation of the food and makes them look much less like an inflight meal. For example, the rack of lamb on SIN-ICN would have looked fine even if it was presented on the ground, whereas all the dishes on the772 looked like inflight meals.
Another thing I noticed during the meal service was that the LSS was starting to warm up to me. She was smiling more, less in a hurry and generally more pleasant as the flight went on. But I still preferred the IFS and the LS – they were much more personable.
After everything was done and cleaned away, I didn’t want to fall asleep prematurely so I went to talk to the FS in the galley while buying some aeroplane models from Krisshop. We had a good chat, talking about future plans, my travel patterns, him not having been on an A380 yet, etc. He actually said he was going to leave quite soon so he wasn’t going to get to train on the A380 which was a shame. After a while it got quite busy in the galley so I went back to my seat and worked on the trip report for a bit.
When things seemed to quieten down a bit towards the end of the flight with about 15 minutes to go before seatbelt signs being switched on, I also had a chat with the IFS about the Suites on the A380 and F on the 77W amongst other things. He really seemed nice and also enthusiastic about his job and the flight which, again, was good to see and a sharp comparison to the IFS on SQ16. I thanked him and the FS for the great flight.
Then it was time to prepare to land and the usual routine of collecting headsets and so on took place. I discovered that someone had taken my menu while I was in the toilet, so I had to ask the IFS for them just as the seatbelt sign came on, and he said he would bring it to my seat. We landed after a spectacular night cityscape over Singapore and taxied to our gate in Terminal 3.
As the seatbelt sign was turned off, I reminded the IFS that I wanted to take the menus which he brought. On my way out once the doors opened, I wished the crew well and made my way to the airport transit hotel at T3.
Overall, I must say this flight was so much better than the OZ flight, but not as good as the 77W flight. The seats and the entertainment systems were all a bit of a let-down but luckily I was on this aircraft for 3 hours, not 13. The crew were a mixed blessing – a much better IFS than my previous flight, LSS who was not as good, and the LS was good for both flights. I preferred the food on the SIN-ICN flight (perhaps it’s natural given that SIN is the hub) but both SQ flights were still better than the Asiana flight although, to OZ’s defence, the OZ flight was a brunch flight and the menu for the return sector HKG-ICN looked much better (lobster offered).
I had a realisation on the SQ flight HKG-SIN: On my way from LHR to ICN, I flew the two newest and latest aircraft, the A380 from London to Singapore and the 777-300ER from Singapore to Seoul. On the way back, I flew an ancient 747-400 Combi on ICN-HKG, an old 777-200 for HKG-SIN, and will be flying a (no doubt ancient) 747-400 on SIN-LHR. It has been effectively a contrast of the “old and new” of air travel I suppose, and the difference was more than I expected.