9V-SVA From Singapore, joined Aug 2001, 1860 posts, RR: 8 Posted (5 years 10 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 13231 times:
It's been a while since I posted trip reports on Airliners.net, I believe the last one was posted in 2005 for my trip to New Zealand. Since then, I've still mostly flown SQ, with side trips on Swiss and Qantas this year alone (definitely something new for me!)
In December 2008, my family and I went off to Perth for 2 weeks. I decided to extend my stay and head off to Sydney so I could fly the A380 home!
This trip report will consist of my SYD-SIN leg on SQ's A380.
As I was staying at a friend's place in St. Leonards, I had to get a train down to the airport. Leaving at 1330, I had to change lines at Central to get to the airport. Transiting through Sydney's Central Station from the North Shore Line to the Airport & Eastern Suburbs Line, with a haversack, 22kg worth of luggage and a camera bag, with the lifts inoperable was no easy feat. I ended up arriving at the platform worn out enough to collapse onto the seat once on board the train.
Arriving at Terminal 1, it was a long trek from the train station towards the SQ check in islands at the other end of the terminal.
SQ check-in area
By the time I reached check-in, it was 1430 and suprisingly, there was minimal queue. I went up to the check-in counter and asked if any J seats were available. I had checked the night before on how the loads would be like in all 3 classes. I'd known J was available but as to how available it was, I'd be suprised later on in-flight.
Printing out my boarding pass with Seat 17K on it, and at the same time handing me the fast-track slip for the priority immigration lane, the CSA waved me on with a smile. I was sequence no 357 which means I was probably one of the last few people to check-in for SQ222. I guess in this day and age people don't actually bother to check-in at counters anymore, preferring to do it from the comfort of their living room, only dropping off baggage at the counters.
Shortly after check-in
Date : 22 December 2008
Route : SYD - SIN / YSSY - WSSS
Airline : Singapore Airlines
Flight : SQ 222
Aircraft / Regn : Airbus A380-841 / 9V-SKC
Departure Time : 1640 (GMT +11)
As there was absolutely nothing to do at the public area of the terminal other than the numerous fast-food restaurants (think Oporto, McDs and the like), I decided to enter immigration early. What a bad move.
The passenger-only area of T1 was even more dead with limited shops, limited seats and was generally overcrowded. I wasn't sure if I had access to SKL so I didn't bother heading upstairs. Perhaps if I had tried, it might have been a better experience. Up till now I still wonder how I managed to kill the 1 hour of time inside the holding area.
Waiting to clear immigration, I chanced upon the captain of my flight together with his crew for today. We made some conversation whilst waiting for the queue to move.
One thing good about the sterile area layout is that security checks are conducted right smack after immigration. This ensures that you will not spend your time being bored stiff waiting for the flight to commence boarding inside the holdroom, like at Changi where once you enter the gate holdroom, that is it. You're stuck inside with no toilet access, no access to any water or drinks. I've never tried it or had the misfortune of having such an experience, but I wonder.. if you need to go, how does one need to go about it?
After clearing immigration & security
Heading towards Gate 57
It seems that Gate 57 is the permanent gate for SQ's SQ221 / SQ222. The gate waiting area was packed when I arrived and resulted in me having to find entertainment elsewhere, not that there was much to begin with. Since I had some leftover Australian currency with me, it was time to find means to get rid of it!
My plane back home, 9V-SKC
The duty-free shopping area
I managed to get rid of ALL my Aussie currency which was good. Heading back to the gate to continue the agonising wait to board, the counter staff arrived and made announcements, asking the YCL passengers to reorganize themselves by their seating areas -- "lower deck Y passengers to the left of the gate entrance, upper deck Y passengers to the right in preparation for boarding".
Gate 57 holding area
Boarding was called at 1600. The CSAs called for passengers with young children, or those requiring special assistance to pre-board first. Standing next to me in queue for boarding were a couple with gold-sided boarding passes. Needless to say, they were in Suites!
9V-SVA From Singapore, joined Aug 2001, 1860 posts, RR: 8
Reply 1, posted (5 years 10 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 13146 times:
The Flight - Before Takeoff
Parking Bay : 57
Runway : 34L
Cruise Level : FL360 / FL380 / FL400 step climb
Cruise Spd : M 0.84 / 270 kts
Block Time / Flight Time : 7 H 40 mins / 7 H 20 mins
Distance : 3565 NM / 6602 KM
POB : 432 pax / 25 crew
Finally I was able to make my way into the aircraft. Being my first time on the A380, I was naturally excited on what there was to offer on board. Reaching the aircraft door, I was ushered in by FSS Elis, who seemed to forget where seat 17K was, ushering me to the left instead of the right after the galley.
Getting to my seat, I immediately settled down, making the numerous storage spaces to good use. As Christmas was approaching, there were the customary mistletoe decorations hanging from the ceiling every few rows or so.
My seat, with The Straits Times and other magazines that I chose from the selection
I was offered a pre-boarding juice by the LS, and out of that I chose a cup of OJ. Slowly reading my newspapers and magazines, I observed passengers slowly streaming in, mostly heading towards the back of the plane for YCL. For a moment there it seemed I was the only pax in the rear section of JCL. After a while the other JCL passengers boarded, and the cabin was silent thereafter. Had everyone boarded already?
My entertainment for the next 7 hours. Vastly improved from the old WISEMEN 3000. Note the toilet occupancy indicator.
Pre-takeoff drink with the footrest secured for takeoff.
Since there was still loads of time, I decided to explore the new Krisworld, the JCL cabin and the new JCL seat. The new seat in fully-up mode is almost at a 90 degree angle and somewhat uncomfortable to sit in. Thankfully one only needs to endure this seating arrangment till after take-off and just before landing.
Menus for dinner and supper were distributed out, at the same time, selections for post-takeoff drinks were made. I chose a Vodka mixed with Coke.
Pressing the seat controls to adjust the recline a bit, I was somewhat upset to see lubricating oil seeping out from the controls. Although the seepage was quite minimal, I would be somewhat disappointed to see this happening, especially since this is SQ where standards are so high.
New Krisworld controller
JCL cabin with FSS Elis in the background welcoming other passengers.
I explored the cabin, taking photos here and there.
Christmas-themed mood lighting?
My seat with the Do-Not-Disturb sign turned on
Krisworld turned on. The PTV screen was huge.
Soon enough, the IFS gave his welcome briefing, announcing that we were ready for departure. Looking back at the JCL cabin, I was suprised that there were only 8 other people in the rear cabin, where it would normally have seated 42! Perhaps it was close to Christmas where business travelling is normally much lesser than usual.
Pushback commenced at 1635, and the engines were turned on one-by-one. At the same time, the safety video was played. Same old thing, with different graphics due to the new seats and the B777-300ER at the end flying across the sky.
The A380, especially on the upper cabin, is EXTREMELY silent. I could only hear the gentle humming of the Trent 900 engines as we proceeded to taxi to Runway 34L for departure. I was glad we were using 34L for departure since, as I was seated on the starboard side, I would have great views of Sydney, the Harbour Bridge, Opera House and Darling Harbour.
Taxiing over General Holmes Dr
Mood lighting for takeoff
All too soon, we were at the threshold of 34L waiting for take-off.
9V-SVA From Singapore, joined Aug 2001, 1860 posts, RR: 8
Reply 2, posted (5 years 10 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 13017 times:
The Flight - Takeoff / Cruise
We were right behind a BA B777-200ER also heading to Singapore.. We'd see her again later on.
The A380 took off like a rocket towards the north-west. We blew past the southern suburbs, passing the CBD, Harbour Bridge and Darling Harbour. I had a realization then that my holiday was ending...
View of the CBD and the prominent landmarks
Once reaching FL100, seatbelt signs were turned off and the crew proceeded to pass around the noise-cancelling headsets and amenity kits. SQ have been giving out these amenity kits for quite some time but it was and still is good enough for me. A short while later, the post-takeoff drinks were served as well. Putting on the sockettes from the amenity kit and removing my shoes, I started watching Get Smart on Krisworld.
Post-takeoff snacks were also given out and at the same time, orders for dinner were taken.
dinner menu Sydney to Singapore
- Marinated prawns garnished with assorted tomato salad
choice of cocktail dressing or chardonnay vinaigrette
- Seared lamb loin with jus, braised puy lentil and potato mash
- Gaeng chu chee pla snapper in red curry served with seasonal vegetables, steamed rice
- Grilled chicken breast and roasted chicken thigh with dried fruit served with natural jus, broccolini, celeriac puree
- Pho bo Vietnamese beef noodles in soup with vegetables
- Toffee vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce
- Gourmet cheese with garnishes
- A selection of fresh fruit
- Gourmet coffees & selection of fine teas
Not knowing what to eat, I asked FSS Elis for her recommendation. She recommended me the snapper in red curry. I was not to be let down!
Dinner was served shortly after. Upon noticing that you have finished the course, the crew would bring it away and serve the next course. I had 3 FSSes attending to me. Ahh.. the joys of an extremely underoccupied cabin!
The main course was absolutely wonderful. Definitely a very good recommendation. I enjoyed it and I should have thought of asking for another serving.
One letdown though was the fact that plastic knives were served on board. Granted, this is a requirement of flying into Australia and a grim reminder of the times we live in, but it would have been good to be able to use metal knives like during my flights to many other places. I just can't imagine using a PLASTIC knife to cut through a well-done steak..
All in all, dinner was a splendid experience. Dinner service ended around 1830 and I began watching my second movie, Mamma Mia! Bottles of Mount Franklin mineral water were given out shortly after for the comfort of passengers. Whatever happened to the Evian I used to get?
Very empty J cabin
During the movie, I decided to change the seat into bed mode. It was quite a simple procedure and I discovered another pillow and blanket hidden inside the seat.
Seat in bed mode
Watching the movie while lying down in bed mode was extremely comfortable. After a while I got bored though and decided to explore the rest of the plane, going to the back of the upper deck where YCL was and down the famous spiral stairs to the lower deck YCL section. I was suprised to see that YCL was completely full and that meal service was at that point, just being cleared. What a contrast from JCL where it was less than half-full!
Going back upstairs, I felt sleepy and decided to take a nap on the extremely comfortable bed, waking up only at 2115h.
Finishing up Mamma Mia! which I left paused before sleeping, I started to watch Love Actually, which is still one of my favourite movies of all time. Have watched it twice, all on SQ and still loving it!
At 2225h, the cabin lights were turned on in preparation for the second meal service.
refreshment menu Sydney to Singapore
To nibble on
- Warm shaved glaced ham, brie cheese and roasted artichoke in rustic turkish breat served with rucola
- Glutinous rice wrapped in lotus leaf with chicken, black mushrooms and salted egg yolk.
FSS Elis again came around to take my order, and I chose the "lor mai kai", the local term for the glutinous rice and a glass of Coca-Cola.
The lor mai kai was very very good, though a tad too salty. I was still sore about my plastic knives though, but oh well.
The supper service was cleared at around 2315h in preparation for descent. My movie was about to finish soon, allowing me to switch to Airshow mode.
Descent began at 2355h and we came in towards Changi Airport from the southern islands. Landing on Runway 02L at 0030h was extremely smooth and we quickly left the runway for our gate at Terminal 3, chocking in at 0035h.
Within 10 mins, I was out of the plane, cleared a very quiet immigration, shopped at duty free and after that on a taxi home. Nothing sure beats Changi Airport efficiency!
I definitely enjoyed my A380 flight. Although it was in JCL, I'm sure I'd have enjoyed YCL in the A380 as well.
MilesDependent From Australia, joined Sep 2001, 862 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (5 years 10 months 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 12702 times:
Nice trip report, thanks for posting.
Next time it'd be nice if you could make the pictures in the body a bit bigger. You can't really see them and it is a bit annoying to have to click on each one to see it. In this day and age most people have broadband so no need to worry about time taken to load. Anyway, my 2 cents. But it's a small point - nice report, thanks again
BA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8589 posts, RR: 54
Reply 6, posted (5 years 10 months 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 11248 times:
Nice report, thanks for sharing.
Quoting MilesDependent (Reply 4): Next time it'd be nice if you could make the pictures in the body a bit bigger. You can't really see them and it is a bit annoying to have to click on each one to see it. In this day and age most people have broadband so no need to worry about time taken to load
SQ772 From Singapore, joined Nov 2001, 1792 posts, RR: 5
Reply 7, posted (5 years 10 months 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 10796 times:
Thanks for the putting up this report. I guess this was the trip that occurred about the same time I was in SYD?
Unfortunately, I am unable to see anything when I click on the imageshack link, and as highlighted by others, the images are too small to see. I think it's possible for you to reset the images so that they appear larger.