Sponsor Message:
Aviation Trip Reports Forum
My Starred Topics | Profile | New Topic | Forum Index | Help | Search 
SQ 747 To LHR - The End Of An Era (First Class)  
User currently offlineStargold From United Kingdom, joined May 2008, 83 posts, RR: 0
Posted (5 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 26766 times:

Introduction
Sometime in 1973-1974, Singapore Airlines started flying its first Boeing 747 aircraft to London, soon after the separation of Singapore Airlines from its previous entity as Malaysia-Singapore Airlines. The B747-200s, which were the first Boeing 747 aircraft for Singapore Airlines and nicknamed “Super B”, replaced the Boeing 707s and continued the progress towards non-stop flights, which was eventually achieved in both directions for LHR-SIN by the introduction of the 747-400 in 1989.

On 29th March 2009, Singapore Airlines ended the 35 years-long history of its 747 service to London by replacing the final 747 service with the Boeing 777-300ER. As most of you know already, the other two flights have already been replaced by the A380, with its “A Class beyond First” Suites product that not many people seem interested in paying for, especially when it often attracts a huge premium over and above the prices for F on the 747/777.

The highlight of the Singapore Airlines product in recent history, for me, is the launch of the SkySuite in the B747 back in 1999. I remember being just 17 years old, phoning up the Singapore airlines office in London to ask them to send me brochures for their new 747 aircraft which had the SkySuite in F and Ultimo seats in J. I used to look at the photos, wondering when I would ever make it on one of these absolutely beautiful cabin, sitting in the seats that were covered in Connolly leather and Burr wood with barely a piece of plastic in sight, being served great food and drinks by the legendary Singapore Girls. I knew that prices for an F ticket were such that I would struggle to justify it even if I had more money than I knew what to do with, so I did not expect to experience the fantasy in the brochure for a long time yet.

Well, my “first time” for the SkySuites did not happen as planned back in April 2008 because I managed to standby for an earlier flight that had the 777-300ER F product – you can find the trip report for this linked at the bottom. Although I enjoyed the fantastic 77W aircraft, it meant I still hadn’t flown the SkySuites, and I was just itching to get myself on it as soon as possible. This turned out to be much sooner than I expected – just 3 months after, in fact.

However, my SkySuite experience on the long SIN-LHR flight in July 2008 did not bode well for writing a proper trip report since 1. I managed to lose my camera on the previous flight which meant the report would have no photos, and 2. I was on my way to collecting exam results as soon as I landed, so I was too preoccupied to really enjoy and write about the experience. So I didn’t do a trip report on that occasion, preferring to hope that I will be on another SQ 747 flight soon.

Then, when I was looking at flights to go back home for Easter, I heard that SQ was withdrawing the 747 in favour of the 77W. To me, the 77W has two major drawbacks:
1. The seat is great for sleeping but not so great for lounging and watching TV – there is limited recline and the seat is so absurdly wide that you don’t really know what to do with the huge gap between your arm and the other armrest.
2. SQ does not allow partner redemptions on the 77W (yet).

But thankfully the dates all worked out and I was able to catch the penultimate 747 service from London in First Class, which is really the best of both worlds as the flight timing makes it a fully catered flight (Dinner and Breakfast), and also allows me to experience the fantastic Virgin Clubhouse at LHR. There was, however, a catch – I would have to repeat the experience from last June and fly three flights in one day, and in fact complete four flights within 36 hours. Friends called me crazy, I did not even tell my family about the itinerary in the fear that they will have me see a shrink when I reached Korea, but I was personally very excited about it, and my friends from Flyertalk were much more understanding! Having done similar flights last June, I was not exactly a stranger to flying three flights in one day, but the last flight which was also a long-ish overnight flight made it more of a challenge.

The hectic day packed with flights involved the following itinerary:
QI5762 27MAR09 (FR) LGW-CPH 0755 1045
SK503 27MAR09 (FR) CPH-LHR 1200 1305
SQ319 27MAR09 (FR) LHR-SIN 1815 1455+1
OZ752 28MAR09 (SA) SIN-ICN 2240 0600+1


Pre-flight
Since the first flight departed from LGW, and the second flight that brought me back to London arrived in to Heathrow, I had two choices: check in my luggage on all the flights (i.e. LGW-CPH-LHR-SIN), or bring my luggage to Heathrow on the day before and leave it at the Left Luggage so that I can collect it on Friday after getting off my SK flight and check it in for my SIN flight at LHR. I decided to go for the latter option since I only had 1h15m for transit at CPH and did not want to risk missing my flight back to London if there were any delays on the QI flight, queues at CPH immigrations or problems with baggage delivery at CPH.

So I dutifully schlepped all the way to Heathrow from my house in Croydon with the two pieces of luggage that I was going to check in on Friday and gulped loudly when I realised that it costs GBP8 per bag per 24 hours. Total price for 2 bags for 36 hours = GBP32. By way of comparison, it costs less than GBP8 to do the same at SIN – eye-watering prices indeed.

Also, I managed to print my CPH-LHR boarding pass by doing online check-in for my SK flight, which meant that I could just walk to the gate when I arrived at CPH without even needing to go to a transfer counter. This would be very helpful if there were any delays in arriving into CPH on the QI flight.

Now, let’s re-live my crazy day of flying on Friday!

Flight 1: QI5762 LGW-CPH 27MAR (FR), B737-700, Seat 8A
STD: 0755 (On Time) STA: 1045 (On Time)


The day started early and without sleep. My worst nightmare being oversleeping and missing this first flight (which would be beyond disastrous for my plans), I decided that I will stay awake all night and hope to get some sleep on the flight instead – I would have to leave the house at 0530 anyway so I was hardly skipping a nice long proper sleep.

It was very easy to get to LGW from my house in Croydon since I just needed to catch a tram to East Croydon station and get a train down to Gatwick Airport which takes just 18 minutes, and I only had one piece of hand luggage to bring to CPH since everything else was already at LHR. The journey was uneventful and I found myself at the Departures hall at LGW South Terminal.
http://www.jhm3.com/flights/qi_01.jpg

If you’re wondering who QI is, it’s the two-letter code for Cimber Air (which also acquired Sterling Airlines) which is a Danish operation as far as I can tell. They were by far the cheapest to get to CPH for me to start my trip (BMI’s crazy zone system again – cheaper to redeem CPH-LHR-SIN-ICN than LHR-SIN-ICN!) and my only expectation for the airline was that it didn’t crash, and it arrived in CPH on time.

Having found the check-in counter for QI easily, I joined the small-ish queue for the two check-in desks that were open. Well, it was small when I joined it, but quickly grew to the sort of length that I find so infuriating about airports. I was very glad I arrived when I did.


Once checked-in, of course I then had to do the tiresome security check by collecting a clear plastic bag, putting in all my liquids and gels into it, taking my belt off and taking the laptop out for security, taking out my phone and coins from my trousers to put on the tray, pass through the metal detector which of course did not beep, collect all my things which were now in three separate piles and try not to take too long in case they start barking at me. No wonder people fly on private jets.

There was roughly 45 minutes till the published boarding time so I went to Pret a Manger to get something to drink and sit down for a bit, using my laptop for getting online and killing time till the boarding time. Once it got quite close to boarding time, I went down the escalators to the lower level where the departure screen showed that my gate was going to be 12. Rather than hang around for much longer in the main terminal building, I went to the gate in the hope of getting some pictures of my first 737-700.
http://www.jhm3.com/flights/qi_03.jpg

In the “holding pen”, there were thankfully some windows for me to get some pictures of the 73W and I must say, it looks rather cute with its high wingtips. I was never a fan of the 737 particularly, but at least the 73W is more interesting than most older 737s that are about as exciting as a wet fish. Unless you’re into that sort of thing, of course. Anyway, I always preferred something bigger  Wink


http://www.jhm3.com/flights/qi_05.jpg

Boarding was called on time, I went down the jetway to the waiting aircraft, and found my seat which was just next to the engine. If this was a 77W then I would be apologising profusely to my ears which would be practically bleeding by the end of the flight, but the 73W was not quite that bad.
http://www.jhm3.com/flights/qi_06.jpg

It turned out that I should be apologising to my knees instead, as the seat pitch was one of the tightest that I have ever sat on:
http://www.jhm3.com/flights/qi_07.jpg

I wished there was some way of making good use of the two empty seats next to me, but I couldn’t do anything until seatbelt sign off even if I wanted to stretch out.


As I had not slept the previous night, and in fact the night before that as well, I promptly fell asleep as soon as the aircraft pushed back. Those who have read my previous trip reports will know that I enjoy taking videos of takeoffs and landings; on this occasion I nearly fell asleep through take-off but woke up just in time to whip out my camera and start recording.
[url] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEAzlGgf6F0 [/url]

Once airborne, however, I really did fall asleep in earnest and did not wake up at all until we landed and pulled up at our gate. So, I have no idea whether they served meals, drinks, did magic shows or offered pole dancing – maybe I missed out on some great in-flight entertainment  Wink But then again, maybe not. I also didn’t manage to film the landing which I was a little annoyed about.

In any case, I walked off the aircraft bang on time and walked up to CPH airport. Having used this airport before, I knew it was a very nice little airport with a very Scandinavian design and a decent lounge – here are some photos inside the terminal.


http://www.jhm3.com/flights/qi_10.jpg

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/qi_11.jpg

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/qi_12.jpg

All in all, this flight did exactly what I wanted it to do, which was to bring me to CPH on time. Legroom was a bit tight but for GBP50 including all taxes, I shouldn’t complain too much!



Flight 2: SK503 CPH-LHR 27MAR (FR), MD82, Business Class Seat 2F
STD: 1200 (On Time) STA: 1305 (On Time)


Once I reached the main terminal, I made my way to the transfer counter in case they could issue my LHR-SIN boarding pass there. Answer was no, but they could replace my home-printed boarding pass with a normal one, which was appreciated since the A4 sheet would take up far too much room in my collection.

Then I walked to the SAS lounges where I had hoped to use the nicer Scandinavian lounge upstairs, but since I do not have a Star Gold card and did not have my LHR-SIN F boarding pass, I was only allowed to use the Business lounge downstairs. No biggie – I was only planning to be there for 30 minutes or so in any case, most of it spent walking around taking photos!

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sk_01.jpg

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sk_02.jpg
The relaxation room

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sk_03.jpg

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sk_04.jpg
Brightly sunlit lounge area by the window

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sk_05.jpg
Area near the entrance that looks like a football field…


High tables and stools near the food corner

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sk_07.jpg

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sk_08.jpg
Food offerings, including salad, poached salmon, cheeses and pate

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sk_09.jpg
The office area with iMacs for passenger use and laptop stations

All in all, a decent lounge by European standards but did not exactly rock my world. Not that I was expecting it to, either – I just ate some salmon and made myself a cup of tea, and left the lounge at roughly 11:15, some 45 minutes before scheduled departure time. Passed by an interesting looking sofa – a far cry from the hard metal benches at LHR!
http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sk_10.jpg

The gate attendant scanned my boarding pass and I went downstairs to the jetway level where I waited for another 15 minutes or so before they announced boarding. No priority boarding so it was all a bit of a free-for-all, but I had managed to locate myself near the entrance so I was roughly the third person onboard. The registration for the aircraft today was SE-DIN
http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sk_11.jpg

Some nice photos of the cockpit from the outside and through the door – I was feeling a bit shy to ask whether I can take a photo properly (maybe even ask the pilots to pose) but the two photos turned out quite nicely, I thought.


http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sk_13.jpg

When I reached my seat in row 2, I paused momentarily as I debated what to do about the guy that was enjoying settling into my window seat. Naturally, I chose the window seat to get a good view out of the window and also to film the take-off and landing, so I had no choice but to tell him it was my seat. At least he was decent enough not to complain about moving back to his aisle seat.

Legroom was very decent compared to my previous flight – it must have been a good 36 inches or so. Perhaps they make it more painful in the back, but for a short flight like this, the seat was adequate. I do know, however, that this sort of seat would annoy me on a much longer flight in Business Class.
http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sk_14.jpg

We pulled away 5 minutes before schedule and I managed to stay awake all the way during taxiing and takeoff which I also caught on the video.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOdQEyCdroM

Taking off on an MD82 is very strange and deceptive in the front of the aircraft, as there is very little noise even during take-off due to the placement of the engines right at the back of the aircraft. The engine noise is hellish for those at the very rear of the aircraft since the engine is attached to the fuselage, but at the front, the aircraft seemingly moves without any effort. A sensation that you don’t experience even in the nose of the 747.

After takeoff, I fell asleep again and, frankly, wanted to stay asleep until landing in order to catch up more on sleep. However, it wasn’t quite meant to be, as I found myself awake with roughly 50 minutes of the flight remaining. The other passengers were eating but I wanted to save my appetite for the Virgin Clubhouse so I declined the offer of my meal by the very charming male flight attendant. He was very different from my previous experience on SAS – he seemed almost concerned that I was declining the food (like the way Asian FAs always want to feed you till you burst) and he was also very proactive in offering me drinks and coffee, and even brought me a chocolate dessert from the meal without me asking. I hate marzipan which seemed to be one of the ingredients but I felt I should eat it just to avoid disappointing him. Anyway, it was a pleasant surprise to see such a charming and energetic flight attendant.

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sk_15.jpg
My in-flight coffee which – I must admit – was not bad at all

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sk_16.jpg
View of the other side of the Business Class cabin, which were only 2 rows today

After filling in the landing card for London it was soon time to buckle up and prepare for landing. It was very sunny over London which gave some rather nice views of London.

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sk_17.jpg
The Olympic village site in Stratford

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sk_18.jpg

And, as ever, the video of the landing:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d49I9j7c59Y

We pulled into the gate at 13:05 so it was another on-time flight. Although I slept through the meal service and it was only a short flight, I was pleasantly surprised by the flight attendant serving the C cabin and wished more were like him at SAS. Overall it was a pleasant short hop. Now, the juicy bit in the middle…

20 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineStargold From United Kingdom, joined May 2008, 83 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (5 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 26743 times:

Flight 3: SQ319 LHR-SIN 27MAR (FR), 747-400, First Class Seat 3F
STD: 1815 (On Time) STA: 1305 (On Time)


Once I landed and left the gate, I made my way through the surprisingly queue-free immigrations, did not need to collect any baggage, and went to the left luggage counter where my credit card weeped a little as it was swiped for the extortionate charge of GBP32 for storing my bags overnight. Oh well, it was bearable in the context of the exciting trip. Bags on trolley, then I went to the SQ check-in counter in Zone A.

Zone A is where Virgin have their check-in desks, and also where SQ recently moved the check-in desks from its previous location somewhere in the middle of the main building which always reminds me why I don’t like LHR. Thanks to the huge number of intercontinental flights departing from T3, the queues often spill well outside the check-in zones and into the main corridor of the terminal building, giving it a distinctly third world appearance. Zone A was much more pleasant in comparison, although this may well be because I was the only one crazy enough to be checking in 4 ½ hours before departure.



http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_02.jpg

The check-in agent at the Business Class desk was the first to acknowledge me walking over so I went to her to check in. Check-in was uneventful except that I had to remind the agent to put the priority tags on by bags, otherwise I will be waiting forever at SIN for my bag which will no doubt be the last bag to come out due to the very early check-in. I also asked about the load for the flight – absolutely full in C and Y, and 7 empty seats in F. Although the Singapore Girls and Boys no doubt cope well even with a full cabin, things are naturally easier when it is less than full, and 5/12 was a pretty light load considering that the previous day’s flight went out 12/12.

With my boarding pass in hand and baggage no longer in my hand, I made my way to the Fast Track security checkpoint which, rather unusually, had very few people waiting. Quite often, Fast Track is a definite misnomer as you can end up waiting just as long as the regular queue.


No need to mention that it was another delightful affair – see above for the tedious procedure which was exactly the same here except they also have a rather ridiculous shoe x-ray. Who comes up with these sorts of arrangements?? Clearly not someone who travels with any sort of regularity…

Without further ado, I made my way to the Virgin Clubhouse which was one of the saving graces of departing from LHR. After showing my SQ boarding pass, I was welcomed into the lounge after being reminded that they do not call SQ flights.

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_04.jpg

Before anything else, I wanted to have a shower first to freshen up so I walked up to the Cowshed reception and asked whether I can use a shower, and also whether I can book a massage before my flight. The receptionist tried to hint that she had no free slots but I managed to convince her that my flight is not departing for another 4 hours so surely she must have a slot somewhere. She told me my neck and shoulder massage will be at 4:15, and told me I can just go into any of the showers to use it.

The shower room was nicely appointed with marble floor and surfaces and a big rainfall shower head. The shower booth was very large – big enough for two, at least   – and doubled as a steam room but I just took a shower fairly quickly and got out, as I was beginning to be very hungry having declined the meal on the previous flight.

After the shower I walked over to the Brasserie area and sat down at one of the tables. A rather cute waiter appeared with a menu very soon, and the selection was quite impressive with a decent range of food and drinks. I didn’t want to stuff myself as I knew I will be eating a full dinner once on the flight, so I chose a few light bites.

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_05.jpg
Fresh orange juice

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_06.jpg
Brioche with smoked salmon and scrambled egg

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_07.jpg
Oriental platter – dim sum and sushi

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_08.jpg
Half pint of prawns and some marinated seafood

Unfortunately, the quality of the food did not meet the very favourable first impressions from the menu. The smoked salmon on the scrambled egg was sliced far too thinly which made it much less appealing, and the scrambled egg was too firm to be scrambled egg. I had a mental picture of fluffy scrambled egg with large pieces of smoked salmon on top. The oriental platter was also a huge let-down, with one lonely piece of fried dumpling and three pieces of sushi rolls that could barely qualify as sushi in my books. The plate of seafood from the Deli was better, but not great. Overall, the only saving grace of the meal was the very attentive waiter – perhaps I expected too much?


One of the booths in the Brasserie

After the meal, I walked around for a bit, taking photos until it was time for my massage. After signing a rather detailed disclaimer form which made me wonder exactly how badly they were going to beat me up, the masseuse brought me to the z-shaped massage chair and gave me a very good massage over my knotted neck and shoulders for the next 10 minutes. I told her I might just go and cancel my flight now that I can float all the way to Singapore!

Some more photos around the lounge:

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_10.jpg


The Sky Lounge flooded with natural sunlight

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_12.jpg
The Library

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_13.jpg
The Office

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_14.jpg
The Den

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_15.jpg
Multiscreen

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_16.jpg
The famous Candy Bar

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_17.jpg
The Den again



http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_19.jpg

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_20.jpg
The Gallery

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_21.jpg
The Poolside Lounge


The Concierge desk

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_23.jpg

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_24.jpg

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_25.jpg
The Cocktail Bar, with the funny bartender who joked "It costs 20 pounds to take a picture of me, you know!" - at least I think he was joking! :p

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_26.jpg



http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_28.jpg

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_29.jpg

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_30.jpg

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_31.jpg



http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_33.jpg
Various views around the lounge

Overall, the Virgin Clubhouse experience was great. It is by far the best lounge in LHR T3 as far as I know, and probably among the best Business Class lounges around the world. The decor is either cool or pretentious depending on your viewpoint but it’s difficult to refute the fact that it is a nicely appointed lounge with plenty of amenities and facilities. The complimentary massage definitely sets the right tone for the flight and really was great. The only downside was the quality of the food, which really needs to be improved if it is to meet the high standards of rest of the lounge.

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_34.jpg
My ride to Singapore!

I decided to make my way to the gate early, roughly 45 minutes before scheduled departure time (and therefore 15 minutes before boarding time) in hope of snapping a few nice photos of the aircraft while it is parked. But it turned out I should have listened to the person checking my boarding pass as I entered the gate area – “Sir, you do know you can’t go back out once you come in here?” As soon as I passed the boarding pass machine, I realised I wanted to go back out immediately. Being a completely full 747, the holding area was hopelessly inadequate for the number of people that were waiting there and there were no seats to sit down on. I couldn’t even achieve the purpose of coming to the gate area early, i.e. taking photos of the bird, as there were no windows in the holding area! Talk about a waste of time… I could have been sipping on a nice mojito at the Cocktail Bar still. Arghh!

Trying to make the best out of – quite frankly – the crap prospect of standing around for the next 15 minutes in a massively overcrowded room, I approached one of the SQ-uniformed gate agents to see whether it would be possible to board a few minutes before everyone else so that I can grab a few photos of the First Class cabin still empty. The gate agent radioed the ground staff in the aircraft and was told I can board, so I proceeded to the aircraft.

Ahh, the familiar scent of the aircraft filled my nose as I stepped onto the aircraft, with the view of the best place on the aircraft coming into my sight to the left. I was very warmly greeted by Kelvin, the Leading Steward (LS) and shown to my seat. I mentioned to him that I boarded a little before everyone else in order to get some photos of the F cabin, and he agreed that it is the best time to take photos.
http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_35.jpg

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_36.jpg
Views around the cabin

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_37.jpg
Seat 3F – mine for the next 12 hours

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_38.jpg
View from seat 1B

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_40.jpg
One of the two pairs of seats in the middle


The 14-inch LCD screen which was the biggest in the sky back in 1999 – how times have changed!

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_42.jpg
View from seat 3F with Kelvin and Jasmin handing out things and storing coats


Always a sign that all is well in the world – a glass of Dom while settling down for departure

Jasmine – the Leading Stewardess (LSS) – followed shortly after to take care of handing out the PJs, amenity kit, newspapers, menu, headphones, and so on. Normally the In-Flight Supervisor (IFS) comes round to introduce himself and welcome everyone but I guess he was busy with something else. After browsing the menu and fancying the lamb instead of my pre-booked lobster, I let Kelvin know that I would prefer to have lobster for breakfast so could he please set it aside for later? No problem   Jasmine took orders for the meal and post-takeoff drink.

I knew as soon as I spoke the first words with Kelvin that it was going to be a great flight. He was very warm, engaging and personable right from the start. Jasmine was a little more reserved, but still very warm and attentive as well. There was also an Inflight Auditor onboard who is responsible for checking everything is in order regarding inflight service, and apparently they are a real source of fear (and, in turn, motivation) for the crew!

Doors closed early at 6:05pm and we pushed away from the gate right on time at 6:15pm. As we were taxiing to the runway, I noticed that the windows next to seat 2A looked very clean whereas my windows were scratched and foggy. After checking with Jasmine, I quickly moved to 2A and noticed the great sunset out of my window.
http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_44.jpg

Soon we took off from 27L and we were up in the air. Video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbpq1MHoABE


Great view of the sunset again once airborne

Soon after reaching cruising altitude, the comforting smell of satay filled the cabin and I started to get hungry. Jasmine came around with the Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee that I asked for previously, and the IFS came round with the satay. I always love the Blue Mountain coffee on SQ F – such a creamy, smooth scent and flavour. The satay was great as well - a mixture of chicken and lamb. The two things tells me I am on an SQ flight for sure.

The satay disappeared pretty quickly as I was hungry by then. However, the actual meal service didn’t start for 20 or so minutes since they had to heat and prepare all the meals. Here is the menu for the flight:
dinner FROM LONDON TO SINGAPORE (27 March)

Create your gastronomic experience from our selection of tantalising options


CANAPES
Satay
With onion, cucumber and spicy peanut sauce


APPETISERS
Chilled malossol caviar
With melba toast and condiments

Marinated crayfish and avocado tartare tian served with chilled gazpacho


SOUPS
Cream of Jerusalem artichoke soup with procuitto ham and chives

Double-boiled chicken soup with ginseng


SALAD
Caesar salad
Romaine lettuce with bacon, Parmesan cheese, croutons and anchovy-garlic dressing


MAIN COURSES
* Pan roasted lamb saddle, rosemary jus, provencal style courgettes, gratinated potato

Stir-fried beef in hot bean sauce served with asparagus, gingko nut, lotus root and fried rice

Indian style chicken tikka in masala spices with braised lentils, okra and cumin rice

Pan fried pancetta wrapped monkfish served with light mustard sauce, artichoke puree, roasted baby carrots

** Roasted vegetables and ricotta cheese lasagne with tomato coulis and arugula salad


DESSERTS
Wwarm apricot frangipane in chocolate tart with vanilla ice cream and raspberry coulis


CHEESES
Camembert, blackstick blue, st. nectaire washed rind and mullkintyre cheddar served with quince paste, grapes, nuts and cracker


FRUITS
Fresh fruits in season


FINALE
A selection of gourmet coffees & fine teas served with pralines

* Exclusively created by Gordon Ramsay, London
** Specially prepared meatless selection


light bites FROM LONDON TO SINGAPORE (27 March)

Should you fancy a little snack or something more substantial, simply make your selection known to our crew, during the flight


NOODLES
Macaroni in light chicken broth garnished with Chinese greens and sliced chicken

SANDWICHES
Assorted savoury finger sandwiches

Roasted vegetables and hummus wrap


SNACKS
Cashew, almond or macadamia nuts

Potato chips

Chocolate Bar

Cereal bar

Assorted walkers biscuit

A selection from the fruit basket

Assorted cheeses with garnishes

before touch down FROM LONDON TO SINGAPORE (27 March)

As your destination nears, refresh your senses with our delightful culinary treats


TO START WITH
A choice of apple, tomato or freshly squeezed orange


FRUITS
Fresh fruit plate


STARTERS
Choice of cereals or yoghurt
Cornflakes or granola with milk
Plain or fruit yoghurt


ENTREES
Kao tom
Thai style rice porridge with sliced pork and pork meatball, fried garlic and pickled vegetable

Wok fried rice noodle topped with braised prawn and scallop, leafy greens and mushroom

Bubble and squeak
Pan fried leek, green cabbage and mashed potato served with poached egg, pork sausage and steamed asparagus

Fresh eggs prepared on-board (baked, boiled or scrambled)
With your choice of grilled ham, smoked salmon, vine ripened tomato, mushrooms and toasted muffin


FROM THE BAKERY
Assorted breakfast pastries and bread with butter, jam, marmalade or honey


FINALE
A selection of gourmet coffees & fine teas

CHAMPAGNE
Krug Grande Cuvee
Dom Perignon 2000

WHITE WINES
Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2007 Marlborough, New Zealand
Beaune du Chateau Premier Cru 2006 Bouchard Pere et Fils

RED WINES
Chateau Cos d’Estournel 1999 Saint-Estephe
Mr Riggs The Gaffer Shiraz 2005 McLaren Vale, Australia

PORT
Dow’s 20 Year Old Tawny Port, Portugal

Another veritable feast in the air. As I normally prefer on SQ, I chose both the Caviar and the crayfish, skipped the salad and the soup, chose the lamb for the main, plus the dessert, but not fruits or cheese. If I ate every single course I would just pop – I don’t know how some people manage to finish every course! Anyway, the photos:

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_47.jpg
The table setting for the meal. Notice the new tableware that is used on the 77W and Suites and now progressively introduced to the rest of the fleet.

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_48.jpg
Then the IFS brought the crayfish starter, which I took with a glass of the Burgundy White. I had the caviar as well (which was great, but no cream with the other condiments! Also, I prefer blinis over melba toast) but forgot to take a picture before I wolfed it down. The crayfish was very chunky and had a great texture. Avocado and gazpacho both worked together well with the crayfish. Quite a rich flavour but still felt light in the mouth. The white wine was fantastic.

After the plate was cleared, I asked for a glass of the Cos d’Estournel for the lamb dish that was coming shortly. It needed plenty of time to open up but once it did, the wine lived up to the hype – quite wonderful.

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_49.jpg
The lamb arrived soon after and – wow. Must be something about SQ and lamb dishes! The lamb was cooked through yet still extremely tender. The flavour was just right, and there was the perfect amount of fat around the meat for my liking. The accompanying potato was great (though probably difficult to make a hack job of gratinated potato!) and the vegetables were also good. It all worked very well together. Previously I’ve tried the Rack of Lamb twice on SQ F and each time it was stunning as well.

After the lamb was finished, I had to take a break as I was beginning to feel like the Michelin man. So, for 20 minutes I just had some wine and waited for my stomach to settle a bit before continuing with the dessert. We were flying towards Warsaw by this point

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_51.jpg


http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_50.jpg
I didn’t realise it at the time, but when I looked at the photo afterwards I realised that the dessert was plated to look like a smiley face! Although I must say, it looks a bit scary with the raspberry coulis being red – like a clown gone horribly wrong. Anyway the thought was there!

As expected, the quality of the dessert didn’t quite match the rest of the meal – it’s usually too simple, and almost always comes with vanilla ice cream which is fine, but I would really expect something a bit more special considering the high standards for the other courses. The tart was good, although the apricots were a little too sweet - and it did go nicely with the ice cream. But I do wish it was a more elaborate affair such as a proper cake.

Having finished the meal and feeling stuffed like the Christmas turkey, there was only one thing to do – sleep! As seat 3D was free (well, more than half the cabin was free in reality) I asked Jasmine to turn 3D into a bed. Meanwhile, Kelvin came and asked me for my camera – before door close, I asked him whether it would be possible for me to go to the cockpit to take a few photos, and he told me I can’t do that but he will ask the Captain’s permission to take my camera up and take photos for me. However, the 3 days of non-sleeping caught up with me again and before Kelvin came back, I promptly fell asleep in the bed – I hope Kelvin didn’t think I was being rude!

I woke up roughly 4 ½ hours later, and found my camera in my seat complete with some nice pictures from the cockpit:

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_52.jpg

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_53.jpg

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_54.jpg
-------------------------
And some pictures of the bed:
http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_55.jpg

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_58.jpg

I took a walk around the aircraft, noticing just how full to the brim it was in Business and Economy. Every single seat was filled – apparently even the relief pilot rest seat in the Upper Deck was sold to a paying passenger. I had a nice chat with a Flight Stewardess in the upper deck and came back downstairs to my seat, but snapping a few pictures first:


A photo of the wing

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_57.jpg
The registration of today’s aircraft: 9V-SPA

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_59.jpg
My seat in reclined position

Since I managed to fall asleep straight after my meal, I wanted to chat to Kelvin as he had to prepare the cabin for takeoff when we were talking earlier on the ground. However, he had gone on his rest break and only Jasmine was there, and she seemed a little reserved as mentioned before so I went back to my seat and started watching Quantum of Solace, with a cup of the Blue Mountain.

By the time the film had finished, we were almost near Bangkok:
http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_60.jpg

During this time, Kelvin had come back from his rest break in preparation for the second meal service and I chatted with him about how much I loved the F cabin on the 747 and how much I’ll miss it. I asked whether he also works on the A380 and he told me he was not yet trained for the A380 so he will be flying the 747 and 777 until they phase out enough of those aircraft for him to be trained on the A380. While I was still in the galley, I asked whether I can buy a model of the 77W to expand my collection at home and Jasmine went to bring one for me from the duty free cart further back.

After paying for the aircraft model and going back to my seat, I asked for a cup of the Blue Mountain coffee again and also some macadamia nuts – but Jasmine came back and told me unfortunately macadamias were not loaded, would I mind perhaps having some honey coated walnuts instead? I just wanted some nibbles so I said yes to the walnuts, and it was brought with the coffee. Wonderful coffee – must remember to buy some for home!


We were a shade under two hours away from Singapore when the lights were switched on and window shades were pulled up. The rest of the cabin (well, the other four passengers in First Class) started waking up for the second meal service as well. It was a very sunny sky outside and looked to be a really hot day in Singapore.
-------------------------------
http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_61.jpg
Kelvin brought me a Comments form and asked whether I would mind filling it out, including the good and bad points. Since it was such a fantastic flight, I took this opportunity to set out how much I enjoyed the flight and in particular the service from Kelvin, and suggested improving their dessert course. (Note: I received a personalised email three days after the arrival of the flight, thanking me for the comments and addressing the points raised)

Orders were taken for the meal and the table was set once again with the charger and cutlery. I opted to have just the fruit plate and my Lobster Thermidor, as I knew the lobster is quite a full-on type of dish and I didn’t want to overeat for the second time.
http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_63.jpg

And then the fruit plate was brought out. Each fruit tasted fresh and sweet, and it was the perfect way to refresh my palate and get my stomach going again.

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_64.jpg

Then, the lobster came out. Oh my god. I’ve rarely seen a lobster this big on the ground, let alone in the air! Even Kelvin commented that it’s the biggest lobster he’s ever plated, which is saying something! It was huge – the shell must have been at least 5 inches wide, and it was filled to the brim with huge chunks of lobster meat that were around 4cm in diameter – there were at least 15 pieces of those huge chunks inside the shell. And the huge claw at the front as well. I was in lobster heaven in the most unexpected of places.

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_65.jpg

Another picture to show you how full of meat the lobster was
http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_66.jpg

It was cooked in a relatively light cream sauce and there were no mushrooms as there usually is (good). The rice and asparagus was great with the sauce. The lobster meat was very fresh and succulent. I bet it would cost a fair whack to pay for this size and quality on the ground. Simply an amazing dish – having seen other pictures of the lobster thermidor on SQ F, I know I really struck jackpot with mine. As you would expect, I was totally full after that monster of a lobster even though I skipped other courses and also didn’t have any bread.

http://www.jhm3.com/flights/sq_68.jpg
After everything was cleared away, we were flying over Malaysia and fast approaching landing time… Arghh. This was one of those flights that you wish it would never finish.

I started to get ready for the landing by packing my bags again and tidying up around my seat. Before the seatbelt sign came on, I moved to seat 2A again in order to take the video through a clean window. Plenty of ships going to/from Singapore as usual:


Video of landing
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-MtAfX6DZ0

We reached the gate on time at 1450 and I looked around the cabin once more to take in the view. Sure, there will be bigger and better products in the future, no doubt. There already are very nice looking F products on airlines like CX and JL. But for me personally, the SQ 747 represents my teenage flying fantasy, leaving such a strong impression on me 10 years ago that it still has the wow factor even today when other airlines have launched much more impressive looking seats. The location in the nose of the 747 is unmatched in its atmosphere and tranquillity, the seat design thoughtful and elegant, and the crew as graceful and perfectionist as ever. It really is about as good as it gets, for me. Although it’s somewhat unlikely that I will fly the SQ 747 before its retirement, I will not be forgetting that view for a very long time.

(SIN-ICN to follow shortly)

[Edited 2009-04-05 16:52:49]

User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4755 posts, RR: 26
Reply 2, posted (5 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 26407 times:

*sniff*... I am feeling sadly nostalgic. You see, my family practically grew up around SQ and with every fleet type retired, we will feel sad but none sadder than the 747-400. When the older models of 747s retired, there were other derivatives but after the -400s, none of it will be left. Unfortunately, I never had the priviledge to make it past the curtains into First Class, as I have inched up to Business (Raffles) only. Somehow the routes that I flown on in recent years - work or leisure - sadly didn't feature the 747-400.

Quoting Stargold (Reply 1):
Oriental platter – dim sum and sushi

It is oriental indeed. You have chinese dim sum, japanese sushi / boiled peas and Korean metal chopsticks. Sorry to hear it didn't turn out as good as it looks. Frankly, it is pretty hard to screw up sushi, is it?

Quoting Stargold (Reply 1):
As expected, the quality of the dessert didn’t quite match the rest of the meal – it’s usually too simple, and almost always comes with vanilla ice cream which is fine, but I would really expect something a bit more special considering the high standards for the other courses.

Agree... I find that SQ has never been very adventurous when it came to deserts. I have felt theirs to be all pre-plated (served cold including the bowls they come in) and sorely lacking in imagination, well at least for Business Class.

Quoting Stargold (Reply 1):
Then, the lobster came out. Oh my god. I’ve rarely seen a lobster this big on the ground, let alone in the air! Even Kelvin commented that it’s the biggest lobster he’s ever plated, which is saying something! It was huge – the shell must have been at least 5 inches wide, and it was filled to the brim with huge chunks of lobster meat that were around 4cm in diameter – there were at least 15 pieces of those huge chunks inside the shell. And the huge claw at the front as well. I was in lobster heaven in the most unexpected of places.

Wow... Lobster with a serious steroid addiction. There have been some comments about lobster thermidor being more like vegeterian thermidor because of the disproportianate amount of creamed condiments compared to the actual lobster. So now I guess you won't be saying the same.

Thanks for the report.



Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlineManchesterMAN From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2003, 1224 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (5 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 24932 times:

Thank you for this great trip report and excellent photos, although I can't believe you took a photo of the urinals in the CH toilets!!

Quoting Stargold (Thread starter):
Seat 3F – mine for the next 12 hours

What do you think of this seat? I am flying the 747 in F SIN-MEL later this week and have that exact same assignment. Would you say it is the best window seat? I think I will be able to move around if not as it looks so far like an extremely empty F cabin  Smile



Flown: A300,A319,A320,A321,A330,A340.A380,717,727,737,747,757,767,777,DC9,DC10,MD11,MD80,F100,F50,ERJ,E190,CRJ,BAe146,Da
User currently offlineSInGAPORE_AIR From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2000, 13742 posts, RR: 19
Reply 4, posted (5 years 4 months 4 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 24622 times:

An exquisite trip report StarGold !


Anyone can fly, only the best Soar.
User currently offlineSenliture From Australia, joined May 2000, 431 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (5 years 4 months 4 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 24553 times:



Quoting ManchesterMAN (Reply 3):
What do you think of this seat? I am flying the 747 in F SIN-MEL later this week and have that exact same assignment. Would you say it is the best window seat? I think I will be able to move around if not as it looks so far like an extremely empty F cabin Smile

don't get row 4, it's too close to gallery behind you and it's the light that keeps me away last time. row 3 and 2 are good, but don't like the idea of row 1.


User currently offlineDirectorguy From Egypt, joined Jul 2008, 1676 posts, RR: 11
Reply 6, posted (5 years 4 months 4 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 24025 times:

Exquisite.
Palatable.
Amazing.
747.
Singapore Airlines.
First.

You have done a wonderful job with this trip report. It's so nice to see someone as enthusiastic.
I'm quite younger than you were when the current SQ First product was unveiled, and you had an infatuation with it. Naturally, you'd think I'd be an avid A380 fan, and although I am, I still preffer the 747. There is something about that aircraft that speaks out to generations. You definately ain't the only one.
Fingers crossed about a 747-8I in SQ colours (unlikely with the A380 and 77W, but not impossible!).

Lucky you with that monster of a lobster, you really have struck gold with that one. Singapore's First product is of course something most airlines only dream about.
The LGW-CPH-LHR part was also interesting, I seem to remember you once backtracked and did a similar route just for the miles or something.

Thanks a million for the TR!


User currently offlinePlateman From United States of America, joined May 2007, 923 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (5 years 4 months 4 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 23856 times:

Nice report...just confused why you went London-Cophengan-London and not direct to LHR for the Singapore service?


"Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain
User currently offlineAkhmad From Netherlands, joined Sep 2005, 2461 posts, RR: 53
Reply 8, posted (5 years 4 months 4 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 23837 times:

Hi Stargold,

Quoting Stargold (Thread starter):
QI5762 27MAR09 (FR) LGW-CPH 0755 1045
SK503 27MAR09 (FR) CPH-LHR 1200 1305
SQ319 27MAR09 (FR) LHR-SIN 1815 1455+1
OZ752 28MAR09 (SA) SIN-ICN 2240 0600+1

What an interesting itinerary. I follow your example sometimes.  Smile

Quoting Stargold (Thread starter):
as the seat pitch was one of the tightest that I have ever sat on:

Yikes. I experienced the same thing on board of Vueling.

Quoting Stargold (Thread starter):
Naturally, I chose the window seat to get a good view out of the window and also to film the take-off and landing, so I had no choice but to tell him it was my seat.

Quite rightly. You were the one who deserved the window seat anyway.

I enjoy your TR very much. Thank you for sharing.

Cheers



Friends forever
User currently offlineTrintocan From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2000, 3238 posts, RR: 4
Reply 9, posted (5 years 4 months 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 23476 times:

Well done Stargold, this was a fabulous trip report. SQ is indeed top-notch from your description. Never mind that your flight was on the vintage 747-400 (at least vintage for them), the service was excellent and the food - especially that lobster! SQ really sets a high standard for others to aspire to.

Thanks again. I also liked your pictures from CPH, it reminds me of when I was there last year (and the trip report is long overdue).

TrinToCan.



Hop to it, fly for life!
User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8535 posts, RR: 54
Reply 10, posted (5 years 4 months 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 23416 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Great report,

Really enjoyed the trip, is funny how the BMI mileage redemption thing works, pretty mad!

Quoting Stargold (Thread starter):
Trying to make the best out of – quite frankly – the crap prospect of standing around for the next 15 minutes in a massively overcrowded room, I approached one of the SQ-uniformed gate agents to see whether it would be possible to board a few minutes before everyone else so that I can grab a few photos of the First Class cabin still empty. The gate agent radioed the ground staff in the aircraft and was told I can board, so I proceeded to the aircraft.

- Nice touch from the ground crew, quite impressed.

Meals looked good, really like the plates they use in F.

It does seem odd seeing SQ 77W's @ LHR and no 747's, shame the era is over but they still fly them but for how much longer?

Look forward to the next TR.

Regards

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlineManchesterMAN From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2003, 1224 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (5 years 4 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 22637 times:



Quoting Plateman (Reply 7):
Nice report...just confused why you went London-Cophengan-London and not direct to LHR for the Singapore service?

This would be to save miles and a nice sum of cash due to the way the zone system works with bmi diamond Cluib redemptions. By starting in CPH (zone 2) it costs fewer miles than starting in LHR (zone 1). If it was a part miles part cash booking the OP would also save on the cash element too. Plus starting in CPH means you don't have to pay the UK £80 APD tax which is not levied if you are connecting through the UK for <24 hours. The savings can be quite big, especially if you are travelling to certain parts of northern Asia like Japan and Hong Kong where there is a massive difference in miles needed between starting in Zone 1 and Zone 2.



Flown: A300,A319,A320,A321,A330,A340.A380,717,727,737,747,757,767,777,DC9,DC10,MD11,MD80,F100,F50,ERJ,E190,CRJ,BAe146,Da
User currently offlineBMIFlyer From UK - England, joined Feb 2004, 8810 posts, RR: 58
Reply 12, posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 22173 times:

Groovy report and pics. Reminds me of my trip on SQ in F last year  Smile


Lee



Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
User currently offlineLHR380 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 21871 times:

Fantastic
Stupendous
Amazing
Great

Was a good report I guess  Wink

Loved the pics (Nice looking bar man lol, will have to look out for him in T3 haha)

Great report, really enjoyed reading it, thank you.

J


User currently offlineStargold From United Kingdom, joined May 2008, 83 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 20210 times:

Firstly, I'm very sorry for the delay in replying to the messages. Due to the sheer number of people viewing the trip report, I received a bill for £60 for the 80GB of bandwidth used by the trip report photos, so I had to find a new home for the photos in the other two websites I uploaded the trip report (SQTalk and Flyertalk) before I started replying and bumped up the thread.

Thank you for all the wonderful compliments - it's hugely rewarding to see people enjoying my TR and motivates me to do better on the next one. The TR for the return trip will be much more interesting due to an incident on the NRT-FRA flight - stay tuned!

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 2):
*sniff*... I am feeling sadly nostalgic. You see, my family practically grew up around SQ and with every fleet type retired, we will feel sad but none sadder than the 747-400.

Glad to see that it's not just me - I know of a good number of flyers on Flyertalk and SQTalk who managed to catch the LHR 747 in its final week of service. Shame you haven't made it onto F on the 747 yet but perhaps you can catch it on a FRA, SYD or LAX flight before they finish?

Quote:
Wow... Lobster with a serious steroid addiction. There have been some comments about lobster thermidor being more like vegeterian thermidor because of the disproportianate amount of creamed condiments compared to the actual lobster. So now I guess you won't be saying the same.

This one was definitely not a vegetarian thermidor - the only vegetables were the rice and aspsaragus!

Quoting ManchesterMAN (Reply 3):
Thank you for this great trip report and excellent photos, although I can't believe you took a photo of the urinals in the CH toilets!!

Quoting Stargold (Thread starter):
Seat 3F – mine for the next 12 hours

What do you think of this seat? I am flying the 747 in F SIN-MEL later this week and have that exact same assignment. Would you say it is the best window seat? I think I will be able to move around if not as it looks so far like an extremely empty F cabin

The way I think is, as long as there isn't anyone actually using the urinal then it's fair game! :p

Obviously my reply is too late to give you advice for your F trip which you would have flown by now, so I now wonder what seat you chose and whether you liked it?

Quoting Directorguy (Reply 6):
I'm quite younger than you were when the current SQ First product was unveiled, and you had an infatuation with it. Naturally, you'd think I'd be an avid A380 fan, and although I am, I still preffer the 747. There is something about that aircraft that speaks out to generations. You definately ain't the only one.

The LGW-CPH-LHR part was also interesting, I seem to remember you once backtracked and did a similar route just for the miles or something.

Thanks a million for the TR!

More fans of the 747 - well, not surprising, is it? I was at NRT last week and I saw both the SQ A380 and the SQ 747 - the 747 looked so much better from the outside. It must be said, however, that the A380 is superior by a fair margin if you're travelling in C or Y. In fact, Y on the 747 is a pain in the a** due to the old hardware...

You have good memory! Yes, last year I flew LHR-ARN-LHR-NRT for the same reason as this time - to save on miles.

Quoting Plateman (Reply 7):
Nice report...just confused why you went London-Cophengan-London and not direct to LHR for the Singapore service?

ManchesterMAN has kindly answered your question in my absence  Smile

Quoting Trintocan (Reply 9):
Never mind that your flight was on the vintage 747-400 (at least vintage for them), the service was excellent and the food - especially that lobster! SQ really sets a high standard for others to aspire to.

You wouldn't have realised that this aircraft (SPA) was any older than any of the other SQ 747s - it was extremely well maintained at least in F with no bits falling off or any serious wear. And I don't think I will ever forget that lobster!

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 10):
Great report,

Really enjoyed the trip, is funny how the BMI mileage redemption thing works, pretty mad!

Meals looked good, really like the plates they use in F.

It does seem odd seeing SQ 77W's @ LHR and no 747's, shame the era is over but they still fly them but for how much longer?

Look forward to the next TR.

Agree with you about BMI redemption - well, it works definitely to my advantage so I'm not complaining in any way!

The new tableware is definitely a vast improvement on the old, and really makes the food stand out more. Also, I don't think my alien-sized lobster would fit on the old plate Big grin

Quoting BMIFlyer (Reply 12):
Groovy report and pics. Reminds me of my trip on SQ in F last year

I remember reading your very nice TR - glad you enjoyed mine  Smile

Quoting LHR380 (Reply 13):
Loved the pics (Nice looking bar man lol, will have to look out for him in T3 haha)

 Wink Wink


User currently offlineStargold From United Kingdom, joined May 2008, 83 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 20203 times:

Truthfully, I have no idea why I left this one so late - as if it was a whole bundle of fun and adventure worth waiting for. This was probably one of the least interesting flights I've taken, due to the fact that I slept more or less the entire way without even eating the meal. I hadn't slept properly for the previous 4 days or so, which guaranteed that I would collapse as soon as the aircraft reached cruising height.

Anyhow, hope it still makes for a decent reading and I can tell you now, my next flights were much more exciting!  Wink

========================

Once I disembarked from the SQ 747, almost tears in my eyes, I headed to the Transfer counters in Terminal 1 in order to obtain my OZ boarding pass, so that I can take a shower in the SQ Silver Kris lounge in T3. However, due to some problem to my ticket (apparently), the agent was unable to give me a boarding pass for the OZ flight. I told him I needed a boarding pass in order to use the shower in the T3 lounge, but he said it should be no problems - just explain what happened.

But no, this is SQ we're talking about, famous for being incredibly inflexible to the point of infuriating, especially on the ground. I schlepped dutifully with my heavy laptop bag back to Terminal 3 where, after reaching the Silver Kris lounge, the entry dragons treated me like some scum trying to scam access into the inner sanctum of utter luxury and tranquility (trust me, had I not been so desperate for a shower, I wouldn't have even looked at it as I walked past). Showing them my inbound SQ F boarding pass was no use - they said "Need departure boarding pass, otherwise no entry" and kept repeating it regardless of what I said about the problems getting my boarding pass at the Transfer desk.

Finally, after some phonecalls to the OZ airport office by the chief dragon who appeared to see what the fuss was about, I was finally allowed access to the lounge for my damned shower after some 30 minutes of fighting for access. If I had known it would take this long to obtain access then I really wouldn't have bothered - but this was a typical "waiting for a bus" problem. The more you wait, the more time you have invested towards waiting so the more you stand to lose by giving up, even though you would probably have walked had you realised at the beginning that it would take that long.

I must admit, the moment the hot water hit my back in the - admittedly quite nice - shower in the T3 Business Class Silver Kris lounge (again, inbound F boarding pass did nothing), I momentarily forgot all about the stress of fighting for access and just enjoyed the hot water for a while. After all that was done, I walked out of the lounge again, giving a forced smile to the script robots at the entrance and made my way to the immigrations and baggage claim.

Of course, since so much time had passed from the time of arrival of my flight, the belt was no longer running for my flight and I made my way to the lost and found office where the staff took some 10 minutes to retrieve my luggage. After that, I went out of the customs into the arrivals hall and looked for the left luggage office since I did not want to carry around my laptop bag all around Singapore with me. The weather was already quite horrific in terms of temperature and humidity to make me sweat buckets without needing the help of a 7kg laptop carry-on to make me sweat some more.

Left luggage was so much cheaper than London that it almost made me wince - it was literally 1/10 of the London price to leave the two items for the same duration, although in this case I was collecting it just 6 hours or so later. I gave them everything I didn't need in Singapore and then made my way to the MRT which one of my friend's dad successfully convinced me to try. This turned out to be a mistake as it was quite crowded and I gave up my seat for an old woman and stood for 25 minutes. Should have just taken the taxi in hindsight...

I met up with a friend from FlyerTalk who I had emailed the previous day my desires to try out some huge prawns and scallops. I would have been perfectly happy with some hawker food stall type affair, but he had reserved a very nice Chinese restaurant at Chijmes (pronounced "Chimes" - why must they bastardise the spelling??). We had the following dishes:




Drunken prawns - they prepare this fresh from live prawns flambéed with some liqueur and then set alight to the prawns again once on the plate, which burns off some more alcohol with yellow flames. Very cool to watch, and very tasty!



Razor clams - meaty and a really good sauce



Scallop and mushroom - the scallop was good enough to not make me feel shortchanged had I collapsed and died there and then



Noodles with huge prawns. The noodles were really, really good and the prawns were to die for.

All in all, a really excellent meal which was absolutely what I had in mind. He insisted on getting the meal, which now means I owe him major portions of Galbi when he comes to Seoul Big grin


Flight 4: OZ752 SIN-ICN 28MAR (SA), A330-300, Seat 4K
STD: 2240 (5 mins late) STA: 0600+1 (On Time)


After the satisfying dinner, I had to start contemplating my journey back to the airport as it was beginning to get quite late. My original plan was to get the MRT on my way back as well, but after reaching the platform and realising that I may end up missing my flight, I went back up to street level and got a cab. The cab took no time at all (I think less than 20 minutes) and I reached Changi Terminal 3 with a decent amount of time to spare. However, it ended up being the most expensive taxi ride to Changi in my life, as I forgot to get the change in notes from a SGD50 note and overpaid him by roughly SGD40 - arghhh!!! Oh well, it could be worse...

Side note: I had previously agonised about how to fly SIN-ICN, whether to take OZ C or SQ F, or whether to stay one night in the transit hotel and then fly SIN-HKG-ICN, etc etc. In the end, OZ C seat was actually better than SQ F regional, and it was also >USD100 cheaper in fuel surcharges so I opted for the most hassle-free option which was the OZ SIN-ICN nonstop.

Once the carry-on was retrieved from left luggage, I took the Skytrain to T1 where I walked up to the deserted OZ check-in counter. There I found a Korean supervisor who recognised my name and apologised profusely for the earlier mix-up regarding the boarding pass. The copious amounts of seafood for dinner had already made me forget about the incident completely, but it was nice that she addressed the mess-up. She also very helpfully suggested that I take the other entrance to immigrations since the one near OZ's check-in counter was also quite close to all the European flights departing around the same time. I went through the passport control in no time and spent 10-15 minutes buying something from the electronics shop, by which time I didn't really have any time to use the lounge so went to the gate instead.


The A333 taking me to ICN

It was 22:15 when I arrived at the gate which meant it should have started boarding by then, but there was a short delay to the commencement of boarding so I sat around for 10 minutes or so and then they started boarding. As soon as I got into the aircraft, I changed into my SQ sleepsuit and settled down in preparation for take-off.


The familiar OZ C seat.


I think the aircraft had AVOD, but not too sure - I never got round to watching or listening to anything!

Pre-departure drinks of champagne, orange juice or water was offered, and I decided to have a couple of glasses of champagne to properly send me to sleep. I didn't even get round to asking for a menu from the flight so I'm not sure what the bottle was.


My "trip report notebook" and also the glass of champagne.

The load was fairly light in C tonight although Y looked chock full. Almost everyone in C had two seats to themselves. The doors closed 5 minutes late at 2245 and I fell asleep soon after take-off, but not until I had taken the take-off video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6y1vPEPMwk
(Not too much in the way of things to look at, so I hope you enjoy the sound at least!)

Once the seatbelt sign was switched off, I woke up just long enough to stretch my seat into the full recline and slept for a good 5 hours until 35 minutes prior to landing (05:15 Korean time). Once I woke up, I found a "We couldn't serve you any food as you were sleeping, but please let us know if you would like something to eat" sticker on my seat. After changing back into street clothes for landing and brushing my teeth, I was just a tiny bit hungry but I assumed there would be no food available since there were now barely 30 minutes until landing. But I was pleasantly surprised when one of the flight attendants came round and told me "I'm very sorry but there isn't enough time to prepare you the full meal, but would you like some fruit and cake instead?"


The cheese/fruit plate, cake and the coffee

Could you imagine flight attendants on any US or European airline offering you food and coffee just 5 minutes before the seatbelt sign? Admitttedly, blue cheese is not really my standard breakfast menu (made me feel a bit queasy just looking at it, in fact), but it was nice to at least have some coffee and some cake as well as the fruit on the cheese plate. And more than the food, I really appreciated the proactive gesture. As you could imagine, it didn't take very long for me to eat the fruit and cake, and everything was collected once the seatbelt sign came on at 0535.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3AnxduDeAU
Landing video

We landed at ICN in the dark around 0550 and taxied to our gate. I've never arrived this early at ICN before and I couldn't imagine what it would be like to start work so early!



As soon as the seatbelt sign was turned off, the flight attendants rushed to the back of the C cabin to close the curtains so that C passengers can get their belongings in peace and disembark.


Curtains closed after seatbelt sign off

The doors were opened at 05:55 and I went through the immigrations very quickly. The bags also came out very quickly, and after buying something to drink from Family Mart, I found myself waiting for the Airport Limousine bus by 06:15.

Most people slept for the whole way to the City Air Terminal on the early morning bus, since most of them would have travelled overnight


The comfortable seats on the bus - I hope I didn't snore!

=============================

So, here ends the outward journey on this trip. It took me roughly 36 hours to travel from London to Seoul, and what fun it was! It was an exceptional pleasure to catch the SQ 747 for my last time and even the other flights were very pleasant in their own way.

I hope you enjoyed following my long and roundabout journey to Seoul and hope you enjoy my next TR for my return trip back to LHR when I upload it. Thanks for all the kind comments and please continue to post comments or questions.


User currently offlineReadytotaxi From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2006, 3232 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 19905 times:

Oh WOW!
Really. Now where do I have to go to Try a 747 in First from the uk?



you don't get a second chance to make a first impression!
User currently offlineStargold From United Kingdom, joined May 2008, 83 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (5 years 4 months 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 18702 times:



Quoting Readytotaxi (Reply 16):
Oh WOW!
Really. Now where do I have to go to Try a 747 in First from the uk?

Well, plenty of airlines operate 747 in First Class from the UK - the obvious starting point is BA, who are not in any danger of discontinuing their 747 services anytime soon.

However, SQ was one of the airlines that were rapidly cutting back their 747 services so it was an excellent opportunity to travel on it (as well as try the excellent VS CH). Now, the 747 has been substituted by the 77W on the LHR route and, to me, it's a bit of a downgrade even though the 77W F seat is newer and much larger..


User currently offlineNethkt From Thailand, joined Apr 2001, 1081 posts, RR: 3
Reply 18, posted (5 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 17668 times:

Great stuff.
Thanks a lot for the trip report. It's absolutely the first class trip report for first class travel.

Just wonder how could you manage to take night shots so beautifully! It's as clear as day time shot. Don't tell me you use some kind of huge camera with full-on flash and stuff!!

Thanks again.
NET



Let's just blame it on yields.
User currently offlineStargold From United Kingdom, joined May 2008, 83 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 16804 times:



Quoting Nethkt (Reply 18):
Thanks a lot for the trip report. It's absolutely the first class trip report for first class travel.

Just wonder how could you manage to take night shots so beautifully! It's as clear as day time shot. Don't tell me you use some kind of huge camera with full-on flash and stuff!!

Thank you very much for your very kind comments, glad you enjoyed reading the TR  Smile

I gotta tell you, my camera is just a very, very cheap Canon P&S that I bought for less than $90. The most important thing about it is having Image Stabilisation, which allows me to take shake-free pictures during low light conditions. It's probably the best feature any camera can have for low-light photography.

My camera model


User currently offlineXA744 From Mexico, joined Mar 2004, 734 posts, RR: 3
Reply 20, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 15923 times:

What an extraordinary trip report... So beautifully and exquisitely written !!!

I have enjoyed every single bit of this marvelous experience you are sharing with us today...

Thank you very much !!!

Best regards



No matter how you fly...just never get your wings clipped !
Top Of Page
Forum Index

Reply To This Topic SQ 747 To LHR - The End Of An Era (First Class)
Username:
No username? Sign up now!
Password: 


Forgot Password? Be reminded.
Remember me on this computer (uses cookies)
  • Trip reports only! Other topics here
  • If criticizing an airline, express yourself in a dignified manner.
  • No adverts of any kind. This includes web pages.
  • No hostile language or criticizing of others.
  • Do not post copyright protected material.
  • Use relevant and describing topics.
  • Check if your post already been discussed.
  • Check your spelling!
  • DETAILED RULES
Add Images Add SmiliesPosting Help

Please check your spelling (press "Check Spelling" above)


Similar topics:More similar topics...
A Day In The Life Of An Aircraft Dispatcher posted Sun Oct 16 2005 15:15:09 by Goldenshield
Day In The Life Of An Easyjet Ramp Agent posted Fri Apr 29 2005 01:28:42 by EZYAirbus
A Day In The Life Of An Airline Pilot, Intl Ver. posted Thu Aug 5 2004 17:49:24 by Philsquares
A Day In The Life Of An Airline Pilot posted Mon Aug 2 2004 04:03:48 by WILCO737
The End Of Vacation (NAS-LGA-PIT) posted Tue Aug 12 2003 04:23:08 by Catholic2006
SQ 308 - First To Fly The A380 To London Heathrow posted Wed Mar 26 2008 13:24:30 by MadameConcorde
BCN/LHR-LAX-SYD BA & QF First The Return Many Pics posted Fri May 9 2008 19:15:10 by QFFlyer
CPH To LHR And Return For The Whalejet posted Wed Mar 19 2008 09:40:38 by CPH-R
Welcome To The World Of LH (guided Tour At FRA) posted Sun Jul 15 2007 15:41:44 by DALCE
To Winnipeg And Back: The Adventure Of A Lifetime. posted Wed Jul 4 2007 08:01:03 by WestJetForLife

Sponsor Message:
Printer friendly format