Here's my report (longish) of my recent round the world trip ex Perth, Western Australia.
This trip was booked in 1999 before SQ joined STAR, when they had a thing going with Delta & Swissair. Once we made this decision the 33,500 miles provided by the package were put to good use as the intinerary shows!
Not being rich all flights were Y (Coach) class.
The gaps in the intinerary were covered by road or rail. (We had lots of people to see & things to do at specific times.)
The side trip to MKE from JAX in late July was to go to EAA Airventure 2000 at Oshkosh of course while my wife stayed with friends in N. Florida.
Itinerary (dates dd/mm/yyyy):
03/07/2000 PER-SIN SQ224 B777-200
03/07/2000 SIN-HKG-SFO SQ2 B747-400
09/07/2000 SFO-DFW-MSY DL262 B737-800
15/07/2000 MSY-ATL DL1901 B757-200
15/07/2000 ATL-JAX DL856 B757-200(N686DA)
25/07/2000 JAX-CVG DL204 MD88(N967DL)
25/07/2000 CVG-MKE DL1940 MD88
31/07/2000 MKE-ATL DL2101 MD88(N948DL)
31/07/2000 ATL-JAX DL453 B757-200(N675DL)
03/08/2000 JAX-ATL DL1674 B757-200
03/08/2000 ATL-CLT DL876 MD88
14/08/2000 CLT-ATL DL964 MD88
14/08/2000 ATL-YYZ DL4554 CRJ
21/08/2000 DTW-CVG-LGA DL2117 MD88
24/08/2000 JFK-MAN DL138 B767-300ER
07/09/2000 CDG-ZRH SR705 A321
07/09/2000 ZRH-FCO AZ587 MD80(I-DAWF) SR705 late, missed SR transfer
11/09/2000 FCO-SIN SQ339 A340
12/09/2000 SIN-PER SQ223 B777-200
Comments re Airlines:
Singapore Airlines- Great service & food.
2 minuses though; (1) Cabin crew gave us the wrong US immigration card - white (require visa) instead of green (the no visa one with the 3 stupid questions on the back, like "Are you a terrorist? Yes/No"), Being our first time to the US we didn't know any better and hence had lots of hassle at SFO.
(2) The flight info channel wasn't working on the PTVs of the A340 on the FCO-SIN flight although all the other channels worked.
Delta Airlines- Was forewarned of the no frills approach, but pleasant enough; with 9 of the 14 internal US flights being not much more than an hour nothing more was expected; peanuts & fruit granola soon became tedious though. JFK-MAN good service except the movie video broke down 4 times. Generally equipment had a well used feel about it, and certainly not cleaned to the meticulous level of SQ.
Swissair- In flight service excellent, but with only 24 pax on an A321 you would expect so. Ground service in CDG was poor though - no announcement re flight delay was made nor displayed; earlier flight was also delayed, but it left with no more than 50 pax so good communications could have seen transfers to that flight so there would not have been all the missed connections at ZRH. Hence our transfer to an AZ flight, which I must say was arranged very promptly with no hassle.
Alitalia- In flight (once we actually made it into the air - see below) service was good.
Comments re Aircraft:
B777-200 Probably the best type we flew in - SQ's usual high standard finishing touches were evident.
B747-400 Seemed less room than the 777 although 1050kph ground speed down the west coast of North Am. was impressive.
B737-800 For one of DL's newer types didn't impress - one of our seats would not recline.
B757-200 Not bad - on one flight though water condensation was dripping from a join in the overhead lockers! Understand from Boeing's Aero news that condensation between fuselage skin and internal fittings can occur in some types.
MD88 Obviously DL's workhorses and it showed on some of them, although all takeoffs were exhilarating - what would the climb out angle be? Felt like 75 degrees!
CRJ Ok, but didn't have the "solid feel" of, say, a F28 that I expected. Flight delayed 20 minutes due to maintenance(?) problems - do all airlines really think all pax are that dumb?
B767-300 Best of DL's that we flew in but still a bit tatty around the edges - although having exit row seats helped comfort wise.
A321 Very nice, SR's leather seats impressed.
MD80 I-DAWF Hmm, probably seen better days - 500 metres into takeoff run at ZRH we came to screeching halt took first taxiway exit left and parked on the edge of the apron for some 20 minutes. Flight & cabin crews ran up & down the aisle a couple of times, Capt Speaking then apologised (no actual reasons given, "just doing some technical checks") and we went on our way, arriving FCO some 3 hours after our scheduled SR arrival time.
A340 Better than the 744, almost as good as the B777
Comments re Airports:
SIN - very impressive services for the transit/connecting pax.
HGK - Also impressed.
SFO, DFW, MSY, MKE- Nothing stuck in my mind, good or bad, didn't spend much time at these.
ATL Hartfield - Is an airport or what? Everything went very smoothly, but man, don't some people and aircraft move through that place. From what I saw - that's how an airport should be operated. Push back to rotate always took some time but DL must factor these times into their schedules.
CDG & JAX- Yeah, seemed neat no hassles airports.
YYZ- Seemed to be a spread out, sprawling place.
DTW- Lived up (down?) to its reputation - traffic chaos getting there, who knows why?
LGA- From news reports NYPA & the airlines have some airside issues to resolve but saw no problems from a pax viewpoint.
JFK- Only saw DL departure side - one common luggage only check in for all flights, then get boarding pass at gate, but only within 1 hour of departure which means a mad dash back to the shops to get your duty free than back to the gate to make the boarding call!
MAN- New & neat but a bloody long way to drag your luggage to the train station after an overnight flight though.
CDG- Dump; Pax pickup & drop off shambles (ok our departure was the day of a taxi strike), broken floor tiles, razor wire along the top of internal partitions. Saw chaos on the ramp when a towbar on an A319/20/21 type broke or something during pushback. Then saw luggage handlers trying to load an approx 0.75m x 0.75m x 3.5m pine crate into the belly hold of a Finnair MD80 - we departed before they succeeded (or gave up), I'm sure the hold door won't ever shut properly again. Long delay for takeoff - waiting, waiting, then the announcement that we were number 15, then just 2 minutes later we're on the threshold stripes throttles wide open and off!
FCO- Seemed ok (especially after CDG) - when leaving we didn't realise that our gate, C23, was at the new building via train so took longer to get there than we anticipated - not that it mattered - departed 30 min late anyway - the locals weren't particularly happy about boarding high row numbers first either!
Comments re Airspace:
Asia - No apparent issues
North America - Wasn't too bad; were put into a holding pattern for 15 minutes inbound to ATL from MKE and for 40 minutes inbound to LGA from DTW.
Europe - Won't ever bother flying within Europe again - By 2010 it'll be horizon to horizon planes - you see more by road or train anyway.
General: Except for the missed SR connection at ZRH (and to a lesser degree our immigration hassles at SFO) all went well. Saving up for Oshkosh 2003 now - Wright Bros Centenary.
Hope this has been of some interest and not too long,