initious From Singapore, joined Dec 2008, 1011 posts, RR: 16 Posted (2 years 7 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 11701 times:
Good Morning Borneo! – Where Silkair Unwinds…
Before I start, I have to thank Sandeep (AI151) for coming out with such a marvellous title for this TR!
Flying on a plane had always been on my mind. However, I will be having my internship all the way till end of January 2011 so going on a long trip is definitely out of the question. However, I had planned to take a joyride to KUL on the LCCs available here in SIN – Jetstar Asia, AirAsia and Tiger Airways. Out of those three, I had only flown Jetstar Asia before. Service was alright but seat pitch was horrendous. Despite that, I could still bear that seat pitch for a mere 1-hour flight to KUL.
Upon stumbling on SQ’s website, I discovered that I could redeem a one-way ticket to Kota Kinabalu on Silkair for a little more than 6000 KrisFlyer miles. That was definitely my first choice, and I chose AirAsia for a return trip, signaling the start of a wonderful experience with the Best Low-Cost Airline for 2009 and 2010 on my first flight with them.
About Kota Kinabalu
Kota Kinabalu is the state capital of the Malaysian state of Sabah, located in Borneo. Borneo is a large island just north of Australia – Consisting of 3 countries; Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak state), Indonesia and the whole country of Brunei. Sabah and Sarawak is considered as East Malaysia, while West Malaysia (or Peninsular Malaysia) consists of the major cities such as KUL and PEN. With an area of just 351 km2, it is the commercial centre for the state of Sabah and has the second busiest airport in Malaysia, second to KUL. It also consists of Mount Kinabalu, the icon of Kota Kinabalu. To climb the mountain, reservations have to be made months in advance. Kota Kinabalu is also famous for its beaches with beautiful waters and smooth sand.
Silkair - Regional Wing of Singapore Airlines
Silkair, a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, was formed in 1976 as Tradewind Charters. It operated regional charter services using planes leased from her parent company, Singapore Airlines. In 1989, it was renamed Tradewind Airlines and scheduled services to regional destinations began.
Tradewind Airlines was renamed Silkair in the early 1990s and utlised Boeing 737-300 aircrafts. The arrival of Airbus A310-200 aircrafts allowed an expansion of their destination network to India and China. They were also once the first Asian carrier to offer portable video players to their customers. Now, Silkair operates a fleet of Airbus A319 and A320 to 31 destinations around Asia, providing great service as a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore Airlines
initious From Singapore, joined Dec 2008, 1011 posts, RR: 16 Reply 1, posted (2 years 7 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 11698 times:
Check-in and Preflight
Silkair operates from the comfort of Terminal 2 in SIN, opened in 1991. A quick walk to the check-in row and I was being directed to a check-in counter after waiting for less than a minute – There were no queues at all! Approaching the counter, I passed my passport to the check-in agent.
Agent: Where are you traveling to today?
Me: Kota Kinabalu.
Agent: I see you did an internet check-in, right?
Me: Yes, I did.
Agent: Here’s your boarding pass.
There was no smile at all from the agent. Probably she has not gotten over her boyfriend that just dumped her last night and is here checking in a guy who refuses to pay for his ticket and insists on redeeming an award ticket for such a short flight and reducing revenue for the airline.
Since there was nothing much to do landside, I went airside immediately and walked to my gate, admiring the beauty of the wonderful pieces of engineering that is on the apron.
Beautiful indoor garden right after passing immigration
Beautiful interior of Terminal 2 at SIN, despite being 19 years old!
I gave a very positive feedback about Changi at this kiosk, they deserve it!
9V-SBE, Silkair's 5th Airbus A319-100
What's better than surfing a.net on a free internet kiosk?
On the way to my gate
These definitely helps you get to your gate faster
Passing gate F31, now serving a MI flight to KUL. But why is this gate so special?
It was the gate for the world's first A380 flight to Sydney!
Neighbouring gate, serving another MI flight to PEN
Upon reaching my gate, the door was not opened yet. I was really there too early! Sat down and surfed the web on my iPhone and visited the restroom and when I came back it was opened. After passing security, guess what was the first thing I did? In typical a.netter style, spot the registration!
9V-SBG slated to operate my flight today. Delivered on 5th March 2010, that makes it just a little more than 7 months old.
My boarding pass
I continued using the free internet kiosks that are available in the boarding gate and at around 8.35am boarding was called. Business Class passengers, Star Alliance Gold and PPS Gold members were called to board first, followed by passengers in rows 15-25 and lastly rows 5-14.
As I was seated in row 5, I was the last group to be called. However, it did not take more than 3 minutes in between each group due to the light load of the flight.
A small jam at the jetway
I settled down into my seat at 5F, a bulkhead row. The first thing that greeted me was a woman with her baby. This has got me thinking, "Will this be the worst flight ever with a wailing baby?" I tried to calm myself down as I settled down into my seat, admiring the new interior cabin design of this 7 month old aircraft. It is certainly a major plus from the dull blue seats on the rest of the fleet! To add icing to the cake, the bulkhead row has at least 36 inches of seat pitch, definitely more than enough for a 2 hour flight.
The seat also come with adjustable headrests that can be moved further up if you are a taller than the average person (like me) and it also features the adjustable "wings" by the side of your head which prevents your head from rolling all over when sleeping. A funny thing was that I had 2 tray tables to myself; 1 on the seat in front of me and the other in the armrest.
Should you get this configuration of MI's A319, row 11 is the best row as it has great legroom and reclines like normal. (There is only 1 emergency exit row on MI's A319)
Bulkhead design, I have to say that this is a wonderful design!
View out of my seat
Shortly after boarding has been completed, we pushed back for the short hop to BKI. The safety video was shown on the overhead LCD screens, complete with sign language. Seeing that other carriers are slowly adding PTVs to their narrowbody fleet, I definitely hope MI would do the same one day, although it might be years later before we start seeing PTVs on MI!
We taxied towards runway 20C for takeoff. Being the peak hour, there were lots of planes awaiting to takeoff too. Although not being able to see any from my seat, I was able to witness them taxiing onto the runway and rolling up those wonderful engines before rotating off.
Air India Airbus A321
Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER
Singapore Airlines Airbus A330-300
Silkair Airbus A319-100. I was lucky to be able to capture the beacon lights! This is also 9V-SBE that I spotted on the way to my gate.
Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300
We lined up on runway 20C and started a powerful takeoff row. I was practically pushed onto my seat due to the great acceleration. It felt wonderful! Using less than half of the runway, 9V-SBG lifted off Singapore soil and headed off to BKI.
SQ planes parked at a remote stand
Cabin view shortly after takeoff
After the seatbelt sign was turned off, a flight stewardess named Nadia approached the lady beside me and asked if she wants her bassinet to be set up. She agreed and immediately turned to me to ask if I needed a visit to the restroom as I will not be able to move out of the seat once the bassinet is being set up. I agreed and went to the restroom but upon returning the bassinet has already been set up. A very apologetic Nadia looked up at me...
Nadia: Sorry sir, I don't think it's possible for you to get in now. Would you like to change seats?
Me: Are there any other seats with extra legroom?
Nadia: Yes sir, how about the emergency exit row seats?
Me: Sure, is there a window seat?
Nadia: Yes sir, there is a window seat available at the emergency exit row.
Me: Alright, I shall move over now.
Nadia: Thank you sir, let me redirect you to your seat.
I sat down comfortably in the emergency exit row, with my seat number changed to 11A. Besides having an emergency exit row, I had the whole row of 3 seats to myself, wonderful! This means more space and no need to trouble others when trying to walk around the aircraft.
Legroom in my new seat
Wonderful view out there too!
Doesn't the wing look great from this angle?
My view across the aircraft
While waiting for breakfast; Making notes for my TR
...And take more shots of the wing!
Food - Breakfast
Breakfast was served around 45 minutes after takeoff. Choices for the day were Scrambled Eggs with Mushroom and Fried Black Carrot Cake. Not wanting a normal affair onboard a flight, I went for the Scrambled Eggs option. It did not disappoint me. The eggs were creamy, soft and of course tasty. Besides that, the sausage was succulent and juicy too. A small negative would be the potatoes that were just average.
Best breakfast that I got served onboard throughout my flights
A cup of tea to go and help with digestion after breakfast
IFE on this flight consisted of overhead LCD screens. The featured show today was "America's Funniest Home Videos" but it seems like no one was watching it since most of the passengers preferred to sleep.
Approach & Landing
Borneo is famous for it's natural sceneries so naturally I am looking out for any of them that we might happen to fly pass. As we descended further, I was excited knowing that I am going to step foot on Borneo for the first time in my life.
About to start descent
Wonderful view out of the window
Quick photo before descending
Photo taken when cabin is ready for landing
An outlying island, I wonder what is in there?
Performing a slight left turn to line up with the runway
Viola! A smooth touchdown!
BKI Control Tower
First view of BKI Terminal 1
We turned off the runway and taxied in the direction of Terminal 2 which made me wonder if MI has switched operations to Terminal 2. It turned out that they did not and we are doing a backtrack on the runway to turn into the direction of Terminal 1. The apron for Terminal 2 was completely empty while there were only 2 MH Boeing 737-400 at Terminal 1.
Docked at gate 2A.
Cabin after almost all passengers has disembarked
Our gate, complete with coordinates and docking system
I waited patiently for all the passengers to alight the plane before going up to the front and ask Nadia for permission to visit the cockpit. After checking with the captain, I was given the green light and I proceeded up front. This is the very first time that I'm entering a cockpit of a real airplane and needless to say, I was very excited and my heart was thumping like crazy. I asked for permission to take some photos in the cockpit but the captain did not allow it. I was fine though; Getting to visit the cockpit is good enough!
From my small chat with the captain, I got to know that he is an Indonesian and previously worked for Tiger Airways. Joking that he does not need further training since TR operate the same type of aircraft, he explained to me that some training was still required. After which, he asked if I was a Malaysian and I said that I'm a Singaporean to which he asked if I was coming to climb Mount Kinabalu. I explained that I will be in Kota Kinabalu for just 3 hours before going back to Singapore. He doesn't seem surprised at all, I guess it is because pilots do that often for a flight of this length.
After a handshake with the captain, I proceeded on my way to immigration, my face still gleaming with a huge smile. I have completed what I always wanted to do but had no courage to do so. The great feeling of satisfaction! Cleared immigration fast and headed out to landside of Terminal 1, interested to see what BKI has to offer.
initious From Singapore, joined Dec 2008, 1011 posts, RR: 16 Reply 2, posted (2 years 7 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 11697 times:
Kota Kinabalu International Airport Terminal 1
Terminal 1 in BKI is very new and is sparkling inside. I approached the taxi counter to buy a taxi coupon for transfer to Terminal 2 and it cost me MYR30 for a short 10 minute journey. Not very cheap, I'd say! Driving is the only way of transportation between the 2 terminals and there are no free shuttle buses or whatsoever. Probably they could start a shuttle bus service and charge like MYR5 for each passenger.
Interior of Terminal 1 at BKI
Feeling hungry, I headed to Old Town White Coffee located at a small corner of the terminal. There was only 1 other customer in the cafe when I arrived and there were no more than 5 customers throughout my entire stay. There was also free Wifi available for customers and needless to say I used it to my full advantage.
Exterior of Old Town White Coffee
Interior of Old Town White Coffee, the best place to dine at BKI!
Lunch - Ipoh Hor Fun and Honey Lemon Juice. The Hor Fun was marvellous!
Other Miscellaneous Pictures
My "loot" from this flight, duty free and in flight magazine + Silkair playing cards!
This is the end of the first installment of my trip to BKI. Do look out for the second part which is BKI-SIN with AK!
initious From Singapore, joined Dec 2008, 1011 posts, RR: 16 Reply 6, posted (2 years 7 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 11502 times:
Quoting AlexEU (Reply 5): Hi, thanks for the wonderful trip report!
HI Alex, thanks for the comments!
Quoting AlexEU (Reply 5): I will be flying to BKI too this January...but on AirAsia.
Quoting AlexEU (Reply 5): Yes please! I´d like to see this report too, as I will be flying it hopefully...
That flight was almost flawless for me. I hope it'd be the same for you too! Got a fairly new plane that has been delivered to AK just 3 weeks ago (took the flight yesterday). More details will be in my TR. =D
AlexEU From Serbia, joined Oct 2007, 1791 posts, RR: 2 Reply 7, posted (2 years 7 months 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 11092 times:
Quoting initious (Reply 6): That flight was almost flawless for me. I hope it'd be the same for you too! Got a fairly new plane that has been delivered to AK just 3 weeks ago (took the flight yesterday). More details will be in my TR. =D
Well actually, I will be flying to KUL, so it´s a domestic flight, rather then SIN which is international...hopefully it won´t be worse!
AI151 From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2009, 303 posts, RR: 17 Reply 9, posted (2 years 7 months 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 10919 times:
First and foremost I must say this is without a shadow of a doubt your best TR posted here on A.net. Good to see you broke up all the aspects of the trip and the pictures are of top quality as well. I'm still envious that you managed to get inside the cockpit but its good that you finally plucked the courage to do it.
Quoting initious (Thread starter): Before I start, I have to thank Sandeep (AI151) for coming out with such a marvellous title for this TR!
Thanks for that.
Quoting initious (Reply 1): There was no smile at all from the agent. Probably she has not gotten over her boyfriend that just dumped her last night and is here checking in a guy who refuses to pay for his ticket and insists on redeeming an award ticket for such a short flight and reducing revenue for the airline.
LOL! This comment did make me laugh.
Quoting initious (Reply 1): I sat down comfortably in the emergency exit row, with my seat number changed to 11A. Besides having an emergency exit row, I had the whole row of 3 seats to myself, wonderful! This means more space and no need to trouble others when trying to walk around the aircraft.
I suppose you were happy that you had even more legroom and no wailing baby or anyone sitting next to you in row 11. But on the other hand they shouldn't have put the bassinet on when knowing that you had to return to your seat. Be glad that the emergency row was still free.
Looking forward to the return part being even better. Good work on your behalf though dude!!
initious From Singapore, joined Dec 2008, 1011 posts, RR: 16 Reply 11, posted (2 years 7 months 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 9831 times:
Quoting AI151 (Reply 9): First and foremost I must say this is without a shadow of a doubt your best TR posted here on A.net.
Thanks, you have a part in this TR too!
Quoting AI151 (Reply 9): Good to see you broke up all the aspects of the trip and the pictures are of top quality as well.
I liked it as well. Thanks for the tip!
Quoting AI151 (Reply 9): I'm still envious that you managed to get inside the cockpit but its good that you finally plucked the courage to do it.
Well we could do that for our QR flight in March..
Quoting AI151 (Reply 9): LOL! This comment did make me laugh.
Lol! This was the best I could think of.
Quoting AI151 (Reply 9): I suppose you were happy that you had even more legroom and no wailing baby or anyone sitting next to you in row 11. But on the other hand they shouldn't have put the bassinet on when knowing that you had to return to your seat. Be glad that the emergency row was still free.
Definitely. That flight was one of the best in Economy. If only there was a PTV, this flight would have been 100%!!
Quoting akhmad (Reply 10): What a marvelous report. It feels like I was there with you. Very well detailed with many great pictures.
Thanks for the kind comments. =)
Quoting akhmad (Reply 10): It has been five years ago since I traveled through T2. You are right about the interior. The SIN airport authority really does a great job on the maintenance.
Yeah, I have to agree on that. Even the almost 30 year old Terminal 1 is looking sparkling new!
Quoting akhmad (Reply 10): The MI service looks impressive with Nadia as the highlight who did her best to be accommodating. Nice to know that MI maintains the full service concept.
She is definitely one of the best FA I encountered. But once again, I fly no more than 2 or 3 times a year..
Quoting akhmad (Reply 10): Thanks for sharing and looking forward to your AK flight.
Thanks. The AK flight was wonderful and met my expectations, or even over it. Hard to think that they're a LCC!
tk747 From Australia, joined Sep 2009, 339 posts, RR: 1 Reply 13, posted (2 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 8374 times:
Hi, what a fantastic report! I recently flew Silk Air from PEN-SIN and it was fantastic flight. I had the same cabin interior that you had on your flight and although I didn't have an emergency exit seat, the seat pitch was still great. The meal you were served looks delicious.
I really enjoyed the pictures you took of Terminal 2 it has such a nice atmosphere and I like the green carpet LOL
initious From Singapore, joined Dec 2008, 1011 posts, RR: 16 Reply 16, posted (2 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 7609 times:
Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 15):
Great report. I have always wondered how MI is ... and need to try them soon. What I am most impressed by is that they have playing cards!
Thanks for the kind comments. Always great to have a TR-guru comment on your trip report!
Their seats are kind of hard (probably similar to SQ's A380 seats but without PTVs?) but still acceptable. So far I've only gotten playing cards on MI and SQ and purchased them on Jetstar Asia. Others (like TG) does not provide playing cards so that's definitely another plus!