ycp81 From Singapore, joined Jun 2006, 410 posts, RR: 0 Posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 24005 times:
I decided to take a trip in Oct to Seoul to experience its autumn season. Was searching the web for some decent fares when I decided to do a weird booking, one-way SIN-BKK-ICN on TG for S$398 and redeeming 19125 Krisflyer miles + S$70 taxes for one-way ICN-SIN on SQ. Great to compare how the 2 airlines fare!
27 October 2010
Singapore (SIN) - Bangkok (BKK)
I was initially disappointed when both my TG flights were scheduled to be on B772s but TG being TG, my SIN-BKK sector got TGed to a bigger B773 with retrofitted interiors due to overbooking. Finally having a chance to try the newly retrofitted aircraft!
On the day of departure, I arrived at Changi Terminal 1 slightly more than 2hrs before departure and already the queues for check-in were already long despite TG opening 7 counters for check-in. Luckily I had done an online check-in earlier and was able to bypass the long lines. T1 departure hall was still in major renovation but the transit area has more or less been done up. Immigration queues were long (as usual for T1) but I was able to bypass using the automated clearance system.
T1 transit area. Still able to see some hoardings.
The Green Market was just a short skytrain ride away at Terminal 2, beside the airline lounges.
There is a all-u-can-eat salad and appetizer buffet, with a choice of set meal or ala carte menu. The food are Japanese oriented.
A set meal was provided free, compliments of my credit card. Firstly, I had some appetizers from the buffet. It was not bad. A welcome drink was also offered.
Followed with a choice of main courses. I had a beef fried rice. Should have gone with the tempura as it looked more appetising. However the fried rice it was not bad. Meal ended with a dessert from the buffet. Overall it is a nice place to grab a bite before/in between flights.
After the meal, I headed back to Terminal 1 to my gate at C25, which was right at the end of the pier.
FIDS. More than half the flights shown on the screens are operated by budget airlines. And for the first time, my flight is indeed being boarded when "Boarding" is displayed on the screens.
My plane, HS-TKA, TG's 1st B777-300 and retrofitted with new cabin but still bearing the old colours. I was one of the last passengers to board.
Boarded the plane and were greeted with Thai wais by the crew at the door as well as along the cabin. Most passengers were already seated. I sat at 70A beside 2 middle-aged Thai ladies. A pillow was already on the seat.
Customary legroom shot. IFE was touchscreen and seat pitch was fantastic!!
All the stuff in the seat pocket.
The flight was very full (no wonder TG needed to upgrade to a B773) but we managed to push back on time.
We are on our way. The seat pitch is so good I can even cross my legs!
After the seatbelt signs are switched off, the crew first came through the aisle with hot towels, sadly not the SQ thick cotton type, but definitely an improvement over the wet refreshment towel packets that they used to distribute. However I was wondering why did they not give out earphones for the IFE initially but it was till towards the end of the flight when my seatmates took out their earphones that I realised that the crew had given out the earphones before I had boarded the plane. Immigration forms were also given out at this time.
Then the crew prepared for the dinner service. First, full bar carts were pushed out by the crew and parked at the rear of the plane and following that, meal carts were then pushed out too. 2 crew were manning each aisle, 1 to distribute meals and the other to serve drinks from the bar cart. The whole service procedure was very organised and swift. There were a choice of 2 main courses tonight, Prawn curry with rice or Stir-fried beef with rice. I chose the prawn curry.
Main course unveiled. With the main course were a salad with dressing, roll and butter and apple crumble for dessert.
Prawn curry with rice. TG's catering did not disappoint again. It was very good! I wiped out all of it! The food was catered from BKK though, thus explaining the high quality.
Salad with sesame dressing, roll and butter.
Apple crumble. It was great as well.
Stewardess conducting bar cart service after distribution of meals. A full range of drinks were available, including liquors and wines. TG definitely do not scrimp on alcohols and drinks! Such liquors would only be on request if one would to fly on SQ to BKK.
And best of all, you get the whole can instead of just a plastic cup full!!
I finished almost everything!
And the service was so fast that we still had more than an hour to go! I was so impressed that TG could serve a full flight in less than 20min! Try beating that, SQ.
An elaborate coffee/tea trolley service was also conducted after that, with drinks and wine top-ups also offered. I had a tea. Milk was poured directly from a milk pot instead of using creamer, really business class like!
Crew coming round to collect the trays and offering a 3rd round of drinks!
I had a quick peek at the lavatory. The tap is sensor operated!
Not much amenities other than this perfume.
One more cabin view.
I whiled the time away viewing the flight map since the flight is too short to complete a movie. Yes, on-demand movies are available on this flight but selection is definitely less than SQ. Also I did not bother the crew for a pair of earphones. Soon we started our descent into BKK. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3uxofQbNvo
The crew prepared the cabin for landing, following which the female crew went and change out of their traditional thai uniforms into their ground uniforms.
Welcome to Bangkok. We landed approximately on schedule and taxied to the gate.
Last looks at the comfortable colourful seats.
Proceeding to transit security for my onward flight.
I am very impressed with TG as they proved that full service can still be accomplished on such short sectors. TG excels in the meals and beverages department on short flights when other airlines are cutting costs on similar length flights. However, it could be that TG had also staffed more crew on their planes as there were 4 crew per economy cabin, which is quite a high crew to pax ratio in economy.
To be continued..
My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
ycp81 From Singapore, joined Jun 2006, 410 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 23336 times:
Transit stop at Bangkok was scheduled to be 1hr 20min but after disembarkation and going through security, it was only 15 more min before my next flight started boarding. The boarding gate was at C3. There was another TG flight to ICN departing just 25min before my flight!
27 October 2010
Bangkok (BKK) - Incheon (ICN)
This flight was scheduled to be on a B777-200. Sadly I was not TGed with a newer aircraft and was stuck with TG's oldest B777-200. No PTVs either on this sector. However I was planning to take a nap on this sector so no worries. Boarding began about 30min before STD in an orderly manner from rear to front of plane. I was one of the first pax to board and was greeted with a wai again at the door. Even though this plane is almost 15 yrs old, the age was not evident by the well maintained cabin. Crew were a mixture of Thais and Koreans.
Seats with rolled up blankets and pillows.
6 seats were reserved for crew rest.
Boarding in progress. Sadly, no PTVs. Flight was only about 70% full.
Seat 61A. Seat pitch was good as usual.
At the gate.
Mags in seat pocket.
Earphones are distributed and for yours to take home.
Shortly after takeoff, the crew immediately started a snack service. On offer was a slice of cake and a choice of water/juices.
I ordered seafood meal for this sector. But where is the seafood in the cake? LOL.
During the snack service, short features were also shown on the main and overhead screens. Nothing interesting to watch though. Unfortunately, the rest of the audio channels other than the mainscreen audio, apparently did not work. Shortly after the trash were cleared, lights were dimmed to enable passengers to sleep. According to my friend who flew SQ602 from SIN-ICN, no post takeoff refreshments were served!! Instead, only a pack of nuts and a round of juice was given out and breakfast was served before arrival. I dozed in and out for about an hour, coupled with the empty seat beside me, it made a rather comfortable ride.
About 1hr 40min before arrival, lights were switched on and the crew came around with hot thin towels, similar to the ones given out on the previous flight. A round of juices were also offered. Following this, breakfast was served. As I had pre-booked a seafood meal, I was served first.
Crew serving breakfast.
Seafood meal tray
Seafood breakfast revealed!
Grilled seafood skewer (2 prawns, 2 squids, fish, peppers) with mash potatoes, grilled tomato and peas. The seafood skewer was fantastic! One the the best breakfasts ever had on a plane and certainly business class quality! Bangkok catering certainly did not disappoint.
Yogurt, drinking water, roll and croissant. The croissant was great too! And kudos to the crew for coming around 3 times(!!) to offer additional rolls and croissants. I really suspect they have a bakery onboard!
Butter, jam, fresh fruits.
Some coffee to perk myself up.
Additional coffee/tea were also offered before trays were cleared.
Parked at the midfield concourse Gate 125. 5 days later, I would also be departing from this gate.
Our plane during disembarkation.
Another view of HS-TJA.
CX B777-300 beside us
HS-TKB, which arrived 20min before us. This plane would have the retrofitted interior.
More KEs and view of the concourse from the main terminal.
Lots of OZs at the main terminal too.
As we had parked at the concourse, passengers had to take the shuttle train to the main terminal for immigration clearance and collection of luggage. Somewhat similar to KLIA. Immigration was efficient and my luggage was already circling on the baggage belt when I reached it. After customs, I explored the airport terminal for a moment while waiting for my friend's SQ flight to land.
Nice landside viewing gallery.
Overall, TG did quite a great job. They do excel in the food and beverage department and seats are much more comfortable than average. Service is also rather good and efficient (I counted a total of 13 cabin crew on the B772, with 9-10 in economy class. SQ only has 11 crew on a similar configured B772 with 7 of them in economy). However onboard amenities are a bit lacking (no amenity kits or amenities in lavatories) and IFE is a hit or miss depending on the aircraft you get. But for the price paid, TG is certainly value-for-money.
My return flight on SQ next!
My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
They certainly offer a high quality service, although I hope they eliminate trays on Biz class and also provide better food for biz passengers. It seems like the food was almost similar to Economy food (main dish presentation at least, in casserole dish).
ycp81 From Singapore, joined Jun 2006, 410 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 22483 times:
After staying 4 nights in splendid Seoul, it was time to go home. I was very looking forward to the flight back as it had been quite a while since I last flew SQ. My last flight with SQ was more than a year ago on my trip back from Bali. It would also be my first time flying on SQ's new A330 and I would really liked to feel how the experience would be.
Took the airport bus from Myeong Dong to Incheon airport for only 10,000won (S$12) and we promptly reached Incheon in about an hour. Incheon airport is truely massive, open and bright. I guess the whole terminal area is equivalent to Changi's T1 and T3 combined, or even bigger.
SQ's check-in was handled by Asiana staff. Both SQ609 to SIN and SQ16 to SFO were in the process of checking in. However there were not much of a queue at all. Check-in was fast as I had done an internet check-in earlier.
After checking in, we proceeded through immigration and security to check out Incheon airport.
KE's largest aircraft, B747-400
and it small brother, B737-800
Lots of shopping in the transit area.
Gate waiting areas.
As SQ flights (along with almost all other foreign airlines) depart from the midfield Concourse, we had to take the shuttle train over.
I decided to check out the Asiana Lounge at the Concourse using my Priority Pass card. SQ First and Business class passengers also uses the same lounge. There was another Asiana lounge at the main terminal, used mainly by Asiana's passengers.
We were directed by the very friendly lounge attendants into the business class area. The lounge is not too big, but with comfortable seating and a work area. Food offerings were not too great as it was not meal time. Only finger food and refreshments were available.
Instant noodles and wide range of beverages.
Sandwiches, Korean snacks and nuts.
Salad bar and bread counter.
Overview if the buffet area.
I had some instant noodles and cakes for refreshment.
Followed with a coffee and apple juice.
Lots of comfortable seats
Relaxation room. I think there were 4 of such rooms.
About half hour before STD, I proceeded to the gate. The departure gate would be the exact gate that I arrived at. On the way to the gate, I also did some aircraft spotting.
Jeju Air B737-800
UA B744 still in old colours, and boy, their cabin crew who were waiting to board also looked very "experienced". I guess all of them were more "experienced" than my SQ flight's inflight supervisor.
My plane, 9V-STN. Hmm, it was 30min before departure and the plane was still being catered. I looked up the FIDS and true enough, the flight was delayed by 20min, I guess most probably due to late arrival of aircraft.
So off to do more spotting. Air Canada B763ER just arrived.
Air India B777-200LR departing to Hong Kong and Delhi. Very short flights for the B772LR.
Qatar Airways A330-300 just arrived.
Catering is done. Left the loading of cargo.
Boarding is called to request passengers to board by rows. However it was not enforced, resulting in a bit of a mess during boarding.
Boarding my first SQ A330 flight soon.
Was welcomed aboard by the crew and turn right into the economy section. And a hell of a shock did I got at how small the width of the aisle was! Having flown B777s quite often, I was stunned at how the aisles of the plane can be so tiny in width. I bet if a meal cart was in the middle of the aisle, nobody, not even the petite Singapore Girl, can pass through. I guess SQ decided to sacrifice the width of the aisle to have wider economy seats.
Seat colours were a bit dull. I miss TG's colourful seats.
Reached my seat at 56A and 2nd shock, the seat pitch is so tight!! Again, having been pampered by TG with their generous seat pitch, I was taken aback with the tight legroom on SQ's A330. Unlike TG, there was no way I could straighten my leg (I am 1.8m) in these seats, much less crossing my legs. Even though the seat has all the high tech gadgets such as PTV, USB ports and inseat power supply etc, I would rather sacrifice some of these gadgets for just an extra inch of seat pitch.
Tight leg room. Supposed to be 32" pitch, but doesn't feel like it. TG's B772 with 32" pitch felt much roomier.
Across the aisle. There were a pillow and blanket on each seat.
At the gate.
Due to the delay, the crew were having a hard time to get everyone settled in and start the pre-takeoff service and checks. As always, hot towels were distributed (I do miss those hot towels, haha). We started to push back once doors were closed and the safety video was screened. Really, SQ's new safety video is so much worse than TG and many other airlines. It just lacks the "class" that SQ is supposed to be renowned for. Probably SQ should get the agency that produced TG's safety video to film one for them too. And it may be cheaper! LOL.
After seat belt signs went off, the crew came and collect the used towels, followed by distributing headsets and menu cards.
Magazines and seat pocket and menu card.
Climbing to 39000ft, which was our initial cruising altitude. In fact we stayed at FL390 for most of the flight.
Cabin view. Flight was 70-80% full.
Firstly, the crew came around with peanuts and bar service. At least bar carts wer used this time round and not only water/beer/juice service. However the bar cart top looked pathetic as on display were only 2 bottles of wine, few cartons of juice, a jug of water and few cans of soft drinks. All other liquors were "hidden" in the bar cart drawers. Compared to TG where a full bar cart with all sorts of drinks/wines/liquors on display on the cart top were pushed out, even on the short SIN-BKK sector. Really a poor showing by SQ here.
I had a Singapore Sling with my peanuts. At least the crew offered another round of drinks.
After the bar service, I made the ritual lavatory visit. SQ still had most of the amenities in their lavatories, except shavers which were now upon request from the crew.
I went back to my seat to watch some movies on the Krisworld IFE. It worked perfectly with no hiccups. Dinner would only be served 2hrs after takeoff.
Cruising at 39000ft.
Finally 2hrs later, I smelled food. Lets take a look at today's menu.
dinner SEOUL TO SINGAPORE
Coleslaw salad with ham
Stir fried beef in oyster sauce with carrot, leafy greens and fried rice
Pan fried chicken in red wine jus with seasonal vegetables and potatoes
Cheese and crackers
from the bakery
Roll and butter
Coffee - Tea
I chose the beef with fried rice. Meal tray.
Stir fried beef with fried rice. It was not bad but portion seemed kinda small.
Coleslaw with ham and bread roll. Coleslaw just tasted like any other coleslaw. Nothing special.
Crackers and cheese spread, kimchi and hot pepper paste. Probably due to cost-cutting, kimchi and pepper paste is now only available upon request (and it is not even stated in the menu) when previously, it was preset on all oriental choice trays. So ask for your kimchis on SQ flights to/from Seoul!
Ice cream!! The ice cream was great, but was served rock hard.
Surprisingly, service was quite fast today, but I counted an extra crew in economy (7 vs the usual 6 crew). Probably business class had a light load today and so 1 crew came down to economy to assist. So having more crew in the cabin do make a big difference in service speed. After dinner trays were collected, lights were dimmed for passengers to rest. I continued with my movies on Krisworld. The crew were diligent to come around with water every half hour.
About 1hr before our arrival, crew came around with peanuts and juices again. However, I would rather they serve a pre-landing snack such as a sandwich or cake. Descent started about half an hour before arrival. By this time, my legs were almost numbed. Damn the tight seats.
Overflying Tioman and reaching Singapore very soon.
As soon as the captain made the pre-descent arrival announcement, all the cabin crew started to collect headsets and request all passengers to be seated upright, window shades up etc even before the plane started descending. The cabin was readied for landing and crew seated almost 20min before actual touchdown!! Don't the landing preparations seemed a bit too early and rushed? No wonder there were complaints that SQ crew always seemed too eager to prepare the aircraft for landing when there is still ample time left. Contrast with TG where crew only sat down for landing probably about 5min before touchdown. In fact, I realised that on TG, the pilots would only request for the crew to go to their landing stations when the gears are lowered and 2 chimes are heard in the cabin.
Even with our late departure, we still landed on time, probably due to weak headwinds. Had a very short taxi to Terminal 3 where we parked at Gate B3.
Parked beside SQ's A380.
Overall, SQ provided a very decent economy class service and performed what is expected of them. Everything moves like clockwork and service is consistent. IFE is great of course, but the seats are really too tight! I guess the A330s have the tightest seat pitch in SQ's fleet as I don't remember SQ's B777 seats being so tight. If flying economy, I would only fly on SQ if the price is competitive as many other airlines do offer similar economy products and equally good service too.
A comparison between TG and SQ:
Seat pitch and comfort = TG (wins hands down)
IFE = SQ (TG still has quite a long way to go before retrofitting all aircraft)
Meals and beverages = TG (TG really has the best catering in economy)
Amenities = SQ (luckily SQ still has not cut down on the frills, but it the trial to have e-inflight magazine on the IFE is extended to all magazines in the future, magazines will be a thing of the past on SQ)
Crew service = Tie (both airlines' crew provided good service)
Your comments are most welcomed. My next trip would be a week later to KL on Firefly and AirAsia. Stay tuned for the report.
ckblah From Singapore, joined Jul 2010, 60 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 22139 times:
Once again, excellent TR for your return trip from Seoul. How was Seoul anyway? It was spring both times I went to Korea, but I think autumn would be a lovely season to visit too right? Any photos of your trip?
It's interesting how ICN has these "satellite" concourses, being linked by underground "subways". Perhaps SIN may turn to these when we no longer have the ability to extend/expand the existing structure of the airport.
After reading your TR on TG, I would love to fly TG for PEK-SIN-PEK when I return for my winter holidays, unfortunately, TG and SQ are so expensive, I think I'm gonna stick with CX.
- Looks pretty decent, almost on part with a TG A300 I flew in J a few years ago!
Quoting ycp81 (Thread starter): Main course unveiled. With the main course were a salad with dressing, roll and butter and apple crumble for dessert
- Not bad looking meal, though the 'western' desert makes me laugh.
Quoting ycp81 (Thread starter): UA B744 still in old colours, and boy, their cabin crew who were waiting to board also looked very "experienced". I guess all of them were more "experienced" than my SQ flight's inflight supervisor.
- Ha, the joys of seniority!
Quoting ycp81 (Thread starter): Tight leg room. Supposed to be 32" pitch, but doesn't feel like it. TG's B772 with 32" pitch felt much roomier
- Looks ok to me.
Quoting ycp81 (Thread starter): Stir fried beef with fried rice. It was not bad but portion seemed kinda small.
- Compared to the rest of the tray the portion looks about right, perhaps SQ are trying to top their passengers get fat?
Quoting ycp81 (Thread starter): The cabin was readied for landing and crew seated almost 20min before actual touchdown!! Don't the landing preparations seemed a bit too early and rushed? No wonder there were complaints that SQ crew always seemed too eager to prepare the aircraft for landing when there is still ample time left