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Date : 22/12/2005
Route : CHC - SIN / NZCH - WSSS
Airline : Singapore Airlines
Flight No : SQ298
Aircraft : Boeing 777-212/ER
Registration : 9V-SVE
Captain : Bennett G. P.
First Officer(s) : Shahril B Rahmat
Block Time : 10 h 40 min
Flight Time : 10 h 00 min
POB : 280 pax, 14 crew
Distance : 4594 nm
Parking Gate : E20
Seat : 15K
Airport : CHC / NZCH
Runway : 02
Parking Bay : 29
TO Rating : TO
Fuel Load : 83.5 tons
ZFW : 192.2 tons
Flaps : 15
SID Used : Woodend 1A
V1 Speed : 153 kts
V2 Speed : 164 kts
Vr Speed : 159 kts
Squawk : 0203
Leaving the hotel at 10am, we quickly went over to Westfield Riccarton for a bit of last-minute shopping and to get a padlock for a suitcase. Reaching there in twenty minutes, we did our quick shopping, proceeded to a nearby BP petrol station to top up the rental car with petrol, and headed back to the rental office to drop the car off and head to International Departures to check in.
We eventually reached the airport with slightly less than 3 hours to spare for check-in, and proceeded to the line which was a little long, given the early hour. Finally reaching the check-in counter, we informed the agent we were travelling as a group of 5 non-revs and one paying passenger. As the flight was oversold in Economy, she approached the on-duty SQ manager and asked for help. She then came by and asked, "would you like to go to Business?" And our answer was in the positive.
Eventually, after about twenty minutes of typing at the computer, we had our boarding passes. I had seat 15K, my father and brother Seat 16JK and the rest back at Row 41. The Raffles Class boarding passes incorporated invitations to the Air New Zealand International lounge, which I would gladly take up. Once check-in was completed, we went to pay the departure tax, used the toilets and then went inside the departures area. Before that, however, I tried to go to the upstairs open-air viewing deck but was disappointed to find it was closed.
Clearing immigration, we went to a cafe to get something light to eat and drink, after which I decided to take up the lounge invitation, and walked all the way to the Air New Zealand lounge, which was quite small, perhaps due to the fewer international flights Air NZ and its Star Alliance partners bring in. The lounge was full of people all bound for Singapore in either Raffles Class or were Star Alliance Gold members. I found a seat, put my things down and grabbed a Coke from the minibar.
The Air NZ International lounge at CHC. Small but practical.
My can of Coke and camera bag.
I didn't get anything to eat simply because there was a limited choice of food there (mostly salads) and I was looking forward to the food onboard. Sat around for a while, sipping my Coke and watched the planes go by. Pity I didn't manage to get a seat by the huge windows as they were all fully occupied. Used the computer for about 10 minutes before deciding to leave the lounge and meet my parents. After about another half an hour, boarding was called for passengers with young children and Star Alliance Gold members. We were again one of the first to board and quickly got into the plane.
I grabbed a copy of The Straits Times from a rack at the jetbridge door and proceeded to settle into my seat.
On The Plane
I placed my haversack in the overhead compartment and kept my camera bag down on the ground with me. I took out the Krisworld magazine to decide what I would watch this time round, since the entertainment was still December 2005's entertainment. Thankfully I had watched only some movies on the way down, so I still had loads more to watch on my return.
Somehow I feel that the Spacebeds on the Boeing 777s have less seat pitch than their Boeing 747 counterparts. Or perhaps it could be because I had a bulkhead seat last year and not a seat in the second last row of the cabin. Flight stewardess Ms Ng came by and asked that I put up my camera bag into the overhead compartment because of regulations that such items cannot be stowed on the floor.
My seat for the next 10 hours.
My entertainment system with a 14" PTV screen.
My seat companion had arrived in his seat by now and I took the opportunity to retrieve my camera from the overhead compartment, leaving the bag there and went back to my seat. The cabin was then offered hot towels and a pre-takeoff orange juice, and took this opportunity to pass my customary Flight Info Data Sheet to a flight attendant to pass to the front of the aircraft. From my window, I could see the Korean B772 and Emirates A345 landing and arriving to park.
Soon, all boarding was completed and we pushed back on time right at 1400h. As we pushed, the safety video (or rather audio) was turned on. Due to some error, only audio could be heard, thus the inflight supervisor PAed the crew to prepare for a live safety demonstration. As the crew hurried themselves to prepare the necessary items, the system kicked back to life and we had the safety video on the PTVs. Flaps were lowered as we began our taxi out to Runway 2. FSS Ng came by and asked us how we would like to be adressed, and what we would like for a post-takeoff drink. I chose a Coke and asked to be addressed by my first name.
We then began taxiing to Runway 2, and reached the end where we held for a Qantas B767 to land. Soon, it was our turn and we thundered down the runway for our takeoff back to Singapore. We had a slightly long roll due to our load and took off about 20 mins after pushback. After takeoff, I took out the noise-cancelling headsets, plugged it in and turned on the AVoD system to listen to some music albums on demand.
The noise-cancelling headseats provided by SQ.
Listening to James Blunt's album.
More than sufficient legroom for me, being 5' 6".
My post-takeoff drink arrived soon after together with a pack of peanuts, which I didn't touch as I don't really like peanuts. Amenity kits were also distributed, and I quickly removed my shoes and put on the provided sockettes.
Post-takeoff drink of Coke + peanuts
Somewhere above the Tasman Sea
We ascended over cloud cover, preventing good photos of the scenic NZ terrain and all too soon we were overflying the Tasman sea. FSS Ng came by and asked my seat companion and I what we would like for the light meal to be served shortly. Below is the menu for today's flight.
Inside of the menu
christchurch >> singapore
light meal menu
A Savoury Note
Romaine with feta cheese, capsicums and asparagus
The Main Event
Sauteed prawns in white wine sauce with vegetables and orzo pasta
Braised egg noodles with roasted pork and shrimp dumplings
Salad of mozzarella cheese with herb chicken and pesto dressing
A Sweet Note
A Connoisseur's Choice
Selection of tea
I chose the prawn while my neighbour chose the roasted pork noodles. My flight information data sheet was returned shortly, which is very quick as the captain would normally keep it till the end of the flight. I then began watching my first movie, The Island. Meal service began shortly after I started watching it.
First, lay the tray table..
Then, the starter
I didn't like the starter at all, and on hindsight I should have declined it. The main course of prawn wasn't too bad and I finished it all. The mango ice cream was great although it was hard as rock, with my seatmate commenting "its like fighting a war with the ice cream".
...and ice cream.
Watching "The Island" after the meal.
Not too bad a meal. Immediately after the meal I had to go to the toilet because there were very frequent water refills. I finished my movie about an hour after meal service ended and decided to take a nap, lowering the seat into sleep mode with the extremely convulted seat controller. The Spacebed seat controller is so difficult to use, more complicated than what the Skysuite has. Nevertheless I managed to set the seat the way I wanted it. After the meal, cabin lights were dimmed and window shades lowered to allow passengers to get some sleep.
The hard-to-use seat controller.
I went to sleep for an hour and noticed my cup of mineral water was refilled periodically. I had to use the loo a total of 4-5 times through the flight because they kept replenishing my water (which is a good thing, isn't it?). Shortly after waking up, I began watching my second movie, 50 First Dates and soon after, the lights were turned on and the flight attendants began serving a snack of smoked salmon on bread which admittedly, tasted very good.
We were somewhere over Australia by this point, and shortly after, meal orders were taken for the dinner service. Tonight's dinner menu went as follows
christchurch >> singapore
To Nibble On...
With onion, cucumber and spicy peanut sauce
A Savoury Note
Mesclun with sliced pate, melba toast and gherkin salad
Red Wine and garlic dressing
The Main Event
Baked salmon trout with pesto crust, sauteed shimeiji mushrooms, artichoke barigoule and roasted fingerling potatoes
Stir fried chicken with macadamia nuts, selected vegetables and fragrant rice
Seared tournedos of beef with Madeira jus, roasted vegetables and potatoes
Madras style lamb curry with spiced vegetabled and pilaf rice
The Cheese Board
Gourmet cheese with garnishes
A sweet note
A selection of fresh fruit
A Connoisseur's Choice
Selection of tea
I chose the beef and I was really glad I did so as it was simply marvellous.
Somewhere over the Australian desert.
Watching 50 First Dates with a glass of Coke on my tray table.
Just past Alice Springs, and meal service began shortly after.
Movie #2 ended, and I began watching Goal. About 40 minutes into the movie meal service began, starting with the satay. I always look forward to the satay served in both First and Raffles Class on flights to Singapore because it reminds me of home, to put it simply.
Garlic bread in between courses
I have never eaten such a nice steak on board aircraft before. It was a well-done steak but not overgrilled, which was good. And the potatoes this time round were much nicer than on the outbound flight. I requested for an orange spritzer and it was promptly served.
..and after eating.
Fresh fruit were brought around in baskets for passengers to choose from, and I took a banana. My movie finished by now and I began to watch the next show, Hitch, which I have watched twice before, purely to kill time. The hazelnut bavarois was served soon after and it was quite delicious as well.
And my dessert.
FSS Ng then asked what we would like to drink after the meal, and I requested for a iced mocha, which was served in a matter of minutes.
Watching my movie with my iced mocha in the integrated cupholder.
By now we were about an hour out of Singapore and it was time to get ready for arrival. I removed my sockettes, moved my seat slightly more upright and put on my shoes. Then I headed to the toilet thanks to the numerous water refills. I switched my PTV back to Airshow mode after watching about three quarters of Hitch, and packed up my noise-cancelling headset, placing it in the seat pocket in front of me.
Shortly before arrival.
The cabin before arrival.
We began descending about half an hour out of Singapore and into a thunderstorm cloud covered Indonesia. The clouds were quite low and there was a fair amount of turbulence. I reset my seat to the upright position and prepared to land. Soon, we were on approach to Runway 2L of Singapore Changi Airport and made a very smooth landing in very wet weather at 1900h local time. Almost immediately, my window fogged up due to the weather. One of the flight attendants made an announcment, welcoming the passengers to Singapore and welcoming locals home. Exiting the runway, we taxiied past Terminal 1 central apron and headed to Gate E20. Disembarkation was very quick owing to being that far front in the cabin. We headed out to the airside area of Changi, waited for my mother to come out, and proceeded to clear immigration.
This marks the end of my 12-day trip to NZ. I hope you enjoyed reading this and am looking forward to more flights next year.
Airport : SIN / WSSS
Runway : 02L
Parking Bay : E20
STAR Used : TAN 4A
Flaps : 30
Approach : ILS
Vapproach : 140kts
Vref : 135kts
Landing Wt : 202 tons