SIA fan From Indonesia, joined Aug 2000, 728 posts, RR: 1 Posted (7 years 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 9831 times:
After receiving a rather generous bonus pay in March, I began to devise a plan for a much needed mini break. We were originally looking at going to Bangkok on one of the two long weekends, but then my girlfriend was told that she had to undergo training in Hong Kong for three days in late May. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise as we could stay in her company-paid hotel room for three nights and save the hotel money for shopping and food!
25 May 2006
SQ 860 SIN-HKG
I got up at 0500 on the morning of May 25, did some last minute packing and cleaning up, and was finally ready to leave for the airport at 0610. I was very excited, as I haven’t had a real holiday for almost two years now.
The taxi driver dropped me off at T2 Door 4 after the 15-minute taxi ride and I found that SQ had consolidated all Economy Class check-in at Rows 7 and 8 with the Express Check-in counters at Row 9.
The queue at Row 7 was the shortest so I went there and was called almost immediately after joining the queue. The pleasant check-in lady confirmed that I had already checked-in online asked if I was okay with the seat selection. I asked her if the middle seat beside me would be empty and she said it would be as the flight was not very full. The check-in formalities were completed in just a little over five minutes and it took me another five minutes to clear immigration. It was now around 0645 and I had just over an hour to kill before boarding began.
First stop was the I-Connect Internet stations on level 3 where I spent about 15 minutes sending emails to my boss to remind him that I would be on leave for two days and to the interns to cover for me while I was away.
I-connect Internet station
Next stop was the duty free shop while I bought two cartons of ciggies, which I would smuggle back to Singapore. This set me back SGD 40 as compared to SGD 220 had I bought the same number in the city. A steal!
Then off to the Sunflower Garden to feed my habit (filthy and disgusting, I know!).
sunrise at Changi
nothing but SQ birds in this part of the terminal
It was about 0720 now and I decided to explore the terminal a little bit.
The new transit lounge structure looked particularly impressive.
Made my way to Gate E25 around 0730, making a quick stop along the way to exchange SGD 53.10 for HKD 250.
E25 is a bus gate, and certainly one of the smallest gates in SIN. As hundreds of people began filling in the holding room, there simply weren’t enough seats.
Boarding began at 0801 for First, Raffles, and passengers traveling with small children. There was only one bus ferrying passengers to the aircraft, which was simply unacceptable. 0810, it was boarding for passengers on rows 52-57. The rest of us waited and waited and hundreds of impatient passengers began crowding the door leading to the tarmac. 0820 the bus finally returned and boarding turned into a rather chaotic free-for-all affair.
The bus ride was more of a tour of the tarmac as we went quite far, up to the T1 end of the airport.
my aircraft on the right
a great day to fly
We finally reached our aircraft, which was 9V-SQJ. The exact same aircraft I flew on the last time I went to HKG almost 4 years ago.
Made my way to 50K. By now it was certain that we would miss our departure time. By 0835 the captain came on the PA. Doors were closed shortly and we pushed back on 0840. Hot towels were distributed and the safety video began playing.
taxiing out to runway 02C
the Budget terminal
We lined up at 0854 after a short wait and began our 3 hours and 20 minutes hop to HKG.
leaving the Singapore coast…
…and entering peninsular Malaysia.
Fasten seat belt sign was turned off after 15 minutes and menus and headsets were distributed.
The service started with OJ and brunch followed shortly after. The main course choice was omelette with chicken sausage or seafood noodle. I chose the latter. Accompanying the main course were a fruit dish, a roll with butter and jam, and a dessert of sweet corn pudding with vanilla sauce. My drink of choice was coffee and OJ. I was rather disappointed that they didn’t serve ice cream for dessert.
Didn’t find any movies that interested me so I settled watching Will and Grace and CSI. The meal was cleared 1.5 hours into the flight, which was most welcome as I wanted to take a nap. The stewardesses also asked that the window shades be lowered and dimmed the cabin lights after the meal service.
Woke up after almost an hour nap and found the lovely, ever-smiling stewardess serving my aisle making water round.
We flew mainly above the South China Sea after we left the Eastern coast of peninsular Malaysia, skirting the coast of Vietnam.
10 minutes to 1200 we started our descent to Chek Lap Kok. The sky was gray and the approach was a bit bumpy at times.
Didn’t know the runway we used, as I wasn’t familiar with the airport. But we approached from the East and landed on 1215.
and after a somewhat lengthy taxi, we docked at Gate 21 on 1228.
taxiing to Gate 21
The immigration queue was about a mile too long but the upside was that my bag was already waiting on the baggage carrousel when I had cleared immigration.
Bought a two-way Airport Express ticket to Kowloon and the spotless train arrived just as I reached the station. The ride to Kowloon took around 20 minutes and there was a free shuttle bus, which I took to the Sheraton where the missus was waiting. She had already arrived the day before.
Overall it was another good flight with SQ and Changi Airport was a joy to use as usual and though the fact that we were using a bus gate was a bit troublesome, it gave me an opportunity to take a tour of the tarmac.
Hong Kong itself is amazing - the striking buildings, the old and decrepit apartment blocks, the gloomy weather, the narrow streets with multicolored neon signboards. Somehow it has a certain underlying energy that Singapore is sorely lacking, and it is dirty enough to make me feel comfortable on the spot. I will be back for sure.
Thanks for reading my trip report. Comments, good or bad, are certainly appreciated.
The presentation especially -- everything on one tray at one time with the little plastic covers.
Regarding the food itself, does anyone know whether the "chive omelette, served with chicken sausages, roasted tomato and hash brown potato" is essentially the same food (from the same kitchen no doubt) as the "chive and vegetable omelette with mushroom ragout -- chicken sausage, roasted new potatoes" that UA has in C on SIN-HKG? The quality/size of the mein looks like a UA C-class main.
Quoting SIA fan (Thread starter): We flew mainly above the South China Sea after we left the Eastern coast of peninsular Malaysia, skirting the coast of Vietnam.
SIA fan From Indonesia, joined Aug 2000, 728 posts, RR: 1 Reply 9, posted (7 years 3 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 8869 times:
Everyone, thanks for your comments!
Malmoaviation: I was in Economy class.
CaptainTim: I stayed at the Sheraton in Kowloon. It was nice, the location was GREAT and the room looked like it was recently upgraded but was a bit on the small side with absolutely no view whatsoever. But I'm not complaining since we only had to pay for one night, the other two nights were paid by the company my girlfriend worked for.
BMIFlyer: Yep, Changi is surely a great airport. The best in the world IMHO. And looked like we stood in exactly the same spot!
Tbear815 From United States of America, joined Jun 2003, 704 posts, RR: 5 Reply 12, posted (7 years 2 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 8328 times:
This is an impressive trip report, indeed. And SIA fan, if Christao17 comments on your trip report, feel very special. With the attention you've gotten with this trip report, let's hope your girlfriend gets a lot more travel opportunities!
3201, you amaze me. Only someone as "finitely picky" as I would catch and question the little things like you. I wish you would contact me directly.
CX777Fan From Australia, joined Feb 2005, 289 posts, RR: 1 Reply 14, posted (7 years 2 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 8000 times:
Great report. Reminded me of all the reasons I love HK - love the comment about HK having an energy that is lacking tin Singapore. I couldn't agree more!
SQ looked good (as always) on this route. I'm impressed how they are just as consistent on these short intra-Asia trips as they are on their long haul legs. I flew BKK-SIN a few months ago, then SIN-SYD. Service was good on both (had a trainee serving in our aisle on the BKK-SIN run. She was a bit slow and clumsy, but didn't stop smiling).
CX on the other hand I think sometimes drop the ball on their short hops. TPE to HKG a couple of years ago, and HKG to BKK last year are two flights I remember thinking that things weren't full up to CX standard.
SIA fan From Indonesia, joined Aug 2000, 728 posts, RR: 1 Reply 16, posted (7 years 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 7579 times:
Thanks CX777Fan and Tifoso for the comments!
CX777Fan: Indeed, SQ's service has always been consistent even on the shortest intra-asian routes. Maybe that's why some people are calling them robotic.
Tifoso: OJ was the only drink on offer during the bar service. I guess it was the time of day (morning). On the return flight, OJ along with white wine and beer were on offer for the bar service. You could always ask for another drink though, but it will only be brought to you once the FA finishes his/her drink round.
DocPepz From Singapore, joined May 2001, 1938 posts, RR: 3 Reply 17, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 7387 times:
Great report, thoroughly enjoyed it!
However, I don't mean to be a party pooper, but I need to warn you about the penalties for smuggling cigarettes into Singapore. The fine is $100 per packet! Hope you made it/make it through! For 20 packets it's $2000. Ouch ouch! Don't know how picky they are these days, but you do know that once in a while they'll just pick a random person and make a huge example of him in the papers as a deterrant to others........
There are no duty free allowances for cigarettes into Singapore. The most you're allowed to bring into Singapore is two packets, for personal use. And they are very, very strict on this (unlike for wine where you can bring in many bottles and the customs officer won't mind if you don't declare them).
SIA fan From Indonesia, joined Aug 2000, 728 posts, RR: 1 Reply 18, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 7270 times:
Thanks for the heads up on the ciggies! I do know that they will either confiscate the duty free ciggarettes or have us paid the fine. Lucky for me, I've 'smuggled' duty free ciggies countless of times into Singapore and never once I was caught.
I do know that nowadays, the customs guys picked passengers randomly and send them to the X-ray machine even though they walk through the green lane. In fact, one of my friends was caught bringing 1 carton of ciggies, but she played dumb saying she didn't know the rules, etc, etc and in then end 'only' had to pay about S$ 100.
Pieinthesky From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 392 posts, RR: 1 Reply 19, posted (7 years 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 7044 times:
Quoting SIA fan (Reply 18): Lucky for me, I've 'smuggled' duty free ciggies countless of times into Singapore and never once I was caught.
I am sure this is something you are proud of and while personally I have no problem with it, I don't think bragging about it on a public message board is particularly wise. This is Singapore we're talking about, and you never know...
CX777Fan From Australia, joined Feb 2005, 289 posts, RR: 1 Reply 22, posted (7 years 1 week 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 6538 times:
Quoting SIA fan (Reply 18): I do know that nowadays, the customs guys picked passengers randomly and send them to the X-ray machine even though they walk through the green lane. In fact, one of my friends was caught bringing 1 carton of ciggies, but she played dumb saying she didn't know the rules, etc, etc and in then end 'only' had to pay about S$ 100.
Last year, the boyf and I had one carton of duty free ciggies between us - we were honestly totally unaware of the rule in SIN. We were pulled aside for a random X-ray check, then sent over to a little office, where we were given the choice of either a) paying duty on the spot (around S$70 from memory), b) having customs "look after" the carton for the 3 days we were in singapore and handing them back upon departure (a lot of paperwork and a daily charge) or c) Abandoning them to customs staff.
In the end we chose C because it cost nothing, and was the least paperwork. After an evil flight from NRT on UA, we just wanted to get in a cab to the hotel!