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A "Not That Fantastic" Trip On SQ

Thu Dec 27, 2001 1:16 am

Trip Report for SQ 192/193 from SIN to PEN v.v..

I shall start by stating my biggest gripe with these flights.

First, SQ does not operate a Raffles Class cabin on flights btwn SIN and Malaysia (namely PEN and KUL). In place of Raffes Class (J), a "C-Class" is marketed and operated. It is primarily Economy Class with bigger seats BUT, confusingly enough, also with a few extra frills such as newspapers, a special check-in desk and advanced seat selection. That's fine if it is well-publicised & it's service standards clearly communicated to pax.

Unfortunately, not many ground staff know what it actually is. Yes, it is referred to as Club Class; but a few I spoke to said that it was like Raffles and the slimmed down service was only on shuttle flights btwn SIN n KUL.

How this service class works is that pax just pay a small surcharge over Economy & that's it. But my ticket was an award tix, charged at Raffles Class rates (albeit at a small amount, considering how close PEN is to SIN). I would like to know if people on this board consider this fair.

Not having flown to Malaysia in recent memory, I only had an inkling that SQ operated 2 classes to Malaysia and a "sub class" in btwn. But having been (wrongly) assured by ground staff, my personal expectations were higher than what I ended up receiving. My little disappointments are indicated by an "*".

PART 1: SQ 192

744 (9V-SPP)
1hr 10mins
0805hrs / (~0820hrs)
0915hrs / (~0930hrs)
C-Class, 17C

General outline of service:
Ground service over the phone was pretty patchy, with long waits, though all were friendly n helpful once they picked up my call. Had checked in over the phone and pre allocated my seats on both legs a day before. An hour before departure, I proceeded straight to the Raffles Class counters to pick up my BP & check my one small bag in. * First surprise - Was denied an invitation to the Silver Kris Lounge when requested & * had no priority tags affixed to my bag. Appreciated that they did give me an immigration form though. Went right in to do some duty free shopping & to meet up with friends who were flying on MH to PEN.

Changi was humming along but was not annoyingly busy. Headed to the gate, went through security & proceeded to board after a long delay at the gate. Entered through Door 1L & was greeted by the P Class Leading Stewardess & the IFS. Walked past the SkySuites through an utterly empty main deck C Class & was shown up the stairs by a Chief Steward at Door 2L. The crew showed me to seat 17C, the exit row aisle. Was offered a pre-departure drink choice of water & OJ (* served in Economy logoed plastic cups), a (large) choice of newspapers from the upper deck bar area & a thick hot towel. * Noticed pretty swiftly that the crew were not addressing pax by name or had any intention to, as they did not seem to be clinging to a manifest of any kind. I asked whether 17A would be taken & was told vaguely that there were about 20 pax expected on the upper deck & they would not know till the door closed. If this were a proper Business Class service, they would've had more details. To the stewardesses' credit, she did return to tell me when it was confirmed to be empty. Presumably due to the LONG line into the gate, push back was delayed but I entertained myself with the papers. Just before we pushed back, a family of 3 were ushered downstairs, presumably to P Class, though I'll never know. Have to say that the load seemed to be made up of a lot of families, and if I heard correctly, plenty of staff. We took off late, and the crew immediately disappeared (after the stewardess took off her newly fangled shoes) into the galley to prepare for the meal. * No menu was given out. And once the * Economy burgundy plastic trays were out, I finally got the message. It was to be a pretty pathetic continental breakfast with only 2 offers of coffee. And even worse, an ECONOMY continental bft. Funnily enough, when I asked for more sugar, the steward gave me Raffles Class branded sachets. Once the trays were cleared, the crew basically disappeared momentarily. For a while, the Leading Steward simply chatted with the IFS at the head of the stairs, though they were VERY quick to address me when I approached them. I stretched out on the wonderful ULTIMO seats still slightly hungover from the night before. Descend took place soon enough and the crew went round tidying nothing much (with about 8 pax on a 1 hr 10min flight, you can't generate that much mess, can you?). They were pretty conscientious with bags n seats. The stewardess offered to belt my tote up on 17A as I has my valuables in it, & didn't want in in the overhead locker as I did during TO. (Actually wanted to put in in the side locker, but for reson, those aft of the emergency exit were really shallow! Haven't really noticed this before.) Upon landing, the crew immediately became a lot happier & thanked us for flying. Had a friendly little chat with the Leading stew as we waited to exit down the stairs. The Chief Steward and IFS were more concerned with chatting than thanking pax though. Still, at least SQ is pretty dilligent with this deplaning service. Got to Penang late and noticed my friends' MH flight arriving (on time) while walking to customs & immigration. My bag did come through pretty swiftly, though it's probably due to not having many checked baggage on this short hop of a trip. I shall now go into details about certain aspects of the service...

Ground Service:
- Check-in and reservation phone lines took a LONG while to be answered during off peak hours, but all agents were friendly & polite, if a little ill-informed about their C-Class service.
- Check-in was very quick, if a little unfriendly.
- * No access to SKL and no Priority tags!
- There was a LONG line in between security & the entrance to the boarding gate. It was very badly organised!

- * No menus & drinks/meals served presented EY style. (On a plus side, there was a toothpick & metal cutlery all round.)
- But SQ needs to change the presentation of it's EY meals urgently. It is honestly pretty ugly, and of a ghastly colour!
- The meal itself consisted of only a large danish and muffin. There were absolutely no accompaniments such as butter or jam. To the stewards' credit, he did fetch for me some honey & marmalade in mini glass bottles (presumably from P Class). But he still could find no butter!
- As there was a water & an OJ cuplet on the tray, no other drinks were offered apart from coffee & tea. These though, were served from the Raffles Class silver pots.
- To think that my friend's flying EY on MH received a hot breakfast of nasi lemak, SQ deserves a...

Cabin and Amenities:
- Lavs were clean & well stocked with Raffles Class branded toiletries such as toothbrush kits, razor kits and combs. * But there were NO TOWELS to wipe your hands.
- ULTIMO seats were great as usual, with deep recline lots of room & smooth controls. As usual, there are the adjustable everything such as personal reading light, privacy divider, headrest and lumbar support. The legrest comes right up, but the footrest is a little too short (& I'm not THAT tall either). With about 8 pax, there was lots of room.
- Blankets were placed in the overhead lockers and big, soft pillows were placed on each seat.
- Seat pockets were well stocked & organised.
- BUT, this being 9V-SPP, one of SQ's newest 744s, I expected it look a little "fresher". This it did not really. 17H's seat panel was scuffed. But overall, it didn't look bad and was pretty clean.

- * No headphones. Do not recall being able to view airshow as the main screen was stowed & I didn't try pulling out my PTV.
- KrisWorld understandably was not activated.
- Some magazines were available in the racks.

Cabin Crew:
- There were 3 cabin crew working on the upper deck. 1 Leading Steward with 1 Flight Stewardess and a Galley Steward.
- * The most difficult thing to get used to was receiving a different level of service to what you EXPECT.
- * The crew did not address anyone by name.
- The crew were pretty conscientious with safety, with CONSTANT reminders to switch mobile phones off. I noticed that a male crew member sits in the cockpit; and that female crew wear shoes, during TO and landing.
- On one hand, as an Economy Class cabin, the crew perfromed well. Yet, with only 8 passengers & a simple meal service, the crew were not particularly formal and personal.
- The tone of the flight was decidedly relaxed. Being early in the morning, everyone seemed slightly tired. It felt at times that this was just a short flight to get over with. Yet, they did not exactly commit any mistakes and were at times chatty and friendly, and always polite.

- If SQ were able to give me correct advice in regards to the service, I would have given it more points. Expecting a Business Class service and receiving an Economy one is not the way to travel and can make someone particularly disappointed. To regard the service as an Economy product, I have to admit it was pretty good. But once it's muddied with (my) higher and unfair expectations, it falls.

So I give it a total score of only... 15/25 or 60%

That's it. Thanks for reading.

BTW, was 9V-SPP the aircraft involved in the deprssurisation incident over Australia?
Singapore 777
Posts: 982
Joined: Sat May 29, 1999 3:00 pm

RE: A "Not That Fantastic" Trip On SQ

Thu Dec 27, 2001 1:38 am

I had always thought SQ's Club Class service was actually business class. Well in any case, don't expect much since it's only a one-hour flight and there really isn't much time for the crew to do much.

I agree that the ground crew should have been more accurate at giving you more details of the C-class service but frankly speaking, if I were you, I wouldn't expect much from this short flight either.

The ground staff at Changi at getting from bad to worse aren't they? My gosh...I got a sulky one for check-in. The telephone staff are alright though.

Yes 9V-SPP was apparently the one involved in the depressurisation incident.
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RE: A "Not That Fantastic" Trip On SQ

Thu Dec 27, 2001 2:31 am

what's going on with SQ ? Although they're still relatively good, everytime I fly them they get worse and worse, and now this report does it all for me. I'll scrap my gold card and sell the points and fly someone else if my next flight is equally dismall. Soon they'll end up at the bottom of the pit...

At the moment, it's been 2 months since they've tried to locate someone's nail kit, they're too proud to say they lost it, but they haven't got a clue where it went after they picked it up from Sydney Security. Dismal!

I need a good SQ flight soon... *kidding*

When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !
Posts: 11621
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RE: A "Not That Fantastic" Trip On SQ

Thu Dec 27, 2001 8:23 am

With all due respect, it was a very short flight.

I suggest you make you opinions known to Singapore Airlines Singapore.
Anyone can fly, only the best Soar.
Singapore 777
Posts: 982
Joined: Sat May 29, 1999 3:00 pm

RE: A "Not That Fantastic" Trip On SQ

Thu Dec 27, 2001 10:22 am

Mandala499, if I were you I would have made a lot of noise at my destination regarding my nail kit. These are personal items and although confiscated at the security checkpoint and checked in, they should have been returned to the owner. My mum had to check in her nail kit after it was discovered at the gate when she boarded a KLM flight to Singapore from Jakarta and she got it back alright when she came back. There is no reason why SQ should lose the nail kit. Urge your friend to claim back compensation from them for it!
Posts: 3310
Joined: Sun Sep 24, 2000 12:26 pm

RE: A "Not That Fantastic" Trip On SQ

Thu Dec 27, 2001 10:38 am

First of all, you can't expect much on an hour flight to penang aboard a B744! Well for SQ standards in service I can see very good ones and some are really bad. Oh well... Mandala499 Big grin
Boeing747 万岁!
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RE: A "Not That Fantastic" Trip On SQ

Thu Dec 27, 2001 10:39 am

My friends travelling on EY from SIN to PEN vv on SIA in March got a hot meal service of seafood pasta. (No choice though, but the flight was only 51 minutes) That's much better than US and European airlines who would probably serve nothing more than peanuts!
Posts: 1647
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2001 5:16 pm

RE: A "Not That Fantastic" Trip On SQ

Thu Dec 27, 2001 11:17 am

Hot or cold meals really depends on which PEN flight you are taking. The morning one of course serves breakfast while the afternoon actually serves a hot snack.

I agree with Duchamp that SQ's YCL service ware is really hideous looking. I have seen many elegant looking trays and plates in other carriers.

As for C class, well, I know it is just YCL with JCL seats...that's all. I am actually surprised they give pre-take off drinks in C class!
There's always a better way to fly...
Topic Author
Posts: 85
Joined: Thu Sep 07, 2000 10:24 pm

RE: A "Not That Fantastic" Trip On SQ

Thu Dec 27, 2001 4:08 pm

Well guys...

First, let me say that my flight was not entirely & utterly horrible. Of course, being a short flight, I didn't feel particularly inconvenienced or was made to feel uncomfortable. As I said, it was fairly good ECONOMY CLASS service. SQ still remains one of my most favourite carriers & my expectations are simply "impaired" by their marvellous performances on other flights (esp. a recent short CDG to MAD trip in J Class).

What I'm really saying is that I don't think being led to expect a full service, short haul Business Class operation was appropriate. If it were indeed a Raffles Class operated cabin (which was what I was led to believe), I would have expected these...
1) SKL access!!
2) Priority tags
3) A Raffles Class tray, with linens, crockery, glassware and cutlery, even for a light meal.
4) I guess a little menu wouldn't have hurt. SQ takes it back & reuses them anyway.
5) & much more personal & pampering attitudes from cabin crew who greeted you by name.

Still, I think it was reasonable of me to have expected a more substantial (EY) one-tray breakfast, as a full service is obviously not possible (due to time constraints). Perhaps a yoghurt or cereal and some fruit wouldn't have been too much to cater for. Headsets too would've been appropriate. Just fly QF domestically (Of course, without the friendly crew & large seats) or look at the UA MEL-SYD vv trip reports (inclusive of free "prison matrons" to coo in your ear).

Of course, I did receive these "bonuses"...
1) Advance seat selection
2) Special Check-in desk
3) Pre-boarding (SQ 193, not #192 since it was such a mess.)
4) Newspapers
5) Pre-departure drink (only SQ 192, not #193)
4) Priority deplaning

To compare an SQ service with domestic US is pretty inappropriate, since it's awful systemwide & SQ operates in a different environment. As for EY service, they still plied us with hot towels & well stocked lavs which is good. But the 3 crew members weren't that great for an EY cabin with only 8(!) pax, & brekkie with only 2 pastries is a no-no.

So what if it's one of SQ's shortest flights, many airlines (such as Crossair and NZ) around the world operate plenty of these sort of short routes (for e.g., SYD to Canberra & MEL, AKL to CHC and LHR to CDG) and at least make you feel that they care a bit more about them.
Posts: 11621
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2000 4:06 am

RE: A "Not That Fantastic" Trip On SQ

Thu Dec 27, 2001 6:08 pm

Have you actually told Singapore Airlines about this?
Anyone can fly, only the best Soar.
Posts: 590
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RE: A "Not That Fantastic" Trip On SQ

Thu Dec 27, 2001 10:04 pm

Well, I think you've got to realise that you are not travelling on JCL, but on CCL. It's not JCL, and thus you will not receive much of the perks you'd come to expect with SIA's Business Class. The lounge, priority tags, are for JCL passengers, and, unfortunately, not CCL. Of course we'd all love to enjoy the lounge and priority tags as CCL passengers, but as a profit making business, I think the airline has to draw a line at who to allow into the lounge.

Again, the Raffles Class cutlery is for JCL passengers, and since they are, why should CCL passengers get them too? CCL is just SIA's premium economy class, not Business Class.

As for the menu, the flight is less than an hour. Com'on, give them a break! Giving out and keeping the menu would mean extra work for the FAs. The FAs have got to heat the meals up, give out the food, keep the food, cater to occasional query, give out immigration cards, and other stuff. That SIA actually bothers to serve a meal on such a short flight is commendable I think.

I don't know, but my take on this is that this is CCL, and not Raffles Class. Not to make any inferences to this matter or anyone in particular, but perhaps we shouldn't be setting our standards so high that when the airline doesn't meet it, we fall so hard and get all bitter at the airline when that's already the best in the business.

And yes, I agree with Singapore_Air. If you're unhappy with the service or anything on board, you should write to the airline voicing your views. I'm sure they'd be glad to hear from you.
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RE: A "Not That Fantastic" Trip On SQ

Fri Dec 28, 2001 4:18 am

With all due respect, it seems that your long Gripe-a-thon probably took longer to write than the Sin-Pen flight. You had a great seat to relax in, a good cup of coffee, a quick meal, and a choice of newspapers. What else does one need for less than 60 minutes? Back massages and Singapore girls doing the shimmy for you? Puh-leeez.

I'd be pissed if I were not allowed into their airport lounge though. Even American carriers don't discriminate at that level.
Atheism is Myth Understood.

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