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
SIN - PEN
0805hrs / (~0820hrs)
0915hrs / (~0930hrs)
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...
- 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.
- 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?