Adelaide-Singapore, 19 January 2002, LH 9771/SQ 230, 777-200, 9V-SRD, PB: 1437, TO: 1444 Rwy 23, LA: 1832 Rwy 02.
Photo © Takuji Sohmura - the airliner photo collection
I arrived at the airport at around 1230, thinking I had heaps of time. However once there, the queues were already out the door even with all check-in desks open. It seems that the Adelaide international terminal can’t cope even with the one international departure. Ever since the arrival of Virgin Blue, our poor 20 year old “temporary” terminal hasn’t been able to cope. Once I reached the check-in desk, I got my seating allocations with mixed feelings. My Adelaide-Singapore flight had me in 49K, a mid-section window seat – I couldn’t really ask for any better. However, the Lufthansa flight SIN-FRA yielded an aisle seat near the back (48G), despite all my protestations for a window seat. My boarding pass for FRA-MUC showed 9A – no complaints there.
We boarded SQ230 on time and I found my seat with little difficulty. I had high expectations of SQ (this was my first SQ flight) and initial impressions certainly didn’t let me down. The cabin was impeccable and the décor was in good taste. Not only that but someone had had the thought of placing discreet Christmas decorations the length of the cabin – perhaps a little late but still a nice touch.
Pushback and rotation was quick due to the close proximity of Runway 23 from the international apron. After the landing of a Qantas 737-400 we were off, the 777’s twin engines providing a powerful takeoff for our near-capacity flight.
Once airborne, the Inflight service began promptly with a lunch of beef stir fry, smoked salmon and ice-cream (first time I’ve had that on a flight!) complementing the comprehensive bar selection. The other choice of main course was roast chicken. Though the food was not up to Lauda standards, it was nevertheless far better than the average airline meal. The in-seat TVs soon kicked in and provided great entertainment the whole way to Singapore. Here, SQ’s Krisworld was up to par if not better to Lauda’s Flying Wonderworld.
On descent into Singapore after our reasonably bumpy 6hr 18 flight, we were treated with gourmet chicken rolls and a further drinks service.
Landing at Singapore was smooth and we soon taxied to our gate. We deplaned smoothly and I was soon in Terminal 2 – my first visit to the other half of Singapore’s fabled Changi airport.
Overall, SQ was excellent, though I would still rate my Lauda 777 experience higher. However I can clearly see why SQ has its reputation and I would most definitely fly them again and recommend them to anyone else.
Singapre airport is another reason to choose SQ. T2 had everything from live jazz bands, a live game show allowing pax to participate, quiet areas with sleeping chairs (complete with vibrating headrests serving as wake-up alarms) plus shops etc. The e-centre allowed me to plug in my laptop free of charge and access high speed internet. Fantastic. I have never known 5+ hours of airport “boredom” to pass so quickly.
Singapore-Frankfurt, LH 779, 20 January 2002 (scheduled 19 Jan) 747-400 D-ABVK, PB: 0042, TO: 0100 Rwy 02R, LA: 0636 Rwy 25R.
Photo © Miguel Snoep
Much of this flight (but not all), my first on LH longhaul, proved to be a disappointment. Firstly while in transit in Changi (and again at the gate) I tried to get a window seat – to no avail. The flight was overbooked and several pax were rebooked onto SQ and QF flights to FRA leaving at a similar time. In hindsight, I wish I had been one of them… After all, the compensation I believe is quite generous. Anyway, once the chaotic boarding was completed, I was most pleased with my seat. Despite the fact it was in the rear economy cabin, my aisle was a blessing. The reason: in all my long experience of flying longhaul, I have never, repeat never, seen such cramped Y class conditions as LH. I am of average height and my knees were pressed into the seat in front. One pleasant surprise, however, was the fact that in the adjacent aisle seat sat a girl from my law classes in Canberra, which meant that a good deal of non-sleeping time was spent chatting! I always say how small Adelaide is in regards to meeting people at random, but this just proves how small the world is… Amazing!
After an initial false start, we proceeded to wait another 50mins for pushback. According to the captain, flights to Europe have to leave 20mins apart, which struck me as excessive (and probably unlikely) due to the very large number of European services out of SIN for Europe at that time.
Takeoff happened finally at 0100, an hour after the scheduled departure time. Our plane at full pax, cargo and fuel capacity took an age to get off the ground, but nonetheless we were soon nosing upwards. Soon after drinks and dinner came out. Not surprisingly the quality of the food corresponded to the quality of much german food – overcooked and heavy. Nothing special at all, certainly nothing like SQ. Soon after lights went out and I managed to scrounge a bit of sleep while half watching the movies on offer on the main screen (Bandits, Curse of the Jade scorpion, Serendipity, Princess Diaries).
The flight was a long 12.5hours long but we nonetheless made some time and after a not-all-that-impressive cooked breakfast we landed at Frankfurt at 0636, under 30 mins late. The view of Frankfurt on landing was spectacular though not being at the window meant I only got glimpses. Many pax were panicking regarding short connections (many to MUC as they had like me been rebooked on this flight when LH’s SIN-MUC service was cancelled). However, for aircraft reasons I had chosen the later departure to MUC and thus had no worries.
On arrival, we pulled up to an airbridge but then were refused use of it. We had to descend the stairs, at the head of which were 2 customs officials who scrutinized passports as we left the aircraft. I have never had anything like it before. We then of course had to reproduce our passports at the customs checkpoint once in the terminal.
Transfer was quick and easy and I soon found myself at my gate for Munich in concourse A in plenty of time. LH domestic flight gates have a great little coffee and tea facility which permitted me to enjoy a hot fruit tea before my flight left. In addition, all LH gates are well provisioned with a range of German and English language newspapers.
Frankfurt-Munich, 20 January 2002, LH 060, A310-300 D-AIDH, PB: 0813, TO: 0823 Rwy 18, LA: 0857
Photo © Colin K. Work
This flight was quite empty being a Sunday morning and due to the fact that all transferring pax from SIN were booked on the flight 30mins earlier. The main purpose of the flight was to have my first A310 flight, so in that way, I was very happy. 9A also proved to be a nice position at the front of the Y-class cabin.
It was ironic to see that all my domestic flights offered legroom that was far superior to that of the longhaul 744s. Surely the 744s need it more!
As the flight was so short, F/As only had the time to run up and down the cabin once offering drinks before having to prepare for landing. I ask myself why so many people choose business class in such situations as the only difference was that they got a roll with their drink. They even have the same seats (curtain gets moved according to demand).
The flight was quite uneventful and we touched down at Munich almost 15 early at 0857. MUC is a most impressive airport inside and out – certainly ultra modern with a new Terminal 2 well into construction.
After a long wait for my luggage I headed into the arrivals area to meet Victor (from airliners.net chat) who was kind enough to meet me and take me into town. It was interesting to note that the other MUC flight that all the pax on the SIN-FRA leg were rushing to connect to ended up arriving after my flight.
As I am tired now from jetlag, I will stop here… You will all have to wait for the next instalment of my trip, my short hops on Lufthansa from Munich back to Frankfurt then on to Hamburg and finally Brussels all taken the next day (2 days ago now). In about a week, I will be able to offer a further report on my 737-800 flights from Brussels Charleroi to London Stansted on Ryanair.
Thanks for reading this far!!!!!!