OK guys. The trip from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore is like, the shortest flight SQ operates and I've been wondering whether or not to write a trip report since I can barely remember the flight myself! So i'll just fill you in on details on what went on in the city of Kuala Lumpur that day.
31st March 2002, Easter Sunday.
A bunch of us went up to KL by bus and decided to fly back. It's S$160 (USD90) to fly one way SIN-KUL but 220 (USD 55) ringgit to fly one way KUL-SIN. That's why we decided that bus-ing up and flying down was the best thing to do.
There was a huge thunderstorm in KL, the largest I had seen in my life. Jalan Puduraya, one of the main arteries in the city was kinda flooded and a tree had fallen across the entire avenue, throwing traffic in the centre of Kuala Lumpur into chaos. (rather, into a complete standstill)
Also perhaps due to the thunderstorm, the water coming out of the tap was slightly brown. Gross.
Our flight was at 9.45pm. However a devoutly catholic friend of mine insisted we went for 6pm Easter mass at St John's Cathedral. I reluctantly agreed since I hadn't been to church throughout Lent. We had to walk there all the way from our hotel WITH OUR LUGGAGE, in the rain, pollution and occassional water-clogged roads of the centre of Kuala Lumpur cos of the bad traffic. Hopefully that was enough penance!!
THe service finished at 7pm and that gave us 1.5 hours to get to the airport to check in on time That might seem like heaps of time but bear in mind that Kuala Lumpur International Airport is 60km south of KL city centre, and couple that with fallen trees on flooded roads..... you'd understand my anxiety.
The taxis that we flagged down all insisted on us paying 100 ringgit, when the usual fare is 60 ringgit. That's the problem with KL taxi drivers, they never ever want to stick to the meter or fixed fares as set out by the taxi company. In the end we called a cab who took us to the airport for 60 ringgit.
The journey to KLIA was horrendously long. THere was bad traffic getting out of the city, then on to a spanking new modern highway. After half an hour of getting on to the cab, a sign read "KLIA: 55km". I was like, WHAT? STILL ANOTHER 55 KM ?
I fell asleep and after 40 mins, i woke up and we still weren't there. Since we were driving south towards Singapore, one of my friends just said "Have we reached Singapore yet?"
Anyway at 8.30, we finally reached Labuan Terbang Antarabangsa Kuala Lumpur (KLIA). Looks very impressive from the distance. Got to the Singapore Airlines counter and checked in for our flight SQ119 to Singapore. Check-in staff was efficient and courteous.
We were famished and went through into the restricted area in the hope of finding some food. We passed immigration which was very slow. They have like at least 30 immigration booths but only 7 or so were open and I noticed that almost everyone who was in line was on our flight to Singapore.
I don't know how they designed KLIA, but to get from immigration to the departure gates, one has to take a train! So well, we waited for the train to come, and it whizzed us to the departure concourse in less than 2 minutes.
There, we found this pizza/pasta place where we had a set dinner for 20 ringgit (about USD5) Halal of course.
There are quite a few shops in the transit area, but I think Changi and Hong Kong still offer a wider range of shops and better prices. The duty free prices in Singapore are still cheaper than those in KLIA who claim to have the lowest prices in the Asia-Pacific region. The architecture of the airport is very impressive too, but I still prefer the bright cheerful colours of Changi. KLIA is all gray and it's kinda dull and sterile after a while.
I couldn't help but notice how vastly under-utilised this magnificent airport was. Pity.
Anyway, boarding for SQ119 commenced at 9.30, though we got to the gate at 9.45 because of the long queue that had developed at the aerobridge. It was a 777-200, registration 9V-SR something. As it was such a short flight, I didn't want to bother the crew with such trivial questions.
We were assigned seats 46 H, J and K. The airshow was on and it said "Time to Singapore: 0:35". My previous flights from KL had been 28 mins and 27 mins respectively so 35 mins seemed rather long.
Push-back was at 9.55pm and the safety video came on. It's the same video they've been using since 1995 I think. Captain sounded Eastern European to me, but first officer sounded Singaporean. Announcements were made first in English (by one of the cabin crew) then in Malay (from a recording)
Needless to say, Krisworld was not switched on for this short flight but we could still play the games and read CNN Headline news. Anyway, we began our take-off roll at about 10.10pm. On take off, we had a good view of the Sepang F1 circuit, which Malaysian Airports is trying to sell off to finance their loan for the construction of KLIA.
After about 7 mins, the seatbelt sign was switched off and the cabin crew whizzed off to the galley to prepare our refreshements, which consisted of the wide selection of: coffee, tea, pineapple juice and orange juice. hehe. In the short span of 15 mins, they managed to serve about 270 passengers drinks and collect them all back. The hot drinks were at a temperature such that one could drink them straightaway.
I'm sorry I can't give you my impression of the service, except that it was efficient and polite. In the short span of 15 mins, there really isn't enough time for the cabin crew to make small talk with you and give you the inflight service that other airlines talk about. That also isn't enough time for me to evaluate the cabin crew etc etc etc since I was more concerned about the games and stuff on Krisworld.
Though I did head to the back to ask them for some playing cards. Despite the fact that she was really busy packing everything up for landing, she stopped what she was doing and opened nearly every cabinet in the galley to search for a pack of cards. Unfortunately, there were none available on this flight.
I suspect she knew there were none available but yet she made the effort to at least look like she's trying to do something about it. That would have made a better impression on the customer than just saying "No we're out of them" outright.
We took a real weird flight path to Singapore. We headed South towards Sumatra, overflew the eastern most tip of Sumatra, then banked left again over the Straits of Malacca into Singapore. Usually the flight path would take us over the west coast of west Malaysia, without even entering Indonesian airspace.
Meanwhile we continued playing the Nintendo games. They're not particularly exciting though, but for a long flight, it'll be good to have at least that to do.
Well before we knew it, we were on our final approach into Singapore, runway 02R. Since we were seated at the extreme right of the plane, we couldn't get a nice view of the city on approach.
I thought the landing was rather bumpy and bad but my friend who's a junior pilot (albeit only a cesna) insisted that the approach was excellent and the landing was perfect. Well, who's right??
We landed at 10.45pm and as in typical Singaporean efficiency, was in the car on the way home at 11pm.
Well guys, thanks for reading. I know this is a rather short trip report which is why I spent lots of time dwelling on what I did before the flight itself.
I don't think I actually wanna fly from KL again. The airport is too far south and especially for the short flight to Singapore, it's really not worth going all the way down. The flight distance is 296km.
The last time my parents and I drove down from KL, it took us 4 hours from city centre to city centre. This time, it took us 4 hours from city centre to airport.
Though frankly speaking, I wanted to fly back for about S$100 to take the 777 cos that's as cheap as a 777 flight would go, right? hehe.
Do look out for the following trip reports:
10th May SQ002 SIN-SFO via Hong Kong
17th May United Airlines SFO-LAX
30th May SQ029 LAX-SIN via Taipei
1st June SQ334 SIN-Paris CDG
(anyone wants a train report from Paris to London?? haha)
8th July SQ321 London Heath-SIN