10Jun02 MEL - SIN SQ218 aircraft 9V-SYG (B773) seat 16A
10Jun02 SIN - SHA SQ806 aircraft 9V-SYC (B773) seat 14D
12Jun02 SHA - PEK MU5103 aircraft B-2318 (A300-600R) seat 4A
16Jun02 PEK - SIN SQ811 aircraft 9V-SJJ (A343) seat 12K
17Jun02 SIN - MEL SQ227 aircraft 9V-SPF (B744) seat 18A
This was a great trip for the variety of wide-bodied aircraft (2 Boeing and 2 Airbus) and two new aircraft for me (the A300 and A340) and one new airline (China Eastern).
SQ218 is an overnight flight, departing MEL at 0.50, so I slept most of the way. I have flown SIA many times before and their service was up to normal high standards. This aircraft was fitted with the large PTV screens (Raffles class), and the Wiseman system, allowing you to start and pause films as required. This is a great feature. The flight departed and arrived to schedule.
After a few hours in the T2 Silver Kris lounge, boarded another B773 for the flight to SHA. This aircraft, 9V-SYC had the smaller TV screens and no Wiseman, but just the standard Krisworld entertainment. Films on show included Harry Potter, and The Lord of The Rings, split into two parts on different channels due to being so long.
Arrived at Shanghai Hongqiao roughly on schedule, and then queued for a while to get through immigration. After picking up my luggage, I then entered the chaos that is the arrivals hall at Hongqiao, and then even more chaos on the roads outside!
Two days later arrived back at Hongqiao for the relatively short flight to Beijing with China Eastern. I managed to get into the business lounge at gate 6, without the invitation card that I apparently should have had. I just shrugged my shoulders and was let in. The lounge was great, with leather couches, and refreshments (including beer!) I boarded the flight about 45 minutes late, due to the late arrival of the aircraft. There was a bus ride from the gate to the plane which took less than 5 minutes. Unfortunately we then had another hour sitting on the tarmac before take-off, due to ATC at Beijing. The flight attendants took the opportunity to serve us dinner before take-off. I was relatively impressed with First Class with China Eastern; the seats were comfortable, although the only entertainment was a big screen at the front of the compartment with no sound (and no headphones). The food was good quality airline standard (sorry, can't remember what I ate!) What was rather worrying was that the lights and A/C went off about 6 times whilst we sat on the tarmac, and each time they went off there were loud shouts in Chinese from the cockpit! Anyway, at 18.10 we started our taxi, and there followed an uneventful flight to Beijing with drinks service (choice of wines, beers and spirits + soft drinks). We arrived in Beijing about 2 hours late. Beijing Capital airport is modern and with no immigration formalities due to this being a domestic flight, I was quickly out of the airport and on the highway towards my hotel.
Several days later I returned to Beijing Capital airport for the return flight to Singapore. I was looking forward to my first flight on a A340, and it was not a disappointment. SIA share a business lounge at PEK, which was large and comfortable. The flight departed on time, and I agree with Airbus' claims about the quietness of the cabin. And, as we all know, there is no middle seat in business class, although as I had a window seat this didn't affect me.
Both this flight and the one the following day back to Melbourne were up to usual high SIA standard, and on time.
As for my favourite flight of the trip, probably my first flight on the A340, but I enjoyed all of them. And the tail didn't fall off the A300....