Apologies in advance for the long nature of this post but the whole trip turned out to be very eventful!!!!!
30th May 2002
LHR-SIN SQ 321, Boeing 747-400, Departure time 10.15PM
I got to LHR 3 hours before departure and headed to the SQ check-in desks in Terminal 3. As I had an E-Ticket, I handed over my credit card to the check-in agent, and was amazed when she then spent the next 15 minutes writing out a ticket on photocopied paper using a pen. I found this absolutely hilarious actually - SQ's e-technology results in someone having to manually write out the ticket and it took ages too. Plus it looked really like a low-cost carrier, with simple paper which she then cut with scissors into a ticket-sized shape! Still, at least all my details were okay (prior to the flight SQ had messed up my reservation (originally in J class) meaning I now had to travel in Y class (although they refunded all of the money meaning I was effectively travelling for free).
Anyway, after clearing security (there were loads of police officers taking photos of the England fans heading out to the world cup) and eating overpriced food at TGI Friday (£12 for a cheeseburger (USD $18) is outrageous IMHO) we headed to the boarding lounge where we waited until they called us row by row.
Our seats were by the window in the rear of the plane (i.e. where it is configured 2-4-2) so there was loads of room (I had requested these seats).
I noticed that the plane looked a little worn out inside - it seemed to be fairly old which surprised me for a LHR flight. The ceiling was a little yellowed.
Anyway, we pushed back pretty much on time and headed to the runway where we waited behind a BA 744 and 772 and a QF 744 for takeoff. When those birds took off the roar and shuddering through the cabin was awesome - shows the power of those machines!
Anyway, we proceeded to the runway and after letting the engines spool up to max the captain (an Aussie) released the breaks and we belted along the runway. The plane was pretty much full so take off roll was about 45 seconds, and then we were airborne into the London night sky.
SQ, WE HAVE A PROBLEM!
Well, nothing too major really but my PTV didn't work, which annoyed me. I called the F/A to explain, and she tried to reset the system but it didn't work. At this point I begin to experience some of the Asian phenomenon of 'not losing face', so rather than admit there was a problem the F/A would come around ever 30 minutes and ask if my PTV was working yet! Eventually, some 4 hours into the flight and after repeated assurances from myself that no, the PTV was not working 'as if by magic', she picked up my remote control and began randomly pushing the buttons (as if that was going to help). This farce continued for a full 5 minutes (by which time I was finding the whole thing hysterically funny), so I decided to end the charade by saying I didn't care about the PTV any more. The chief stewardess then came over and asked me if I wanted to move up to First class, but I declined as there was only 1 seat available and I wanted to remain with my wife.
After an hour or so dinner was served. I chose a dish of fried fish with rice, and a prawn and mango salad for starter. To be honest it was pretty horrible, and one feature of SQ flights is that they always seem to offer seafood for starters. As I don't like seafood, I was getting pretty p*ssed off by the end, and was rather hungry.
Anyway, after the dinner service I experienced a magical phenomenon from the F/A's. You see, as if by magic they managed to totally disappear for a full 6 hours. I was half expecting to look out of the window and see them all in a dinghy in the ocean below, laughing at us. Anyway, after dehydration was nearing, I pressed the call button and asked for a drink, hinting that they might also want to try seeing if the pax were okay instead of vanishing. After this point service was more regular, and snacks were handed out (I had a tuna sandwich and also a pretzel and popcorn mix).
About 2 hours before descent into SIN breakfast was served. I chose an omelette with beans and hash browns. The omelette itself was pretty good, but again they had seafood as a starter, so I was left a bit hungry.
Anyway, pretty much on schedule we landed at Singapore Changi at around 6PM local time, where full reverse was applied, and then we deplaned into the terminal.
Changi is one classy airport. There was a group of Chinese acapella singers performing - they were really good. We headed over to the smoking area which was cool as there was an outdoor area in close proximity to the concourse.
Anyway, at around 7.30PM Singapore time we headed to the boarding lounge for our flight to BKK
May 31st 2002, SIN-BKK, SQ974 B777-200
After about 10 minutes in the lounge we boarded the 772 to Bangkok (which was heading on to Osaka in Japan after). The first thing that struck me was how beautiful the cabin was compared to the 744 - really nice and new. Again we had seats near the back, althouth there was less room by the side of the window seat.
Bang on 8PM we pushed back and quickly moved towards the runway. Take-off was awesome, the huge bird belting it along the runway like there was no tomorrowe and then taking off steeply (I guess the fact the a/c was only about 40% full had something to do with this). Wow, what a rush! People can say that they prefer Boeing or they prefer airbus, but you have to admit that the 772 is one seriously cool plane. Take off felt like a 757 takeoff but a lot more powerful. Awesome!
Anyway, the flight was relatively short (1hr50 mins) so dinner was quickly served. I chose a beef stroganoff with fettuccine - it was absolutely delicious. Unfortunately, the starter was (yep you've guessed it - seafood) so once more I went hungry. Also, for anyone in Singapore, what the heck is 'yam'? The menu option that I always didn't choose seemed to contain 'yam rice' every time, and I have no idea what it is!
Anyway, at around 9PM Thailand time we descended into BKK where the captain (an Indian) performed a very smooth flaps only landing, and we proceeded to the terminal and deplaned.
After an excellent 3 and a half weeks in Bangkok and Japan and South Korea (where I saw 4 world cup games in total) it was time to head back home.
BKK-SIN 23/06/2002 SQ61 A310
After checking in at BKK's Terminal 2, again with my credit card the boarding passes were promptly issued (none of the facre that occured at LHR!). After a last cigarette we headed to the gate for boarding (7.40AM flight)
I had head horror stories about the SQ A310s but to be honest I couldn't see what all the fuss was about. Sure the seats weren't as good and there were no PTV's but it was only a 2 hour flight anyway, so no worries.
Anyway, after a smooth take-off roll we were airborne and heading south towards Singapore. Breakfast was served - again it was an omelette but this one was outstanding! Really juicy with Thai herbs inside. IMHO BKK does the best airport catering out there. Alongside was a tropical fruit salad.
After an uneventful flight we landed smoothly at SIN at 11.00 am SIN time(again a flaps only landing) and deplaned where we headed to the gate for our 12:35 flight to LHR
SIN-LHR 23/6/02 12.35PM SQ 320 B747-400
We boarded the a/c about 30 mins before departure where again we had seats at the back. I had taken the precaution of buying some food at Changi to eat on the plane, in case the dreaded seafood starters were on the menu again!!!
Anyway, push back was a bit delayed due to some connecting PAX needing to get on board and have their bags loaded. Also, the cabin was really hot due to the a/c having been on the ground in SIN for 5 hours. Again the cabin was a little tatty and yellowed - not really that impressive.
After a 20 minute delay we pushed back and after a further 5 minute wait (to enable a 10 minute spacing between us and the Frankfurt SQ flight that had just departed) we were on our way. Takeoff was very powerful (again tha cabin was full) and we were soon airborne.
Lunch was served after about an hour. I can't actually remember what it was, although I do know the appetiser was a smoked lamb salad - it was okay.
Service was much better on this flight than on the corresponding LHR-SIN and a drinks service was conducted ever 40 minutes or so. Snacks were offered also - I had a wierd savoury roll thing with what I think was Tuna inside.
4 hours before arrival at LHR Dinner was served. I chose the 'Chicken Supreme' - a chinese dish of chicen braised in chinese wine with rice and vegetables - it was really tasty. Again the dreaded seafood appetiser reared it's ugly head - however this time I was armed with Toblerone bars from SIN duty free, so hunger was not a problem!
We descended over the Belgian coast and arrived on schedule at LHR at 7PM local time, again a flaps only landing which was surprising as the plane was so full (the captain was British on this flight and obviously a Formula 1 nut as he announced the race result once we had landed).
At LHR the airbridge didn't work so we waited 20 minutes and then descended the a/c by steps - with a packed a/c this obviously took some time!
Anyway, to conclude SQ are a pretty good airline in Y class (excepting the abysmal LHR-SIN flight) although I think they lack the class of BA, EK and Malaysian in that class. I would definitely fly them again though.
I used to think the brain is the most fascinating part of my body. But, hey, who is telling me that?