12 JUNE 2003
9V-SYF Boeing 777-300
Check in was a breeze. I was the next on the line when I arrived at the Raffles Class counter. There were three or four Raffles Class check in counters and one First Class. The check in lady was very courteous and nice. My large rollaway bag were priority tagged and checked through to BKK. I received two boarding passes, one for this sector and the other one for the IN / WSSS), Singapore">SIN-BKK sector.
The boarding passes had “PRE DEPARTURE SARS SCREENING PERFORMED” stamps, although I did not notice any screening being done at that time (temperature, questionnaires, etc.).
The lounge SQ has contracted with (airside) is a little dull, although it has a nice view of the first boarding gate (I think D1).
Since the SARS outbreak, there has been some cuts to SQ flights into and out of Jakarta. The aircraft used for this flight was a newer Boeing 777-300 (9V-SYF).
Boarding commenced as usual, premium passengers & families with young children boarded the aircraft first.
I proceeded to my seat on the right hand side of the plane. The J class seats are the newer version with Ultimo style fabric. The F class seats are the ‘Ultimo Plus’ seats. The J class seats are very comfortable for regional use, although these pale in comparison to the new Spacebeds.
The flight departed on time with very full load in J class.
No more hot towels onboard SQ flights – they have been replaced by the disposable towelettes.
WISEMEN (SQ’s excellent Audio and Video On Demand entertainment system) was available on this flight and the monitors were slightly larger than usual (the ones used on older SQ B777s and A343s). I watched some sitcoms: The 70s show, Friends, and Everybody Loves Raymond.
On all of my SQ flights, the latest issues of around 15 magazine titles plus some newspapers are provided on board.
Food was average. We started with a fruit appetizer.
I chose the Nasi Uduk (“Pandan flavoured coconut rice with spicy fried fish, grilled fish cake, fried egg and vegetable pickles”) as my main course.
Two other selections were available:
- Griddled pancake with blueberry compote, veal sausage and tomatoes
- Cheese omelette with chicken sausage, grilled tomato and roasted potatoes
Dessert was Mango pudding with raspberry coulis.
A selection of bread rolls with butter & fruit preserves were served from a basket by a flight attendant. We were also offered coffee and tea.
Cabin crew members worked very efficiently and were very friendly during the 1.5 hour flight.
We landed on schedule in Changi Airport Singapore on a runway that is very far from the gate. It took the captain about ten minutes after landing to taxi to the gate. Nurses were waiting outside of the gate to screen incoming passengers of SARS symptoms.
SQ64 IN / WSSS), Singapore">SIN-BKK (First Class)
12 JUNE 2003
9V-SQF Boeing 777-200
As my transit time was only about 45 minutes, I proceeded directly to my next departure gate, which took me about ten minutes to walk to. I had heard from my travel agent that the flight was fully booked in all classes. After passing the hand luggage/security check, I gave my boarding pass to the gate agent. What a pleasant surprise – a First class boarding pass was waiting for me there! I was upgraded to First class due to flight overbooking. I saw two more First class boarding passes and one Raffles class boarding pass waiting for their lucky owners.
The aircraft used was one of the earlier B777-200, thus only Krisworld (no WISEMEN) was available.
I proceeded to my seat, an aisle seat on the right hand side of the aircraft. First class is configured 2-2-2 as opposed to 2-3-2 in Raffles class. Already seated beside me was a Japanese businessman which would not respond to my greetings and smile to him.
A few minutes later, it was obvious that the flight was very close to100% full. As all twelve seats in First are already occupied, one Singaporean businessman came onboard, holding yet another First class boarding pass. Cabin crew members seems quite confused. Later, a gate agent came and sorted out the mess. It turned out that my neighbor mistook his ‘11F’ seat as ‘1F’. He seemed quite embarrassed by his mistake and went to his allocated seat.
Beautiful menus and wine lists in leather folders were handed out (same quality as pre-SARS) and after take-off drink orders were taken.
A steward came over to my seat and assured me that my pre-reserved Book the Cook meal is onboard. First and Raffles class customers on Singapore Airlines can make use of this advance meal booking service when flying out of Singapore and some selected overseas stations.
I have ordered ”Pan Seared Chilean Bass with Bouillabaisse Sauce, Capsicum Confit and Kalamata Olive Potato” as my main course. I have had this on my previous IN / WSSS), Singapore">SIN-CDG flight and it tasted good.
The appetizer was “Spiced king prawn with eggplant puree, basil raita and caviar”
The main course selections for this flight:
- Marinated Cornish game hen with hot and sour sauce, angel hair pasta with vegetables
- Thai style stir fried pork with green beans, seasonal vegetables and steamed rice
- Pan seared seabass served with creamy clam sauce, baby carrot ragout and spinach gnoochi
A selection of fresh fruits were offered, of which I chose a banana.
“Warm apricot tart with mascarpone ice cream and caramel sauce” was served as dessert.
As usual, some bread rolls were offered from a bread basket and tea/coffee as well. The tea/coffee selection on this flight was quite extensive.
Great service from the cabin staffs. Friendly and efficient.
We landed on schedule in Don Muang Airport Bangkok. No SARS screening was done for incoming passengers, although I saw some intensive checks were being done for incoming passengers from another flight, presumably from a current SARS-hit country.
On the baggage carousel, First class and Raffles class priority bags arrived first although not in order (mixed).
SQ879 BKK-IN / WSSS), Singapore">SIN (Raffles Class)
13 JUNE 2003
I arrived early at the Don Muang airport to see if I can take an earlier flight to Singapore. The no-frills no-smile gentleman behind the Raffles class check-in counter informed me that the flight I wanted is fully booked and simply shook his head when I asked to be moved to one flight earlier.
I kept my current flight, which was a continuing flight from Seoul.
I headed straight to the SQ First class lounge after clearing immigration.
As a PPS Club member, I am entitled to use the First class lounge whenever I fly on Raffles Class on Singapore Airlines.
The lounge was packed with the passengers on SQ65, the flight I wanted to get onto earlier. Eligibility to enter SQ’s First class lounge:
- SQ First class customers
- SQ Raffles class customers which are PPS Club members (plus one guest)
- SQ Solitaire PPS Club members traveling on SQ or any other airlines in any class (plus one guest)
Food inside the lounge was average, nothing special. Some sandwiches, snacks and Swensen ice cream were available. I hate the fact that there was no personal size bottled water in the lounge – just one huge bottle to pour into your glass.
An internet terminal with a flat screen monitor is available in the First class lounge.
The aircraft, a Boeing 777-200 arriving from Seoul (Korea), landed about 10-15 minutes late. The aircraft is a two class configured aircraft (Raffles and Economy).
Before boarding the aircraft, I saw some SQ flight attendants (three males and two females) puffing away in the smoking room.
At 1645, only 15 minutes from our scheduled departure time, the plane had not started to board yet. A short time later, a gate agent with mediocre English started –literally- reading the pre-boarding announcements.
When we finally boarded the aircraft, I headed to my seat, which was the last row in the center on the aircraft. This is the same type of seat as my SQ64 flight out of Singapore. From the look, it looks exactly the same as Lufthansa's ex-Sabena A330-200 Business Class seat. SQ's version has a seat pitch of 50".
Photo © Alan Tsui
Photo © Ralf Stöckner
Krisworld was available on this aircraft (NO WISEMEN).
Menus were handed out to all passengers in Raffles and Economy. Both versions of the menu (J & Y) are in good condition, no longer ‘ripped’ as was experienced by some A.net members during their recent flights.
Excellent artwork (flowers) are featured on the covers.
Light meal was served on the flight:
Appetizer: Ham with potato salad
- Braised chicken in mustard vinegar sauce with green beans and celeriac-potato puree
- Wok fried lamb with ginger and spring onions, braised beancurd with vegetables and fried rice
- Stuffed squid with prawn paste in green curry served with sautéed pumpkin and egg, steamed rice
I chose the third option, which was excellent.
Dessert: Sago pearl pudding with mango coulis
Gourmet coffee and tea were available throughout the flight.
Good service from the cabin staffs as before. The flight was about 40% full.
Arrived into Changi Airport Singapore about 15 minutes late. Plus another 10 minutes for the long taxiing to the gate. This time, sophisticated temperature-detection machines were at the gate waiting for the arriving passengers. Clearing through immigration was a breeze. My bag arrived with other priority tagged bags soon after.
Then I went upstairs to the Raffles Class check-in counter to check my bag for my flight the day after. Early check in was available to Singapore Airlines customers. Therefore, I only needed to bring my rollaway cabin bag to the hotel for the one night stopover. Very convenient. I received my boarding pass for my flight at the same time.
SQ164 IN / WSSS), Singapore">SIN-CGK (Raffles Class)
14 JUNE 2003
Arrived at the airport with plenty of time to shop at Changi. Many of the airport stores are having sale events. I think Changi’s prices are among the best available.
I checked an additional bag into the flight, then cleared immigration (before which a thermal detection machine browsed my body temperature).
I proceeded to the First Class Lounge. Plenty of foods are available. I opted for the Chinese carrot cake with prawns, some vegetable samosas, and some Unagi sushi. All of which are excellent. Grabbed some Evians to drink in the lounge and on the flight. Many facilities are available in the lounge:
- Sleeping cabins
- Movie rooms with wide, flat screen TVs
- Smoking room
- Internet terminals
- Cloak room
The aircraft was an earlier B777-300 with the same interior and features as the previous B777-200.
Small menu cards were distributed to First and Raffles customers due to the short flight duration. Pre take off drinks were offered. Flight departed with about 95% load in J class.
Ordered the same Pan Seared Chilean Bass (from the Book the Cook option) as my main meal. This time it is not that good – everything was too salty.
Appetizer was “ Mixed salad with chef’s dressing”
Other main course options:
- Malay style lamb shank rending, spiced vegetables and coconut rice
- Braised chicken with chestnut, seasonal vegetables and steamed rice
- Grilled salmon with bouillabaisse sauce, buttered asparagus and olive potatoes
Dessert was “Pandan coconut panna cotta with bigi selasih”. Tea and coffee were offered as well as some bread selections.
Staffs were very friendly and efficient.
Krisworld (no WISEMEN) was available during the flight.
A snobbish woman in her twenties seated right behind me stood up just as the aircraft was slowing down to the gate. She looked around to the dark cabin (no lights has been turned on yet) – everybody was still seated. Then she sat down again, this time waiting until the seat belt sign had been turned off before she grabbed her carryon bags in the overhead compartment.
There was a long line in the immigration as we arrived at almost the same time as Cathay Pacific CX711 from Hong Kong.
Bags arrived very orderly on the baggage carousel:
- PPS Solitaire Priority bags
- First Class Priority bags
- Raffles Class/Star Alliance Priority bags
This ends my three day trip. An excellent trip overall.