Trip Report on SQ220 and SQ2, SYD
, 28th June 2003
*Please Note that This Is A Long Report And Please Be Patience With The Links*.
I was actually heading back for HKG
on the 1st of July 2003 since that was actually the date when SQ2 will be restored. However after negotiations between the HKG
managers and the SIA headquarters the flight was restored on 20th June 2003 which means I can head back for HKG
after school ends on the 27th June 2003, and SQ220 was going to be restored on the 28th, perfect timing! Flight was supposed to be quite full as there are more than 30 over bookings in Y so I decided not to help my ex-colleagues get the cold food they want in case I don’t get on SQ220 and get on SQ232, so I’d have to wait for the flight the next day (Before SQ
had the SQ868 which provides another connection to HKG
but it has now been suspended.) Glad I didn’t get the cold food. Why?
Woke up at around 6 in the morning on the 28th and started to get packing. (Yes I am lazy!) My brother drove me to the airport in his Civic and reached the airport within 20 minutes. It was 7:40am when I got to the airport, 40 minutes before departure.
-SMU (1000th B747)
SQ220, Sydney – Singapore
Business (Raffles Class), 24K
Flight Duration, 7 hours 20 minutes
Scheduled Departure Time: 08:20
Actual Push Back Time: 08:29
Actual Take Off Time: 08:55
Scheduled Arrival Time: 14:20 Singapore Time
Actual Arrival Time: 14:17
Actual End Of Flight: 14:25
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Photo © Airsnaps
There was still quite a long queue at the check-in lines. I Proceeded to the Economy Class lines as I’m was on a sub load Y class basis. A staff walked through the long queue and checked everyone’s boarding pass. Apparently there was quite a number of staff on my flight as the ground staff kept on saying “So you’re a staff? Today’s flight is really full.” Bugger. Slowly the queue was shortening, and it was already 7:55 when I was ready to check-in. Another staff came by to check with the remaining passengers to see how many booked passengers have not yet checked in. Reaching the check – in counter, the staff took a careful look of my ticket she asked me if I was a staff. I told her yes, well sort of actually and she told me to go to the service desk instead. The station manager however, told me that the flight was already full, but I told him that I was eligible for upgrading. He checked the computers and asked me if I’d want to upgrade to either J or F, well I thought J would be wonderful enough so I told him I’d be glad to fly in J. So he told another female staff to help me check-in immediately in order to get the departure on time. Around 7:56 everything was done, she reminded me that my password was due to expire in 26 days, which I didn’t realise at all and lucky that the expiry date was in July, not in June! Immediately I headed to the customs…had no time to see if the other staff could get onto the flight…probably those who are eligible for upgrading could (SQ policies do not allow staff that are not permitted to fly in upper classes get upgraded even there are plenty of seats, very stupid IMO).
Custom was quite smooth, and while heading for gate 58 I gave a call to a friend (SOHK) and my g/f just to tell them I could make the flight. It was already 8:10 when I got to the gates and I was surprised to see that it was SMU that’d be doing the trip. Took a photo at the aerobridge before boarding from 1L. A flight steward greeted me and told me my seat would be on the right hand side of the plane, which I actually knew. As I stepped into the Raffles Class cabin I was really surprised to see that Spacebed was installed, definitely unexpected. However another unexpected thing was that someone occupied my seat, however I thought he was already settled so I decided to give up my window seat, The man seemed to feel a bit embarrassed nevertheless we started talking after I was settled down onto my seat. While talking to him the flight stewardess, Lynn came and offered me a choice of newspapers and my beverage that I asked for, a glass of A.J. Push back commenced at 8:29am and it was only 8:42am when we started to taxi, trailing behind a Qantas B763 and an Emirates B773. Disposable towels were also given out. While taxing to 16R I saw a Rex Saab at the starting point while a Qantas link B717 roared to the skies.
At 8:44am Captain Chow came onto the PA and told the cabin crew to get into take off stations. Saw an Asiana B772 in front of us, HL7700 ready for its journey back to Incheon. Meanwhile I kept on talking to Anthony my seatmate, and we chatted a lot about his life (Well he’s in his eighties) and about the flights he has had throughout his life. Anyways while talking I realised we were already roaring down 16R and took off after passing the control tower on our left. We headed slightly left after reaching 1000M and then a deep right turn heading North West on track to Singapore.
Seat belt signs went off after 5 minutes and I was keep to use Krisworld (With Wisemen AVOD installed) but it did not seem to work, only the Flight Map and Game Boy was working. When Lynn was taking the meal orders I asked her if there’s something wrong with the system and she told me that the whole system has to be reset and apoligised to me, which was really unexpected as this problem always occur! Anyways meal service started at 9:39 and the meal consisted of:
Sydney – Singapore
A Fresh Start
A choice of apple, tomato and freshly squeezed orange
A selection of fresh fruit
A Healthy Note
Fresh Bircher Muesli or cornflakes with
Low fat or full cream milk
The Main Event
Braised noodles with shredded roast duck
Mixed grill of lamb, veal and chicken sausage with meat jus, roasted tomato, mushrooms and potatoes
Poached eggs with chicken sausage, baked beans, grilled tomato, sautéed greens and potatoes
From The Bakery
Assorted Breakfast Rolls
Butter – Fruit Preserve
A Connoisseur’s Choice
Selection of Tea
Krisworld was also back into service and I watched “National Security” during my breakfast. Food was actually quite average…the main course I chose was the Mixed grill which was okay, quite oily IMO. Service however was excellent and the crews were trying their best to please with smiles on their faces and did as much as they could to satisfy. Went to the toilet after the meal and talked to the leading steward, Jeffery when I was heading back to my seat. Talked for a while about life and how work in SIA, and to my surprise is he’s been working in SIA for 32 years! Even longer than my old man, but definitely Jeffery looks much younger! But he told me he’s decided to retire 2 years later…which would be a lost for SIA. Nowadays good employees are not easy to capture comparing to the old days, and Jeffery was definitely a legend that served everyone well, including me. Headed back to my seat and tried to finishing off my movie when suddenly I realise that a visit to the cockpit would be a good idea. So the next time when Jeffery walked past I asked him if he could ask the captain if there’s any chance I could pay a visit. He came back 10 minutes later and told me that due to SQ
’s policy it’s not really possible to pay a visit, but he told me that the first officer would like to take a photo with me, and he’d come back to me when the FO comes down. It was around 13:07 when he came back and told me that he just came down.
However Jeffery seems to have lost sight with him, so he asked if I’d like to take pictures with other staff, and definitely a yes for me! Also went to the upper cabin and he told me that the flight has only 3 seats left, 1 in J and 2 in F, and the spare seat in J was also occupied by the pilots when they have their break, although I’m not sure if pilots could actually rest in J or even F. Took another photo with Joyce, another crew and went back downstairs when the FO was down there waiting! So more photos with the staff and other cabin crew. Talked to the FO for a while, he’s been working in SIA for 8 years and heading immediately to JFK
that night, though I forgot if he has another duty or not. Talking about the retrenchments of SIA staff, the crew didn’t seem to be too depressed about it, though they all agree it is sad, which is definitely understandable.
By now we’re flying over Katherine and close to the Java sea when the meal service began. The lunch consisted of the following:
A Savoury Note
Dill and sugar marinated salmon with keta roe
The Main Event
Olive Crusted lamb medallions with conscous salad
Thai green curry chicken, leafy greens, carrot, cauliflower and steamed rice
Barramundi in white wine-pesto with spinach, carrot and potatoes
A Sweet Note
A Connoisseur’s Choice
Selection of Tea
This meal was excellent, no matter the presentation of the taste. I’ve flown this route tonnes of times and this meal is definitely top-niche. The Curry tasted…like curry, and Anthony told me that his Barramundi was very good too. We continued to talk throughout the flight…with the accompany of the Red Wine that he asked the F.A to offer me (Thank God I’m Not Those That’d Get Easily Drunk), and we talked about different airlines that he flown and he kept on saying, “Air France has the best meal, best meal”, well makes me wonder if that’s true.
By now we were close to arriving into Singapore. Finished “Phone Booth” and went to the toilet. I set the bed into a flat position before we had to set our seats back into position…the cushioning is alright, but comparing to the Skysuite there’s still an obvious difference, whereas the Skysuite is still more like a bed….the Spacebed does not seem to give the same comfort as the Skysuite does, due to the different type of materials of the seat. But still superior to the airlines that don’t even offer beds.
Anyways our landing runway would be 20L so we had to head a bit north before we turn left and heading back 020 on course. There were layers of clouds while on approach but not much turbulence. Steadily we descended and it was exactly 14:16 local time when we touched down on 20L, a very smooth landing indeed, even Anthony told me that it was definitely a good landing!
During the arrival however I saw lots of SQ
planes parked at different locations, 15 planes were parked at the bays opposite Concourse D and more opposite Concourse F. Also quite a number of Silkair planes were parked. Saw a Philippines B744 parked outside the SATS inflight catering centre while turning right off the runway. Some planes that were parked at the remote bays were
At F42 a SQA310 9V
-STF was parked and at F38 another SQB744 9V
was parked. Our parking gate was F56, and it was 14:25 when we were parked at the gates.
Another 3 minutes later disembarking commenced, and passengers in J used the 2L door to disembark. Once again I thanked the crew; especially Jeffery for his excellent service provided and wished him well. Also wised Anthony a pleasant flight back to CGK
. Also while walking up the aerobridge thermo detectors were used to examine the temperature of every passenger, due to the SARS issue. Well I actually felt quite hot but I guess they only detect those with fevers?
Transit in Singapore
I headed for the transfer F counter to arrange my flight to Hong Kong, SQ2. Loadings were quite full on Thursday when I checked but today there are still 2* seats left in Y, so no fuss of getting a seat. The ground staff swiftly got my boarding pass and asked me if I encountered any problems with using my passport, as he noticed that it’s very close to the expiry date. However I won’t be using my passport to enter HKG
because I’m a citizen so I thought there should not be much problem. Anyways after checking-in I went to the area where you could use your own laptop and get hooked up on the internet. It was at 16:00 when I left and decided to surf the terminal. The airport did not seem to be deserted as I would have expected…quite crowded IMO. SQA, SYB and SRJ were parked at E10 – E12 respectively. When I walked to terminal one it seemed to be another scene, not many passengers except those who just got off a KLM Asia B744 from Amsterdam and people heading to the gate where the KLM Asia is for the flight to Jakarta. Kept on walking to the D concourse and took photos of the concourse and also the planes that are parked. It was only then I realised I only had 30 minutes left before my flight was ready to leave! So quickly I headed back, taking the Sky train and then just kept on running to gate F42, where my flight is due to leave in 10 minutes when I got there.
-SMU (1000th B747)
SQ220, Sydney – Singapore
Business (Raffles Class), 24K
Flight Duration, 3 hours 20 minutes
Scheduled Departure Time: 17:00
Actual Push Back Time: 17:01
Actual Take off Time: 17:20
Scheduled Arrival Time: 20:30
Actual Arrival Time: 20:32
Actual End of Flight: 20:37
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Photo © Bailey
Boarding had already commenced and I filled in the health declaration form issued by the HKG
authorities, again due to the SARS issue. An inflight steward greeted me at 2L, well actually he did not greet me, and he just took a look at the boarding pass and then pointed to the right hand side. Hmm…not too impressive I believe. Also this plane has Spacebed installed and also Wisemen in Y class, which was quite expected as those planes without these features would probably be the ones to be parked.
I headed for my seat, 39K and a man was seating in 39J. Don’t know his name, but we chilled a bit and he’s a British living in Singapore now and used to live in Hong Kong, and going back to Hong Kong for some fun this time. Later I realised that there were no windows on certain parts of the Economy Class cabin, I realise why.
Push back commenced soon and 9V
-SMU was now parked at F62, while SRN, one of the newest B772 was parked at F60. SRG was at F56, and 2 Silkair A320s, along with a SQA310 STB was parked at the remote bays. We trailed behind 9V
-SQK, I assume it’s heading for CGK
, and also AF
F-GSPE that’s heading for CGK
At the start of 20L I saw a CXA330 taxiing, probably for its flight to HKG
or Bangkok. Also KLM Asia was being pushed back from the gate.
We started to roll about 2 minutes later and we maintained a very steady course, so I could see a large part of Singapore, the C.B.D area and also Sentosa. God I wish I could go to Singapore again…really miss some of my mates there and SIN
is definitely an excellent place. We made a 10 degree left turn at 17:24 and then heading back North to HKG
. At 17:28 seat belt signs were off and prior the meal service was ready to commence we experienced server turbulence at 17:58, so after the flight attendants distributed the beverages and nuts they had to get back to the crew seats. The turbulence lasted only 2 minutes and although the seat belt sign was still on the crew started the meal service, which consisted of:
Dinner from Singapore to Hong Kong
Stir Fried Chicken with Spring Onion and Ginger, Seasonal Vegetables and Steamed Rice
Pan Fried Fish With Herbs And White Win Sauce, Sauteed Vegetables and Buttered Potatoes
From The Bakery
Roll And Butter
Coffee – Tea
Indeed cost cutting measures were adapted, better than a lot of airlines SQ
still served a cold appetiser, although not a seafood cocktail or prawn salad (Only a pasta salad), but still they are willing to serve you something as an appetiser! No more Kit-Kat or crackers but still there was the roll, which was also WARM. For the main course it was the chicken and I have to say that SQ
’s meal on SQ2 never disappoints me. Good quality and quantity as usual, what could you expect?? People always blame that airlines don’t offer metal cutlery and so the taste seems to have deteriorated and that airline meals could never be good in Y, I’d have to say that airline meals could definitely have a good taste, and better than meals prepared on the ground (For example, the boarders food I get at school). And for not offering Metal cutlerys it’s not the airline’s fault at all, so stop blaming airlines for it. I also asked for a can of 7-up when the F.A asked if I’d want any drinks. She came back later, with a can of lemonade. Oh well, at least she gave me a can rite?
Anyways enjoyed the Movie Guru during meal…. Magnum came later and you can never go wrong with ice-cream. Hot tea and coffee were severed after the dessert and soon they came and collected the trays. Experienced turbulence at 7:10 so the hot beverages service had to be suspended.
Nothing much interesting on this flight as I mainly wrote my report and checked the photos I took. Soon it was already time for arrival in HKG
and a destination video was showed. The captain came onto the P.A and gave us the details of our arrival, and told us that we don’t have to trail behind any planes due to the fact we were earlier as expected. On the right hand side of the plane it was obvious that 4 planes were also bound for arrival, behind us.
Our landing runway was 25R so we had to fly pass the Western Part of HKG
Island and then left over Tsuen Wan, over Tsing Yi Bridge and straight to 25R. It was at 8:32 when our plane touched down on 25R and the crew came onto the P.A and gave us the usual details, about the time and temperature. She also mentioned that every passenger had to get off that plane with their own luggage if they are bounding for SFO
There were not too many plans of interest, but I did see a CX
A340 wrapped up and parked at one of the remote bays. 3 Dragonair planes were parked also, but an EVA B744 new Livery was ready for its flight back to TPE
. Also another Emirates B777 A6-EMD was visible at gate 34.
We finally stopped at Gate 24 where thermo temperature checks were used again due to the SARS issue. And no-one seemed to have any worries on SARS – No one wearing masks, and there are queues at the immigration desks. Now I could feel how good it is that SARS is definitely gone for good!
Overall this journey was very pleasant. I’ve been longing for this journey since my trip got postponed in April – Thanks to SARS. Luckily on my flights I did not experience any unpleasant moments – crew was fantastic, service was great, meals were awesome though the meal in Y class had a slight change. Spacebed was pleasing, and also Wisemen is definitely a technology that leads to a new inflight entertainment experience. The only depressing this is that so many planes are parked, no matter in SIN
. I sincerely hope that both SQ
could bounce back to where their position was before SARS. I and Anthony both agreed that comparing to 10 years ago airline services have deteriorated, no matter SQ
. The service seemed to be more…close, like having more contacts with passengers. Yes, the inflight service is good…but not personal service. If only the crew would have more contacts with passengers, not just in F or J but also in Y, just like what happened 10 years ago or even a longer period. Still, SQ
’s service is pleasing indeed and not as robotic as people always mention (Again, different crews have different styles)
And the good thing is, I could finally feel the air in HKG
, without the threat of SARS, without the risk of dying, without the worries of suffering……