Singapore – Jakarta / Cengkareng
Jubilee Boeing 777-300 (9V-SYD
Seat 48 C
Duration: 1hr 35 min
13 March 2004
It is no secret to the members of the forum that I am not a fan of Singapore Airlines. My last few flights with them were downright nasty in all 3 classes. Thus, I have actually given up on my national carrier in the last few years. But since they had some unbeatable fares to Jakarta (S$190 return), I could not resist testing them one last time and see what else could they do to piss me off?
The day has finally arrived for my trip back to Indonesia. I was actually there 5 weeks ago but decided to return because there was much more to explore in that gigantic country. Hence, I included Bali in this itinerary.
It is always exciting to embark on a holiday. Nothing can let you down – not even a rude check-in agent, as in the case for Faisal who looked totally uninterested in his job as he handled Row 13 in Changi Terminal 2.
In true Changi fashion, the boarding pass and baggage tags were issued in less than a minute. But because I was there so early, there was no boarding gate yet. No problem, I just spent the next 2 hours or so together with my traveling companion exploring the facilities of the terminal.
He took the opportunity to get close to the iconic Singapore Girl.
The mid afternoon traffic movements in Changi are very yawn-inducing. Other than the token Malaysia Airlines 737-400 shuttle at Gate F30 (as in this case, a factory fresh looking 9M-MMU bound for KUC and BKI
638) and a pathetic smattering of SQ
aircraft, nothing much of interest was out there except for a Royal Brunei A319 – simply because this was my first time seeing one.
After the MAS 737-400 departed, a company A330-300 joined the party as a shuttle to KUL
. Other planes sighted were also a Silk Air A319.
A trip up to the Sunflower Roof Garden provided the opportunity for some excellent photography. The weather was sunny and lighting was absolutely flawless… So here I am!!! Hee hee…
Look at the photo above! I have managed to capture all the aircraft types in SIA’s fleet with their nicknames!
The boarding gate for SQ
158 finally popped up onto the screens as E24. Thus, it was time to troop towards that concourse for my first flight ever on board a Jubilee 777-300.
As usual for Changi, “Final Call” does not mean that the aircraft is boarding. True enough, the holding lounge was still filled with many other mortals like me waiting to board the flight. Meanwhile, an Irish registered Philippine Airlines 737-400 pushed back for Manila while accompanied by a Cathay Pacific 747-400 plus a Garuda 737-400.
1505H: The boarding call came and passengers in First, Raffles, PPS Solitaire and what-have-you were invited to board first, making the rest of the cattle class peasants wait some more.
After the uppity class pax were cleared, we were finally given the opportunity to board by row numbers. Since all were very obedient, the boarding process was very orderly and no rushing was observed.
Boarding through Door 2L, I was greeted by the infamous lady in a fiery red sarong Kebaya, the Chief Stewardess (CSS) Christine Neo. A wide smile appeared as she said, “Good afternoon, Sir. Can I see you boarding pass please?”
Ok, that was a good start.
More smiles and greetings followed as I progressed down the aisle to my seat somewhere past the aft of the left wing, which is pretty much a walk if you are on board a 777-300!
Somewhere along the away, the Leading Stewardess (LSS) Audrey Chia In her green kebaya smiled and gestured to my seat, which was a 2 seater in the midst of the 3 x 3 x 3 configuration at the end of the C Zone of the plane. She was a stunner!
1520H: As the passengers became settled, a Leading Steward (LS) Chiew Teck came around with hot towels. Now if you thought the clownish green jacket for MAS was ugly, wait till you see the ones thy have for SIA’s stewards. I have actually forgotten how ugly they were until now. Urgh! Absolutely hideous in the pale blue jacket and grey pants. Hello! Fashion police, where are you?
1521H: I swear I only held the towel for less than a minute before Flight Stewardess (FSS) Sor Ching silently took them away from my armrest.
I noticed that the cabin was very new and the footrests were the ones that looked like an inverted “T”, very much different from the ones that I am used to on other carriers.
1530H: The welcome announcement was made by the captain who told us that we were still waiting for some last minute cargo to be loaded and a “small technical fault”. LSS Susan Leong followed by welcoming all on board “Singapore Airlines, a member of Star Alliance”.
1539H: With everything all settled, the doors were finally switched to automatic mode and pushback commenced, 14 minutes behind schedule. Well, whatever that “small technical fault” was, it is better to be safe than sorry.
1543H: And off we went and taxied towards runway 20L, which is pretty unusual for this time of the year due to the Northeast monsoon. I guess the winds must have had a change of heart that afternoon.
1546H: Since it was a quiet afternoon, we entered the active and powered off without hesitation and rotated after a 35 sec roll. We smoothly lifted into the bright and sunny afternoon skies of Singapore as I said goodbye to it for the next 9 days.
The aircraft tracked over Sekupang (above) in Batam before making a slight left turn to head towards Jakarta which would see us in the air for the next 1hr 15 mins.
1551H: As soon as the seatbelt signed “pinged” off, like little kids on a cue all the crew sprang into action. Special meals were dished out in a speedy fashion and from the looks of it, it was all muslim meals (MOML).
1600H: The bar cart was pushed out on both aisle with the beautiful LSS Audrey on the other side with an equally pretty FSS assisting her.
As the drink service continued, meals were served as well but being seated at the aft end of this economy section, our trays were brought out directly from the galley.
FSS Sharifah, a spunky individual appeared next to us with 2 trays in her hands and asked “Hi there! We have Fish with Potatoes or Beef Rendang. What would you both like to have?”
Here is a shot of her cheerful self.
Here are the shots of the food they had, desert was a mango pudding with a raspberry coulis.…
And believe me, it turned out better than the fare I had on KLM Business Class just 5 weeks ago on the same sector! Here is a shot of just how sad the catering is on KLM WBC which leaves just 30 mins after SQ
Meanwhile, LSS Audrey had made a u-turn ahead with the cart and back-stepped her way up my aisle but this time, with the help of FSS Sor Ching – who appeared to be smiling more and looked rather sweet with her beady eyes.
Cruising at 10668m, it started to get turbulent even though it looked rather clear outside. Hence, the seatbelt sign “pinged” on.
1637H: The flight started to descend from its turbulent cruising level. Meanwhile, trays were cleared in a leisurely fashion by loading them back into the carts. Those who had not finished their meals were allowed to continue eating.
1649H: LSS Susan came on air to inform us the flight was coming to an end. The standard procedure of asking us to put our seats in upright position, tray tables secured etc. were blabbered.
The cabin crew then readied the surroundings for the landing by clearing all remaining service items like cups and trays. FSS Sor Ching did a final walk through and asked a few passengers to keep their shades up. While most complied, there was one stubborn one who apparently asked “why”, and she replied “In case we crash, Sir!” Hahaha…. Snappy as she was, I thought that guy deserved it.
Even though, it was still daylight, the cabin was darkened for landing but the cloudy weather outside made it look like night!
1653H: Cabin Crew, landing stations please!
LSS Susan made a final announcement to ensure that all seatbelts are securely fastened.
1656H: The flaps extended further and the roar of the landing gears extending was heard.
Passing by the port of Tanjung Priok, we were soon gliding over the suburbs of Cengkareng in West Jakarta and finally touched down at 1658H on runway 25R.
Local time was now 1558H as Jakarta is an hour behind Singapore. A taxi that saw us meandering around the airport finally brought us to a stop at the traditional SQ
gate D1 in Terminal 2 at 1605H. Aircraft sighted included the Thai 777, and the usual Garuda A330s and 737s, plus a Qatari A300-600 and a Kuwaiti A340-300 were seen resting in between flights at long term parking bays.
As we disembarked, I took the opportunity to thank the SIA Girls for a wonderful flight and snapped some photos of the cabin. One of them actually said, “Hey, why you never tell us to pose?” in typical Singlish fashion…
Ah… Bandara Soekarno-Hatta (CGK
). I was here just 5 weeks ago and here am I again, tracking down the all too familiar route of the staid arrival concourse.
Immigration was painless as we seemed to be the only flight arriving. Processing was quick despite the crowd but I had an unfriendly immigration officer. He asked for my return ticket and seems to be upset that all I produced was a slip of paper as I was traveling on e-ticket. He said something stupid like “This one not ticket, this one paper…”
Expecting a bribe? No way, Jose! He finally let me through as I kept replying “Huh? Huh?”
However, there was a long wait for the baggage and we were only out of the airport and into the limo that took us 30 mins. Kinda long for me…
SIA really impressed me on this trip. This flight was an excellent example of how to handle a short sector. A full meal was served on this 90 minute flight, with a separate drink cart. Still, no tempers flared and all pax were pacified. Crew was all very friendly and wasn’t robotic at all! Surprise, surprise!
Check in: 5/10… Personnel could have been friendlier
Boarding: 9/10… Very orderly
In-flight service: 9/10… SIA has won me back with this flight
Catering: 9/10… Simply delicious. Food was very well cooked and full of flavour. KLM – shame on you!!!
Arrival: 7/10… Despite pushing back late, we were only 4 minutes behind schedule so it wasn’t too bad.
Total: This journey scored 78%
Ps: Look out for my other reports for this holiday as I had a total of 5 flights including this one. Namely: Bandung - Jakarta / Halim (Merpati), Jakarta – Denpasar - Jakarta (Lion), and Jakarta – Singapore (SQ).
Finally: I just lost my handphone. Garuda & Mandala, please sms me your numbers again!