This was to be my first flight on a A330. Just a short flight to SIN on a business trip.
Wednesday 19th May 2004
A330-300 regn 9M-MKH
First Class Seat 8A
I started my journey on the 13:00 shuttle bus from Subang and arrived at KLIA at 13:45, well ahead of scheduled departure of 15:40. But a check on the flight info display indicated that the flight had been retimed to 16:05. I was also advised the new time at check-in and was assigned Seat 8A. I brought just a hand-carry bag for this short trip. After checking with another MH staff, I was told that the aircraft had departed CGK behind schedule, thus delaying the following KUL-SIN sector. The aerotrain from the main terminal to the satellite terminal was packed, with passengers jostling and bumping their way in for a good spot. I spent the next two hours around the satellite terminal window shopping and chit-chatting with my colleague who was also joining this flight.
The plane finally arrived at gate C32 at about 15:15. Boarding began at about 15:40 and I made my way to the aircraft through Door A (for FC passengers). The passage through Door B quickly turned into a traffic jam as the EY passengers streamed through, ignoring the 'Boarding by Rows' announcement earlier. I made my into the plane at the front and was greeted by the cabin crew. The usual MH FC service starts as soon as the passengers boarded, with an offering of hot towel and a choice of fruit juices. I took the orange juice. A variety of the day’s newpapers were offered from the trolley.
There were less than 20 passengers in FC cabin that could hold 44 people. The A330-300 front cabin is actually a business class cabin (MH had recently removed the 12 FC seats and installed the same number of BC seats and re-pitched them) but for SIN flights (and only SIN flights) the front end is sold as FC. I noticed the EY cabin was particularly full on this flight.
The Captain came on the intercom and apologised for the delay and soon we were on our way. Our plane proceeded towards runway 32R and held position while a MASkargo 747 took off. At 16:15 with the PW4168 engines screaming, we were airborne and climbed through the hazy skies around KUL. The window at my seat had little scratches, so ideal photography of the view outside was not possible.
The flight to SIN was only 55 minutes, but nevertheless a light meal was served which consisted of the following:
Hot Savouries – fishcake, mini veggie pie and meatball in spicy sauce.
The meal was okay (catering is now done by LSG Sky Chefs). The flight attendant came around again but I didn’t go for seconds. The entire flight was smooth and uneventful. The seat was wide and comfortable, with an adequate seat pitch of 45 inches, even though it was only a short flight. No sooner had the flight attendants cleaned up after, the plane began its descent into SIN and soon landed on runway 20L at 17:00. Touchdown was a bit of a bump but we quickly made our way to Gate F34 at Terminal 2. As FC passengers were first to disembark I quickly made my way to Immigration before the bulk of EY passengers arrived. I quickly made my way to the taxi line for my trip to the hotel. Although a little tired, I managed to do some shopping at Orchard Road on this night. For the next one and a half days I would be stuck in a conference hall.
Friday 21st May 2004
A330-300 regn 9M-MKF
First Class Seat 4A
My original itinenary called for the 17:25 flight but I checked out of the hotel immediately after the conference ended at noon (skipped the lunch) and took a cab to Changi Terminal 2. I had known that the 17:25 flight was going to be full (the ticketing agent had told me when she issued the ticket), so I decided to go for the 13:45 flight. But at the airport the flight information display showed a 14:50 flight instead. I checked-in my bag as it had gotten heavier after the conference and a little shopping, and was advised that the plane had been delayed from KUL and a change of aircraft was made. Just like in KUL two days earlier, I ended up with more than two hours to spare at the airport. After some Internet surfing at one of the many free internet stations (great feature), a little window shopping and a Whopper meal at Burger King, I made my way to Gate F31. It was 14:10 but plane still had not arrived. It finally appeared at about 14:20 so I knew the departure would be delayed further.
Boarding started at 14:55 and the flight crew apologised for the delay and mentioned the change of aircraft. As usual, hot towel and a choice of fruit juices were offered. This time I took the guava juice. There were only about 12 passengers in FC on this afternoon flight. Minutes later our plane taxied to runway 20L but was held for about five minutes as a Lufthansa 747-400 landed, followed by a Garuda A330-300. At 15:15 we finally took off.
The flight to KUL was also 55 minutes, and meal (similar to the KUL-SIN flight) was served. The flight attendant added too much milk in my tea but I gulped it all anyway. This time the flight was bumpy the captain had to switch on the fasten seat belts sign. The plane flew northwest past KUL before turning back to land on runway 14R. At 1610 the plane touched down smoothly and slowly made its way to Gate C3 at the satellite terminal. After disembarkation, I went choc-shopping for 10-15 minutes before proceeding to passport control through Immigration Autogate. By this time, my bag had already arrived on the carousel and I made my way down to Level 1, in time for the 17:00 shuttle bus for the 45-minute journey back to Subang.
It was a short but nevertheless tiring trip. Both flights were delayed. Maybe I’ll get lucky the next time.