A tube ride later, we arrived at Paddington, made our way to the Star Alliance check-in counter and was greeted by a lovely lady of Globeground, unfortunately to be informed with not very lovely news. Since my ticket was rerouted from Manchester to London, they could not accept my ticket at Paddington – and I had to make my way to the SQ ticket counter at Heathrow, hmm.. not what the lady at the London office said, no biggy – rolled up my sleeves and dragged all my 40 kilograms of possession onto the Heathrow express, bound for Heathrow Terminal 3.
15 minutes later, we arrived at Heathrow Central (for T1,2 and 3), lugged myself up to the check-in area of SQ and headed to the business class check-in counter when a lady from Aviance in charge of shepherding the cattle class passengers through the queue came up to me and said “business class!!!”, flashed my *Gold card and was pointed to the first class counter, no harms done.
A friendly chap from aviance proceeded to check me in without any fuss, he didn’t even mention anything about the rerouted ticket, gave me a little pretty SQ sticker on my lowly economy class boarding pass and told me to use the fast track at security and wrote down the location of the Silverkris (how fancy!) lounge behind the LHR-SIN boarding pass. After tagging all of my 40 kilos of crap – he went on to ask the routine security questions, and a non routine one of “which suitcase contains the kitchen sink?”. Pff!
Cleared security and made my way to the Silverkris lounge near gate 6(?) – fancy stuff! Gobbled down a few mini sandwiches as my first meal of the day, all washed down with bottles of Tiger Beer (bless Singapore!). Stayed there for a while and decided to join the rest of us common people at the gate area (32?) – just in time for boarding.
13 June 2004
LHR – SIN
SQ 319 , Seat 38G
Photo © Chris Sheldon
The cabin of this Megatop looked as posh as it usually does, greeted by a few Singapore boys and girls on the way to my seat, 38G. Probably my first time flying long haul in a Megatop rather than the usual Jubilee to/from Manchester. Waited for the last few passengers too occupied with duty free booze and fags to board and we were on our way, just on time! Quite an empty flight, with 2 seats in the middle of our aisle block empty – presuming that all the brits decided to go on holiday a day later because of the England vs France game, jolly good – an empty seat next to me on a long flight. After the seat belt sign was switched off it was time to mark my territory, and the empty seat next to me was mine for the next 13 hours. Time to get sunk into my Inspector Banks novel, the Singapore Boys and Girls came into action with headsets, overnight kit and menus. I also noticed a Singaporean lady not wearing the usual uniform with the pattern of an exotic table cloth, but a western style cream suit. Wasn’t quick enough with my eyes to read the title on her name tag, but for the whole flight, she was not doing anything the regular s’pore boys and girls were doing, but just standing around talking to passengers. The drinks and peanuts came around as the inflight entertainment started. Followed shortly by dinner, the menu was as follow:
Pasta salad with marinated shrimp and lettuce
Chicken in madiera sauce with button mushrooms, roasted vegetables and potato
Stir fried beef with pineapple, spring onion, seasonal vegetables and steamed rice
Cheese and crackers
From the bakery
Roll and butter
As footnoted, the chicken was created exclusively created by Gordon Ramsey (and his hell’s kitchen?), so I opted for the beef instead tasted quite nice but by that time I’d eat anything. After dinner, the Singapore girls came around with tubs of vanilla icecream, the texture was so rock hard the plastic spoon given with the meal snapped as I tried to score a scoop, decided to give the whole thing a miss afterwards Shortly after trays were collected the captain came on the loudspeaker, said his hello and the usual routine thank yous, also announcing the current (then) result of the England vs France game with England 1 goal up on France.
After dinner, the cabin light was dimmed and came back on continuously a few times I decided to catch up on some sleep, lifted the arm rest of the seat to me and dozed off in my sleeper suite and slept surprisingly well for the next 5-6 hours, only to be woken up by a neighbour sitting by the window who decided to admire the moutainous areas of Afghanistan and letting the sun into the entire cabin. The Singapore girl in the area was quick enough to dash to her seat and asked for the window shade to be closed back down. The flight path shown on air show was pretty direct, over Europe and the Middle East and into India, Pakistan. Went back to sleep for a few more hours and woken up by a smiling Singapore girl offering hot towels and preparing the cabin for breakfast service. Shortly, trolleys were rolled out into the cabin again for a ‘before touch-down’ meal (breakfast or lunch? That I am not sure)
The menu for this meal is as follow:
Braised rice noodles with minced pork in oriental hot bean sauce
Cheese pancake with baked beans, mushrooms and sauteed potatoes
From the bakery
Butter – Fruit preserve
Went for the noodles and they were edible (just!), the Singapore boys and girls came around a few more times with coffee or tea and duty free service before touch down, we were just flying down the coast of Thailand into Malaysia and Singapore.
Caught an episode of Friends on the almighty Krisworld before headsets were collected. The cabin was prepared for landing and we landed on time on a sunny afternoon in Singapore. Welcome back to Asia, the brits on board were greeted by the news of England’s defeat by France. No wonder the flight crew didn’t announce any further scores on board
Singapore Changi was as nice as usual. Made my way to the SAT premiere lounge as the non business/first class fliers are not welcomed in the ever-so-posh Silverkris lounge in Singapore. The SAT premiere lounge at T2 is small, yet practical, and is used to welcome the business and first class passengers of the airlines SQ handles for at SIN. 2 online computer terminals, a bathroom (one at a time please!) and a shower room and some food. Gobbled down a few more Tiger beers and pot noodles and made my way to gate F11 (?) for my short hop up to BKK.
14 June 2004
SQ066, Seat 46H
Not sure about the registration of the aircraft, but externally, the plane looked like it was begging for a repaint. The flight was hardly full and boarding was done very quickly. I recognised some of the Singapore Girls on board as they were probably the usual teamdoing the SQ66/SQ67 SIN-BKK-SIN run, one in particular even remarked as I was climbing into my seat “Hello again sir! Nice to see you again!” – and no, she was not robotic. The service by this team of Singapore boys and girls were much more personal than the flight in from LHR, despite the short flight time, quite the contrary to my usual observations! We took off pretty much on time and the crew performed their usual procedures with the drinks and meal. I was still full from the pot noodles in the lounge so I declined and asked for a can of Tiger Beer instead. Unfortunately no menus were given out, however the choices were seafood noodles or chicken of some sort. Both looked pretty repulsive to me! The flight path is again pretty much straight forward, over Malaysia, Gulf of Thailand, over Pattaya and a hard landing in Bangkok. Welcome home! The airport looked pretty much the same as it did in January, yet the planes there were quite interesting. First time seeing a bunch of Air Asia planes parking on domestic stands, a Phuket Air 747-300 and a few more messy Orient Thai 747 classics.
Made my way from the plane to immigration, proceeded to the queue for Thai passport and went down to baggage claim, all 3 of my suitcases came out intact including the kitchen sink, and were among the first ones to be loaded out. Not too bad – took me all of 20 minutes to get from the aircraft door to the taxi stand. The damp and polluted Bangkok air greeted me as I exited the terminal, and after 5 minutes in the taxi, the sky started pissing down, extending my taxi journey time from the usual 30 minutes to 2 hours and 45 minutes
All in all, Singapore Airlines is as good as usual, can’t really go wrong with them. Summer in Bangkok should be interesting, including a trip down under with my mate from University – look out for the report.
Cheers for reading, now get a proper hobby!