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My Travels On KL & SQ (Photos Soon)

Thu Sep 30, 2004 2:18 am

My name is Alexander. This is my first report onto Airliners.net and I joined only very recently, I am sixteen years old and live In Exeter and decided before I was to write this report on my travels in south-east Asia during the summer holidays. This was a reward following my GCSE exams which finished 3 weeks before.

We were looking at the prices for flights to Singapore since November, with the intention to fly out on July 12th and return on August 13th. To give us an idea of the price of the flights we mainly looked on Expedia.

We would have preferred a direct flight, at first until Christmas the cheapest was Emirates from London Gatwick via Dubai. Then there was an extra stop in Colombo which ended that hope. We then also looked at Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines but our national flag carrier was far too expensive.

But when I was supposed to be doing my IT coursework at school, I had another sneak peak at Expedia, to find a great fare on KLM Royal Dutch Airlines from Heathrow with a stop in Amsterdam.

In the end we booked on the KLM website with the price being slightly lower at an average of £500 per person. We took advantage of the internet Check-In service so we could select our seats in advance for both flights, but we still had to collect our boarding passes at Heathrow.

So on the day we set off for Asia it was a good traveling distance to the airport. We left at 9am from Exeter and took the train to Woking, where we used the Rail-air coach. Whilst being stuck in a traffic jam on the perimeter road we saw two Airbuses in a row, one from SWISS and one from Aer Lingus and also got very close to a South African Airways 747-400 parked for the day. The coach ride was very time consuming, as it went to all the other terminals and terminal 1 twice before it reached our final destination. We got to a rather quiet KLM check in desk at 14:30 for our first leg to Amsterdam at 15:50 whilst BA was bursting on the scenes.

But before we could check in there was angry couple in front of us, who tried to check in for the previous flight at 14:50 just twenty minutes before departure. Once we checked in we went straight through to the departure gate and got some snacks to eat before departure.

Flight No. 1

Date: 12/07/04
From: London Heathrow, England (LHR)
To: Amsterdam Schiphol, Holland (AMS)
Flight No: KL 1020
Scheduled Departure: 15:50
Actual Departure: 16:10
Scheduled Arrival: 18:00
Actual Arrival: 18:31
Aircraft Type: Boeing 737-400
Aircraft Name: Ernest Hemingway
Aircraft Registration: PH-BPC
Seat No: 16E
Codeshared With: Kenyan Airways

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Photo © Kar-lok Wong
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Photo © Pawel Kierzkowski [epwa_spotters]

This was a very full flight, with the load factor of around 90 - 95% whilst boarding next to us was a British Airways to Copenhagen which had about thirty passengers boarding. Also near to us were a Sri Lankan Airlines A340-300 and also a British Airways flight to Boston.

Before boarding our aircraft at gate 18, which was in "the world's a click away" livery we sat down as watch the planes landing on runway 27L which included Two Air France Airbuses, Air Jamaica A340-300, Virgin Atlantic A340-600 from Tokyo and a Singapore Airlines 747-400 which was probably the worst landing I have ever seen, even on television. That was the last landing on this runway I saw as we were called for boarding at gate 18.

There was a significant queue to board the aircraft and we pushed back around five minutes late to the runway at the other side of the airfield. We had to queue for 4 aircraft to depart, all British Airways planes before we could depart.

The aircraft was relatively comfortable, but the condition of the in-flight magazine, the Holland Herald and the safety card was awful. It was still a reasonable read.

We departed to the west of London and immediately banked to the right to be on course. As soon we got to around 10,000 feet the crew began serving a snack and it was the dreaded sandwich with the filling of Gouda cheese and tomato pesto which was dry but edible. This was served with a Kit-Kat and orange juice.

There was also the choice of tea, coffee and water. I asked for tea which was refreshing but to my annoyance was served with powdered milk.

After our food was cleared the cabin crew began preparing for landing at Amsterdam airport. We landed around fifteen minutes late, in front of an Easyjet A319 and a company Fokker 70. I’m not about the runway number but we crossed a canal and a main expressway.

By the time we got to our gate, D22 which was a further fifteen minutes we only had two hour transfer time before our connecting flight departed. So I got something to eat. At first I wanted to try a Sbarro pizza but because of the queue ended up having McDonald's.

My first impression of the airport was quite good, and compared to Heathrow it was fabulous. Everything was clean and orderly.

We then began to walk along the escalator to gate F5. Our aircraft was named city of Seoul and also in the older livery. Once again the aircraft was in the old livery and this time there was a single seat.

Around our aircraft was JAL Japan Airlines 747-400 to Tokyo, KLM 747-400 City of Johannesburg, KLM 767-300 services to Cairo and Beirut, Kenyan Airways 767-300 to Nairobi and a Helvetic F100 to Zurich.

Flight No. 2

Date: 12/07/04- 13/07/04
From: Amsterdam Schiphol, Holland (AMS)
To: Singapore Changi (SIN)
Continuing To: Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta, Indonesia (CGK)
Flight No: KL 837
Scheduled Departure: 20:45
Actual Departure: 20:52
Scheduled Arrival: 14:50
Actual Arrival: 15:08
Aircraft Type: Boeing 747-400 Combi
Aircraft Name: City Of Seoul
Aircraft Registration: PH-BFS
Seat No: 33J
Codeshared With: Air France

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Photo © Juan Carlos Guerra Aviation Photography of Mexico
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Photo © Erwin

Once again the flight was completely full and there was not a single seat onboard the aircraft. I was seated in front of an exit row on the right hand side of the aircraft. The seat was quite comfortable and I was able to stretch despite the pitch.

The Helvetic F100 to Zurich just beat us to taxi, but we still made it out of the blocks early. We taxied to the same runway that we landed on and headed north from Amsterdam.

Once we got to our cruising altitude of 31,000 feet over western Germany, the cabin crew began serving dinner. It compromised of chicken, rice, prawns, gravy, fortune cookie and raspberry cheesecake.

After eating through the main course which was excellent I asked the cabin crew if the cheesecake had nuts in, because of my allergy. He was happily able to inform me that KLM don't serve nuts in their desserts. The cheesecake was so good I also had my brother's who was sitting by the window.

I tried to get some sleep but at that time I did not realize the movable headrests, so I slept very badly using the moving armrest as a pillow. The inflight movie was Starsky & Hutch and I hated it. Then there was a guide on Paris (why, we are going to Singapore) and Laws of Attraction with Pierce Brosnan.

During this movie the cabin crew served us a cup noodle and another drink which was very good also. This was now about three hours before landing. Before landing the captain told us about the weather and he said simply that he brought the weather with us.

We touched down with a delay of thirty minutes because we had to go right round the island to land on 2L. Waiting for take off was a Vietnam Airlines A320 and we taxied right next to the A345 leadership heading for Los Angeles in about 40 minutes time.

Changi Airport is one of my favorites and in my personal opinion I wish they could bulldoze Heathrow and rebuild it completely. (But I know it is not going to happen)

We got some alcohol from the duty-free and went to collect the luggage were all my mum's family were waiting. Of course in Changi you don't have to wait for your luggage and it is all very efficient.

We spent two weeks in Singapore were we went to one of the numerous travel agents in the People's park centre. We were mainly looking at China but I also wanted to add Hong Kong. There was one company who said you can't do tours to Hong Kong because you have to use more than one airline.

Then there was a great package to Beijing but it was flying with CA out and CZ on the return. I wanted to dispute this and I was happily told that SQ was only an extra S$50 per person. So we booked five days before our departure but unfortunately it was the night flight so we knew we would be up for two whole days as the tour would begin straight on arrival in Beijing.

Flight No. 3

Date: 26/07/04
From: Singapore Changi (SIN)
To: Beijing Capital, China (PEK)
Flight No: SQ 812
Scheduled Departure: 01:20
Actual Departure: 01:43
Scheduled Arrival: 07:15
Actual Arrival: 08:05
Aircraft Type: Boeing 777-200ER
Aircraft Registration: DOES ANYBODY KNOW? PLEASE!!
Seat: 50H

We arrived at the airport at around 11:30 PM via the MRT. It was all very quiet in the terminal, even though all the European flights were departing at this time. We checked in with our e-tickets and at the same time I joined Krisflyer to try at collect the miles. I was informed because there was an S$50 discount in the price so I could not. But she reassured me by saying I could collect miles on many other airlines even in the UK.

The flight was quiet and the load factor was 50-55% and we were departing from gate E3. Before takeoff we were given hot towels and the menus although other snacks would be available during the flight. We were told there would be a delay because of an aircraft change because of a problem and time to clean the aircraft from its inbound flight from TPE.

My mum tried to get me to sleep but I was interested in the personal IFE, but it was an aircraft without AVOD. I was hoping that the Girl Next Door was on, as stated on the website. But it wasn't and in the end the selection of movies on this flight was disappointing for my age group.

I tried to watch some sport highlights and play the Nintendo games but I was too tired. I went to sleep for one hour and when I woke up the cabin crew offered me a turkey sandwich, which was great. During the flight the crew kept coming down the aisles serving water and orange. The breakfast service had to be delayed because of some serious turbulence over Vietnam and Guangzhou.

It was breakfast time and the choice was the lotus leaf rice or the egg, sausage and macedoine of vegetables. I had the second and I went straight into the macedoine which was great. The egg was a bit soggy but edible. My dad said the rice was good but it had a bit of a bite to it.

Once the trays were cleared the crew began preparing for landing and we went passed Beijing which was too the left. We continued towards Shenyang and made a turn to the left to be on approach for the runway. We arrived 30 minutes late again and taxied next to a MAS A330 and a Finnair MD-11. There was also a PIA A310 and numerous aircraft belonging to CA & CZ.

We walked towards the immigration which was very busy as a AF 747-400 landed behind us. They bloody took all of the health cards before the checkpoint to see if we did not have symptoms of SARS. When we got to immigration we were delayed because a Russian passenger forgot to fill the health card and he walked back saying profanity. We collected our bags and met our personal tour guide.

This was my first experience on SQ since I was a baby and I was rather impressed with the 777. It felt more comfortable, spacious and the lockers were large enough to hold a suitcase.

Whilst in China we visited the great wall, Ming tombs, Chengde & Tianjin. It was a great trip and my dad wants to go see the terracotta army in the future.

Flight No. 4:

Date: 02/08/04
From: Beijing Capital, China (PEK)
To: Singapore Changi (SIN)
Scheduled Departure: 16:00
Actual Departure: 16:15
Scheduled Arrival: 22:05
Actual Arrival: 22:01
Aircraft Type: Boeing 777-200ER
Aircraft Registration: DOES ANYBODY KNOW? PLEASE!!
Seat No: 49B

We left our hotel in Beijing at 12pm to expect some serious traffic problems. But we arrived just thirty minutes later. We had to wait to check in for another hour. Our tour guide said bye as they were picking up people of a flight from IAD. There were no shops on this side of the airport so we could look at the departure boards, and we had a chuckle as the BA flight to LHR was seriously delayed.

We checked in first and our seats, which were already selected from the outbound flight, were given to us on our boarding passes. We went straight through to the immigration and went into the duty free shop and then got some noodles to eat.

For China, this was really expensive and a can of coke was 30Y. From the restaurant we could see an OS A330 to Vienna, SAS A340 to Copenhagen. CA 747-400 services to YVR, LHR, SVO and FRA. CZ 757 to HKG and numerous services by KE, OZ and JL, Air Canada 767 to YVR and UA 777 to ORD.

The flight would depart from gate 12 but the inbound aircraft had not yet arrived, but it was still twenty minutes early. The flight came in but we were told the flight would be slightly delayed because of its late arrival. what a load of (YOU MAKE YOUR OWN MIND UP.)

The crew welcomed us and we walked past first and raffles class, with a jealous look. Our seats were much better than the outbound service and the selection of movies was much better thanks to the change of month in between the flights.

Once again we were given the menus after the safety video and took off fifteen minutes late behind the SAS A340 to CPH. On this flight there was a choice of wasabi chicken and rice (exclusively created by Yeung Koon Yat) or fresh shrimps with noodles.

Before the proper meal we were offered a snack, but it was peanuts. After a communication difficulty with the male steward one of the women happily offered me another snack, some chocolate chip cookies. (Asian hospitality at its best).

The wasabi chicken was fabulous and there was not a single bone in it. There was a better selection of movies and it was AVOD. I decided to watch Shrek 2 which was very funny and also Phone Booth.

After takeoff I moved to the middle of the centre three seats as there was a bit more privacy and quiet. That was the good thing about a half-full plane. Before landing on 2L again there was information on connecting flights, with passengers going to SYD, LHR, DXB, IST and ATH onboard the flight. We got to our gate exactly on time. On arrival the KLM and AF plane stood side my side at two gates from either terminal.

We had another two weeks before we returned to England where we spent more time with our family. What a shame we still had to fly KLM and experienced bad entertainment.

Flight No: 5

Date: 13/08/04 - 14/08/04
From: Singapore Changi (SIN)
To: Amsterdam Schiphol, Holland (AMS)
Flight No: KL 838
Scheduled Departure: 22:55
Actual Departure: 22:57
Scheduled Arrival: 05:50 + 1 Day
Actual Arrival: 05:02 + 1 Day
Aircraft Type: Boeing 747-400 Combi
Aircraft Name: City Of Vancouver
Aircraft Registration: PH-BFV
Seat No: 36C
Codeshared With: Air France

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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Youri Thonon
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Photo © Marcel Venema - Dutch Ops

We arrived at the airport at around 7:30 and checked in for the flight to Amsterdam. At the same time we checked in for the final leg back to Heathrow, but there was not a gate on the boarding pass, this had to be found out at AMS.

Once again the flight was completely full, but I was not looking forward to going home, I was two weeks away from getting my GCSE results. There were some bad reviews on inbound KLM flights, especially the catering on skytrax.

So before the flight all of my mum's family and friends had dinner together at Swensen's, which after having their ice cream three times, I thought it was better than Haagen Dazs.

There were a couple of problems with some European flights, both TK & AY would not leave until midnight, and they still had to make their stops at BKK. By the windows we could see an Australian Airlines B767-300 to SYD via DPS, LX A343 to ZRH via BKK. Lots of SQ, QF & MI

Many of the passengers were connecting with other KLM flights, many to Heathrow and one to TLS some of the examples. And that is what we got, an awful dinner service straight after take off. It was a salad which was dry and tasteless, pasta with broad beans which was reasonable and a dessert which was rubbish.

Before take off I struggled to get a rice cooker into the overhead lockers. When I asked a steward to put it in for me she was rude and criticized me for asking her to help.

We sat behind an exit row this time and the people in front of us were huge seven foot gents. So tall that I couldn't see the TV but it was Shrek 2. I was feeling very thirsty throughout the flight. I asked for a Pepsi and the steward happily offered a whole can.

Frustration crept further as Laws of Attraction was shown again as on the inbound flight. The woman behind me was continually kicking my seat and trying to push my seat back.

Before arrival we were served a western breakfast which was once again pretty poor. We touched down 50 minutes early in front of two company MD-11s from Lima via Bonaire and Vancouver. At that time of the morning there was not a lot to do, and all of the shops were still closed, apart from a duty free, where we got some cheap milka chocolates.

We already had our boarding passes for the flight back to London, but they were unsure about the gate so we had to look at the screens. We could see that the Surinam airways flight was cancelled and a Dutch Bird service to Arrecife was seriously delayed. As the sun rose, we saw a Cathay Pacific A340 park at its stand. We also saw that the aircraft we had been traveling on was being prepared to go to JNB later that morning.

Flight No: 6

From: Amsterdam Schiphol, Holland (AMS)
To: London Heathrow, England (LHR)
Flight No: KL 1001
Scheduled Departure: 07:15
Actual Departure: 07:21
Scheduled Arrival: 07:40
Actual Arrival: 07:38
Aircraft Type: Boeing 737-900
Aircraft Name: Nightingale
Aircraft Registration: PH-BXR
Seat No: 24D
Codeshared With: NWA Northwest Airlines, Kenyan Airways

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Photo © Frans Zwart - Dutch Ops
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Photo © Charles Falk

Before we taxied out of gate E6, next to company 737s to BCN and Budapest five passengers were kicked out, fortunately they did not have any checked in baggage, causing no delay. Whilst we were taxiing, we saw the SQ B772 that was giving us a race all the way to AMS, and a rival B744 from MH.I did not really believe that there was a difference between the 734 and the 739.

This was a busy flight again, many transferring from KQ. Once again we were served the same sandwiches, this time with a wholemeal Bap. I removed the Gouda cheese and ate the sandwich with the pesto. This was served with a cup of tea.

We landed early on 27R and went into Gate 17. There was nothing important at the airport, too jetlagged to think about anything. Of course it was raining when we arrived.

I thought that the product provided by KL was of a reasonable standard, but there are a few changes that do need to be made to make it a really good airline. Of course SQ is the best in the world and that is what they felt like.

1) Stop serving the same sandwiches, have some variety.
2) Serve fresh not powdered milk.
3) Change catering on flights into Amsterdam.

If the price was correct I would definitely fly again, but because I am a Krisflyer member I want to get some miles from their Star Alliance members. The next time I go to Singapore I intend it to be on the SQ A388.

On the day that I departed I took a few photographs from a beach near Changi Village, here they are (sorry from the quality.)

This flight was SQ 65 from BKK.

This flight was SQ 325 from FRA.

This flight was GA 828 from CGK.

Other aircraft that flew over me were:

* LH 744 from FRA
* Lion Air MD-80 from SGN
* BG DC-10 from DAC via KUL
* MH A333 from KUL
* MH B734 from LGK

Any feedback from this report would be great, thanks!

Alexander Blakey

[Edited 2004-09-29 19:41:12]
Posts: 57
Joined: Wed May 19, 2004 10:52 pm

RE: My Travels On KL & SQ (Photos Soon)

Thu Sep 30, 2004 2:50 am

A very enjoyable report. Welcome!

Posts: 3704
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2003 5:19 am

RE: My Travels On KL & SQ (Photos Soon)

Thu Sep 30, 2004 4:31 am


i cant seem to see the pics, could you give me a like where i can view them?

great report.
No Vueling No Party
Topic Author
Posts: 678
Joined: Tue Sep 28, 2004 10:41 pm

RE: My Travels On KL & SQ (Photos Soon)

Thu Sep 30, 2004 5:15 am

Alitalia MD11,

I will try and put them onto the report tomorrow. I put my photos on my BT yahoo broadband photo album but they dont link up. Ive gotta find some photo hosting first so it can link up.

With Regards,
Posts: 8201
Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2001 1:27 pm

RE: My Travels On KL & SQ (Photos Soon)

Thu Sep 30, 2004 6:25 am

Nice report.

I hope you enjoyed China,it is a great place to visit and so cheap,a real value for money travel destination.

Like your dad I plan to go back,hopefully in february.


Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2004 3:05 am

RE: My Travels On KL & SQ (Photos Soon)

Thu Sep 30, 2004 8:34 am

Nice report and I must admit that whenever I fly to Jakarta I take SQ nowadays, it used to be KLM but there inflicts entertainment is totally^%^%%$$% and the seats in the SQ B777 are much more comfortable compared to the B747-4 from KLM.

And so many other reasons (Singapore girl)
Posts: 3201
Joined: Sun May 13, 2001 4:35 pm

RE: My Travels On KL & SQ (Photos Soon)

Thu Sep 30, 2004 3:34 pm


Try http://www.photobucket.com and link your photos from there.

Nice report and a great way to start off on A.Net! Big thumbs up
Its better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than be in the air wishing you were on the ground. Fly safe!
Posts: 1703
Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2001 5:19 pm

RE: My Travels On KL & SQ (Photos Soon)

Thu Sep 30, 2004 10:34 pm

Great report !! Enjoy reading SQ's trip report always. Beijing is a great place for a hoilday , I was there last yea and I visited the great wall of China which is splendid .
Airliners is the wings of my life.
Posts: 846
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2004 3:49 am

RE: My Travels On KL & SQ (Photos Soon)

Fri Oct 01, 2004 12:08 am

Congratulations on your first trip report! A very detailed account, thanks for posting.

Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned forever skyward
Posts: 520
Joined: Sun Aug 15, 2004 9:40 pm

RE: My Travels On KL & SQ (Photos Soon)

Fri Oct 01, 2004 12:58 am

Nice trip report, welcome to a.net! The runway you landed on and departed from in AMS is most likely 18R/36L
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