Please enjoy this trip report. I apologize for the quality of some of the photos. I really need to work on my photography skills along with taking photos without the flash. But I bring you pictures anyways because I know some of you like them. Let me know if you think the ones I have included are a good addition and let me know about what types of photos you would like more of in future trip reports.
Singapore Airlines Flight 22
Wednesday October 13th 2005
Departs: 11:25am (act: 11:25am)
Arrive: 5:55pm (act: 6:20pm)
A340-500 Seat 12A
Load Factor: Raffles 100% Economy?
Photo © Alex G.-Denicourt - Contrails Aviation Photography
Photo © Andrew Hunt - AirTeamImages
After finishing up a good trip to Singapore/Malaysia, I woke up at 5:15am to say good bye to the people flying out on a 7:20am flight to SEA via NRT on UA. I then relaxed a bit and packed up before leaving my hotel at 9:00am for my 11:20am flight to Newark. This time I had a chauffer driven Mercedes to pick me up at the hotel. I checked out and left without eating breakfast as I was going to try some snacks in the Raffles Class lounge. There was quite a bit of traffic on this Wednesday morning, but I made it to the airport by 9:40am. My driver dropped me off right in front of the first class entrance as I don’t think he understood the difference between first and business class. When I had told him that I was flying to New York and then connecting on to Chicago where I live, he started asking me all sorts of questions about living in New York. I have only been there twice, but tried to answer the best I could. I don’t think he could grasp that fact that you connect through certain cities to get to your destination. But I pretty much summed New York up by saying that Manhattan was extremely crowded and had a lot of taxi cabs and he seemed happy with that.
A porter for first class passengers quickly came up to my Mercedes and offered to help, but when I said I was in Raffles, he just pointed me to a door into the ticketing lobby. I guess Raffles Class passengers aren’t good enough to be told where to go. Anyways I checked the monitors to see where my flight would be checking in, and walked over into aisle five.
Departure Board in Singapore
There were a few people there, but there was no one at a Raffles Class line in aisle four, so I went over there to check in. I handed over my itinerary and passport along with my suitcase and was kindly given a boarding pass and a little note reminding me to get to the plane on time. After that I headed over to immigration. I passed through with no problems as there was no line and then I entered the beautiful terminal in Changi. I decided to go for a walk and buy a couple of post cards before going up to the Raffles Lounge. I saw lots of Singapore widebodies, but there wasn’t anything else in the terminal. Then while walking to the Raffles Class lounge, I noticed a big display. Upon further inspection it was a display about the new A380 and the raffle/contest that SQ was having about giving away the seats on the A380’s first scheduled commercial flight. I took a picture as it seemed interesting.
A380 Display in Singapore
I then went up to the Raffles Class lounge. I showed them my boarding pass and was invited into the business class side of the lounge. It looked nice and there were plenty of seats and it seemed really quiet. I went over to the bar and grabbed some food. There was an attendant helping someone else out so I grabbed a croissant, muffin and some cheese and crackers. There wasn’t anything extravagant there for breakfast, but there was plenty of food if you were hungry, just not enough for a full meal. I didn’t care though as I knew that I would be getting a nice full lunch shortly on board the longest flight in the world. I then took a seat for a bit near a person talking loudly on a cell phone. After being forced to eavesdrop on his call since he was talking so loud he seemed to work on the same things that I do (design test equipment to test electrical generators on all sorts of different airplanes from A, B, E, B, N-G and others). That was odd. Anyways after eating some food I decided to check email and send an email off to another Anetter telling him how excited I was to get on the longest flight (he incidentally would be flying the first ever ORD-SJU flight on Ted that same day, so look out for a trip report from Zone1 on that). After time flew by while I was on the computer (which showed pop up messages every five minutes telling you to not miss your flight as I think SQ seems to have a problem with this) I noticed that the monitor said that SQ 22 to EWR was boarding. I grabbed my briefcase and made the long walk to the gate. While I was walking I was thinking about how I wouldn’t be on real ground again for over 18 hours and would be trusting thousands of engineers, some of which I sit next to at work, with my life. It is truly amazing that something as advanced as the A340-500 was created that can cross the 9,000 miles to Newark in just over 18 hours with reliability and safety, which is an amazing feet never thought to be possible 200 years ago.
I got to the gate and saw no line at the security check. Security is done at the gate in Singapore, so it can be tailored to whatever country the flight is going to. In SIN you only go through one set of security on a flight to the United States. In most European or Asian airports you pass through security two, three, four or more times. I noticed however that it seemed to be no stricter than the flight that I took to Penang. I didn’t have to take my shoes or belt off which was convenient for me but is a definite no no in the United States. Anyway I went to the counter and they took my boarding pass and gave me the stud and said that boarding would start in ten minutes. I looked around the lounge, and there were probably only 100 people there. More came steadily in, but the capacity on the A345 is so low, that it feels like you are waiting for a 737 not one of the biggest jets out there. I sat down and watched some CNN and waited around for boarding to begin. I watched four pilots come through and get on the plane. The 14 flight attendants must have already boarded.
The Beautiful A340-500 Waiting for us
Boarding commenced a few minutes later at about 11:00 for the 11:20 flight. I waited near the front so I could be one of the early ones to get on. My seat assignment was 12G (I think), which was a window seat. Boarding began with the 60 Raffles Class passengers. Two jetbridges were being used on the flight. However there was no one there to tell you which one to use, so I went with the crowd and chose the one on the left which was the front one. I made it to my seat in the third row of the plane (I have no idea why on earth SQ starts counting rows with 10 and skip 1-9 as I prefer airlines that have their row numbers be sequential from 1-whatever). After settling down this man in a German accent asks me if I could move over to 12A so that he could work with his associate during the flight. I move without a problem over to 12A and sit down next to a nice Singaporean lady of about 50 years. I settled down and perused the seat pocket. There were a number of things to entertain me. Boarding was finished by 11:10. It doesn’t take long to board 187 passengers onto a widebody using two jetbridges. The flight attendants came through taking after take off beverage orders. The flight attendant looked at me and struggled to pronounce a word that made no sense to me. I then realized that since I had switched seats the manifest said I was someone else. I pointed out I switched with the man in 12G and she noted it. I was called by my correct last name for the rest of the flight.
The door was closed and then we began our pushback. The safety demonstration was played over the PTVs again. SQ’s is the only one I have seen that shows you how to brace for an emergency landing. I have only seen that on the safety cards and not on a video before. We taxied by all of the other SQ planes on our way to the runway.
An MD-11 in Singapore with Obvious Marks From its Previous Owner
There weren’t many other planes taking off at this time so we had no delay. The captain told the flight attendants to be seated right as we pulled onto the runway.
The engines spooled up but no lunge forward on this heavily loaded plane. At first I though we were going to just taxi, but we continued to pick up speed as those Rolls Royce turbines roared away. We slowly picked up speed. I noticed this was even slower than the EWR-SIN flight. It was a swelteringly hot day around noon with high humidity which decreases performance.
Take Off Role
We slowly picked up speed. 10 seconds, 20 seconds, then 25 then 30 then 35, I knew that most planes would be airborne by now, but we couldn’t be moving faster than 80 knots, 40 seconds, 45 seconds, dreams of hitting a retaining fence or barreling into a building were popping into my mind, 50 seconds, where is the lift off, a lot of runway seems to have passed below us, 55 seconds, the stupid nose is still on the ground, when will it ever rise, 60 seconds, OMFG what is taking so long, 61 seconds there it goes the nose is coming up, 62 seconds and we are off triumphantly into the air and into the safety of the beast’s natural habitat.
We climbed slowly into the air and made a sweeping left hand turn. We passed right back over the airport on an easterly track on our way to Newark. The estimated flight time was 17 hours and 40 minutes (but it would turn out to be longer due to delays in Newark).
A View of the PTV Just as we Began Our Journey
The climb out was nice and slow. We slowly lumbered our way into the air. There were a few clouds, but overall it was a nice day in Singapore. The seatbelt sign eventually went off as we climbed just above ten thousand feet. I fought with the spacebed for a bit so that I could get into a comfortable position. The spacebed can be a very difficult seat (along with most electrically controlled seats) since you have to sit in a position that it wants you to sit in. For example if you are at a slight recline, the legrest will not come up. Or if you recline differently the legrest will only go out a certain amount. It is incredibly annoying. This is the one reason why traditional seats are better since they are manually adjustable and you can sit in a position that you want to sit in and not a computer programmer decided was appropriate. I started up an episode of Who’s Line is it Anyway, which of course was hilarious. I tried to muffle my laughs, but didn’t do that good of a job and I am sure that the rest of the Raffles Class cabin didn’t enjoy my laughing. The A340-500 is one of the quieter planes in the air, so others could definitely hear it over the engine rumble and wind noise.
Cabin View of A340 After Takeoff
My ginger ale that I had ordered before take off came. The flight attendants also took lunch orders. I decided to have some carbs so that I could fall asleep and get tired, so I ordered fettuccini. I was wondering what type of fettuccini Singapore Airlines would serve though since it isn’t very Asian. Anyways the flight attendants came through the aisle with a cart and the full lunch service began. First was duck fois gras. It looked absolutely horrible and tasted that way too. It tasted like homogenized cat food. I did not eat much of it and quickly asked for some garlic bread to get rid of the taste. I had never eaten duck fois gras before, so I don’t know if that is how it is supposed to taste, but overall I don’t think my cat would have eaten it. Anyways I ate the salad that went along with the fois gras. It was with an asian ginger dressing that was very good. The flight attendant took the square plate covered with mashed duck and soon came the main course. I’m sorry I didn’t take a picture of it, but it was a rather spectacular orange yellow and green fettuccini covered with mushrooms. Overall it didn’t taste like much. It wasn’t bad, but not particularly good. The only taste was the from the significant number of mushrooms. But it was a satisfying portion that I enjoyed.
After lunch I settled back in my chair after doing some more wrestling with the Spacebed. I found a comfortable position and watched the rest of the Love Bug which I had started on the EWR-SIN leg. Next I watched A Few Good Men on Krisworld. I really enjoyed the AVOD videos. This is the first long flight that I have experienced AVOD and must say that once you have it, you would never want to go back. It made the flight so much more enjoyable than United (although first class has the cassettes so you can choose your own movie to a degree). I just sat back and enjoyed the entertainment and continued to sip ginger ale and water so that I could maintain my hydration. We were flying over the South China Sea at this point. Today’s flight did not take a polar routing like the EWR-SIN leg. We took off then turned westward and then headed directly for Tokyo. Then we turned out toward the Pacific and crossed land at the south end of Vancouver Island and hugged the US/Canadian border all the way up until we crossed it near Buffalo and traveled over New York State and then into EWR.
By this point I was starting to get drowsy. Although it was only 3pm in Singapore, I had intentionally not had enough sleep the night before so that I could sleep early on this flight and begin the time zone adjustment to Central Daylight Time (an 11 hour change from Singapore). I watched an episode of the Simpsons and then at around 4pm Singapore time reclined the seat to an almost flat position. I had slept at the fully flat angled position on the EWR-SIN leg but decided to try the seat out with a little bit of a kink to see if it would make it a little more comfortable. I made sure to stop a flight attendant and get some ear plugs so that I could sleep while the rest of the cabin was awake. I think I was the first one to go to sleep on the flight. After some the ear plugs were in and I made myself situated I closed my eyes and was out.
I awoke to someone poking me in the shoulder and saw a flight attendant thrusting a hot towel in my face. In my half conscious state I just stared at her. She thrusted the hot towel in my face again before I was able to get out the words “no dinner for me now, I’ll eat later”. She finally left me alone. I looked at my watch and noticed that it was 9pm Singapore time. This was awfully late to be eating dinner I thought. It was 9am in New York and the rest of the people were just beginning to eat dinner. I wanted to be as adjusted as possible for when I made it to Chicago since I wanted to go to work the next day if I was able to manage it at all. My manager didn’t tell me to go into work, but I wanted the money and not to take an unpaid vacation day (but it will turn out not to matter anyway).
I continued to sleep as the dinner service was going on. I slept through it though with no problem. I am a good sleeper on planes and the spacebed is wonderful. I find it equally comfortable in the lie flat position as with a slight kink in the seat. Because a new lie flat seat is nothing more than a classic business class cradle seat when it is not fully reclined. I woke up around 12:30am Singapore time. I got up and went to the lav and noticed that there were no flight attendants anywhere in sight. I could see the stairs down to the lower crew rest. Also there was a snack basket out and I grabbed some peanuts. I was feeling kind of hungry since I had not eaten any food since the lunch service. Some snacks were adequate for the time being though. I went back to my seat and started up Jerry McGuire. Krisworld had a nice mix of blockbusters, classics, old movies, foreign films and tv shows to please anyone. But over the course of two 36 hours in the air on two different flights, you start to finish all the movies that you want to watch.
Eventually an FA came around and asked me if I wanted any food. I looked at the breakfast menu and it was not very appetizing. Breakfast was either a hunk of salmon or different types of eggs. The only western breakfasts that SQ serves are eggs. I can’t eat strong concentrations of eggs, so that ruled that out. I wish they would serve other things like Cereal, fruit, pancakes and more options. I asked the flight attendant if there were any other options available and she said that this was just a breakfast snack and was not served with any bread or fruit or accompaniments. After finding this out I was wishing that I had preordered a meal. Singapore Airlines lets you preselect meals in Raffles class or First class. I have never had to do this on any other airline. Although I do have some diet requirements, I have never had trouble finding something that I can eat. But not on today’s flight. So I just said no thank you and went back to the snack basket and filled up on pretzels and a vegetable bun. I can’t fault SQ since I should have requested food, but I am still quite surprised that they don’t have western breakfast options that don’t consist of omelets, frittatas or scrambled eggs. I guess I could have had a hunk of salmon, but that would have felt weird for breakfast. Unfortunately there were none of the dinner options still available.
I had woken up just as we crossed into North America. I had done a pretty good job of sleeping from Naha in the South China Sea all the way until the North American coastline which was about 9 hours in total with a small interruption when a flight attendant tried to convince me to have dinner. I relaxed for the last four and a half hours of the flight. I sat in that zen mode that you get in after a long flight. However I really did appreciate the length to some degree. It was nice to be able to eat a full meal, relax for a bit, get a full nights sleep and then relax for a bit and enjoy the service before landing. When I had awoken everyone in the Raffles Class cabin was either sleeping or trying to sleep. The woman next to me seemed to be having a horrible time sleeping. She kept tossing and turning for the entire night. I guess she wasn’t the type to get 9 solid hours of sleep like me. An 18 hour flight is perfectly bearable when you sleep for at least half of it, but if you don’t sleep like some of the others in the cabin, then I am sure that it is complete misery.
Over the next few hours people slowly began to rise and flight attendants quickly came to them when they began to stir and offered food. There was no formal food service for breakfast. The flight attendants just passed out food when people wanted it. After Jerry Mcguire I just flicked through the various TV shows as I sat back and relaxed. I was thoroughly enjoying the flight. I was able to relax after a busy few days and not have to worry about anything.
Finally we passed over the border around Buffalo and slowed down immediately. I wonder if we were staying in Canada all the way so that we could go faster and not get slowed down as part of flow control in EWR. We had left 18 hours before landing time, so the weather was pretty unpredictable. Unfortunately as we got nearer it became apparent that the weather in EWR was bad. Low clouds, fog, rain, mist and water on the runways plagued the airport. We began our decent rather early and the lights began to slowly come on. I really liked how they faded in. They started with a red and then added blue and slowly gained in intensity. It was as if the sun was rising. The rest of the cabin began stirring as the flight attendants began preparing us for arrival. I knew that the people just waking up would be in for a miserable night. They were waking up at 4:30pm local time and probably would see a sleepless night ahead. The EWR-SIN flight is much nicer since you just stay up late and sleep for a long time and arrive in the morning. It is a lot easier doing that than trying to go to sleep early and shortening a day up. I much prefer the late night flights. Leaving at 11am and arriving at 5pm is a lot worse than leaving at 11pm and arriving at 5am. I had tried to be strategic though with the hope that I could survive and get to work the next day.
The Cleaned Cabin During Decent
We descended to 7000 feet extremely early. I am sure we descended before we got into the class bravo airspace of the NYC area. We were going slow as well. The cabin was completely silent as the engines were going on low power and there was little air noise from outside. This is when the Airbus planes are so nice and quiet. Much better than the Boeing planes with their loud environmental control system that regulates the air in the cabin. We were detouring along side the airport and making a convoluted path into the airport. It seemed like we were cruising at 7000ft for about 20 minutes. Here is a picture of our path from the PTV.
PTV View as we Circle Around EWR on Approach
Clouds in the Area of EWR
Eventually we finally made a turn towards the north for a landing on runway four. There were a lot of clouds and it was awfully misty. It had been raining in the New York area for the better part of a week. This is the same weather that had held me up on the ORD-EWR flight and almost had caused me to miss the EWR-SIN flight.
A View of Approach
We made our final decent after 18hrs and 20min and poked out of the clouds at just about 500ft. I was getting nervous about my connection because all of this slow flying was making us late. My connection was scheduled to depart at 7:45 and it was 6:10. I was on the last flight out of the day to ORD, so I couldn’t miss it unless I wanted to get stuck in beautiful Newark New Jersey. We came in for a smooth landing and braked hard. There definitely was a lot of water on the runway as it was going everywhere on our landing. We weren’t slowing down that quickly either. The reverse thrust was going too, but we kept the speed up.
Eventually we did come to a complete stop near the end of the runway and the flight attendant came on and welcomed us to a cloudy and rainy Newark. We taxied for a while and I noticed that a number of taxiways were closed because they were flooded. We finally did make it into the international terminal. We pulled into the gate at 6:15 which was 20 minutes late. The longer than usual flight time which was probably influenced by the strength of the jetstream as well as the flow control at EWR slowed us down and caused our dealy. This super long flight really can have varying flight times due to wind conditions.
Anyways I saw the jetbridge pass by my window and stop at door two. I grabbed my briefcase and headed to the door. I was thanked by three tired looking flight attendants before making my way off the plane. I had plenty of time, but still felt the need to rush some so that I wouldn’t miss my connection in the even that I got slowed up at immigration or customs. There were two BA 777s and an Air India 747 at the terminal gates as I made my way to immigration as one of the first passengers off the A340. I was happy to be on the ground again, but still had a short hop to get over to Chicago. (Singapore Airlines please start flying to ORD).
Bye Bye Singapore Airlines and Your Magnificent A340
I was one of the first to immigration and had no wait as I got to the American Citizen line. There were many immigration officials there, which was nice. After getting the final of eight stamps, I proceeded onwards to baggage claim. I had checked in my rollaboard suitcase because it was over the maximum weight allowance for Singapore Airlines. I had only checked it as far as EWR though. I planned on carrying it on for the EWR-ORD segment so that I could make a quick escape once I got to O’Hare. I went to the carousel and was the third person waiting. Unfortunately the bags had not started to come of yet, so I stood their waiting. By this time it was about 6:45pm, so my onwards connection was getting tighter. After about five minutes I started looking through my bag for my cell phone. I wasn’t having much luck finding it, but I just assumed that it was because I was tired after a long flight and couldn’t remember where I placed it. At 6:50pm an incredibly loud buzzer went off and the belt began to move. The bags slowly came out. All of the ones coming out did have priority tags on them. However probably about 50% of the bags on the flight had some level of priority, so it didn’t mean much. After a while my rollaboard did come out and I grabbed it and quickly went off towards customs. There was no line and I just handed my form to an officer. He took it and waved me through. This seems to always happen nowadays when I enter the country. It seems like all of the budget has gone to immigration and security so that they no longer really care about customs enforcement. I didn’t even see any dogs in the terminal. There were quite a few people as a SAS flight had just arrived as well.
United Flight: 655
737-300 No Seat Assignment
Load Factor 0
I went right past the connections desk as I did not have my back through checked to ORD. I needed to get to the counter before the cutoff to check in for the flight. Unfortunately SQ was unable to check me in for the EWR-ORD flight. Star Alliance needs to work on homogenization.
I headed towards the air train at about 6:55pm moving quickly so I could make the 7:45pm flight. There were a number of people in the airport. I hopped off the train and headed down to checkin for United. I saw quite a long line at the Premier counter, so I walked up to the easy check in machines. I inserted my card and it showed me on the 7:45 flight, but the suggested that I list for the 6:00am flight and was confused. Only then did I realize that I was now confirmed on a 7:45am flight the next day. I ask the agent working the counter and she said that all flights to ORD had been cancelled for the rest of the day and that the first flights were available the next day. My jaw dropped as I was beginning to realize that I would be stuck in wonderfully miserable Newark. I checked in for my flight on the Eticket machine and it gave me a first class seat 1D. I asked the lady what the official reason for the cancellation was, and she responded with the dreaded word “WEATHER”. That would mean that I would have to fork over the cash to pay for a room and hopefully get reimbursed for it. The lady then handed me a sheet with area hotels that might offer discounts for stranded passengers.
Unscheduled night in EWR
I walked down stairs to the hotel information area in baggage claim. I wanted to call my manager or at least leave a message saying that I would be stuck in Newark, but I couldn’t find my phone. I proceeded to sit down and look through all of my possessions only to find that my phone was not there. I probably left it in Singapore. So I was stuck in Newark in the evening with no phone and no where to stay. To help things out even more, I didn’t have any American coins on me. I went to the counter with the hotels and saw that there was a direct line phone to many of the hotels. At least I would be able to call them. I started with the nice looking hotels like the Sheraton, Marriott, Hilton, etc. These hotels either didn’t answer, or did not have rooms available. I was already frustrated to put it mildly. Another guy that was going through the same situation finally found one and booked two rooms so that I could get one. The Courtyard by Marriott in Elizabeth had a room for me. I was happy that I would get a hotel room. I wanted one with room service and the full amenities, but I was content getting a bed to stay in.
I then took the air train again to get to P4 stop which is wear all the courtesy shuttles come and go. I got out there and there were many many people hovering about trying to get hotel rooms or get their shuttles. I went outside and almost immediately my shuttle van came. I got on board with a CO FA and a business man that worked for Gulfstream. They were talking about how horrible CO was being with all of the cancelled flights. She was supposed to work a flight to NRT the next day, and he missed a flight to Albany. So the three of us grumped on the way to the hotel. Apparently the CO agents at the help desk were not being very helpful with all of the stranded passengers. UA hadn’t been that helpful with me either, but I didn’t expect much. Airline’s in the US rarely do much to help stranded passengers. I wonder how SQ would have handled the situation if I had missed my EWR-SIN flight. I have a feeling that they would be a lot nicer than UA. Though the probably had something to do with the fact that I had spent $6,000 on that flight and deserved some kindness.
I checked in to the hotel when I got there and got a room with two beds. I was hungry by this time since I hadn’t had any real food since lunch on the SQ flight, which had been about 20 hours ago. I tried to get some food at the hotel, but just gave up since their was no restaurant and the hotel was not in the best of locations. I hopped the shuttle back to the airport and got some food as Sbarro before heading back to the hotel on the shuttle bus again. I then settled down into my room and watched some tv and tried to sleep, but couldn’t even though I was exhausted because of jetlag.
I wasted the night away. It was one of the most miserable experiences of my life. I was stuck in a city that I knew little about by myself. I just wanted to go home after such a long journey. I was watching the local news that was going on about flooding in New York when my alarm went off at about 6:00am and I headed down to the lobby. After checking out of the two hundred dollar room, I waited for the shuttle bus. The hotel was full and did not offer any discounted rates. I know this was New Jersey and not the Midwest, but $200 for a hotel room in a motel doesn’t sound that reasonable to me.
United Airlines Flight 8131
Thursday October 14 2005
Dep: 7:45am (on time)
Arr: 9:19am (act: 9:30am)
A320 Seat 1D
Load Factor 100%
Photo © Kyle Donagher
The shuttle came and I got to the terminal at about 6:45am. I already had my boarding pass from the night before, so I went straight through security. The weather was the same fog, but there was a plane there for our flight. I wondered how it got there if UA had cancelled all of its flights, but I didn’t care that much and was too exhausted to comprehend anything. There was only a short line for security and then I headed towards the gate where an A320 sat. I was glad that I was in first class. I didn’t feel like an economy seat for another two hours. I was starting to get tired now and feel like absolute crap, but tried my hardest to stay awake.
Boarding was called at 7:15am as a huge crowd of business travelers in their suits hovered around the door. They called for first class, and I tried to make my way to the door, but all these people were blocking it. They weren’t moving for some disheveled looking youngster. I finally did make it just as they called seating area 1 and a surge of people forced their way to the door. This boarding was worse than the mobs in India that await flights there. I get on the plane and am welcomed aboard. I stuff my bag in the overhead compartment and took my seat. A flight attendant with newspapers came by and then suddenly asked if I made it to Singapore ok. I then realized that she was the flight attendant on the ORD-EWR flight from a week ago that I spent some time chatting with. She then told me that the poor girl who’s bag was not checked in to SIN had to have hers Fed Ex’d by one of her colleagues. I said that the trip went well, but that the end wasn’t so nice since UA had cancelled my flight. She felt a little sympathetic and then handed me a USA Today that I didn’t have the attention span to read.
I just stared into space for a while until we pushed back. The safety demo went on over the flip down televisions and I sat their in a quasi conscious state. We were number 12 for takeoff, which was not that nice. The captain had turned on Ch9 for this flight, so I entertained myself with that. It was fun to here the New Yorker versus the world accents.
We finally did takeoff behind a herd of CO 737s. We were cleared up to 8,000ft, then 17,000ft and then to our final of 36,000ft. The climb was through clouds and there was a fair bit of turbulence. I zoned in and out and tried to do a bit more reading of my book which on today’s flight was still Nelson Demille’s Plum Island. Good book if you like a thriller/government conspiracy book.
The purser came to take drink orders and ask if we wanted breakfast. I ordered coffee as I needed caffeine to stay up. I needed to force myself to stay awake so that I could adjust to the time zone change better. I was the third person served breakfast. In my semiconscious exhausted state I couldn’t really remember what it was, but I think it was some form of croissant sandwich with fruit. I had to remove the egg. But at least it was breakfast food that you could eat without eggs unlike SQ’s Eggs R Us breakfast choices.
After the food I had a couple more cups of coffee and read my book. It was a rather light read fortunately because I kept telling myself how much I wanted to be back home and just go to sleep. The flight seemed to go by extremely quickly. We began our decent into ORD and I was happy to be going down. The United short subject was playing and I watched a bit of that as we descended instead of listening to CH9. It wasn’t very good though and filled with commercials for high tech products that are expensive and serve no purpose for me since I don’t have anything to do with my company’s networking needs. I tuned to channel 9 again when the IFE was turned off. We were headed way west of Chicago at a low altitude before they would bring us back. We turned back towards O’Hare very close to Crystal Lake (the farthest west of the Chicago suburbs). We were brought in and landed towards the east. The captain made a nice smooth approach and a perfect touchdown.
We then started taxiing and then made a stop and pulled off just short of the B gates. The captain got on the PA and said that the plane at our gate had a maintenance issue, and they were waiting for a new one to become available. We waited for about 15 minutes. This was giving us a delay. Fortunately I didn’t have to worry like many people on the plane since I didn’t have a connection to make. Eventually we did start up again and taxied back to the wonderful gate B4 which I had spent so much wonderful time at on the ORD-EWR segment. I was one of the first off in my dazed state and said thank you to the flight attendants. I walked straight out of security and then to the train to get my car. I made it to the long term economy parking where my Audi was waiting for me. I had enough caffeine in me to make it to Rockford safely, but felt like absolute crap. I don’t think I have ever felt worse after a journey before. I had a miserable hotel experience after an exhausting 18 hour flight and a busy week in Singapore with an 11 hour time zone change. It was not pleasant. But fortunately the Singapore Airlines flight wasn’t that bad and I did get some sleep on it. If I had been in economy, then I would have felt exponentially worse. Some people say that business class is a waste of money, but it makes the trip more bearable so that you usually feel better and can be more productive when you get to your destination (like I was when I arrived in SIN). But anyways, I was just happy to be home. I ended up missing Thursday, but did get to work Friday.
The EWR-SIN leg is much better than the SIN-EWR leg. I did enjoy the flight and am proud to say that I have been on the longest flight in the world. It really didn’t feel that long and unbearable. I have been on much shorter flights that felt much worse. SQ is a great airline. While I slept well, I still feel that I would have felt better if I had flown UA first class. Also if I had flown directly into Chicago rather than transiting through EWR, then I probably would have made it successfully to ORD without that miserable night in EWR. I highly recommend that if you need to go to Singapore that you fly on SQ on one of their nonstop flights. The flight isn’t unbearably long, and the executive economy is definitely a lot nicer than regular economy and will leave you more refreshed. The service is great, and the plane is comfortable. Also it is nice to go on a long haul flight with such a small crowd at boarding and baggage claim.
The one thing that would have made it better other than not having a flight get cancelled on me would have been for UA to be a little more helpful. Just telling me to fend for myself was expected, but they could have gone above and beyond. But I guess UA isn’t that type of carrier. SQ definitely is as they had privately escorted me in EWR when my UA ORD-EWR flight was late and I had 15 minutes to connect.
I hope you enjoyed this trip reports (and the other two in the series as well). I apologize for any grammar errors and the lack of photos on the EWR-ORD segment as I was exhausted. I also apologize for the low quality pictures. Please leave your opinions and any suggestions on how to make my trip reports better.