Our company attends a Trade Show in Amsterdam every year in November. I decided to try out Singapore Airlines, I had heard good things about SQ and they had just won Airline of the Year in a survey by Zagat There schedule was better than what BA/QF could organize as SQ flies from Brisbane 3 times daily with connecting flights to London and to Amsterdam from Singapore and a lunch time departure from Amsterdam back to Brisbane. No pesky connection in London to waste time and potentially have checked luggage go astray.
I didn’t want to travel half way around the world to spend 5 days in Amsterdam and then fly back so I left a few days earlier and went to London.
Singapore Airlines Brisbane-Singapore-London and return Amsterdam Singapore Brisbane flights I booked with the travel agent and I brought a separate ticket London Gatwick to Amsterdam online.
Will Uta_flyinghigh was flying down from Dublin for the weekend and Tim Runway23 said we could both stay at his place in Brighton.
Its not often you fly half way round the world to meet someone and stay at there place but I had known them both for a while so it couldn’t be too bad.
I met Alex MYT332 and Glenn EzyAirbus in Brisbane a couple of days before I left. When I mentioned what I was doing they burst out laughing. MYT332 said; he hoped I liked the word Rhaa.
Wednesday 9 November 2005
DEP 11:50PM ARR 5:15AM
After doing a full days work went home to pack before going out to dinner then back home to shower and then to the airport.
Got to the airport just after 10:00pm and waited at the very small queue. I had checked in online which required passport information and I guess this would have made it easier for the check in staff. The line moved slowly and when it was my turn it still seemed to take for ages. Then the printer wouldn’t print my boarding passes. I said goodbye to my parents and went downstairs to passport control and security. There were still a few flights to departure MH to Kuala Lumpur and FJ to Nadi. I picked up a few gifts and a book, something to read in case I didn’t like any of the movies.
Boarding was called at 11:20pm and waited around until they called final boarding. There is no point to getting onto the plane early and then waiting for 30 minutes while everyone else is boarding.
I was greeted onboard by 2 Singapore Flight attendants, who pointed towards my seat. Somehow I thought the Singapore Girl that is advertised would be a myth but each of the Singapore FAs all seemed to fit the same mold. I had selected 31C online which is a bulkhead seat with lots of leg room. It kind of sticks out into the aisle but I wanted the legroom and didn’t want to feel cramped while I was trying to sleep. It would also mean that I would have one of the first meals and then be first to finish. Each seat on Singapore Airlines has its own PTV with the bulkhead rows having the PTV under the arm rest which then folds out.
Soon after departure they handed out menu cards as well as small amenities packs as well as headphones. Krisworld entertainment System is turned on about 10 minutes into flight. The first trolley service is for drinks. I asked for a beer. Water and orange juice was also available. I had been reading on Flyertalk the different meals for different flights and got a shock as there had been a menu change. There are 2 hot choices and I chose the pasta in tomato olive sauce. I had French Red wine with the meal. The wine was but thankfully the rest of the meal was tasty.
Light bites - Penne Pasta in tomato-olive sauce or chicken and leek pie
Dessert - Snack Bar
Hot Beverage - Coffee-Tea
After the meals had been cleared away I listened to the radio program and watch the sky show. On Singapore Airlines you can actually do both at the same time unlike the system on Air New Zealand. I flicked through the channels but only to see what was available for the next long flight.
Breakfast was served over Indonesia at about 3:45AM Singapore time. I managed about 3 hours sleep; 2 hours a couple of hours after the meal and then surprised myself with another hour sleep just before breakfast. I guess it helps when you have a spare seat beside you and lots of leg room making it that much more comfortable. I can never sleep too well on a plane. The fact that you are not lying flat and all the aircraft noise makes it pretty hard to sleep.
The breakfast was very nice. The breakfast consisted of the following.
Fruit - Fruit Appetiser
Light Starter - Yoghurt
Wholesome Beginnings -. Poached Eggs with chicken sausages and potatoes
Fried Rice Noodles with Chicken, Black Mushrooms and Leafy Greens and black mushrooms
From the Bakery - Breakfast Roll with butter-Fruit Preserve
Hot Beverages - Coffee-Tea
The seat belt sign had been turned on during breakfast but the bumps weren’t enough to stop the breakfast service. We landed in Singapore where the temperature was a humid 28 degrees at 5:15AM in the morning. .
I had 3 and half hours to wait in Singapore. I first went and checked emails on one of the many free computers with internet access. None of them have seats so I guess it stops people from staying on too long. The airport doesn’t really begin to open up until 6:00am. I had been planning to head over to terminal 1 and use the pool which doesn’t open until 7:00am. Until then I browsed the shops and walked through the food court upstairs. Amazingly the airport also has its own 7/11. On display was a model of an A380, which I took a few pictures.
At 6:30am I caught the train over to terminal 1 and walked around there for 30 minutes waiting for the pool to open. As there is separate security for each gate this makes it hard to plane watch and even more difficult to take photos.
The pool is open from 7:00am to Midnight. The cost is Sin$13.95 payable at the Transit Hotel in Terminal 1. I think it’s above Gate D41 not to far away from the train stop for terminal 1. I spent about 30 minutes in the pool and then headed back to Terminal 2 to catch my flight. For your $13.95 you are provided a towel and a locker key so you can put your hand luggage somewhere while you are swimming. I didn’t feel all that refreshed from the swim as it was so hot outside but it was a nice way to spend an hour.
Thursday 10 November 2005
DEP 9:00AM ARR 3:05PM
I arrived at the security check point about 8:20am where boarding started about 15 minutes later. Each set of 2 gates at Singapore as its own security check point. First boarding was called for elites and those in Business and First then a general boarding call. That was strange maybe a light load today. Well got onto the aircraft and then waited for more passengers to arrive. They didn’t. The economy section was practically empty. I had chosen 34G as it is an aisle seat without the IFE box at your feet. This seat would have been perfect on a full plane but when the plane is empty I could have had any number of other seats.
We pushed back about 9:00am but then spent ages taxiing around the airport and then waiting inline for take off. We weren’t in the air until 9:30am. The English captain gave us an idea of our routing and expected some bumps across the Bay of Bengal. The Flight was relative smooth for such a long distance.
Same as the previous flight KrisWorld got turned on about 10 minutes after take off, the menus distributed and amenities packs handed out. The amenities pack includes socks and a toot brush, same as the previous flight. The bathrooms also contain extra items which you might require like a razor or a comb.
Menus were distributed and a hot towel was offered before each meal. Breakfast was served about an hour into flight. As before the drinks are first offered followed by the meal.
Fruit - Fruit Appetiser
Light Starter - Cereal
Wholesome Beginnings - Mushroom Omelette with Chicken Sausage and Hash Brown Potatoes
Braised Egg Noodles with Chicken, Black Mushrooms and Leafy Greens
From the Bakery - Breakfast Roll with butter-Fruit Preserve
Hot Beverages - Coffee-Tea
I think someone could live on Singapore Airlines food its that good.
After the breakfast was cleared away I stretched out on one of the many 3 seaters for a couple of hours of sleep. It might have been midday at home but it was 2:00am in London. I only caught about an hour sleep; somehow I didn’t feel comfortable in another seat which wasn’t my own.
Our routing today was a southern one across the Bay of Bengal then across India to Mumbai then across the Arabian Sea to Dubai where we turned right and headed between Iran/Iraq until we reached Turkey where we did a left turn and headed for London. We had a slight tail wind at the start but then that turned into a 100kt head wind across the Arabian Sea.
I got up and went back to my preassisgned seat to watch a few movies. Firstly I watched March of the Penguins. Don’t watch this movie when you are feeling down it’s so sad.
Next I watched Fantastic Four. It passed the time but wasn’t that good.
Lunch From Singapore to London
Appetiser - Orzo Pasta Salad With Prawns
Main Courses -Sauteed Chicken in red wine sauce with confit of lemon slices, fricassee of peas-mushroom and potatoes
Ikan Gukai Padang(Indonesian style spicy fish with mixed vegetables and steamed rice)
Cheese - Cheese and Crackers
Dessert - Ice Cream
From the Bakery - Roll and Butter
Hot Beverages - Coffee-Tea
I ordered a Singapore Sling with lunch.
After the second meal service took another nap. Another small snack was served over Europe which consisted of a sandwich, Chips and an Apple. Depending on how hungry you were you could have chosen 1 or all 3 items.
If I was to do this day flight again I would probably pack a snack bar, as I think the meal options were a little spread out. Adequate but just spread out. You don’t normally seat and watch 2 movies and 1 CD straight without getting up and having a snack or a drink between the each one.
Landing was just a few minutes ahead of schedule in terminal 3. There wasn’t a lot of waiting just walking up and down stairs. I walked from terminal 3 to terminal 1 and then caught a bus to my hotel. I expected bad things about Terminal 3 when I arrived and I wasn’t disappointed. The corridor from the plane to the immigration was through a maze and up and down stairs. Passport control was pretty quiet at this time of day and with a light load was through in about 10 minutes and then waited another 15 minutes for my bags.
Friday 11 November 2005
Friday I caught the tube into London before catching a train out to Brighton. I spent a fair bit of time indoors as it was raining Friday. Will and Tim met me at Train station in Brighton.
Saturday 12 November 2005
Saturday went and did some plane spotting at Gatwick, lots of BA 737s and EZY 319s but also a few other things mixed in as well. CO, DL, NW, AA, US, Thomsonfly, Flybe, Jet2 and of course Ghana International.
Sunday 13 November 2005
Sunday I left the company of Tim and Will and caught the bus to Gatwick. My plan for the day was to visit the Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory.
I booked a ticket from Gatwick to Greenwich via London Bridge. Greenwich line was actually closed so had to go to another stop. One of the shuttle drivers had suggested it was too far but it fitted in well with the time I had.
Met up with some distant relatives for dinner who lived at Croydon conveniently located between Greenwich and Gatwick Airport? After dinner caught the train back to Gatwick. I was pretty lucky with my choice of trains, making sure to avoid the all stop ones.
Monday 14 November
DEP 6:30AM ARR 8:40AM
I had booked a Holiday Inn near Gatwick Airport so that I wouldn’t have to get up so early. It was 4:30am when the alarm went off after making a cup of tea was packed and out the door by 4:50am. I was still adjusting to Europe time so 4:50am was not so bad. The shuttle comes around every 30 minutes so if I missed the bus I would still have had 10 minutes to check in if arriving on the second bus.
Check In at Gatwick was a free for all at the Easyjet check in. There were no separate lines for the different Easy jet flights as I had expected. Ended up with sequence 90 which is group D. Easy jet staff suggests you go through security straight away then you wait in the shopping mall area inside security and then watch the boards for gate information. The gate numbers are not listed until about 40 minutes before flight departure. I browsed a few shops, brought postcards and then purchased some breakfast. McDonalds was the only thing that didn’t seem to have a long line. At 40 minutes to departure a gate time was posted I went in search of the gate.
Easyjet boarding was by zones so I was waiting until the end. Most people seem to take note of boarding so it was quite an orderly. Boarded a full aircraft and got seat 1E.
Departure was on time and then we seemed to taxi for ages in the dark at Gatwick. Take off was at 6:45am, at 1:38 min into the flight the cabin crew are into action. Drinks and over priced snacks were available for purchase. Flight lasted all of 43 minutes and 5 seconds. Not my shortest flight but my shortest 737 flight. We landed at 8:30am and then proceed to be told by the cabin crew that we had landed 10 minutes early but then it took us 8 minutes to taxi to our stand.
You paid for it or brought it with you. I used the last of my UK coins to purchase an over priced drink and a packet of nuts.
There wasn’t any. Easyjet what was I expecting. Nothing.
It was long walk to passport control, which took no time at all, even got a stamp for my passport. Then a hunt to find the baggage carousel. I turned left instead of right. I realized my mistake only after I had read half the boards with flights from everywhere except Gatwick so went back to the passport area and found a board with carousel numbers. Why didn’t I find that quicker. Found my checked bag and then walked outside to meet up a work colleague who had flown in from Brisbane via Singapore just 90 minutes earlier.