I know there's already a few trip reports on SQ
's new 77W but I didn't see any done in Y or long haul, so here's my go at it.
Ever since SQ
put the 77W in service my dad and I been trying desperately hard to redeem a J seat on one for me. Unfortunately any trip would have to coincide with my dad's busines trips. Paris in Jan, a SFO
booking for June that seemed to be going no where but the waitlist made up the list of failed attempts so far. When my dad announced 2 weeks prior that he had to be in Brussels in the same week as my March school holidays, I naturally jumped at another chance to try again, since at my persuasion my dad chose to travel via Paris and then Thalys to Brussels. I wasn't really expecting to get a ticket and my fears were nearly confirmed when I was unable to secure a J seat on the outbound sector, only on the return. The double cost of redeeming a ticket (220 000 vs 110 000)miles appeared to be another stumbling block. After much deliberation it was decided I would travel after all, in Y for the SIN
sector and J for the return for 220 000 points. So I packed my bags, had a new passport done and off we went!
11 March 2007 SQ334 SIN-CDG
A/c Type: B777-312/ER
Sector Dist: 5968 nm
Scheduled Dep Time: 2350
Actual Dep Time: 0005
Dep Runway: 02C
Scheduled Arr Time: 0625 1
Actual Arr Time: 0618 1
Flying Time:13h 12min
We left the house (typically for my dad) very late at 2230. By speeding down the Tampines Expressway, we somehow managed to pull up at the First/Solitaire PPS kerbside at 2245. A porter took our bags and we made our way inside Terminal 2 heading towards the F/Solitaire check-in area. Check-in was done quickly, our seats (21K for my dad and 33D for myself) had been pre-selected. I had opted for an aisle seat for tonight's flight, it would be dark throughout the flight so there wouldn't be much to see and an aisle seat made it easier for going in and out. Since both of us were armed with biometric passports, we chose to avoid the lines and used the automated immigration lanes. This is navigated by first having the data page scanned, proceeding through the first gate, then placing your thumb on a biometric scanner, after which I made my way through another gantry. We then headed for the SilverKris lounge. While there, I ate a little and made use of the computer terminals. After about 30min, we moved off towards gate F59, the furthest gate from the lounge. (F60 is slightly farther actually, but since both share the same boarding area it doesn't really make a difference.) Surprisingly, or maybe not so for my dad, we were the last 2 passengers to board. Despite this, once again the flight failed to depart the gate on time. Being the most powerful commercial engines in use, the GE90s sure are very noisy on start up. We did eventually leave at around 2350 and taxied towards runway 02C for takeoff. This took awhile due to the high volume of traffic departing at that time. At 0005 the throttles were opened and we sped down the runway, passing a line of company aircraft to our left. The takeoff roll was long, not surprising given the nearly 100% pax load onboard.
We made a left bank to get on course for CDG
. Once the seatbelt sign was turned off I did what many A.netter would do, start taking pics of the cabin!
Legroom in Y
Cabin just before the meal service
When I saw pics of the new cabin when it was launched, I thought the Y seat colours were terrible. Seeing them in the flesh onboard though, I found them to be easier on the eyes than SQ
's normal blue and purple Y seats. The new carpet also adds some colour to the decor of the cabin.
supper from singapore to paris
Penne pasta and vegetable salad
Braised egg noodles with seafood
Chinese greens and mushroom
Beef fillet with rosemary sauce
roasted assorted vegetables and
Cheese and crackers
from the bakery
Roll and butter
Coffee - Tea
I opted for the noodles, I simply could not believe people would eat beef for supper at 1am!
The food was decent enough, perhaps not seasoned enough for my taste but definitely edible. The fish and prawns seemed fresh and didn't give me any stomach problems. While eating, I tried the new Krisworld, the Panasonic eX2 system. The screen was remarkably sharp and the colours were very good. As other have said, the eX2 is considerably faster than the old Wisemen system. The interface is also nice and navigation is a bit easier. However, I struggled with the video-on-demand for much of the flight. I don't know if it's a flaw in the system or something to do with the control handset, but whenever I tried to rewind or forward during a movie, it would eventually start going the other way ie. when I rewind, after a few secs it would start forwarding. Also, when I actually did manage to get to where I wanted in the movie, for some ridiculous reason the thing would suddenly start rewinding or forwarding again. This problem was extremely annoying and left me with little choice but to not touch any of the buttons once I started on a movie. I managed to watch Casino Royale, The Queen and Thunderball (fell asleep during this though). The video is excellent thanks to the 1280x768 resolution on the over 10in screen. The flight map is a real improvement over that on the Wisemen system, though i wish they hadn't got rid of the cruising speed information. One thing I really liked was the option to turn of the screen. This certainly made it easier to sleep without having a bright thing right in front of your face.
Earlier on, I had passed my flight log to the crew to be filled in by the captain. To my surprise and slight dismay some of the details came back empty, such as the pax load and even the reg of the plane. According to one of the cabin crew, the captain had cited 'confidentiality' as the reason for not filling some stuff. This was a new one for me, I've never had trouble with getting the captain to fill in my log. Nonetheless i decided not to press the issue. Having fallen asleep during 'Thunderball' somewhere over India, I slept for around 4h or so, despite the moderate turbulence. Ever so often I awoke for a few sec during the turbulence, only to feel like puking. I must say that in all my (relatively short) life so far that was the first time I have ever felt like puking while onboard a plane. Anyway i slept through that safely and awoke over Turkey or thereabouts. The new economy seat isn't the best for sleeping, but then again what economy seat is designed for sleeping?
The crew came round frequently during the night offering drinks and snacks. The snack menu consisted of sandwiches, peanuts, chocolate, cookies, chips,and apples for the more health conscious. Having awoke, I started on 'The Queen' and then 'Casino Royale' during breakfast.
breakfast from singapore to paris
Fresh fruit plate
Lor mai kai
Steamed glutinous rice with
marinated chicken and black
Poached eggs with hollandaise,
ham and hash brown potato
from the bakery
Assorted breakfast rolls
Butter - Fruit preserve
Coffee - Tea
I opted for the lor mai kai, simply because i'm not a fan of eggs while on a plane, particularly poached ones.
The food was again decent, palatable but not comparable to some of the best that i'd get back home in Singapore. Once breakfast was cleared, i settled back in to finish 'Caisno Royale' peacefully without food to distract me. We began our descent into CDG
at about 0650. As we descended lower i could hear the strong wind hitting the aircraft, though from which direction i couldn't figure. Landing was surprisingly smooth and we touched down early at 0618. As we pulled up to Satellite 5, the sun was just beginning to peek over the horizon. Once we came to a stop and the seatbelt sign turned off, one of the crew invited me up to the Business section to join my dad in disembarking from the aircraft.
Terminal 1 hasn't changed much since my last time there at the end of '04, if anything it looked worse. Immigration was cleared fairly quickly despite the long line. We moved towards carousal 3 for our bags, fighting our way past recently arrived EVA passengers at carousal 5. Our bags were out quickly and we found the shuttle that would take us to the RER station to catch the RER to Gare du Nord. We collected our tickets for the 0915 to Brussels-Midi upon reaching Gare du Nord. The moment the Thalys pulled out of Gare du Nord, i fell into a deep sleep only to awake 90min later in Brussels.
I wasn't overly impressed with SQ
's (relatively) new 77W. The Y seat pitch isn't great and i believe it's worse than that on the long haul 772ERs. The eX2, while being much faster and the bigger screen giving better images, wasn't too great either. The whole forward/rewinding issue is something that really irritated me. The design of the handset control is very nice though. Overall, i feel that SQ
's new Y class has failed to live up ot my (perhaps slightly inflated) expectations. Hopefully the J class would be an improvement and I was eagerly anticipating my return trip. Service was 'normal', efficient, the crew ever-helpful but not outstanding. I found the level of service to be acceptable and typical of what i've experienced on SQ
15 March 2007 SQ333 CDG-SIN
A/c Type: B777-312/ER
Pax Load: 245/278
Sector Dist: 6004 nm
Seat: 20K (21K)
Scheduled Dep Time: 1145
Actual Dep Time: 1148
Dep Runway: 09R
Scheduled Arr Time: 0720 1
Actual Arr Time: 0705 !
Arr Runway: 02C
Flying Time: 11h 55min (12h 17min)
Even though it was theoratically possible to catch the earliest Thalys from Brussels to Paris, we opted instead to spend a night in Paris. On the morning of the flight, we had breakfast in the hotel and checked out at 0930. A cab was called, which came at 0945. We got to CDG
about 35min later. CDG
terminal 1 really seems to be a mess. There's much construction and repair work going on. The terminal also seems overcrowded, at least at that time of the morning. The were long lines of passengers waiting to check-in throughout much of the departure area. Eventually we managed to find our way to SQ
"s check-in counters at row 18 (I think). It seems that the counters there are only for the F and J pax, the area was devoid of the usual long queue of Y pax. Has that moved down to the Star Alliance area? With nothing else to do, we made our way towards immigration. The staff who checked our passports and boarding pass before heading up the travellator seemed inclined to practice his Mandarin on us, greeting us in Mandarin.
Immigration was also rather confusing, what started as one line suddenly became two and people were moving all over the place, unsure where the go. The staff weren't very helpful either. After clearing immigration, we stopped to buy some cheese for my elder brother before heading for the BMI
lounge which SQ
uses in CDG
. My dad and i got into an argument over this, my dad was convinced the lounge was in the main terminal building, while i was certain it was at the satellite (having used it the last time back in '04). After a few min of fruitless walking and searching we finally went over to the satellite, where a sign "BMI
Lounge" with a right arrow greeted us. We went downstairs to the lounge and spent about 15min there, during which the staff tried vainly to get us to join the long security line quickly.
We finally made our way back up, only to be met with more confusion. Again there were lines for the security check all over the place, with very few staff working it. I could see some passengers were getting edgy, seeing as how close to departure time it was and the ongoing mess at the security check. CDG
security was stricter than at Changi, some pax were told to take their shoes off to be x-rayed. After a frustrating time, we finally made our way past, only too eager to get onboard on 9V
. It seemed i had some strange fortune on this trip, flying on the second oldest and second newest (at the time of flying) 77Ws in the SIA
was still sparkling clean, having been delivered just over 2 weeks prior. We got to our seats, 20K for me and 21K for my dad. However we swapped seats after i discovered 20K didn't quite have a window, despite it being a "window" seat.
Front of the seat with the 15in screen and various compartments opened
IFE control, beautiful IMO
We pushed back a few min late. Once again, the GE90s were excruciatingly loud on start up, made worse this time by the fact that one of the engines was practically right next to me. We made a long taxi to runway 09R, passing several parked aircraft along the way.
Taxing past French Air Force A340 F-RAJB
My first time seeing a Concorde! F-BVFF
After quite a few min of taxing we finally lined up on 09R. The GE90s powered up and we were on our way down the runway. A slightly shorter takeoff roll this time and we climbed upwards, making a slight right turn about a min after takeoff.
Once the seatbelt sign was turned off, i decided to make hay while the sun shined; taking more photos of the cabin. (and the toilet!)
Part of the toilet - how odd i must have looked carrying a camera into the toilet!
A post-takeoff drink was served soon after - a cold Hersheys chocolate drink for me. The lunch service began soon after with the usual satay to start with. The tray table can be slightly difficult to operate, i certainly struggled with it the first time. I had to push the catch down with my whole palm just to get enough force to work the spring system that would sent the table out such that i could lift it. The height adjustable feature is good, i could adjust it high enough such that i could put my feet up on the other side and raise my knees without hitting the table.
paris >> singapore
To Nibble On...
With onion, cucumber and spicy peanut sauce
A Savoury Note
Smoked duck with potatoes, green beans,
olives, quail eggs, tomatoes and mixed lettuce
Choice of thousand island or blasamic vinaigrette
The Main Event
Scallops and prawns with ceps mushrooms,
tomato confit and mashed potato
Exclusively created by Georges Blanc, Vonnas
Duck a la orange served with assorted
vegetables and gratinated potato
Potato gnocchi with sauteed ceps mushrooms,
arugula lettuce, shaved parmesan cheese,
creamy basil pesto
Thai style beef curry served with seasonal
vegetables and steamed rice
A Sweet Note
Stuffed profiterole with vanilla ice cream
and chocolate sauce
The Cheese Board
Gourmet cheese with garnishes
A selection of fresh fruit
A Connoisseur's Choice
Selection of tea
For the salad, I couldn't figure what dressings was being offered when the F/A came round, but it certainly didn't look like thousand island, not sure about the vinaigrette. Eventually i took the one that looked better. A selection of rolls and bread were also offered with the salad. I had a couple of pieces of garlic bread. For the main course, i was dying to eat some solid meat since i'd been having a lot of fish while in Brussels and Paris, so i chose the duck.
The Main Event - duck a al orange-
Dessert and a banana
The food was very well presented. The smoked duck in salad was something rather new for me and it tasted fantastic. The duck in the main course was well cooked and tender. There was too much skin on it though, which i just peeled off and shoved aside, it would have been like eating fat. The food tasted terrific, not too heavily seasoned and the ingredients were all fresh. The ice cream in the profiterole was, as i expected, unbelievably hard and frozen. Eventually i gave up trying to cut it open with a spoon and just lifted the whole thing up and bit off what i wanted. Not the most graceful way of eating, but i think it worked better than having pieces of pastry and ice cream flying about while trying to cut it up.
After the meal service, I tried to finish watching 'The Queen' since i couldn't finish it on the outbound sector thanks to the ridiculous forward/rewind problem. Somehow in the process of loading the movie, my Krisworld system managed to spectacularly reset itself. This really pissed me off because i had created a nice long playlist and now the whole thing was wiped out. Just brilliant.
Another black mark for the eX2. So i had to add songs to the playlist again and this gets really annoying sometimes due to the large volume of albums and thus much navigation involed. Anyway i managed to finish 'The Queen' and moved on to 'Rocky Balboa'. After 'Rcoky Balboa', I listened to some music as we cruised into the night over Baltic region. The video-on-demand worked properly this time, so perhaps it was an issue with the handset. Another gripe i have with the eX2 is that when listening to music with the audio-on-demand it would suddenly stop playing after about 10min or so and then i have to hit play again. At this point i decided on a snack before heading for bed. The snack menu consisted of noodles, sandwiches and assorted snack items such as nuts, chocolate, cookies, chips and fruits. I opted to have a bowl of fishball noodles, one of my favourite foods since i was a small child.
My mid-flight snack
A view out the window as the sun sets
The noodles weren't too salty and the crew were fairly generous with the fishballs, considering the size of the bowl and that it was plane food. The addition of a few small pieces of chili added some welcome spice to the food, just the way i like it.
After clearing my bowl, one of the stewards offered to have my bed done for me. One thing with the new seat is that when the seat is in 'day' mode, it is really uncomfortable. It doesn't give much recline and the footrest doesn't reach very high. Hence most pax prefer to rest their feet up on the other side. Also unlike with the Spacebeds or regional J seats, the blanket is inside the seat with the bed, resulting in me having to freeze for the first 5-6h of the flight. The 'day' seat is nearly impossible to sleep in. Which means the only way to sleep is to open up the bed, which can make things inconvenient sometimes i think. Anyway, the steward opened up the seat for me, revealing the bed on the other side. Now, the bed is completely flat and level and straight, but i found it difficult to find a decent position to sleep in. While the whole bed is fairly straight, the design is such that one has to sleep at an angle. Furthermore there isn't much length to the bed. Even for me at 1.67m, I found that there was only just enough room for me to stretch out all the way. There is also this 'hump', which severely restricts the shoulder room to just over half the seat width. Being fairly small sized it wasn't too much of an issue for me, but i can see why most people have to sleep on their side.
Once again, turbulence disrupted my sleep, though this time it wasn't severe enough to give me that puking feeling again. For some odd reason, i seem to sleep better with turbulence than without, because i seem to fall asleep only when there's turbulence. Perhaps it's something to do with the motion of the plane during turbulence that gets me to sleep. I eventually fell asleep somewhere over Afghanistan or Pakistan, i didn't really see the flight map clearly. If there is one drawback on the J class screen vs the Y class, it's that you can't turn the screen off in J.
The seat in bed position
Once again I managed to get about 4-5h of sleep, waking up just in time for breakfast.
A Fresh Start
A choice of apple, tomato or
freshly squeezed orange juice
A Healthy Note
Choice of cereal or yoghurt
Cornflakes or museli with milk
Plain or fruit yoghurt
The Main Event
Chinese style braised udon noodles with
chicken and shimeji mushroom in black
Golden pancakes with maple syrup, fresh
berries and pork sausage
Poached eggs with veal sausage, sauteed
mushrooms, tomato and roasted potato
From the Bakery
Assorted breakfast rolls
Butter - fruit preserve
A Connoisseur's Choice
Selection of tea
I started my breakfast with a glass of apple juice, followed by the fruits and cornflakes. Having had enough of danishes and croissants over the last few days i decided on just a bread roll to accompany the fruits. For the main, i opted for the pancakes. The noodles sounded too heavy for me and obviously i wasn't going to have the eggs. My whole breakfast was washed down with a few cups of Earl Grey tea.
Fruits and roll
After breakfast i listened to more music and played some blackjack. At about 0640 the F/O came on the PA and announced that we would be starting our descent in 5min. We seemed to have cruised too high for too long, as we seemed to make a rather rapid descent. The pilots made heavy use of the speedbrakes trying to slow down and get the altitude down. I think the cabin crew were also caught out by the relatively fast descent, they didn't have much time to prepare the aircraft for arrival. They were still walking about clearing the cabin and the galley after the captain had made the standard announcement for the cabin crew to proceed to their landing stations. We made a very sharp left bank, turning north to line up for runway 02C. At 0705 we made another smooth touchdown.
Braking on runway 02C
We turned right off the runway, taxing past the central apron at Terminal 2 on our way to gate F59. It seemed that I had to end my trip where it began, back at gate F59. Once again we made use of the automated immigration clearance, this time though it took me 3 tried to get my thumb read correctly. The bags came out quickly on belt 36 and we made our way out to wait for my mom. The whole process took just 20min, gate to exit. Ah, the efficiency of Changi!
My impression of the new Business Class seat? I wouldn't say that it's not an improvement over the Spacebed nor would i say it's outright lousy, because i think those would be unfair comments. I think it's just a matter of rather poor design. I feel that it's easier to sleep compared to the Spacebed, due to the more room overall and the fact that the bed is level, eliminating the 'sliding' feeling one experiences on the Spacebed. The inconvenience of having to open the seat might be annoying for some, particularly on a shorter flight. That the 'day' seat is uncomfortable is another design flaw of the seat. I think on short flights, the seat would probably be a pain to some, but i feel for long overnight flights the new seat is better. If i had to pick between the new seat vs the Spacebed in a straight fight, i'll take the new Business seat, but only by a little.
Service was again acceptable. I found it to be slightly lacking though compared to my past experiences in SQ
Business. The crew were slightly less attentive and a bit less 'pleasant', i think robotic is the term some A.netters would use here. Nonetheless on the whole it was good flight, patches of turbulence but still more peaceful than that of the outbound sector.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. I hope you enjoyed it. All comments, questions and feedback are welcome