19 April, dep 10.50am, arr 5.35pm
I'd been looking forward to this flight for months - a chance to take the World's longest commercial flight, SQ22 from Singapore to Newark. A scheduled flight time of over 18 hours!
The flight was the start of a 5 week holiday to the US, the Caribbean (for the World Cup of Cricket) and Europe. The thought of 18 hours sitting in Y was pretty scary, so we looked around for good deals in J, and ended up with a RTW ticket in Raffles class.
I left Beijing for Singapore at 00.05 on Thursday morning on SQ821 (777-200ER, 2789 miles). J was 100% loading, with a 2-3-2 configuration. The flight was pretty uneventful, apart from being given a total of seven face cloths during the 6 hour flight. I had a quick Pipers champagne on departure, and was given the choice of a meal either straight after departure or 1 1/2 hours before arrival. I chose the arrival option, and quickly dropped off to sleep. A moment later I was being gently shaken awake by the FA and discovered I had been sleeping for 4 hours. I gulped down the American breakfast (chicken sausage, omelet, baked tomato and black coffee), and before too long we had landed safely at Changi at exactly 6am.
By 6.30am I was in the Silver Kris. The lounge was quiet upon arrival, but the flow of passengers gradually increased from 7am onwards. I tried out the showers, logged on the Internet, and had a quick bite before heading to gate E27 for SQ22 at 10.00am.
We passed through security quickly (complete with zipper-lock plastic bags with our liquids/aerosols/gels). At 10.20 we boarded and found our seats. I was 22D. I had tried to book 14C two weeks ago (which according to Seatguru.com was the best seat) but the only seats left were in the last row! As it turned out, the last row had the least passing traffic and we were able to stand up and stretch without getting in the way of the other passengers, but they were closest to the engines so probably a lot noisier than up the front. J was a 2-2-2 configuration with 100% loading, 62 pax, and 50% loading in Y. There were 14 FAs, and a total of four pilots. The FAs in our cabin (Sunny (Chief Steward), Rachel and Nur) were all very friendly and helpful throughout the long flight.
10.30am I ordered a champagne and selected a couple of newspapers. The seat was very comfortable with various settings (it wasn't a completely flat bed, but close enough. I know some people find the slight downward incline uncomfortable but I thought it was fine).
11.00am We lumbered down the runway for exactly 60 seconds building up speed before rotation- I'm not sure how close to the end of the runway we were.
11.30am turned on the IFE - a huge selection of 80 different movies and 20 television shows. I started an episode of CSI Miami. The FAs brought around the drink cart (I asked for a diet coke) and snacks - consisting of chicken and beef satays and mixed peanuts.
12.15pm FA started taking orders for lunch. I chose the main event - beef in black pepper sauce. A few minutes later, the FA came back and said they had run out of beef - one of the casualties of being in the last row! She offered either beef rendang from Y, or another option from the lunch menu. I went with the Thai-style red curry duck. She assured me I would be given first pick from the dinner menu.
12.30pm I didn't want to sleep too early, so started an episode of Friends (the one where Rachel considers moving out of Joey's apartment).
The duck was spot-on - very tender and accompanied by fragrant rice. Watched an episode of Jericho, which I'd never seen before
2.00pm The cabin lights were turned down. I reclined the seat all the way back and dozed off. The hooded seat provided a bit of privacy from the other passengers
5.00pm woke up and turned on the IFE. Watched Udon - a Japanese drama about udon noodle houses in Shikoku.
7.20pm The cabin lights were slowly turned up, and the pre-dinner drink cart came around offering refreshments. I had a French Riesling.
8.00pm Orders were taken for dinner - this time I chose the grilled beef fillet - it was a bit pink and underdone, so I only ate around the edges
9.00pm Back to the IFE - I selected another movie, Holiday - a Cameron Diaz comedy I' d been wanting to see for a while.
10.45pm I had another look at the newspapers and walked around J and Y cabins. I had a chat with Sunny and he showed me some photos he' d taken of planes taking off close to Changi airport. He said the FAs were returning to Singapore on the Sunday flight.
1.00am I decided to kill some more time by watching another movie - a Japanese comedy called 'Free and Easy 17' about a bumbling company employee who spent more time fishing than working
2.45am I walked down to the back of the plane and stood around in the snack area - an open space stocked with bananas, biscuits, chips and water. The FAs announced early in the flight that passengers were free to help themselves to snacks, but not to gather in groups. I chatted to one of the FAs resting near the galley, and found the 'corpse cupboard'. The FA said it hadn't been called into use yet. It actually looked a bit hard to use - about 1 m off ground and only about 50 x 40 x 200 cm (just a guess of the dimensions). I'm not sure how some of the more portly passengers would fit in. It had a trolley mechanism similar to those in ambulances - the trolley was rolled in feet first. There was a plastic bag inside that I assume would be used to wrap up the body before putting it into the cupboard.
The corpse cupboard is the middle one just to the right of the telephone.
5.10am Prepare for arrival. Headsets were collected, seats uprighted, and a lot of passengers moved to the bathrooms to change back into business attire.
5.35am (5.35pm New York time) We landed with a bit of a bump in Newark (I'm not sure which runway), and were at the gate and disembarked by 5.50am. After all the warnings I'd heard about how un-user-friendly US airports can be, I was surprised at how smooth and quick the immigration/luggage collection/customs procedures were. We arrived at the Newark Marriott by 7.00am/pm and headed straight for the pool and gym to get ready for the flight to Miami the next day. After 19 ½ hours on a plane, it was a bit disorienting being back on land - the hotel room felt like it was lurching around for a couple of hours before we got used to being back on stable ground.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my trip report. My next flight is JFK - FRA on SQ25 tomorrow night - I'll write something up if it turns out to be an interesting flight.