25 October 2007 SQ380 SIN-SYD
A/C Type: A380-841
Few such opportunities to be a part of history come our way during our life time. Thus it was with great fortune that I found myself having a ticket on SQ380, at the relatively low price of US$1905 for 2 tickets. This was an amazing experience that will stay with me forever. Having said that, it certainly wasn't a perfect flying experience either.
(Note the pictures have been resized)
By the time my dad and I reached Changi at 0600 in the morning, most passengers had already checked-in and thus no queue at the dedicated counters. Apparently passengers started arriving at the airport at 0430. Not for me though, I value my sleep more. Check-in was quick, since there was practically no one else checking-in then. Here's where the first bit of trouble started. We were assigned seats 49J and K, which are lower deck middle and window. This was contradictory to our original booking and seat assignment, which were explicitly window and aisle. Furthermore the staff who handled our check-in said they were upper deck seats, also grossly untrue. At this point though, I did not yet discover the mistake. Some pics of the check-in area:
Reception and Boarding
We got to gate F31 where breakfast was being served and all the ceremonies would be taking place. The holding area was slightly chaotic, with people mingling around and media crowding the area as well.
the boarding area
We helped ourselves to some food and it was here I discovered the mistake in seat assignment. After some harassing of SIA
ground staff, we were given seats 81H and K.
my new boarding pass
9V-SKA ready and waiting for its first commercial flight
WARNING: Do not EVER take 81K if you want to see what's going on outside. It's an emergency exit row and there is no window. Sure the extra legroom is great, but I'd rather the window. After the speeches by the assorted VIPs and the cheque presentation to the Singapore Community Chest, Suite and Business class passengers and PPS Club members were invited to board first. My dad has Solitaire status, so we made our way up the aerobridge and on to the upper deck of the A380. Boarding was done through 3 aerobridges:
Lower deck door 1 for R passengers
Lower deck door 2 for Y main deck
Upper deck for J and Y upper deck.
just before stepping onto the plane from the 3rd aerobridge
After boarding I went around taking pictures of the cabin, before the remaining mass of passengers boarded.
spiral stairs at the rear of the cabin
upper deck Y galley at the back of the aircraft
upper deck Y cabin
The Y seats are similar to those found on the 77W. For the inaugural flights, each seat had a black bag containing souvenirs commemorating the event.
items found in the bag along with the special edition Krisworld thing that I and almost every other passenger took
The economy class on the A380 is nearly identical to that on the 77W, so it was a rather familiar setting to me having already tried the Y on the 77W. The same eX2 system is used for the new Krisworld, a system which U dont get along well with. Readers of my report on the 77W will know the difficulties I've had with the new Krisworld. Once boarding was completed, the usual SQ
practices kicked in. Hot towels were distributed, Capt Robert Ting came on the PA system to welcome us onboard and gave some details of the flight. We pushed back more or less on time and made the short taxi to runway 20C for takeoff.
We held for just a few seconds and the throttles were opened. The aircraft is really quiet, or the noise insulation is excellent. No loud roar like that of the 777 or 747 to be heard in the cabin. we accelerated down the runway and after long takeoff roll, we soared into air to the resounding applause of all onboard.
We climbed up to our cruising altitude of FL370. After the seatbelt sign was turned off, the crew began handing round glasses of champagne and presenting the certificates.
About an hour into the flight, brunch was served. Being a very special event, 2 members of SIA
's International Culinary Panel, Sam Leong of Singapore and Matthew Moran, had specially created the menu. The 2 man themselves were onboard the flight to "put the finishing touches to their gourmet creations." (as stated in the menu)
Y class menu specially for the inaugural
Charles Heidsieck Champagne
served with tuna tartare tartlet, unagi and avocado maki roll and tandoori chicken choux puff
Modern Asia Culinary Art by Sam Leong
Served with baby romaine lettuce and honey-sesame dressing
Baked Fillet of Chilean Bass
with garlic paste, served with wood fungus, carrots, fried fish noodles and bean sprouts
Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream
The rest of the Asian selection consisted of a pineapple tart, a selection of gourmet breads and hot beverages.
Contemporary Australian Cuisine at it's Best by Matthew Moran
Cos Salad with Greek Feta Cheese
served with green peas and poached prawns
Seared Beef Tenderloin
With red wine butter, served with haricot vert, carrots and roast potatoes with herbs.
The dessert was the same, ice cream, and cheese was offerred instead of a pineapple tart.
I chose the Matthew Moran selection. It was excellent and I'm sure Sam Leong's food was good as well.
welcome appetiser to accompany the champagne
A second meal was served later, also specially created by the 2 chefs. It was a choice of baked fried rice wrapped in lotus leaf or smoked salmon and snapper pie. I chose the former.
The rest of the flight passed quickly. The highlight of the flight was when Capt Ting came round to talk to do the passengers.
Capt Ting and myself
Landing and Arrival
We began our descent into SYD
at around 1650. An attempt was made at the flypast over Sydney harbour, but alas the low cloud cover made it impossible to view anything. We made a few turns to get back on final approach to Kingsford Smith International, runway 34L. We broke through the cloud cover and right on schedule at 1725 we touched down gently on 34L, again to the thunderous applause of all the passengers. The approach and landing were smoothly executed, it was certainly a good show of flying from Capt Ting and Capt Peacock. The aircraft too, demonstrated the comfort levels it promised. We made a long landing roll, a short taxi and arrived at the gate, (I forgot which, perhaps some other A.netter could tell me?) marking the end of this historic charity flight. Disembarkation was done through 3 aerobridges. Immigration and customs were dealt with swiftly, but the bags did take awhile to come out. The terminal was rather empty at that time of the day, so 2 baggage carousels were used. R and J class passengers as well as 'priority' passengers i.e. PPS and *A Gold (I guess) bags came out on carousel 3, while Y class passengers could retrieve their bags from carousel 4.
If the A380 is the future of travel, then I think it is a very bright future. The A380 has its critics, but it is an excellent piece of machinery. The aircraft is extremely stable, it does give passengers more space, it is also much quieter. Combine this with SIA
and we, the passengers, regardless of what class we travel in, are in for a real treat. I believe that in time to come, the A380 will be able to silence its critics. I am extremely honoured to have been of a part of this historical event, the day the world saw the next generation of flying.
Some other pictures of the cabin:
space in front
economy class main deck
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this report. If anyone's interested in reading my return leg, J class on the 744, let me know.