After procrastinating over where to go for a holiday, I decided to head off to Malaysia and Singapore for a few days. After looking around, the temptation to fly over on the A380 was simply too great. I booked my fare and a few weeks later I was on my way.
05 Nov 2008
Seat 77K (Upper Deck)
After spending the morning driving to Sydney I arrived at the airport about 2.5 hours prior to departure. Having checked in online the night before, It was a matter of simply finding the bag drop and completing the remainder of the formalities there. Since I prefer the old fashioned boarding pass rather than the ones you print out yourself, I conveniently had 'printer troubles' and asked for a new one to be printed. The check in agent seemed a bit disinterested, but overall the process was fine.
I completed my outbound passenger card and headed for passport control and security which at SYD is generally a painless procedure, at least when you're leaving the country. Security was done reasonably quickly and I was randomly selected for the explosives screening. This seems to happen every time I fly. Perhaps I should shave off the beard.
SYD airside is pretty boring. Just the usual duty free shops. I had a bit of a wonder around to see what else was happening. Most people were planted in front of the tv's showing CNNs coverage of the US election.
A380 being readied for flight to SIN
The A380 gate area at SYD is a bit small. The lines are split for upper and lower decks and the upper deck line goes down past some shops and the lounge area for another gate. This can make things a bit tricky for passengers trying to get to these other lounge areas as there's not a lot of room for people to move around. Add some construction in the area as well.
Within a few minutes I was walking down, then up towards the upper deck. Walking through business class you see that those seats on SQ are huge and makes the person sitting in them look like an 8 year old child. The economy cabin on the upper deck in a small cabin which makes you feel like you’re receiving a more personalised service.
View from my seat
After boarding was completed we pushed back. The FAs gave a manual safety demo, as the IFE system would not work. This was of course after the obligatory hot towel service. Taxi out didn’t take long and we were soon on our way. Some have claimed that the A380 is so quiet that you cannot hear it take off. Utter BS. You can still hear the engines powering up and other systems at work. Yes it is quieter, but you’d have to be deaf or ignorant to not hear these things happening. Perhaps it’s that quiet up at the pointy end.
Anyway. Soon after take off a round of drinks were offered. This is happening while they were attempting to fix the IFE. This did not come back to life until about 30 minutes into the flight.
Tiger Beer and nuts
Almost as soon as the first drink service had finished a second round commenced. This was quickly followed by dinner. The menu card handed out earlier in the flight was not the one for the SYD-SIN Flight and the options provided were completely different. It was some kind of chicken and some kind of lamb dish. It sounded almost the same as a lamb dish I had on this flight five years ago, so I went with the chicken.
About halfway through dinner, the crew came around and served magnum ice creams for desert. Dinner tasted good, but the portion was a little on the small side. The magnum was really tasty. The trays were collected soon after and then I took some pictures of the cabin (upper & lower decks), wing etc.
From here on the flight was routine. I watched some movies, fiddled with the IFE and pissed off the person in the seat next to me caused by my numerous toilet stops. The crew performed regular drink patrols through out the cabin.
A few hours prior to landing a second meal was served. This time it was the choice between something I forget and a feta and spinach frittata. I went with the frittata as the picture below will highlight. It was really nice and tasty.
Drinks were provided with each meal service. Soon after the trays were collected we began our decent into Singapore Changi Airport. Headsets were collected but the IFE continued to play. I quickly pulled out my airplane plug and headphones and continued on, but not long after doing that the IFE came to and end and nothing but airshow as playing
After making a few turns and seeing the lights of Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia as well as hundreds of ships moored off Singapore we landed on the T3 side of the airport. After loosing enough speed we turned off the runway and it was only a short taxi to the gate. It was here that the APU failed and only half the cabin lights came on, the half that was on the other side to me. Disembarking the aircraft was a fairly painless process, after waiting for business class to exit it was our turn and by this point everyone had sorted themselves out so there was virtually no waiting in the aisle for people to get their bag out of the overhead compartment.
A few things I noticed about the A380 and the new SQ products was that, yes it is a lot quieter then other aircraft, and second, the seat is a touch wider meaning I can fit in rather the having to squeeze my fat arse between the armrests and into the seat. Also that Ptv is huge, infact, you wouldn’t want it to be much bigger as it’s right in your face as it is. The side storage bin on the upper deck gives you a bit of extra room which is great, until you lean on it and it pops open. That gets slightly annoying after a while. So lesson be learned, don’t lean on it!
After touring around Singapore and Malaysia for a few days and taking three flights (watch out for that report) it was time to head home to Australia. My final two nights were spent at the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport. This is a plane spotters hotel, offering great views over the T3 ramp area and near by runway. Ask for a room that has a view of the plane so you don’t get the crappy latticework that blocks your view like my room had. It makes taking photos hard.
14 Nov 2008
I checked in the night before online. This time I didn’t have access to a printer so I had no option but to get a boarding pass. I came down from the hotel (literally) into the terminal and wandered around looking for the internet check in counter to no avail. I found someone near where the counter should have been and they told me it would be opening in 10 minutes. So I waited around and as test compared the pace of the line for flights departing to Australia and New Zealand. One person who arrived around the same time I did was waiting as the next person to be served as my bag was being tagged. Their was a brief issue with printing my boarding pass and the agent asked me to come back later, but before she could finish her sentence one of her colleagues had managed to fix the problem and my boarding pass was printed.
Changi Airport at 5am is a bit of a ghost town. Since I had checked out the landside offerings the night before, I went airside and bid Singapore good-bye. There wasn’t much open in the way of shops, just a few duty free outlets selling discount booze, which of course I partook.
Some photos of T3
Aftter passing through security and having my duty free purchases examined then passed I waited around to board. The flight was due to start boarding at 0620 but the aircraft didn’t arrive until 0600 and disembarking didn’t finish until 0620. So naturally the flight was delayed. Boarding ended up beginning at around 0710 and was by row numbers with the obligatory premium passengers being invited to board first. Since my seat was one of the ones right at the back my row was amongst the first to board.
I was greeted and shown to my seat by the various SQ boys and girls. I snapped a picture of a 77W next to us heading for Shanghai.
I settled in and prepared for the flight. The captain came on and said that we would make up for the delay with favourable weather on route to Sydney. Hot towels were handed out as usual prior to take off as well as the safety video being shown. This time it actually worked. One thing about the 77W that when it’s engines start up there’s this deafening high pitched noise coming from the engines. It was so loud I could no long hear the safety demo.
Taxi was short as we took off from the runway located next to T3 whatever that runway number is. I know from the other end it’s 20R.
After waiting for the A380 to land
I noticed there was a UA 777 behind us
The 777 turned on to the run ay, powered up and was off into the sky. Soon after take off Juice and water were offered prior to breakfast, along with headsets and menus. As I was fortunate enough to have three seat to myself I set the ptv on the seat next to me to the moving map to track the progress of the flight. I settled in sprawled out across the seats and began watching a French movie called Ca$h. While watching the movie breakfast was served. I had a choice between some kind of noodles and a mushroom omelette. I took the Omelette. It was quite nice.
After separating the salt and pepper sachets I was shaking the pepper one to get it all to one side, not realising I had put a small hole in it. I managed to get pepper everywhere, especially up my nose and in my eyes. After the second round of coffee and juices were served trays were collected and I settled into the movies and TV I was watching.
Soon enough I noticed we were crossing the coast of Western Australia
we headed on our south eastern path and soon I noticed we were so far south that I could see the Great Australian Bight.
The flight path soon headed north towards Sydney almost flying over Adelaide in the process. A round of drinks was offered. I decided to try the delightfully boring screwdriver, or Vodka Orange to you Gen Ys (which is me) from the cocktails menu. Not long after the drinks lunch was served. Now again, I forget the other option, perhaps I should keep the menus in future. But the other option, the one I chose was the wok fried perch fillets. Unfortunately they had none left on the cart but the FA quickly whisked off to one of the galleys and returned with more. All in all, I only waited, maybe five minutes.
The fish was really good, so was the sauce that came with the prawn salad. Whilst eating my lunch, a magnum was placed on the tray on the seat next to me. Not long after luch was done, and laughing out loud at the antics of the Top Gear guys we began our decent into Sydney. Headsets etc were collected and the cabin prepared for landing. Landing was bang on 5:35 as per the schedule and taxi to the gate was quick. After disembarking, I headed down to customs and quarantine and out into the dark Sydney sky.
Thanks for reading. Please looking out for my next report SIN-KUL-PEN-SIN on 3K, AK and MH.