It's been a while since I posted trip reports on Airliners.net, I believe the last one was posted in 2005 for my trip to New Zealand. Since then, I've still mostly flown SQ, with side trips on Swiss and Qantas this year alone (definitely something new for me!)
In December 2008, my family and I went off to Perth for 2 weeks. I decided to extend my stay and head off to Sydney so I could fly the A380 home!
This trip report will consist of my SYD-SIN leg on SQ's A380.
As I was staying at a friend's place in St. Leonards, I had to get a train down to the airport. Leaving at 1330, I had to change lines at Central to get to the airport. Transiting through Sydney's Central Station from the North Shore Line to the Airport & Eastern Suburbs Line, with a haversack, 22kg worth of luggage and a camera bag, with the lifts inoperable was no easy feat. I ended up arriving at the platform worn out enough to collapse onto the seat once on board the train.
Arriving at Terminal 1, it was a long trek from the train station towards the SQ check in islands at the other end of the terminal.
SQ check-in area
By the time I reached check-in, it was 1430 and suprisingly, there was minimal queue. I went up to the check-in counter and asked if any J seats were available. I had checked the night before on how the loads would be like in all 3 classes. I'd known J was available but as to how available it was, I'd be suprised later on in-flight.
Printing out my boarding pass with Seat 17K on it, and at the same time handing me the fast-track slip for the priority immigration lane, the CSA waved me on with a smile. I was sequence no 357 which means I was probably one of the last few people to check-in for SQ222. I guess in this day and age people don't actually bother to check-in at counters anymore, preferring to do it from the comfort of their living room, only dropping off baggage at the counters.
Shortly after check-in
Date : 22 December 2008
Route : SYD - SIN / YSSY - WSSS
Airline : Singapore Airlines
Flight : SQ 222
Aircraft / Regn : Airbus A380-841 / 9V-SKC
Departure Time : 1640 (GMT +11)
As there was absolutely nothing to do at the public area of the terminal other than the numerous fast-food restaurants (think Oporto, McDs and the like), I decided to enter immigration early. What a bad move.
The passenger-only area of T1 was even more dead with limited shops, limited seats and was generally overcrowded. I wasn't sure if I had access to SKL so I didn't bother heading upstairs. Perhaps if I had tried, it might have been a better experience. Up till now I still wonder how I managed to kill the 1 hour of time inside the holding area.
Waiting to clear immigration, I chanced upon the captain of my flight together with his crew for today. We made some conversation whilst waiting for the queue to move.
One thing good about the sterile area layout is that security checks are conducted right smack after immigration. This ensures that you will not spend your time being bored stiff waiting for the flight to commence boarding inside the holdroom, like at Changi where once you enter the gate holdroom, that is it. You're stuck inside with no toilet access, no access to any water or drinks. I've never tried it or had the misfortune of having such an experience, but I wonder.. if you need to go, how does one need to go about it?
After clearing immigration & security
Heading towards Gate 57
It seems that Gate 57 is the permanent gate for SQ's SQ221 / SQ222. The gate waiting area was packed when I arrived and resulted in me having to find entertainment elsewhere, not that there was much to begin with. Since I had some leftover Australian currency with me, it was time to find means to get rid of it!
My plane back home, 9V-SKC
The duty-free shopping area
I managed to get rid of ALL my Aussie currency which was good. Heading back to the gate to continue the agonising wait to board, the counter staff arrived and made announcements, asking the YCL passengers to reorganize themselves by their seating areas -- "lower deck Y passengers to the left of the gate entrance, upper deck Y passengers to the right in preparation for boarding".
Gate 57 holding area
Boarding was called at 1600. The CSAs called for passengers with young children, or those requiring special assistance to pre-board first. Standing next to me in queue for boarding were a couple with gold-sided boarding passes. Needless to say, they were in Suites!
Part 2 continued below.