Date: 20th March
Est Departure: 11:00
Est Arrival: 14:45
This was my second trip to Hong Kong and I was really hoping it would be as eventful as the previous trip this year. As a result I decided to be safe and take Singapore Airlines as I herd from colleagues about their on time departure. Subsequently this trip also allowed me to sample the difference in the business class product of SQ. In particular I was extremely keen to try the new lie flat bed in business class. Having booked my ticket on line in economy, I was fortunate enough to take advantage of SQ’s 25% discount for kris flyer online transactions.
With up grades confirmed I headed early to Changi T3. Although SQ862 was not scheduled to depart till 11am I decided to arrive at the airport at 8am, primarily to explore it a bit and take advantage of the KrisFLyer lounge which is normally off-limits to Star Alliance Gold passengers on non-business class flight. I know this is mentioned before on the website, but one has to at time question SQ’s commitment to the whole *A gig. At 8am in the morning T3 was virtually empty, rocked up straight to the business class counter and checked in, no problems what so ever.
In fact the whole process from walking up to counter and getting boarding pass in hand was less then 5 minutes, very impressed with, but then again TIS (This is Singapore) and almost expected. With boarding pass in hand it was straight towards immigration and the SilverKris lounge.
For the next two hours time was spent inside the SilverKris lounge. Many other A.neters have commented on this lounge and I would have strongly agree with their remarks. The lounge is impressive, in terms of size that is, but at the same the place is too dark, and can often get crowded as was the case today.
Being early morning and pretty hungry I headed for the food stage to see what was on offer. Well not much this time around, might be for the fact that they already finished the breakfast service and where preparing for the upcoming lunch session. I made good use of what was available, in this case some noodles, dumplings and small cut sandwiches, all of which was topped of with some fruit and croissant and coffee. After doing some work on laptop, it was time to freshen up before the flight . The SilverKriss lounges shower are impressive, far better then most others I have seen, the attended was attentive and quickly stocked the shower with amenities for my use.
It is interesting that at such a prominent lounge in T3 no boarding announcements are made, especially for SQ flights. At 10:30am I took the fairly long walk down to gate A13 where my bird SQ862 was waiting for me. Along the way I took a leisurely stroll, and took the time to explore some of the sights and sounds of T3. As it was near midday – the earlier quite T3 now began to bustle to life with people. Here are some pictures of interesting sculptures that one can now find at T3
Pre-boarding security was hassle as usual, and a fair crowd began gathering at the gate. Sometimes it amazes me how people can not read labels or follow simple instructions, especially when comes to things like the carrying of liquids on board. The whole security process was delayed as a couple in front of me decided that they did not want to get rid of their four bottles of non-duty free wine and other creams. Once this slight hurdle was cleared it was clear sailing. Unfortunately, though, the way gate A13 was positioned meant that I could not a clear picture of SQ862 nor its registration, however I did manage to take some of the other SQ plane at gate A12.
Without further ado I proceeded to board the plane, no personalised greeting, I was surprised, especially given that this was SQ, however once through the door I was able to find my seat easily. The first thing I noticed was how spacious the cabin interior actually was, even with the larger then usual business class seats. The whole colour scheme I felt only added to this spaciousness. One thing I did notice is that the plane was showing its age, there where numerous cracks starting to appear on the seat and around corners of the space bed. Seems like this plane needs to go in for refurbishment. One thing that did become obvious was the impact of the economic crisis on the pax capacity of SQ. The business class cabin was only 30% full and no pax in first. I guess one might need to reconsider SQ’s business model or pray that they are carrying some really expensive cargo onboard.
The flight attendant came around and took my jacket, helped me with my carry on bags and asked what I would like to drink as well as distributing the lunch menu, I thought I would give the tomato juice a go this time. After snapping a few pictures of the seat, I began to settle in for the up coming 3:45min journey. We began push back at 10:47am and began our taxi to the runway, in front was a Tiger and Air Asia flights waiting for their departure. As the engines purred into life we began our accent into the skies over Singapore
As the seatbelt sign came off, the FA sprung into action, firstly bringing me my class of wine I ordered before take off and began the distribution of amenity kits. I do not know of others opinions, but I feel that the amenity kit has a lot to be desired for, especially regarding its context. After getting the head phones I settled into watch what was on KrisWorld, as this was generally a short flight I would have the opportunity to watch one movie. Being a movie junky did not help here as I already had seen most of the movies, so in the end I decided on watching a remake of a classic – The Day the Earth Still – unfortunately that was a bad decision.
About an hour into the flight the FA’s came around to begin the lunch service. I used the book-the-cook online facility earlier to select the lamb ribs, which I was really looking forward to. Entrée consisted of sautéed prawns with salad, and for desert I chose the coconut mango ice-cream which was absolutely yummy. FA’s made continuous passes, re-filling drinks and asking anything was the problem. As usual the food and service in this class on SQ could be hardly faulted, yet sometimes one does feel that the service is becoming very robotic at times.
After the lunch service, and the end of he movie it was time to take the space bed to the test and stretch out in it. The seat has a nice feel to it, but I find the fact that it can be at times too wide, and not being able to rest your elbows can be a bummer for some people. Anyhow it was a nice relaxing opportunity to stretch out and catch up on some reading. FA’s continued to make passes asking for more drinks etc, however I was thoroughly stuffed from the meal and declined anything else.
We began our decent into Hong Kong ahead of schedule, if fact it was about half an hour ahead of schedule which was good for us. It was a hazey day in Hong Kong, with fairly low visibility, unfortunately I was not able to determine which runway we landed on, may be next time then. Taxing to the gate was a good opportunity to take some pics of planes parked at HKIA. I was able to disembark very quickly from the flight and head straight to immigration, which given that there were three other planes just landed there was a huge q.
Date: 29th March
Est Departure: 18:30
Est Arrival: 22:10
I love the ambiance of HK international airport, it has an also most energetic feel to it. Unfortunately, I was not able to enjoy the energy this time around as I was running late for the flight. In order to speed things up I managed to check my bags and collect my boarding pass at the downtown check in station at Hong Kong central station, which was really convenient and immediately board the Airport express for the 28min journey to HKIA. However I was unfortunate to get a window seat for this sector, so sorry no take-off or landing pics. With 1hr 15m to spare I headed straight for immigration, which actually took longer then expected,
After some last minute duty free shopping, after all the Hong Kong Sevens had just finished that day and jersey’s were going cheap at the airport, I made my way to the SilverKris lounge again . This is a fairly small lounge , which was fairly crowed on this day and really does no justice to the other SilverKris lounges. This was confirmed by the poor selection of food and drinks on offer, surprising for such a busy lounge though. After about a quick Carlsberg and some snacks boarding was called for SQ865 at gate 21 which was a small walk from the lounge.
A very smooth boarding process at gate 21 and was subsequently greeted by name at the door by two friendly FA, one of which showed me to my seat. I was taken back a bit, but I should have done some research before hand as I was expecting a angel flat bed, but instead ended up with a regional J product. Still I do find these seats quite comfortable, but not as comfortable as the angel flat beds, sorry personal preference here. This time the J class cabin was about 60% full, mostly with people returning form watching the HK sevens, as evident from the jerseys. The FA, came around and introduced herself and asked what I would like to drink both before and after take-off. This time I chose the OJ and red Italian wine for after take off.
We pushed back on time and after what seemed like a long taxi to the runway we finally too-off into the night sky of Hong Kong. Once the seatbelt sign came off the FA,s came around again offering amenity kits and headseats which I declined this time. I noticed that this was the old KrisWorld entertainment system with the reduced selection of movies and not video on demand- well time to catch up with some sleep after a tiring day and listen to the good old ipod.
While nodding off, the FA came around, appoligized for waking me up and asked if I would like to have my pre-booked meal (Beef Curry) now. As I was really hungry, I skipped the entrée this time and went straight for the main meal. Not as nice as I expected, actually pretty disappointing compared the earlier flight, may be it was the catering at Hong Kong which made the difference. For desert I chose the cheese platter instead of the usual ice-cream, all of which was washed down with constant top ups of red Italian wine
Once the meal service was cleared, lights were dimmed the eye shades went on along with the blanket and got about and 1hr or so of sleep before the seat belt sign came on again in preparation for our landing at Changi T3. As usual disembarkation and immigration was really efficiently handled in Changi and within 20min was out the door with bags in hand.
Overall I was very satisfied with my experience on SQ business class service. More so I was surprised with the new space bed on the B777-300ER, however It was also surprising to see the difference in service levels on the two flights .
As usual all comments are welcomed.