Here goes my first trip report so please be gentle. As I was sick as a dog only took a couple of pictures of this trip. I was actually afraid that someone would turn me back at BNE due to the current swine flu hysteria but I somehow survived and returned to Brisbane in fairly good shape.
In June the shareholders of our company came to the conclusion, that a face to face meeting was necessary to sort out our future strategy. We agreed on meeting in Frankfurt, Germany.
As this was going to be a very short trip, my business partner and we decided not to book based on price but on maximum comfort. Usually I am a very cost minded traveller and will take the best offer available. Have previously flown CI business class BNE-TPE-FRA return and found them very acceptable.
Guess the current world financial helped us find a great deal with SQ so we did not hesitate and booked immediately as follows:
BNE-SIN/12.07.09/SQ 246/A333/2345 – 0550 (next day) / Seat 12 F
SIN-FRA/14.07.09/SQ 326/B773ER/1355 – 2040 / Seat 19 A
FRA-SIN/15.07.09/SQ 325/B773ER/2200 – 1615 (next day) / Seat 21 K
SIN-BNE/16.07.09/SQ 235/A333/2110- 0640 (next day) / Seat 12 F
1St Leg BNE-SIN
My wife dropped me off at BNE around 2000 local time as I wanted to get some rest in the business class lounge prior to my departure. Unfortunately, lounge only opens 3 hours before each SQ flight so had to wander through the empty international terminal. Customs took no time at all and I didn’t really need the priority card from SQ as I was the only passenger going through security and customs at 2015. Terminal is very relaxed at this time of the evening with only TG (to Bangkok), MH (to Kuala Lumpur), CX (to Hong Kong) and a delayed EK flight departing in addition to SQ 246.
Time went by very quickly and before I knew it I was on board this brand new A333 with SQ’s new regional business class seats. Seating in business is 2x2x2 and I was initially seated next to my business partner in the middle but moved to 11k and had my own row of 2 during this trip. Flight time was a short 7:50 tonight and shortly after push we were number one for take off and we air borne in no time. Really love the A333 and how quiet those 2 engines are.
Due to the late departure time SQ offers a warm meal in business either right after take off or shortly before arrival in to Singapore. Majority of the business class passengers (75% load in business) opted for the warm breakfast so very quickly after take off the cabin went dark and we settled in for sleep. Full of medicine I managed to get 5 hours of sleep before having breakfast (scrambled eggs with salmon) and arriving in to Singapore at 0500 (50 minutes early).
Found SQ’s new business class seat to be very comfortable in the sitting and flat positions even for a guy or my size (201 cms) and even managed to comfortably sleep on my side.
Transit in Singapore
Went straight to the KrisFlyer lounge in T3 to get some rest before our next flight and to take a shower. Lounge was very empty during our entire stay so I assume even SQ is feeling the pinch with their premium travellers. Didn’t mind the emptiness as I was still feeling sick and managed to sleep a couple of hours sitting upright in the leather chairs. Eventually managed to explore the airport and had a nice shower shortly before boarding for flight SQ 326. Lounge is simply brilliant and was very functional with free wifi, good selection of food and drink as well as sparkling clean restroom and shower facilities.
Big Bird next to our departure gate in SIN
Noticed at our boarding gate that flight SQ 326 would have a very light load in all three classes.
2nd Leg SIN-FRA
Settled in to my seat/booth 19 A and couldn’t believe this would be my home for the next 12 hours and 40 minutes. As a cost minded traveller I usually fly the cheapest business class offer to Europe (KE and CI) so this flat bed was a first for me. Load was very light and I had the entire last 4 rows in the business class section to myself. Push back was slightly delayed and we were air borne approx. 40 minutes late. Very powerful take off and on our way we were to Frankfurt. Found the 773ER very noisy compared to the A333. Not sure if this had anything to do with my seat location as I was sitting right over the wing on the 773ER. Soon after takeoff lunch was served but I was still not feeling that well so I passed and simply asked the lovely crew to help me prepare my bed. Great service from the Singapore girls and guys as the prepared my bed in no time, brought extra water for my medication and extra blankets as I was freezing. Slept for more than 8 hours on this flight and missed all meals. Landed right on time in FRA and 20 minutes after leaving the air craft we were in a taxi on our way to our hotel.
Empty business class seat next to mine on 773ER SIN-FRA
My comfortable seat on SQ 326 SIN-FRA
Resting in “bed” en route to FRA
Massive personal screen
Mighty engine on 9V-SWD operating SQ 326
Meetings went very well and much quicker than expected so I ended up having the entire 15th to myself and found time to visit my wife’s family in Tauberbischofsheim. They really take good care of their family from overseas and I enjoyed a massive lunch consisting of Bratwurst, Sauerkraut and Mashed potatoes. After coffee and cake I jumped in to my rented Mercedes B-150 (what a piece of s….t) and drove back to FRA in order to catch my evening flight back to SIN. No major traffic so got back to FRA by 1800, 30 minutes before check in for SQ 325 opened. My business partner had already returned to Brisbane on the noon departure (believe it is SQ 25 from JFK via FRA to SIN).
Check-in opened at exactly 1830 and within 2 minutes I had my boarding passes for my return flights. Security took for ages but customs is always a breeze as a EU citizen. As I did not find any thing of interest in the duty free shops I headed straight for the LH business class lounge located right above our departure gate B48 in Terminal 1. Thought I could spend a couple of comfortable hours prior to my departure but was I in for a surprise.
As soon as I entered the lounge I got the impressions I was in a run-down waiting hall of a train station. Lots of noise from kids running around (don’t get me wrong I love kids and have three little ones at home), filthy carpets, dirty and run-down furniture and empty dishes on many tables, that needed to be cleared. After my initial shock found a fairly acceptable table near the front windows, had a soft drink (was still on medication) and thought I quickly take care of my business e-mails. Next shock as I noticed no free wifi but had to pay EUR 8 per hour for wifi. Got e-mails sorted out and decided to leave this dump but have a shower at first. While working on my e-mails my ride home (9V-SWD) arrived 40 minutes early from SIN and pulled in to gate B48. Have to say that the showers and restrooms were very clean and in good condition. Hope LH sorts this out soon and renovates the entire facility.
Arrived at gate a whole 90 minutes early and the friendly LH gate agent said that I could make use of the business class lounge instead of sitting in the departure gate. Told her I’d rather sit at the departure gate rather than put another foot in to that lounge. I was very friendly and I really do hope she passed my complaints on.
While waiting noticed that this would be a full load in all classes and saw lots of excited families with kids ready to go on their first big trip to Asia. Really started to miss my family at this stage and looked forward to going home.
9V-SWD also performing return flight SQ 325 FRA-SIN.
Getting ready for return to home base SIN at FRA gate B-48
3rd Leg FRA-SIN
As on all 4 legs of this trip boarding started approx. 30 minutes before scheduled departure with families with young kids and passengers needing assistance boarding first, followed by first, business and PPS passengers follows by economy by rows.
Soon found my lovely seat/booth 21 K and settled in quickly. Spending a couple of hours on the Autobahn and with the family had made me very tired so I was again looking forward to a good nights sleep. Before pushback actually managed visit the rest room and change in to my track pants for a more comfortable sleep. Pushback was right on time but we had a long taxi past LH cargo facilities and took off from runway 18 (please correct me if I am wrong).
Hot towels were handed out shortly after take off and I passed on the dinner as I was simply exhausted and still not 100%. Got up and made my bed and settled in with a good book. Passed out just a couple of minutes later and got 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Flight time was announced to be 11:20 minutes so after my long sleep got dressed and decided to give the Krisworld a go. Watched “Duplicity” (very average/shallow, similar to Mr. & Mrs. Smith) and afterwards spent some more time reading. At this stage really noticed how difficult it can be to find a really comfortable position in this massive and very wide seat but certainly do not want to complain).
Transit in Singapore
Wonderful soft landing at SIN and disembarking at a fairly remote gate in terminal 2. Took my time walking all the way from terminal 2, through terminal 1 to terminal 3 (approx. 2 ½ hours) as I spent lots of time shopping for my family. Eventually got to the KrisLounge in T3, had some dinner and took a refreshing shower and soon afterwards was on my way to gate B4 for my last flight back to Brisbane.
Gate area was very crowed with a SQ departure to Melbourne (looked like a full 744 to me) and our fully booked A333 to Brisbane.
4th leg SIN-BNE
Boarding was right on time and doors were closed right on time as well. Push back was delayed as the Melbourne bound 744 was pushed back first and took its time starting its engines. After a long taxi we were soon on our way to BNE. Flight time tonight was only 7 hours and 5 minutes. After having dinner (one of the best steaks I have ever had on a plane) I quickly got changed in to my track pants and put my seat in to the flat position with s little less than 6 hours to fly. Flight attendant woke me approx. 90 minutes prior to arrival and had very tasty breakfast. Changed in to my street clothes and prepared myself for the usual morning mad rush at BNE to get through immigration and customs. At 6:30 in the morning lots of heavies arrive from overseas turning the arrival area in to a zoo. Great landing followed by a very quick taxi to the terminal and within 10 minutes I was off the plane heading towards immigration. Priority cards helped and I managed to get to immigration just before the EK crew from Dubai blocked this officer. My suitcase arrived shortly afterwards and the priority card got me through customs without the usual inspection so only 25 minutes after leaving the air craft I was reunited with my family picking me up from the airport.
In my opinion SQ fully deserves its 5-star rating. Every aspect of the trip was brilliant except the unacceptable LH business class lounge in FRA. Crew always smiling and seem to appear just at the right time when you need something, both business class seats on the A330 (regional) and the flat bed on the B773ER brilliant and a simply fantastic transit airport and lounge in Singapore. It will certainly be difficult to be this experience.
Hope you enjoyed my first Trip Report and I promise to have more pictures on my upcoming first class trip on EY from Oz to Germany in September.
Looking forward to your comments/questions.
Cheers from Brisbane,