9MMAR
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When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Sat Dec 05, 2009 5:28 pm

Hi peeps,

I had the opportunity to go back home for vacation during the long holiday during the Eid Adha/hajj period recently. Offices in Saudi Arabia were closed from Thursday, 26 November 2009 until Friday, 4 December 2009. This was my first trip back home after working non stop for 8 months. My routing was JED-AUH-SIN-KUL-LHR-AMS-LHR-KUL-SIN-AUH-JED, which spreaded throughout the mentioned period.

Some highlights of the trip:

Jeddah's leaking King Abdul Aziz International JED (the whole city was flooded on that day, those in Facebook have seen the 'catastrophe' in my album).




The Singapore stopover - ION Orchard




Kuala Lumpur International KUL's newest Jungle Walk






Enrich's 'Online' Redemption




Malaysia Airlines' First Class Section of the Satellite Golden Lounge, Kuala Lumpur International KUL




Malaysia Airlines' First Class




Malaysia Airlines' new Brit home - London Heathrow LHR Terminal 4






SkyTeam Lounge, London Heathrow LHR Terminal 4




KLM's Europe Select Business Class




Minutes in Schiphol AMS




KLM's Boeing 737-900




Malaysia Airlines' spanking new Golden Lounge, London Heathrow LHR Terminal 4




The 'flight mate' - 1Malaysia First Lady, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansur




Malaysia Airlines' Boeing 747-400




Singapore Airlines' Boeing 777-200




So, which one do you guys want to see first?
 
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SOBHI51
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Sat Dec 05, 2009 5:46 pm

Nice amuse bouche we are ready for the whole meal, appetizer, main course, cheese, dessert and drinks.
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ronerone
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Sat Dec 05, 2009 5:49 pm

Hi Azizul  Smile

Welcome back!

Very cool pics, especially the sunset picture of the MAS 744! Also the Golden Lounge in KUL looks quite good eh?

Would be interesting to see SQ JED-KUL-JED trip first  Smile


Regards,
Roni
Fly Roni. Aviation Journeys. Photos. Videos.
 
airpearl
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Sat Dec 05, 2009 10:21 pm

Hi 9MMAR,

Thanks for the teaser. Wow, MH First Class to London? And the first glimpses into the new Golden Lounge and SkyTeam lounge at LHR T4. Now those MUST absolutely be done, but I agree (partially) with Roni, let's do it in the order of your epic journey. The pictures look wonderful.

Quoting 9MMAR (Thread starter):
The 'flight mate' - 1Malaysia First Lady, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansur

We are moving in exalted circles these days, aren't we?  

Regards
airpearl

Edits to add "partially"

[Edited 2009-12-05 14:41:34 by airpearl]
 
akhmad
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Sat Dec 05, 2009 10:22 pm

Hi,

You have got a very interesting sneak preview here.  Smile

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 2):
Would be interesting to see SQ JED-KUL-JED trip first

I am with Roni here.

Look forward to your following installment.

Cheers,
Suryo
Friends forever
 
ba319-131
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Sat Dec 05, 2009 11:21 pm

Hi 9MMAR,

Wow, so much to look forward to, I'd like to see it all starting at the begining pls.

Thanks

Mark
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chrisrad
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Sun Dec 06, 2009 5:57 am

MH F class please!!!
Welcome aboard Malaysia Airlines! Winner of Best Cabin Staff 2001,2002,2003,2004,2007,2009,2012
 
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NZ107
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Sun Dec 06, 2009 8:43 am



Quoting 9MMAR (Thread starter):
So, which one do you guys want to see first?

I'm with Mark - sequentially please!
It's all about the destination AND the journey.
 
SQ772
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Sun Dec 06, 2009 9:55 am

The whole journey in its entirety please.

Thank you.
There's always a better way to fly...
 
9MMAR
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Mon Dec 07, 2009 10:28 am

Allright, to comply with the majority of the votes, I'll be posting the reports sequencially.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 2):
Very cool pics, especially the sunset picture of the MAS 744!

It's a sunrise.

Quoting Airpearl (Reply 3):
Wow, MH First Class to London?
We are moving in exalted circles these days, aren't we?

Yep, I finally did that.
Are you kidding me, having Rosmah as a flightmate - we are so in it LOL!



PART 1 | JED-AUH

The first sector of the journey.

Flight Record No: 200
Date/Day: 25 November 2009/Wednesday
Flight Number: SQ 455
Carrier: Singapore Airlines
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200 (de-rated ER version)
Aircraft Registration No: 9V-SRB (11 years old aircraft)
Route: Jeddah (JED) to Abu Dhabi (AUH)
Departure Time: 21:30 hour Saudi Arabian time (GMT +3) [delayed by 40 minutes due to technical problem]
Arrival Time: 00:40 hour + 1 day Emirati time (GMT +4)
Journey: 2 hours 10 minutes
Distance: 1,004 miles
Class of Travel: Economy Class
Fare Category: W (Discounted Economy)


The day started wet. That was the day the desert city of Jeddah saw itself being flooded by water. Raining is almost a once a year affair in this city (most occasions happened during the hajj season hmmm…), but apparently on that day the city was not prepared for such a downpour. My journey to King Abdul Aziz International JED from the office however, fortunately went on smoothly.



Ok folks, do you see the signage? Turn left if you are flying with all international airlines, turn right if you are flying with Saudi airlines (which include Saudi Arabian Airlines, Nas Air and Sama Airlines) and go straight if you are invited by the King of Saudi Arabia to fly with him. Yes, that is the entrance to the (heavily guarded) Royal Terminal.

This is how the Royal Terminal looks like – landside.



In the background, one can see the colossal Hajj Terminal.



Up close. This is the time when the terminal is at its busiest – hajj season.



Welcome to JED's North Terminal, where all foreign airlines are assigned to. It is pretty spartan actually for a country as rich as Saudi Arabia. The South Terminal, where the 3 Saudi airlines called home is also identical to this one.



Check-in, which was handled by the JED Airport Services' staff, was smooth as I was early. Friendly agent too. Singapore Airlines' check-in counters are next to Middle East Airlines' and Malaysia Airlines'.





The Exit Card as featured above (the far left document) is apparently not applicable to be filled in by Resident Permit holders like yours truly. It was also the first time I received SQ's widened boarding pass stubs, which incorporate the barcode on it. 2 boarding passes were issued out to me, 1 for the JED-(AUH)-SIN sector while the other for the SIN-KUL sector.

The extra ordinary rain on that day caused many parts of the JED North Terminal's roof to leak. Here's one right in the middle of the passengers holding area, past immigration.



The departures of the night. Not too many flights I should say as the bulk of them are SV flights handled at the South Terminal.



Flight MH 151 flew JED-KUL non stop. But I decided not to go with them.

19:50 Boarding was finally called and passengers were gathered inside the holding area of Gate 41. JED is a no aerobridge airport, so all passengers have to be bussed to the aircraft and later on climbed the stairs to get onboard. The majority of the passengers seemed to be Filipino – mabuhay, salamat and kabayan echoing the atmosphere.







I was given seat 64E, the middle seat at the very last row of the Boeing 777-200 aircraft. I kinda like it actually.



The world renowned Singapore Girls and the 'not so well known' Singapore Boys sprung into action immediately with the distribution of hot towels. Wow, hot towels! (*)







The seat pitch is ok and guess what, they still have the foot rest (*) intact. Isn't that great?



The Menu Booklet (*) was then distributed….



… followed by the screening of the Safety Demonstration.



Then the drama unfolded. Just after being pushed back, the Captain suddenly made an announcement that the aircraft has to return back to the apron because of a start-up failure. He also mentioned that the engineers will look into it and it will take approximately an hour for the problem to be fixed.

During the waiting time, passengers were served with a selection of water and asked to remain calm.





Luckily, much to our relief, at 21:28 the engineers managed to solve the problem and we were soon being pushed back again. By then, we were already 40 minutes behind schedule.



The aircraft took off right after flight MH 151, which departed on time. Have I made the wrong decision?

Post take off, headphones were distributed and the KrisWorld IFE was activated.





I was accompanied by Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler on my journey into AUH.

The meals. It was ok and the presentation is good but one thing that is so obvious is that the main dishes' portion is quite small. Hardly filling my small stomach.



2 hours and 10 minutes later, we touched down into AUH, which seemed busy at that time. The crews started to take their luggage from the overhead compartments.



(*) - Referring to inflight enhancements that MH decided to get rid of.


To be continued in PART 2
 
akhmad
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Mon Dec 07, 2009 12:30 pm

Hi 9MMAR,

Great first part! It seems that SQ succeeds in maintaining their Y product.

Quoting 9MMAR (Reply 9):
Here's one right in the middle of the passengers holding area, past immigration.

It looks nasty.

Quoting 9MMAR (Reply 9):
During the waiting time, passengers were served with a selection of water and asked to remain calm.

A nice touch!

Cheers,
Suryo
Friends forever
 
PlaneHunter
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Mon Dec 07, 2009 4:17 pm

Hi Azizul,

great first part with nice pictures, interesting to find a report involving Saudi Arabia.

Quoting 9MMAR (Thread starter):
The meals. It was ok and the presentation is good but one thing that is so obvious is that the main dishes' portion is quite small. Hardly filling my small stomach.

That's still a decent meal for such a short flight.


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
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SOBHI51
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Mon Dec 07, 2009 5:36 pm

Great start, keep it coming.
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SIN7
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Tue Dec 08, 2009 9:22 am

Great pics! Thanks!
Can't wait to see the other sectors.

Hmmm, hot towels are lovely.
Anyways, can't comprehen why SQ gives out hot towels when the destination is warm.
Example when ex-SIN would be nice to get cold towels instead of hot ones.

What was in the meal?
The main meal, some grilled middle eastern chicken?
The appetizer looks like a mush of colorful veg?
 
kappel
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:09 am



Quoting 9MMAR (Thread starter):
ION Orchard

I love this mall!!

Quoting 9MMAR (Thread starter):
Kuala Lumpur International KUL's newest Jungle Walk

Hey, I didn't notice this last month when I was there... where do you access the jungle walk?
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NZ107
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:34 am

Very interesting first part. Does the hajj terminal get used at all during other times?

Quoting 9MMAR (Reply 9):
Post take off, headphones were distributed and the KrisWorld IFE was activated.

Strange that you have to put the padding onto the earphones yourself.. Is it too much extra labour for SQ to do?

The meal looks pretty good for such a short flight!

Quoting SIN7 (Reply 13):
Anyways, can't comprehen why SQ gives out hot towels when the destination is warm.

They cool down pretty quickly once you unravel it! Warm probably suggests that it's more sterile etc, you don't want it to be too cold though..


Looking forward to the next instalment!

Regards,
Nicholas
It's all about the destination AND the journey.
 
SQ772
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Tue Dec 08, 2009 2:30 pm



Quoting NZ107 (Reply 15):
Strange that you have to put the padding onto the earphones yourself.. Is it too much extra labour for SQ to do?

I always ask myself the same question. The only explaination I can think of is that the ear pads are fresh new ones (they don't re-use it), and for hygiene reasons, you would be the first person handling it when you remove it from the bag.

But it would definitely be nice if the ear phones came padded... I've lost count the number of times that I accidentally tore the pads when I tried to put them over the ear-piece myself.
There's always a better way to fly...
 
9MMAR
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Tue Dec 08, 2009 5:40 pm

Thank you guys for the responses. Much appreciated.

Quoting Akhmad (Reply 10):
Great first part! It seems that SQ succeeds in maintaining their Y product.

I do agree that SQ has a great Economy Class product.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 11):
That's still a decent meal for such a short flight.



Quoting NZ107 (Reply 15):
The meal looks pretty good for such a short flight!

I think the meal should be regarded as the first meal of two for the whole JED-SIN journey, not separately.

Quoting SIN7 (Reply 13):
What was in the meal?
The main meal, some grilled middle eastern chicken?
The appetizer looks like a mush of colorful veg?

SIN7, I will copy the Menu Booklet for you soon. I am still outside the house at the moment.

Quoting Kappel (Reply 14):
I love this mall!!

SQ's new flagship sales office is located on the 4th floor of ION Orchard. Previously, the office was located in Paragon Mall as I was told.

Quoting Kappel (Reply 14):
Hey, I didn't notice this last month when I was there... where do you access the jungle walk?

Kappel, the KLIA Jungle Boardwalk is located at the center of the Satellite Terminal. You know that jungle in the middle. Can you see the entrance behind the Information Counter in this photograph?



Quoting NZ107 (Reply 15):
Does the hajj terminal get used at all during other times?

The Hajj Terminal is also used during the peak Umrah period throughout the year. Usually it will handle extra and charter flights.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 15):
Strange that you have to put the padding onto the earphones yourself.. Is it too much extra labour for SQ to do?



Quoting SQ772 (Reply 16):
I always ask myself the same question. The only explaination I can think of is that the ear pads are fresh new ones (they don't re-use it), and for hygiene reasons, you would be the first person handling it when you remove it from the bag.

I think I am in the agreement with SQ772 with regards to this SQ's headphone matter.
 
9MMAR
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Tue Dec 08, 2009 5:50 pm

PART 2 | AUH-SIN

The second sector of the journey.

Flight Record No: 201
Date/Day: 26 November 2009/Thursday
Flight Number: SQ 455
Carrier: Singapore Airlines
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200 (de-rated ER version)
Aircraft Registration No: 9V-SRB (11 years old aircraft)
Route: Abu Dhabi (AUH) to Singapore (SIN)
Departure Time: 01:40 hour Emirati time (GMT +4)
Arrival Time: 13:10 hour Singaporean time (GMT +8 ) [30 minutes delayed]
Journey: 7 hours 30 minutes
Distance: 3,658 miles
Class of Travel: Economy Class
Fare Category: W (Discounted Economy)


I guess we all know that airports implement several approaches in dealing with transit passengers. Some require the passengers to disembark the aircraft, clear security checking and other unnecessary formalities before allowing them to continue their journeys. However, as in the case of AUH, the passengers for flight SQ 455 (and SQ 456) are not permitted to leave the aircraft during the hour long layover.

The only folks that disembarked the aircraft were the cockpit and the cabin crews. SQ uses AUH as its crews' layover point. The crews who served me earlier also did the outbound sector into JED (from AUH) prior to my flight. There are no SQ crews spending a night in JED. A new set of crews took over the flight for the final sector into Changi SIN.



During this 60 minutes layover time as well, the meals were uploaded, trash were collected by the AUH based aircraft cleaners and also some checking conducted by a pair of Marshalls aboard the aircraft, asking each passengers which cabin luggage belongs to them.



(Accidentally), the Safety Demonstration was screened during this time, which at that time most of us found rather awkward as the aircraft was still on the ground with both its aft doors being opened.



The new set of crews then started their routine with the distribution of the second hot towels of the day for me. The Captain then requested for the cabin crews to arm the doors and we were pushed back shortly after.



This followed by another screening round (which I believe the correct one) of Safety Demonstration. A few more passengers joined us from AUH and filled in the remaining empty seats. It was almost a 100% load factor in Economy Class for the flight that night.





Once airborne, the cabin crews sprung again with a check list of those who pre-ordered special meals. A sticker was pasted on top of the seats of those applicable. They were also served first during the meals run. I happened to be one of them.



Then, came the 'Givenchy' amenity kit, which contains a pair of sock, a toothbrush and toothpaste. This is actually something very commendable on SQ's part, since most airlines had gotten rid of them years ago. SQ still offers a 'cold feet-less' and a 'non-bad breath' flying experience to their passengers at the back. This followed by the distribution of the Menu Booklet to the newly joined passengers.



The ever hardworking crews appeared again from the galley with a basket full of snacks (read: junk foods), which was defined as 'Refreshment' in the Menu Booklet. I seriously thought the 'Refreshment' would be at least a sandwich, but how wrong I was.



So, it means those who joined the flight from AUH only received 1.5 meals, as compared to 2.5 for those who started the journey from JED *(0.5 meals referring to the 'Refreshment').

As for this longer sector of my journey, I was accompanied by Professor Dumbledore and Harry Potter, but I slept half way.



.
.
.
At 10:30 Singapore time, approximately 2 hours and 11 minutes away from Singapore, somewhere near the Bay of Bengal…





… the breakfast was served. As mentioned previously, I got mine earlier than the rest because it was a special meal (which turned out to be identical to one of those being offered as the standards). Pretty nice but again, the size of the main dishes do not make the cut. Why is this issue bothering me? Because the size of the main dishes is smaller than MH's – post multi inflight meals cut in 2 simultaneous Business Turnaround Plans.



7 hours and 30 minutes into the flight, we were then finally approaching Singapore. Information of departure gates for those who were continuing their journeys on other SQ flights was displayed at the PTVs. Surprisingly it didn't show mine (probably because it was still too early?).







At 13:10, the aircraft was docked at Gate 50 in SIN's Terminal 2, 30 minutes behind schedule.



I then found myself running helplessly to change some of my Riyals into Singapore Dollars and to clear immigration formality as I was late for a meeting with a fellow A.Netter in downtown Singapore. Who could it be?




To be continued in PART 3
 
akhmad
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Tue Dec 08, 2009 8:19 pm

Nice follow up. Can't wait for PART 3.

Quoting 9MMAR (Reply 18):
Then, came the 'Givenchy' amenity kit, which contains a pair of sock, a toothbrush and toothpaste. This is actually something very commendable on SQ's part, since most airlines had gotten rid of them years ago. SQ still offers a 'cold feet-less' and a 'non-bad breath' flying experience to their passengers at the back

Really impressive.

Good to hear what SQ still has on offer in Y.

Cheers,
Suryo
Friends forever
 
kappel
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Tue Dec 08, 2009 9:55 pm



Quoting 9MMAR (Reply 17):
SQ's new flagship sales office is located on the 4th floor of ION Orchard. Previously, the office was located in Paragon Mall as I was told.

Yeah, I saw that. Nice to see the difference in Christmas decorations on Orchard. They just started at the end of October/beginning November when I was last there.

Quoting 9MMAR (Reply 17):
Kappel, the KLIA Jungle Boardwalk is located at the center of the Satellite Terminal. You know that jungle in the middle. Can you see the entrance behind the Information Counter in this photograph?

I see it. I could have used that info a month ago... lol... otherwise KUL is quite dull...

Quoting 9MMAR (Reply 17):
Then, came the 'Givenchy' amenity kit, which contains a pair of sock, a toothbrush and toothpaste. This is actually something very commendable on SQ's part, since most airlines had gotten rid of them years ago. SQ still offers a 'cold feet-less' and a 'non-bad breath' flying experience to their passengers at the back.

Indeed very nice!
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ALexeu
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Wed Dec 09, 2009 11:35 am

Hi, nice trip report and pics.

I was wondering, what is the demand between Saudi Arabia and Malaysia / Singapore? Is it mostly SE-Asian workers in KSA or vice-versa or the business and oil?

Alex
 
9MMAR
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Wed Dec 09, 2009 12:11 pm



Quoting SIN7 (Reply 13):
What was in the meal?
The main meal, some grilled middle eastern chicken?
The appetizer looks like a mush of colorful veg?

For the benefit of SIN7 and all, here is the menu for flight SQ 455 on 25 November 2009:

Jeddah to Abu Dhabi - LIGHT MEALS

Appetiser - Salad al rahib (grilled eggplant salad)

Main course - Spicy chicken Zamboanga with vegetables and steamed rice. The other choice was Egg tagliatelle with fish fillet in tomato basil sauce.

Desert - Chocolate and pear cake

Bakery - Roll and butter



Abu Dhabi to Singapore - REFRESHMENT

Light bites - the snacks (read: junk foods)



Abu Dhabi to Singapore - BREAKFAST

Fruit - Fruit appetiser

Main course - Corned beef hash with garlic rice and egg. The other choice being Parsley omelette with chicken sausage, grilled tomato and potatoes

Bakery - Breakfast roll, butter - fruit preserve

Quoting AlexEU (Reply 21):
I was wondering, what is the demand between Saudi Arabia and Malaysia / Singapore? Is it mostly SE-Asian workers in KSA or vice-versa or the business and oil?

I would say it is the mix of both, although the majority of them are the labour traffic, especially from the Philippines and Indonesia. Also, the religious tourism traffic as well (although maybe not too apparent on SQ, when compared to MH or GA).

I think SQ does not appeal to the business travellers in Saudi Arabia because the aircrafts they deploy here are the worst in the fleet - the Boeing 777-200 9V-SR* series, where some of the older one still don't have an AVOD IFE, couple with very old Business Class seats.
 
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SOBHI51
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Wed Dec 09, 2009 12:32 pm



Quoting 9MMAR (Reply 22):
I think SQ does not appeal to the business travellers in Saudi Arabia because the aircrafts they deploy here are the worst in the fleet - the Boeing 777-200 9V-SR* series, where some of the older one still don't have an AVOD IFE, couple with very old Business Class seats.

I could say that they are the worst club seats on that line. KWI,RUH,JED,AUH,DXB to SIN.
But if my memory is correct they should already or very soon have better C seats.
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9MMAR
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Wed Dec 09, 2009 1:37 pm



Quoting SOBHI51 (Reply 23):
I could say that they are the worst club seats on that line. KWI,RUH,JED,AUH,DXB to SIN.
But if my memory is correct they should already or very soon have better C seats.

Yes, I read that recent trip report of yours.



PART 3 | The Singapore Stopover


Date/Day: 26 November 2009/Thursday
Place: Singapore


First of all, this Singapore Stopover is not the official Singapore Stopover Program that SQ offers for free to their transit passengers with more than 5 transit hours to spend in SIN (I was not qualified). It is basically a self planned stopover escapade.

Earlier on, I was contacted by a fellow A.Netter for a possible get-together session in Singapore and I eventually agreed to the proposal.

Since I was late, soon after clearing immigration formality, I joined the queue for the city taxis and got one in about 10 minutes. It was a new C class Mercedes Benz taxi and the driver is a Malay Singaporean guy named Mohamad Sharif, whom I had a very nice chat with all the way through.



The initial plan to take the MRT from Changi to Orchard has to be abandoned as I was late, due to the late arrival of the aircraft,

The venue of the meeting would be at ION Orchard, the newest up-market shopping mall in Singapore located on top of the Orchard MRT station. There's even a concierge service to greet visitors who arrived by taxis, just like in 5 star hotels, which I found most impressive.





The precise meeting venue would be in front of SQ's new sales office on the 4th floor of the mall. There, I met Kretek whom I have been virtually befriended with for years. We started our get together session by browsing through the shops in ION Orchard, before settling down in a café nearby for a more serious discussion. In all, I found ION Orchard to be a nice mall, although it is quite small – only as big as Kuala Lumpur's Lot 10.

Our discussion went on very well, until I realized that it was almost 15:45, only 75 minutes away from my next schedule departure into Kuala Lumpur International KUL. Kretek helped me to navigate through the Singapore's MRT system and we bade goodbye at the City Hall interchange station.



From there onwards, I continued on the journey on my own, taking the train on the East West Line (Green Line) towards Pasir Ris, but disembarked in Tanah Merah station, where a separate line train was waiting for the journey to Changi. The station is located underground, right in between Terminal 2 and Terminal 3 and guess what? I arrived there at 16:30, just nicely for immigration clearance.

What I learnt most from this experience? If you are in Singapore and you are late for your flight and not sure about the traffic (road) conditions, just take the MRT, it's the safest best. While on the train, I actually doubt whether I would arrive at the airport on time to make the flight, but I did. The Singapore efficiency is no joke. It is for the world to be envied upon.


To be continued in PART 4
 
ronerone
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Wed Dec 09, 2009 2:29 pm

Very interesting follow-ups!

For all SQ flights out of AUH, whether they continue to KWI or JED, the crew will layover in AUH, and will do the shuttle the next day, regardless if it was JED or KWI.

An interesting note is that ever since SQ began its daily operations at AUH, they have been stealing a significant portion of the South East Asian traffic (MNL, CGK etc) away from Etihad (who are not so pleased about that).

SQ are quite happy at AUH! ... Could we see a double-daily soon? ..... Wink

I think SQ seems to be alright in Y-class even if there is no AVOD on the current 777s that are deployed to the Gulf. Their decent inflight service can make for a good experience.

However, SQ is so last year when 'premium' comes into play on these routes!

As for Singapore, i really felt like i did not spend enough time there! I loved that city, and all of its perfections! I must revisit again!

Thanks for this, i will wait to see more!  Smile


Regards,
Roni
Fly Roni. Aviation Journeys. Photos. Videos.
 
SQ772
Posts: 1647
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2001 5:16 pm

RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Wed Dec 09, 2009 3:02 pm



Quoting 9MMAR (Reply 22):
Main course - Corned beef hash with garlic rice and egg. The other choice being Parsley omelette with chicken sausage, grilled tomato and potatoes

That's a very typical filipino dish, and I guess SQ knows very well who flies that route with them.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 25):
An interesting note is that ever since SQ began its daily operations at AUH, they have been stealing a significant portion of the South East Asian traffic (MNL, CGK etc) away from Etihad (who are not so pleased about that).

What's the reason for this? Better timings? Without doing any research, I'm assuming EY flies to MNL and CGK. Or is it simply that the Southeast Asian traffic gets treated better in Y on SQ than on EY ?
There's always a better way to fly...
 
ronerone
Posts: 1463
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2004 4:56 pm

RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Wed Dec 09, 2009 3:18 pm



Quoting SQ772 (Reply 26):
What's the reason for this? Better timings? Without doing any research, I'm assuming EY flies to MNL and CGK. Or is it simply that the Southeast Asian traffic gets treated better in Y on SQ than on EY ?

Etihad does not cater to AUH's O&D market.
Over 80% of the traffic they carry are transferring from other points on their network, leaving a huge portion of the mix to leak onto other indirect options such as SQ.

It is quite significant to the point that CX manages to capture MNL and CGK traffic from AUH, through DXB and HKG!

Abu Dhabi has the largest Indonesian expat community in the UAE, and also has a significantly large Flilipino community. These people need to fly home at some point, and EY is not always an option.
Fly Roni. Aviation Journeys. Photos. Videos.
 
Ryanair!!!
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Thu Dec 10, 2009 2:02 am

Nice little journey you have there.... And we never met up. Normally people who are supposed to meet up with me and don't in the end (but splash it all out in a TR on airliners.net), always have some terrible event happen after they have returned home - like a stomach upset that never goes away. So you better mandi bunga kau kau ok? *evil laughter*

Hahahahaha... seriously. The next time you pass through, we would have to meet. I still owe you coffee for that "shrine" jab.
Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
 
9MMAR
Topic Author
Posts: 1728
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Thu Dec 10, 2009 8:48 am



Quoting Ronerone (Reply 25):
An interesting note is that ever since SQ began its daily operations at AUH, they have been stealing a significant portion of the South East Asian traffic (MNL, CGK etc) away from Etihad (who are not so pleased about that).



Quoting SQ772 (Reply 26):
What's the reason for this? Better timings? Without doing any research, I'm assuming EY flies to MNL and CGK. Or is it simply that the Southeast Asian traffic gets treated better in Y on SQ than on EY ?



Quoting Ronerone (Reply 27):
Etihad does not cater to AUH's O&D market.
Over 80% of the traffic they carry are transferring from other points on their network, leaving a huge portion of the mix to leak onto other indirect options such as SQ.

This is actually a very interesting discussion. In one hand, EY usually offer cheaper fares than SQ, and for the O&D passengers travelling to MNL or CGK, they'll only have a 1 stop flight (i.e. at AUH). Flying SQ would mean that they'll have to endure higher fares, as well as 2 stops journey (at AUH and SIN). EY is also have a better inflight hardware offerings in all classes for the mentioned routes.

But why EY is losing significant market shares in these routes (as claimed)? Could it be a branding issue (SQ is indeed very dominant in MNL and CGK)? Or could it be passengers' loyalty issue (but I don't really think the labour traffics care about KrisFlyer and Star Alliance miles and such)? Or is there something that EY can't get it right that make the Filipinos and the Indonesians turned to SQ?

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 25):
I think SQ seems to be alright in Y-class even if there is no AVOD on the current 777s that are deployed to the Gulf. Their decent inflight service can make for a good experience.

I think not all SQ's de-rated Boeing 777-200 9V-SR* series are non AVOD. Maybe our esteemed SQ fans can help to clarify from which aircraft the AVOD is being featured. I have been aboard -SRB, -SRC, -SRE (these are all non AVOD), -SRJ, -SRN, -SRP (these are all AVOD). For the record there's -SRA until -SRQ. -SRA is reported to be leaving the active fleet for Biman Bangladesh very soon.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 25):
As for Singapore, i really felt like i did not spend enough time there! I loved that city, and all of its perfections! I must revisit again!

Think again. A city that banned chewing gums is not perfect.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 27):
Abu Dhabi has the largest Indonesian expat community in the UAE, and also has a significantly large Flilipino community.

Abu Dhabi has the largest Indonesian expat community in the UAE? Expat as in professionals/non labours?

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 28):
Nice little journey you have there.... And we never met up. Normally people who are supposed to meet up with me and don't in the end (but splash it all out in a TR on airliners.net), always have some terrible event happen after they have returned home - like a stomach upset that never goes away. So you better mandi bunga kau kau ok? *evil laughter*

Hahahahaha... seriously. The next time you pass through, we would have to meet. I still owe you coffee for that "shrine" jab.

Owh, you should have try harder! Actually, without Kretek's invitation, I would have spent my transit time counting the koi in the pond in Terminal 2 - it was a rather snap decision. Since you mentioned it, all 3 members of the 'shrine gangtroll committee' and the 'shrine idol' himself are present in this thread LOL. We should have a feast!
 
ronerone
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Thu Dec 10, 2009 10:34 am



Quoting 9MMAR (Reply 29):
This is actually a very interesting discussion. In one hand, EY usually offer cheaper fares than SQ, and for the O&D passengers travelling to MNL or CGK, they'll only have a 1 stop flight (i.e. at AUH). Flying SQ would mean that they'll have to endure higher fares, as well as 2 stops journey (at AUH and SIN). EY is also have a better inflight hardware offerings in all classes for the mentioned routes.

But why EY is losing significant market shares in these routes (as claimed)? Could it be a branding issue (SQ is indeed very dominant in MNL and CGK)? Or could it be passengers' loyalty issue (but I don't really think the labour traffics care about KrisFlyer and Star Alliance miles and such)? Or is there something that EY can't get it right that make the Filipinos and the Indonesians turned to SQ?

I think you are talking about O&D traffic between JED and CGK. This could be a totally different scenario than that for AUH.

Out of JED (and Saudi Arabia), EY is a major player for the Saudi O&D market, and can probably take this traffic from point A to B through AUH at a price that outbeats the competition.

Going back to AUH, and to show a simple illustration, i did a dummy booking on both SQ and EY on AUH-CGK departing 25 December and returning 25 January in Economy Class. There are the different fares that i got for each:

Etihad:
Lowest Fare (Economy Value) - AED 2,375
Medium Range Fare (Economy Smart): AED 3,235
Higher Range Fare (Economy Flexible): AED 5,495

Singapore Airlines:
Lowest Fare (Sweet Deals): AED 2,295
Medium Range Fare (Flexi Saver): AED 2,695
Higher Range Fare (Flexi): AED 3,595


Singapore Airlines is quite cheaper, and that is definitely because it's superior to Etihad due to the one-stop connect option. However, big network carriers like EK, QR, and EY, have a much higher percentage of transfer traffic originating from points outside of their hub airports, connecting through their respective hubs, and trasfering onwards to a final destination elsewhere. This leaves a very small (and ultra-high yielding) 10% to 20% available capacity on their aircraft that can cater to their home-base O&D markets.
Fly Roni. Aviation Journeys. Photos. Videos.
 
9MMAR
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Thu Dec 10, 2009 12:48 pm

PART 4 | SIN-KUL

The third sector of the journey.

Flight Record No: 202
Date/Day: 26 November 2009/Thursday
Flight Number: SQ 116
Carrier: Singapore Airlines
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200 (de-rated ER version)
Aircraft Registration No: 9V-SRN (6 years old aircraft)
Route: Singapore (SIN) to Kuala Lumpur (KUL)
Departure Time: 17:00 hour Singaporean time (GMT +8 )
Arrival Time: 18:00 hour Malaysian time (GMT +8 )
Journey: 1 hour
Distance: 185 miles
Class of Travel: Economy Class
Fare Category: W (Discounted Economy)


All the running like a mad man was worth it! I arrived rather early, I even managed to snap this photograph, while the FDIS was showing my flight as 'Boarding'. SIN's Terminal 2, despite being an old terminal, is still looking immaculate. Love the Christmas decorations too!



Since I already had my boarding pass issued in JED, I went straight to clear immigration and within seconds I was back into the airside area of the terminal, trying to find my way to Gate 40, which turned out to be located quite far away from where I was then. While on my way, I stumbled upon 9V-SRB, the aircraft that flew me from JED and AUH a few hours ago. Apparently it is still wearing the old livery of the airline, which lead me to think whether she will stay or not? Current news are saying that 4 of SQ's Boeing 777-200 of the 9V-SR* series aircrafts will be leaving the active fleet for Biman Bangladesh Airline.



Upon arrival at Gate 40, 9V-SRN was seen getting prepared for her short hop into Kuala Lumpur International KUL. Unlike the sister aircraft 9V-SRB, 9V-SRN is wearing the new SQ livery (which could be translated as she could be kept for a tad longer as of now). I was assigned with seat 34A, which is just 4 rows away from the door.





From my seat, I could again see clearly 9V-SRB just across the apron and also the landmark Changi ATC Tower at the background.





The Economy Class cabin of 9V-SRN feels newer. Christmas decorations that SQ is so famous for have also being put up, with all the SilverKris inflight magazine, KrisWorld IFE magazine and the duty free magazine being of December 2009 issues, although it was still on November 26th. An entirely different atmosphere when compared to my earlier flights.



For the fourth time within 24 hours, I was screened with the Safety Demonstration as the aircraft began its taxi to the active runway. A fierce thunderstorm was seen approaching Changi at that time.





The aircraft took off right after sister aircraft 9V-SQF, but after an AirAsia's Airbus 320, which was also heading towards KUL.





The aircraft took off smoothly, passing above the massive airport complex. I could clearly see the new Terminal 3, the new airport hotel – Crowne Plaza, Terminal 2, the currently undergoing massive facelift work Terminal 1 and last but not least the Budget Terminal.





The distance between Changi and Malaysia is actually very near, that the aircraft has already entered the Malaysian airspace within seconds after shooting off into the sky.



The catering aboard SIN-KUL and vice versa sectors' flights has always been amusing ever since the route was liberalized to all carriers in late 2008, after being protected for nearly 30 years by the Malaysian and Singaporean governments. Taking Economy Class as an example, at one side, we have MH and SQ, the former two airlines who monopolized the route which serve coffee, tea and a selection of drinks (juice, carbonated drinks, plain water etc) to the passengers, while at the other end of the spectrum, we have AirAsia, Jetstar and Tiger Airways where while they do not offer complimentary snacks and drinks, their BOB menus can simply put the 2 big players to shame. Having a Nasi Lemak, Roti Jala or Nasi Biryani (for a fee of course) was never possible on the SIN-KUL and vice versa sectors before the emergence of the LCCs on the route. Recently, a new turboprop carrier, FireFly, joined the parade and offers complimentary snacks and drinks to their passengers, an offering which is better than that of SQ's and MH's.



On the flight, I was served with a pre-packed juice. Ok now here's the deal, if you fly MH on the same sector, you'll be getting the same juice, but it'll be served in a cup. So it can be said that MH's service for this particular minuscule element is better than SQ's.

The emergence of the LCCs on the route as well has resulted in a recent rumour that SQ may drop KUL altogether from its network. Earlier on, SQ announced its shocking withdrawal from PEN, another Malaysian destination which the airline has served for 29 years (I was told). SQ has since issued out a press release on 7 December 2009 reaffirming that KUL will stay in its network, despite the majority of the flights now will be handed over to sister airline, Silk Air.

The aircraft was asked to circle around and remain in the air for 10 minutes, before it was allowed to land into KUL. The weather in Kuala Lumpur was the opposite of that in Singapore – it was a bright clear day.



There seems to be some construction works going on near the viaducts of the KUL's aerotrains. But I couldn't figure out what it is. I don't think they are building the viaducts for the other Satellite Terminal, which is supposed to be built on the big vacant land next to the existing Satellite Terminal.



I took my own sweet time to disembark and even spent quite sometimes at the Satellite Terminal, before taking on the aerotrain to the Main Terminal Building for immigration clearance.





There seemed to be a pair of rare visitors at that time, which are a Japan Airlines' Boeing 767-300 ER with OneWorld title and also a Yemenia's Airbus 330-200.





I was greeted by this signage by Kurnia Insurans after disembarking the train. While just a very short greeting, after being away for quite sometimes, it meant a lot to me (Selamat Pulang is 'Welcome Home' by the way).



Immigration clearance in KUL is always super fast for Malaysian passport holders and in no time, I was at the baggage carousels area.





Old habit dies hard. Even after spending quite sometimes at the Satellite Terminal and taking my own sweet time to arrive at the baggage carousel, the luggage for all passengers of flight SQ 116 on that day has yet to arrive still. This is actually the most criticized aspect of KUL and it seems that sometimes, it was never being rectified properly.

My long journey back home finally came to an end with a ride aboard the KLIA Express train to KL Sentral in downtown Kuala Lumpur.




To be continued in PART 5
 
lukeyboy95
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Thu Dec 10, 2009 3:50 pm



Quoting 9MMAR (Thread starter):
That's a very typical filipino dish, and I guess SQ knows very well who flies that route with them

Manifested too in their choice of Zamboanga Chicken dish ( that being a city in the fabulous Philippines)
Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
 
SQ772
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Thu Dec 10, 2009 4:29 pm



Quoting 9MMAR (Reply 31):
Ok now here's the deal, if you fly MH on the same sector, you'll be getting the same juice, but it'll be served in a cup. So it can be said that MH's service for this particular minuscule element is better than SQ's.

If you look at it from an operational perspective, and comparing apples to apples, serving pre-packed juice is more efficient and less taxing on the crew on a fully loaded 777 than on a 737.

But I agree with you, serving it in a cup looks nicer, just like serving a meal on a tray looks nicer than packing them in a snack box...heheh
There's always a better way to fly...
 
akhmad
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Thu Dec 10, 2009 9:55 pm

Hi again 9MMAR,

Really nice follow up! Can't wait for PART 5.

Cheers,
Suryo
Friends forever
 
airpearl
Posts: 849
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Sat Dec 12, 2009 1:53 am

Hi 9MMAR, thanks much for your report so far. Very interesting journey especially bits out of JED which we don't get to see all that often on A.net - but I am also looking forward to your next sectors. It's amazing that you managed to squeeze in a trip into town during your short stopover in Singapore! Glad to see it's been uneventful, although I can imagine the story turning out quite differently had you managed to meet Ryanair!!! ?  Wink

Quoting 9MMAR (Thread starter):
I seriously thought the 'Refreshment' would be at least a sandwich, but how wrong I was.

Wow, I am surprised. When even SQ going down-market, times must be hard for the industry.

Quoting 9MMAR (Thread starter):
Then, came the 'Givenchy' amenity kit, which contains a pair of sock, a toothbrush and toothpaste.

But this is impressive though, considering they give no amenity kits in J class. Or do they now?

Look forward to your next installment.

Regards,
airpearl
 
ojas
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Sat Dec 12, 2009 6:32 am

Hi there ,

Excellent TR! Pics from JED/RUH/DMM are rare.

Quoting 9MMAR (Thread starter):
Jeddah's leaking King Abdul Aziz International JED

That is appalling, A rich country like Saudi and such poor infrastructure.

Thanks for sharing
Great leaders don't tell you what to do ... they show you how it's done!
 
9MMAR
Topic Author
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Sat Dec 12, 2009 10:58 am



Quoting SQ772 (Reply 33):
But I agree with you, serving it in a cup looks nicer, just like serving a meal on a tray looks nicer than packing them in a snack box...heheh

Ouch MH!

Quoting Ojas (Reply 36):
Pics from JED/RUH/DMM are rare.



Quoting Airpearl (Reply 35):
Very interesting journey especially bits out of JED which we don't get to see all that often on A.net - but I am also looking forward to your next sectors. It's amazing that you managed to squeeze in a trip into town during your short stopover in Singapore! Glad to see it's been uneventful, although I can imagine the story turning out quite differently had you managed to meet Ryanair!!! ?

Maybe I should post more Saudi Arabian domestic trip reports then?

IF I met Ryanair!!! instead of Kretek...
 
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Sat Dec 12, 2009 11:23 am

PART 5 | KLIA Jungle Boardwalk


Date/Day: 26 November 2009/Thursday
Place: Kuala Lumpur International KUL


Remember I mentioned about taking my own sweet time and doing a little sight seeing at the Satellite Terminal when disembarking flight SQ 116? One of the thing that I did was to explore the newest attraction of KUL, the KLIA Jungle Boardwalk.



For those who are familiar with KUL, the new structure which was erected circling the glass epicenter of the Satellite Terminal is so noticeable. This structure is supported by columns, which featured a very much elaborated design, which to me depicted the oil palm trees that Malaysia is so famous of – but looking rather out of place with the Kisho Kurokawa's overall design of the terminal.



However, the structure now enables easy access to all 4 wings and sections of the cross-shaped terminal, especially for movements on the upper level area.





Those who appreciate architecture like yours truly would definitely love to photograph the terminal from some new angles. For introduction, here are the 4 wings of KUL's Satellite Terminal:

i. The Hermes/O'Briens/Burger King Wing (LOL!)




ii. The Harrods/Starbucks Wing



This Starbucks café will be the Satellite Terminal's second, as there's already another one near the MH's Golden Lounge. As you can see, the new Cathay Pacific/OneWorld Lounge is located on the right side on the upper level, while the Emirates Lounge is located opposite it.


iii. The Old Malaya Kopitiam/Satay Club/Gold City Wing



The newly opened food outlets at the upper level area of the terminal really gives it a totally new look. It also makes the terminal looks 'crowded' too.


iv. And last but not least, the MH's Golden Lounge/Aerotrain Station Wing




Ok now back to the main subject, the KLIA Jungle Boardwalk is actually an improvement that was done to the jungle that the terminal has been nursing for the last 10 years. The airport authority (maybe) finally realized that they can capitalize on the jungle and maybe thought, "Hey, let's build a bridge across it and let the people come inside it. Probably this can give Changi's Koi Pond/Sunflower Garden/Cactus Garden/Orchid Garden a run for their money."







The entrance of the Walk is located behind the information counter past the aerotrain station, while the exit is located 180 degrees on the opposite side.

What can one expect inside it?





The jungle seems lush, like Malaysia's rainforest in the real wild. There's wooden pathway with iron railing snaking inside the area to ease visitors' navigation. The whole jungle seems well lit. I also saw a waterfall and possibly some animals too inside it.

I was told that there has been some delay in the opening of the KLIA Jungle Boardwalk, but it should be officiated very soon. There's gone my chance in exploring it at that moment.

15 minutes passed by, I soon made my way to the Main Terminal Building for immigration clearance.




To be continued in PART 6
 
Ryanair!!!
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Sun Dec 13, 2009 11:59 am

Quoting Airpearl (Reply 35):
Glad to see it's been uneventful, although I can imagine the story turning out quite differently had you managed to meet Ryanair!!! ?

Oi! Ape ni? Like I would eat him up... hehehehehe... Airpearl, next time you come to town, experience ME for yourself and see if your transit turns out different from your previous ones. Don't worry, I am normally very subdued on the first meeting.

[Edited 2009-12-13 04:01:15]
Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
 
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SOBHI51
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Sun Dec 13, 2009 2:33 pm



Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 39):
Don't worry, I am normally very subdued on the first meeting.

More than that you are a perfect gentleman
I am against any terrorist acts committed under the name of Islam
 
BartBus
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Sun Dec 13, 2009 6:14 pm

I enyoy reading your TP but I find it rather shocking that SQ will seize operation to PEN. Quite a key business route for European customers.
 
aces727
Posts: 143
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Sun Dec 13, 2009 7:51 pm

Hey guy! awesome trip report, I really enjoyed going trough it. Nice photos!

Similar to you I had been working nonstop for 8 months until I was able to get a break.....Saw the disaster photos on FB, amazing!

Regards,

Alvaro
 
9MMAR
Topic Author
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Sun Dec 13, 2009 9:24 pm

Thank you guys for all the responses.

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 39):
Oi! Ape ni? Like I would eat him up... hehehehehe... Airpearl, next time you come to town, experience ME for yourself and see if your transit turns out different from your previous ones. Don't worry, I am normally very subdued on the first meeting.

Why do I have disturbing visuals of Ryanair!!! and Airpearl in my mind? Looks like Airpearl's future transit in SIN would never be the same again LOL (kidding guys).

Quoting BartBus (Reply 41):
I enyoy reading your TP but I find it rather shocking that SQ will seize operation to PEN. Quite a key business route for European customers.

SQ has dropped PEN on 1 December 2009. Their Sales Office in downtown Georgetown is now up for sale and the SilverKris Lounge in PEN is now closed. It is truly sad because PEN has been in SQ's network for almost 30 years!

Quoting Aces727 (Reply 42):
Similar to you I had been working nonstop for 8 months until I was able to get a break.....Saw the disaster photos on FB, amazing!

Yes Alvaro, the disaster left quite a devastating outcome. More than 100 casualties. Apparently the Saudis was never prepared for such a downpour.
 
9MMAR
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Sun Dec 13, 2009 9:30 pm

PART 6 | ENRICH MILES REDEMPTION


The Hiccup

My body decided not to cooperate with the local climate, as I was sick the entire time throughout the 4 days of Eid Adha holiday I allocated for my family and had to spend my time mostly in bed. Monday, 30 November 2009 – I decided it's time to go out and about.

First thing first, I need to renew my passport, which was out of pages. This one would be my fourth. Unfortunately, luck was not on my side (as usual). The Immigration office was packed to the brim, due to the closure during the long holiday. Adding salt to the wound, the Immigration Department's computer system decided to 'take it easy' before afternoon on that day. This resulted in massive congestion and I was only called to the counter for processing at 16:30. Mind you, I arrived at the office at 08:00 on that day, 8 hours and 30 minutes just waiting for the number to be called alone! Malaysia Boleh ok! And this, resulted in the passport only ready for collection on the next day – 1 December 2009, instead of 2 hours after processing. At that moment, I realized that I just lost a precious 1 day, which should be allocated for vacationing.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009. I arrived at the Immigration office even earlier, at 07:00 together with my luggage and all dressed up in winter clothing. I didn't care if others think I have gone nuts (for dressing up in such manner in the warm and humid tropical climate). Fortunately they kept their words, and I was the first person in Malaysia to receive a new passport on that day. What a feat!

Next destination – the Enrich Customer Service Center. I then dashed to KL Sentral.


The Redemption

I had 20,595 Enrich miles, which are expiring by 31 December 2009. I had planned that for my intended vacation, it was most appropriate to buy it using miles redemption.



Ok folks, welcome to Malaysia Airlines' new Enrich Customer Service Center. It is located at the departure hall side of KL Sentral, sandwiches between Maybank and the Coffee Beans & Tea Leafs café. Previously, the office was located at the MAS Building in Jalan Sultan Ismail, which has since been closed down following the sale of the building. I think the decision to move the office to KL Sentral was a good one, as it made the facility becoming more accessible to even more people.



09:00 The office was opened but only one Customer Service officer is on duty. There were 4 of us waiting. I was the first one to be served on that day. 2 of the guys in the line unfortunately left after waiting for about 15 minutes. 09:20 the second Customer Service officer finally arrived, followed by another one 5 minutes later. Definitely not a good impression to us – they were late for works and even caused 2 customers to cancel their affairs.

MH is currently offering a 50% discount on redemption to several destinations, including all their European routes (until 31 January 2010), which I was most attracted to. 30,000 Enrich miles for a return ticket in Economy Class to Europe? That is definitely a bargain. Where to go? Why not LHR – the furthers destination on offer? I gave myself a surprise – a First Class ticket on one of the sector. A few clicks on the system and 50,000 Enrich miles debited from my account, I was issued out with a KUL-LHR-KUL ticket, with the KUL-LHR sector being on First Class departing that very night – just 14 hours away from that moment onwards.

The breakdown of the redemption was as follows:

KUL-LHR First Class – 35,000 Enrich miles
LHR-KUL Economy Class – 15,000 Enrich miles
Total miles debited – 50,000 Enrich miles

Taxes and surcharges for the ticket was MYR 1,234.00

I was totally rejoiced and in cloud nine to finally be able to fly on First Class for the very first time, aboard my home country's flag carrier Malaysia Airlines, on their flagship route, KUL-LHR-KUL. A long time dream finally comes true!

The next few hours was spent at the Business Lounge of Hilton Kuala Lumpur, which is located next to the KL Sentral terminal building where I did most of the bookings for accommodation, transport arrangements and another surprise detour trip for myself. I love doing a snap vacation!


To be continued in PART 7
 
SQ772
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:07 am



Quoting 9MMAR (Reply 44):
I arrived at the Immigration office even earlier, at 07:00 together with my luggage and all dressed up in winter clothing. I didn't care if others think I have gone nuts (for dressing up in such manner in the warm and humid tropical climate). Fortunately they kept their words, and I was the first person in Malaysia to receive a new passport on that day. What a feat!

Next destination – the Enrich Customer Service Center. I then dashed to KL Sentral.



Quoting 9MMAR (Reply 44):
Where to go? Why not LHR – the furthers destination on offer? I gave myself a surprise – a First Class ticket on one of the sector.

Ok, now I'm confused... So you went to collect your passport on 1Dec with luggage and winter wear et al, WITHOUT knowing that you'd be flying to LHR that very night? Or was the second quote a recap of what happened in your PREVIOUS trip to the ECSC?

Thanks for the report so far. You're keeping everyone at the edge of their seats with your slow, piece by piece striptease act...LOL
There's always a better way to fly...
 
9MMAR
Topic Author
Posts: 1728
Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2006 7:18 pm

RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Mon Dec 14, 2009 4:34 am

Quoting SQ772 (Reply 45):
Ok, now I'm confused... So you went to collect your passport on 1Dec with luggage and winter wear et al, WITHOUT knowing that you'd be flying to LHR that very night? Or was the second quote a recap of what happened in your PREVIOUS trip to the ECSC?

I had the information of the destinations being offered for the discount on redemption in hand several days earlier, it's just that I don't know whether there are seats available for miles redemption on a particular flight on a particular day. I knew it was going to be Europe, but I only decided on LHR, from a field of AMS, CDG, FRA and FCO, when I visited the Enrich Customer Service Center upon collecting my new passport. It was pretty much a gamble so to say, because should there's no seat available at all, I just might end up going to CGK for the intended vacation with my winter clothing - but being an aviation enthusiast and an avid MH fan, their not so overwhelm loads lately is no secret.

So yeah, I went to collect my passport on 1 December 2009 without knowing that I would be flying to LHR that very night.

Quoting SQ772 (Reply 45):
Thanks for the report so far. You're keeping everyone at the edge of their seats with your slow, piece by piece striptease act...LOL

I have been criticized by quite a number of people for posting materials which were not current in the past. So in order to offer something 'hot' and fresh, this is the way that I can think of - posting the trip report bit by bit - because it would probably take a few months to complete before being uploaded if I stick to my old style of reporting. In a way, I want people to eat me bit by bit, rather than all up in one go. More thrilling don't you think so?

[Edited 2009-12-13 20:41:17]
 
kretek
Posts: 76
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2006 4:50 am

RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Wed Dec 16, 2009 10:29 am



Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 28):
Hahahahaha... seriously. The next time you pass through, we would have to meet

I think Ryanair!!! was too busy eating Chicken Rice or Chilli Crabs that he forgot to check his mail. Who can blame him though for living in the food capital of the world? They call it Makan Sutra in Singapore.

Quoting 9MMAR (Reply 29):
Owh, you should have try harder! Actually, without Kretek's invitation, I would have spent my transit time counting the koi in the pond in Terminal 2 - it was a rather snap decision. Since you mentioned it, all 3 members of the 'shrine gangtroll committee' and the 'shrine idol' himself are present in this thread LOL. We should have a feast!

I am really honoured. Thanks for sparing some of your time for a meet up. If you had more transit time on hand, we could have gone spotting for Ryanair!!! at the many chicken rice stalls. I don't remember seeing one at ION mall, perhaps it is a bit too upmarket???  Smile  Wink
 
9MMAR
Topic Author
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RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Fri Dec 18, 2009 5:17 pm

Dank je wel Meneer Kretek for dropping by.


PART 7 | KUL-LHR PART [1]

The 4th sector of the journey – the journey of my lifetime.

Flight Record No: 203
Date/Day: 1 December 2009/Tuesday
Flight Number: MH 2
Carrier: Malaysia Airlines
Aircraft: Boeing 747-400
Aircraft Registration No: 9M-MPP Putrajaya (7 years old aircraft)
Route: Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to London (LHR)
Departure Time: 23:55 hour Malaysian time (GMT +8 )
Arrival Time: 05:30 hour British time (GMT 0)
Journey: 13 hour 30 minutes
Distance: 6,593 miles
Class of Travel: First Class
Fare Category: R (Award/Redemption)


19:30 The time finally came to depart for Kuala Lumpur International KUL. I decided to skip doing the check-in at KL Sentral because I need to store a luggage in the Main Terminal Building that I was not planning to bring along to London.





I was greeted by a moving train upon arriving at the KLIA Express train's platform, which means I have to wait for another 15 minutes before the departure of the next train. The half an hour journey to the airport aboard the train went on uneventfully.





Upon arrival at the Departure Hall, the first thing I did was to visit the main Luggage Drop outlet in KUL, leaving a bag there after having scrambling through all the belongings that I carried at that time. The main Luggage Drop outlet in KUL charges only MYR 10.00 per 24 hour bloc for a decent size luggage – a rate which is extremely reasonable in my opinion.



KUL was looking ok, not too crowded as always and it seems that Christmas decorations have been up, but they are not looking quite Christmas. What do you say? While the entire terminal seems to belong to MH with endless advertisements of the so called '5 Star' airline, AirAsia decided to rain on their parade by having their route map advertised at a very prominent central location of the terminal. Mind you, AirAsia has no business at KUL's Main Terminal at all LOL!





Next, I began the first formality – checking-in at Island D, which handles all MH's premium travelers, be it domestic or international flights. First Class and Business Class passengers as well as all Enrich card holders from level Silver and upwards are all being handled here, which is quite subpar with the current decent First Class offerings on rival airlines. SQ, TG and EK for example allocate a dedicated curbside area in SIN, BKK and DXB respectively for their First Class passengers, where porters will line up to escort them to the check-in lounge where they just have to sit, while the rest is being taken care of by multiple check-in agent/staff. For EK, a complimentary limousine ride is also being offered to even Business Class passengers at both the departing and arrival airports. With MH in KUL however, First Class passengers have to queue up in lines at a slightly better decorated counters while rubbing shoulders with Enrich Silver card holders who are flying in Economy Class. Alas, I am only travelling on a redemption ticket so maybe I can't have much say on that.



I was greeted rather lukewarm by a male check-in agent at the First Class counter after he mistaken me of being a Business Class passenger. It seemed that he was in a hurry to close the counter, but still gave in to my request for check-in. In a few seconds I was issued out with a red boarding pass and my passport returned – all this was done while the agent was standing up, looking so desperately to close the counter and leave. And that's all for my first First Class check-in experience.



It was super fast and kinda mute in general and that's all. No invitation card to the First Class lounge, no luggage tag for my cabin luggage (mind you I have been very cooperative by not having a single bag to check-in), no question of seat preferential asked and it was all too laid back – I was expecting something more professional. Maybe there is a different policy for redemption ticket holder that they are not entitled to some of the privileges that the paying First Class passengers are being accorded to?



As a protest, I decided to tie up an EK luggage tag that I happened to bring along with me to my backpack. So there's a free marketing for Emirates Airline at MH's premium check-in island. Boo to MH!



Next, currency exchange. I have made a habit to check on all available Bureau de Change at KUL before every departure and on that day Maybank has the best rate. Since I will be in London for about 24 hours only, I thought GBP 1,000 would be sufficient for the journey.

21:30 Immigration clearance. For the first time since August 2007, I am finally able to use the autogate at KUL. What happened then? A US Embassy staff ruined the electronic chip on my previous passport despite being informed profusely about its sensitivity – no apology offered to me but instead my visa application was rejected because I am simply 'not qualified' (it is a very eye opening personal experience about wanting to travel to the US, seriously guys). This ruined passport's chip also resulted in me not entitled of utilizing the KIPPAS facility, a kiosk based passport renewal facility offered by Immigration Malaysia. The kiosk simply can't read my passport. Otherwise, I won't have to endure a 8 and a half hours of waiting to get my passport being processed and another day for collecting it. Sigh, so many incompetent people in charge of our daily matters!



KUL is an airport which practices a double layer security screenings. The first one is conducted at the point just past immigration, while the second one is at the respective departure gates.



Now this area always seems to be the interest of mine.



While at the opposite area it is the grandeur entrance into MH's much acclaimed Regional Golden Lounge, the other end seems dead. I wonder whether there is a vacant floor area that is still unoccupied up there, which might be suitable for another airline lounge or this is simply the back door of the mentioned MH's Regional Golden Lounge?

While waiting for the arrival of the aerotrain that will ferry me to the Satellite Terminal where the First Class Lounge is located and where my departure gate is assigned, I browsed through the aircraft models collection nearby.



Among the 60+ aircraft models being displayed, there used to be only 2 gigantic models – a Malaysia Airlines' Boeing 747-400 and an AirAsia Airbus 320-200. Apparently it seemed that 3 new members have joined the family – a China Southern's Airbus 380-800, a Vietnam Airlines' Boeing 777-200 ER and an Etihad Airways' Airbus 340-600. Could it be these airlines paid some fees to Malaysia Airport Holding Berhad to have their gigantic models being displayed there as some form of marketing? Another weird question asked by yours truly. Sorry, I can help it.

Soon after, an aerotrain arrived and I was transported to the Satellite Terminal in no time.





I made my way to the upper level area heading towards the MH's Satellite Golden Lounge right away. But I was worried. Following the incident during the check-in formality, could I be denied access into the First Class side of the lounge because I am not a paying First Class passenger? Could it be the absence of the lounge's invitation card means that I am not invited there? Why did MH let worrying questions of this sort being a mind game in their passengers' head?




To be continued in PART 8
 
chrisrad
Posts: 963
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2000 7:26 pm

RE: When The Vacation Is The Journey | SQ, MH, KL

Tue Dec 22, 2009 10:29 am

Eagerly awaiting part 8
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