(Singapore Changi) – TPE
I manage some of our company’s accounts in Taiwan, which means that I find myself traveling quite frequently to Taipei, Kaohsiung, and a few cities in between on the Taiwanese west coast. This is the 3rd time in the last month and a half that I go to Taiwan and the 2nd time that I flew on this route and on SQ
. My previous trip was from PVG
while I was still based in Shanghai and I documented that TR
Dragonair: PVG - HKG / A332 / J Class (by Coal Jul 17 2011 in Trip Reports)
Last time I flew SQ
on this route I had planned to do a TR
, but I had too much work to do on the plane to properly document the flight and hadn’t had enough sleep the night before, so I decided against it. I believe this is the first or, if not the first, then one of the very few reports on this route on SQ
and in J.
I got up at 6am sharp and after a quick shower and a cup of coffee, I sent a text message for a cab and within a minute I had confirmation that a Hyundai Sonata would be picking me up in 3 to 5 minutes. I went downstairs and as I had expected, the taxi was not there because the postal code for the place I am staying in right now coincides with the same postal code as the shopping mall next door, so I had to walk to the taxi stand.
This morning I had a fast driver so I avoided the feeling of being in a blender which one gets with most Singaporean taxi drivers. We arrived at Changi around 645am and I instructed the driver to go to Terminal 3 door number 5. I paid and the driver helped me to get the luggage out of the trunk.
I had already checked in online, as I usually do, and I had noticed the flight in J class was absolutely full. Luckily I had managed to pre-book a window seat.
I headed towards the J class business counter and I asked for my boarding pass to be printed and, even though I had a carry on with liquid bottles under 100ml, I decided to check in my luggage. As usual, all of this was done with a warm smile by the check in agent. I later realized that they tagged by bag as First Class, not Business Class. If only…
Terminal 3 check in area)
Business check in row)
First Class tag… if only!)
After checking in I headed straight for immigration. I love the fact that even as a foreigner, as long as you have a PR
or an Employment Pass, you can use the automated passport scanning machines. This really speeds up the (already very efficient) process at Changi.
A quick turn to the left and towards the northwestern pier of Terminal 3. Today we would be departing from gate A16, which is a bit of a hike, but I still had more than an hour before boarding time, which meant plenty of time at the lounge. So up the escalator we go, past the KrisFlyer Gold and DBS Asia Treasures lounges and towards the Silver Kris Lounge. A quick check of my boarding pass and I am pointed to the left hand side, the Business Class section of the lounge.
Silver Kris Lounge)
It is about 6:55am and the lounge is about 60% full already. That is mainly due to the bank of flights to Asia as well as a delayed non-stop flight to LAX
and an A380 service to London. I am feeling slightly hungry since 7am is my usual breakfast time, so I head over to the food section to find some protein-rich food. It is hard to find healthy food at lounges in general (not at the QF
lounge in MEL
, which in any case is an awesome lounge!) so I go for the egg crepes which look rich in protein and flavor. I steer clear of the egg fritatta, which I know is tasteless, and instead get some prawn dim sum.
(Egg crepe and dim sum)
After eating and checking on news on my iPad, around 7:35am I decided to get up and start walking to the gates, as I know they are at the other end of the A pier. After leaving the lounge, I noticed that there is a SkyTrain that actually takes you to the other end of the A pier. After all these years of living in Singapore I always thought the SkyTrain was only inter-Terminal, not intra-Terminal. So, since I wanted to arrive at the gate early to see if I could get some pics of our airplane, I decide to wait 2 minutes for the SkyTrain instead of walking.
(SkyTrain to gates A15 – A21)
So I get to the end of the A pier and realize that gates A16 – A20 have a common holding area, not too common for SIN
, which means there is a bit of a crowd at the security checkpoint as the A345 to LAX
is boarding next to our gate. Additionally, these gates seem to have a poor view of the tarmac, so I just sit down and wait for our boarding call.
About 5 minutes later a boarding call is made and the gate area starts to get crowded. I went to the left side, which is the lane for First, Business, PPS Club, and Elite Gold. I was third in line and soon I was walking down the jetway to the Airbus A330-300.
(Our A333 and a A345 in the reflection)
I was only the third person on board and I had pre-selected seat 12A, the 3rd row from the front of the aircraft. The new regional seat is obviously a huge improvement from the old regional seats, which were the typical oversized seats that recline just a bit. SQ
deploys the A330s on some medium-haul routes within as well as to BNE
, and PER
It does not convert into a fully flat bed, and I haven’t tried them on overnight flights yet, but I think the comfort on the seat when fully reclined / extended is similar to the old SpaceBeds SQ
used to have on Raffles Class, which, for a regional J product, is quite good.
I do find the seat slightly uncomfortable in the fully upright position, perhaps because I am not very tall (5’8”) and it feels like my feet barely reach the floor. However, as you put the seat into a more relaxed position, the bottom portion moves downwards and it becomes very, very comfy.
(“New” regional J seat)
(Big screen for regional J)
As the J cabin started to fill up, the FAs went around offering drinks: orange juice, tomato juice, and champagne were on offer. I haven’t seen SQ
’s tropical sparkle being offered for a long time now, which was some concotion of Sprite, tomato juice, and something else. A shame. I opted for an orange juice, as it was too early to drink any alcohol (is it every too early?).
The FAs also came around offering newspapers and magazines. That was followed by hot linen towels and menus. One of the FAs in charge of my portion of the J cabin noticed I had a pair of Bose QC15s, so she took the SQ
noise canceling headphones away to make some space for me. I get the feeling that SQ
used to have higher quality noise canceling headphones before, but I may be wrong. Perhaps because the QC15s are just that good!
We pushed back around 8:37am and the pilot came on the PA to let us know that our flying time would be around 4 hours and 40 minutes and that the air was choppy en route, so we should expected quite a bit of turbulence. It seems the air above the Philippines is always very turbulent, as I’ve experienced very violent turbulence in the same area before when flying between China and Australia.
We taxied towards the north passing Terminal 3 and Terminal 1 to our starboard side and made a right turn between T1 and the cargo ramp towards runway 20C. We had another SQ
A330 in front of us an I belive an Air Asia A320 as well, so we were third in line for departure.
is the land of SQ
As our turn came, we rushed down 20C heading south towards the CBD and port area. Unfortunately being seated on the port side didn’t afford me any good views of the City-state, but at least I got some nice views of the ocean as well as of the hundreds of vessels waiting to call the port of Singapore to transship cargo.
After departure we made a left u-turn and headed northwest towards Formosa island. We were afforded some nice views of the morning sun being reflected on the ocean, but soon enough we were engulfed by clouds, and it was time to recline the seat and relax for the rest of the flight.
Soon after take off, the FAs started walking around the cabin taking orders for drinks. I asked for a glass of Perrier as well as a mug of coffee. I hate drinking coffee in small cups, so kudos to SQ
for serving coffee in a proper mug. However, when the FAs started to do the drinks round, they only brought my water and forgot the coffee. We then entered some area of turbulence, so when I reminded them about my coffee, they told me they couldn’t serve it during turbulence and I would have to wait. A shame as I was in dire need of some caffeine at this point.
(A handful of the hundreds of vessels waiting to dock at the port)
After putting the seat in a more comfortable position I turned on KrisWorld to see what was available for IFE. I still believe KrisWorld is the best IFE system out there, with thousands of choices of movies, TV
shows, music, and radio. The only other comparable system I have experienced is QR
’s Oryx IFE.
I settled on watching some episodes of The Office in which Michael decides to leave and is replaced by Deangelo. Hilarious stuff!
(IFE control screen)
I never got the coffee I had ordered, even after the turbulence ended. A slip on the FAs part, but no big deal. Once the turbulence was over the FAs came around taking orders for brunch. The following was on offer:
Sliced fresh fruit
Choice of cereals or yoghurt
Cornflakes or All-bran with milk
Plain or fruit yoghurt
Beef hor fun
Chinese style fried sliced beef with rice noodles
A popular Singaporean dish
Selection of dim sum
Oriental glutinous rice with chicken, pork dumpling, prawn dumpling and vegetable dumpling
Baked egg with veal sausage, roasted tomato, mushrooms, and roesti potatoes
Coconut crème brulee with jackfruit compote
Choice of bread rolls
Butter – Fruit preserve
Gourmet coffees & selection of fine teas
I decided to choose the Western option, which seemed the healthier one. The baked eggs were a bit funny, perhaps scrambled eggs or fried eggs would be better, but everything was very tasty, especially the mushrooms and the potatoes. I passed on the dessert but I finally got my mug of coffee. Luckily the coffee on SQ
is on the stronger side. You can also order an espresso or a cappuccino.
(“Prelude” – fruit)
After brunch, I whipped out my iPad and did a bit of reading. I had about five issues of The Economist and two of the McKinsey Quarterly to catch up on, and I always try to do so during flights. While I was reading I switched the IFE to the moving map and left one of the window shades open so I could look out the window. It is incredible the number of commercial vessels traversing the South China Sea. It is a very busy shipping channel.
(Interesting cloud formations)
(Cabin during flight)
After about 4 hours in the air, the captain came on the PA to let us know we would be commencing our descent from FL390 down to TPE
. We had flown a pretty straight line from Singapore to southern Taiwan and right over Kaohsiung we made a left turn to head due north towards TPE
. We flew just west of Taipei city along the coast and made a u-turn to land on runway 23R. TPE
, and the city of Taoyuan, where it is located, is due West of the city of Taipei. During descent we could see some windfarms, steelworks, as well as the port of Keelung.
After landing we made an exit to the left and headed for gate D7
at terminal 2. And that concluded a medium-haul, intra-Asia flight on SQ
’s A333 with the “new” regional J class seats.
, and CI
Thanks again for reading. I hope you enjoyed another episode of my Trip Reports. Comments, as usual, are very welcome! ☺
My previous Trip Reports:
Air China: SYD – PVG NOV/10 C Class (Pics) (by Coal Nov 26 2010 in Trip Reports)
Vincent Aviation: DRW - GTE NOV/10 Y Class (by Coal Nov 23 2010 in Trip Reports)
China Spring Airlines: 9C8901 OCT/10 SHA – MIG Y C (by Coal Nov 1 2010 in Trip Reports)
Hong Kong Air: UO234 15-AUG-10 HKG – PVG Y Cabin (by Coal Aug 15 2010 in Trip Reports)
China Eastern: MU5203 05/MAY/10 SHA – LZH Y Cabin (by Coal May 13 2010 in Trip Reports)
Exercising At The Airport Part II (Pics) (by Coal May 6 2010 in Trip Reports)
Exercising At The Airport Part I (Pics) (by Coal May 6 2010 in Trip Reports)
CX HKG-PVG (Pics) (by Coal Apr 17 2010 in Trip Reports)
SHA-NNG-SZX On FM/MF (by Coal Apr 14 2010 in Trip Reports)
Qatar Airways Redeems Itself (by Coal Oct 15 2009 in Trip Reports)
Qatar Airways - The World's Three Star Airline (by Coal Oct 10 2009 in Trip Reports)
Changchun - Jinzhou - Shanghai On FM / Rail (Pics) (by Coal Jul 14 2009 in Trip Reports)
SHA-PEK On Air China 777 (Pics) (by Coal Jul 12 2009 in Trip Reports)
SIN-CTU-SIN On Air China / Silk Air (Short & Sweet (by Coal Feb 28 2009 in Trip Reports)
PEK-SIN On Singapore Air New Business Cls (Pics) (by Coal Nov 23 2008 in Trip Reports)
Rare Air China Domestic: Beijing - Datong (Pics) (by Coal Nov 21 2008 in Trip Reports)
SIN-CDG-ATH-BLQ/MXP-SIN In J (Many Pics) (by Coal Nov 12 2008 in Trip Reports)
FLL-IAH-SFO-ICN-SIN On CO/SQ Pt 2 (Short) (by Coal Jul 28 2008 in Trip Reports)
MIA-TLH On AA (Many Pics) (by Coal Jul 25 2008 in Trip Reports)
SIN-HKG-SFO-IAH-FLL On SQ/CO Pt 1 (Many Pics!) (by Coal Jul 16 2008 in Trip Reports)
Pilot TR: My First Flight On The Left Seat (pics) (by Coal Jan 4 2008 in Trip Reports)
SQ 220: SYD-SIN On A380 Business Class (Pics) (by Coal Nov 11 2007 in Trip Reports)
To Cambodia On Silk Air (Pics) (by Coal Oct 14 2007 in Trip Reports)
Vietnam Airlines: Saigon-Hue-Hanoi (Pics) (by Coal Oct 10 2007 in Trip Reports)
To Vietnam On A Tiger & The Singapore Girl (Pics) (by Coal Oct 9 2007 in Trip Reports)
Bali Hai: SIN-CGK-DPS R/T On LH & QZ - Pics, Pics! (by Coal Aug 27 2007 in Trip Reports)
Back 2 The Future: SQ SIN-PVG Raffles (Biz) - Pics (by Coal Mar 9 2007 in Trip Reports)
A Safari And The Kalahari On SQ And SA (Pics) (by Coal Mar 2 2007 in Trip Reports)
SIN-MEL-SYD-SIN On SQ: Inconsistent Raffles Class (by Coal Feb 11 2007 in Trip Reports)
SIN-SYD-SIN On 744 QF Business (Pics) (by Coal Jan 15 2007 in Trip Reports)
Thai Trip II: BKK-CNX-BKK TG Royal Silk Class PIX! (by Coal Dec 30 2006 in Trip Reports)
Thai Trip I: SIN-BKK-SIN LX Business/Economy PIX! (by Coal Dec 29 2006 in Trip Reports)
Sunshine State To City-State: MIA-SIN AA/BA In J (by Coal Nov 11 2006 in Trip Reports)
Joyrides On B6: FLL-LGB-OAK-FLL + A Few Pics (by Coal Aug 13 2006 in Trip Reports)