planesjoey
Topic Author
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2009 1:38 pm

Beach Hopping With SQ And Maldivian!

Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:00 am



Hola!

Welcome to my 8th trip report on Airliners.net. In this trip, I travel with Singapore Airlines to Male (Maldives), on Maldivian Airlines from Male to Gan and back, and then back with SQ from Maldives to Singapore, then Singapore to Bali and back all in the span of 2 weeks. All the photos were taken with my iPhone 4.

I have been to the Maldives twice before, one of was documented here
One of my many previous trips to Bali can be found here

Departing
WET. That would probably best describe the morning of the 5th of June 2011. I found myself in a taxi on the way to Changi Airport starting on a journey that would probably be the most hectic of my life. Thunder boomed dramatically in the background as the iconic control tower loomed into view.



The taxi pulled up to the Singapore Airlines First Class Check-In at Terminal 2. The porters began unloading the vehicle, while I took shelter in the warm concourse that is Terminal 2.





"Off to where today, sir?" asked the SQ ground staff as they led my across the terminal floor. "Male" (pronounced mah-lay) I replied. A minute later, I arrived at the First Class Check-In.



Without any fuss, they ground staff issued my boarding pass and I left for the lounge. Past immigration, I took a left and went up the escalator, as instructed.

The SQ Terminal 2 Lounge is current undergoing extensive renovations and only the First Class section was open to passengers. The First Class Section was more than enough space for the few travelers passing through the Terminal for regional flights.




Buffet


Drinks

After the lounge, I left and proceeded to the gate, where the torrential downpour had not let up. Not long after I arrived, passengers were invited to board the plane.





Taking a left at the fork in the aerobridge, the stewardess warmly greeted me and showed my to my seat.

The Flight

Route: Singapore (SIN) – Male (MLE)
Flight: SQ462
Reg: 9V-STO
Carrier: Singapore Airlines (SQ)
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300 (333)
Scheduled Flying Time: 4h 25m
Scheduled Departure Time (actual): 0945 (1042)
Scheduled Arrival Time (actual): 1110 (1204)
Seat: 15K (Business Class)



The Airbus A330 was leased by Singapore Airlines as an interim aircraft between the ageing B772s and the incoming 787s and A350s. The A330s feature a new "regional Business Class" that is currently being fitted on selected Boeing 777-200s and -300s. The Economy Class on the 333 is the same as that on the A380s and 777-300ERs.



The flight was half full in Business, with most of the passengers coming from Japan. At 0945, the scheduled departure time, the pilot came on the PA and announced that there would be a delay in the departure due to inclement weather conditions.

Later on, I realised that this had happened all across Singapore:
http://www.shoppingnsales.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/raining-in-tanglin-mall.jpg
Tanglin Mall, along the busy shopping belt, Orchard Road


In the basement of St Regis Hotel, Orchard Road

The delay meant waiting on the ground until ATC had cleared the backlog of aircraft waiting to depart and arrive. Doesn't happen very often in Singapore! Meanwhile, the crew had turned on Krisworld to keep the passengers occupied.




Still wet

About an hour after our scheduled departure time, the door were closed and the aircraft began to pushback from the gate.



The safety video rolled and we were on our way.

There is a saying that in Singapore,when you see a long line of people queueing, it's either for free goodies or 4D (the lottery). They should probably add airplanes in tropical thunderstorms to that. The line for takeoff backed up for miles. I watched as dozens of planes took to the skies or touched down on 20C


from the big...


to the small.


The LINE

It felt like hours before Singapore 462 was given takeoff clearance and we blasted off into the grey morning skies.


TMCC Golf Course


Seat Controls


Some of the seat features

The aircraft soon leveled off and the passengers got settled in. I scrolled through KrisWorld and watched a few HIMYM and Family Guy episodes.

About 1 hour after takeoff, the crew emerged with the Satay (skewered meat) trolley and began to serve the passengers.




Satay

The main course followed soon after. I chose the beef and tucked in. The food on SQ in has been deplorable recently. I've had lobster that tasted like soggy vegetables, scallops that were probably rubber and beef that I'm 99% sure was cardboard. So I was pretty surprised when I cut into the meat and ate it.



The meal service concluded with some ice cream, cheeses and coffee. Following the meal service, the crew dimmed the lights. Some of the other passengers, who I presume had taken a red-eye from North Asia, were sleeping quietly.

About 30 minutes before arrival, the pilot came over the PA system and delivered his standard message. The cabin crew began preparing the cabin for arrival. As the plane began to descend, I caught a glimpse of the turquoise waters of the Maldives.

Although I had been to the Maldives previously, I had not seen this spectacular approach as SQ452/451 were night flights.





Almost as if landing on water, the plane descended. Until about 10 seconds before landing, the runway was nowhere to be seen.


Male Airport

The plane taxied to the apron and was greeted by the air stairs at doors 1L and 2L.



As I emerged from the staircase, the warm Maldivian sun kissed my skin and I was in love, like 10 year old girl for Justin Bieber.


Neighbour from Colombo

Rating
Booking System & Call Centre 9/10
Check-in 10/10
Lounge (if applicable) 7/10
Boarding 8/10
Flight Punctuality 5/10
Aircraft 8/10
Product 8/10
Service 6/10
Food 7/10
IFE (if applicable) 5/5
Amenities 3/5
-------------------------------------------------------------
Total Score 76%

Arriving, then Departing
Immigration was quick and the bags were out without a fuss. All the bags then had to be screened at Customs.



As I emerged from the arrival hall, this was the sight that greeted me:



All the hotel bookings were made through Atoll Paradise (I highly recommend them) and a representative from the agency as well as one from Shangri-La were there to greet me. They pushed my trolley and guided me to the domestic terminal, about 50 metres away.


Domestic Terminal

Check-in for the flight was extremely fast. I got quite a shock when they asked me to stand on the baggage scales to be "weighed". I was quite amused by the scenario playing in my head where airlines would charge passengers by weight. But, they'd probably face a class action law suit for "discrimination".

I was then showed to the Lounge in the Domestic Terminal (one of the perks of booking with Atoll Paradise)



Today's domestic flight would be from Male to Gan via Kaadedhdhoo (let's just call it KDM for short).




Map of the Maldives. You can see Gan wayyyyy down south in the little triangle-shaped atoll

My usage of the free Wifi in the lounge was short lived as boarding was called. The flight was about an even mix of locals and tourists. The flight to KDM would take 1 hour and then the hop to Gan about 20 minutes.


Departure Lounge


Maldivian planes

My ride today would be a Bombardier Q300



I walked across the tarmac and to the aircraft, where the crew was greeting and counting the passengers who were boarding.

The Flight

Route: Male (MLE) – Kaadedhdhoo (KDM) – Gan (GAN)
Flight: Q2 104
Carrier: Maldivian (Q2)
Aircraft: Bombardier Q300 (DH3)
Scheduled Flying Time: 1h 20m
Scheduled Departure Time (actual): 1330 (1334)
Scheduled Arrival Time (actual): 1450 (1623)
Seat: 4A (Tourist Class)


Inside the plane

The journey was pretty uneventful, so I won't be commenting much


Taxiing to the runway


Departing Male




Approaching KDM


Turnaround at the end of the runway at KDM

After taking off from KDM, the aircraft droned on quietly until about 10 minutes into the flight. Suddenly, loud "beach-y" music began playing on the speakers and the crew began giving out certificates. I was completely shocked. Then, I got mine...



We had apparently passed the equator. The locals were most unamused, but some of the tourists seemed excited and began taking photos of the water, where the invisible line divides the Northern and Southern hemisphere.





Soon, the aircraft touched down in Gan, Addu atoll.




Gan Airport

Rating
Booking System & Call Centre --/10
Check-in 7/10
Lounge (if applicable) 7/10
Boarding 7/10
Flight Punctuality 4/10
Aircraft 6/10
Product 6/10
Service 6/10
Food 7/10
IFE (if applicable) --/5
Amenities --/5
-------------------------------------------------------------
Total Score 50/80 = 62.5%

The Shangri-La staff were just outside the baggage claim area waiting for us. Most of the passengers on the plane were going to the resort.





We were soon on a speedboat being whisked away to paradise




The arrivals pier


The two bedroom Villa with Pool (a real steal at 1,200USD/night for 4 persons, full board compared to the usual $2000+)















After 7 nights in paradise, it was time to go home. The speedboat brought us across the beautiful blue lagoon, back to Gan for our domestic flight.

Departing

Fortunately, they didn't make us weigh ourselves this time around. I think I would probably have gotten a rude shock!

Route: Gan (GAN) – Male (MLE)
Flight: Q2 103
Carrier: Maldivian (Q2)
Aircraft: Bombardier Q300 (DH3)
Scheduled Flying Time: 1h 5m
Scheduled Departure Time (actual): 0930 (0927)
Scheduled Arrival Time (actual): 1035 (1041)
Seat: 3A (Tourist Class)


The departure lounge at Gan


Back on the Q300

Takeoff was quick and we were in the air shortly


Villingili Island, where I spent the past week. They are building a golf course on the west side of the island, and it will be opened in 2012




A rainbow from the sky!


Male city itself

After an uneventful hour and 10 minutes, the aircraft skidded to a halt on the runway an taxied to the domestic terminal.


My SQ ride home

Rating
Booking System & Call Centre --/10
Check-in 7/10
Lounge (if applicable) --/10
Boarding 7/10
Flight Punctuality 8/10
Aircraft 6/10
Product 6/10
Service 6/10
Food 7/10
IFE (if applicable) --/5
Amenities --/5
-------------------------------------------------------------
Total Score 47/70 = 67.1%


Arriving. Again.

Departing

The check-in was just past security. All the bags had to be screened before we could proceed to check-in.


SQ check-in

The check-in, handled by outsourced agents, was fast and efficient. I was given my boarding pass and lounge invitation


Finifenmaa Lounge


Inside the lounge

Boarding was called shortly after and I proceed through one more round of security before entering the holding room



Boarding commenced in an orderly fashion and I walked out onto the tarmac







The Flight

Route: Male (MLE) – Singapore (SIN)
Flight: SQ461
Carrier: Singapore Airlines (SQ)
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300 (333)
Scheduled Flying Time: 4h 55m
Scheduled Departure Time (actual): 1230 (1237)
Scheduled Arrival Time (actual): 2025 (2013)
Seat: 15A (Business Class)



The crew began handing out newspapers and magazines along with hot towels.


The domestic terminal

The safety video rolled and the aircraft taxied to the end of the active runway.


At the end of the runway, the aircraft performed an amazing 180 degree turn in a really small space

The aircraft then went full throttle and lifted off.


Male and Hulhule Island (where the airport is) seen from the air

Soon, a "ping" was heard around the cabin and the crew began making preparations for lunch




SATAY!


Meal

The flight was rather uneventful after that. As the sun set, I fell into a blissful sleep



I woke about an hour before landing and went to freshen up in the toilet


Cabin about an hour out of SIN

The captain came on the PA and we began our descent shortly after.






The seatbelt sign came on just before landing

As Airline House and the cargo apron came into view, the aircraft gently touched down in Singapore




T3


Crossing a busy highway (ECP)

The aircraft docked at Terminal 2. As usual, immigration and baggage collection was quick and I was out of the airport shortly.

Rating
Booking System and Call Centre 8/10
Check-in 8/10
Lounge (if applicable) 7/10
Boarding 7/10
Flight Punctuality 8/10
Aircraft 8/10
Product 8/10
Service 6/10
Food 6/10
IFE (if applicable) 4/5
Amenities 3/5
-------------------------------------------------------------
Total Score = 73%

But it doesn't end there!
2 days later, I found myself in the Silver Kris Lounge at Terminal 2 once more. This time, I was off to Bali

Departing... yet again


More pictures of the lounge



Thinking that the boarding time for the flight was 1700h, I took my time in the lounge and slowly walked to the gate. A panting SATS agent ran up to me and asked "Are you on SQ946 to Bali?" I said yes. "You're late! The flight is leaving soon!"

I took off in the direction of the gate. Apparently the flight time was 1640! Oops. I got to the gate just in the nick of time and quietly took my seat on the plane.

The Flight

Route: Singapore (SIN) – Denpasar (Bali) (DPS)
Flight: SQ946
Carrier: Singapore Airlines (SQ)
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200 (772)
Scheduled Flying Time: 2h 30m
Scheduled Departure Time (actual): 1640 (1643)
Scheduled Arrival Time (actual): 1910 (1904)
Seat: 12A (Business Class)

I looked around and realised that the cabin was only about 1/3 full. The crew began preparing for departure as the doors closed and the aircraft started to pushback.


Arched 777 bins

The powerful 777 engines began as a whine and then became a scream as we hurtled down 20C. The plane rattled and shook but managed to lift off.





The Boeing 777-200s first joined SQ's fleet in 1996/7. Since then, they have had minor upgrades. The current Business Class cabin on the 772s will be replaced by the newer "regional Business Class". Some of these 777s are also planned to be transferred to 'Scoot' SQ's planned long-haul LCC. The aircraft does not have Video on Demand, meaning you cannot pause or rewind the movies or videos. These planes are mostly used for regional routes such as KUL, DPS and CGK.









Meal service for dinner began quickly. The entire meal was served together, not course by course as was previous practice.




Appetizer


Main Course


The cabin






Hey! Where's my certificate!??

After 1 hour 45 minutes of flying, the captain came on the PA to tell everyone that we were arriving in Denpasar on time and that we would be beginning our descent shortly.

The twinkling lights of Denpasar appeared in the window shortly after. We continued to descend seemingly into nowhere until Ngurah Rai airport appeared. The wheels touched the runway on time and I was out of the plane by 1904, ahead of schedule. Immigration and Customs were painless and I arrived at the Grand Hyatt just in time for dinner.

Rating
Booking System & Call Centre 8/10
Check-in 8/10
Lounge (if applicable) 7/10
Boarding 7/10
Flight Punctuality 8/10
Aircraft 7/10
Product 7/10
Service 6/10
Food 6/10
IFE (if applicable) 3/5
Amenities 0/5
-------------------------------------------------------------
Total Score = 67%


Starbucks. Bali style.


Grand Hyatt

After 4 nights of the sun and surf, it was time to leave.

Departing! The Final Time

Ngurah Rai Airport was in its usual state as I arrived early that Saturday morning to catch my flight home. All bags and persons had to be screened prior to entering the departure hall.



Check-in for SQ941



The agent checked-in me quickly and gave me the lounge invitation.


Food offerings



Leaving the lounge, I proceeded to the departure gate. Boarding had commenced and security was relatively empty.




My ride today - 9V-SRI decked out in the Star Alliance livery





Boarding was fast and I was onboard in no time at all

The Flight

Route:Denpasar (Bali) (DPS) – Singapore (SIN)
Flight: SQ941
Reg: 9V-SRI
Carrier: Singapore Airlines (SQ)
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200 (772)
Scheduled Flying Time: 2h 30m
Scheduled Departure Time (actual): 0915 (0914)
Scheduled Arrival Time (actual): 1145 (1134)
Seat: 16A (Business Class)

The stewardess in the red sarong kebaya greeted me at 1L and showed me to my seat. She offered newspapers and magazines and a hot towel. The crew then went around collecting drink orders for after takeoff.



The aircraft pushed back on time and we were soon aligned on the active. The noisy engines came to life and the airplane rattled its way down the length of the runway and lifted off into the clear morning.





The crew began meal service immediately after takeoff. The options were the omelette or the pancakes. I chose the omelette.




SQ941 was quite full



After a quick hop over to Singapore, the aircraft prepared for arrival. The plane was soon on the ground and at Terminal 2, where it awaited its next departure.

Rating
Booking System & Call Centre 5/10
Check-in 7/10
Lounge (if applicable) 6/10
Boarding 7/10
Flight Punctuality 8/10
Aircraft 7/10
Product 7/10
Service 6/10
Food 6/10
IFE (if applicable) 3/5
Amenities 0/5
-------------------------------------------------------------
Total Score = 62%

Conclusion
It was an extremely fun and relaxing 2 weeks but I have to say that I feel that SQ's standards are slipping and they just might be eclipsed by some of the newer premium airlines like Qatar, Emirates and Etihad. Some minor details that I noted were, for example, the crew does not ask "how may I address you sir/madam?" anymore, but instead use a generic sir/madam for all the passengers, as is the case in Economy. Also, SQ did not provide any amenities (those eyeshades and socks that they call "amenities"    ) on the flights! And don't get me started on the new singaporeair.com

Well, anyways, thanks for reading!

Cheers,
Joel

P.S.
Have a look at some of my other trip reports:
1. MLE-SIN in SQ Business
2. To Rome in SQ Business and LH
3. The Great Australian Trip Part 1 - SQ
4. The iPhone Trip Report
5. Zurich-Singapore SQ Business
6. Singapore-Bangkok CX Business
7. To The Australian Open: Jetstar Starclass And SQ J
Aircraft flown: 313,319,320,321,332,333,343,345,380,717,732,733,734,737,73H,743,744,762,763,772,773,77W,AB4,
 
joffie
Posts: 815
Joined: Sun Mar 26, 2006 5:45 pm

RE: Beach Hopping With SQ And Maldivian!

Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:48 am

Hi

Great report. Would love to go to the Maldives, but one could only dream lol

Yeah, the food looks OK I suppose.

Great job!
 
debonair
Posts: 2749
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 10:50 pm

RE: Beach Hopping With SQ And Maldivian!

Mon Sep 12, 2011 12:33 pm

Nice TR and nice way to travel, I am jealous...
 
MSS658
Posts: 2454
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2010 8:16 am

RE: Beach Hopping With SQ And Maldivian!

Mon Sep 12, 2011 12:49 pm

Hey


Great trip report you have got there. I love the prop pics on the MLE-GAN-MLE segment. The scenery pics are breathtaking as well.


Greetings
Marc
Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
 
Lap747
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2008 5:14 pm

RE: Beach Hopping With SQ And Maldivian!

Mon Sep 12, 2011 1:42 pm

Fantastic report, looks like you had great flights and the Maldives looks like a very nice place to visit!

Luke
We have clearance, Clarence. Roger, Roger. What's our vector, Victor?
 
User avatar
sultanils
Posts: 1931
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2010 5:37 pm

RE: Beach Hopping With SQ And Maldivian!

Thu Sep 15, 2011 11:08 am

Hi Joel,

A nice set of flights you had there! And what an amazing views on the Maldives, really something special to experience that. Maldivian, aren't they also the ones who operate the watertaxis? Love the colorscheme of the Q300 from MLE to GAN!

Quoting planesjoey (Thread starter):
Although I had been to the Maldives previously, I had not seen this spectacular approach as SQ452/451 were night flights.

It looks fantastic.

Quoting planesjoey (Thread starter):
Neighbour from Colombo

Nice to see this one upclose, did you experience the engine noise?

Quoting planesjoey (Thread starter):
Then, I got mine...

A typical tourist thing it seems, that card  

Quoting planesjoey (Thread starter):
Male city itself

Wow, cool to see how packed to the brim it is with houses. So were's the airport?

Quoting planesjoey (Thread starter):
and I walked out onto the tarmac

A really nice way of boarding a widebody.

Sultanils
In thrust we trust.
 
docpepz
Posts: 1706
Joined: Thu May 24, 2001 8:20 pm

RE: Beach Hopping With SQ And Maldivian!

Fri Sep 16, 2011 6:18 am

Nice report. I've travelled SIN-CGK-SIN in J a few times in the last few months and have always been addressed by name. They seem to remember everyone's names in a full J cabin (49 of them) for a 1h20min flying time from SIN to CGK without any problems.

I don't know why they don't do a course by course service for Bali. It is 2 hours and they can well do it course by course. Of course it's not possible for Jakarta because the flying time is too short and you have barely enough time to eat on that very short sector.
 
Flightsimboy
Posts: 1464
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2005 12:49 pm

RE: Beach Hopping With SQ And Maldivian!

Fri Sep 16, 2011 2:33 pm

Really enjoyed your report, and makes me want to fly SQ and transit there.

Quoting planesjoey (Thread starter):
Later on, I realised that this had happened all across Singapore:

Is that flooding inside a mall!!!

Quoting planesjoey (Thread starter):
They should probably add airplanes in tropical thunderstorms to that. The line for takeoff backed up for miles. I watched as dozens of planes took to the skies or touched down on 20C

Must have really been a thunderstorm of massive proportions!!

Quoting planesjoey (Thread starter):
Inside the plane

Is that a sole passenger facing the others?

Quoting planesjoey (Thread starter):
We had apparently passed the equator. The locals were most unamused, but some of the tourists seemed excited and began taking photos of the water, where the invisible line divides the Northern and Southern hemisphere.

Almost as interesting as flying over the North Pole!!

Quoting planesjoey (Thread starter):
Male city itself

Nice capture!

Quoting planesjoey (Thread starter):
My ride today - 9V-SRI decked out in the Star Alliance livery

Always nice when flying on an aircraft in these special colours.
 
gabrielchew
Posts: 3750
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 5:43 am

RE: Beach Hopping With SQ And Maldivian!

Sat Sep 17, 2011 1:37 am

Nice set of flights you took. I hadn't ever really thought of the Maldives cspanning the equator, but indeed they do! Which was better, Bali or the Maldives?

Quoting planesjoey (Thread starter):
Some minor details that I noted were, for example, the crew does not ask "how may I address you sir/madam?" anymore, but instead use a generic sir/madam for all the passengers, as is the case in Economy.

I remember being called by name numerous times duting an AKL-SIN flight in Y about 10 years ago.
http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights: LGW-FNC-PDL-TER-LIS-LUX-LHR-MUC-BRN,BSL-LHR
 
The777Man
Posts: 5936
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 1999 4:54 am

RE: Beach Hopping With SQ And Maldivian!

Sat Sep 17, 2011 3:44 am

Hi !

Nice report with nice pictures especially from the Maldives. I spent 12h at Male about ten years ago and wish I had more time to spend there. I'll try to go back some time for a longer stay. I've been to Bali too and it brings back nice memories.

Cabins look a bit dated on the 777 so nice to hear that they will get an upgrade. Good that they are mostly used on shorter flights.

The777Man

[Edited 2011-09-16 20:45:47]
Boeing 777s flown: UA, TG, KE, BA, CX, NH, JD, JL, CZ, SQ, EK, NG, CO, AF, SV, KU, DL, AA, MH, OZ, CA, MS, SU, LY, RG, PE, AZ, KL, VN, PK, EY, NZ, AM, BR, AC, DT, UU, OS, AI, 9W, KQ, QR, VA, JJ, ET, TK, PR, BG, T5, CI, MU and LX.. Further to fly.. LH 777
 
planesjoey
Topic Author
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2009 1:38 pm

RE: Beach Hopping With SQ And Maldivian!

Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:29 pm

Hey everyone!

Thanks for all the views and comments!  
Quoting Sultanils (Reply 5):
Wow, cool to see how packed to the brim it is with houses. So were's the airport?

The airport is located on Hulhule Island about a mile from Male itself.


Male and Hulhule Island

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 7):
Is that flooding inside a mall!!!

Haha unfortunately, yes!

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 8):
Which was better, Bali or the Maldives?

Maldives hands down!

Thanks for commenting!

Cheers,
Joel  
Aircraft flown: 313,319,320,321,332,333,343,345,380,717,732,733,734,737,73H,743,744,762,763,772,773,77W,AB4,

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