Welcome to my Second Trip Report!
You can find my very first trip report here:
It Begins: MNL-SIN-MNL On SQ Y Class (by grecomark Jan 23 2012 in Trip Reports)
It basically details the very usual MNL-SIN-MNL route for me on SQ, so that I will not have to post much detail about that in my future trip reports.
The purpose of this trip was to represent my Association in a General Assembly of our Federation. The assembly took place in Accra, Ghana, where I joined hundreds of medical students from around the world.
I had a few options to get to ACC: one was MNL-BKK-ADD-ACC on PR and ET. It was the cheapest option at the time. I could also take the slightly more expensive, but quite boring MNL-DXB-ACC on EK. As I really wanted to boost my SQ/Star miles for possible redemption of a trip next year, I looked for routes on Star. By January 29, the personal deadline I set for booking the tickets was looming ahead, and I was determined to book the PR/ET itinerary. Good thing I asked help from Raf, my classmate and friend and one great aviation enthusiast. He suggested going to JNB instead and to ditch the GA for my own African adventure going north. I initially dismissed the thought and really just laughed at him, and it took but a few seconds for me to realize that the route had Star written all over.
By January 30, I was able to come up with two most probable itineraries: MNL-SIN-JNB-ACC on SQ and SA and MNL-SIN-JNB-DXB-ACC on SQ and EK featuring 388 and 343 and a hefty amount of Krisflyer and Skywards miles. That morning the SQ/EK itinerary was even cheaper that SQ/SA. The only downside was that I would arrive on the third day of the GA. I asked my parents and some friends for their opinion, and my final decision was to go Star all the way. By the time I booked the flights (late in the evening of the 30th), the EK leg on the second itinerary was worth a small fortune already. I contacted the SQ local office the next morning for them to assist me in connecting the flights, so I could have my luggage tagged straight to ACC. I was too engrossed in the functions of my organizations and in my studies that the date of my departure came unnoticed. So let's begin!
II. Ninoy Aquino International Aiport T1
I reached the terminal at around 14.40 and proceeded directly to the cashier to pay for the Philippine travel tax (if you book your tickets online, you have to pay a separate tax in the airport amounting to PhP 1620/USD 38 for Y or PhP 2700/USD 63 for C ). After a few minutes, my name was called and off I went to the SQ check-in counters. There are four SQ MNL-SIN flights every day, so the check-in counters are open throughout. Luckily I was the only one on the line and my presented my travel documents. Philippine passport holders are qualified for visa-on-arrival application in Ghana, but they had to recheck the rules, and the check-in agent called his supervisor. As usual the SQ ground staff in MNL is ever so polite. The check-in agent nearby also helped and even asked about my work in the Association. After about 10 minutes, the process was complete and my luggage was tagged all the way to ACC. The SA BP had to be picked up in JNB instead, but that's acceptable. I was given departure cards, an SQ pen and a sticker by the other ground staff, so I took a few minutes before proceeding to immigration.
Very old school FIDS, taken after filling my immigration form. The MH and EK flights have code shares with PR.
After check-in, one has to pay the terminal fee now worth PhP 550 or USD 13. It was previously worth PhP 750. Then off to clear immigration and pass by the security. This was taken after passing the Duty Free shops.
To the gates!
View of the Manila skyline
Control Tower proximal to Terminal 2
MABUHAY (Long live or welcome)
A7-BAP arriving from DOH
When I get rich!
PR744 and 333
Notice how near the residences are to the airport.
I finally reached Gate 6, where a final manual security inspection was done. Our neighbor is EK333 bound for DXB.
III. MNL to SIN, SQ919
Date: 2 March 2012
Aircraft & Registration: A330-343E, 9V-STI
ETD/ATD, ETA/ATA: 17:10/17:35, 20:45/20:48
Class, Seat: Y, 57K
I still had about one and half hours to wait. As I just finished an exam earlier that morning, I was too lazy to drag myself to spot. So I settled in with a can of soda and my iPad. Good thing there's free WiFi, with sufficient bandwidth. After some twenty minutes, 9V-STI arrived from SIN.
Boarding began thirty minutes before scheduled departure. I knew then that there was a high probability of our flight getting delayed, given the huge amount of people in the gate. Priority boarding was done first for Business Class Passengers, Krisflyer and Star Gold members and PPS Club members, then for families with children and those needing assistance. Finally boarding for Y passengers was done by rows.
Great legroom! The compartment contains the magazines on board, a copy of Straits Times I picked before coming in, my iPad, my Blackberry and earphones.
Our neighbor just arrived from DXB.
Look at the mighty shadow of our aircraft!
At around 17.10, our scheduled time of departure, hot towel service began. The captain came on PA and explained that the luggage of some missing passengers had to be offloaded, and that pushback would commence shortly, pending ATC clearance. Some more checks and reminders were done. Final inspection was performed by the Flight Supervisor.
The safety demonstration video began playing on the PTVs after a while. Then pushback!
CX744 bound for HKG
EY332 bound for AUH, A6-EYS in Abu Dhabi Grand Prix livery. Middle Eastern carriers dominate NAIA T1 in the late afternoons, with EK, EY, QR, SV and KU departing almost consecutively.
Rwy06 was used, so I was not able to take a photo of the terminals. On the lower right is the South Luzon Expressway, the primary road connecting Manila to the nearby provinces from the South.
We entered some dark clouds hovering the nearby cities before turning to a South-westerly direction.
These views make me want to fly and fly and fly.
Once the seatbelt sign was turned off, headphones were distributed and menus were handed with that touch of SQ hospitality.
Mixed nuts were distributed, and the drinks service began. Of course, I chose the Singapore Sling! Two glasses please!
I watched Modern Family to let time pass. After a while the show outside caught my attention; I have this rule that whenever I fly westward on a late afternoon, I choose the Starboard, so I get to witness “infinite” sunsets.
Twenty or so minutes later, dinner service commenced. There were two choices for the main: braised beef and chicken curry. I chose the beef.
The appetizer was a tuna Waldorf salad. It was okay although some dash of pepper helped enhance its flavor. The tuna reminded me of a particular Italian brand of canned tuna: Rio Mare. I liked it. The dinner roll was also good, soft and fluffy and fresh; perfect with the butter provided. I asked for seconds. For the main, the beef was tender, but it needed some more seasoning. So far the mashed potato served on board my past SQ flights beat the mashed potato being served in the restaurant my roommate and I frequent for that creamy goodness. The dessert was green tea cake, which was just fine. I also had two cans of Coke light.
Coffee and tea service began after all meals were distributed. A final water/OJ/champagne run commenced, which was a first for me on this route. A little while later, I walked a bit, initially just to go to the washroom, but then I proceeded to the galley to ask for another glass Singapore Sling. There were two Singapore Girls arranging the food trays then; one told me that she would prepare it shortly, another asked me about my trip and if I was an aviation enthusiast. We had a short chat, and I checked the washroom before returning to my seat. A glass of Singapore Sling and a glass of water were served.
I fell asleep somewhere here and was woken up by a Singapore girl, asking me to straighten my seat and telling me that we were on final descent.
We arrived a few minutes past the ETA and taxied 10 minutes or so to our gate in Terminal 3.
Overall it was my usual kind of flight with SQ on this route. By “usual” I mean topnotch. I ended up detailing this flight because it would be the last A333 MNL-SIN-MNL trip I could cover for a long while. Since March 25, SIA has replaced the sole A333 on this route with B772, using it in all four daily flights. I was still on an A333 on the return flight, but I just slept through.
I met up with a friend to catch up and have a more substantial dinner before going back to Changi for my next flight scheduled to depart by 02.35.
Wait up for the next part.
[Edited 2012-04-06 03:47:56]
[Edited 2012-04-06 04:42:24]