PART 3: COMING HOME
16th SEPTEMBER 2012, SUNDAY
The weekend getaway was coming to an end. We cashed in on the hotel’s free breakfast offer to get our stomach’s filled before heading to the Airport.
Pancakes with syrup and butter!
And Honey Stars!
After breakfast, we waited for about an hour or so until it was time to check-out. The polite counter staff thanked us for staying at FM7 Resort Hotel and said that the Airport Shuttle would arrive shortly. True enough, it did arrive about five minutes later. We got in and soon left the hotel compound as a Lion Air Boeing 737-900/ER flew above us as it came in for a landing at CGK
Eye-opening sights just outside of the hotel. The difference..
Taking off helmets while in motion
At the rounadabout of CGK
Hedges in the shape of TERMINAL 3
Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (CGK
Aircraft: Airbus Industrie A340-343X (D-AIFC “Gander/Halifax”)
Class: Business (Z)
Estimated Departure: 1905hrs
Actual Departure: 1903hrs
Changi International Airport (SIN
Estimated Arrival: 2200hrs
Actual Arrival: 2144hrs
An unfortunate Bakso
The ‘landside’ of CGK
As we arrived CGK
about three hours early, we started off the wait by having some lunch at Hoka-Hoka Bento just outside of the doors.
I had Bento Set #4.
Airlines serving Terminal 2
More ‘landside’ views
TEAM COFFEE BEAN & TEA LEAF! Malibu D’light with Whipped Cream~
As there was nothing left to do outside, we decided to go through security early and try our luck at checking-in. Things at CGK
were quite interesting because when you enter the doors, you only have about three meters of general public space before you reach the secure check and scanning area. Obviously, you need to have your passport and boarding pass/e-Ticket with you before you can clear this stage, emerge to the other side where the check in counters are located.
We got through to the other side
Departures for that day
We approached the JAS Priority Check in counter to ask about our flight. The counter lady said that we can begin to check in for LH
791 from 1600hrs onwards. That’s fine with us, except that it means we have to wait around for two hours.
This contraption spins round and round, wrapping your luggage in cling film
Over at the MH counters
A huge crowd mushroomed
For First & Business passengers only!
Two hours whizzed past with animated conversations of our past travels, plans for upcoming travels in US and Japan as well as trawling my Facebook account for the latest news and such. We got up from our seats and headed over to the JAS Priority Check in at 1600hrs on the dot. After checking our passport and ticking our names on the list of Premium passengers for LH
791, the front desk waved us through.
Note the luggage tags
Private means of immigration checks.. without the notorious lines/queues!
The counter guy checked us in with a warm smile throughout the process. After confirming that we have no luggage to check in, he handed us our passports, boarding passes and an invitation card to the Premier First & Business Lounge. It was a new experience for me because it’s my first time flying Business Class. And hence the dedicated immigration was quite an eye-opener because we had no queues to deal with!
First views of the Lounge
Passport + Boarding Pass shot
Food & Beverage offerings of the Lounge
Fruits and natural yogurt complements each other!
We decided that we had rested enough in the Lounge, and opted to leave to go back to the duty free area for some last minute shopping for items. Earlier on, Aaron had scouted the area and found that the terminal was not that good for spotting.
Garuda’s A330 out there
As we were strolling through the Terminal, an announcement was made for passengers of LH
791 to proceed to the Gate for boarding. As I didn’t want history to repeat itself (missing my D7
in February 2012), we decided to heed the announcer lady’s call and made for our Gate. Not before going through a second round of scanning of carry-ons.
After secondary checks, there were less people at this end of the Terminal
This way, please
When we got to the Gate, there were only a handful of passengers sitting around. Apparently, boarding has yet to start. Nevertheless, it does not hurt to be early, yes? More waiting ensued.
Our plane – Airbus A340-343X D-AIFC “Gander/Halifax”
Its Boeing neighbor from Malaysia
After about 20 minutes of waiting, staff opened the glass doors leading to the jet bridge. An announcement was made, calling for First and Business Class passengers to board first. That’s us!
We walked down the jet bridge where it branched off into two. We were directed to the left, where we boarded through Door L1. A friendly female FA
stood at the door to welcome us with a “Guten Abend!”, followed by the Purser some distance away. We walked past the First Class section and the seats were WOW!
Our seats – 4A & 4C
It was a nice experience to start off as our section of Business Class was located in the ‘mini cabin’, behind the First Class section and in front of Door L2. As a result, it had that private and intimate feeling as it consisted only of Rows 3 and 4.
The IFE screen right in front of us
After we settled into our seats, one of the FAs emerged from the galley with a tray of beverages. She went from passenger to passenger asking what would we like for our pre-departure beverage. As always, I picked Orange Juice. You can NEVER go wrong with good ol’ OJ!
The OJs in question
Our mini cabin
Beside us, a Turkish Airlines Airbus A330-343X TC-JNH “Topkapi” also flying to SIN that night
As it was going to be a relatively short flight, I decided to do my usual ‘seat checks’ while we were still parked in order to maximize my time in the air later on.
The pop-out and swing-out tray table
Magazines and such
Leg room was huge by my standards!
The doors closed and the plane began its pushback phase promptly after that. The safety video began to play on the IFE screens when the plane began to taxi. The German annoucements was made first, followed by a repeat in English. I find it really interesting that the video was started with a whole bunch of FAs greeting in a different language each.
It was quite a busy night out there as we had to wait twice for about four planes to either take off or land. After that was done, it was our turn to turn on the runway. Time to finally experience the power of the hairdryers!
True enough to its reputation; D-AIFC took quite a long time to climb into the inky black sky. After quite some time, the seatbelt sign was finally extinguished. Time for the lavatory visit!
On the way back, I passed by the Galley behind our mini cabin. The lovely Lufthansa ladies were busy preparing the meal run, something sure smells good!
The armrests contained the concealed tray table and this.. the seat controls handset
The curly-haired FA
came around and laid down the white table cloth for us, before leaving and coming back again with our meals. I was the first one in the mini cabin to receive my meal as I had requested a MOML. “Did you request for a special meal?” she asked with a smile before asking me to be careful as the dish is hot. Later on, she and another FA
tending the other side gave out the meals to the other passengers. Not long after that, she returned with a basket full of bread rolls, asking which would would we like to have.
MOML with the aluminium foil on
With swiftness, the FAs returned with the beverage trolley, asking what we would like. I asked for Apple Juice this time. You really really can make no mistake with Orange, Apple Juice or both!
MOML with the aluminium foil off!
Main Course.. curry again!
I chose this Bread Roll
Finally, I get to use metal cutlery once again on planes!
As expected, the MOML was something involving curry. To be frank, it tasted quite good. The fish was tender and the curry was flavorful without being too spicy. I’d say it could give the curry I had onboard SQ
a run for its money!
Aaron did not want his dessert, so he gave it to me!
As it was a short flight, I felt a sudden rush to finish up my food quickly. If there was any regret to be had, this would be it because I felt that I did not have enough time to fully soak in the Business Class seat experience onboard D-AIFC! However, the FAs made several beverage runs to ensure that everybody was ‘well-watered’.
Not long after I had finished my meal, it was announced that the plane was about to start its descent towards SIN
. That definitely did not sound good to me because it meant that this wonderful flight was going to end really soon. As it was pitch black outside the window, I did not bother taking any photographs.
Initially, I thought that we would be landing in from the South. It was to my pleasant surprise that the plane made turns and it became clear that we would be coming in from the North. That would possibly mean we would be landing on 20C. And surprise surprise.. we really did! As we neared Singapore, tiny lights from below appeared as we drifted lower and lower.
Clearly, there was some sort of a streak going on. That is to say, a lengthy taxi streak! Like the outbound flight, we taxiied to the South Cross and crossed over to the other side where Terminal 2 was located.
Scoot Boeing 777-212/ER 9V-OTA “Barry”
We taxiied past Barry and joined a company A380 at the Gates. The engines began to quieten down as we parked at Gate E5
Waiting for the jet bridge to make contact
Like before, we waited for most of the passengers to leave the plane first before we did. The reason was because we’d like to take a few photographs of this significant flight before we step off of it.
Our mini cabin
Our mini cabin again
This golden bird (shoo, SQ!) at the wall makes the cabin look really classy
Again on the wall, a reminder of where we were for the flight
After getting our fill, it was finally time to make our way out. As we passed by the First Class, I couldn't help but to let out a “WOW!”. There was an FA
standing near us, she heard my exclamation and smiled at me. There was another FA
standing at the door to bid goodbye to us passengers.
And then it was finally back to Singapore.
Terminal 2 has never impressed me
We decided to hang around the airside for a while. Time for the last few shots before we pass through immigration!
Two Germans guarding an Indian Airline
Thank goodness for the automated clearance. But come to think of it, not that it was any faster because there were hardly any queues at the normal immigration counters.
The luggage collection carousels
Indeed we have landed
It is really an awesome experience to be flying with a new Airline. This time, it was Lufthansa. What made the flight doubly special was the fact that it was my first time flying on an Airbus A340, and also the first and last time I’ll ever fly Lufthansa for the CGK
route before they axe it within the upcoming weeks. Sure the price tag for LH
Business Class CGK
was in the USD300+ range but I really did not mind. The crew on both VF
flights were really friendly and made passengers feel at ease throughout the entire time. My only regret is that there just wasn’t enough time to fully immerse in the seat experience Lufthansa Business Class had to offer. Now if only my ticket that night was CGK
My other trip reports:
Yokoso! Japan 2012: 3K/D7/NH/SQ & Shinkansens
A Weekend Trip: SIN-KUL-SIN On Jetstar Asia (3K)
Retroactive! New Zealand 2007 On QF & NZ Part 1
Retroactive! New Zealand 2007 On QF & NZ Part 2
New Year ’09: Northwest Airlines A330 SIN-NRT-SIN
SQ A380/77W SIN-HKG With Singapore Boys & Girls