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4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:15 am

Slightly over a month after my trip to Kathmandu, it was time for another trip, a 12-days whirlwind trip to USA with my partner! It is been a long while since I went for a holiday that stretched for more than a week. For this trip, I covered the cities of New York, Las Vegas and San Francisco, as well as visited the natural wonders of Niagara Falls and Grand Canyon. 4 airlines were flown, namely Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America and Jetblue, with flights on both Business and Economy. Tickets were a mixture of redemption and paid. It was quite a task to put the itinerary together and the final result is below.


The first 2 sectors were on a Virgin Atlantic ticket as they offered one of the cheapest one-way ticket to New York and allows 100% Krisflyer/Elite miles accrual too, with the SIN-LHR leg on SQ (VS code-shared) and LHR-JFK leg on VS. Transfer in London was only a short 1hr40min with no terminal transfer needed. However as the first sector was on a Virgin-issued ticket, I was unable to perform seat-selection or online check-in for the SQ flight. Check-in for the SQ flight could only be processed at the airport Terminal 3. Luckily the flight was rather empty today for the leg up to London and we could snatch an entire row of 3-seaters each! Our bags were tagged up to JFK and boarding passes of both SQ and the connecting VS flight were issued. Seats on VS were already prior-selected via VS's website. Cool! VS boarding pass on SQ stock!

This morning, we would be departing from Gate A13.

Due to low loads, a B773ER was scheduled instead of the usual A380. 9V-SWG would be flying us to London.

06 March 2013
Singapore Airlines
SQ 308 (Code-shared VS7318)
Singapore (SIN) - London Heathrow (LHR)
Economy Class

Boarding was just starting when we cleared security at the gate. Was greeted by name by a very cheerful set of crew (if the flight was so empty, I would be cheerful too!). Good start here. My seat was towards the rear of the mid-economy cabin.

Welcome aboard!

View from my seat.

Boarding in progress.

Boarding was completed rather swiftly and hot towels were distributed. Flight time was estimated to be 13h20m. Doors were closed and we pushed back on time.


We only had a short taxi to Rwy02L.

Taxi to runway.


And takeoff from Rwy02L, bound for London Heathrow.


After seat belt signs were turned off, service started with distribution of headsets and "Givenchy" amenity kits, followed by menus.

Economy amenity kit with a toothbrush set and a pair of socks.

Stuff in the seat pocket.

Menu, with a rather nice cover.

Lets see what's on offer for breakfast and midflight snacks.

Beverages menu. Looks like SQ have decided to list down all available soft drinks as well as all the various teas. Makes the beverage selection much more impressive.

Selection of juices an water was first offered before the start of the breakfast service. I had an orange juice and started on my first movie, "Pitch Perfect".

Flying over city of Kuala Lumpur less than 30min after takeoff.

Spot the Twin Towers!


Another view over Malaysia.


Breakfast was serve starting from the front of the cabin. When reaching my row, the crew were running out of the scrambled egg choice, but we were going to choose local carrot-cake anyway. According to the very engaging, friendly and casual Leading Stewardess (LSS) serving my aisle, the other non-asian passengers were not too "adventurous" with trying a different cuisine, especially "Carrot-cake" for breakfast, which sounded more like dessert to them. She also promised us that we would love them and that all the crew were so happy that carrot-cake was one of the breakfast choices!

A very substantial breakfast tray. Other than the main, the tray also consisted of fruits, warm roll with butter and marmalade, muffin and cornflakes. I had an orange juice and tea to go along.


Cut fruits and almond muffin.


Singapore Fried Carrot Cake. True to the LSS's words, it was delicious! One of the better breakfast dishes I had on a plane. However it might not suit the western palette as it was a tad spicy, but definitely a very Singaporean dish.


Rumblers cornflakes with milk. Cornflakes are only available on London flights. On other breakfast flights, one would normally get a yoghurt.


Visit to the lav.

Toothbrush sets and combs were available in the amenity drawer.


View of the rear economy cabin. Quite a number of passengers had a 3-seater row to themselves and were dozing away on their own make-shift beds.

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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Sun Mar 24, 2013 12:38 pm

Approaching India.

Over the Indian soil.

The really great LSS, on seeing that we were watching movies, handed us a set of snacks each from the galley behind and told us to enjoy the snacks with the movie. I was totally impressed with her service!! The snacks were potato chips, chocolate chip cookies and a Toblerone chocolate bar.

One of the perks of flying in the day: Wonderful views out the window! Here, we are flying over snow-capped mountains in Afghanistan, approximately halfway through the flight.

At this point, the second meal was served, about 7hrs into the flight. First, was full bar service was offered, where I had a Campari soda.

Was given many packets of peanuts by a lovely stewardess as well.

Lunch was then served. The really great LSS is the one at the right.

What's for lunch? 3 choices were offered!

My meal tray, which was again loaded with food. The main was overflowing from the casserole! Had a white wine with the meal.

Seafood penne pasta salad for starter, which was still half frozen.

Pork "Piccata Milanese" with pasta. The biggest chunk of meat I ever had in economy class! And rather delicious as well.

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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Sun Mar 24, 2013 2:13 pm

Another choice of Fish masala wih spiced ladyfinger and basmati rice. Tasted like the authentic Singaporean fish-head curry (minus the fish head). Great main as well! It was been quite a while since I had such good food on SQ in economy! I was so full with the meal that I saved the cheese and crackers for later.

Panna cotta dessert. Not too bad but would have preferred an ice-cream.

This time round, service was conducted from rear to front.

During lunch, we encountered some light turbulence somewhere over Iran. As usual, seat belt signs were turned off and hot beverage service was suspended. However no more of the annoying "Please return to your seat" announcements, which is a good thing as the pilots on this particular flight were so trigger-happy with the signs, illuminating the seat belt signs at least 6-7 times (excluding takeoff/landing) throughout the entire flight, with barely slight bumps encountered at each time. Because of this, the crew could not serve coffee/tea after the meal service but the LSS took our hot beverage orders during tray collection and promised to return with the drinks after the signs were switched off. Guess they were also annoyed with the signs on for such a long period of time with barely any bumps.

Finally the signs were turned off about 30min after trays were collected and the crew came out with the hot beverages. My requested green tea was delivered promptly.

Cloudy skies below.

Forward economy cabin.

My economy "bed", where I took a couple of hours' nap after finishing a second movie. Seat comfort was average, leg room not too fantastic, but with an empty seat beside, it was rather bearable.

Somewhere over Eastern Europe.

Looks cold down there.

2hrs prior to landing, sandwiches were offered with a choice of vegetarian or non-vegetarian. I had the non-vege option, which was a soft roll with beef pastrami. The vege option was a coleslaw sandwich that I did not try. Throughout the flight, drinks were offered hourly and crew were reactive to call-bells.

Having my sandwich with the villains of "Wreck it Ralph".

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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:13 pm

I wish I had the opportunity to fly on SQ. The airlines I have to fly on from the US to Europe don't compare.
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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:44 pm

Interesting route and looking forward to the other reports. I like that SQ has 3-3-3 seating on it's 777-300ERs!! I'd like to do a nonstop Europe to Asia someday.
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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:57 pm

Fantastic trip report. I love the food served on Singapore Airlines.
Even their short-haul flights have incredible meals in coach. Some of the best chicken curry I've had was on a SQ flight between Bangkok and Singapore.

Quoting ycp81 (Reply 2):
Panna cotta dessert. Not too bad but would have preferred an ice-cream.

Continental Airlines meatball logo on Singapore?   

Quoting ycp81 (Thread starter):
Spot the Twin Towers!

I can see it! I can see it!  
Bring back the Concorde
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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Mon Mar 25, 2013 12:28 am

Fantastic trip report. SQ feeds you more than many airlines in premium cabins!

Thanks a lot for writing this up!

Live, and let live.
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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Mon Mar 25, 2013 2:19 pm

Just passing Berlin and not too far from destination.

Cloudy skies over Germany to Netherlands.

Crossing the English Channel soon.

We started descending shortly after leaving Netherlands. As usual, headsets are collected and cabin prepared for landing. Approaching the coast of England.

Gloomy skies over London as usual...

Surprisingly, there was no hold for landing and we approached Heathrow from the west. Guess it was not the peak hour for traffic at Heathrow. Very smooth landing on Rwy09L, and you could hear the new announcements that mobile phones can be used after landing!


Passing a fellow B773ER from Air New Zealand while taxiing to Terminal 3.

And another B773ER from TAM Brazil.

Parked at the gate. Chocks on 20min earlier than scheduled.


View of SWG that flew me to LHR. Note that we were parked at an A380 gate. And only one aerobridge was in use.

Verdict on the first flight of my trip? This is definitely one of my best, if not the best, experience of flying economy on SQ or any airline! Catering was very substantial and much better than usual (wonder if this is a London "high-yield" flight thingy), service was good to excellent depending on the crew but the LSS serving my aisle is definitely superb, IFE was acceptable (well, at least better selections than my SQ flight last year) and seats comfortable though the rather empty flight played a big part. A very comfortable flight indeed on SQ!

After disembarkation, we were off to Transfer to board our next flight. As Virgin would be departing from the same Terminal and there were not many transfer passengers at this time of the day (guess we were the only transfer pax on the SQ flight), the line for security was almost non-existent and it made the whole transfer process rather swift. Much easier than what I had feared earlier (hey, it is Heathrow afterall).

Flight information board. Not many departures at this time of the day. The main departure bank would be during the late evening.

Transit at Heathrow was not too bad. Browsed through some shops, had a sandwich and it was soon time for boarding for the next flight. in fact, my itinerary had a slightly shorter transit time and total flight time than flying on the direct SQ26! Also the day flights made the journey much less tiring than usual.

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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Mon Mar 25, 2013 5:00 pm

Awesome TR. Could you please tell me what is your camera's style and brand?

Thank you  
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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Tue Mar 26, 2013 4:01 pm

Now for the continuation of the journey to New York. As mentioned earlier, I would be transiting at London Heathrow for my onward Virgin Atlantic flight, which was not too bad an experience. During the transit, we had also went to the VS transfer desk to ensure that our bags would be transferred onto the VS flight. The agent also took our SQ-issued boarding passes and re-issued new ones on VS stock. Our earlier allocated seats were not changed, not that I would want them to be changed for a good reason to be revealed later.

My "virgin" Virgin boarding pass for my "virgin" Virgin Atlantic flight! (Sorry, can't help it...)

Proceeded to the gate about 40min prior to departure time. Our departure gate was quite a long trek at Gate 13 but it is definitely not the furthest gate at Heathrow. Our almost brand new Virgin A330-300 was already prepared for the flight to the Big Apple.


Today, the flight would be operated by the aptly named G-VNYC "Uptown Girl"!!


Head-on view of "Uptown Girl".

06 March 2013
Virgin Atlantic
VS 9 (Code-shared SQ 2509)
London Heathrow (LHR) - New York John F Kennedy (JFK)
Economy Class

Boarding has long commenced when we reached the gate 30min prior to departure. Boy, does Virgin board their flight early! This flight was also code-shared with SQ but I seriously doubt there would be any SQ-ticketed passengers. There was a random secondary screening (what is new for US-bound flights) which I was so luckily picked for. No worries as it was swift and the security personnel were polite.

Heathrow's "Boarding" really means boarding, unlike some other airport...

Boarded the aircraft and was greeted by a crew at the door. Stepped into the aircraft and both of us went "Oooooo". The first sight that we saw upon stepping into this A330 was the really funky Upper Class bar and a model-like flight attendant concocting cocktails at the bar for Upper Class passengers. A range of newspapers were laid out on the bar counter and us lowly Economy passengers were also invited to grab a copy. However that is where the awesomeness ends as we turned right into Economy, first passing through Premium Economy, which was less ooomph but still way better than normal economy.

Reached my seat at 56K, which was an extra legroom seat! Hence the reason why I would not want my seat to be changed. On VS's A333, seats 50-56 A/C and H/K are designated as extra legroom seats with a seat pitch of 34", compared to the normal 31". These seats could be purchased for an additional USD50 per person. However, not sure whether it was a system glitch or due to my booking class, I was able to secure seats 56A/B or H/K (but not 50-55) during online seat selection, and thus immediately reserved 56H/K. Passengers seated in the normal seats would only be allowed to occupy the extra legroom seats by paying the cabin crew.

"Warning" on the headrest. Basically, do not sit on this seat unless allocated or paid for.

My 34" seat pitch, making it a more comfortable economy flight. A red blanket was already placed on the seat. However Virgin has discontinued with the economy amenity kits on day flights since a few months back. However they would still be available on overnight flights. The IFE in Economy is fully touch-screen, with no handsets available. However the screen is responsive and the lack of handsets does not bother unless one is to play games, which then may be a bit tiring to the arms.

Stuff in the seat pocket. Not much of an inflight magazine for "Vera". More of an entertainment magazine and IFE guide. This aircraft is also equipped with inflight mobile phone usage capability. Not sure about the charges but it was stated as roaming rates.

Passengers were still trickling into the cabin. Today, it seemed that the only "hot" flight attendant would be in Upper Class. None of the crew in Economy Class today resembled the flight attendants in the Virgin advertisements, haha. Well, not too concerned as long as the service is acceptable.


The cabin lights would have this cool purplish tint throughout the entire flight. Boarding music was playing new released pop songs.

Cartoon safety card.

Hmm, this card accidentally fell into my bag...

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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Wed Mar 27, 2013 3:31 am

$50 is a great deal for 34". UA charge $100.
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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Wed Mar 27, 2013 3:53 pm

At the gate.

Soon, boarding was completed and the purser welcomed everyone onboard, as well as announcing the total number of passengers, which I recalled was around 220pax. Flight time was stated to be a short 7hrs instead of the scheduled 8hr10m.

Had a very long pushback while the entertaining safety video was played. The SQ aircraft that I flew into LHR on could also be spotted.


Started the short taxi to Rwy09R, passing lots of BAs during taxi.

BA Land at T5.

Takeoff from Rwy09R......not....


Apparently there was a small administrative issue with the tallying of bag numbers vs passengers onboard, but this was resolved rapidly. However we had to wait for another 10-15min on the taxiway for a takeoff slot again.

SAS MD80 passing by while we were waiting for takeoff clearance again.

Off we go again, this time successful! However we were 30min behind schedule by then.


Climbing through the clouds.

Service started, first with the distribution of headphones. There is also a "Change for children" donation envelope within the headphone pack to support VS's charity work, with any donations encouraged in the envelopes and to be passed to any cabin crew upon disembarkation.

This was followed by the distribution of menus. Yes, VS is one of the few airlines which still provide menus in Economy Class, even though it is only a card.

What is on offer for today's flight? 3 choices offered for mains, including a vegetarian choice!

The sun has begun to set. We would be chasing the sunset for almost the entire flight! Longest sunset ever witnessed.

A bar service was first offered. My aisle was manned by 2 male attendants. They were casual and friendly, but nothing exceptional. Not a problem with me as long as they still provide the expected service.

Was given a pack of delicious pretzels and selection of drinks from the bar. We both went for the speciality cocktail without alcohol. According to the crew, it is a mixture of cranberry and orange juices. Tasted fine to me.

Drinks were served in a fanciful but of good quality purple plastic cup.

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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Thu Mar 28, 2013 4:59 pm

Started with a movie. IFE movie selections on Virgin's Vera are not bad and comparable to SQ's Krisworld, but SQ is better on the Asian and European movies. Guess this is due to the 2 airlines' vastly different route network.

Shortly after, the meal and drinks cart were rolled out. A crew member would be distributing meals while another would be following behind with drinks.

The meal tray with a salad, main, roll with butter and a cutlery pack.

All laid out with cool purple plastic cutlery used. Dessert would be served separately with coffee/tea. I had a diet Pepsi to go with my meal.

A simple salad and unheated roll.

I had the Minced beef with herb breadcrumb topping, mixed vegetables and potatoes. Not too inspiring and portion of beef is rather small.

My partner chose the Diced chicken with cheese and leek sauce, garlic and thyme potatoes and creamed spinach. This tasted slightly better but portion is again not too generous. Luckily we were not too hungry as our minds were screaming "Bedtime!!".

Nicely designed salt/pepper sachets.

After the meal trays were cleared, 'Gu' dessert was served along with coffee/tea. Today's Gu selection was a Black Forest Mini Pud/ I also had a tea to go along. Tea was served in a "Slurp" designed paper cup.

The 'Gu' dessert was what a dessert should be. Sweet, sinful and satisfying! One of the best desserts ever had on a plane! Yummy!!

The sun is still setting.

Visit to the lavatory. It was basic, with nothing more than the necessary.

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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:05 pm

What a great TR - keep it coming!
None shall pass!!!!
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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Thu Mar 28, 2013 6:43 pm

Quoting ycp81 (Reply 12):
Started with a movie. IFE movie selections on Virgin's Vera

Looks like a Jane Fonda workout at 35,000 feet!

Quoting ycp81 (Reply 12):
The meal tray with a salad, main, roll with butter and a cutlery pack.

Nice buns.
Bring back the Concorde
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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Fri Mar 29, 2013 7:17 am

A view of the cabin.

By the time I have finished my movie, we were almost halfway across the pond.

4.5hrs to go.

The still setting sun. By this time, fatigue has caught up with us and we decided to sleep the rest of the flight away. Guess we missed the mid-flight ice-cream service that Virgin offers. Snacks, such as chips and chocolates, were available for purchase if you want a bit more.

Slept for almost 3hrs and when the glancing out the window, the sky was still in its last moments of sunset. We were then somewhere over the cold Canadian soil.

An snack, supposed "High Tea", was served slightly more than an hour prior to landing. It came in a cardboard box.

The snack consists of cheese and onion sandwich and a Great British cupcake.

The cheese and red onion finger sandwiches were cold and unmemorable.

But the Great British cupcake was really yummy!! A really nice sweet treat!! Wished I could have a couple more of it!

Had another tea along with the snack.

Just passing Boston when the pilot came on and gave the arrival information.

Seemed like VS's adopted some of the "practices" of its previous major shareholder. The cabin was secured for landing, seat upright, headsets returned, and even blankets have to be tucked away behind you, all 30min before landing!! Now who's more "safety conscious"?!

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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Fri Mar 29, 2013 3:07 pm

As there was a storm brewing and heading towards New York area, winds were rather strong, making a very interesting landing. Throughout the entire approach, passengers in the plane were entirely silent while we felt the plane swerving left and right and engines spooling up and down in total darkness. Finally. the skillful pilots made a rather smooth landing onto Rwy04R, half hour ahead of schedule thanks to the weak headwinds. Even the crew remarked that JFK is "seriously windy" during his arrival announcement.


Parked at Terminal 4.

My seat for the last 7.5hrs. Legroom is good but seat cushion is a bit hard.

Waiting to disembark. A bit of a wait here as only one aerobridge was in use.

Legroom is not that great at the normal rows.

Premium Economy seats.

As there were no other arrival flights at this time, the immigration hall was almost deserted! Luggage was also out quickly and customs just looked at our forms and waved us on. In fact, we only took less than 20min from stepping out of the aircraft to clearing customs! Must be quite a record for an international arrival at a US airport!

Thoughts on my first ever Virgin Atlantic flight? Acceptable but not exceptionally great. Guess being pampered on the previous SQ flight did not help. Cabin comfort and IFE is acceptable, ambiance is "Virgin" funky, but catering could be improved, especially for the main course quality and portions. But don't remove the Gu dessert and cupcakes! Service was acceptable, not exceptional warm but not bad either. This sums up my review of Virgin Atlantic, and also the start of my USA whirlwind journey!

Took Airtrain/subway E to our hotel, Staybridge Suites Times Square, at Port Authority, which was a cheaper and faster way than the shuttle buses. Taxis are ridiculously expensive! My first meal in USA would be the famed New York Pizzas, with a rather famous chain located just steps from my Hotel.

The pizzas from 2 Bros are cheap and delicious! Strongly recommended the cheese and pepperoni pizzas!

Then it was straight to bed for the night before our day-trip to Niagara Falls early the next day.

Morning view of Empire States from my hotel room.

Free breakfast provided.

New York Times building across from Port Authority.

Then it was back to the subway for the journey to JFK again. It started to snow a bit while on the way to JFK.

View of Delta Terminal 2 from the Airtrain.

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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Sat Mar 30, 2013 12:46 pm

Delta-land at JFK Terminal 2/3.

More Deltas at Terminal 4.

jetBlues and TAM at Terminal 4.

Reaching the jetBlue Terminal 5. It is a rather long walk through the link-bridge from the Airtrain station.

Tarmac action across to Terminals 7 and 8.

Deicing on a jetBlue A320 in progress.

First sight that greeted us at Terminal 5. Self-service check-in machines. As we had no check-in luggage for the day-trip, I proceeded to the machine to print out boarding passes, as I had done online check-in earlier. Unfortunate due to some issues, the machine could not spit out our boarding passes and
we had to get them from the counters.

jetBlue check-in counters. No queues at all and we got our boarding passes immediately.

Boarding pass for the flight.

Document check by TSA done (valid passport/ID needed to clear through security) and through security we went, which was not too bad as there were no queues. Travelling through US airports, as long as everyone follows the drills (shoes, jackets and belts off, liquids out, laptops out, all metal objects out), the process would not be that painful. And currently they also utilizes the body x-ray thingy to speed things up a bit.

Departure board.

The spacious departure hall, with shops and dining available.

There is even a A320 engine on display!

Shops in the terminal. There is even a Muji!

07 March 2013
B6 108
New York John F Kennedy (JFK) - Buffalo Niagara (BUF)
N564JB "Absolute Blue"
Economy Class

"Absolute Blue" would be flying us to Buffalo this morning.

Boarding had already commenced when we reached the gate. So straight into the aircraft we went.

Welcomed at the door by a friendly crew member. Down the aisle, passing through "Even-More-Space" seat rows with 36" pitch. These can be purchased for an additional cost, but I don't think that is really necessary as normal seat rows on jetBlue A320s offers 34" pitch, the largest economy seat-pitch among all US airlines.

Reached my seat at 19A. View out of the window.

Boarding in progress.

DirectTV entertainment consoles on the armrest. I had brought my own earphones to enjoy the free IFE.

Entertainment selections are already available at the gate.

Weather Channel, showing a storm brewing around Boston. Legroom was more than sufficient at 34". The leather seats were rather comfortable.

Safety card and inflight guide in the seat pocket.

Entertainment and buy-on-board meal box options.

And the complimentary snacks/drinks and payable alcoholic options. The beverage choices can put many full-service carriers to shame!

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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Sat Mar 30, 2013 2:18 pm

All aboard and we are ready to go. Flight time was announced to be approximately 55min. A manual safety demo was conducted by the crew. There were only 3 cabin crew onboard this A320.



Starting the taxi to Rwy 04L.

Taxi to runway.


American eagle ERJ starting its takeoff roll.

Delta Connection CRJ ahead.

jetBlue behind.

And another jetBlue landing.

Takeoff from JFK Rwy04L to Buffalo!


Above the white sea of clouds, which would be the only scenery throughout the entire flight.

Flight map. We would only be cruising at a low 20+k feet.

On this short flight, jetBlue would only offer the express-service instead of the full works. This meant that only a few selection of drinks and snacks would be available. For today, the snacks available are Linden's Chocolate Chip Cookies and Kings Nut Fancy Nut Mix. Drinks on offer are Orange juice, Dasani water and Dunkin' Donuts coffee. First, snacks are distributed from baskets, followed by drinks on trays. No carts were used on jetBlue flights. Crew were friendly and professional.

Both options of snacks, paired with coffee and water. More than sufficient for such a short flight! The mixed nuts were delicious, being a premium mix of almonds, cashews and honey roasted sesame sticks.

View for the rest of the flight while I channel surf on DirectTV.

Before long, we started our descent into Buffalo.

Crew picked up the trash and secured the cabin for landing. We would be landing towards the north-east today, but flew south to intercept the approach path.

Cloudy day in the Buffalo area as well.

Flaps and gears down...

And landed smoothly on Buffalo Niagara International Airport Rwy 05.


Parked at the jetBlue designated gate. One interesting concept of US domestic operations is that most of the domestic airlines have their own dedicated gates in the terminal.

Southwest B737-700 also arrived.


Last look at the spacious and comfortable cabin. Crew were already clearing the trash off the seats while bading goodbyes, preparing the aircraft for the short turnaround.

Welcome to wet and cloudy Buffalo!

It was a really comfortable flight on jetBlue. Even though jetBlue did not market itself as a full-service carrier, nor of a budget carrier, the service provided is definitely not budget at all, and not surprisingly could be better than the legacy US carriers. Seats are comfortable, legroom good and catering more than sufficient. For those travelling with bags, jetBlue also offers 1 free check-in bag per passenger, unlike the major "full-service" carriers which are already charging for check-in bags on domestic routes. Definitely the carrier to recommend when flying domestically within USA.

From Buffalo airport, we headed directly to Niagara Falls using the airport taxi. There was an hourly shuttle by the same company which costs much less, but we missed the shuttle and so decided upon the taxi to save time, However return was on shuttle. Upon reaching Niagara Falls at the USA side, which was about a 40min drive away, everywhere is walkable or reachable by a shuttle trolley bus.

First stop was lunch at the Culinary Institute of Niagara, which was recommended to us by the attendant at the Niagara Falls Visitor Center. It is basically an institute with a restaurant, bakery and sandwich place run by students of the institute.

True to her recommendation, food was great, service was good and prices were very reasonable! Starter of a salad.

Yummy gnocchi.

Equally tasty carbonara!

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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Sun Mar 31, 2013 6:33 am

Hi Ycp81,

I chanced upon your report and thanks for this wonderful preview of the airline services from 3 different continents in one TR!

SQ really feeds passengers very well as seen from your TR, just look at how generous the meal portions are. The carrot-cake looks very good too (makes my mouth water, just looking at the generous portion of carrot cake topped with juicy shrimps!). But yes, as you've pointed out, SQ should perhaps look into changing the name of the dish for the menu as their European passengers may easily confuse with a dessert dish!

I wasn't aware that SQ serves 3 choices of main in Economy but thanks for enlightening. Both of the options you've shown look very good!

Your review of Virgin Atlantic's service is very interesting too! Meal portions look smaller compared to SQ's but nicely presented and looks tasty indeed. I think the menu card in Economy is very well-appreciated!

I also really like the mood lighting onboard Virgin. Very soothing ambience and I'm sure you had a good 3hr rest after the movie.

Oh yes, congrats on securing a seat with extra legroom on this sector!

Virgin Blue's service looks very decent on this short sector! I've heard so much complaints about domestic US services but having a PTV (with flight-tracking map feature nonetheless), a free snack and a choice drink for a flight that is less than one hour is great!

I am looking forward to reading about your flight back to Singapore on SQ15 in Business! I'm be flying SQ16/SQ15 myself (though in Economy) and I'll like to see what SQ offers upfront! Interesting that you opted for SQ603 rather than continue with SQ15. Good decision to try SQ's service on their regional routes in my opinion!

Thanks for this epic report and take care!
They say that I'm a dreamer. But I'd only Dreamt Skyward.
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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Sun Mar 31, 2013 11:15 am

Most people would visit Niagara Falls from late spring to early autumn as that is when most attractions would be in operation. For my visit in early March, the entire Niagara Falls felt like a ghost town, with most attractions like the Maid of the Mist and Caves of the Winds closed. However there is still a charm in visiting Niagara in winter, with no crowds to jostle your way through.



Rapids of river towards the falls.



Trolley bus shuttle within the park. There is a shuttle every 10mins!


American Falls.




The bigger Horseshoe Falls, where idiots went over in barrels.


Within the State Park



And lots of squirrels around! The little one preferred my potato chips to the berries it was originally eating on a tree!

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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Sun Mar 31, 2013 1:46 pm

As mentioned earlier, we took the Airport Shuttle back to Buffalo Airport in the evening, after having a light bite at Hard Rock Cafe Niagara Falls. The shuttle could be arranged at the Niagara Falls Visitor Center for only USD16 per person. Much lower than our USD70 taxi fare to Niagara Falls!


Some buffalo wings in Hard Rock Cafe.


Again, having done internet check-in earlier, we just picked up our boarding passes at the check-in counters at Buffalo airport. There were no queues at all as we were still rather early.

Off through security again with the same rituals without fuss and into the secure areas. I was getting quite deserted with most shops closing or closed, leaving only a restaurant still in operation till the last departure.

At the next gate was a delayed Boston flight due to bad weather in Boston. According to the flight information boards, all flights to Boston experienced lengthy delays that day.

Soon, the gate agent announced that our flight would be slightly delayed for 20min due to late departure from JFK. Apparently the weather in JFK was also worsening with the snow storm approaching. I was just glad that the delay was not as long as the neighbouring Boston flight, which was delayed more than 2hrs!

Finally our Embraer E190 jet arrived from JFK, 30min behind schedule.

07 March 2013
B6 131
Buffalo Niagara (BUF) - New York John F Kennedy (JFK)
Embraer E190
N284JB "Sincerely Blue"
Economy Class

Luckily the turnaround was rather quick and the plane was rather for boarding less than 10min after the last passenger got off! It was my first time flying on the Embraer aircraft and even though the seat configuration is in 2-2, it still felt rather spacious. Jetblue's E190 was configured with only 100 seats, thus only 2 cabin crew were needed. Seats were the same as on the A320s.

Legroom on the E190 was only 32" compared to the A320's 34", but still more than sufficient for the short sectors the E190 operates. DirectTV is also available.

Safety card and inflight guide, similar to the A320s.

Boarding in progress, with seated passengers already channel-surfing on the DirectTV.

Plane being refueled. Another thing noted was that the windows of the E190 are huge!

Very soon, all passengers were aboard. Almost a full flight this evening to JFK. Safety demo done manually and flight time announced as 1hr. We pushed back and taxied to Rwy05.

Takeoff from Rwy05, heading back to JFK.


Service announcement after takeoff.

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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Sun Mar 31, 2013 2:13 pm

We would only be cruising at a low 20K feet tonight. In fact, most of the time we were flying in the clouds, with lightning flashing out the windows. Surprisingly there were only minor turbulence, even though the seatbelt signs were kept on for most of the flight.

As briefed in the service announcement earlier, the "Express" service for this short flight would consist of a choice between animal crackers and mixed nuts, and beverage choices of water/coke/diet coke/sprite. Again, snacks were first offered from a basket, which the friendly female crew, who was conducting service at the rear half of the plane, offered us both choices each. This was followed by drinks from trays, where I had a Sprite. We were offered whole cans each, with cups of ice also available. I was seriously impressed with jetBlue for having so many cans of beverages on offer! On full-service airlines, SQ included, passengers were normally only served a plastic cup full.

Animal crackers and the delicious mixed nuts. Again, more than sufficient for the very short flight.

Watching the latest episode of Glee on Fox channel!

On jetBlue, cabin lights were kept dimmed throughout on night flights. The lights were only switched on for landing preparations.

Lavatory of the E190. It took some time for me to locate the 'Flush' button. See the blue button above the toilet roll? I initially thought it was the cabin attendant call button!

Descending into stormy New York.

We landed on Rwy31R from the south.


Parked at Terminal 5. It was snowing rather heavily by now.

Disembarking. Comfortable seat pitch on the E190 as well.

Our E190 in the snow storm!

Again. a short and pleasant flight on jetBlue, despite the delay which was due to weather, so no fault of the airline. Luckily we had flew to Niagara Falls this day as the following day, there were major delays at all NY airports due to heavy snowfall overnight! Back to the hotel and rest for the night.

And this was what greeted me the next morning!


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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:51 pm

Had the complimentary breakfast again at Staybridge Suites.


It had been snowing very heavily throughout the entire night till late morning.



Due to the heavy snow, we decided that it was not an appropriate day to explore NY city, and thus decided to go up to Woodbury Premium Outlets instead for some shopping! It was a correct decision as we felt as if we were shopping in winter wonderland!





Simple lunch at Woodbury Common Premium Outlets.


After lots of shopping, it was back to Manhattan for dinner! By then, the snow on the streets had been cleared.


An evening of sinful New Yorker "cuisine"! First up, Shake Shack burger!


Followed by Mac n Cheese from Schnipper's Quality Kitchen.


Ending with dessert from Cake Boss Cafe!

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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:08 pm

After 2 days of snow, the weather was perfect on the 3rd and 4th day I was in New York! Cool temperature with sunny skies! Loved it! As this was not our first visit to NY and having been to the main tourist attractions, this trip was more of exploring the unexplored areas as well as shopping!

The ever famous Times Square!


One of the must-try cupcake chains, DC Cupcakes. Based on a reality TV show!


Candies and more candies!


Lunch and more of streets of New York.


Everyone's out at Central Park!


Evening in New York.



Delicious Italian food at a Zagat and Michelin rated restaurant. Chanced upon this small restaurant just behind the hotel.


Morning visit to Chelsea Market.



Grand Central Terminal and SoHo.


Pinkberry and more pizza! Last meal in New York before flying to Las Vegas...

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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Thu Apr 04, 2013 1:08 pm

Well First of all amazing report! One can see the amount of effort put behind it.
Love the photos...
New York for me is the best city in the world ( Well only after my hometown   )

Looks like SQ kicked VS's ass when you compare your flights overall..

Typical SQ stuff though...Catering indeed looks really good..also I am very disappointed at VS's offering on there
Lhr-Jfk flight....

You being fancy and all and handing out menus and then giving miserly amount of food...Not Cool..
They could really learn a thing or 2 from SQ....

JetBlue looks like a cool airline...Must try it sometime...

Thanks again and keep Writing!


Be the change you want to see in the world- M.K.Gandhi
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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Thu Apr 04, 2013 2:54 pm

After New York, the next destination would be Las Vegas, mainly for another natural wonder, Grand Canyons! I had booked the flight, again on Jetblue for a rather low fare, to depart New York in the evening, reaching Las Vegas around midnight. Just in time for bed in Vegas.

Again, took the subway and AirTrain to JFK T5. Surprisingly, the terminal was very crowded! Totally different from 4 days ago when we were departing for Buffalo. Snaking queues were seen at the check-in desks as well as the bag-drop desks. This time round, I was able to obtain our boarding passes from the machines but the wait for bag-drop took another half hour! With Jetblue offering free baggage check-in, it is no wonder almost everyone wants to check in their bags. Also, there were lots of flights departing in the late evening as well!

Boarding pass on a paper printout.

Security was fast and we proceeded to Gate 2 for our flight, just before boarding commenced. The flight would end up almost full tonight! This would be my 2nd "long-haul" flight on Jetblue, the first being JFK to San Jose a few years back. Guess not many people flew on an A320 for 5+ hours!

10 March 2013
B6 199
New York John F Kennedy (JFK) - Las Vegas McCarran (LAS)
N524JB "Blue Belle"
Economy Class

Blue Belle would be making the long-haul to Vegas tonight.

Boarding started by status, "Even-more space" seats, followed by row numbers. Again was welcomed aboard and proceeded to our seats. Not much description and pictures for this sector as the plane is of exact same configuration as the previous jetBlue A320 flight, and the flight was in total darkness for almost the entire journey. 3 cabin crew again on this A320, and flight time was a quick 4h50m, compared to the scheduled 5h48m. Captain was a jovial guy who welcomed us onboard through the intercom while standing on the aisle.

Pushed back on time and taxied to Rwy22R for takeoff. Not too long a queue for takeoff tonight.

Takeoff from Rwy22R, bound for Las Vegas.


Lights over New York.

Again, we started on our DirectTV entertainment. Cabin lights were again, dimmed for the entire flight till landing preparations.

Cruising at 34,000ft.

Cabin service started, first with the offering of buy-on-board items of pillows, blankets and meal boxes, with apparently no takers, followed by drinks. Again, no carts were used and the crew took orders from a couple of rows at a time and serve them direct from the galley. That meant for a lot of walking for the crew! On offer were all the beverage selection from the inflight guide card (refer to my previous post on the JFK-BUF sector). We had cranberry juice, Arizona iced tea and bottles of water, served in whole cans with cups of ice. I was still very impressed with the quantity of beverages jetBlue have onboard!

After drinks were distributed, crew came down the aisle with snack baskets, again offering everything that was on the menu. We were free to grab as many as we wanted! We had the blue chips, corn chips, popcorn chips and the so delicious mixed nuts! That was a lot of snacking!

Then it was back for more channel-surfing followed by a nap. Passengers were free to go to the galley to grab additional snacks or drinks though.

Somewhere in Colorado.

From East to the West.

Then the most unexpected thing happened! While we were nearing Las Vegas, a crew member came down the aisle distributing something, which turned out to be hot towels!! True, they were not the SQ cloth type but were still much appreciated! Apparently this is part of jetBlue's overnight service, which I did not expect to receive on this flight as it was not really a red-eye flight.

We soon made our descend into Las Vegas, with the crew switching on the cabin lights and preparing the cabin for arrival just less than 10min prior to touchdown!

Approaching Las Vegas.

And lower..

Touchdown on Rwy25L, almost 45min early!


Well, our early arrival was of no use as the gate was still occupied by another jetBlue aircraft awaiting pushback. So we had to wait on the taxiway for almost 20mins!

It was till the other aircraft was pushed back that we got to dock at the gate at the new Terminal 3.


Seat for the last 5hrs.

View of Blue Belle again. It was another comfortable flight on jetBlue!

You know you are in Vegas when the first thing you see as you disembarked into the terminal are jackpot machines!

More slot machines!

Welcome to Vegas!

Even slot machines at the baggage claim area!

After getting our bags, it was off for the pre-paid shuttle for the short ride to our all-suites hotel, Platinum Hotel, for the night.
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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Thu Apr 04, 2013 8:15 pm

Excellent report so far! About the hot 'towels': I know they're not quite what some would call a towel, but I'm glad you enjoyed them! I find them pretty refreshing, myself. One note, though, is that the hot towel service is now on all of B6's transcon flights (day or night, in either direction), whereas before, they were only distributed toward the end of their redeye flights. Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip! Cheers!
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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:21 pm

Great report! Thanks for sharing!
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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:11 pm

The next day was spent entirely in Las Vegas, including exploring the strip and having one of its magnificent and affordable buffets. It was bright and sunny as usual during the day in the middle of the desert.


First up was to Bellagio for its lunch buffet!



Followed by walking down the Strip to digest all the food!


Caesar's Palace.


The Forum Shops

More of the Strip


The Mirage by day.

Treasure Island

Sunset @ Wynn

Fashion Show Mall for some shopping!

When night falls, Vegas comes to life!


Sirens vs Pirates @ Treasure Island

Volcano erupts!


After eruption..

Caesar @ night

Sin City alright...

Fountains @ Bellagio

Following day was the highlight, visit to Grand Canyons! We booked a full day-trip to the South Rim for a very low rate of less than 70USD per person, on a rather endurable 5-hr bus ride each way.

Through the desert.

First stop, Hoover Dam. Time to take those "dam" pictures!



McDonalds, an USA creation.

Finally reached the magnificent Grand Canyons!!




Humans are like puny ants in front of the Canyons...


Another look-out point.



Back to Vegas in the evening.


[Edited 2013-04-06 05:42:56]
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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Sat Apr 06, 2013 2:33 pm

Amazing Trip report.
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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Sun Apr 07, 2013 1:24 pm

Last city to go, San Francisco! This would also be my 6th flight sector on this trip. Again, took the pre-booked shuttle for the short ride to McCarran Terminal 3, where Virgin America would be departing from. On this sector, I had the choice of flying Virgin America, Southwest or United, but chose Virgin America due to all the hype about this stylish airline, even though Southwest offered free bag check-in but this is payable on VX. We pre-paid for our bags for USD25 each during online check-in, which is the same rate as on United. Also, at the time of my flight, VX passengers are also eligible to earn Krisflyer miles, but apparently these has not been posted yet into my account (but I would wait for a couple of weeks more as the website said to allow 4-6 wks before the miles would appear).

Arriving at McCarran T3, with view of The Strip behind.

Flying Virgin America today!

Virgin America check-in area.

We had arrived slightly more than 2hrs before departure and the check-in and baggage drop counters were not staffed yet. However we used the check-in machines to print our boarding passes.

Boring-looking self-service printed boarding pass. Should have gotten the boarding passes from the check-in counters as they looked cooler!

Waiting for the baggage drop counters to open. There was already a short queue. Counters opened on the dot and very soon, our bags were on their way.

With the many departures, there was a rather long queue for security, which took probably 20min. Not the worst I have encountered, but considered the worst for this trip. After security is the sterile boarding area with shops. Noticed that in USA, the flight information display is sorted by destinations instead of departure times!

Slots everywhere again! But apparently no one is playing... Guess everyone had enough of jackpots...

Shops in the terminal. We chilled out at Starbucks for a while.

Followed by some plane-spotting. Air Canada A320 had just arrived.

"Killer Whale" Frontier A320

Very cool signage at our departure gate!

The more traditional flight information display. Our fboarding would be delayed for 20min due to low ceilings in the Bay Area. Not surprising as it occurs rather frequently. However it was not reflected on the information display.

Slots machine right at the gate.

Our A320 to SFO.

Close-up. It is named "sol plane".

13 March 2013
Virgin America
VX 905
Las Vegas McCarran (LAS) - San Francisco (SFO)
N844VA "sol plane"
Economy Class

Headsets, in 3 different colours, are available for purchase at the gate for USD2 each.

Boarding was called by classes and row numbers and was strictly enforced. Down the gangway to aircraft, with an interesting signage spotted.

Welcomed aboard and passed through First Class with only 8 seats. The white leather-cladded seats looked good!

However it was off into Main Cabin for me...

Seat pitch looked decent at 32".

Cool purple cabin lights, with trance music playing in the background. Felt just like in a club! Interesting!!

Out the window. What a patriotic wingtip fence!

Boarding in progress, with crew assisting pax. There were 2 crew in Main cabin and 1 crew serving First today.

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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Sun Apr 07, 2013 2:10 pm

Legroom is more than decent for this short hop. Seat pocket has innovative small separated compartments to place your stuff.

Safety card, wifi guide and airsick bag.

Even though the IFE monitors are touch-screen enabled, handsets are also available under the armrests.

Which can be removed for use when required.

United A319 taxiing away. United operates from the mid-concourse D which could be reached by a people-mover from Terminal 3.

Frontier also departing.

Soon, boarding was completed and we started out pushback. Flight time was announced as 1h20m. The pilot came on and announced that even though we would be starting our taxi, ATC had only cleared us to depart to SFO at 1150am, and thus we would need to hold on the taxiway.

Pushback with safety video playing.


United B739 passing by.

American B738 pushing back as well.

Taxi with safety video ending.


A row of aircraft queuing for takeoff.

We waiting on the taxiway for our departure slot while watching planes takeoff and land. A Delta CRJ departing.

Westjet B738 to somewhere in Canada.

Spirit-ing away.

Air Canada before us. Finally we are next!

Still more planes behind, with the mountains right ahead.

Took off right on the dot at 1150hrs from Rwy25R.


Mountains and desert.

Nice and dry landscape.

Service announcement was made.


Lets take a look at the Red IFE system. It consists of more than 20 'live' TV channels, MTVs, CDs, flight map and the very cool inflight food/beverage ordering system!

On VX, only drinks are free. Snacks and meal boxes are payable (unless you are seated in Main Cabin Select) by swiping your credit card under the screen. On this short flight, a round of beverage service and snack sales was conducted for the entire cabin, so the inflight order system is kinda useless. What are the free drinks on offer?

And the buy-on-board snacks on offer.

And meal boxes, which were apparently snapped up by Main Cabin Select passengers.

Still very dry out there...

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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Sun Apr 07, 2013 3:15 pm

Watching a documentary on Tiger Farming.

Friendly Virgin America crew starting the beverage service as well as handing out ordered snacks and meal boxes.

Flight map uses Google Map! We are currently at 30,000ft.

Great weather for flying.

The new Pope was announced 'Live' at 30,000 feet!

I has a cranberry juice as well as a bottle of water.

We further climbed to 36,000ft.

Video taken inflight.


Beautiful snow-capped mountains.

More mountains.

Really nice views throughout the flight.

Cabin view again.

Greenery shall appear after passing this mountain range.

Starting our descent into San Francisco.

Built up area with lush greenery now. It is amazing how the landscape can change from dry deserts to snow-capped mountains to lush green forests and fields within 1hr!

Making some turns before setting up on finals across the bay.

Descending across the bay.


Landing on Rwy28R, 20min behind schedule. Not the fault of the airline though.


Taxi to Terminal 2, which houses Virgin America and American Airlines.

Reached the gate. UA A320 taxied by.

ANA B773ER landing in the distance.

Another VX docking beside us.

My leather economy seat.


A look at Main Cabin again.

This plane would be going up to Philadelphia. Wait a minute... Singapore Airlines SQ1311 to Philadelphia? Nope, not a new SQ destination but new codeshares on VX. Almost all the VX flights departing at that period of time from SFO had SQ-code affixed as well! Guess it is to enable transfer from the arrival SQ16.

Overall a short and interesting flight on Virgin America. Really a different flying experience from the normal carriers out there. With the reports that VX is currently bleeding real badly, I really hope that this unique carrier could eventually survive the very competitive US airspace. Hopefully with the alliance with SQ, things might look up a bit better for VX.

Some shots of Terminal 2, which consists of quite a number of gates surrounding some eateries.

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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Mon Apr 08, 2013 2:16 pm

Satisfied my pinkberry crave right after touchdown in the terminal!

Towards the exit.

Claiming our bags.

From Terminal 2, we would need to take the shuttle train to the BART station at the international terminal.

SQ Albino departing as SQ15 to ICN and SIN!

The BART was really convenient to reach our hotel, Hotel Nikko, at Powell. After check-in, it was time to explore the city of Frisco! Firstly, of course the iconic San Francisco trolley!


And trams.

Union Square



Sutter St


Pier 39.


Where the sealions laze.




We did a sunset tour to the infamous Alcatraz Island! Approaching Alcatraz...



Legends of Alcatraz.


Eerie hospital ward


The tour was worth it, just for the sunset view from the island. View of San Francisco from Alcatraz.

Seagulls watching the sun setting over Golden Gate.

Loved this shot!


Back to mainland and to Fisherman's Wharf for dinner.

The food in San Francisco is really amazing! Yummy asian dishes and fresh yet affordable seafood paradise!

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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:35 pm

After a crazy 10-day East-to-West Coast USA trip, it was finally time to go back home, and also finally my first ever long-haul experience on SQ Business Class! The return flight was booked using Krisflyer miles redemption, with the SFO-SIN sector on 2 flights, SQ15 on SFO-ICN, a 5+hr transit in ICN, followed by SQ603 for the final sector. This was due to only this combination available for redemption in Savers, as SQ15 on ICN-SIN was fairly full. Almost contemplated redemption in First Class, but since I am not really a champagne/wine and fine-dining appreciator, plus I was able to select the best seat in Business Class in 11K (not much difference between seats 11K and 1K), I decided to "bear with it" in Business!

Before departure to the airport, we had the famous San Francisco Boudin clam chowder to start the day! Also grabbed a ready-to-eat can home!

Then it was check-out and the BART to SFO.

A half hour train ride later, we reached SFO International Terminal. Located SQ's check-in desks right in the middle of the terminal and proceeded to the Business Class counters to collect out boarding passes and drop our bags since I have done prior online check-in.

All the Business Class counters were occupied while we waited our turn. Luckily the wait was short and we were soon checked-in by a Singaporean SQ staff, who seemed to be probably one of the station supervisors? Our bags were tagged all the way to Singapore, but we only received boarding passes to ICN on SQ15. When queried, the check-in staff then realised that we would be on SQ603 for the ICN-SIN sector. He was amused that we did not fly direct on SQ15. Guessed they seldom see people traveling to Singapore this way. No problems, as our ICN-SIN boarding passes were also issued. We were also given the directions to the Silver Kris lounge.

Boarding passes for SQ15 and SQ603.

Security was surprisingly painless as there was apparently a dedicated queue for premium passengers, and so we got to cut the line. But the notmal line was also not too bad. Proceeded to the Silver Kris lounge after security, which was down a hallway, with the EVA Air lounge right at the end.

Entrance to the Silver Kris Lounge.

The lounge, used by both F and J, as well as Star "Gold" and PPS customers, was quite crowded this afternoon. Surprising, as it was still rather early. Business Class eventually ended up nearly full! We managed to secure a pair of seats together in the lounge.

The other end of the lounge, with working desks and newspaper/magazine corner.

Lets check out the buffet counter! First, the bar corner, with alcohols, canned drinks, bottled water and cup noodles etc.

As well as a Nespresso machine!

Bakery items, cereals, cheeses and chips.

Salad, cold cuts, juices, yoghurts and fruits. Haagen Daz ice-cream were also available on request.

Hot food items and soup.

Had some hot buffet items and ice-cream. Food was just average.

Some peanuts with coffee and juice.

There is a very basic shower facility in one of the toilets as well. Nothing impressive.

View from the lounge. Lots of Uniteds on the apron.

3 different United B744 liveries!

After grabbing our bites, we proceeded to the gate where boarding would be commencing soon. There are not many shopping in the International terminal.

Departure information, again listed according to cities. Thus we have SQ15 departing to Seoul as well as Singapore.

Some plane-spotting. United B772ER.

Air China B744.

And again, the 3 Uniteds.

My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:48 pm

Thank you, ycp81, for one of the most thoughtfully-crafted TRs it's been my pleasure to read on this forum. I think you have raised the bar for TRs with your careful selection of terrific images, insightful observations, and a really good 'flow'. The obvious time and effort put into creating the non-aeronautical elements (ie the mouthwatering food shots and scenery collations) is sensational - a great way of giving A.netters a feel for the destination experiences without creating a huge photo album ... well done! Can't wait for the next installments with your SQ TransPacific J sectors! SQ is still on my 'to try' list, especially up the front.
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Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2011 10:10 pm

RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Thu Apr 11, 2013 4:50 am

I stumbled across this amazing trip report and greatly enjoyed it! Reading it I really felt like I was there with you on your travels and that's the ultimate sign of a good trip report. Thank you so much for sharing!

Looking at your cabin views of the SQ 777-300ER flight, I realized that the 3-3-3 layout really is superior, despite many travelers saying that there's no perceptible difference with 3-4-3. The less dense layout creates a more pleasant, spacious and visually appealing cabin, which can only help travelers better endure long flights like SIN-LHR.
United: please start SYD-IAH!
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Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2000 1:51 pm

RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Thu Apr 11, 2013 11:02 am

Great report! I just flew SQ15 from SFO to SIN and the SQ407 to DEL and was very impressed with the service. Choice of three meals in Y- western, Korean and Indian and good food overall. I didn't think mood lighting was used to its fullest extent... I'd you find the same on your LHR leg? Thanks for the great report!

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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Thu Apr 11, 2013 2:13 pm

Quoting icanfly (Reply 37):
I stumbled across this amazing trip report and greatly enjoyed it! Reading it I really felt like I was there with you on your travels and that's the ultimate sign of a good trip report. Thank you so much for sharing!

I completely agree! I think this was one of the most comprehensive TRs I have read in a while! An around-the-world trip, no less! Excellent!
None shall pass!!!!
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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Thu Apr 11, 2013 5:08 pm

SQ's newest B773ER, 9V-SWT, would be flying the long-haul back to Singapore. Pardon the shaded designs on the glass.

We will be departing from gate G95.

At the gate, boarding has just started, and so we proceeded onboard through the Business Class lane.

15 March 2013
Singapore Airlines
SQ 15
San Francisco (SFO) - Seoul Incheon (ICN)
Business Class

Was welcomed at the door by name and passed through the almost empty First cabin to my seat at the first row of Business. First Class would eventually only have 3/8 pax.

Settled into our seats at 11F and 11K, arguably the one of the best seats onboard this B773ER. Across the aisle from my seat.

"Welcome Aboard" this very spacious seat. However, even though this aircraft is only 4yrs old, the Business Class seats are already showing lots of signs of wear. The life-jacket compartment at the side of my seat could not be properly closed and the seat itself showed lots of scuff marks. However, it is still one of the best Business seats out there.

Air New Zealand B744 parked beside. I think SFO is the only route that NZ still flies using the B744, correct me if I am wrong.

My aisle would be served by 2 Korean SQ gals, so much so that close your eyes and you might think that you were on Asiana or Korean Air! The inflight supervisor also helped out in Business today as First was rather empty and Business was almost full. First up, hot towels were offered, followed by welcome drinks. I had a Charles Heidsieck champagne, which was much better than the Bollinger and Henriot offered previously.

However, after only drinking half the glass, the IFS came down from First and offered this instead! Well, sometimes it pays to show appreciation to the crew serving you, hehe... Not sure whether it was Dom or Krug though, since I am not a wine/champagne appreciator.

It would only be a short 11h20m flight today, more than an hour shorter than the scheduled flight time. In fact, we eventually arrived more than an hour early!

Soon after, doors were closed and we pushed back, with the safety video playing.


Taxi to the runway and passing a row of Heavies.

More Uniteds.

"Baby" United Express CRJ.

AA land.

And Virgin land just beside.

After a rather lengthy taxi, we held, waiting for a pair of parallel landing aircraft. After that, we took off from Rwy28L.


View of the city of San Francisco and Bay Bridge shortly after takeoff.

The city again.

Golden Gate Bridge!

Spot Alcatraz!

Leaving the Californian coast.

After seatbelt signs were switched off, the service announcement was made. All announcements were made both in English and Korean.


Sockettes and eyemask were distributed first. Note that the eyemask has changed and seemed of a lower quality now. In fact, quite similar to what you would get in economy as well if requested.

The magazines.

Firing up the IFE system.

View of my seat at almost max seated recline.

My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:55 am

Seriously good report, have loved every bit of it!

Some observations:

SQ seemed extremely solid on the SIN-LHR route, much more so than usual. Great you got an awesome LSS in the mix too. In my opinion the LSS crop is the best of the SQ bunch. Not too senior that they loose touch, but not so junior that they are textbook.

VS looked to be standard on the Heathrow-Kennedy run, glad they have stepped up their catering but still look a bit off the mark. I mean their competition is BA, AA, DL and KU on the route so I suppose they are fine in Y. I have soft spot for them because I adore their crew, so much fun to fly with.

B6 - they are such a no nonsense airline, I love it. They seriously have gotten the "listen, I'm going to take you from point A to point B, and I'm going to do it safely and comfortably" thing down to the pat. I don't think I've ever come across a bad JetBlue crew, and I just love their inflight service for a US domestic carrier.

Virgin America is another favourite of mine, I've ditched United's PS JFK-LAX F/J service for VX F and haven't looked back. The crew are amazing (UA also has their gems on this route), the catering leaves United high and dry and the overall experience onboard is just superior, and on the ground too especially if you shell out for Clubhouse access. Like you say the airline is at a pivotal moment in its history and I really do hope they pull through, a truly unique experience in what is otherwise a rather drab US domestic airline industry. I've had many a long conversation with their crew culminating in multiple new Facebook friends, and I have to say the amount of pride they take in their airline is so admirable. They truly are proud to work for VX and it shows in their service. And why are the VX bunch so well groomed - what is it that the airline does that achieves what eludes pretty much every other American carrier?

Thanks again for a great series!
Keep Discovering
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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Fri Apr 12, 2013 4:03 pm

What is on the menu today?

Lunch menu. Spot the "error"? (Hint: The cheeses section)

Refreshments and Light Meal.

Dinner for the Incheon to Singapore sector, which ! would not partake in. Again, same "error".

Champagnes and wines.

Cocktails and spirits.

Coffees and teas.

For post takeoff drink, I had the cocktail Jubilee Lining, which was served with some mixed nuts. No satays are served on flights originating from USA.

Lunch was served next. Table was laid out and I ordered a Californian white to go along.

Got a warm garlic bread and breadstick from the bread basket offering.

Marinated salmon with mesclun and vegetables
[SIZE="1"]Sweet mustard dill dressing[/SIZE]

Braised chicken breast in tomato-rosemary vegetable stew, fingerling potatoes. A creation by Alfred Portale of Gotham Bar & Grill, New York.
My partner had this. It was ok, but not really that fantastic.

I had the Korean choice, Saewu jjim. It was stated as a "Korean style prawn in spicy sauce, jap chae, steamed rice. With soup and Kimchi on the side".

It tasted better than it looks. Prawns were fresh and huge, but the sauce was rather spicy.

Kimchi was very spicy though.

Soup was a miso soup.

After mains were cleared, dessert was offered, with a choice of either Chocolate ice cream with berry compote, or the Rhubarb and raspberry crumble with vanilla sauce. As we had earlier had our fill of Haagen Daz in the lounge, both of us went for the crumble, which also looked more appealing.

It was delicious!

Cheeses and fruits up next, served from a trolley.

As the fruits offered were only large boring whole fruits such as apples, pears and oranges (I can't possibly finish an entire apple after all the food), I only stuck to the cheeses, with some additional grapes thrown in as well. The cheese selection is not bad.

Some Spanish red from First Class to try? Sure!

Ending with a Paris-Singapore tea and pralines.

A bottle of water was also offered to each of us.

Service by the Korean stewardesses and female IFS on my aisle was rather good. I was addressed by name throughout and my glasses were constantly topped up, plates cleared promptly and requests attended to promptly. Guess more of a SQ-service with a bit of Asiana/Korean Air touch.

It seemed very cold out there...

My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Sat Apr 13, 2013 4:11 am

Flipped down my bed, tucked into my duvet and continued with "Life of Pi" in bed. Loved the spaciousness of 11K! Cabin lights were also dimmed. Interestingly, quite a number of passengers were not aware of the seat having to flip down to form a flat bed, and the crew had to go around, gently waking passengers in uncomfortable slumber in their minimal recline seats, and convert their seats into a bed for them.

1/3 through the flight, we were over the Alaskan Range.

Which treated us to some fantastic views! Window seat passengers all pulled up the window seats, went "Wow!", and then back to their slumber or movies.

Visit to the lav. Something is not right? Yep, cloth towels are missing! Apparently they were not loaded as all toilets did not have them. Checked with the crew and apparently it had been quite a while since they were not stocked in SFO. Hopefully it is not a cost-cutting "trial"....

Rest of the toiletries were available.

Snacks (potato chips, pretzels and chocolate brownies) and whole fruits were laid out in the galley. I grabbed a packet of each type of snack to enjoy with my movie.

After a couple of movies later, we tried more stuff from the "Light Bites" menu. Warm croissant with creamy chicken and tomato, which was rather good.

Followed by sinful Krispy Kreme donuts! One of each flavour, no less!

After the heavy snacking, it was off to bed for a couple of hours. To be honest, I find the Business class bed a tad too hard for sleeping, but still managed a grab a couple of hours of nap. And luckily on this flight, we had the least "trigger-happy" pilots on SQ, who never switch on the seat belt signs for the entire flight, even with minor turbulence encountered.

Before I knew it, I was gently woken up by a Korean stewardess and offered a hot towel to refresh myself before the start of the second meal service. We were barely 2hrs away from landing.

Along the coast of Russia.

For the second meal, service started from the rear of Business Class. Again, tables were laid and I had an orange juice to go along.

To start, we had a Marinated scallops and grilled vegetables salad, with lemon thyme vinaigrette.

Soft roll and breadstick.

For the mains, both of us had booked-the-cook. My partner had the Crab cake with broccoli, baby carrots, fresh asparagus, and roasted potato wedges, which was rather tasty! Having no high expectations, we were surprised that the crab cake contained lots of crab meat!

I chose the Jumbo shrimps in Thai red curry sauce with assorted vegetables and fried rice noodles, which was equally nice and not too filling.

Dessert was a Mango creme brulee, which was too rich and filling for our liking. A few mouthfuls and we returned the rest back.

An Earl grey to end the meal.

View of the forward small Business cabin, the cabin to be if flying J on the B773ER.

Due to weak headwinds, our arrival time was more than an hour earlier than scheduled! Also 1hr less for me to enjoy the seat...Soon, we were preparing for landing and my seat was made upright.

Over the mountains of South Korea.

My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:04 am

Loved this trip report series!! The food in Biz class looks so damn yummy!
Topic Author
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Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Sat Apr 13, 2013 2:29 pm

Nearly there now.

Outskirts of Seoul

No hold and we descended direct into Incheon.

Final approach.

Had a very early landing into Rwy33R! We landed slightly more than an hour ahead of schedule!


Korean Air land.

Jin Air preparing to taxi.

Planes parked at the satellite Concourse Terminal.

Finally parked beside a Air Canada B763ER.

During disembarkation, I saw 9V-SWN parked beside, operating as SQ16 to SFO.

The bird that flew us across the Pacific Ocean.

Brothers at Incheon.

Transit passengers continuing to SIN needed to get a transit get upon disembarkation and clear security again. For us, as we already had our boarding passes for the later SQ603, we also cleared security with the transit passengers and went up to the departure concourse. Time to while away 6hrs in Incheon!

My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
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RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Sat Apr 13, 2013 2:46 pm

I'm not sure if you have too many photos in this one report, which is why a major portion of the latter half are not showing up?. Also your youtube video links do not seem to work. Such a shame as it's a blockbuster of a trip report. I truly enjoyed your collage of New York photos and it was very nicely done!! Wow!!.....Please try and amend it accordingly
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Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2008 11:50 am

RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Sun Apr 14, 2013 12:51 pm

A great trip report! I really like when the trip report contains pics from the destinations as well! I didn't have the same issues with your pics as flightsimboy but he's right about the youtube links. They work if you copy and paste them, not if you just click on them.

Thanks once again for a great job with this trip report! I really have to make it to Niagara Falls one of these days!
Topic Author
Posts: 599
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Fri Apr 19, 2013 3:02 pm

Final sector of this very long trip report! But before that, some plane-spotting at Incheon.

Delta B772ER

Really big brother beside little brother.

Qatar B773ER

Turkish A330

KE A333. Apparently some KE flights also departs from the Concourse Terminal.

An interesting world map made up of Korean characters.

Getting darker, and a CX A333 just arrived.

Soon, it was too dark to do any more plane spotting, and having done our shopping for some Korean skincare products, we proceeded to the newly opened Silver Kris Lounge. We would be spending the next 4hrs in the lounge!

Except for us, the lounge was totally empty! Most pax had departed on SQ15 to Singapore. Thus it was perfect to explore the new lounge! There is a big TV screen at one end of the lounge showing the news.

Lots of comfortable sofa and chairs down the length of the lounge.

A quite area at the end of the lounge, hidden behind the buffet area.

Flight information and newspapers/mag rack.

Work area with PCs available. When I logged into one of the PCs, the internet window was on SQTalk! So who over here was in the lounge on the day too?

Now for the buffet offering. Some salad, nuts, olives, cheeses and crackers.

Sandwiches and bakery items.

Vietnamese pho

Soup, instant noodles and two hot dishes.

Pasta with tomato sauce.

Chicken satay.

Nachos and warm apple pastry.

Cakes, macaroons and fruits.

Coffee and tea.

And the rest of the alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

Not fancying any savory stuff at the moment, I had macaroons, fruits, pastries and some milk.

My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
Topic Author
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Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

RE: 4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6)

Fri Apr 19, 2013 4:06 pm

Unique to the Incheon Silver Kris Lounge is a free 15min facial massage service! The massage service is only available from 2pm-8pm and we were the last to try out the facial massage for the day.

After the massage, a complimentary cosmetic trial-pack was also given!

Time for a refreshing shower! There are two shower cubicles in addition to the normal toilets in the lounge. Each shower cubicle has fresh towels and amenities laid out. Definitely much better than the SFO lounge.

Shampoo, conditioner and shower gel were available as well. The rain shower was more than welcomed to refresh myself!

About 2hrs before the scheduled departure time, the lounge gradually filled up with passengers, but still more than enough seats for everyone.The hot dishes were changed later in the evening, offering chicken wings and beef bulgogi.

Chicken wings.

Scones, cookies and green tea.

About 45min before departure, we decided to slowly proceed to the gate. Our plane had already arrived earlier. 9V-STC would be flying us on the final leg back to Singapore tonight.

17 March 2013
Singapore Airlines
SQ 603
Seoul Incheon (ICN) - Singapore (SIN)
Business Class

Boarding was just starting when we reached the gate. Boarded immediately into the regional-business class configured A333. Today, a chief stewardess, Korean LSS and a flight steward would be serving us in Business. The cabin ended up only half-full tonight.

Settling into my seat.

Welcome drinks offered. Being so late in the night, I opted just for an orange juice.

Menu was already placed at the seat. Lets see what was offered on the incoming flight.

And on tonight's flight. Only a sleeper-service offered, but was fine with me as I was going to nap till breakfast prior to landing.

A different white wine was offered compared to the previous SQ15 sector.

Orders were taken for the meal choice and the time to be served. Most pax, like me, opted to have their meals served before landing. Doors closed and we pushed back on the dot for the 6h hop to Singapore. A CX B772 was parked beside for the night.

Etihad A345

It was only a rather short taxi to the runway and we took off from Rwy33L.


Korean night sky.

Immediately after the lights were turned back on, I tuned in to my half-completed cartoon movie and finished it before bedtime.

Had a hot chocolate as my post-takeoff/pre-bedtime drink.

Visit to the lavatory.

Cloth towels were not missing on this flight.

Darkened cabin.

I went to sleep somewhere over the East China Sea.

While cruising at 38,000ft.

Had a rather restful 3hr sleep on the narrower but more comfortable regional J seats and when I woke, we had only 2hrs left into the flight.

My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81

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