Moderators: richierich, ua900, PanAm_DC10, hOMSaR

 
Carfield
Topic Author
Posts: 2185
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2003 5:49 pm

SQ Capital Express Inaugural SIN-CBR-WLG-CBR in J

Mon Sep 26, 2016 3:35 pm

Singapore Airlines “Capital Express” Inaugural SIN-CBR-WLG-CBR
Image
Image

Singapore Airlines is one of the few airlines, which treat inaugural flights as special occasions. Who can forget about Singapore Airlines’ first A380 commercial flight, as well as multiple A380 firsts towards multiple destinations, as well as the “747 Farewell” flights? I still recalled my Singapore Airlines’ first A380 flight to Tokyo Narita, which was diverted to Nagoya, and the wonderful mandarin duck gift bag in business class. When Singapore Airlines announced this interesting “Capital Express” flight linking Singapore with the two capitals in Australia and New Zealand, I was interested in giving it a try. I had debated multiple times, as the fares are quite high, and of course, the late departure time will guarantee the dreaded “sleeper service” flight, which is truly as bad as it sounds, and I almost feel the embarrassment of the F/A asking if business class passengers want supper OR breakfast. I got more food on the three hours Trans-Tasman segments than the seven hours segments. Most importantly, Singapore Airlines not only employ the regional business class seats, which is okay with me, but those slightly older Boeing 777-200ERs with the old entertainment system. I also feel that this will be a perfect A350 flight, but not sure if the short runway at Wellington dictates some of these decisions. In the end, I decided to fly one way from SIN to WLG via CBR and coming back to CBR from WLG, so I will get three inaugural flights. Doing all four segments seem a bit much, even in business class. I actually felt that Wellington threw the best party out of all three segments that I took, but Canberra shared the most excitement, as this Singapore Airlines’ new service will be the only airline using these nice international facilities. I am still a bit surprised that there is no nonstop service between Canberra and Auckland, and the economics of A320 should work. Anyway, here is the full report.

Photo link to the full album for those who don’t want to read: Please be warned about this huge photo album!
http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/Carfi ... sInaugural

September 20, 2016
SQ 291 Singapore Changi to Canberra International Lv2300 Arr0835+1 Boeing 777-200ER 9V-SRP

I arrived from Bangkok around 7pm and I stopped by gate B8 first.

9V-SRL to Singapore – this travel day begins and ends with Singapore Airlines’ Boeing 777-200ER
Image

The staffs were already setting up the gate, and I have already spotted 9V-SRP being parked at gate, after arriving from Tokyo Haneda around 5pm.
Image
Image

Then I proceeded to the Silver Kris lounge, which was fairly busy as it was during the first wave of flights heading “Down Under” and the last wave to other Asian destinations. I am not going to write too much about it, but Singapore Airlines really needs to play catch-up games in terms of lounges, especially in the Asian-Pacific regions. Cathay Pacific can’t even compared to SQ these days, but in terms of lounges, CX is league ahead especially in the home base.

Image
Image

Image

I noted some Capital Express designed dishes and actually loved the carrot based seafood soup.
Image
Image

I went back to gate B8 around 8:50pm, and have already noted a loud Mainland tourist group, who was getting anxious about getting inside the gate, as they had already spotted the buffet. Many of them regretted eating earlier (as I presume out of their own pockets), and at Canberra, I found out that there was a group of 80 Mainland Chinese tourists visiting Canberra. The gate was finally opened around 9pm, and it was a struggle to get into the lounge. Two Singapore Airlines girls were greeting passengers after they went through security, and two other Singapore Airlines girls were stationed in two different booths, which were basically the ambassadors today and taking pictures with passengers. Two SQ staffs were snapping Polaroid for passengers.

Image
Image

Image
Image
Image

Image

DJ
Image

Waiters and waitresses were going around the room constantly with water, juices, and champagne. There was a beverage station featuring sodas, hot drinks, and champagne.

There was a buffet featuring the usual Asian and Western dishes. I personally like the chicken satays, as well as the min shepherd pies, as well as the desserts. It was nothing fancy but a decent spread.
Image

Mini Shepherd pies
Image

Desserts
Image

Then there were the usual formal speeches by officials from Singapore Airlines, high Commissioners from Australia and New Zealand, along with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Image
Image

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

Then a singing group formed by Singapore Airlines F/As performed a few songs, and then there was a game show between the host and the audiences.
Image
Image
Image
Image

However, I had one major complaint, which was the lack of air conditioning in the gate. I guess it would be okay normally without the crowd, but when the speeches continued, the room was worst. I felt bad for the guests and performers, who were wearing suits. Someone has not given me too many thoughts or reminded the airport authority to turn up the air conditioning.

Pilots boarding
Image
Image

Then I saw two F/As standing by the entrance and there were tons of gift bags. Some of the Mainland Chinese passengers tried to grab the bag, and thankfully, one of the girls spoke mandarin and told them they would get them, as they would board the flight. Those girls handled the situation gracefully. Sometimes you got to give credits to SQ for how they trained their front line staffs.
Image

(No need to worry… there were plenty of gift bags for everyone!)
Image

The gift bag was a bit disappointing with only one notebook with some recognition of this inaugural, along with a baggage tag (regular one with no mention of the inaugural except that leaflet on top). However, the first to fly certificate was still here. I guess they don’t really have too many sponsors for these less exciting flights.
Image
Image
Image
Image

9V-SRP
Image

Boarding began at 10:26pm and I was among the first one to board and managed to get a few pictures.
Image
Image

First Business Class cabin
Image
Image

Second Business Class cabin
Image
Image
Image

My choice: 17K – I was a bit worried about the window situation, but I still had two full windows, so I was happy.
I picked these same seats for all three flights, because I like being in the bulkhead window seats, so I could at least get out of my seat in the middle of the night easily.
Image
Image

Economy Class cabin behind business class
Image
Image

The service was the best on this segment, and all the F/As were cheerful and efficient, despite the late hours. They were definitely some of the best among the SQ rank. They would get a serious test later in the flight, which they showed nothing but professionalism and cares.

The menu – Special “Capital Express” recognition, but not sure about special dishes, as the menu itself looks fairly typical… As expected, the abbreviated “sleeper service” was offered. I did not realize that I managed to avoid the sleeper service till now, so I did not make the right decision when I chose to have the supper. My original strategy was to have the supper, which was a Hokkien noodle soup that I pre-ordered, and then slept till landing, so I could have energy for the long day ahead. But things did not work out that way.
Image
Image

SQ Drinks of the Month
Image
Door was closed at 10:50pm and the F/As took all the meal orders after the safety demonstration was completed. As expected, business class was 100% full and most of the seats were given to the media team from Australia and New Zealand news media team. I sat next to a NZ Herald reporter.

We pushed back on time at 11pm and following an Air France’s Boeing 777-300ER F-GSQF, we took off from R/W20C at 11:12pm for our six hours and fifty-six minutes flight to Canberra. The routing took us towards Batam and we climbed to 37,000ft as we passed Java Sea. Then we headed towards Sumener and Denpasar before climbing to 39,000ft. We entered Australia by passing the city of Derby and Curtin Airport, and then towards Alice Springs and its airport, before reaching 41,000ft. We then passed cities of Tibooburra and Cubba before reaching Canberra.

Image

Image
Image
Image

After takeoff, the F/As passed out amenities, such as slippers (which were super nice), socks, and eyeshades. These amenities are available on all three segments.
Image

Other than a little bit of media activity, things were relatively quiet. Some of the media shot some videos of SIA F/As working, as well as conducing a few interviews before going to sleep. Many passengers went straight to sleep after a quick beverage and mixed nuts service.

Image

Here is the wine list for all four Capital Express segments!

Wine List
Champagne
Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve, Champagne, France

White Wines
2014 Selbach Riesling Kabinett Feinherb, Mosel, Germay
2014 Devil’s Lair Hidden Cave, Margaret River, Australia

Red Wines
2012 Chateau Belle-Vue Cru Bourgeois Haut Medoc, Bordeaux, France
2013 Robert Oatley Shiraz, McLarren Vale, Australia

Port
Dow’s Ten-Year-Old Tawny Port, Portugal

Here is the menu for this segment!
Sleeper Service
Main Course
*Beef Hor Fun
Chinese style work-fried rice noodles with beef and gravy
A popular local fare dish

*Roasted Chicken Breast
With apricot and pistachio sausage, green peas, chicken veloute
Exclusively created by Matt Moran of Aria Restaurant, Sydney

Griddled Chocolate Chip Pancakes
With wild cherry compote, honey and ricotta cheese

American Breakfast
Crepe with scrambled eggs, pan-fried pork sausage
Marinated tomato, sautéed mushrooms and roasted potatoes
Bread Selection with preserves and yogurt

Continental Breakfast
Assorted Breads with preserves

Fruit
Selection of sliced fresh fruits

From the Bakery
Assorted Bread Rolls and Breakfast Pastries
Served with butter and fruit preserve

Hot Beverage
Coffee and Tea
A wide selection of flavors is available in the beverage section
SQ291 (CMJ-LZJ)-3.1 JCL

The menu was really confusing but I did not realize that the supper service came with no side dishes, fruit or dessert. You were just served your choice of main courses, and there were no breads or fruit bowls.

I did the “Book the Cook” and enjoyed my Prawn Noodle Soup, but could really use a bowl of fruit or a small dessert.
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

I went to sleep after the supper service, and we hit a couple bumps as we headed towards the equator and passing Indonesia, but things smoothed out once we entered the Australian air space. I did not have a deep sleep, but took naps in between bumps.

Since it was a long segment, I manage to ask the whole team of F/As, as well as the very handsome first officer to sign my inaugural certificate. I wanted to do the same for the other two segments, but those flights featured a full meal service and they were busier.

Since we were on the topic of F/As, I overhead a conversation between a reporter and a F/A regarding their crew patterns. I was surprised to hear that they had a different set of crews working on each segment. The F/As would have two nights at Canberra before heading to Wellington with one quick night, and then another two nights before going to Singapore. It was like an eight-day trip for the crews. This might have to do with the facts that the flights did not operate daily, but the F/As could not work a same day turnaround between CBR and WLG, due to the long turnaround time at CBR. Anyway, the service was top notch, as the crews were well rested.

Sunrising
Image

Around 4:30am Singaporean local time/6:30am Canberra local time, the F/As switched on all the lights. I was not expecting that, as I presume it would be a more discrete breakfast service. It turned out to be a full two-course breakfast service. As I did not have my eyeshades on, I woke up to the light and could not fall asleep again. Then something happened…

After the usual hot towel and juice rounds, one of the colleagues of my neighbor suddenly fainted and passed out near my neighbor, as he was heading to the toilet. In the beginning, I was not sure what was going on, as I was quite abruptly awaken too. Soon things went pretty bad, as this poor guy continued to go between passing out and waking up. The leading F/As were immediately called and a male F/A was immediately assisting the guy to the seat next to me, and the high ranking female F/As immediately came to assist. They offered professional advice, but at the same time, they were comforting him, as he was quite embarrassed and having a panic attack. They called for a doctor, which thankfully there was one sitting in the first J cabin. Things looked pretty bad and so I just grabbed a few things and moved out from my seat so the doctor and the F/As could assist him. The other F/As went on with the breakfast service and other J passengers were not aware of the drama behind. The F/A serving my aisle immediately offered me a jump seat, and even offered me a continental breakfast, but I declined. There were plenty of foods ahead. It was an interesting experience, as the SQ F/As were so organized that everyone knew what they were doing. The leading F/As were helping with the sick passengers, while the rest of the F/As continued their meal service. When someone ever said that F/As from Asian Airlines only knew service, I would tell them “no” and they were very professional and obviously knew where all the equipments were. The pilot even came out to check on the sick passenger, and also determined what services to call upon arrival. The doctor finally administered a drip while we began our descent. My neighbor sat next to him and I moved to his seat in the back. Things worked out well. I hope Singapore Airlines will send a thank you gift to the doctor, and the F/As were simply amazing. They were nothing but top notch. Being safe does not mean you have to compromise your service standard. But I felt bad for one of the female F/As, as she basically had to write up a long report.

Here is the news link:
http://m.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article ... d=11713998

Back to the flight
Image

Image

Pralines/Truffles were passed out after descent began at 7:29am local time.
Image

Image
Image

Weather was bad throughout the day at Canberra and we landed on a very wet R/W35 at 8:08am.
Did you spot all the enthusiasts waiting for our arrival?
Image
Image
Image
Image

Pictures for next day’s The Canberra Times feature a much better landing shot
Image
Image

Link to news
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-new ... rkwm7.html
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-21/s ... ra/7863774

Video
https://www.facebook.com/singaporeair/v ... 661593679/

Despite of the rain, we got a water canon salute and at least I managed a few good pictures!
Image
Image
Image

We parked at gate 5, which is the designated international gate for now. It can convert to domestic use, as the international departure lounge is located upstairs and arriving passengers go downstairs to the new immigration and custom area. We arrived at gate 5 at 8:17am but were being held in the flight for obvious reasons. The paramedics immediately boarded the flight and examined the patient. They need to make sure that it was not something contagious before letting everybody off. It took a while too, as it was also their first day of operation. There was also some quarantine issues.
Image
Image
 
Carfield
Topic Author
Posts: 2185
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2003 5:49 pm

Re: SQ Capital Express Inaugural SIN-CBR-WLG-CBR in J

Mon Sep 26, 2016 3:37 pm

Anyway, the Singapore Airlines’ Canberra finally gave us a welcome after everything was resolved. Transit passengers were told just to take the escalator to upstairs departure lounge. Business class passengers were entitled to one free beverage and one free snack item from the bar/café and just showed your boarding pass. Today was obviously different, as there was a full continental breakfast buffet along with champagne and free non-alcoholic drinks. Here is the menu of the café in the morning.
Image

Image
Image
Image

As we deplaned, there were a local Aboriginal group performing.
Image
Image

I knew arriving passengers received more greeting as they excited from custom hall, including flowers from the Floral Society, as well as some music performances by local youngsters.

The new international departure lounge was nice, but the plan for SQ to setup a premium area for business class passengers did not go through, but I saw that they saved a lounge space for SQ. If the service goes well and moves to a daily flight, they will have the options to set up a real lounge and I am sure that there will be a call for SQ to setup a real lounge.

I love the modern touch of Canberra Airport design.
Image

Many sitting areas
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

The sole bar/café
Image

The only shop – duty free
Image

The atmosphere at Canberra was really enthusiastic and you can really tell how important this flight is for many of them, especially those worked behind the scene.

Buffet
Image
Image
Image
Image

Musical performance
Image

Image
Image

Image
Image
Image
Image

There was a nice ribbon cutting ceremony and the one standing in the left, Terry Snow, was the one, who upgraded this airport and fought for a real international flight. He is the executive chairman of the Capital Airport Group, and is responsible for the redevelopment of the new terminal for Canberra Airport, which is beautiful and is one of my favorite airports in the world. He was on this inaugural flight from Singapore to Canberra.
(His wiki bio - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terry_Snow!)
SQ Executive Vice President Mak Swee Wah in the middle
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr on the right

Image
Image
Image

New crew for this segment
Image

Image

Gate 5 – only international gate
Image

September 21, 2016
SQ 291 Canberra to Wellington Lv0950 Arr1505 Boeing 777-200ER 9V-SRP
Image

Boarding was delayed because of the situation earlier that morning, and they needed to replace all the oxygen tanks and equipments. We began boarding at 9:32am, and the load was a bit lighter, but still very full. However I believe this leg had the least passengers out of all the four segments I flew.

Image
Image

Friendly airport staffs were passing out first flight certificate along with a really nice silver proof coin. I think only business class passengers got the coins and economy class passengers got something else.
Image

Here is the picture of the coin:
Image
Image

As my neighbor returned, he remarked how clean the plane was, and there was no sign on what had happened just a few hours ago. He told me that his friend would stay here at Canberra and would not fly till he felt better. Knowing SIA, they would definitely take good care of him. (As the sick passenger joked upon our arrival in Canberra, he managed to get a picture taken with the pilot. Yes the pilot came to check on the passenger after we landed in Canberra.)
Image
Image

Image

In Canberra and Wellington, please note that they only used door one for departure and arrival. The F/As still managed to pass out juices to business class passengers. Door was closed at 9:55am and a different set of crews welcomed us onboard. Flight time was two hours and forty-five minutes only, so we still landed early at Wellington. We pushed back at 9:59am and the awful rain would not let go. We took off from R/W35 at 10:12am and our routing took us directly over the Tasman Sea at 39,000ft. There was a bit of turbulence after takeoff, so service was the most rushed on this segment, due to the late start. Thankfully things smoothed out after we exited the Australian coast.

Image

Image
Image
Image
Image

As I said earlier, I got more meal services on this segment than the previous over-water segment. Singapore Airlines called it a light lunch, but it was almost a full lunch service. Starter was served with salad dressing poured on top by the F/A using a silver bowl. Main Course was not individually-platted but was served separately. There was a separate cheese plate and dessert course, and you were expected to have both items.

Image

Menu
Light Lunch
Appetizer
Salad of Colossal Crab
Served with mango, baby spinach and citrus dressing
Image
Image

Main Course
*Pork Belly Stew with Chorizo Sausage, Chickpea and Tomato
Served with warm quinoa
Exclusively created by Matt Moran of Aria Restaurant, Sydney
Or
Local Grass Fed Beef Fillet in Mustard-Herb Crust with Red Wine Sauce
Braised red cabbage with bacon, green beans and roasted potatoes
Image
Image
Or
Grilled Chicken with Singapore Style Chili Sauce
Stir-fried vegetables medley and steamed Jasmine rice

Dessert
Belgian Chocolate Mousse Cake
Image

Cheese & Fruit
Assorted Cheese & Fruit
White Savourine Log, Maffra Red Wax Cheddar and Tarwin Blue with fruits and garnishes

From the Bakery
Assorted Bread rolls and Gourmet Bread
With butter or flavored virgin olive oil

Hot Beverage
Coffee and Tea
A wide selection of flavors is available in the beverage section
SQ 291 (CMJ-LZJ)-3.1 JCL

The crab starter was wonderful and everything tasted fresh. I had the beef fillet, which was delicious; despite I was not a fan of the crust. I gave high marks to the Canberra catering kitchen.

Approaching New Zealand coastline – Kahurangi National Park
Image
Image

Since Wellington international airport was located closed to its CBD, we had a very scenic approach. Descent began at 2:25pm local time. Thankfully Wellington International Airport featured better weather – still cloudy but no rain. Since we had a unique welcome at Wellington, rain would ruin many of the planned activities.
Image

Approaching WLG
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

We landed on R/W16 at 2:57pm and yes the landing was exciting, especially it had a rather short runway with limited spaces. Our 777 felt so huge in this regional airport. There was a water canon salute again. I never got tired of it.
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gY2n112 ... e=youtu.be

Water canon
Image
Image
Image
Image

Then we spotted the huge media team welcoming us.
Image
Image

We parked at spot 23 and instead of jetway, stairs were rolled out to our planes. The SIA manager was among the first to exit, as ACT Chief Minister Barr and SQ Executive VP Mak were part of the welcoming ceremony. The media and the two Singapore Airlines’ F/As (non-working on this flight but as PR) also exited the plane first. We were welcomed to take a look at the ceremony and took a few pictures, but could not walk into the media and guests zone due to immigration issues.

Image

I took a few pictures of the Boeing 777 first! It was not your typical day and I knew no one would yell at me.
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

Then I took a few pictures of the performances. We were then chased into the immigration area.
Image
Image

There was another welcome booth featuring three models in futuristic outfits, and got a Whittaker’s chocolate welcome coupon. We got chocolate after we exited from the custom hall.
Image
Image
Image

Image
Image

I used the smart gate so things went smoother. The NZ custom officers asked many questions but this time, they did not really roll their eyes when I told them I was going back to Canberra right the way. Half of the J cabins went back to Canberra.

Wellington Airport
With a five hours transit time, I spent the first two hours walking around and eventually settling in the nice food court looking at planes.
Image
Image
Image

Singapore Airlines had a private event and I snapped a few pictures.
Image
Image
Image
 
Carfield
Topic Author
Posts: 2185
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2003 5:49 pm

Re: SQ Capital Express Inaugural SIN-CBR-WLG-CBR in J

Mon Sep 26, 2016 3:38 pm

September 21, 2016
SQ 292 Wellington to Canberra Lv2015 Arr2205 Boeing 777-200ER 9V-SRP

Singapore Airlines’ check in counters are located next to Jetstar and opened three hours prior to departure. The staffs were pretty efficient given that it was their first day of operation. I had a feeling that they might move a few staff from AKL and CHC to help out. I was the first J passenger to get checked in and suddenly I realized that I forgot to transfer my electronic visa from my old passport to new passport. The agent said “no worry” and there was someone from the Australian Consulate to help. I then moved to their service desk and this really nice girl, Angela, tried to help out, but in the end, I had to get a new one, which took five minutes and AUD$20. Things worked out in the end.

SQ’s Check-in area
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

Special musical performance
Image

The international departure hall at Wellington was small, but more established.
Image
Image

I went through security and immigration check easily. I spotted a podium and some posters around the departure hall.
Image
Image

Nice paintings
Image
Image
Image
Image

9V-SRP resting here at Wellington
Image
Image
Image

Flight departure screen – we were the only late evening departure
Image

Since the event would not begin till later, I went to the Koru Club for some refreshment and much needed internet surfing time. WLG actually offered free Internet access, but Koru Club might offer better connections. Anyway, the lounge was really nice and I love all the artwork around the lounge.

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

The food was not too much of my personal taste, but looked very fresh and tasty. I had a bowl of noodles in the food court, so I just took a Coke Zero and a dessert.

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

Image
Image
Image
Image

Out of all the three celebrations, I actually enjoyed the Wellington event best. Two Singapore Airlines girls were taking pictures with passengers, but no one approached me. I guess I must look awful after spending the past 24 hours in the air. The food and drinks were also the best here at Wellington. I love the shrimp canapé and all the organic drinks. There was a separate VIP area in the upper level, but regular folks like us got most of the same stuffs – less alcohol, but for departing passengers, alcohol is possibly not much encouraged.
Image
Image
Image

A local radio host was our MC and he was funny and well liked…
[URL=http
://s1213.photobucket.com/user/Carfield76/media/Fall%202016/SQCapitalExpressInaugural/IMG_6306_zpsw1evkskc.jpg.html]Image[/URL]
Image

The usual speeches…
SIA Executive Vice President Mak Swee Wah
Mayor of Wellington – Mayor Celia Wade-Brown

Cake Cutting
Image
Image

Ribbon cutting at the gate
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

Image
Image

Image

Boarding than began at 7:47pm at gate 46 and there was a jetway this time. Only door one is used for boarding in Wellington, which is the same as Canberra. I was the first one to board the plane and the really friendly SQ staffs were thanking passengers in the jetway. I took a picture with the special inaugural painting and the plane. Once again I took a picture of the nicely cleaned cabin. Given their five hours layover, it was in good shape again.

Image
Image

Image
Image
Image
Image

Inaugural gifts
Image
Image
Image

I had sometimes to take the pictures of the seats in various recline position.
Image
Image
Image
Image

Not exactly a full flat bed… while it was reasonably comfortable, I don’t think it is right to use it on a flight over five hours, especially an overnight one. Given how both longer segments are overnight, using this particular version of 777s is not helping the route. I wonder why they don’t use those 777s with the all-aisle access full flat business class versions (26J + 245Y=271 seats) on this route, compared to the 777-200ERs (retrofitted SR- Series with 38J and 228Y=266 seats). Without the media and guests, the business class cabin will be half full. Maybe someone has more insider information about it. Maybe the SR- series are those 777s with the de-rated engines, so they are less heavy.

Image

Anyway back to the flight, the business class cabin was less full on this flight, but economy class was very full. There were more Australians taking advantage of this new flight to go to Canberra, but there are also some passengers going to Asia. The first cabin seems to fill with the same dignities and top SQ staffs, who were on the same CBR-WLG flight this morning. The second cabin was slightly quieter, but I had a neighbor, who was also a guest or media team, as the SQ manager came to talk to him a few times.

Door was closed on time and we pushed back three minutes later.

We took off from R/W16 at 8:30pm. Given our lightweight, we had no issues lifting off with plenty of space to spare.

Image
Image

Flying time was three hours and thirty-one minutes with a cruising altitude of 40,000ft. It was a pretty straightforward Trans-Tasman flight.
Image

It was a light dinner flight, but you got pretty much the full dining experience.

There was a beverage with mixed nuts service first.
Image
Image
Image

Then each course was served individually, and you got both cheese plate and dessert, if you want.

Here is the menu:
Appetizer
Classical Gravalax
Cured Salmon, mesclun salad, pickled cucumber and mustard dill dressing
Image
Image

Main Course
*Roasted Beef Short Rib
With cornbread pudding and smoked tomato butter
Exclusively created by Suzanne Goin of Los Angeles, A.O.C. and Tavern, Los Angeles
Image
Image
Or
Roasted Chicken with Pineapple-Barbecue Sauce
Accompanied by baby vegetables and roasted potatoes
Or
Stir-Fried Sambal Prawns
Chinese greens, carrots and steamed coconut rice

Dessert
Kipiti Rum and Raisin Ice Cream
Drizzled with chocolate sauce and toasted almond flakes
Image

Cheese & Fruit
Assorted Cheese & Fruit
Kapiti Camember, Kahurangi Blue and Aged Cheddar with fruits and garnishes
Image

From the Bakery
Assorted rolls and Gourmet Bread
With butter or flavored virgin olive oil
Image

The short rib was delicious, but not sure about the side dishes, especially the random salad leaves in the casserole. I was not a fan of the cornbread pudding, but my neighbor liked it, as he finished it.

I had both the cheese and ice cream, as I did not anticipate food available on the Vibe Canberra Airport.

The crew finally had times to do a duty free service and to my surprise, I finally got the SQ Hello Kitty toy for my niece.

Descend soon began at 9:19pm Canberra local time, which was two hours behind Wellington. The weather was rather chilly and it was foggy – not necessarily something you wanted to hear.

It was okay in the beginning
Image

You can tell that it was very foggy
Image

Second time
Image
Image
Image

We tried to land on R/W35 the first time at 8:40pm, but then the fog was really heavy. The pilot made an announcement regarding the go around, and we made a second attempt and finally landed on R/W35 at 10:01pm. The fog was very thick, as you could tell from my blurry pictures.

Taxiing was slow, as the fog was rolling in. I found out later that the Virgin Australia E90 flight coming from Gold Coast, the last arrival of the evening) was diverted to Sydney. It told you how bad the weather was.

We parked at gate 5 at 10:12pm and got the same Aboriginal welcome again.
Image
Image
Image

The new immigration and custom hall was compact, as expected. There was no smart gate, as expected, so everyone shared the same queues for now. There was one single baggage claim with nice designers’ touches. I managed to snap these pictures before a staff told me that no cell phone was allowed in this area. The first bag came out at 10:30pm, eighteen minutes after arrival, and priority tagged bags came out first.

Image
Image

Once I exited the custom hall, there were the floral society’s volunteers passing out flowers, along with three violinists performing. Since we were the only arrival at that time, the arrival hall was very quiet.
Image
Image

Arrival gift bag from Canberra Tourism Board
Image
Image
Image

In conclusion, I hope you enjoy this inaugural trip report. It was a bit long, but I hope you will enjoy the pictures. My feelings about the sleeper service have not changed, and IMHO, I still felt that it was a cheap shot to cut cost, and denying passengers both supper and breakfast was pretty cheap in my book. I know some of you feel differently, but if you are going to turn on the cabin lights two hours prior to arrival and serve breakfast in multiple courses, it tells me that you expect most passengers expect breakfast. If SQ really wants to do a “real” sleeper service, please just served the meals in one course and don’t turn up the light till 30 minutes prior to arrival. Since SQ does not offer a lounge in Canberra, it should stick with a supper service out from Canberra and continental breakfast prior to arrival. Yes you got a free snack in the sole café, but unless you offer J passenger free meals in the café, SQ should just make an exception and serves a proper supper due to the ground operation. I also am not sure about putting a regional business class product on a flight that involves overnights in both the longer segments.
All the parties involved have great hopes for this route, and things seem to be well booked till Christmas.

For those who want to experience the wonderful business class experience down under, I highly recommend the CBR to WLG Trans-Tasman flights. You almost get a full international business class experience with full three course meals, accompanied by the full array of amenities, like slippers, socks and eyeshades. The redemption rate is good between those two cities, and they have plenty of availability. Surely there is no lounge at Canberra, but out from Wellington, you get access to the nice Koru Club. It seems like a nice bargain if you are traveling Trans-Tasman.

I actually will fly the inaugural nonstop SFO to Singapore flight in October and while I have lowered my expectation since it is not really a special inaugural flight, I will definitely report back on this special flight.

Thanks for reading!

Image
Image

Carfield
 
dcajet
Posts: 4654
Joined: Sun Aug 01, 2004 9:31 am

Re: SQ Capital Express Inaugural SIN-CBR-WLG-CBR in J

Wed Sep 28, 2016 12:19 am

Great report!

Now. it is hard to understand the logic behind SQ offering supper OR breakfast on a seven hour long flight. Do they ger away with that over the North Atlantic? Don't think so...
Keep calm and wash your hands.
 
zkncj
Posts: 3814
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 4:57 pm

Re: SQ Capital Express Inaugural SIN-CBR-WLG-CBR in J

Wed Sep 28, 2016 7:40 am

Great report,

For those who want to experience the wonderful business class experience down under, I highly recommend the CBR to WLG Trans-Tasman flights. You almost get a full international business class experience with full three course meals, accompanied by the full array of amenities, like slippers, socks and eyeshades. The redemption rate is good between those two cities, and they have plenty of availability. Surely there is no lounge at Canberra, but out from Wellington, you get access to the nice Koru Club. It seems like a nice bargain if you are traveling Trans-Tasman.


If only flying on the Tasman ex-CBR you get access to the Virgin Australia Lounge, you just have to leave the lounge about 10 minutes before boarding starts. Pretty much the same as ex-OOL on NZ where you use the Domestic VA Lounge, then head to outbound customs shortly before boarding.

Funny you mention the WLG NZ lounge is nice, its probably the worst NZ lounge on the network. Hopefully it gets it upgrade soon, to bring it in line with the new standard lounges.
 
VapourTrails
Posts: 3939
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2001 9:30 pm

Re: SQ Capital Express Inaugural SIN-CBR-WLG-CBR in J

Wed Sep 28, 2016 11:23 pm

Great report, and very detailed.

Bit of a shame about the weather, but it was so great to see how much effort went into the planning and the details for the inaugural flights, which you really showed in this TR.

Loved the combined floral design they made for the occasion. SQ have really showcased themselves for these inaugurals. I look forward to a flight on each of these sectors, by 2020 is my goal!

CBR (my local) has come a long way in the last 10 - 20 years, onward and upward!

Cheers. =
 
PieterBoth
Posts: 139
Joined: Sat Jan 30, 2010 5:49 pm

Re: SQ Capital Express Inaugural SIN-CBR-WLG-CBR in J

Thu Sep 29, 2016 8:57 pm

Great report, I enjoyed reading it! I really liked Canberra Airport when I was there last year I hope they can make this a success with SQ. Love AUS and NZ, I wish I lived closer, so great to see this!
 
767747
Posts: 2220
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2005 10:08 am

Re: SQ Capital Express Inaugural SIN-CBR-WLG-CBR in J

Fri Sep 30, 2016 3:45 am

Great report. How great to get on these inaugural flights. It looks like SQ had a lot of celebrations planned at each of the airports - how fun. Thank you for sharing!
I love to fly!
 
aozora
Posts: 72
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:07 am

Re: SQ Capital Express Inaugural SIN-CBR-WLG-CBR in J

Fri Sep 30, 2016 7:51 am

Great, detailed report! Fantastic to see SQ serving Canberra and Wellington.
I couldn't help but roll my eyes when you mentioned the mainlander tour group. Is there anywhere they don't go and disturb? One of the reasons why I fly and justify business so much now, to avoid them (I live in HKG).
They handled the medical emergency very well!
 
9w748capt
Posts: 1753
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:27 am

Re: SQ Capital Express Inaugural SIN-CBR-WLG-CBR in J

Mon Oct 03, 2016 5:24 pm

Wow - loved the details and photos. Made it very easy to experience this journey with you. Thanks!

Agree with you - that is truly bizarre that SQ says either dinner or breakfast - in a J cabin! Come on SQ, y'all know better than that.

Also agree on the disappointment on getting a regional J seat. Other than that, SQ looks pretty good as always!
 
User avatar
Adipasquale
Posts: 831
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2015 4:39 pm

Re: SQ Capital Express Inaugural SIN-CBR-WLG-CBR in J

Tue Oct 04, 2016 7:37 am

Thanks for the trip report! I saw when this route was announced, and was very interested to see what it would be like. I was in Wellington last week (it was raining then as well!) and wanted to do a little spotting around the time the SQ flight came in, but unfortunately it did not work out. I find it interesting they are using a 772 on this route as opposed to an A330, which I thought would be a better sized plane for the route...but people with a lot more knowledge than me plan that sort of stuff!
DH8A DH8B CR1 CR2 CR7 CR9 E45 E70 E75 E90 D93 M88 318 319 320 321 333 343 712 732 733 734 73G 738 739 744 752 753 762 763 772 77L 77W
 
402679
Posts: 223
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2014 8:18 pm

Re: SQ Capital Express Inaugural SIN-CBR-WLG-CBR in J

Sun Oct 09, 2016 3:52 am

Great FR! It was a joy to read and to see the pics you took!
 
LondonCity
Posts: 1069
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2008 12:57 pm

Re: SQ Capital Express Inaugural SIN-CBR-WLG-CBR in J

Sun Oct 09, 2016 9:12 pm

Great report. So much detail. Looking at Wellington airport it reminds me of what UK airports were like in the 1960s. So dated. So old-fashioned.
 
User avatar
allrite
Posts: 2610
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2007 11:28 pm

Re: SQ Capital Express Inaugural SIN-CBR-WLG-CBR in J

Wed Oct 12, 2016 3:26 am

I've been looking forward to reading a trip report about the Capital Connect service. Canberra is such a nice airport that I'm glad it has finally got an international service. It's a pity that the weather was so poor because I would love to have seen more of the approaches in and out of Canberra from an international perspective, having done it so many times on the short hop to Sydney.

I bet the 250 odd people of Tibooburra would be amused to be called a city. :)
I like artificial banana essence!
 
infinit
Posts: 1058
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2008 1:12 am

Re: SQ Capital Express Inaugural SIN-CBR-WLG-CBR in J

Wed Oct 12, 2016 2:48 pm

I thought we wouldn't get to see what went on with the Capital Express inaugurals so thanks a lot for sharing this.
Real nice of SQ to plan all of those.. guess they're really living up to their claim of paying attention to the finer details.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 28 guests

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos