ycp81
Topic Author
Posts: 693
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

Seoul-Searching on SQ/TG Business & Economy

Mon Jun 17, 2019 4:42 pm

Since my last trip to Seoul 1.5yrs ago in winter, I decided to pay a visit again over the recent holidays, just before the searing heat of summer hits Seoul. Flight up was on SQ economy, and back on TG and SQ Business Classes via Bangkok.

Checked in at Terminal 3 self check-in kiosks and boarding pass printed.

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Paid a visit to the brand new Marhaba Lounge at Terminal 3. The lounge has replaced the old Dnata Lounge (which is currently closed), and is used by some airlines as well as available for Priority Pass and other lounge cards holders.

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As expected, the lounge facilities are very new and clean. It was not busy as well, with plenty of seating available. Toilets, equipped with showers, look beautiful too.

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There is a rather substantial buffet setup as well, which puts many airline-specific lounges to shame.

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A couple of the more interesting selection included the Taiwanese Braised Minced Chicken with rice.

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And the satays!

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Some of our late supper from the buffet.

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Headed to the gate which is at the far-end of the terminal at A17.

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Boarding had already commenced and judging by the length of the queue to board, it looked like it was gonna be a full flight.

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05 June 2019
Singapore Airlines
SQ 608
Singapore (SIN) - Seoul Incheon (ICN)
B787-10
9V-SCF
Economy Class
Flight Time: 5H56M



Boarding the rather new B787-10.

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Will by flying in economy on this red-eye, though I guess I already scored one of the better seats in the house, being a bulkhead at the first row, though in the middles 41J seat. On each seat was a pillow and blanket. Expecting the seat width to be less than other SQ aircraft (this being a 3-3-3 configured 787 afterall), the seat width at the bulkheads were further reduced due to the tray tables and IFE controllers in the armrests. Really felt squeezed in while seated in the seat.

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Legroom was no problem of course. J/K seats IFE monitors were on the bulkhead while H seat's was at the armrest (no IFE controller for H seats and normal seats where IFE monitor is within touching distance).

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View towards Business Class.

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Rolls-Royce (problematic) engine view from the window. A SkyTeam liveried MU A330 parked beside.

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Reading materials in the magazine pocket.

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As boarding was completed, hot towels and menus were offered.

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Tuned in to the flight info.

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Doors closed slightly behind schedule, safety video played and we pushed back.

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Taxied to Rwy20C. Passing a TG B773 parked for the night.

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Took off from Rwy20C, capturing the Singapore night view on climbout.

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After seatbelt signs were turned off, amenity kits were given out. Kits consisted of a toothbrush set and a pair of socks.

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Visit to the lavatory just ahead, where some cost-cutting is evident. No more extra toothbrushes and combs in the amenity drawer. To confirm my findings, other lavatories did not have the items as well. However, the mouthwash and nice-smelling stuff were still stocked.

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A round of peas and crackers, and drinks from trays were offered, then it was lights off for the night. Though there were quite a few passengers requesting for instant noodles upon realising only breakfast would be served before landing.

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Got a bit of disturbed sleep over the next 3 hours until cabin lights were turned back on 2.5 hrs before arrival and hot towels offered. Felt that it was a bit early but guess that is the SOP for SQ.

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Taking a look at the menu. Breakfast choices were a Vegetable frittata or Korean-style fish with rice.

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Menu for the return ICN-SIN sector.

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Breakfast tray, which included fruits, warm roll with butter and preserve, coffee and a juice. I went for the fish with rice. More cost-cutting noted. No more salt/pepper/sugar sachets in the cutlery pack. These were only provided on demand from the meal cart, and the crew did not proactively offer them as well, so no sugar with my coffee....Guess SQ crew are still not used to offering sugar with hot beverages in economy....

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To be honest, the fish with rice was bad... Just some tasteless fried fish covered with a hint-of-spice sauce, along with tasteless vegetables nad steamed rice. Only something which I would eat if I am on the verge of starvation. Very poor! Should have went for the frittata instead as it looked better than this.

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My friend pre-ordered the Hindu meal, which is much more substantial and delicious. It was a pratha bread with minced mutton. At least there was an additional yoghurt as well.

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Sun started rising.

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Caught some IFE.

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View of the cabin. The aisles were really narrow in economy. Moving down the aisle, one would repeatedly bump into passengers' elbows, arms or shoulders.

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Soon we started our descent into Seoul.

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Clouds were very low, and we were still above the clouds when gears were lowered.

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Broke through the clouds and landed on Rwy33R ahead of schedule.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sOoAlsJUuU

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Pretty long taxi to the gate, passing the new Terminal 2 and the midfield terminal.

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Some plane spotting on the way to the gate, including OZ A333, Jin Air B772 and others.

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A look at the seat before disembarkation.

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Disembarking into the terminal.

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I will have to say that I am not a very big fan of the SQ B787-10 economy seats. Even though the seat has all the bells and whistles, it is compromised in seat width due to the narrower cabin with 3-3-3 configuration, though I cannot fault SQ as almost all other airlines have configured their B787s similarly. Did not sit at the normal rows so could not comment. Service was fine as per SQ, but catering was quite woeful, easily one of the worst inflight meals I have had on any full-service carrier. Not only the quantity was lacking, the quality was poor as well, at least for the choice I had. No wonder I noticed there were plenty more orders for instant noodles by other passengers after the breakfast service.
My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
 
ycp81
Topic Author
Posts: 693
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

Re: Seoul-Searching on SQ/TG Business & Economy

Mon Jun 17, 2019 4:44 pm

Caught a sight of an OZ B744 while on the way to immigration.

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A bit of wait to clear immigration due to the morning peak arrivals and we were into the arrival hall after baggage was claimed.

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As it was still too early for hotel check-in, and our hotel strictly does not allow early check-in, we booked at room at the landside Darakhyu Capsule Hotel for a nap for 4hrs. It was badly needed after the gruelling red-eye in economy. The capsule room, located within the transportation center across from the terminal building, was well equipped with a comfortable bed and basic amenities, including a shower. Rates were also very affordable.

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After the short nap and feeling more refreshed, checked out of the hotel and had a bite at A Twosome Place café nearby. It is a popular dessert and coffee chain throughout Seoul, and they have a few outlets within Incheon Airport as well.

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Simple but yummy pastries with coffee.

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Then took the airport train into Seoul city, changing to the subway to our hotel at Hotel Gracery Seoul, near City Hall and walking distance to Myeongdong. It is a popular Japanese-chain hotel, and was newly opened just less than a year ago. Rooms are brand new as expected, and reasonably comfortable and cosy as well.

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We were given a room at the top floor, overlooking the city skyline.

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After a quick rest, proceeded to Gangnam area.

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Grabbed a quick bite of the popular pork cutlet sandwich from Dosan Bunsik.

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Dinner at Shake Shack.

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Back to Myeongdong at night, and had a japchae from the street vendors.

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First thing the next day was to visit a popular Michilin bib-gourmand Korean restaurant nearby the hotel.

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This restaurant is renowned for its braised pork trotters and grilled pork belly.

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Some outlet shopping after lunch.

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Back to Seoul Station area, where there is a DMZ museum, as well as Lotte Mart and outlet.

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Lotte Mart shopping

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Dinner at a simple Korean eatery at Namdaemung. This is a popular SQ crew joint, and the eatery even has SQ advertisements within.

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Ending the day with an Osulloc green tea latte and cake.

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We went on a half-day Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) tour. On the way to DMZ, we drove along the fenced-up coastline, with North Korea just across the bay.

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Passing through the checkpoint to DMZ.

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First stop of the tour was to an observation tower where North Korea could be seen afar.

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Map of the sites across at North Korea. Unfortunately as it was drizzly, the view was not very good.

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Went down the 3rd Tunnel, which was definitely a very tiring climb on the way up. Not suitable for the elderly or those with health problems.

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Then onwards to an unopened train station, where hopefully sometime in the future, there would be train service from Seoul to Pyeongyang. The train station was built by the same designers of Incheon Airport. As for now, it remained as a symbolic structure, though immigration, customs and security facilities are ready.

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Back to Seoul for a bibimbap lunch.

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My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
 
ycp81
Topic Author
Posts: 693
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

Re: Seoul-Searching on SQ/TG Business & Economy

Wed Jun 19, 2019 3:39 pm

Exploring Gwangjang Market

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An oasis in the middle of town.

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Yummy Korean fried chicken at Kyochon.

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City skyline on a clear morning.

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Namdaemun gate

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Visited the hippy Hongdae Street, where the young and energetic Koreans hang out. The area is also near to the university.

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Spicy Korean stew for lunch.

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Cooling down with ice cream and coffee.

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More street food. Egg on mini toast.

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Wonderful grilled meat at the popular chain Hanam Pig.

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Sweet ending from Osulloc.

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My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
 
Kent350787
Posts: 1032
Joined: Wed May 28, 2008 12:06 am

Re: Seoul-Searching on SQ/TG Business & Economy

Fri Jun 21, 2019 5:07 am

That food all looks so fabtastic - were there any aircraft involved :)

Thanks for the detailed TR. I really need to plan a trip to Asia for next year.
 
x1234
Posts: 395
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 3:50 pm

Re: Seoul-Searching on SQ/TG Business & Economy

Fri Jun 21, 2019 11:43 pm

That food looks lovely! I just love the Korean interpretation of French food...
 
ycp81
Topic Author
Posts: 693
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

Re: Seoul-Searching on SQ/TG Business & Economy

Sat Jun 22, 2019 9:31 am

It would be a long day of flying to get home. Arrived in the morning by the airport bus to Incheon Terminal 1 and checked in at TG's counters. TG has 3 morning departures to BKK, each flight within an hour of the other! There were no queues at the Royal Silk counters.

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Boarding passes of both sectors issued.

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Through immigration and security (there were no premium lanes for premium passengers) and into the departure hall.

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Our aircraft could be spotted behind Jin Air's B772.

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TG premium passengers were invited to the newly opened Asiana Business Class Lounge West.

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There was a bar area near the entrance.

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Comfortable ambience with lots of natural lighting.

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However, most of the action were at the buffet area.

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Buffet selection for breakfast was not too elaborate, but this was made up by the quality of the food. Overall a decent lounge experience.

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Heading the gate after the lounge visit.

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TG's B787-8 will be operating this flight. Noted an earlier TG A359 departing for BKK as well.

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09 June 2019
Thai Airways
TG 657
Seoul Incheon (ICN) - Bangkok (BKK)
B787-8
HS-TQF
Royal Silk Class
Flight Time: 5H04M



Boarding has already commenced at the gate.

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Welcomed at the door and directed to the front cabin. Royal Silk Class is configured in a 2-2-2 layout on the B787-8. It may not be the most private layout, but is more than acceptable for this mid-haul. The same seat model is also used by many airlines, such as United, KLM and a few others. Blanket/pillow and a fresh orchid was already placed on each occupied seat.

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Seat pitch is good, an a pair of slippers was already placed at the footwell.

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Seat controls and IFE controller.

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View out the window.

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Crew were offering pre-departure drinks, newspapers/magazines and hot towels. The set of crew in Royal Silk was more experienced, but service was very genuine and warm.

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Selection of welcome drinks offered and I chose the Iced Tamarind Tea, one of TG's signature drinks. It was very refreshing!

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Lacoste-branded amenity kit was also offered. Amenities for the flight. Headphones was noise-cancellation and of the older model, but of slightly inferior quality compared to other premium airlines. I understand TG has also started introducing new and better quality headphones on selected flights.

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Contents of the amenity kit, which included toothbrush set, mouthwash, moisturiser, lip balm and a comb.

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Business Class was only about half full.

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Safety video played.

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Checking out the contents of the IFE. The touchscreen monitor and handset were easy to navigate.

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The inflight magazines.

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Started the pushback.

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Flight map. No camera views on the B787-8 though.

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Taxied to runway.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXn1gr7SyUs



Departure from Rwy34R.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLIJCGm5siY

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Taking a look at the food and beverages menus. There were 2 separate menus for food and drinks.

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Beverages

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Food menu. Lunch would be served after departure, and afternoon tea prior to landing.

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Climbing to cruise.

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View towards economy before curtains were drawn.

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Comfortable Royal Silk cabin.

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Meal preferences were taken before departure, and crew were already preparing for meal service in the galley.

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Visit to the lavatory at the front. It was just a standard B787 lavatory, stocked with some lotions and decorated with more orchids.

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Starting my inflight entertainment.

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Cruising above Korea.

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An assortment of nuts were offered, along with another drink which I ordered another of TG's signature drink, Violet Bliss. It is a traditional Thai butterfly-pea with lime drink, and is delicious as well! Also had a champagne, which is served in a champagne flute.

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Flight map could be shown on the IFE controller as well.

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Lunch service commenced shortly after. Maybe due to the low load, all courses were delivered by hand from the galley, with no trolleys used as all. The starter course was presented, along with garlic bread and soft roll. The prawn starter was average, nothing spectacular.

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Starter and bread course was cleared and the main courses were delivered on a separate tray. For the main course, my friend selected the Korean option of Chicken thigh in Korean sauce with steamed rice, along with Korean side dishes. Taste was pretty good.

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I had the Samrab Thai option of Beef in Pa Neang curry, with a thai soup, egg and rice. This tasted rather authentic and was excellent as well.

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Next was the cheese and fruit plate, which looked pretty disappointing.

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The desserts, however, were beautifully presented. The mango ice-cream with sticky rice was very good, but the mousse was a bit too sweet.

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Ending the meal with a cappuccino and a chocolate. A satisfying dining experience on TG.

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Crew clearing the cabin after meal service.

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20MB of free internet wifi access was provided to all Royal Silk passengers. Internet worked fine, but 20MB was used up in a flash. A bottle of water was also provided.

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Cabin view

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At the southern coast of Taiwan.

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The seat can be reclined into a flat bed. Personally, I preferred to adjust the seat to be in a slight cradle, and managed to catch a few winks.

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About an hour before arrival, I woke up while we were somewhere over Vietnam.

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Afternoon tea was served, which consisted of a cheese and salmon sandwich and a warm fruit scone with butter and jam. The cold sandwich was forgettable, but the warm scone was delicious! And of course, I had another glass of Violet Bliss.

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View out the window.

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Nearing Bangkok.

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While I started on a second movie.

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Requested for more mixed nuts as it was so good.

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Before arrival, an arrival video was shown.

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Arrival gate and connecting flight info were also available. To my surprised, TG showed the information of my connecting SQ flight, as I don't recall SQ ever showing connecting flights on other airlines other than SQ/MI (correct me if I am wrong).

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Route flown.

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Descending into Bangkok. The crew actually came around and genuinely thanked us for flying with them!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03u7FWalfHQ

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Landing on Rwy19R slightly ahead of schedule.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCRu77rxcCw

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Landed an taxied to the gate. We were allocated a remote stand, but luckily it was near the terminal building and taxi was short. Parked beside an El Al B772.

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Last look at the comfortable seat.

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Royal Silk passengers were allowed to disembark ahead of Economy, but there was no dedicated transfer bus for Royal Silk passengers. First-world problem, I know.

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Tarmac tour during the short ride to the terminal for my 1.5hr transit. More Dreamliners spotted during the ride. There was also a lonesome Jet Asia B767 parked on the remote stand for quite some time already (saw it as well on the same stand less than a month ago). Anyone has any idea if it is still flying?

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I am certainly very satisfied with the Thai Airways Royal Silk Class experience on this mid-haul. Service by the TG crew was very genuine and warm. Though they may not be as polished as SQ crew, the personal touch and service 'from the heart' can be definitely be felt, which is lacking on many carriers today. Catering was generous for this mid-haul, and seats, though not the newest, was fine. From this experience. I would definitely choose to fly on TG Royal Silk Class again in the future.
My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
 
TheEuphorian
Posts: 313
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:35 am

Re: Seoul-Searching on SQ/TG Business & Economy

Sat Jun 22, 2019 2:53 pm

The JetAsia 762 you spotted in BKK seems to be derelict and has been there since last year and it hasn't moved, yet.

Aircraft is a 767-2J6(ER), delivered in 1988 to CA.
 
ycp81
Topic Author
Posts: 693
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

Re: Seoul-Searching on SQ/TG Business & Economy

Sun Jun 23, 2019 4:08 pm

It was a pretty long walk to transfer security, which was totally empty, and we proceeded to the Silver Kris Lounge for the short layover. The lounge was very crowded and packed full. Unless you are looking for some good F&B offerings, the crowded lounge definitely did not contribute to a relaxing ambience.

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Cocktail selections had changed from my last visit.

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Buffet selection was excellent as before.

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I only had a tom yum soup, desserts and drinks.

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09 June 2019
Singapore Airlines
SQ 977
Bangkok (BKK) - Singapore (SIN)
A330-300
9V-STR
Business Class
Flight Time: 1H53M



Before long, we proceeded to the gate where boarding has already commenced.

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Into the Business Class cabin, back to the old regional seat which is being phased out. Though I still feel that this seat is pretty decent for short-hauls. A pillow and blanket is already placed on each seat.

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View out the window from 16K. Kenya Airways B787 commencing its taxi.

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Boarding in progress.

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As per standard procedure, welcome drinks and hot towels are offered.

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Requested for a champagne, which unfortunately, had no bubbles... The entire tray of champagne was lacking the bubbles....

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Headphones and menu. Yes, menu booklet is still available on this BKK-SIN flight, though I read that someone in J had the menu slip instead the month before.

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Prepping for departure.

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Continued with my movie which I did not complete on the last sector on TG.

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Pushed back and safety video played.

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Taxiing to the runway. The satellite terminal construction is underway.

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Departure from Rwy19L.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gv-r3qaeL1Q

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Beautiful views of the coastline.

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Flew over U-Tapao airport, a rising alternate airport to BKK, and marketed as Pattaya's airport.

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Dinner menu for this flight.

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Selection for SQ974 SIN-BKK sector.

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Elaborate beverage selection

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Dinner service commenced shortly after departure. Due to the full load in Business, we only got our meal almost an hour after departure as we were the last few to be served.

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As expected on the short haul, all courses were served on a single tray. I chose for the beef ribs, which came with a prawn starter and thai dessert.

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The prawn salad was very fresh and refreshing.

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Beef short ribs was very tender and flavourful. BKK catering certainly did not disappoint.

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The thai dessert was really cute.

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The codfish with noodles was very tasty as well.

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Ending with a chamomile tea.

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44min to arrival after meal service is completed.

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Lavatory is well-stocked as usual.

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Cabin view

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Got a SQ teddy from the crew!

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Very soon, we were descending into Singapore.

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Nearing the destination

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Landing on Rwy20R.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EljsF9eUmWk

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Taxiing to Terminal 2.

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Disembarked. The aircraft would be heading to Male next.

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No surprises here, a short and comfortable flight on SQ Business Class. Food was good, service efficient and professional, and everything moved like clockwork as expected on SQ.

Thanks for reading and comments are welcomed.
My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81

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