Sometimes one has to travel for all the wrong reasons: to attend a funeral of a close relative for instance. This kind of journey is, before it has even begun, surely condemned to be full of grief and despair, because how can one be expected to find joy in such dark times. Unfortunately, I found myself in such a situation not too long ago. Thank god my journey was on Singapore Airlines.
This is Part II of this trip report. Part I can be found here.
Booking last minute tickets, especially with a legacy carrier and in Business Class, is something that is never recommended. However, sometimes one has little choice and the need to fly overwhelms the steep price of the ticket. As they say, when you gotta go, you gotta go. There are many ways to travel from South East Asia to Europe. There is Malaysia Airlines, who offer great service and relatively cheap ticket prices, and Lufthansa who are notorious for their German efficiency. Thai International Airlines and Singapore Airlines are the other two airlines who fly directly to Frankfurt am Main (FRA) from their respective hubs in Bangkok and Singapore.
However, one could also use one of the Middle Eastern carriers, such as Emirates, Qatar Airways or Etihad. These offer even cheaper ticket prices, but one has to change aircraft along the way. When time is of the essence and a little comfort is needed along the way, the choice boils down to Singapore and Malaysia Airlines. Personally, the choice between these two superb airlines was decided by the fact that Singapore Airlines is a member of Star Alliance. Period.
So let the flying begin: two flights, three airports and a travel time of more than 20 hours in total. This trip report tells the story of my flights from Penang to Frankfurt.
General Flight Overview
Airline: Singapore Airlines (SQ)
Flight number: SQ 26
Origin: Singapore Changi Airport (SIN)
Destination: Frankfurt am Main International Airport (FRA)
Distance: 6391 miles
Scheduled departure time: 23:50
Scheduled flight time: 12 hour 40 minutes
Class of Travel: Business Class
After exploring Terminals 1 and 2, it was time to see what the new flagship of Changi Airport, Terminal 3, had to offer. As I came to the end of Terminal 1, the difference between the new and the old became very apparent; the new structure was modern, with long wide moving walkways stretched as far as the eye could see.
The transition between Terminal 1 and the gleaming Terminal 3.
The vast expanse of concourse B in Terminal 3.
The new Terminal 3 has to be one of the most impressive airport buildings in the world. From the modern art deco ceiling to the massive check-in and immigration halls, one visit to this amazing place is sure to leave a lasting impression on anyone.
Some of the contemporary art in Terminal 3 at SIN.
The older Terminal 2…
…and the new Terminal 3.
As I continued to walk towards the shopping area, the ceiling grew higher and the structure became increasingly striking. It was obvious that the new terminal still had a lot of spare capacity, because many of the departure gates were not being used.
The layout of Singapore Changi Airport.
The massive and empty immigration hall in Terminal 3.
All of the shops, restaurants and airline lounges are located in the center of the new terminal building. The combination of the astonishing structure and great variety of shops made for an amazing shopping experience. I just could not resist.
The wonderful shopping area in Terminal 3 at SIN.
The brilliant combination of great metal architecture with soft wooden colors and flora to decorate the areas.
After some serious window shopping, it was time to retreat to the new Singapore Airlines Silver Kris lounge. This new lounge is located on the second floor at the end of the shopping atrium. From the outside, one would never guess that this is one of the best airline lounges in the world. The large ‘Silver Kris’ sign is the only hint of what can be found inside.
The view from the second floor in Terminal 3.
This way to the Singapore Airlines Silver Kris lounge.
The unassuming outside of the Silver Kris lounge.
At the entrance to the Silver Kris lounge, I was welcomed by three(!) Singapore girls. They were extremely friendly and asked me about my destination and the reason for my journey. After a little chat with the Singapore girls, I proceeded onwards into the large Business Class section of the lounge.
The trendy entrance to the new Silver Kris lounge.
The doorway to the Business Class section of the lounge.
Personally, I have been to many lounges around the world, but as soon as I entered the new Silver Kris lounge I knew that this was going to be something special. The Terminal 3 lounge is so big that it took me a few minutes to explore all of its nooks and crannies. Everything from the modern showers to the soft leather seats and the massive buffet area were a sight to behold.
The color changing pillars in the Silver Kris lounge.
The smart layout of the lounge divides an otherwise massive area into smaller, quieter segments. This creates a more peaceful atmosphere and a greater sense of privacy. Furthermore, the dark wooden panels, plush seats and soft carpet also make the main seating area feel more like a comfortable living room than a busy airport lounge.
The main seating area in the Silver Kris lounge.
The dark wooden panels, soft seats and table lamps in the seating area.
The small seating section near the entrance of the lounge.
Another area in which the new Silver Kris lounge excels is its multimedia offerings. Firstly, there is fast free wireless internet, and power points are available at every seat. Secondly, there are massive flat screen televisions showing the latest news and sports throughout the lounge. Flight information screens are also available to thankfully replace those annoying boarding announcements. Finally, the computer and business center is also impressive. There are numerous iMacs and PCs available, as well as several laptop bays.
One of the massive flat screen TVs in the Singapore Airlines lounge.
The notable new Business center with an abundance of computers.
One of the most impressive aspects of the Silver Kris lounge is the food and beverage section. The hot and cold food assortment reminds me more of a five-star buffet than airline lounge food. There was something for everyone, from Indian curry to French cheese. I also liked the little coffee and cookie section. Sadly, after my substantial double meal on SQ195 I could barely stand the sight of food, let alone eat something. A pity really.
A view of the large buffet area in the Silver Kris lounge.
The hot and cold food buffet with the large beverage selection in the background.
The small coffee and cookies section the in Silver Kris lounge.
The old Silver Kris lounge was often very crowded during the evening European flight bank, but this was not the case with the new lounge in Terminal 3. There were many spare seats on hand, and I soon found a nice place by the window overlooking the concourse below.
My seat in the new Silver Kris lounge in Terminal 3.
The view down to the main concourse from my seat.
After relaxing in the wonderful lounge for a little more than an hour, it was time to head for SQ26. I was sad that I had to leave this peaceful haven and board a long 12 hour flight, but I could not wait to come back in three days time. Once I finished my Champaign and paid a visit to the modern toilets, I was good to go.
Overall, my experience in the new Silver Kris lounge was very positive. I think the only thing that was missing was some natural light, but this was also a problem in the old long in Terminal 2.
My glass of bubbly in the lounge.
The neat new ‘wave sensitive’ toilet flushing system.
It was now 23:00 and Terminal 3 was very busy. There were waves of passengers walking in all directions, which was probably because both departures and arrivals use the same concourse. My gate for SQ26 today was Gate A17, which was located at the furthest end of concourse A. In order to reduce the long walking distances in Terminal 3, there is a Skytrain shuttle from the main shopping atrium to gates A15-A21. However, as I was going to be sitting down for the next 12 hours, I decided to take the 10 minute walk instead.
The Skytrain shuttle station at transfer A.
The crowded main terminal as I started my little walk to the gate.
As I neared my gate, the crowds subsided and the long walk to gate A17 became a little more pleasant. Gates A16 to A20 were in a combined departures hall and they shared a common security area. This would turn out to result in a real bottleneck.
A view down the never ending concourse A in Terminal 3.
The combined departures hall for gates A16 to A20.
When I arrived at the security area, I was greeted by three massive queues. As it turned out, there were only three security counters for a 777 to AMS and my 747 to FRA and JFK. I counted more than 50 passengers in each line, and as the security checks were very thorough, progress was very slow. In addition, there were no separate lines for premium passengers like there used to be in Terminal 2. I was unimpressed.
The gate for SQ26 to FRA and JFK today: Gate A17.
The long queue at the security screening area.
Three screening gates were just not enough for two large widebodies.
After standing in line for 20 minutes, I finally made it through security. Just as I was about to sit down in the waiting hall, boarding was called. Luckily, I was already standing and I was one of the first passengers to board. First and Business Class passengers were called first, but the usual rush towards the gate occurred nonetheless. I was onboard SQ26 at 23:35, 15 minutes before scheduled departure.
The wide and empty new jetway at gate A17.
Welcome onboard Singapore Airlines flight SQ26 to Frankfurt and New York.
Singapore Airlines was once the largest operator of the Boeing 747-400 in the world, operating 42 aircraft. However, today only 15 of the newest 747s remain in the fleet. Most of the 28 sold airframes were replaced by the Boeing 777-300ERs and A380s. Singapore Airlines uses the Boeing 747-400 exclusively on long haul flights to Europe, America and Australia. The aircraft are configured in the traditional three class configuration with 12 First Class, 50 Business Class and 313 Economy Class seats. One of the two daily flights to Frankfurt is flown by the 747-400 and the other by a newer 777-300ER.
My aircraft today, 9V-SPL, was once one of the most recognizable aircraft in the world; it used to carry the famous Tropical livery. Sadly, after the crash of its similarly colored sister ship, 9V-SPK, in Taipei, 9V-SPL’s color scheme was changed back to the standard Singapore Airlines livery. Even though this aircraft is more than ten years old, the cabin was still in very good shape. Everything was clean and the seats were as good as new. The Business Class on all Singapore Airlines 747-400s is configured with the famous purple SpaceBed seats in a 2-3-2 configuration on the main deck and the 2-2 confirmation on the upper deck. Personally, these are still some of my favorite Business Class seats, because they offer good legroom, recline and storage.
9V-SPL in the Tropical livery:
Photo © Andrew Hunt - AirTeamImages
Photo © Craig Murray
9V-SPL in the standard Singapore Airlines livery:
Photo © Mark H
Photo © Brian Bartlett
This 747-412 had its maiden flight in January 1997. The aircraft is owned by Singapore Airlines and the first flight in Singapore Airlines colors was also in January 1997. 9V-SPL flew in the Tropical livery from September 1998 until November 2000.
9V-SPL standing at the gate in Frankfurt.
My boarding pass for SQ26 from SIN to FRA.
As I stepped onboard SQ26, I was welcomed by the in-flight supervisor and a Singapore girl. Both crew members were very friendly and genuine, making me feel very welcome on this long flight. The Singapore girl checked my boarding pass and then took me to my seat on the last row of the main Business Class cabin, 24K. As I sat down, the Singapore girl addressed me by my last name and wished me a pleasant flight. At my seat, a pillow, a blanket and the menu were already waiting for me.
The Business Class cabin on the main deck of this 747-400.
My seat on SQ26 today: 24K.
As I stored my luggage, the chief steward came over to welcome me onboard. Just in case you were counting, this was the third flight attendant to greet me. He asked me about the reasons for my journey and expressed his sincere condolences. When I told him that I was flying back in two days time, he smiled and told me that I would see him again on the return flight as well. Personally, I did not mind this at all. In fact, as I would later experience on both of these flights, this chief steward was probably one of the best flight attendants I had ever seen.
A forward view of the Business Class cabin on the main deck.
The cabin filled up very slowly during boarding.
Soon after, one of the Singapore girls came around to serve pre-departure drinks. I chose a fruit cocktail. By now, it was pouring down with rain outside and the crew had to shut the door 2L as the jetway was leaking. This made the already slow boarding process take even longer and soon the scheduled departure time slipped away. Funnily enough, all male Singapore Airlines flight attendants on flights scheduled past midnight on this day would have to wear the new uniform. As we were still at the gate by 00:10, I joked with the chief steward that it was about time he changed his clothes.
My pre-departure drink on SQ26: a fruit cocktail.
The pouring rain outside as SQ26 was boarding.
The closed door 2L after the jetway was leaking in the heavy rain.
More than 30 minutes after the scheduled time of departure, boarding had finally been completed. As the in-flight supervisor welcomed everyone onboard, one of the Singapore girls came around to take orders for post-departure drinks. I ordered some Champagne.
One of the Singapore girls coming around to order post-departure drinks.
SQ26 was finally pushed back at 00:25, 35 minutes after scheduled departure. As the aircraft finally began to taxi to runway 20C, I made myself comfortable in my SpaceBed. Personally, the old Singapore Airlines long haul Business Class seat is one of my all time favorites. I even prefer them to the new Business Class seats, because the old seats recline into the flat position whereas the new ones have to be made into the bed. The legroom is also more than sufficient and the cushioning is very comfortable.
Overall, the SpaceBeds are a really nice place to be.
My legroom on SQ26 from SIN to FRA.
The seat in front of me on this 747-400.
The load on SQ26 today was 100% in all Classes. How Singapore Airlines managed to achieve this on a normal Sunday evening flight was beyond me, but I was glad that the route was doing very well. Maybe it will even see an A380 upgrade soon.
As our aircraft neared runway 20C, it became clear that the departure time would slip once again as there was quite a queue of widebodies waiting in line for takeoff.
Runway 2L/20R as SQ26 was pushed back from gate A17.
A Cebu Pacific Air taking off from runway 20C.
Finally, at 00:45, 55 minutes after scheduled departure, SQ26 was finally cleared for takeoff from runway 20C. Slowly, the very heavy 747-400 crawled into position and the PW-4056 engines spooled to life. The takeoff roll began very leisurely as the engines struggled to get this beast moving. The aircraft gradually began to pick up speed, and after what seemed like an eternity, SQ26 lifted off Singapore Changi Airport.
The Singapore Changi terminal complex as SQ26 waited for takeoff clearance.
A view down runway 20C before departure.
The initial climb was very slow as the heavy load of the aircraft made the engines work for their money. Many passengers wasted little time reclining their seats as soon as possible. I would say that more than half the people in the main Business Class cabin chose not to eat dinner but slept instead. In the mean time, there were some beautiful views of Singapore below.
An artistic shot of the numerous boats anchored around Singapore.
Many passengers chose to sleep straight after takeoff.
When the seatbelt sign was finally turned off more than 15 minutes after liftoff, the cabin service started instantly. Firstly, headsets were handed out to all passengers and the in-flight supervisor announced some additional flight information. The eye covers and socks were then distributed, but there was no real amenity kit. If there was any weak link in the superb Singapore Airlines experience, the lack of a desent amenity kit would have to be it.
Not long after, one of the Singapore girls brought my Champaign to my seat.
The Singapore Airlines Business Class headset.
The Business Class eye covers and socks.
My glass of Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve.
I now decided to see what the Singapore Airlines IFE system, KrisWorld, had to offer. Even though I like the new system on the SQ A380 and 777-300ER, the ‘old’ KrisWorld on this 747-400 was still impressive. The choice of movies was excellent. However, there was just far too much on offer for this 12 hour flight. The only aspect in which the IFE system did not excel was the size of the screen. While 10.4 inches is not bad, the new 15.4 inch screens are superior.
Welcome to KrisWorld.
One page of the excellent movie selection on this 747-400.
The flight path of SQ26 as it climbed out of SIN.
The chief steward then came around to take orders for dinner. Once again, just as in my previous Singapore Airlines flight, he remembered all orders without writing them down.
“Sorry to disturb you Mr. Globetraveller. May I take your order for supper please.”
“I am torn between the braised beef cheek and the salmon spaghetti. What would recommend? ”
“I would recommend the braised beef. However, if you do not like it, I will get you the spaghetti as well.”
“Alright, I will try the beef then. Thank you”
“Certainly Mr. Globetraveller”
Oh dear, it was like flight SQ195 all over again. Not that I was complaining of course.
The nice front cover of the menu on my flight to Frankfurt.
The choices for supper after takeoff from Singapore.
The smell of delicious food soon filled the cabin, and after having more than five hours to recover from my indulgence on SQ195, I was actually hungry again. After a short wait, my supper tray was served. At first, I was a little upset that trays were being used on this long haul flight, but the delicious food would soon make me forget all about the tray.
My supper tray with the savory note, garlic bread, Diet Coke, Water and white wine.
The savory note was magnificent. The prawns were succulent and fresh, and the honey mustard dressing complimented the avocado tartar perfectly. In addition, the lettuce was crunchy and the tomatoes were sweet and juicy. This was one of the best appetizers I have ever had on an aircraft; I was pleasantly surprised.
The outstanding Tian of avocado tartar with prawns.
The fresh, hot garlic bread accompanying my appetizer.
There was also a constant flow of red and white wine. I had white wine with my starter and then switched to red for my main course. Both wines were excellent. As soon as I finished my appetizer, my plate was cleared and the main course was served. The entire supper service was very smooth and the different courses just seemed to flow into each other. I think this was largely due to the splendid crew.
The main course was on par with the excellent quality that had been set by the appetizer. The beef was juicy and tender, and the red wine sauce was delicious. It was another wonderful dish.
My main course: braised beef cheek in red wine.
While I was finishing my main course, SQ26 was just passing by Penang, where I had started my journey ten hours earlier. Most passengers had now chosen to sleep and only one or two people chose to stay up for the remainder of the meal service. After I finished the main event, my plate was promptly collected.
“Did you enjoy the beef I recommended Mr. Globetraveller?”
“I certainly did, thank you very much.”
“I am glad. Can I get you anything else?”
“Well, I was wondering, do you have anything sweet other than the fruits on the menu?”
“Mmmm. I am sure I can find something especially for you Mr. Globetraveller.”
“Thank you, I would really appreciate it.”
Once again, I was flying over the place my journey started.
The chief steward soon came back to ask me if I wanted to have some cheese before my dessert. I could not refuse. Sure enough, a few seconds later, he came around with the cheese and fruit cart. I chose a variety of cheeses.
My cheese plate with crackers and grapes.
While I was munching away on my cheese, I decided to browse through the hundreds of television programs on KrisWorld. There was just so much to watch, but in the end, I settled on an episode of Top Gear.
My choice of television show as the supper service was coming to an end.
True to his word, the chief steward brought me a piece of cheesecake with grapes after I had finished my cheese. When considering that this dish was not even on the menu, it was well presented and quite tasty.
The small piece of cheesecake was the perfect closure to the meal service.
I was the last passenger to have their tray table cleared. By now, SQ26 was about two hours into the flight. Unfortunately, after eating so much food and drinking a lot of wine, I was extremely tired. In fact, I do not even remember reclining my seat and falling asleep. I was out like a light.
I woke up about an hour later, feeling a little dizzy and confused. Maybe it was the alcohol. At my seat, I found a bottle of Singapore Airlines branded mineral water. As I had to use the toilet, I climbed over the person sitting next to me and headed for the bathroom.
The Singapore Airlines branded water left at my seat.
My SpaceBed in the fully reclined position.
As I was on the way back to my seat, I passed by the well stocked snack bar. Sadly however, I was still full from my big meal before, so I had to give the snacks a pass. I then chatted to the chief steward in the galley about his work on Singapore Airlines. It turned out that he had been working for the airline for a little more than 20 years and he will probably soon become an in-flight supervisor. In my opinion, I think he deserves the promotion. The chief steward also told me that I should select seat 20K on my return flight, as the seat next to me would be the supplementary pilot seat. I thanked him for the recommendation and went back to my seat to sleep.
The Business class toilet on this Singapore Airlines 747-400.
The well stocked snack bar parked next to door 2L.
The position of SQ26 as I fell back to sleep.
One of the reasons I sit on the right side of the aircraft when I fly from Asia to Europe in the evening, is because the sun rises for more than an hour on from the East. This always makes for some amazing pictures and today was no different. This was the sight I was welcomed by when I woke up more than five hours later.
The first sight of the sun rising in the East.
Soon the entire sky lit up in brilliant fashion. It was a sight to behold.
One of the Singapore girls noticed that I had woken up and she swiftly came over to see if I needed anything. Once again, I was very impressed by the attentiveness of the cabin crew. They were always there when one needed them. As the sun slowly cleared the horizon, the views outside became increasingly amazing.
The outline of the two starboard PW-4056 engines against the rising sun.
The multicolored sky as the sun rose above the horizon.
By now, most other passengers were slowly beginning to wake up and I headed to the bathroom once again. After another little chat with the chief steward, I decided to watch a couple more television shows until breakfast was served.
The stairs heading to the upper deck of this 747-400.
The main deck of the Business Class cabin seven hours into the flight.
The two port side engines over the Caspian Sea.
In the end, I decided to watch the movie ‘Street Kings’. While the film was not particularly entertaining, it lasted until the beginning of the breakfast service.
Firstly, one of the Singapore girls came around to distribute some fresh orange juice. I gladly took a glass and returned to finish my movie. Soon after, the chief steward came to take orders for breakfast. Once again, he remembered all of the orders without writing them down. More often than not, I think omelettes do not taste good in the sky, so I ordered the grilled chicken breast as my main event.
My glass of orange juice at the beginning of the breakfast service.
The breakfast selection before touch-down in Frankfurt am Main.
With a little more than two hours until the expected time of arrival in Frankfurt, the breakfast tray was served. It contained a plate of fresh fruits, still water and some more orange juice. Soon after, the chief steward came around with a basket of breads and pastries. I chose a raisin cinnamon swirl.
The breakfast tray on SQ26.
The fresh fruits were very juicy and sweet. I also liked that they were nicely chilled, because this made them more refreshing in my opinion. The raisin cinnamon swirl was also delicious. It was warmed slightly before it was served, making it especially soft and tasty. It was another flawless start to the meal service.
The chilled fresh fruits on SQ26.
My scrumptious warm raisin cinnamon swirl. I ended up having a second serving.
Not long after I had finished my fresh fruits, my grilled chicken breast was served by one of the Singapore girls. It was huge. Nevertheless, I was up to the challenge. Just as all the other food I had on SQ26 so far, this meal was top notch. The chicken was tender and moist, and the sautéed mushrooms were very tasty. I also liked the roesti potatoes that accompanied the chicken. I was impressed once again.
The main course of my breakfast: Grilled chicken breast.
With less than one hour until SQ26’s expected arrival at Frankfurt, the breakfast trays were collected and the usual toilet rush occurred. Several Economy Class passengers tried to use the Business Class toilets and the cabin crew had a really hard time trying to tell him that this was not allowed in a nice manner. However, the passengers were persistent and decided to use the bathrooms anyway. The friendly Australian businessman sitting next to me also watched the events unfold in the galley behind us. After a while, he decided to give the flight attendants a hand: he basically told the passengers to piss off.
The never ending blanket of clouds covering Eastern Europe.
The Business class cabin on the main deck as SQ26 was nearing Frankfurt.
At 5:40 German time, 40 minutes before expected arrival, the captain made a very long and informative announcement about Frankfurt and our arrival. It turned out, that we had managed to make up for the long delay in Singapore as SQ26 was expected to land ten minutes early. The cabin was then prepared for landing and headsets, menus and blankets were collected. Thankfully, as we entered German airspace, the weather improved and I could see the land below.
My first glimpse of Germany from above.
A small town situated next to the highway as SQ26 descended into FRA.
By now, more than 11 hours of flight time had passed, but I still felt comfortable in my seat. I could have even stayed on all the way to New York, and maybe even all the way back as well. If the main propose of the ‘Business’ Class is to ensure that businessmen arrive at their destination feeling relaxed and ready for work, then Singapore Airlines excels in achieving just that. I was full of energy, having just been pampered by the fantastic crew for half a day, but I did not really want to leave the aircraft. It was just such a nice place to be.
My seat after more than 11 hours of flying. It was still very comfortable.
As we lost attitude, the speedbrakes were deployed.
The seatbelt sign was then turned on and SQ26 made a series of sharp turns to line up with runway 25R. The cabin crew then came around to make one more final check of the cabin before they returned to their seats.
One of several steep turns as the aircraft lined up with runway 25R.
Hanau Air force Base in the German countryside.
A very symmetrical highway interchange as SQ26 neared Frankfurt.
During the descent, the countryside below slowly began to give way to the cities surrounding Frankfurt. It was not long before the flaps were extended and the landing gear was deployed.
The long 747-400 wing with flaps extended.
The city of Hanau just outside Frankfurt.
It was a beautiful summer’s morning in Germany and I knew that the approach to runway 25R would take me right past Frankfurt’s city center. The views were spectacular.
The first glimpse of the Frankfurt skyline.
The Frankfurt city center from another angle.
The two PW-4056 engines against the Frankfurt skyline in the background.
The final approach into Frankfurt was as smooth as silk with no turbulence whatsoever. In fact, the entire flight had been quite smooth, even though there is often some very choppy air over the Indian subcontinent at this time of the year.
Two British Aerospace 146 aircrafts at the far side of the airport perimeter.
After spending 11 hours and 35 minutes in the air, SQ26 touched down softly on runway 25R at 6:20. As the captain had said earlier, the flight landed 10 minutes ahead of schedule. The reverse thrusters were barely deployed as the 747-400 slowed down to taxiing speed.
The terminal building in FRA as SQ26 was about to touchdown.
Touchdown, as my superb flight comes to an end.
The barely used reverse thrusters on the 747-400.
Singapore Airlines flight 26 landed in the middle of the morning rush hour in Frankfurt and the airport was brimming with activity. Aircraft were landing in close succession and the taxiways were very busy indeed. It was quite a sight.
A Lufthansa 737-500 being pulled to a remote stand.
An Austrian Airlines Airbus A321-100 in the Euro 2008 livery.
A Tarom Airlines 737-300 from Bucharest.
Once the aircraft cleared the runway, it began to make its way back to the terminal at the other end of the airport. As SQ26 taxied along, I was able to witness three landings and one takeoff on runway 25R. There was a lot going on.
The opposite side of the airfield in the brilliant summer weather.
A Lufthansa Airbus A321 landing on runway 25R.
Another Lufthansa aircraft landing on runway 25R. This time, it was an A340-300.
Thankfully, SQ26 managed to taxi through all this controlled chaos swiftly, and within less than 10 minutes, we had arrived at the gate. The doors were opened soon after, and everyone began disembarking the aircraft.
Yet another Lufthansa aircraft landing, this time on runway 25L.
An American Airlines 777 waiting for us to taxi by.
I gathered my belongings and proceeded towards the forward galley. On my way out, I made sure I said goodbye to the delightful crew.
“Thank you for the wonderful flight. The entire product, from the service to the food, was stunning. I am very impressed.”
Chief Steward: “Thank you Mr. Globetraveller, it was our pleasure to make your trip back home as enjoyable as possible.”
In-flight supervisor: “Thank you for choosing Singapore Airlines Mr. Globetraveller. I am glad you were satisfied with the service and I look forward to seeing you back here in two days.”
“I was definitely more than just satisfied. Enjoy your time in Germany.”
Chief Steward: “See you soon. Goodbye.”
I then shook their hands and continued on to the terminal building. For the first time in a long time, I was actually sad to leave an aircraft after the flight.
My neighbor at the gate: a United Airlines 777.
Frankfurt am Main International Airport (FRA) is one of the busiest airports in Europe. It handles in excess of 50 million passengers every year, making it the eighth busiest airport in the world.
I always find myself wanting when I arrive at the airport of my destination after departing from Singapore. Today was no different as I walked through the cold, steel corridors in Frankfurt. As many things in Germany, FRA was built with industrious efficiently to carry out the job it was designed for. However, this leaves little room for pleasantries such as plants and decorative art. While I think Frankfurt is still nicer than some of the other European hubs, it just cannot compete with many of the amazing airports in Asia.
One of the many narrow, cold and unwelcoming corridors at FRA.
I now had a little more than an hour to catch my onward train from the Long Distance train station at FRA. Sadly, the inside of the terminal was just as busy as the airfield when SQ26 landed. There were about 10 flights departing in short succession and passengers were running everywhere. I missed Singapore.
Notice the uncovered cables on the ceiling. They have been like this for years.
Thankfully, the lines at passport control were very short and I was outside concourse A within 10 minutes. However, when I arrived at the baggage hall, none of the bags were there yet. Slowly, the other passengers were trickling in, but still the luggage did not arrive. Finally, more than half an hour after SQ26 had pulled up to the gate, the first bags were finally arriving.
The short queue at immigration in FRA.
The luggage information screen in the baggage hall.
When my bag finally came, I only had 15 minutes left to catch my train. I rushed through the arrivals hall and down to the Railway travel center. The queues were massive and I was genuinely happy that I had printed my train ticket before my flight.
The enormous queue all the way out of the Railway Travel Center.
The long walkways connecting the Long distance train station to the airport terminals.
My Intercity Express would leave FRA from Track 4 today.
By the time I had finally reached the long distance train station, my ICE train had already arrived. I think Frankfurt airport excels in the way it is connected to the Deutsche Bahn network. The long and short distance train stations are well signposted and easy to walk to. Furthermore, trains arrive in regular intervals and they travel to every corner of Germany in an efficient manner.
The ICE departure board in the long distance train station.
My train today: ICE 525.
I caught my ICE with just moments to spare and after another one and a half hours on the train, I had finally arrived at my destination.
The inside of my ICE train. It was like a very small premium economy cabin.
The beautiful main train station in Frankfurt am Main.
Well, after such a spectacular flight, there is little to say. My flight on SQ26 reminded me once again why Singapore Airlines is undoubtedly one of the greatest airlines in the world. It just amazes me how an airline is able to provide such a high quality product in a consistent manner. However, I am not saying that the Singapore Airlines is perfect. For instance, I thought the lack of a proper amenity kit was a bit of a letdown and that the boarding procedure at Changi airport was not handled very well. In addition, the PTV screens could use a little upgrade to make the KrisWorld entertainment system even more amazing. There is always room for improvement, but I find myself having to be exceedingly picky in order to find any major faults in the Singapore Airlines product. After my flight on SQ26, I would recommend flying Singapore Airlines between SIN and FRA without hesitation. There are a lot of good airlines around, but there are less than a handful of great carriers; Singapore Airlines is definitely one of them.
(2.0) Booking & Reservation: 9.0
(1.0) Check-in: 9.5
(1.0) Airline Airport Facilities: 9.5
(0.5) Boarding: 5.0
(2.0) Seat: 9.0
(1.0) Entertainment System: 8.0
(2.0) Crew: 10.0
(2.0) Food and Beverages: 10.0
(0.5) Amenity kits and other freebies: 4.0
(0.5) Arrival: 9.5
(1.0) On-time performance: 9.0
Overall weighted score: 8.94
Thank you for taking the time to read the final part of this trip report. I hope that I will find the time to post the return trip, which was two days later, very soon. As always, any comments and opinions are welcome and much appreciated.
If you liked this report, you may also be interested in my recent six part trip report from Penang to Muscat.
PEN to MCT via KUL and DXB with EK and MH:
1. Penang - Kuala Lumpur, 2. Kuala Lumpur - Dubai, 3. Dubai - Muscat.
MCT to PEN via DXB, SIN and KUL with EK and MH:
1. Muscat - Dubai, 2. Dubai - Singapore - Kuala Lumpur, 3. Kuala Lumpur - Penang
As always, safe flying.