Welcome to my 7th trip report on Airliners.net. I am a big tennis fan and had the opportunity to visit Melbourne Park for the first time, my second Grand Slam tournament after Wimbledon. Enjoy!
The planning for this trip started in mid-2010. I realised that I still had a one-way Business Class ticket that had to be used by Feb 2011. This presented an opportunity for me to travel to Melbourne to watch the Australian Open! One problem still remained though - the departure leg. All three SQ
flights to Melbourne for that weekend were sold out in J and Y!
I considered a few airlines, Emirates J, Qantas Premium Economy, BA
WTP and even AirAsia X, but settled on Jetstar due to the price. The Jetstar flight was a mere S$1100 (US$862) one-way and would earn me Qantas status credits at the same level as Qantas Business Class. I also have been wanting to try out the Qantas Business Lounge in Singapore.
On the day of the departure at about 5pm, just as I was leaving my house for Changi Airport, I got a text from Jetstar. The flight that was supposed to leave at 2050 was delayed. The new scheduled departure time was 0300.
This would mean I would miss the morning session of the Australian Open!!!
In the 16 short years of my life I have never been to Changi Airport at such an ungodly hour of the morning. I arrived at Changi Airport Terminal 1 at 0130 for the 0300 flight.
Sounds of hacking and drilling resounded off the walls of Terminal One as construction was in full swing. I proceeded to the departure level.
This picture reminds me of CDG
The Jetstar check-in desks are in the section of Terminal 1 that hasn't been renovated yet - the place for the riff-raff. While Cathay, Qantas and Emirates all enjoy the sparking new section.
Only one check-in counter is open. All the poles and tape have been removed. The monitor above the counter is blank.
A tired CIAS agent mans the counter.
The check-in process is quick and efficient. The sequence number on my boarding pass is 292 (out of 303 pax). Apparently most of the people on the flight didn't get the memo. The check-in agent informed me that the Qantas Lounge was closed and that we were to proceed to the Skyview Lounge. Shucks.
Immigration was fast thanks to the automated clearance. Once through Immigration, I proceeded to the Skyview Lounge.
The lounge is full. People are sleeping everywhere and anywhere. The lady manning the counter is MIA
, so I walk in and sit down. The cleaner tells me to show her my boarding pass. Or at least thats as much as I guessed from her hand signals. She tells me to wait in the lounge while she calls the staff.
The lounge is devoid of any food except for some nuts. Drinks are available, but the selection is limited. At that point I probably would have given an arm and a leg to be on SQ
. Its 2am and most of the people in the lounge are starting to leave eager to board early in the hope that the flight would leave early.
Just as I am about to leave, the lounge attendant appears. I give her my boarding pass and she looks and giggles. She takes down the details and I promptly leave.
Terminal 1 starting to look like Terminal 3
I arrived at the gate, which is literally at the opposite end of the Terminal. At the gate there is a long line at security. Red eyes, flakes of dried saliva at the corners of their mouths, crumpled clothes, wailing children. This was going to be a long wait.
After proceeding through security, boarding is called for passengers seated in the last few rows and StarClass passengers. Manners were thrown out the window. There was gnashing of teeth and wailing.
I managed to get through. Eventually.
At the fork in the aerobridge, I take the one on the left and start to pray that the worst is over.
Route: Singapore (SIN
) – Melbourne-Tullamarine (MEL
Carrier: Jetstar (JQ)
Aircraft: Airbus A330-200 (332)
Scheduled Flying Time: 6h 55m
Scheduled Departure Time (actual): 2050 (0326+1)
Scheduled Arrival Time (actual): 0655+1 (1308+1)
Seat: 3J (StarClass)
I was greeted by the purser and shown to my seat.
The seats weren't flash, but after the events of the past few hours, I wasn't expecting much.
There were chilled bottles of water at everyone's seat along with the amenity kit pack and the headphones.
The amenity kits greatly exceeded my expectations. The contents were much better that those on SQ
. In fact, SQ
doesn't give amenity kits to Business passengers - just socks and eyeshades!
Sleeptime? Sadly, no. The crew seemed to have other things in mind. They woke up
passengers and asked them if they wanted to eat!!!
Although, the scrambled eggs were delicious! After the meals were cleared I drifted into a deep sleep, roughly at 4 am!
The crew turned on the lights about 2.5 hours prior to landing to serve lunch. Passengers had barely time to wake up before the crew were eagerly leaning over them asking them if they wanted the chicken or the beef.
I asked for the beef with pasta, and once again, the food didn't disappoint.
Head rests and reading lights
Adelaide from FL300
At about 1230 Melbourne time, the pilot came on the PA system and said that we would be beginning our descent into Melbourne shortly.
Cabin shortly before descent
The flight touched terra firma at 1308 local time. We taxied to the gate and disembarked shortly after.
Immigration was fast and efficient. There were only a handful of flights arriving at that time. I proceeded to the baggage claim hall where there was a crowd of Jetstar passengers looking lost. None of the monitors had shown a Jetstar flight, I presume due to the delay. After about 10 minutes of waiting around, there was an announcement over the PA system telling passengers to proceed to carousel 5. It was another 20 minutes before the bags were out.
Booking System & Call Centre 8/10
Lounge (if applicable) 5/10
Flight Punctuality 0/10
IFE (if applicable) 3/5
Total Score 67%
I've been to Melbourne many times and I love the city. The trams make Melbourne unique and the city is clean and green. It's a short ride on the tram from my hotel to Melbourne Park, and I arrive in time for the evening session.
The first match I watched was Samantha Stosur, the local Australian favourite and Petra Kvitova
Kvitova defeated Stosur in straight sets in front of a stunned home crowd. The match immediately following this was Bernard Tomic verses Rafael Nadal, the world number one. Bernard Tomic, an Australian was cheered on by the crowd. He played excellently but lost to the World number one in straight sets.
Nadal and Tomic
On the second day, I watched the eventual Chinese finalist, Li Na versus Victoria Azarenka and the former world number one, winner of 16 Grand Slam singles titles, Roger Federer versus Tommy Robredo.
In the evening session, I witnessed a major upset, Maria Sharapova getting knocked out by Andrea Petkovic. This was followed by an exciting match between Andy Roddick and Stanislas Wawrinka.
After an extremely exhausting and tiring weekend of tennis and Jetstar, I was looking forward to the highlight of my trip, the return flight on SQ
Business Class. I was also excited to be flying the Boeing 747-400. SQ
is in the process of retiring the classic aircraft, which now only operates flights between Singapore and New York (JFK
) via Frankfurt. The 747 would be withdrawn from the Melbourne route on the 30th of January 2011.
Melbourne Airport is roughly 30 minutes by taxi from the CBD. The airport is aging and is in the process of being upgraded. The taxi drops me off outside the airport and I walk into the terminal.
I check-in at the First Class counter. The ground staff checks me in quickly and hands me the departure card, express card and the boarding pass. I am reminded that even though I am a Business Class passengers, I am not allowed to go to the Silver Kris Lounge. UNACCOMPANIED PASSENGERS UNDER THE AGE OF 18 ARE NOT PERMITTED IN THE SKL OR ANY LOUNGE IN MELBOURNE ACCORDING TO VICTORIA LAW DUE TO THE AVAILABILITY OF ALCOHOL IN THE LOUNGE. NO COMPENSATION WAS OFFERED BY SQ
. I have flown out of Melbourne as an unaccompanied minor and have been very irritated by this policy many times. So if you're planning to send you're child alone do note that they will have to wander around the terminal aimlessly for a while.
Security and immigration was fast and efficient thanks to the express card. The immigration was extremely friendly and I was through in less than 3 minutes.
The newer part of Melbourne Terminal 2
SKL at the lower level.
Having nothing to do, I went to the gate and talked to the ground staff for a while. As an accompanied minor, I was allowed to board first, with the wheelchair passengers as well as with the passengers requiring assistance.
The Boeing 747 in the Star Alliance livery. I simply love Boeing 747's perhaps it is because my first flight when I was 6 weeks old was on an SQ
747 to London! But there is still something very exciting about flying the Queen of the Skies that I don't feel when flying the A380 or any of the other boring twinjets for that matter. The elegance. The distinct upper deck and nose cone. To me, it still is one of the most beautiful planes in the sky. This would be my 4th time flying the 747 on SQ
the other 3 times being in 1995 - SQ
Raffles Class to London; 2000 - SQ
First Class to Jakarta; 2006 - SQ
Raffles Class to Paris CDG
The distinct smell of jet fuel hits me as I walk closer to the aircraft
Route: Melbourne-Tullamarine (MEL
) – Singapore (SIN
Carrier: Singapore Airlines (SQ)
Aircraft: Boeing 747-400 (744)
Scheduled Flying Time: 6h 55m
Scheduled Departure Time (actual): 1645 (1642)
Scheduled Arrival Time (actual): 2140 (2126)
Seat: 18K (Business Class)
The In-Flight Supervisor greeted me at door 2L (Door 1L was not being used as there was only 1 aerobridge) and showed me upstairs.
The upper deck of the 744, completely empty. I love the curvature of the roof!
Storage bins by the side
Seat controls and IFE controls
Magazines and other stuff
Reflection in the glass
Gradually the flight filled up. The upper deck was about 80% full. The crew began serving pre-takeoff drinks and distributing newspapers
A small reminder of Raffles Class!
! Did they actually use the word 'gay' on the front page of a Singaporean newspaper!!!
The older version of the safety video rolled
We pushed back early and were on our way!
Within minutes, the aircraft taxied onto the active. The low rumble of the engines turned into a scream as the 747 hurtled down the runway. After about 50 seconds, the aircraft rotated and gently left the ground.
The crew stuffed my socks and eyeshades into the holder, which broke as she did.
Post-takeoff drinks and snacks
Main course - pork
The other option - chicken rice
Upper deck, after the meal
In desperate need of sleep, I set the seat to recline fully. Many people have complained about the "SpaceBed" comparing it to sleeping on a slide. I find it more comfortable when the seat isn't fully flat. Nevertheless, I drift to sleep comfortably.
The cabin lights were turned on in time for a light snack. The crew came around distributing hot towels. I chose the roti prata, a local Singaporean delicacy eaten with curry.
The prata by no means could compare to the real thing but it was a nice touch.
At about 2100 Singapore time, the pilot came on the PA system and announced that we would be commencing our descent.
15 minutes later the glimmering lights of the Indonesian island of Batam, south of Singapore came into view.
The aircraft skirted along the east coast of Singapore, with the Singaporean CBD coming into view on the port side. The aircraft gently descended and touched the runway 02R. The aircraft taxied to the gate where I disembarked quickly stealing a quick glance at one of the most distinct and beautiful aircraft of all time.
I made it through immigration quickly and went to collect my bag, which came out quickly.
Booking System & Call Centre 9/10
Lounge (if applicable) 010
Flight Punctuality 10/10
IFE (if applicable) 4/5
Total Score 74%
Thanks for reading!!
Have a look at some of my other trip reports:
1. MLE-SIN in SQ Business
2. To Rome in SQ Business and LH
3. The Great Australian Trip Part 1 - SQ
4. The iPhone Trip Report
5. Zurich-Singapore SQ Business
6. Singapore-Bangkok CX Business
Aircraft flown: 313,319,320,321,332,333,343,345,380,717,732,733,734,737,73H,743,744,762,763,772,773,77W,AB4,