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Singapore Airlines SQ317 London To Singapore SG50

Wed Jan 13, 2016 12:06 pm

This review is just for one flight - London Heathrow to Singapore Changi on SQ 317, in Upper Deck Economy. This was the end of our holiday in Europe. We were thrilled to be able to ride on this special Airbus A380 painted in SG50 livery. SQ has only 2 planes in her A380 fleet that are painted this way and it was quite fortuitous for us to ride in one, before they removed the SG50 livery.

What is SG50? This is the short form for Singapore 50. In 1965, we became an independent nation and in 2015, we celebrated our 50th birthday on 9th August. It was quite a blast. On a sadder note, our founding Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew passed away in March this year, which meant he never lived to witness our National Day Parade 2015.

His passing had a profound effect on many Singaporeans, especially the younger generation who had grown up in relative affluence, and never knew how tough life was back in the 60s and 70s. SG50 was also a good time to remind ourselves that our existence as a sovereign, independent nation cannot be taken for granted. Will there be SG100? Only God knows. Meanwhile, we cherish what we have, and contribute to make things even better.

As our SG50 year draws to a close, it was especially poignant for me and my family to be able to ride this special SG50 Airbus A380 back home, after a wonderful holiday in London and Europe. Imagine, if not for Lee Kuan Yew, would I be here writing this review today? Probably not.

Anyway, let me proceed with the flight review.

I made two videos, part 1 and 2.

Here is part 1 - boarding and checking out the aircraft.

Here is part 2 - meal services (lunch, breakfast).

Our plane would depart from London Heathrow Terminal 2, the Queen's Terminal. We had stayed in Premier Inn at Waterloo for 5 nights, and the MSC cruise prior to that. I am reviewing that holiday in another thread, so I shan't talk about it here.

So I start with our ride to London Heathrow. As we wanted to do tax refund claims, we had to make sure we arrived early enough. So we used a minicab service to get us from Premier Inn Waterloo to LHR. The driver was 10 minutes late, but he got us safely to the airport. The roads were clear. We opted for a larger vehicle (MPV), as we had many bags to bring home. Here is a short video clip of the ride (Big Ben, Harrods)

We arrived at LHR T2, and made our way to the tax refund counter, which was located at the far left side of the terminal (facing towards the terminal). Fortunately for us, there were no lines so I could be served immediately. Also, I did all my paperwork properly, so the counter staff could process my claims and I got back cash on the spot. Pretty neat.

Thereafter, we went to check in. Remember, this was the weekend before Christmas. Even though this was a morning flight, the check-in counters were really busy. Now if you are flying Economy, you have to do self-check in at the kiosks, print out your own boarding passes and luggage tags, before you can drop off your baggage. It almost felt like flying Ryanair again, other than the fact that the machine helped us print the boarding passes!! Oh well.

We checked in our bags and quickly went to security. Fortunately, the lines were not long and therefore we got through quite quickly. Thereafter, we had some food at a Japanese place (Yo Sushi), before the flight. This was the restaurant from the outside.

By the time we walked to the boarding gate (bear in mind it is quite a long walk from the main terminal 2 to terminal 2B, via an underpass), people were already boarding. However, since we didn't have much cabin luggage (we were going home so we checked in most of our luggage), we could wait a bit and board later. While hanging around, I took two videos of other aircraft.

This was a Royal Thai Airbus A380, parked right beside the SQ A380. I assume she will be flying to Bangkok. I realised that I haven't flown with Royal Thai in many years, probably decades.

This was an Air Canada aircraft. Flew on a similar aircraft earlier this year from LHR to YOW. Check out that review too!

Alright, it really was time to board. Today, we are flying in the Upper Deck. The Upper Deck Economy passengers will use the same door as Business Class. In the video, you can see that we have to walk through the Business class cabin before reaching Economy.

We entered through a gorgeous red aircraft door. Yes, red is Singapore's national colour, our national flag is white and red, with a crescent moon and five stars. I paused for a while to savour the moment.

We were greeted by a Chief Stewardess (her sarong kebaya is in red!) and we made our way to our seats, which was at row 77, 4 seats in the centre.

It felt like the plane was completely full, and I think it was. The Upper Deck Economy was in a 2-4-2 configuration (compared to 3-4-3 on the main deck), so there were fewer pax.

As per SQ's usual service, hot towels were handed out to freshen up. This was mine, sitting in the cup holder.

This Airbus A380 was fitted with the older Economy class product, unlike the Boeing 777-300ER that we flew up from in from Singapore to London about two weeks back. Still, everything worked, so that's fine.

Here is a picture of the Economy class menu front cover. Season's Greetings!

The tray table could be folded into half, and it had a mirror too.

Cabin service started with drinks shortly after take-off. I had a glass of white wine. My kids decided to have Coca-Cola. From this picture, the Coke cans were bottled in GB (Great Britain). Pretty neat.

We order kids' meals for our children. Their meals will be served before the main meals for adults. For lunch, the tray came from fruit and smarties.

As the trolley was approaching my seat, I managed to zoom in on the red and white wine served on board. Check out this screen grab of my video.

I chose the Asian option for my main course, and it was fried rice with some prawn. Stewardess came around to hand out ice-cream, as shown in this picture.

As this was a day flight, it wasn't easy to sleep, and I think most passengers had difficulty sleeping. Watching movies was the norm. I didn't manage to get much sleep either, just dozing off and on. After some hours, I got a bit hungry and decided to get some snacks. Turned out that I got quite a lot! (was greedy) Interesting that this was the second time I was having a Tiger Beer on board an aircraft within a couple of weeks. The first time was on a British Airways flight from Genoa to London Gatwick.

Cabin lights were turned on about 3 hours before landing. Breakfast service started and again, I chose the asian dish, which was the noodles. The taste was good, but I was too full from my snacks earlier, so I didn't finish.

We landed in Singapore Changi Airport early, but we were hit with some delays at the gate and we had to wait at the tarmac for a while before the aircraft could park at the designated gate. Anyway, it was good to be home and thank you for reading.

Afternote, this video shows you snippets of how the plane was painted. I never knew so much effort went into painting a plane. Probably quite costly too.
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RE: Singapore Airlines SQ317 London To Singapore SG50

Wed Jan 13, 2016 11:29 pm

Thanks for your report and congratulations to Singapore on turning 50! I sure hope there'll be an SG100  
It looks like your flight was comfortable. I think SQ sets the bar high for economy.
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RE: Singapore Airlines SQ317 London To Singapore SG50

Thu Jan 14, 2016 6:01 am

Great report! Good idea to take screenshots of the youtube video.

Speaking of which, I really like this vid of the flyover of the SQ A380 during the NDP:
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RE: Singapore Airlines SQ317 London To Singapore SG50

Thu Jan 14, 2016 6:27 pm

Quoting guitarsingapore (Thread starter):
His passing had a profound effect on many Singaporeans, especially the younger generation who had grown up in relative affluence, and never knew how tough life was back in the 60s and 70s. SG50 was also a good time to remind ourselves that our existence as a sovereign, independent nation cannot be taken for granted.

autocrat..who's legacy is a nation full of robots who have no interest in politics, and if they do they're dealt with in a heavy handed manner.

I deal with people everyday and I know precisely when I am dealing with someone from SG..the questions are always the same, and the questions are always repeated...that's the LKY legacy.

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