Due to the recent Hong Kong political unrest situation, I had tweaked my original flight to HKG and changed to the neighbouring city of Shenzhen. Was a good choice as there were several demonstrations in Hong Kong over the Christmas holidays.
Shenzhen was once the poor gateway from Hong Kong into China, but with recent rapid developments taking place, this secondary Chinese city has transformed into a very modern city rivaling the mega cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. It was almost 15 years since my last trip to Shenzhen and I was very surprised by the progress the city had made over these years.
Started the trip at Changi Terminal 2, where check-in was done at the sole SilkAir Business Class counter at Row 2.
Felt something was missing, turned to Row 1 where SQ's First and Business check-in row was, and yes indeed, the carpets at the premium check-in counters have been removed.
Boarding pass was printed on SQ stock.
First stop was the Silver Kris Lounge at Terminal 2.
At the entrance of the lounge, boarding passes were checked and we were directed to the Business Class section. Overheard some Star Alliance elites who were flying SilkAir economy being turned away as 'SilkAir is not part of Star Alliance'. Guess this problem would be gone in a year's time when SilkAir is fully integrated into SQ.
Work area near the entrance.
Seating area. The lounge is in need of a total revamp, and hopefully revamp will commence after the lounge at T3 is completed.
Buffet and dining area.
Decent selection of buffet items were available.
The single 'live' station was offering a Christmas dish of Roasted chicken with chestnut stuffing.
My selection from the buffet. Surprisingly, the food were all rather tasty as compared to my previous visits.
Left the lounge and headed to the gate. With the movement of Scoot to Terminal One, Terminal Two was now much quieter than before.
Some plane-spotting, with the only interesting aircraft being the LOT Polish Dreamliner.
The aircraft I would be flying on.24 December 2019
Singapore (SIN) - Shenzhen (SZX)
Flight Time: 3H45M
Boarding gate at E2.
The baby Boeing for this evening's flight to Shenzhen.
Judging by the number of passengers at the gate, the flight seemed rather full. Boarding was called and priority boarding was enforced.
Stepped onboard and was warmly welcomed by the crew. SilkAir's B737-800s were fitted with recliners in Business Class. Not the best seats out there, but sufficient for this sub-4hrs flight. This could also well be my last SilkAir Business Class experience before the airline is absorbed into SQ by end-2020.
My seat at 1A. A pillow and blanket was already placed on each seat.
Mechanical seat controls.
Radio channels? Wonder if they were even used at all.
Legroom was sufficient at Row 1.
Overhead drop-down screens showing how to download SilkAir's wireless IFE app. No need to download for Business Class passengers as IFE devices would be provided later.
View out the window.
Inflight magazine, duty free and safety card.
No menus were available, but a beverage list was provided at every seat.
During the bustle of boarding on this narrowbody, the crew managed to take our pre-departure drinks orders. Got a glass of coke with ice, as well as an apple juice.
Scented hot towels given out.
Doors closed and safety demonstration was played overhead. Business Class cabin was 9/12 this evening, a rather healthy load for the holiday season.
While awaiting pushback, crew handed out iPads and earphones. The earphones were definitely not Business Class quality, and similar to what is provided on SQ Economy.
Taxiing to the runway, with various aircraft departing.
Garuda B738 and a couple of Air New Zealand B787s (bound for AKL and CHC).
We are next in line, with a long queue of aircraft behind.
Departure from Rwy02C.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbOp2lTY09Y
For easier viewing of the iPad, you can request for a tablet holder from the crew. Not many passengers knew about this.
The female purser and a steward would be serving us in Business today. Interestingly, the rest of the crew in economy were all guys as well. We were all handed a pair of slippers.
Shortly after takeoff, we were offered more drinks as well as a selection of bites of chips, pretzels or nuts. Went for SilkAir's signature cocktail 'Joy', which was beautifully prepared, as well as chips and pretzels to enjoy with Dark Phoenix.
Crew conducting service.
Meal orders were taken but as we had pre-booked the All-Time Favourites (SilkAir's version of Book-The-Cook), the crew double confirmed our orders while taking orders from other passengers.
Meal trays were delivered, which consisted of a selection of Chinese starters, selection of bakery items and a Christmas dessert.
Chinese starters consisted of braised peanuts, pickled vegetables and a cold meat.
Warm garlic bread and onion roll.
Dessert was some vanilla mousse cake with blueberry compote.
For the main, I had pre-ordered the Masala Fish Biryani served with Dhal and Egg. When serving the main, the crew remarked that this was the best choice today on the flight! And boy was he right. Not only was the portion huge, but flavours were great too! A very tasty meal onboard a plane.
Had a glass of champagne to go with my meal.
My friend had pre-ordered the Singapore Fried Hokkien Mee served with Belachan Chilli, which tasted fairly authentic as well. It was a good choice to have pre-ordered from the All-Time Favourites menu as the onboard choices served to the other passengers looked 'meh'.
Ending with the delightful cake.
To round up the meal, I had a mug of hot chocolate while spending the rest of the flight on the movie.
Visit to the lavatory, which was clean but nothing special, with the same amenities as you would find in a SQ Economy class lavatory. Definitely no branded amenities here.
Before our descent into Shenzhen, crew came around to offer pralines in individual dishes and any other beverages.
This was followed by more hot towels and sweets during descent. The service by the SilkAir crew were excellent! It may not be as formal and elaborate as SQ, but you could sense the service was genuine and crew was all out to please even with the very limited hardware.
Soon, we were approaching Shenzhen and landed in Bao An International Airport Rwy16 slightly ahead of schedule.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPn79xqJso8
Lengthy taxi to the terminal and parked at the gate.
Disembarking and a last look at 1A.
Our aircraft at Shenzhen.
Some collectibles from the flight, courtesy of the literature pocket and cabin crew.
Though SilkAir is the poorer sister of SQ, with inferior hardware and less elaborate service, it was made up by the wonderful, casual and genuine service by its cabin crew. Service was not pretentious nor robotic (as a youtuber recently commented on SQ's service). It was instead more 'fun' where and we were treated more casually like friends, instead of the formal service usually on SQ which can get a bit uncomfortable sometimes. Guess I will miss SilkAir's style of service after it is merged into SQ later this year.
My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81