9/7/12

Singapore Airlines (Singapore-Seoul)

A lot less crowded on this SQ602 flight to Seoul, isn't it?

Of all the flights I've flown on, this was the closest I've been to flying on my own plane. There are 30 seats in Business Class (and 4 flight attendants assigned) but only one other passenger was sharing the whole cabin with me.

Sweet.

On opposite sides we were seated. The whole middle section remained empty. It was so quiet. And so pampering. Two flight attendants were taking good care of me. Ah, what a way to fly on Singapore Airlines!


Part of the flight path from Singapore to Seoul

Check-In - After a quick Metro ride from Orchard St. (and returning my Singapore Tourist Pass card for the refundable $10 deposit), I found myself gawking at the cavernous interior of Changi's Terminal 3 Departure Hall. It's remarkable again just how quiet it is and how smooth operations are in this ultra-modern airport.

Even the Business Class counters were almost empty - this at 12 PM or 2 hours before my flight. A male agent welcomed me right away, noted my final destination and reassured me my one bag was checked-through all the way. My final destination of course is New York but I was doing an overnight lay-over in Seoul before catching another flight the next day.


Lounge - Yet again, going through immigration formalities was a breeze as there was hardly any queue. (The bowls of candies were still there). Finding Singapore Airline's flagship SilverKris Lounge on T3 wasn't a problem either. Just up a flight of escalator on the 3rd floor was an oasis of calm and a haven for starving souls.

I was already hungry so I made my way through an almost deserted seating area and into a self-serve buffet table laden with different warm dishes. There was also another station for desserts and various kinds of drinks. Knowing I have a meal to eat later on the flight, I tried hard to resist the urge to feast on seafood and poultry dishes (all Asian) but I couldn't - Singapore's lounge offering is by the far the most substantial I've tried.


Boarding - It's probably only in Changi Airport where passengers clear security at each departure gates. Which is really a good thing. This lessens the general queue as is typical in most airports and therefore speeds up the process.

Only a few minutes after making it to the gate, boarding was announced. As usual, families with babies/kids were invited first, followed by business class, frequent flier elites and economy class. Once I made it to the door of the Airbus A330-300, the purser greeted me while another flight attendant directed me to my seat.

My seat @ 12K
Singapore Girl

The Seat - This being a regional flight, the cabin was refurbished in Singapore Airlines' new medium-haul Business Class product which is essentially an angled lie-flat seat. Seating configuration on this aircraft is 2-2-2. Once seated, I found it to be so comfortable I wouldn't even mind seating/sleeping on it all the way to New York. It has a fixed back shell done in soft leather with a hue that invokes refinement and class.

As befits an upgrade in their product, every seat comes with a generous 15-inch personal TV, personal storage, power ports, even a divider screen between seats if one wants more privacy. A pillow, blanket and noise-cancelling headphones were provided as well.

Hardly had I warmed the seat and a male steward came up to me, introduced himself and called me by my last name. A selection of drinks was offered along with newspapers and magazines. A female flight attendant came by to offer hot towels and then came back with a simple amenity kit that includes slippers. The purser, a middle-aged lady, brought the menu even though she knew I had pre-ordered my meal, adding "please let us know if there's anything we can do for you on this flight".

O.J.
Singapore Sling & packed assorted nuts


The Flight - Our plane was pushed back right on time for the 6-hour and a half flying time to Seoul. There was minimal traffic on the taxiway and runway so we were airborne soon after. Once the seatbelt sign was turned off, inflight service commenced. With only two passengers to serve, the 4 flight attendants assigned to the cabin had less pressure on their hands.

The male flight attendant came up to me asking me what I'd like for drinks. I chose Singapore Sling of course - this came with a packet of nuts although I wished they served it properly on a small bowl. Almost an hour into the flight, the same flight attendant asked if I wanted my lunch served. "Oh yes, please" while I began playing with the inflight entertainment. Movies, music and TV shows abound.

Appetiser - grilled white & green asparagus with seared prawn, goat cheese & herb vinaigrette
Lobster Thermidor

Singapore Airlines offers premium passengers flying from certain points of origin its "Book The Cook" program. It is essentially pre-ordering the main meal before flying based on a list of dishes. Out of Changi, one can order a choice of Western, Singaporean, Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, Malay or Indian dishes.

After perusing a lengthy online menu a week prior, I decided on Lobster Thermidor since I find this rarely served on airplanes. What a great choice it turned out to be. It came served already sliced so I didn't have to deal with flying forks and messy hands. It may be loaded with cholesterol but at the moment I couldn't care less - it was succulent even at 35,000 feet in the air.

dessert - mint chocolate ice cream
English tea with cream

For dessert I had mint chocolate ice cream which I rounded off with a cup of tea with cream. At that point, it was already about 2 hours since take-off and the movie I was watching was just about to finish. There were some turbulence mid-way above the South China Sea. Seated at the right side of the plane, I looked down hoping to spot some westerly Philippine islands but there were more Nimbus clouds obscuring what's beneath.

I turned the seat into its lie-flat position with really no intent of sleeping soundly. While others may have complained about the oddity of feeling like slipping down, I felt perfectly fine as I stayed lying down for the next two hours. Feeling bored later on, I watched a  documentary and asked the female  flight attendant for a cup of Cappucino. She came back with bags of cookies to go with it - nice gesture even without me asking for them.

Silver Kris Sling
Cappuccino & cookies

The Arrival - Despite the turbulence we encountered, our flight even managed to arrive at 9:45 PM in Seoul - or 20 minutes earlier than the expected arrival time. Which was better for me. However, we disembarked from a remote concourse which involved taking a shuttle train to the main terminal where Immigration formalities took place. After being cleared and processed using biometrics, I walked fast, actually almost ran, to the train platform - I was heading to Seoul and it's almost an hour away.

Come to think of it, I'm staying only in Seoul to sleep.

11 comments:

  1. Wow, this was one swanky ride! I haven't used SQ before, mostly because it is hard to earn miles with them when you're a United Mileage Plus member; you have to select a higher fare bracket in order to earn miles.

    Anyway, aside from Changi, Berlin Tegel Airport also does security at the gate. It's an airport designed as a hexagon, so there's no central area where security can be done. Hence, you only go through security with the other people with your flight.

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    1. I so agree, SQ don't credit you with miles when traveling on deeply discounted coach fares so the only way to get to enjoy their service is really to redeem from one of its many Star Alliance partners.

      I wish all airports would have this kind of security checks via individual gates (but that's just a wish since from a budgetary standpoint, this is very expensive.

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  2. Dalawa lang kayo! Maski na puno yung Business Class, maluwag pa rin. You are indeed traveling in style. I'm reminded of my recent long flight from Amsterdam to Los Angeles where I barely have enough space to wiggle my body.

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    Replies
    1. Hahaha! I hear you well on your cattle class dilemma. It's this congestion that makes flying at the 'back of the bus' really something one doesn't look forward to especially on a long-haul flight. Better redeem those miles you have for an upgrade next time :)

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  3. Everything looks slick, Dennis! I'm drooling in envy, haha!
    You really own the plane to yourself with just another passenger with you in business class.
    Now, I've started dreaming to experience what you had with my family with those Singapore FA in traditional Kebaya. :)

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    Replies
    1. I've flown SQ on economy class before and their service is still quite good, on par with Cathay Pacific and Emirates. And they sure wear sarong kebaya with finesse even during a turbulence :)

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  4. flying like a rock start, what a way to fly. inggit!!!!1

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    Replies
    1. Thanks to a huge Amex sign-up bonus.

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  5. Wow! Everything is FIT FOR A KING!!! Wala ka pa man sa destination, you're trip is being highlighted by that experience already.

    The best naman! :)

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    Replies
    1. Part of the reason I jumped on the opportunity once I found out about "miles promo redemption" on Aeroplan was trying business class on as many Star Alliance partners as possible. It worked, I'm so happy.

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