SQ 322 Singapore Changi SIN – London Heathrow LHR
2 June 2010
Scheduled ETD/ETA: 2330 – 0555
Actual Time of Departure/Arrival: 0020 – 0608
A380 – 800
Seat No: 40K
While the Airbus A380 has been in operation for a while now, this was my first trip on the Big Bus. My destination was supposed to be Hamburg, but with the opportunity to take an A380 flight, I decided to enter Europe via London Heathrow (LHR), onboard the Singapore Airlines A380 flight SQ 322 which departs from Singapore Terminal 3 (SIN) in the middle of the night. As this was a follow up flight from Jakarta, there was no check-in required since we had been issued boarding passes from Soekarno-Hatta. We made our way pass immigration and walked around Terminal 3 but with limited time, boarding for the plane was called at around 2235, one hour prior to departure. The boarding gate for Singapore Airlines flight to Europe requires passengers to go through an additional checkpoint for security. Lines for security was thankfully short and it was another round of waiting as there was a very orderly boarding sequence for A380 flights.
When it was for us to board, there wasn’t a long queue, even at the airbridge towards the plane. Fast and orderly boarding even when the economy class section was around 90% full. It was a good start to the flight. The corridor walkway was definitely more spacious and cabin feels less claustrophobic. Newspapers were available for passengers to take on the way into the plane, and hot towels were distributed by the flight attendant. Blanket and earphones were already on the seat and seat pocket beforehand. There was a delay after boarding has been completed and the pilot announced it was due to unclaimed baggage problems. Menu was thus handed out along with amenity kits to passengers. It was past midnight before plane starts turnaround and heading towards the runway. It was another 15 minutes on the tarmac before take-off. I have to say take-off on the A380 was one of the best ever for any aircraft. It is extremely smooth, and a very nice experience. Definitely a better reason to fly on the aircraft!
In flight entertainment was as good as those on refurbished 777s on CX flights. Screen size for economy class was generous and provided clear resolutions of movies. Movie selections was superb and on par with Cathay. Though I noticed a slightly more international fare in Singapore Airlines’ selection, including more Korean and Indian movies. I also took the chance to explore the plane, and my impression was that the plane was larger and more spacious (height and aisle width) allowing more room to walk around the plane. With the A380 there is another staircase at the back with access to a smaller upper deck economy class cabin. And while I did the little exploring, the flight attendants were busy serving passengers who ordered special meals. It was thus possible for 2 person to walk by the aisle easily.
Supper is served around 1 hour and 15 minutes after take off. Appetizer was fish terrine with salad and cocktail sauce which was above average There were 3 choices of beef steak, char siew rice or indian chicken curry rice for main course. But apparently only the beef steak and the chicken curry option were left available. Sadly, both options tasted really bad. The beef steak was dry and overcooked, while the chicken curry lacked flavour and was substandard for an inflight meal from Singapore Airlines. I would rate economy class meals from Japan Airlines and Cathay Pacific to be much better. A small packet of Ferrero Rocher was served along with the meal as dessert. There was cheese and crackers to go along with the meal as well. Choices of drink was also adequate for the flight, with several juices, cocktails, red and white wines available. Coffee and tea was also served for the night flight.
I had a short sleep of around 2 hours after supper and the seat was surprisingly alright for a short nap. Woke up a bit hungry and there was a nice range of snacks from the galley, from cookies and Lay’s potato chips to chocolate bars. There was also frequent attendant service distributing drinks. I also encountered no problems on accessing toilets during the flights to brush my teeth and wash up. Around 2 hours prior to landing, breakfast was served. Whilst the supper was unsatisfactory, the choice I wanted for breakfast was available. Choices for the main course were braised egg noodles with beef, mushrooms and leafy greens or parsley omelette with chicken sausage, tomato and hash brown potato. My mum and I took the beef noodles while my dad took the omelette. The noodles was served with cereal, rolls and a platter of fresh fruit. At least SQ redeemed itself with this meal.
Since we departed late by close to an hour, I was worried of missing my flight connection to Hamburg, but it turns out the plane landed only slightly off schedule at 6.08 am. Bright sunny weather in London awaits and landing and the taxi to the terminal was fast. Disembarking the plane was also relatively efficient, and by the time we reached immigration, we were on the front of the line. Less than 5 minutes wait before we passed through immigration. There was a short wait for our luggage and the whole process was really surprising since I was expecting a larger crowd. Overall a nice flight, even in economy onboard the A380.