SQ957 Jakarta CGK – Singapore SIN
8 Aug 11
Boeing 777-300 9V-SYD
Right according to the time stated on the boarding pass, boarding was called, but knowing how early SIA announces its boarding, I didn’t bother to move until past 11:15. It was a short walk to another security checkpoint before the walkway to the individual holding gate. I always wondered why Jakarta is one of those airports that screens your luggage twice, once before check in and another after immigration. I just find it a waste of time and creates a lot of inconvenience for travelers.
Seeing that the plane serving the route was 9V-SYD disappointed me somewhat since I had been on this plane several times before. It seems that this jet serves this particular timing on the same route since I took the same jet just a few weeks back. Having passed through the business cabin a couple of times previously, it was nice to be able to use the first jet bridge into the First Class cabin and stop at the Business Class cabin. And yes, the plane does have a First Class cabin, which is unique for such a short regional route.
Unlike my previous flight on this exact aircraft which was on full occupancy, passenger count was low on today’s flight and business class is probably only filled to 45% of capacity. This meant a nice empty cabin to stretch out in on the short journey. I was also able to have an empty aisle seat beside me and upon being seated, the female flight attendant came and offered drinks, then newspapers were offered. Not long afterwards, another crew member came and offered hot towels. Then next came the headsets. I wondered why they couldn’t just pass everything at the same time, since I guess that would make passengers feel more relaxed and put at ease once onboard, rather than being disturbed again and again.
There was some time before the plane was filled up but because occupancy today was quite light, there wasn’t a mad rush or any chaotic boarding on the flight. In fact the boarding was calm and relaxed. I got back to relax in the seat and noticed how much more spacious the 777 operating this route was compared to the similar short-haul business class on Cathay’s 777 that was serving the SIN-BKK-HKG route. Both planes were on a 2-3-2 business class seating arrangement and had similar seats that had generous recline. In either way, both seats were much more comfortable than domestic First Class in North America. In fact the seats in SQ’s regional short haul business class were more similar to Dragonair’s Business Class seats in terms of colour and size.
With the fast boarding, we were able to pullback on time and the plane started to make its way to the runway which is at the other end of the terminal. The light load for the flight made for a very rapid take off and the plane was tilted at a very steep angle which made it slightly uncomfortable. I guess the pilot must be in a real rush that day to take off towards Singapore. But truth be told, this isn’t one of my most comfortable take-off experience, and a far cry from the take-off on the A380 last year. The irony was that I was onboard Economy at that time.
The thick layer of smog also meant it was difficult to spot Soekarno-Hatta airport as the plane made a round towards its northerly route. The following photo was the best I could make out of the airport. While I got to admire the clouds we passed along the way, the crew got busy to preparing the meals in the galley.
The menu for the day was:
Lunch Menu | Jakarta to Singapore
Opor ayam – Malay style spicy chicken with seasonal vegetables and tomato flavoured rice
Seared tournedos of beef with thyme jus, roasted seasonal vegetables and potatoes
Phad Thai with scallops and prawns – Flat noodles fried with fish sauce, scallops and prawns
Guava jelly with fruits
Gourmet coffees & selection of fine teas
I chose the Phad Thai for the main course and there was a bread basket where I could choose a variety from. Like Cathay Pacific, I was able to choose a slice of garlic bread, and it was a tasty choice. The Phad Thai, though was a bit too dry and had too much flavour in it. Comparing the meal service in the Cathay Pacific’s SIN-BKK route which is about the same length, the meal service by SIA is a bit underwhelming and even the menu was on a piece of paper with no mention of the drinks available. The generous serving of scallops and prawns on the main course was very well appreciated though, so while it was nothing special, the meal was adequate. Having had coffee in the lounge earlier, I declined the after lunch drinks and opted instead for more water. I headed to the back of the Business Class cabin to take some magazines and grabbed a copy of Conde Nast Traveler and Top Gear to while the time until our landing in Singapore.
I just had enough time to browse through both magazines before our descent into Singapore, as we passed by the shoreline of southern Johor. I was able to spot the new suspension bridge that was completed across Sungai Johor and the new energy infrastructure being built at the mouth of Sungai Johor. Eventually we entered Singapore airspace, passing by Pulau Ubin and its reservoir before landing into Changi on an overcast day at 14:21, slightly behind schedule as we made a detour over Johor.
Landing at the Western runway meant we had a long taxi as the airplane was due to be docked in Terminal 2, though this also meant we would pass by the overhead bridge for airplanes across the East Coast Parkway that leads to Changi Airport. Upon disembarking from the plane, I made my way to the empty immigration hall and was out collecting my bags in no time at all.
I took the time to enquire for check in for my flight 2 days later for Guangzhou and the agent in Terminal 2 directed me towards Terminal 3 as SIA’s flights to North and East Asia departs from Terminal 3. This meant I need to push my luggage on the carts towards the Skytrain to bring me to the newest avantgarde terminal 3 where I was able to check in for my flight which departs in less than 48 hours. The ability to deposit my luggage was a huge plus since it allowed me to travel light into the city. I took some time to explore Terminal 3 with my new camera first and it was also just nice that they had a exhibition showcasing the 100 years of aviation in Singapore at the end of Terminal 3. After some exploring, I decided on taking a taxi into the city centre since I do not want to spend too much time travelling around, and with no queues for the taxi, I got onboard a Mercedes E-Class limo which had the same fares as the Hyundai taxis, so it was a good choice which will bring me to the St. Regis in comfort and luxury!