Arriving late yesterday night from China, I headed to join my family in the city for a night and left for the airport early, arriving at the airport around 5:30am, to reach an empty check-in counter for Singapore Airlines at Changi Airport Terminal 2 which appears old and dated now that Terminal 1 has completed its renovations. I obtained my boarding pass and headed pass immigration towards the Silver Kris Lounge.
Breakfast in the Silver Kris Lounge is always nice due to them offering Pan-fried Carrot Cake – a local dish also called ‘Chay Tow Kway’. I had that in the lounge along with some apple juice.
Friday 4 Jan 2013
Boeing 777-200 9V-SQH
Late arrival of aircraft meant that boarding was delayed but Changi’s flight information board fails to note the delay and still indicates boarding proceeding as normal. The ever cautious me decides to head to the gate early since Changi has security checks at every gate, which is a real hassle compared to boarding in Hong Kong.
I still had some time to kill in the waiting gate before boarding was called, and I noticed that it is going to be a full flight today with many connecting passengers bound for Jakarta. Singapore Airlines does get a lot of captive passengers from Indonesia due to the safety concerns of the Indonesia’s national carrier, though I believe the revitalized Garuda is pretty safe now since it operates new planes.
There were calls for premium passengers and Star Gold members to board earlier and I followed the early birds for boarding since the waiting gate is a bit packed. I noticed the business class cabin to be quite full as I sat in the bulkhead 11A seat. Many seem to be Indonesian tourists from their overseas trips. Singapore Airlines regional business class that plies the South-East Asian routes are really old and feels a lot like North American domestic First, albeit being wider and having more seat pitch. It was comfortable and even with the full flight, the service was still very good today. The chief purser welcomed me by name and helped me with my hand carried luggage. A pillow and blanket has already been placed on the seat while there was a headset placed on the front pocket.
Upon being seated, I was offered hot towels and a welcome drink. At this point, my seat mate arrived and the crew started to get busy helping passengers with their carry-ons, directing them to their seat and offering hot towels and drinks to business class passengers. Onboard this 777, Singapore Airlines also offers a First Class cabin, though don’t expect the same First Class in any of the other Singapore Airlines’ cabin.
There was quite a long wait before boarding was completed due to the full load, and waiting for some passengers. During the wait, the steward came by with choices of newspaper and magazines. Singapore Airlines offers a very good selection of Indonesian newspapers that would even put Garuda Indonesia to shame. And I always enjoy the selection of magazines that SQ stocks in their Business Class cabin. By the time pullback commenced, the sun was already up and it was a nice view of SQ’s fleet of planes along the way. Even with the short wait before take-off, we still departed an hour behind schedule, but it was nice weather up above at 30,000 ft.
A few moments after the seatbelt sign was turned off, the crew began preparation for the meal service and took orders from passengers. However I had a Book-the-Cook meal ready, and the steward taking care of my section mentioned to me that it will be ready in a short while after serving my seat mate. While I had some breakfast in the lounge, I was beginning to get hungry due to the delay in departure so it was nice when my meal was finally served. I have to say Singapore Airlines’ Book-the-Cook meals are very good especially since the food served in this short route is predictable and pretty bad. Thus for short regional flights within Asia on Singapore Airlines, I recommend Book-the-Cook meals everytime except on flights involving Japan, as the Japanese meal on SQ is worth a try.
The sliced fish congee was served with a fruit platter and it was a generous portion of congee. It was also served with my choice of orange juice and a glass of water. For non-Asians, congee might not be a very tantalizing meal, but it is a kind of comfort food for Asians and thus they are commonly served as breakfast and supper around Asian countries. So it was nice to have this tasty bowl of congee for the flight and I was satisfied with the meal.
After my tray has been dutifully cleared by the crew which were really working very efficiently in this flight considering the full load, I headed to the lavatory to freshen myself and take some photos of the cabin. It was a nearly full flight in both sections of the Business class, save for a couple of empty seats. Returning to my seat, I just reclined and got a bit of a rest since I slept very little yesterday night.
We landed in Soekarno-Hatta at just slightly past 9am and I guess we were only late by no more than 20 minutes past scheduled arrival, so that was pretty good, but then again without the delay, we would have arrived earlier. The immigration queue at Jakarta was thankfully short and I did not have to wait long, even though there was some wait for the luggage. This was a short flight but it shows how good Singapore Airlines with its onboard service when the right crew is in place.