What’s Hot in Japan: An Introduction
What’s Hot in Japan: Onboard the SQ A380 SIN-NRT
What’s Hot in Japan: ANA Pokemon Jet to Sapporo Chitose
What’s Hot in Japan: Cross Hotel Sapporo
What’s Hot in Japan: Furano and Asahikawa
What’s Hot in Japan: Lake Toya Onsen
What’s Hot in Japan: A Day in Hakodate
What’s Hot in Japan: Domestic IOJ Service between HKD and HND
What’s Hot in Japan: Ramen in Japan
What’s Hot in Japan: Red-eye on the A330 KIX-SIN
SQ12 Singapore Changi SIN – Tokyo Narita NRT
Arriving from the Marina Bay Sands using the one of the hotel’s chauffeured Alphard minivans, we pulled up at Changi Airport’s Terminal 3. Arriving in the cavernous terminal, we proceeded to Singapore Airlines’ check-in counters and it is amazing how queues are almost non-existent considering we were scheduled to board the A380 which flies onwards to LAX via NRT. This would be my first time taking Singapore Airlines’ A380 flying east. Though it would allow me to revisit my experience flying them since it was onboard SIA that I had my first A380 flight and it was a comfortable ride even in the back.
Check-in was a fast affair even for our group of 5 passengers and we proceeded to pass through immigration where once again, the queues were short. The transition from check-in to the departure concourse was comfortable and serene and that is just what all airports should be like! Once we were inside the departure concourse, we went window shopping and it was really easy to do that since Changi Airport is built for this Asian past-time. In the meantime, my Mum also had to obtain tax refund from purchasing some stuff during our several days of transit in Singapore.
Boarding the A380 in Terminal 3 is usually via the large holding area and since the security screening was before the gates, we made sure there was ample time while walking towards the gate. Due to the queue for security, boarding was already underway when we were done. This made me appreciate airports that had security screening before immigration. Though Changi’s method allows departing and arriving passengers to mingle and provides so much convenience while in transit! Again boarding the A380 is always an orderly affair, and it is amazing how much more comfortable it is taking the A380 on Singapore Airlines than it is boarding a Garuda 737.
While the A380 is no longer a novelty or a new airplane, Singapore Airlines does maintain the plane we took to Tokyo since its delivery in 2008. When booking the flights, I chose seats on the lower deck, since the larger space seems to make it more comfortable. Furthermore I am not sure if there are still upper deck seating for Economy Class passengers. Seats are in a 3-4-3 configuration and again this is very generous like many premium airlines. Do consider for a moment that many American and European airlines configure the same 10-seat abreast arrangement on the narrower Boeing 777.
Another feature I like while boarding a Singapore Airlines flight is how Economy Class passengers are also entitled to a wide range of newspapers including some premium ones like ‘Financial Times’ and ‘International Herald Tribune’. I grabbed a copy on my way in and was greeted by an array of stewards and stewardess who greeted with a smile. These flight attendants serving the flight today was cheerful enough and even helped Economy Class passengers with placing luggage on the overhead compartments. A far cry compared to Garuda Indonesia flight attendants who stand around while boarding without wanting to help passengers with their luggage at all. On the seats passengers can find a nice pillow and blanket though this day flight meant that no amenity kits were handed out. I do believe an Economy Class kit will be handed out for the NRT-LAX segment and these usually comprise of a toothbrush and a pair of socks. Singapore Airlines still provides hot towels to refresh its passengers after boarding which was very much appreciated.
Generally the service by the flight attendant was considered pleasant as they also distribute headsets and menu for the nearly 7 hour flight. The menu read as follows:
Lunch | Singapore to Tokyo
Soya vermicelli with shrimp
Pan roasted chicken with mushroom sauce, sauteed vegetable and rosemary potato medley
Cheese and crackers
From the bakery
Roll and butter
Coffee – Tea
Zensai – Selection of Japanese appetisers
Japanese cold noodles
Gyuniku Kikuni style goma sauce – Panfried beef fillet with sesame sauce, simmered vegetables and steamed rice
From the bakery
Roll and butter
Japanese Oolong tea
Baron Otard V.S.O.P Cognac
Johnnie Walker Red Label
Jim Beam Black Label Whiskey
Bombay Sapphire Gin
Smirnoff Red Label Vodka
Bailey’s Original Irish Cream
Red Wine – Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah
White Wine – Chardonnay
White Wine – Riesling
Coke Light/Coke Zero
Fruit Spritzer (non-alcoholic)
Orange Cooler (non-alcoholic)
Coffee and Teas
Sencha Green Tea
Peppermint Tea (naturally caffeine-free)
Orange / Apple / Pineapple / Tomato
Like many A380 flights I have taken in the past, while boarding was done efficiently, there was a long wait before pullback. And the rainy weather that day made it all the more slow before we took off more than half an hour after our scheduled time of departure.
Meal service started after probably forty minutes after take-off. Fortunately, unlike my last long-haul flight in Economy Class onboard SQ’s A380 where I did not get my first choice meal, I was able to obtain the Japanese selection which truly redeemed Singapore Airlines as a choice carrier for Economy Class service. The meal was definitely of a very generous portion and consisted of a large tray with the beef and noodles being the main component.
The appetizer and the cold soba was my favourite part of the meal as the beef was slightly over-cooked in my opinion even if it was still palatable. The meal presentation was also one of the best I have had in an Economy Class flight especially with the wide variety of beverages on offer.
After the conclusion of the meal, the flight stewardess came back to distribute ice cream. It was really nice of them to do this separately lest the ice cream melts while one has a long and hearty meal. While the ice cream was not the usual Magnum or Haagen-Dazs, it was a tasty portion of brownie mixed with vanilla ice cream. Though my photo showed 2 tubs, I just had one while the other belonged to my sister.
When all the trays has been collected, passengers started to take a walk around the plane and head to the lavatories. Shortly after that, the cabin light was dimmed as some passengers took a rest. For me, it was as usual to continue watching the excellent KrisWorld entertainment system. Similar to Cathay Pacific, SQ has an extensive library of movies and TV shows and this selection is not restricted to new blockbusters but includes classics and a range of movies of the Japanese, Korean, Chinese, European and Indian genre.
I found time to walk around the cabin after the movie and noticed a healthy load for the flight which included some passengers who would be disembarking at Tokyo Narita with us. Based on the Japanese crew, I do believe there would be some passengers based in Japan taking Singapore Airlines. In addition, the rear most Economy cabin exudes a much warmer cabin ambience due to the seat upholstery which was in orange and cream while the front cabin where I was seated was covered in green or beige.
Returning to my seat after the walk around, I found time for another movie which I enjoyed before the plane started its descent into Narita International Airport. We arrived only about 10 minutes late from our scheduled arrival time and headed for a long walk to a relatively long queue at the passport check. Even with the long queue, it still took the Japanese a very efficient 30 minutes to cross through immigration. For a 7 hour daytime flight, I was surprisingly pleased with how the flight went. I was fed well, entertained well and felt comfortable throughout the flight. This goes once again to show that the A380 did change the way of flying long haul. And Singapore Airlines truly shines in Economy Class!