Review of Singapore Airlines flight Seoul Singapore in Business

Airline Singapore Airlines
Flight SQ609
Class Business
Seat 16A
Aircraft Airbus A330-300
Flight time 6:25
Take-off 20 Apr 16, 16:40
Arrival at 20 Apr 16, 22:05
SQ   #1 out of 106 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 350 reviews
hometoyyz
By 1642
Published on 29th July 2016
Welcome, dear reader, to part three of another round-the-world flight adventure experience! As usual, I’ll be keeping progress under wraps, but here's the situation so far.

AC153 YYZ-YVR 4/18/2016 - Right here
AC63 YVR-ICN 4/18/2016 - Right here
SQ609 ICN-SIN 4/20/2016 - You are here
???? - Coming soon

After a good night’s sleep — well, as good as one can manage when coming in from North America — at the Hyatt Regency Incheon, I headed over to the airport in the late morning. Having splurged for room service the night before, I decided to skip breakfast and just get to the airport fairly early to dine in the lounge there. The shuttle bus was about as quick and efficient as one would expect, given that the hotel is a stone’s throw from the airport.

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After being dropped off at the terminal, it was upstairs to the departures level. No need for check-in in this case, since I already had an electronic boarding pass from the SQ app, and as usual, was only traveling with carry-on. This is probably a good thing, since Singapore didn’t have any departures for a few hours, so I’m not sure I could have checked in had I needed to do so. At least not for a while. And certainly not in a timely fashion to get to a lounge.

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So I quickly found my way into what I presumed — fortunately correctly — to be the correct security lane. Security and customs took a few minutes, but were relatively pain-free compared to the root canal fiasco of arriving into Incheon the day before. And in no time, I was airside.

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Of course, since I was departing Incheon on a non-Korean carrier, it’s time to head off to the satellite terminal via the under-tarmac train. But first, A quick stop for a little bit of Korean traditional cultural (or a reasonable hand-drawn facsimile thereof) as it wandered the halls.

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The train was quick enough, although as usual completely full. Up the escalator, and I popped my head up into foreign carriers’ territory.

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By the time I was in line for security, I was really getting hungry, so the first order of business was to find the SilverKris Lounge and see what was on offer for lunch. It took me a little bit of effort and confusion to find it, but eventually I was rewarded with the familiar SilverKris logo, and….

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Oh. Well. They aren’t open for an hour.

So, like I was saying, let’s check out Asiana’s lounge in the satellite terminal! It’s actually quite considerate of them to have one here, given that OZ generally doesn’t operate out of this part of the terminal. But being the “hometown” Star Alliance carrier, and since it’s not easy (ie: it’s pretty much impossible) for a passenger to stay airside and return to the main terminal had they come out here too soon and discovered there was no lounge, I guess they had to offer something here. Fortunately, it’s easy to find from the same part of the mezzanine level that houses the SQ lounge.

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The aesthetics of this lounge are pretty much the same as the main OZ lounge in the main terminal, with a classy library feel. The place is attractive and well-appointed, but is quite dark. This kind of enhances the “library” effect. But it’s missing the windows of its main-terminal counterpart.



Seating is about the same too, and about what one would expect from an OZ lounge, with a few different nooks and crannies to test out, including some “dining room” seating near the buffet, and some nice large curved-screen TVs with comfy chairs in front of them. I don’t think my mom would approve of me sitting that close to the TV, though. It’ll wreck your eyes, don’t you know. And probably, somehow, give you worms. Never quite figured that one out.

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There’s also a business area that’s decently well-appointed, and a variety of newspapers available.

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But of course, the main reason we’re here is to get a bit to eat. The buffet is not overly impressive. Instead, it’s very similar to what’s on offer in the main terminal lounge. No surprise there.

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Coffee machine.

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A somewhat diminished choice of drinks, as well as cheese and crackers.

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A variety of juices and soft drinks, including many… interesting… options with no English translation available. In case you’re both thirsty and brave.

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Noodles and hot water to reconstitute them.

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Now, let’s start checking out the hot options, starting with soup.

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I think these noodles could use a re-stock.

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Lots of tofu and veggies, though.

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Beef bulgogi? Also could use a re-stock.

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Over on the island, there’s various snack items, including Asiana’s strangely delicious nacho chips, with strangely room-temperature cheese sauce.

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A few sandwiches as well. Seems like everything could use a re-stock.

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Lots of options for those looking to carb-load.

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And finally, some salad fixin’s.

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I decide to sample a few items to tide me over until SQ opens its doors in about 45 minutes.

First, a simple but delicious mushroom soup.

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And some of the scarce bulgogi.

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And, of course, nachos.

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They all serve to stave off the hungries, but leave me still wanting more. With about 20 minutes left before the SQ lounge is slated to open, I decide to go for a little walk to stretch my legs and see what there is to see out here at the satellite.

Some highlights along the way, starting with this pretty-in-pink CA 737.

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And it’s more conventional sibling.

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China Southern A321.

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And a bigger Air China option.

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Alitalia 777 looking pretty good in the new colours.

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And an Air Asia A320 touting the corporate tagline.

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Alright. That’s about enough of that for now. Let’s see what’s going on back in lounge-land.

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Oh, hey! That’s better!

There’s no agent at the desk when I enter, but one quickly appears and scans my boarding pass, letting me know the WiFi password and some details about the lounge before inviting me in.

In terms of natural light, this place is much better than the OZ lounge as it’s perched directly over the gates. So the windows are big, and the space is well lit. The decore is otherwise pretty much the usual SQ lounge, although lacking some of the new “suite” seats that are seen in other SQ outstations.

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The windows are big, and let in lots of light — but spotting is still a hit-or-miss affair in terms of visibility up here.

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Reading materials on offer, with the FIDS above it.

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Looking the other way down the lounge. The seating is all decently comfortable. There could be more plugs, though.

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The business area is simple, but functional.

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More reading materials.

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And an area of seating away from the windows and the “main hall” of the lounge.

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I’m the first person in here, and have the lounge to myself for about the first half-hour I’m here. Well, it’s me and an older Korean woman who is very slowly rolling out the buffet. Seriously… it took a long time to get some food on offer, and she looked at me quite perturbed every time I stopped by to see if there was anything available yet. What can I say… I was curious, and still a bit hungry.

Here’s the bar, which is a bit better-stocked than as OZ’s lounge.

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Some simple desserts on the carousel.

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An some savoury options, too.

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Getting into the hot options with some Korean beef porrdige.

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A pasta dish also on offer.

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Some more beef, and rice. There were a few people in the lounge at this point, so the eating hadn’t all been me. In fact none of it had at this point.

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Noodles, accouterments, and coffee.

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Beverages.

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A variety of just-add-water noodle dishes are above the buffet.

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On the island, some snacky options.



And some ready-to-mix bibimbap kits.

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The small buffet area in its entirety.

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Back at my seat with a few snacking options. Everything was okay — and the beef porridge was actually pretty good, although it could have used a little bit of heat.

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Followed up with dessert — the chocolatey cookie on the right was very good.

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And a cappuccino, of course.

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WiFi was reasonably good, and helped kill the time. With about 20 minutes before scheduled boarding, I decided to head downstairs and see who’s hanging out here now.

Oh look — it’s my ride down to Singapore this evening, getting decked out for the trip home.

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The gate area is open, and people are starting to file in for the flight.

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Meanwhile, a UA 744 is parked across the hall — soon, we won’t see these big birds anymore.

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Plus an AirAsia A330. I frankly didn’t know AirAsia operates widebodies.

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Speaking of endangered birds — a KLM 747. I think they’re the largest operator of the 744 left in the game, and even they plan to retire the Queen sooner than later.

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Jin air 737 in front, as a big blue bird taxis by behind.

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Back at my departure gate, it looks like catering is complete. That’s good, because it’s just about boarding time.

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And, in fact boarding is called pretty much on time. No mad rush for the gate at all. Although the agents do the same thing the AC agents at HKG do every time they see a mobile boarding pass. They immediately go and print me a boarding pass. Well, thanks for that. But really, what’s the point of the mobile boarding pass, then? (Other than letting me get into the lounges before the check-in desk is open.)

Flight: SQ609
From: Seoul Incheon (ICN)
To: Singapore Changi (SIN)
Date: 4/20/2016
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300
Registration: 9V-STR
Seat: 16A
ATD (STD): 16:10 (16:40)
ATA (STA): 21:59 (22:05)

I’m given the usual warm welcome on board, and gestured towards my seat in 16A, the last row in the J cabin on these SQ birds. They’re equipped with Singapore’s regional business class product, which at this point is far from revolutionary, but still quite good. I find the seats very comfortable as seats, and actually surprisingly good as beds given that they’re angle-flat.

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I’d chosen this seat well in advance as the only remaining window seat without anyone sitting on the aisle, and ExpertFlyer was still suggesting that would be the case, which would be a series bonus if it remains true. Singapore recently dumbed-down its site, making it impossible to choose a seat if you booked through any other channel than SQ direct. Fortunately, there’s still a workaround with the SQ mobile app. Other functionality, notsomuch. We’ll get to that later.

The seat is equipped with a light blanket and a pillow when I arrive.

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Legroom shot. Not bad at all, and in fact, it’s just fine even as a (kinda) flat bed.

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Seat controls are hidden under the armrest, including the curviest “call flight attendant” icons you’ll ever see. This is SQ after all.

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Decent IFE remote control is in side of the outside armrest.

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All your ports are in the inside front of the centre console.

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Just don’t look too closely into the abyss. Ewwwwwww. Okay, so I think there’s supposed to be a plastic cover here that’s not in place. But still, not great.

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IFE is decent enough in terms of size, and KrisWorld always has a lot of content. How much?

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A look out my window as boarding continues.

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IFE is activated on the ground, so I start to take a look-see at what’s on offer.

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Having scouted out the films, it’s time to see what’s on the menu.



Service begins with pre-departure beverages. Champagne, of course.

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And there’s the first of what are sure to be many hot towels.

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A look at the headphones provided by SQ. They’re pretty middle-of-the-road. If you’ve got you’re own, I’d probably use ‘em.

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Boarding is quick enough, and just a few minutes behind departure schedule, we push back. The seat next to me has remained unoccupied. So all is well.

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Passing our stablemate as we taxi.

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And a hometown bird.

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And we are outta here!

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Farewell, Incheon, with all your pretty multi-colour tails and baby blue birds.

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And farewell, Korea. I’ll miss you. But not your airport arrivals.

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It’s a lovely day above the clouds.

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As we reach cruising altitude, the “goodies” are handed out. No amenity kits on this kind of flight with SQ, but there are slippers, and an eyeshade, and now socks. That’s new to me. Also, the slippers are (very nice) flip-flop styles, as opposed to the “booties” they used to offer. I’m not sure how I feel about that. These are very nice for airline slippers, but the SQ booties have a special place in my heart.

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More champagne as my aperitif, and I choose “Amy” from the IFE — a documentary about the late Amy Winehouse. It’s very good, and makes an impact, even as someone who wasn’t exactly a huge fan.

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Quickly, the meal service begins. Would I like some satay? Oh yes. Yes I would. I’d like all the satay, actually.

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Outside, some lovely clouds, and a late-afternoon moon.

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The apetizer doesn’t really click with me. I’m not a big foie gras guy. (That doesn’t mean I don’t eat it. For purposes of this flight-report, you see. The things I won’t do for you people!)

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The bread basket visits, and of course, it’s time for some delicious SQ garlic bread. And a breadstick too.

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Checking in, we’re flying along the coast of Taiwan.

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For my main, I select the Korean herbal chicken. Remember earlier when I was passive-aggressively complaining about SQ dumbing down its Web site to prevent you selecting seats if you didn’t book your flight online? Yeah, well Book the Cook is also now inaccessible unless you book direct with SQ. I know because this flight was an Aeroplan booking, and no BTC was offered. Previously, I’ve always been able to BTC online on award bookings. And my next segment on this flight, booked with SQ directly, I was able to BTC. So thanks for that, Singapore.

Nevertheless, and desplite my complaints, the chicken is pretty good. Tender, juicy, and tasty. And I’m much more of a white meat person, so that’s fairly high praise from me.

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It’s accompanied by appropriate Korean side dishes, including a very nice kimchi.

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With the main done, it’s off to the lav. While it’s nothing super-special, the J washrooms on these regional planes are reasonably nicely appointed.

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Back at my seat, dinner service continues with a very nice cheese plate for dessert. And by this point, I’m pretty stuffed.

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But not too full for a little espresso, of course. I want to stay awake on this flight if at all possible, so I can sleep when I get into Singapore.

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With dinner done, SQ water bottles are distributed.

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The moving map in the seat next to me (oh, the wonders of having the seat next to you unoccupied!) suggests we’re making good progress along our way.

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Dinner service ends with one more oshibori.

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With that done, I put my seat into a relax position and put on another film. I continue the trend on talented female artists who died too soon with a documentary on Janis Joplin. It’s also very well done. At least what I see of it. Because, of course, I do doze off. Was there ever any doubt? Spoiler: I’m told things did not work out well for Ms. Joplin.

I wake up in time for service to continue as it ended — with an oshibori.

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Juice is offered, and I accept. This picture is about as fuzzy as I feel in the moment. But the flight attendant does kindly ask if I’d like anything else to eat. I’m actually still pretty stuffed, so I decline. So unlike me.

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Arrival forms are distributed.

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And, yep. Looks like we’re almost there.

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Soon enough, the lights of Singapore are below us. It looks like a beautiful night.

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Touchdown is almost right on time, and it’s not too long of a taxi on this particular evening.

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We settle in next to our big sibling.

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As usual, we get a friendly sendoff, and we’re released into the wilds of Changi, which is pretty busy despite the late hour.

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Customs and immigration, fortunately, is not so busy — and in just a few minutes, I’m welcomed into Singapore, and off to get a taxi into town for my brief stay here.

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We’ll pick things up with the next flight-report, where I begin the long journey home. With one of the most eagerly-anticipated flights of my flying experience thus far.

Thanks for reading!
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Verdict

Singapore Airlines

8.3/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew8.5
Entertainment8.5
meal/catering8.0

Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge

7.8/10
Comfort8.0
meal/catering7.5
Entertainment8.0
Services7.5

Seoul - ICN

8.9/10
Efficiency9.0
Access8.5
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.0

Singapore - SIN

9.4/10
Efficiency9.5
Access9.0
Services10.0
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

An enjoyable regional service -- in the Asian sense of the term -- with SQ. While I tend to not be highly impressed by angle-flat at this point, I always find these seats so comfortable and welcoming that I don't have a problem with them. Service was SQ standard excellent, and the IFE, as always, had lots of options. The meal was pretty good, although it's a bit frustrating that they've made it much harder to book the cook without calling in if you got your reservation through any channel other than SQ directly. Those changes to their Web site seem a rare customer-unfriendly misstep for one of the great customer-friendly airlines... especially since it's functionality that was previously offered, and has since been taken out.

All in all, a good experience, and one that sets me up nicely for what is to come. See you then!

Related

2 Comments

  • Comment 360928 by
    ph-bfs 2 Comments

    Very nice report! Gave me some insight on what to expect next year on the same route (going the opposite way however).

      0
  • Comment 363226 by
    socalnow 367 Comments

    Greetings HOMETOYYZ and thanks, as always, for sharing another fun and informative flight with your fans.

    “…and since it’s not easy (ie: it’s pretty much impossible) for a passenger to stay airside and return to the main terminal had they come out here too soon and discovered there was no lounge…”
    -Wow, that’s good to know. I wonder why this is so? You’d think that free movement between terminals would at the very least enhance shopping and dining numbers.

    “I don’t think my mom would approve of me sitting that close to the TV, though. It’ll wreck your eyes, don’t you know. And probably, somehow, give you worms.”
    -If I get worms traveling in Asia it’s going to be from something much tastier than TV, let me tell you.

    “The buffet is not overly impressive.”
    -I’m quite appalled by the lounge quality of both OZ and KE at ICN. In any class of service. Your critique is far more thoughtful and measured. The SQ lounge looks miles ahead of the OZ offering in either terminal.

    “Meanwhile, a UA 744 is parked across the hall — soon, we won’t see these big birds anymore.”
    -Sniff, sniff, it’s sad but true.

    “Plus an AirAsia A330. I frankly didn’t know AirAsia operates widebodies.”
    -Air Asia X, one of the many Air Asia brands/subsidiaries.

    “Back at my departure gate, it looks like catering is complete. That’s good, because it’s just about boarding time.”
    -Oh the excitement of an impending journey with Singapore Airlines. Nothing quite like it.

    “They’re equipped with Singapore’s regional business class product, which at this point is far from revolutionary, but still quite good.”
    -Well ahead of the OZ A330 I traveled on ICN-SIN.

    “Would I like some satay? Oh yes. Yes I would. I’d like all the satay, actually.”
    -That just sets the tone for a trip down to SIN. So simple yet rich in flavor. Love it.

    “I’m not a big foie gras guy.”
    -So your liver is of normal size. This is good.

    “I know because this flight was an Aeroplan booking…”
    -Getting an SQ premium cabin seat on a partner’s miles is no small feat so at least there’s that…

    “I’m actually still pretty stuffed, so I decline. So unlike me.”
    -What about your readers!?!? So selfish.

    “Service was SQ standard excellent…”
    -Isn’t that the truth. I think we evaluate them on a different scale than just about any other carrier, but they seem to live up to expectations.

    Thank you again for this SQ appetizer. I’m quite looking forward to the main course.

      0

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