Welcome to the sequel to my recent Hong Kong trip.
17/12/2016 SIN-HKG - SQ860 in J link 20/12/2016 HKG-SIN - SQ865 in J HERE
Apologies for the delay in reporting as I was bogged down by work left behind by colleagues on leave for the festive season. Here goes…..
After a few days of touring and eating in Hong Kong and Macau, its time to head home. Not before more eating that is….. Lets start at the Airport Express train that takes me from central Hong Kong to the airport a few islands away in just under half an hour, something I reckon Singapore should consider building.
HKG's departure area is a vast area with an open design allowing a view of the entire terminal at the entrance. Quite impressive.
I arrived for check-in at 1.30 pm for a 6.50 pm flight. With SQ operating flights between SIN and HKG all day long, there is no need for me to wait for the check-in counters to open. With no other passenger in sight, I got my boarding pass in less than 5 minutes.
I was travelling with a friend who has no idea what FR is all about. He doesn't travel very often and does not even know the existence of pay to use lounges, talk about ignorance. Anyway with 2 more access for my priority pass left for the year, I decided to show him the whats the fuss all about. Towards the Plaza Premium Lounge we go. Located near gates 40-80, it is quite a walk from immigrations to get to. Around 10-15 minutes I reckon. There was a small crowd queuing to enter the lounge, all held up by a gentlemen refusing to accept being denied entry to the lounge. It was a good 10 minutes later before the staff hauled him aside and processed the others, not a good first impression. (Pictures of the entrance was taken upon leaving the lounge hence sans the crowd)
Though crowded, we managed to get a seat for 2. Beverage selections were average at best, even the pay-to-use lounges in SIN trumps this. With only canned drinks and 2 pitchers of juices, no wine or other liquour is to be found anywhere in this lounge. Food selection however was rather decent, with 3 made to order stalls serving croque monsieur, fish ball noodles and made to order salads. Hot food was also sufficient with 6 dishes ranging from noodles and rice, some dim sum, a roasted chicken and a potato gratin. Simple cookies and cakes which looked like they came off a supermarket shelf made up the rest of the food items. Decent, but not worth another visit unless you are desperate for food.
The views from this lounge however, was another story.
After sending my friend off on a different flight back to SIN, I went in search of the remaining *A lounges, determined to try all. Did I ? Well read on to find out. Signs pointing to my other options around the gate 40-80 area.
A quick walk across the hallway and I am at my second stop.
I thought there were out for renovations to turn it into a Polaris Lounge, I was surprised that they were in business. Or perhaps this is already the Polaris one, I am not sure. Regardless, this lounge had the best decor with the most tasteful finishing of the few *A lounges I visited in HKG. The chairs were really comfy and never was there a crowd.
After reading the many report from our fellow reporters from North America, I am pleased to report that this is no stateside United Club. Wines and Spirits abundant, and the hot food options were good too.
My selection. With two more stops to go, I decided not to go all out.
A visit to the restroom, even the products used were same as those onboard.
Next stop, you guessed it. Thai airways lounge. Contrary to the United Club, the Royal Orchid Lounge's decor was by far the worst of the few I visited in HKG. I do agree with some of other reporter's findings that the seats are a mismatch to the surroundings and the ambiance is really cold and uninviting.
The food situation however was better. After a few days of endless HK food, its refreshing to get some Thai flavours. Tastes were pretty good too.
Beverage selection was average at best.
My score, pork in a lettuce wrap, thai fish cakes, vermicelli salad and Thai fried chicken in screwpine leaves Not forgetting the Thai Coconut Ice Cream.
I left the lounge right after my quick bite, with the sun setting, I had a make a move before I miss my opportunity to get more plane shots. Next up, SQ SilverKris Lounge, which is quite a walk back to gates 1-39. Decent views en-route back. A montage of long hauls prepping for their trip home flanked by locals (CX and KA).
As I was passing through the long hallway to the SKL, I spotted this beauty. Turns out it was my ride home.
Hidden within the maze of duty free shops, I arrived at my last stop in HKG.
The crowd situation here was bordering insane. Imagine a food court where you had to wait for someone to give up their seats before you could take one, awkwardly standing beside them while you wait. Lounge attendents had to wave away passengers from other *A carriers and *A gold members to ensure that SQ J passengers had sufficient seats. The lounge has no windows and of course views whatsoever. It is just a long hall filled with tables and seats. If not for the better furniture and decor, it would have been worse than the Royal Orchid Lounge.
I quickly approached the attendants to see if I could score a shower slot, turns out no one was using the bathroom despite only having one in the lounge. A staff hands you all the necessities and off you go.
My favourite bit of this lounge is the bar. Perhaps the reason why other *A passengers flock to this lounge. Look at that offering, beat that.
Hot and cold food situation here was also better than the other *A lounge, a hallmark of SQ Lounges I guess.
I reminded myself that a feast was waiting for me onboard, hence the restraint selection. A glass of Moet to accompany it all.
Announcement for commencement of boarding was made while I was going through my ice cream. I finished that and headed over to the gate. A view of the FIDS on the way there.
I handed the gate staff my boarding pass and proceeded straight down the gate. No congestion as usual for J class.
Flight Details Aircraft: 9V-SNB Type: Boeing 777-300ER Age: 1.3 years first flight 22 Sep 2015 Operating Code: SQ 865 Scheduled Departure: 1850 Actual Departure: 1855 Flight Time: 3 Hours 15minutes Seat: 14A
I was lucky enough to score the new business class seat for this flight. In fact I was lucky to be even on this flight as my initial reservation was on the later SQ871 which is operated by the regional configured (2-2-2) J class seat on a 772. I made the swapped 3 days before the flight when SQ opened it for redemption after listing it as not available for the longest period of time. Again the FAs ushered every J passenger individually to their seat, greeted everyone by name and offered PDBs (which I forgotten to take a picture of, not that you would need one for the Charles). SQ is being SQ.
Compared to the older seat on my flight to HK link , this seat has reduced pitch and width, however the materials do feel plusher and the foot well even wider than previously, and the width had only fallen from 30" to 28", it is not significant enough to be a comfort issue. I also really like the improved handset with touchscreen allowing the flight information to be displayed while you are watching a movie on the main screen. Resolution of the screen was also a significant improvement from old, as were the improvement of the new head phones over the old ones.
On the dot at 18:50 we buttoned up and waited a good fives minutes before push back started to allow for a neighbour to pass. We made a long taxi across towards runway 25R for takeoff. What i meant by long isn't the distance, but rather the queue for take off. It was an hour before we were air borne with 17 planes ahead of us. The captain came on the PA and suggested passengers seated on the left of the aircraft count and identify the airlines that were our obstacle.
Lights were dimmed and the mood lighting put on for takeoff. I really like the subtle lights reflecting off the side of the seats, really classy touch in my opinion. Never have I seen seats like this in other J reports on FR.
Perhaps now is a good time to peruse the menu while we await takeoff. In light of recent FR comparisons of how decent other airline's drinks and food menu is in J, I challenge one to beat this for a regional flight.
Enough of looking at words from a menu, lets roll. Sorry bout the blur take off pictures, the thrust of those GE90-115 got the better of me.
Right after take-off, we were offered an oshibori and the post departure drink (order collected before departure) handed individually to each passenger along with a bag of packaged nuts. The only downside of the entire service in my opinion, the nuts, which does not come in a ramekin and heated. Quintessential Singapore Sling for me.
Right after that, linens were laid and the tray containing the appetizer was brought out from the trolley. A white to go with it for me. Some oriental garlic pork dish, a little salty but a nice change from the usual smoked salmon.
Bread selection to go with it as well.
For my entree, the lamb loin with a glass of red recommended by the FA. Amazingly tender, absolutely delicious. I would not mind paying for this dish. Drooling looking at it aren't you guys.
Dessert left me in two minds, both as good. The FA said to me, Mr JW19, if I were you I would go for both. Both it is. What nonsense that other airline puts up for, you could only have cheese or one of the dessert selection. SQ is having none of it despite having a 90% filled J class. Call that attention to detail if you would.
As if that wasn't enough, cheese plates were offered as well. I will call my wife to hide the weighing scale once I land.
Enough food at that point, I needed a digestif, Asian style. Pu-erh tea is the best and so that was proposed by the FA and accepted.
An hour left at that point and I made up the bed and knocked out for the remainder of the flight. I awaken to the start of descent and a direct path for landing brought us into runway 20R and the end of another amazing flight with SQ.
Now, I was saying about the benefits of a security at gate and a common departure and arrival terminal in my previous posting, it seems fellow reporter Eric V P beat me in revealing its benefits. That is you could still visit the lounge on arrival, since departure and arrivals are not separated. A quick visit to the SKL before I left for the immigration to use the restrooms.
I would like to share a bit of the food scene in Hong Kong and more of Macau since I dont see it posted very often on FR. Inspired by fellow reporter, TerryYong.
First dim sum joint to attain one michelin star, Tim Ho Wan in Shum Shui Po, HK.
Mui Kee Congee for the smooth HK style rice porridge at Fa Yuen Market, Mongkok, HK.
Kai Kai Dessert, Mongkok, HK.
and of Course the beautiful city view of HK at sunset.
Next Up, Macau, a former Portuguese enclave. Even the road names here are still in Portuguese. Gambling scene is big here with the who's who of the Casino industry present. It looks like a modern version of the strip in Vegas, with Mr Sheldon Adelson holding most stakes.
Potuguese food abundant in Macau
Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge
Hong Kong - HKG
Singapore - SIN
Another excellent flight with Singapore Airlines. Lounge yet again needs improvement. The improvement on the seat is quite obvious over the old ones and would definitely be more apparent with a longer haul flight. A 1-2-1 full aisle access seat is a must for a long haul in my opinion, and SQ has yet again delivered a bench mark. Catering on this flight beats that of the incoming and the crew maintaining the same composure. SQ has gone a long way to build the reputation they are renown for today and it shows in the polished service offered. I hope they can maintain this for generations to come and continue to be a great way to fly in the sky.
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