Welcome aboard for a series of flight reports around the Asia Pacific.This series will contain reports on 6 segments and cover 3 airlines. So, to borrow a phrase from many pilots, sit black, relax and enjoy the reports.
The routing and procurement method were as follows:
American Airlines LAX-ORD A321 First (Cash - No Report) American Airlines ORD-DTW CR7 First (Cash - No Report) Delta Air Lines DTW-NRT 747-400 Business (NRSA - Here) Delta Air Lines NRT-PVG 767-300ER Business (NRSA - Here) Singapore Airlines PVG-SIN 777-300ER First (Krisflyer - This Report) ***Bonus Singapore food section at the end*** Singapore Airlines SIN-HKG 777-300ER First (Krisflyer - Coming Soon) Asiana Airlines HKG-ICN 777-200ER Business (Cash - Coming Soon) Singapore Airlines ICN-LAX 777-300ER First (Krisflyer - Coming Soon)
The immigration queue on arrival in T1 was massive. When changing terminals I am not aware of any alternative to this step. It went fast due to some drama in the line. Two Japanese men, from the flight that I just deplaned, had a disagreement in the line. Apparently the wife of one of the men had used the toilet on arrival and joined her husband in line. The Other man saw this as cutting the line and was livid. So, as the line snaked about I would pass them and hear them shouting at each other, wives mortified by their behavior. Well, there was an American chap both in front of me and one behind. We began talking and thought it would be helpful to all if we asked one of the couples to come in line in front of us to put some space between the dispute. We ushered on of the couples in front of us, the ones that seemed to be on the receiving end of the shouting. This didn't go well. The guy we bumped up decided to taunt the other gentleman by laughing at him and making faces! (This had to be an alcohol fueled dispute). The original complainant decided to get the authorities involved. A border agent came and demanded that the couple we let cut go to the back of the line. The language barriers here were pretty pronounced but it appeared we were all being implicated in the scheme. Then, out of nowhere, the slight, young, 20-something, American behind me in line broke out with perfect Mandarin and explained the entire scenario to the now two border agents responding to the disturbance. Whatever he said satisfied the agents and we proceeded in line without further incident. I'm always very impressed by those who have the discipline to learn another language but even more so with the tonal and seemingly complicated Chinese dialects.
After immigration the rest of the transit was rather boring in comparison. I went to the departure level to board a bus to T2 (I now know I could have walked). I located the SQ check in stations and with a brief wait was sent on my way to…the immigration line again…
The SQ "Girl" marks the way.
These two were apparently not in the right place as they were directed elsewhere.
Let's run a vacuum on this…
After the insult of the soiled red carpet at check in I was prepared for the same in the form of the Air China "First Class" lounge. After all I have spent many an hour in the PEK Air China "First Class" lounge and it's a very poor example of a lounge. And PEK is their main hub. Turns out I could not have been more wrong and the lounge was fantastic.
Hmm, the entrance is rather presentable. F to the left and J to the right.
Am I in the right place?
I found a comfortable seat and was approached by a staff member with a….menu? Offered a beverage? Just for giggles I responded, "champagne please." A glass of Moet was quickly furnished.
The young girl doing the serving was very well intentioned but not very experienced. Also, I am unable to communicate in the native language so that puts us at a disadvantage. I decided to move into the dinning room and order a couple of items for the experience.
The stirred noodle with scallion oil.
The steamed dumplings.
They were both delivered promptly and were of acceptable quality.
There were also hot an cold items on the buffet.
The first hour in the lounge I was virtually the only patron. An older gentleman departed shortly after my arrival (I have that effect on people) and then only me until a family of 4 turned up. The serivce after the initial interaction was non-existent but I would find teh girl sitting behind the bar and she would fill the fizz upon request.
I noticed showers and nap rooms. A shower sounded nice and also a peek at the nap rooms. I was directed to the front desk to surrender my boarding pass and was given a key for the nap room. The showers were accessible self serve. Both were quite impressive.
Showers, restrooms, and nap rooms were off the same corridor.
Spacious nap room.
Two "media" rooms with comfortable seating were also available.
Wanting to walk about the J lounge and the terminal I left well before boarding time. I tried to find the sweet girl providing the service to thank her but she had vanished. I spotted this sign on the way out. I covered the J lounge in another recent report so I won't go over it here. It is also a rather impressive space. Of course everything is based upon expectations…
The terminal is not very busy at this hour, moments from the New Year (western, Gregorian calendar that is). Likewise the gate was very calm when I arrived.
It's a good walk to the aircraft, down an escilator, across a seating area and then a longish jet bridge. I was greeted by name at the door by a steward and welcomed on board. He led me to my seat not looking at my boarding pass. Always the smooth operators, the SQ crews. It turns out that his powers of deduction didn't require any heightened super natural powers as I was the only guest traveling in F tonight. Oh my, I'm sure I am prepared to be the center of attention but I'll give it a go… ;) ;)
The cabin on this 777-300ER had not been refitted with the new seat, or in some cases, shrunk to 4 seats. Being December 31st the "winter" decorations are still in place. Sure the new finishes are more aesthetically pleasing but the framework and personal space is the same. Space would not be an issue with all 8 seat s to myself. I decided to dine in 2F, store my roll aboard in 1F and Sleep in 2D. :)
A ravishing (I know, they all are) kabaya clad "leading stewardess" introduced herself as well. She asked if I could be tempted by some champagne to ring in the new year with the offer of Dom or Krug. Yes, please.
The in flight supervisor, a steward in this case, paid a visit and was very friendly. He posed me and the other flight attendant for pictures and was a fun presence.
Of course the barrage of amenities ensued.
I donned my jammies, enjoyed a couple of glasses of the fizz and it was time for the off.
I notice a steady parade of stunning kabayas passing by, stewards too, and then from the forward L1 entrance area I hear a 10, 9, 8, 7, etc. And then the whole crew exclaims happy new year! It's nice to know I'm traveling with a fun loving bunch. Many smile and say happy new year as they pass back by to return to their positions for departure. and depart we do.
It's a brief taxi and powerful climb, free of any Chinese ATC shenanigans.
Mood lights for the early morning departure. The journey will be completed under darkness.
Now, a reasonable person would sleep at this point. I am not that person. I will taste the food and savor the wine and spectacular service for as long as I am able.
A "supper" menu is presented. I guess I didn't BTC, or it wasn't an option, I don't remember.
Fancy bound menu, no less.
Definitely Supper and not super.
Champagne and Whites.
Red and Port. I failed to get the drinks pages. That I remembered to do any is a small victory.
I am quite parched from that take off roll. It takes a lot of energy to lift this giant machine into the air.
The table is perfectly set.
Oh the garlic bread.
The antipasto is fine. Generous portion of the duck. I am just in sample mode so a taste of each is sufficient.
The Chinese style soup is very nice.
The service is, of course, spectacular. Each dish is presented by name and requests for feedback on each dish upon clearing the plate. I stay with the Krug initially and my glass is frequently topped up.
For the main I request the beef. I'm not sure why. I think because I wanted to drink some red wine. Anyhow, it's lovely to look at but nothing memorable.
Fruit is offered but sadly no cheese. The fruit is offered from a large tray and is…whole…
Some of the Glenmorangie Signet as a night cap. It is thoughtfully served with more nuts.
Oh now, slow the plane down, this is going by too fast.
An offer to make a bed in the adjacent seat is accepted. And I was literally tucked into bed. She lifted the covers and placed them over me. Unbelievable level of care.
I get a solid 3 hour nap and am allowed to sleep until we are very close to the destination. I am offered a beverage as I return to my seat and request some water with ice.
I hold back the tears as I bid adieu to these lovely and caring folks who pampered me down to Singapore.
The voyage through immigration is without wait and I'm in a cab to the Katong area.
I arrive at the Holiday Inn Express Katong (10,000 IHG points a night!) and I expect to just leave my bags and find somewhere to go but no, I was given a room at 6am. Very good service. I nap hard for several hours and then hit the streets for some fantastic flavors. Pelase continue to scroll if you have an interest in the culinary delights of Singapore.
Katong Laksa virtually int he lobby of the hotel.
Katong district just outside the hotel.
I made the trek out to the Bukit Timah area for some Assam laksa.
Stopped at Newton for some black pepper crab. First time for me, much preferred to the chili crab.
A walk along the East Cost Park led to the East coast Food Village for some satay and roast chicken wings.
The next morning, up rater early, I had a fantastic long walk to Chinatown, Ann Siang Hill Park, and surrounding neighborhoods. I found my way, intentionally, to Amoy Street Food Center for Bak Chor Mee.
Finally a walk around the CBD is a must for me. I usually prefer night time but didn't make it last night.
Perhaps my favorite food city. So many exotic flavors and all so affordable and accessible. Thanks for coming along and see you next time.
Air China First Class Lounge No. 71
Shanghai - PVG
Singapore - SIN
The Ground Service: There isn't much of it. I got a double dose of Chinese immigration queues.
The Lounge: Waaaaay above expectation. An impressive set of amenities and made to order food. The lack of people made me hesitant to take anything from the buffet. The turnover of food items has to be non-existent.
The Cabin: 8 F eats to ones self is ultimately very comfortable. I can appreciate why they have refurbished this product as it does appear a bit dated. But still.
The Crew: Name your superlative and it likely applies. Just genuinely lovely people who appear to enjoy what they do. It's hard to describe the emotion but it's like they are proud tohave this magnificent bounty and all they want to do is share it with you.
The Food and Beverage: The food wasn't that interesting and I wasn't even hungry. That said it was all beautifully presented and good representations of the dishes, such as they are.
Overall: A really fun way to ring in the new year. SQ is batting 100% in my experiences. I'm not sure how they do that.
Thank you for reading and please join me for the next installment.
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