Over the recent Vesak long weekend, I made a short 3-days getaway to Kota Kinabalu, with flights booked on SilkAir Business Class up, and return in Economy Class. This would also be my first experience flying the premium cabin of SQ's smaller sister's.
Checked in at Changi Terminal 2 early in the morning for the 0850am flight. Business Class queues were short but Economy queues were very long, evident of the many long weekenders travelling out. Interestingly, my boarding pass was printed on a SQ Business Class stock and not on a MI stock. Immigration was busy as well but with automated clearance, we were across in no time.
SilkAir Business Class passengers were invited to SQ's Silver Kris Lounges. This would also be my first ever entry into SQ's home lounge.
To the Silver Kris Lounge in Terminal 2 for a quick bite before the flight.
Into the Business Class section of the lounge.
Immediately proceeded to the dining area. The dining area is not very big. I can imagine it can get rather crowded on working days with the loads of business travellers. However for today, it was not too busy.
At this time of the morning, only breakfast selection is available. Having tried a bit of most of the items on offer, I would only find the fried carrot cake to be tasty. The rest of the dishes are pretty standard hawker fare or breakfast food and forgettable.
Impression of the SilverKris T2 Lounge: Pretty mediocre for a home-based lounge. Serves its basic functions but nothing more. Lounge toilets were also not too clean (for Changi's standards). Maybe after experiencing TK's awesome lounge in IST, SQ's SilverKris Lounge seemed a bit of a let-down (in fact it felt like KLIA's Plaza Premium Lounge, albeit bigger and less crowded). There are definitely many more better home-carrier lounges out there. Not a Business Class lounge that I feel is in the must-visit category.
30 May 2015 SilkAir MI 392 Singapore (SIN) - Kota Kinabalu (BKI) A320 9V-SLF Business Class
Left the lounge and proceeded to the departure gate at F34. We were one of the last passengers to board at 15min prior to departure.
SilkAir's oldest A320 aircraft will be operating this flight to Kota Kinabalu.
Boarding the aircraft.
Welcomed at the door and directed to my seat at 3F. As expected, SilkAir's Business Class is just fitted with the basic arm-chair style recliner. Nothing fanciful but perfectly comfortable on a short-haul flight. For short-hauls, I personally felt that MI's armchair recliner seats more comfortable than SQ's angled-flat Regional Business Class seats. On each seat was already place a blanket and pillow. Business and Economy Classes ended up totally full this morning! (Photo of seat taken during the flight)
42 pitch is sufficient for this short flight.
Pillow and manual seat controls. Seat positions are mechanically-operated.
At the gate.
A senior stewardess and a stewardess were serving in Business Class today. Immediately after we were seated, the crew came and offered newspapers and a selection of magazines. Magazine selection is definitely much less than what SQ offers (think SQ economy selection). Hot towels and a range of welcome drinks of juices or water were offered as well. I had an apple juice. All this while, the MI crew addressed us by our names, just as what SQ crew would do. Service wise, MI crew definitely is up to and maybe even above SQ standards.
While still at the gate, a crew member came around and took our orders for the inflight meal.
On MI, no personal menus were given. Instead, the crew member will hand out a menu card in a leather folder for us to make our choices. Two choices of mains available for breakfast.
Very soon, doors were closed and safety video was played. A new safety video with the new crew uniform was shown. Flight time was estimated to be 2hrs.
Starting our taxi.
Spotted a Air New Zealand B772 rolling down the runway!
Short taxi to Rwy20C and we were soon next in line for departure,
Takeoff from Rwy20C, bound for Kota Kinabalu.
Climbing to our cruising altitude.
After seatbelt signs were switched off, I visited the lavatory. A single lavatory for us 12 Business Class passengers at the front. Amenities in the lavatory are very basic, just a SilkAir branded moisturizer (I believe is the same as the ones provided in SQ Economy lavatories), soap and Business Class tissues etc. Nowhere near SQ Business Class amenities, nor even SQ Economy Class standards…
Shortly after returning to my seat, breakfast was served. Linen was laid on the tray table by the crew and our meal trays were delivered. I chose the Bee Hoon Goreng option, which came with cut fruits, freshly squeezed orange juice, water and a tea.
Fruits were sweet.
The main course looked better than it tasted. The bee hoon was rather spicy and with mushy texture, but the otah and fried chicken accompaniments were not bad.
A selection of breakfast rolls were also offered. I chose a croissant and a green bean bun.
The other main option was just the standard airplane omelette fare. It tasted rather plain and definitely not as nice as the one I had on MH Economy just a month back.
Even though the meal was nothing memorable, the service by the crew was attentive and nothing short of excellent! I observed that a couple of pax denied the breakfast and the crew proactively offered some chips and pretzels to accompany their drinks instead. They also checked repeatedly if we require any top up of drinks and never let our drink glasses go empty. MI crew definitely deserves the same service excellence recognition as their SQ peers.
After meal trays were collected, I requested for a cup of green tea, which was delivered promptly.
This aircraft was not fitted with SilkAir's wireless IFE system (believe this aircraft might be retired soon). Silent shows were also not shown on the drop-down screens. Hence the only entertainment was to see the world go by.
Views of the Business Class seat.
Meal trays were still being cleared in Economy.
Soon, we started our descend.
Video of descend.
Landing on Rwy02, slightly ahead of schedule.
Video of the landing into Kota Kinabalu.
Taxied pass MASwings ATR72s.
And docked at Terminal 1, beside a MH B738 bound for HKG.
Last look at my messy but comfortable seat during disembarkation. Curtains between J and Y were closed to allow Business Class passengers priority disembarkation.
Immigration was swift as there were no other international arrivals during this time plus we were one of the first to disembark. There was a bit of wait for bags though as even though my bag was priority-tagged, apparently many other Economy bags were also priority-tagged (guess PPS passengers?), resulting in some wait for bags even though travelling in the front cabin.
Kota Kinabalu city is a 15min taxi ride away from the airport. Stayed at the newly opened Hotel Grandis, which is attached to the Suria Sabah Mall. Was given a huge room with sea-view towards Gaya Island.
Hotel also has a roof-top pool.
Main purpose of the short visit is the local food in Kota Kinabalu! KK is often overlooked as a culinary destination in the region. Some of the food I had.
Foamy Teh Madras
Sliced pork noodles.
Another version of pork and wanton noodles with sausages.
One of the many bak-kut-teh stalls along Gaya Street area.
Simple but tasty kaya with butter bread.
A very popular eatery, with the most famous dish being oyster-sauce chicken wings. Really tasty dishes offered and value-for-money.
And what is Kota Kinabalu without seafood!
How about some after-dinner fruits? Tried the Sabah durian.
Singapore Airlines Silverkris Lounge - Business
Singapore - SIN
Kota Kinabalu - BKI
Overall , the SilkAir Business Class experience has been great, mainly contributed by the excellent service by the crew members serving on this flight. Seats are comfortable enough for short-haul flights but amenities and catering offered do lacked when compared to parent SQ. Hence, I could understand why some passengers felt short-changed if scheduled to fly on SilkAir on SQ/MI joint-operated destinations (some regional and India destinations) while paying the same fares as SQ. This is unlike Cathay/Dragonair where both carriers offers almost similar meals, seats and amenities to minimise the difference between the 2 carriers' operations. But truthfully, SilkAir is a perfectly acceptable choice to fly on short-haul flights.
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