Since 1997, my parents and I have taken a family trip abroad, mainly to the Philippines, but have expanded it to other international destinations such as Italy, the UK, France, and most recently Belgium.
In 2013, we visited relatives in the Philippines, and for 2014 my parents wanted to visit some place different. Initially we wanted to visit Argentina, but at the last minutes, we needed to change our minds. They had yet to add South America to their list of visited countries, and I guess will need to wait just a bit longer so they can visit Brazil, especially after Rio hosts the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
When I had started to plan for this trip, they required an itinerary that would allow them to requalify for *G. I had kept them informed about the devaluation of UA’s MileagePlus program and the new requirement requiring them to spend 5000USD along with flying 50000miles to minimally earn Gold Elite status. Yet, other programs offered a better perspective to earning. The main draws to qualifying for *G include the ability to use airline lounge facilities and at least one free bag. The ability to board early does become a nice perk as well as using the priority check-in lines and security lines, where available. We lucked out and signed up for A3's Miles+Bonus program just in time before they increased the requirements to obtain M+B gold.
So now we focused on trying to meet the 19000mi requirement (signing up for M+B gives you 1000mi that can be used as status miles). As usual, we wanted to not consider UA as much as possible. The only exception was taking a UA flight to LAX or SFO to connect onto NZ to head to AKL. Yet when looking at the dates, I could not find any seats to put us close together, including trying the Skycouch. I also looked into Premium Economy but for the price and mileage earning potential, it did not seem like a good value.
As a quality carrier, SQ has some great deals to Asia from IAH, even though they have one of the longest routings currently served. The DME stop also makes it an interesting flight. Overall, it's just their crew, male or female no matter what color of their kebaya or tie, they really bring back the joy of flight.
In March 2008, SQ gets ready to unveil its brand new award-winning J seat featured on its 77W and A380 while promoting on it’s newest route, IAH-DME-SIN.
While looking at SQ, they had a good deal on the way to AKL, but a rather expensive return. I quickly considered looking at flying to MEL and then purchasing a MEL-AKL roundtrip on NZ to keep it within *A. It prices out the same as the regular LAX-AKL flight in PE. The flight to MEL prices higher than the return from MEL. Then I tried to piece the itinerary together using the portion going to AKL and returning from MEL. That dropped the price down 1500USD and then we found the perfect one way flight between AKL and MEL in Premium Economy in the 772. Total cost was just shy of 1800USD for all flights at full mileage earning potential.
I had looked forward to all the new trip adventures I would have in 2014. At the time of booking, I had just confirmed my trip to IST and VIE, and now I could add AKL and MEL on that list of first time destinations with IST. Now I just let time go by and August on the horizon.
When I landed from my IAD-IAH flight, I went from being sad that one amazing adventure had ended to being excited another would be starting in about 2weeks and on one of my favorite carriers.
In the lead up to checking in for the flight, you could change your seats anytime on the SQ website. I wanted my parents to have a set of 3 seats for themselves while I had an aisle seat behind them in the center section of the plane. Upon booking there were certain sections open to choose from and got a seat as close to the front as possible. I would periodically check the seat map to get an idea of how full the flight would be and if by chance any seats opened up. I would later learn that SQ has horrible ways of blocking seats and that the seat map is no where close to real-time. By the time the trip approached, it looked like a very full flight. I started having a bit of mixed emotions taking this flight. The first and only other time we did IAH-DME-SIN and the return, the Y cabin had 100% capacity. While I had amazing service on that flight, I remember my ass feeling numb after a couple of days after the flights. Today with a proposed full cabin, the flight seems to do well and could stay at IAH much longer.
Parents and I settled in 35ABC for now.
A nice feature that SQ does is the ability to start checking in for a flight online at the 48hr mark. Thus on 22Aug14, I checked in for our flight all the way to AKL. When I went to check for any open seats, I was surprised that pretty much the entire Y cabin had plenty of open seating though some of the ones I wanted at the front of the cabin showed occupied. I later read on flyertalk.com that between 4days and 48hrs before the flight, SQ starts to unblock sections of seats. It definitely looked like the flight all the way to SIN would be nice an open.
SQ Welcome screen on their iPhone app.
I chose 37D and hope 37EF remain close. However, 33DEF appears booked.
Using my parents booking code, 33DF have been blocked for them. However, first they did not appear open when I reserved my seat. Second, 35ABC still appear blocked when I changed everyone’s seats. Rather confusing.
When one is accustomed to CO’s and now UA’s app and website, it is hard to get accustomed to other airline websites because they prolong the process than it needs to be. Also CO’s and now UA’s app and websites keep all information up-to-date; now, if SQ could adapt some of that on their website and app. After I had finished checking in, they only sent an email with the pdf file for our flight to AKL. Apparently, IAH-DME-SIN as well as all flights from the US do not allow for home-printed boarding passes. The only reason I could come up with is because they are not nonstop flights to/from SIN and sometimes those immediate stops might require ripping apart the boarding pass for accounting purposes. On a side-note, I miss the magnetic strip boarding passes and inserting the boarding pass and picking up the stub like I was about to go through a subway ticket machine. But these days, I do like the self-boarding gates at popular at a FRA, MUC, ZRH, and VIE to name a few. Maybe the test of self-boarding that has restarted again at IAH would be expanded throughout the UA system.
Fast forward 44hrs later, we have a family friend take us to the airport so that we arrive there right when the check-in counters first open. Like most foreign carriers at IAH, except for AC, we get dropped off at Terminal D. I like to get to the airport as early as possible and it proved crucial. Also to note, each of us had our own reservation number. We wheel all our luggage inside and make our way to the SQ counters. Surprisingly, upon entering the queue, an agent weighs any carryon bags to meet the 7lb requirement. I know back in Asia, many carriers do this, but was a bit surprised they wanted to enforce that today. Also the last time I flew them, I do not remember them weighing carryon bags, but we also had the privilege to use the J counters because of *G status at the time. This time we would be trying to earn our status! With a bit of rearranging and not able to quite enjoy the Turkish Delights I bought from Istanbul, they had me tie this red ribbon to ensure it was approved inside the cabin. We follow the tensile barrier maze to the front of the Y line and my parents get called up by one agent and then I get called by the neighboring agent. I did watch the lady next to me take a selfie with her and the check-in agent as she was probably headed home to TPE.
If you read some of my previous reports, I visited IST on a one-way ticket and then got the wonderful SSSS when I checked in for my VIE-IAD flight. When checking in, the young agent wearing a SQ batik tie could not fully check me in because I had the wonderful SSSS pop up again on my boarding pass. Now to me it meant nothing because it would require extra security with nothing to hide. However my dad was pissed, to put it mildly. I told him not to worry and it's not the first not the last. Maybe I should apply for Global Entry so I could see if a redress number may stop that. Who knows. I had to be referred to an official SQ agent/supervisor who tried to tap away and get it corrected. I do not know if the problem prevented me to getting checked all the way through to AKL and if my wonderful home country thinks I'm a spy or a radical; hardly! I'm a traveling chef and nothing is going to stop me from seeing the world!
Finally after a 30min ordeal of trying to get them to override my check in, I hear the machine spit out two boarding passes along with the baggage tag for my one check-in. I watched them place all of our bags on the conveyor belt to get scanned and then placed in an appropriate cargo bin. SQ counters are located in the section that used to be the exit when Terminal D used to handle international arrivals before the impressive IAB/Terminal E. The retro check-in counters at D can not handle all the flights, especially during peak time; thus, they utilized the old space so EK, LH, QR, and SQ can have more counters especially now that LH and EK bring the A380 to IAH.
EK slowly setting up to check-in passengers while passengers check in for LH's flight to FRA on the A380.
Back in the day when IAH handled only a handful of international flights at Terminal D, security was quick and short before ascending one of the three escalators to departure level. Now with the increase in international flight by international carriers as well as the equipment needed for security, they expanded the area for waiting but kept the same number of scanners in use, three.
When I presented my documents to the first screening, I told him it would be my lucky day as I got the wonderful SSSS. He could sense that this process was not new to me and he jokingly sounded like I would be the next contestant on The Price is Right. He told me to go ahead and go through but keep my passport and boarding pass in hand and let them know I need extra security. Yet the SQ supervisor sorta made it obvious of the SSSS by placing an addition bright green SSSS stamp on my boarding pass. To refrain from being vulgar/erotic, I will say the agent who did the extra screening and patting was HOT and wish I could have gotten the agent's number!
After 10min with my ex-husband, I was starving and really had one thing on my mind … Whataburger! Yes it's a Texas thing, and they're always tasty and satisfying! However, you have to head over to Terminal B. Wish they would add one in E! To go from D that B, hop onto the TerminaLink, the overhead train that links all the terminals within the secure zone. While taking it, you get to do some nice planespotting as D gets into its peak time of international arrivals and departures.
Older photo from the escalators going to departure level of the older check-in desks at Terminal D, mainly used today by AF, AM, AV, BA, CA, KL, TK, and I think 4O (Interjet) and VB (VivaAerobus).
KL 74E on its way back to AMS while AV and AF await to return to SAL and CDG, respectively.
KL continues to taxi while passing by SQ.
We get to B and enter the older area known as B-South; Whataburger is located in B-North, the rather new section home to UAX with its modern boarding piers rather than old Banjos. However, we did not make it there. Instead we notice Terminal B has a Salt Lick BBQ eatery next to Shipley's donuts. Shipley's is a local Houston donut shop, while Salt Lick is a popular BBQ restaurant out in Driftwood, TX, outside of Austin. Actually AUS also has a Salt Lick eatery at the airport and it's also good for airport food. While I still wanted Whataburger, I figured I could easily go to the one near my house when I got back from my trip. I would have to plan to go to Salt Lick like I would plan for any long trip.
It looks delicious!
Let me just say we were severely disappointed with the food. I love the sauces at Salt Lick, but I do not know who doctored up this sauce because it was too salty and bitter that I could not enjoy a single bite. It was rare that I had to complain. The server apologized for the bad sauce as well as the sweet tea that was mistakenly placed in the unsweetened dispenser. I had him refund my meal while my parents just picked at theirs. Rather than enjoy the sweet taste from a Shipley's glazed donut, I had to get that sweet tea taste out of my mouth; I wouldn't be surprised if someone did go into diabetic shock from how sweet it was.
After spending some time in B, we headed back to D and wait at the gate. But first, my mom wanted to look for something at the Brookstone store in Terminal E while I headed to the Jamba Juice to get something fruity to block that taste of a disappointing lunch. After getting my mango fix, we head over to D2, our departure gate. While taking TerminaLink back, I noticed 9V-SWP taking us all the way to SIN. I took this same the very first time stepping onto a SQ plane, with that new plane feel. Would I have that same reaction this time?
Departure FIDS for Terminal D
Our plane today parked at D2 while CA arrives from PEK with passengers deplaneing at D4. It will be pushed back and allowed to wait till later in the evening to prepare its flight back.
Terminal D is rather interesting. It was built to be modern for its time. Back then AF, AM, BC/BA, KL, and LH were the primary foreign tenants of D with the occasional CO flight. Now, from 14:00-18:00 you can watch fill up with various airline liveries from various corners of the world with a few more airlines to join, such as NH and BR.
The one that surprised me and even shocked airline enthusiasts was the entrance of SQ and doing IAH-DME-SIN. People expected the route to fail, especially after failed attempts by the airline to start services to ORD and LAS. Another reason many felt the airline would fail was the routing via DME, especially in regards to difficulties trying to get a Russian visa. Also, like SQ's JFK-FRA-SIN route, it takes an eastern route to Asia rather than a western one like the majority of US-Asia flights. But the route does link the Energy Hub of the US with gas-producing country and a shipping hub. As of this writing, the route started on 20March2008, soon to enter its seventh year of service, which is amazing and slightly worrying especially with the slowdown in oil production and the decline of Russian travelers and spending due to the softening of the Russian Ruble. Despite that I hope the airline continues to serve IAH even with more Asian carriers serving IAH such as fellow *A airlines NH, BR, TK, and CA, as well as KE, EK, and QR.
As gates D4 to D12 fill up with various planes, SQ has an interesting set up over at D1/D2. The last time I flew on SQ we departed from D11 with LH departing from D12. When LH started to bring their A380 to IAH, they got displaced until finally settling in the D1/D2 gates. These gates along with D3 are a bit different than the rest of Terminal D. I don't know if this is true, but I remember reading an IAHistorian say Terminal D should have looked like the rest of the airport with banjos, but they ran out of money after building up to D3. When the airport system looked to finally build the rest of D, they wanted to make it a bit more modern, but did not have enough funds to fully modernize it. Now, there is a project in the works to start on B-North followed by the C-North/D project that could handle more foreign carriers including at least four gates capable of handling the A380.
So back to D1/D2. I type it that way while the boarding pass says D1. When we get to the gate, SQ sets it up in a unique way to handle their premium customers and their Y customers in separate areas. This flight utilizes the podium at D1 and the lines to board are at D1, while the plane is docked at D2. Looking at the desk, to your left which is the main D1 lobby is reserved for F, J, and other priority travelers. To your right which is the shared D1/D2 lobby, is the seating section for all Y passengers.
With a short wait till boarding, I noticed no one waiting in the premium area, while fellow Y passengers slowly started to trickle into the boarding area. I ended up chatting with a couple of Filipinos connecting from Florida and prefer taking SQ than other airlines to the Philippines because they're cheaper and provide better service.
By 16:40 the agent calls for boarding of the flight. I noticed one older lady get a personal escort onto the plane. I think she is the lone passenger in F. A few moments after she boards, a couple of passengers board through the J line, probably coming from one of the lounges, either the Executive Lounge or one of the UA Clubs. While waiting for them to finish boarding, one agent had a sign for passengers seating in rows 44-56, while another agent had a sign for those seating in rows 31-43.
By 16:45, they call for Y passengers seated in rows 44-56. A good majority of the people waiting queued up to board. The agents did a good job informing them they had not called their rows yet. When that first groups boarded, they called for those in 31-43, and eventually all rows Final Call.
Passport and Boarding Pass
While I waited in the queue to board, the agent making announcements noticed my boarding pass with the flashing SSSS. He asked if anyone was traveling with me and I mentioned my parents. He took my boarding pass and then looked at theirs and their passports. He went ahead and issued a brand new boarding pass while I hoped that futile hope is get upgraded to J. Alas, I would end up with an equally nice seat prior to the doors closing. He reprinted my boarding pass, checked my passport and allowed us to board ahead of our group.
Agents who divided the Y boarding groups did passport checks. Once completed, we walked a couple of steps to the D1 podium where they scanned out boarding pass scans at D1 before entering the secure area that leads to the plane. You enter this long hallway that connects D1, D2, and D3. They closed off the jetway to D1 and direct you down the hallway where US CBP does a secondary/tertiary check with a German Shepherd sniffer sniffing bags just in front of the D2 jetway. It seemed like those connecting from other flight get a second screening from US CBP while the German Shepherd looked like he couldn't be bothered and was just kicking back and laying on the floor.
Entering the jetway at D2.
Making our way towards the plane.
We enter a rather busy jetway and took a minute or two to finally get my right hand touch of the plane. I am welcomed by purple tie ISM Chris Lee and green kebaya Chang. They saw my camera around my neck and Chang asked if this was my first time on SQ and I said no, but it's one of my favorite airlines and glad they serve IAH. Then she smiles and said I hope you enjoy your flight today! I thanked her and then made my way to my seat.
ISM Chris and Chang welcoming passengers.
Upon entering the Y cabin, blue kebaya Amanda welcomed my parents and assisted my mom in placing her hand carry into the overhead while I helped my dad with his. She was kind enough to escort me to my seat and asked if I needed help stowing my stuff in the bin. I declined and thanked her before she went off to help other passengers.
Amanda escorting my mom to her seat.
Once I had settle down in my seat, I watched the small rush of Y passengers board in my section of the plane with FAs being proactive helping everyone get settled and secured for the flight. You barely get any of that on a US carrier, much less on a domestic flight no matter what class. The only way you would is to maximize baggage space in the overhead bins just because no one wants to pay to check a bag in and all of a sudden the passengers and crew are a bit peeved and the mood of the flight becomes rather unpleasant. A couple of years ago, it was a joy to fly anywhere even in the US. Today, it's a treat to fly a foreign carrier, particularly an Asian one, where they bring back the excitement of flight back!
I got settled into my seat around 16:55 and watched the boarding process slow down by 17:00. This would be a rather open flight and plenty of space to enjoy a set of seats to myself! Basically I too could convert my set of 3 seats into my own lie-flat bed! This is definitely looking exciting!
Wahoo! My own lie-flat bed for this flight!
From my seat I could see a bit of activity going on in the J cabin. However, it seemed like a handful of passengers would be traveling with us in J today. Overall, I would guesstimate the flight had < 50% load factor. Compare that to the 90+% the last time I flew the route 2 years ago. Back then, CA and KE had not started and those flight comprised predominantly with Vietnamese diaspora heading to and from Vietnam, as well as drunk Russians leaving dreary Russia in the winter for much warmer climes of Southeast Asia. This flight, I was surprised by, had no elderly Asians requiring wheelchair assistance.
Around 17:07 I watched Jaya, in her blue kebaya, handing out headphones to everyone in the forward Y cabin going down the left aisle then up the right aisle as more passengers sat on the left side rather than the right. Joining Jaya and Amanda in our section would be Raffie with green tie and Lai in her green kebaya. It seemed Lai got assigned kitchen duty at the forward Y galley. I did get to watch her and Jaya help this mother traveling back to SIN with her two children, a toddler and a newborn. That mother definitely had her hands full, yet her kids barely made a peep or misbehaved. Only one red kebaya and she primarily stayed in the J cabin. After a few minutes, Raffie distributes hot oshibori. There's just something about always being offered one, though I wished they offered this once in the air prior to the first drink service. Five minutes later, Raffie returns to pick up used towels.
I turn on my PTV and put it to the Route Map channel. I noticed that that we have an ETA of 13:29, but I wonder how accurate that is. While watching the map do its loop, Amanda hands out menus for the flight, which also shows what will be served on the DME-SIN flight.
By 17:26, ISM Chris makes the announcement that all passengers have boarded and for flight attendants to prepare doors for departure. Unlike UA where they do an oncall to each door, they do the thumbs up method. After that the FAs walk the plane to ensure all seat belts fastened, all items securely stowed, and window shades drawn up. So far among the number of carriers flown as of late, they are the most adamant that window shades must be drawn up upon takeoff and landing.
While the FAs walk the aisles for their section, Captain C. S. Kim welcomes us on board along with two others joining the flight deck. We would be slightly delayed from our take off slot because of traffic congestion; like Houston, this is a prime departure time for many flights both domestic and international. Today's flight time would be 11h15m, and should arrive on time barring any further delays from our departure or arrival into DME. They will let us know more information once we get close to DME. He told us to sit back and enjoy the award-winning Singapore Airline service! I'm sure I would!
After the welcome from Captain Kim, Chris welcomes us on board. The majority of the FAs were still doing checks throughout their section and cabin. I noticed one FA in her blue kebaya already taking her seat at 3R. She would later be working in J on the right side near 3R. Since she did not have much to check and not too many passengers in her section, she took her seat while her colleagues were still busy. By the time Chris turned on the safety video, I noticed that all FAs take a seat rather than draw the attention to the screens.
Chimes for seatbelt and turning off cellular features on mobile phones. They did allow the use of smaller electronic devices switched on flight mode.
At 17:36, we still had not pushed back from the gate, only the jetway retracted. By 17:40, we make the slow journey to I believe 15L. For this flight I mainly stayed in 35DEF. I didn't bother to move until later in the flight. Thus I did not record a takeoff video. I did fall in and out of sleep because we moved at a snail's pace. All of a sudden I heard the engines rev up and I woke up to the excitement of flying another SQ flight! By 18:00, we roared down 15L and lifted off into the clear Texas skies as we made our way to DME.
At 18:08 I heard one of chimes go off indicating the captain had turned off the fasten seat belt sign and signaling to the FAs to commence their service. As she let the mid-galley attendant prepare the drinking carts, Amanda and Raffie hand out Givenchy-labeled amenity kits. Inside these mauve-colored zippered pouches are some socks, eye mask, ear plugs, and toothbrush kit. I like the idea of a small kit rather than the a la carte selection in J. Now they do adequately supply the lavatories with extra toothbrush kits and combs. This little kit will be the first out of six I will receive on this entire trip!
After safely keeping my useful little kit, I started getting comfortable in my set of seats. I moved over to 35E, the middle seat in the middle section because I would get served by either Amanda on the left or Raffie on the right; most times it would be Raffie because there were fewer people on the right side compared to the left. First up at around 18:25 I ordered a Singapore Sling along with a couple packet of peanuts. I remember the first time I ordered it on my very first flight, it was nice and fruits. This one, Raffie thought I'd like it with just a bit more alcohol. It was a bit too much this time around for my liking. I still had my Jamba Juice and a bottle of water so mixed that Sling with it.
They allowed passengers to enjoy their drinks and peanuts before starting up the second service, which would include the meal. During this in between period, the kitchen crew started handing out the meal specials. A couple of passengers had opted for them. Lai had walked down to the mother with the two kids trays in hand until the seat belt sign turned on and the oncall chime. A minute later one of the FAs in the forward cabin announced a slight delay in the meal service as we would be entering some turbulence and the FAs required to strap in. It seemed like we would encounter some undulating movement. We started to experience a bit of turbulence while flying over northern Mississippi. Now the turbulence did not frantically shake the plane, but after ten minutes of noticeable bumpiness, they commenced the first meal service. Actually that kind of bumpiness, I have noticed FAs continue to do their service, especially the last time I flew on SQ. However, I figured the Captain used caution especially knowing the light load on board today and believed the FAs would still have plenty of time to conduct service.
With the seat belt sign now turned off, full service, including ordering hot drinks had resumed at around 19:00. Raffie asked if I would like to try the stir-fried chicken or the pork, and I went ahead and ordered the chicken. To accompany it, I also ordered an apple spritzer and an extra water.
Tonight’s dinner: Stir-fried chicken in dried chili with vegetables and steamed rice.
A bit of Texas on this flight. Got this tasty treat around 19:30.
The small cup of Blue Bell Chocolate Ice Cream really hit the spot to an OK dinner. The first time I remember enjoying the meal on my very first flight. They had served noodles and they included some slivers of Thai peppers to add a bit of heat. I wish this meal included a bit of sambal or sriracha just to give it a bit of heat. Otherwise a good effort from Houston catering and given much more food than what UA would serve me or would have needed to pay. Amanda came by to pick up my tray when I had finished and asked if I would like any coffee or hot tea. I requested the hot tea and she took my little tea cup and the small black tray and served it back with the tea and a stirring stick. She checked back on me a couple minutes later and asked if I needed anything else. I told her I was fine and she took my finished tea and a bit of extra trash such as the plastic blanket wrapping. I sat in my seat a bit longer just to let everything digest and not feel quite so full when sleeping.
While the cabin lights remained on, Ms. Red Kebaya came from the J cabin with the duty free magazine in her hand and asked if anyone would like to purchase anything from duty free. I noticed the Russian couple in front of me purchased two cartons of cigarettes. I on the other hand did not need anything because I just started my vacation. However that Tiger Balm sure looks like it would come in handy! By 20:00, my fellow Y passengers and I started to set up our lie-flat seats and get comfortable for the rest of the flight. At that time, one of the agents decided to go ahead and turn off the cabin lights so we could get some sleep. Amanda and Jaya ensured all window shades were drawn down.
I could not quite get a good amount of sleep because of a couple of reasons. First, I could not get into a comfortable position in the middle set of seats because I couldn't comfortably angle my head up without the pillows falling into the aisle. Second, this flight encountered a lot of turbulence with seatbelt signs ringing often. When I did try to sleep flat with the seatbelt on, it would feel rather restricting.
Throughout the flight the FAs would walk the aisles to check on everyone and ensure the lavatories remained nice and clean for the next person. I did happen to miss the mid-flight snack, but I could have gone to the galley and requested any of the snacks, like snack-size Toblerons.
I did wake up and decided to take a walk and see just how open the flight end up. From what I could tell many of those that flew to DME would sat in the forward Y cabin while the rear Y cabin had more Asian passengers. Overall, each person could have had their own set of seats to themselves. A few did not, like the Russian couple that sat in front of me, and then the people who insisted on the bulkhead rows.
I returned to my seat where Amanda asked if I liked any water. She went back to the galley and served me a refreshing glass. She asked if there was anything else, but I declined because I was still a bit full. I ended up watching a program based in Singapore about the local cuisine and the term “Shiok!”
As mentioned, we encountered off/on turbulence and the Fasten Seat Belt signs kept on going off and on. Upon entering the English Channel just southeast of Ireland, we experienced the heaviest that lasted a couple of minutes. At that point in the trip, we had 3h45m left in the flight before landing at DME and had leveled off at 33000ft.
The FAs working in the mid-galley worked rather quietly because all of a sudden they turned on the cabin lights with 1h53m left in flight. At that point Amanda and Raffie started to hand out oshibori. Afterwards, Lai started to hand out the specials.
From the SQ flights I have taken in Y, during the first service, the FAs start at the front of the cabin and go down the aisles. For the second or last service, they start from the end of one cabin and go up the aisle. Thus Amanda surprised me when she asked what I would like to drink and what I would like to eat before we land at DME.
Braised egg noodles with beef, mushrooms, and Chinese greens
The only disappointment I had with this meal was the lack of peppers or a spicy component that I remember from previous flights. Yet, I enjoyed a tasty meal and they served more than what any pre-arrival meal UA would serve!
Within an hour, most had finished their meals and the crew had started to pick up used trays and anything they wished to discard. I had joined my dad who moved to 33C. I moved my bags over to the bin over 33A and then enjoyed the view from the window.
Forward view from 33A.
Russian landscape below
With 30m left in the flight, Captain Kwek gave some information regarding our arrival into DME. He expected a scheduled arrival time of 14:02, that may be delayed a bit depending on traffic into and out of DME. The cabin crew ensured everything remained secured with seat belts fastened and window shades up. By 14:00, it did seem like we would be delayed as the seat belt sign turned on and we experienced turbulence during our gradual decrease to a holding pattern altitude.
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