Welcome to my first trip report on Flight-Report.com. This report covers my recent fifth-freedom flight from Singapore to Tokyo with UA, my first flight with an American airline, as part of my post-exam treat. This flight is one of 7 daily SIN-NRT flights, and one of two fifth-freedom flights on the schedule; the other is run by Delta.
We arrived at the airport bright and early, at 6.00am.
Landside snapshot of Changi Airport's T3. This is my second flight from T3, after flying SIN-FUK with SQ back in 2013. My flight is barely visible on the FIDS in the corner, displaying as its codeshare alias, NH7050.
Quick snapshot of the Star Wars exhibition that was being held in conjunction with the new film and the arrival of JA873A, ANA's R2-D2 B789, in Singapore.
Check-in was uncharacteristically rigorous this morning, with security agents checking our documents every step of the way even before we had gotten to the actual check-in desk. I'm not sure if this is a thing with American airlines in general, or if it was part of beefed-up security following a certain recent aircraft bombing.
Quick snapshot of the transit lounge following passport control.
I had a quick breakfast of beef fried rice at one of the food courts in the transit lounge, believing it prudent to prepare myself for what I suspected would be a poor showing by UA's meal services. After that, at which point boarding was being called, I headed straight to the gate to await my flight.
27 November 2015 United Airlines UA804 Singapore Changi (SIN) - Tokyo Narita (NRT) Boeing 777-200ER (N226UA) Economy Class Gate B9
At the gate, security was as tight and messy as it was at the check-in desk. Not wanting to risk arousing the ire of the security officers, I headed to boarding rather quickly without taking any photos, though a quick gander at the nosewheel door confirmed that I would be flying on N226UA today.
I took seat 45A, the rearmost window seat on the left side of the aircraft. As I did, I noticed 9V-SWS waiting at the neighbouring gate, resting after a long trek back home from MXP.
As I waited, I also managed to grab this (poor) shot of JA621J completing JL35 from Tokyo Haneda – incidentally, also the last flight I had taken before this one.
Pushback was at 7.24am, slightly behind schedule. As we taxied, I managed to do some fairly impromptu aircraft spotting, though all but a few of the photos turned out poorly.
9V-SWB, the second 77W delivered to SQ
9V-STA, the first A333 delivered to SQ
We ultimately pulled up to Runway 02C, behind an Oman Air A332, two Jetstar A320s, and a Tigerair A320. At 7.47am, we began to accelerate for the takeoff run.
One final look at Changi's T1 as we ascend into the morning sky.
Meal service did not begin until more than an hour into the flight, at 9am Singapore time. I reserve my general judgment on this delay, because we did experience some turbulence (including some rather sickening yaw oscillations), but I do have to observe that this is the longest I have ever waited for meal service to begin. At this point, we were passing over the Spratly Islands.
We had two meal choices: Asian beehoon, or omelette and sausages with pasta. There was only one word to describe the beehoon meal as I opened it: miserable. The shrunken vegetables said it all for me.
Nevertheless, the chicken in the meal was probably what saved it. After finishing my initial choice, I also got the other meal. It actually tasted a lot better, though part of that might have been a result of my weakness for Italian food.
Despite this being a morning flight, I decided to get some shut-eye anyway. When I woke up, we were nearing the Okinawa islands.
Snacks were handed out not long after. The bread was fresher than I had anticipated, though the portion size was miserable.
Quick shot of Mt. Fuji and the southern tip of the Boso Peninsula as we descend.
Sun-drenched snapshot of the Pacific Ocean just before finally making landfall over Honshu.
We touched down on Runway 34L at 2.40pm Japan time, 15 minutes ahead of schedule, thanks to a consistent tailwind of nearly 150km/h for most of our journey across the western reaches of the Pacific Ocean.
Quick snapshot of N813NW as we taxied to the gate.
One quick final look at N226UA as she prepares for the onward leg to IAD.
Final aircraft spot of the trip: N179UA, resting after a transpacific journey from SFO.
Singapore - SIN
Tokyo - NRT
I have heard some pretty poor reviews of American airlines in the past, so my expectations for this flight were somewhat tempered. That, and I was travelling in Economy, which probably added to my feeling that I shouldn't be expecting much. Nevertheless, despite the fairly poor meal, this flight wasn't actually too bad. At the very least, the 3-3-3 cabin configuration made for a reasonably comfortable flight, as opposed to, say, Air France's cattle-class 3-4-3 configuration.
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