(Sorry i'm posting again because my previous report was taken down due to some inappropriate language. I've taken that part out and hope you guys enjoy the report! Well, for those who haven't read it.)
Hi guys! This is my first ever trip report online so please forgive me if I’ve failed to meet your expectations. Let’s begin! So basically, I’m in the Singapore army right now, since all of the guys have a mandatory military conscription of about 2 years. We have 14 days of leave a year and I decided to use about 9 of them for a trip to Hokkaido in Japan. So why Hokkaido? Well, Singapore is extremely hot and humid all year round, so I guess I needed a respite from all the heat. It’s winter time in Japan and Hokkaido being further up north, gets a fair share of snow during this season. I mean c’mon who wouldn’t want to see snow right??? In addition, the Japanese Yen hasn’t been performing well lately, so I was left with some convincing to do and YIPPEE, I was going to Hokkaido for my annual family trip. :D I’ve gone to Japan many times before but it was mainly to Osaka and Tokyo. This was my first time going to Hokkaido and I was SO stoked. Well, partly because I was going for a holiday, but mainly because I knew that I could try out a new airline. I’ve always collected airline memorabilia since I was young, so I was squealing with excitement when I thought of the possibility of collecting something new from an airline that I haven’t flown with before. So off I went hopping from one airline website to another, and these were the airlines that I had shortlisted:
1. One stop at Tokyo - Japan Airlines - $800+ - All Nippon Airways - $800+ - United Airlines & Vanilla Air - $640 2. One stop at Bangkok - Thai Airways - $630 3. Two stops - Vietnam Airlines & Vanilla Air - $610
My parents wanted to take Singapore Airlines at first since there were chartered flights direct to Sapporo but I just couldn’t find the schedules of the flights on SQ’s website. I guess they were chartered for tour agencies and not for the free and easy travellers like us. If we booked through SQ's website, which meant taking an SQ flight to Tokyo and then transferring to another Star Alliance carrier, which was ANA, to Sapporo, it would've cost us a whopping $1000+ SGD. :eek: So we sorta decided to go with ANA because I really wanted to try their Boeing 787 in the domestic configuration for the Tokyo to Sapporo leg but since my focus was on collecting memorabilia, I decided against it in the end and chose to go with the United and Vanilla combination. I’ve never flown on either of the carriers before and I thought it would be pretty interesting trying an American carrier that has the reputation of one of the world’s worst airlines LOL. The prospect of trying out a Japanese low cost carrier also appealed to me, and flying with United would save us quite a fair bit of Time since taking the Vietnam flight would mean stopping over twice, one in Hanoi/Ho Chi Minh and the other in Tokyo. So we booked our flights and YIPPEE we were off to Hokkaido. Oh yes, and why not Thai you might ask? I flew on Thai to Bangkok last year and i've collected their stuff already, so… yeah, no thanks :D
I tried to check-in online the day before but then I reached a page on United's website that said the flight could have been overbooked and they were looking for volunteers to give up their seats. In return, they would be giving free vouchers worth hundreds of dollars (I think?). Well, if I was a solo traveller going backpacking overseas, I probably would've clicked the 'OK' button, but nah not this time. NO' it shall be :p Anyway, I tried checking in online using the United mobile app and failed. Either i'm a tech noob or United sucks. I hope it's the latter.
I woke up at 4am and left the house at 4.30am. We arrived at the world's best airport, Changi Airport, (Sorry I just had to say that. I'm a proud Singaporean. :D) at 5am and then we waited for our relatives to arrive before proceeding to the check-in counter at row 1 of Terminal 3.
Flight: UA804 Origin: Singapore Destination: Tokyo (Narita) Aircraft type: Boeing 777-222(ER) Registration: N228UA Delivered: 14 February 2002 Class of travel: Economy
Before checking in our baggage, we got directed to self-service kiosks where we had to print our own boarding pass. There was a not-so-friendly lady at the kiosks assisting the passengers to check in since this was a relatively new feature. The last i've heard, only Jetstar, Air Asia, Silkair and Singapore Airlines passengers got to use this feature. Perhaps Changi Airport is rolling out dedicated self-service to more airlines. I don't know. But anyway, I found it pretty intuitive. So good job Changi ^
Star Wars display at Terminal 3
Grand departure entrance
Garuda Indonesia's check-in counters
Typical Singaporean breakfast. Half-boiled eggs!
Not forgetting kaya toast :p
Gate B6 for our flight today. We were sharing the same gate holding room with a Singapore Airlines flight SQ241 bound for sydney, that was a codeshared flight with Turkish Airlines as seen on the screen.
Sorry I just had to take another picture of you
Nice nose you got there babe :cool:
Down the aerobridge!
Alright, before I continue, just some first impressions. The IFE was responsive and screen quality was pretty good. Headphones provided were of a questionable quality, although I appreciated the fact they UA used rubber for the part of the headphones that cupped the ears instead of the usual ones which were made of sponge and sometimes are very scratchy. Although it was a pretty bad job at mimicking a noise cancelling headset, comfort-wise, good job UA :D
Close up of head set
Seat pocket contents
9V-SWF in the distance
Oooh, look what we have in the background. An SQ A380 with the SG50 livery. I hope it comes in to park beside us.
And I guess my prayers were answered :D
Just look at that beauty and how big she is :o
And off we go
Just checking the arrival information on the IFE
There we were
I could see this view all day
Time for some music
One gripe I have with UA's IFE is that their selection isn't as wide as on other major carriers like Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Cathay, etc. I couldn't choose a specific song by a specific artist. Instead, they were just grouped into categories. But that's okay. I expected worse from United :p
BREAKFAST. Sorry I love my scrambled eggs and this was just inedible. Bad job UA. The pastry on the top left hand corner was really horrible and tasteless too :mad:
Looked pretty good but nah
So, 2 meals were served for this 6 hour ish flight to Tokyo. The first being a breakfast meal and the second being a small and miserable cold sandwich. Ok, the size of it was just appalling but it honestly tasted pretty darn good ^ Sigh I miss flying SQ. Next year, next year (Winks)
Hey little thing
So after the snack, I went to the lavatory and as I was waiting in line, this male UA crew started small talk with me and asked me where I was flying to and blablabla. So i told him I was going on a holiday with the family and then we started talking about the life of a cabin crew. It was literally the first time I talked to someone else on a plane other than my family members for a whole 30 mins or so. He told me he was earning close to $9000 USD a month and I was shocked. He was mid 40s maybe? But like, the idea of cabin crew earning that much money never ever occurred to me. Senior crew on Singapore Airlines don't earn that much too. He also told me how asian companies function differently from american companies and how asian companies are a tad rigid at times, while american companies are WAY more flexible. All in all, it was great talk and ive concluded that i'm gonna be working for an American company in the future :D We'll see how it goes. Another older Japanese female cabin crew started talking to me and I told her about my plans in Hokkaido and she gave me some recommendations on the places to visit. She was so friendly. Wait, no. EVERYONE WAS FRIENDLY. Then it got me thinking. Why is everyone hating on United??? Oh wait, then I realised. I was flying on an intra-asian leg of the flight with Japan-based crew. I mean, Japanese are extremely polite people in general, so I guess that's why the cabin service was so good and personal. I can't wait to try UA again on perhaps a domestic flight within America. I'm hoping it wouldn't be THAT bad as what the critics say. Fingers crossed!
Making a left turn
And we're here
Touchdown! Smooth landing btw.
Second home of UA, since Narita is one of UA's hub.
Singapore - SIN
Tokyo - NRT
To sum it up, UA wasn't that bad after all. Apart from pretty inedible eggs, really small food portions, lack of a menu, lack of a footrest, lack of an amenity kit in economy class, lack of playing cards, pretty average IFE system, seat that lacked a little lumbar support, it scored well in all other aspects such as cabin service, on-time performance, 3-3-3 seating in economy as opposed to 3-4-3 on other 777s, and... yeah I guess that's it for now. I would totally fly UA again if they offered discounted tickets. Thanks for reading guys! I really appreciate it ;) I did a video report on this flight on Youtube too! Here's the link: [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch'v=OjyNsCegY8g[/youtube]. Please watch it and leave some feedback! Have a great day ahead! Click here: <a href=http://flight-report.com/en/report-12547.html> for my next flight segment, Vanilla Air from Tokyo to Sapporo!
Update: My friend managed to book round-trip tickets on United from Singapore to Tokyo in March 2016 for just $400 SGD. There's a discount code you'll have to key in and it's located in the promo fares area.
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