This report covers my second trip to Japan in 2 months; the other trip was on United's SIN-NRT service back in November. This time, I got the golden opportunity to fly once more with Singapore Airlines. This trip also marked my first time flying one of SQ's B77Ws, albeit with the old seat product. SQ runs a daily B77W, B773, and B772ER service to HND and a once-daily A388 service to NRT and LAX.
We arrived at Terminal 3 at around 6am. Check-in was smooth since we'd checked in online the night before. We used the self-service kiosk to get our baggage tags, but the machine could not print our boarding passes, so it was back to the good old standby: ground staff.
Security was smooth as usual, and we were soon in the transit lounge.
Just one of T3's many sights.
View from the top of the mezzanine at T3, just before we went to grab a quick breakfast at T3's Burger King. We headed to the gate almost exactly an hour before departure.
The entrance to T3's B gates.
Security was, again, smooth and routine, though not exceptionally speedy, and we headed to await boarding.
30 January 2016 Singapore Airlines SQ632 Singapore Changi (SIN) - Tokyo International (HND) Boeing 777-300ER 9V-SWB Economy Class
Today's bird was 9V-SWB, the second 77W delivered to SQ. This plane was also parked next to my plane the last time I flew back from NRT. This flight would mark the first time I fly on an aircraft after having already spotted it previously.
Boarding was delayed 15 minutes due to the fact that the baggage handlers were still loading ULDs into the aircraft. I took the opportunity to do some gate spotting.
Singapore Airlines' special 50th birthday (the country, not the airline) A380 livery, couldn't catch the registration though. Two A380s carry this livery, and it marks the first time any SQ aircraft has donned a special livery (Star Alliance liveries aside) since the crash of SQ006 15 years ago.
9V-SKG arriving at the gate beside us.
Tarmac markings (I flipped the photo upside down for readability). I found it interesting how there are markers for types that don't call at Terminal 3 (the A343s that fly into SIN from LX, CX, and AY use other terminals), or at the airport at all (B764).
Jetstar A320 9V-JSL.
Emirates B77W A6-ECW touching down as EK352 from DXB.
United B772ER N220UA flying off as UA804 to NRT. It's a bit sad to know this flight's days are numbered, what with the recent announcement of the new SIN-SFO nonstops.
SQ A333 9V-SSA.
Boarding for Economy was called close to 7.40am. Quick glimpse at 9V-SKR at the next gate.
Legroom shot. By this point, the truth of SQ's Y is like other airlines' Y+ statement was already starting to manifest.
Pre-takeoff service began almost immediately after boarding was completed, with pre-departure drinks and oshibori distributed. The cabin crew displayed typical SQ hospitality, with quick, efficient service and genuine smiles all around. The only gripe I have is that they were slightly inattentive; my pre-departure drink cup didn't get collected until the meal trays were collected.
We pushed back almost exactly on time, at 8.03am. Spotting during taxiing was going to be almost non-existent, since condensation of some kind had settled on SWB's fuselage. This is 9V-SWD.
Safety video. Unlike a lot of other airlines' safety videos, the sign language in the video was actually comprehensible (though that might be because SQ's IFE screens in Y are vast compared to the majority of Y IFE screens out there).
We taxied to Runway 02C and took off at around 8.20am.
Menus were handed out an hour after takeoff, following an apology over the PA system that meal service had not started sooner due to turbulence. Really, SQ? Seriously? On UA, the catering would have started two hours after takeoff with not a single iota of explanation.
As you can see from the photos, we had a choice of a Japanese salmon meal or a Western eggs-and-sausages meal. I chose the latter.
Here the other meal is. It was a shame I didn't get to try this, since it's one of the few airline meals out there that actually looks like food (though not unexpected from SQ).
IFE primer for nervous flyers. I had great fun reading this, especially since they even included a section on TPAC and TATL crossings.
And, of course, my favourite section.
And, of course, time for my favourite puzzle game of all time. I usually knock out pretty quickly after meal services, so it really speaks volumes about what KrisWorld has to offer when I say I didn't sleep a single wink throughout the flight.
Flight map just as we were passing over Naha. (NGO85, if you're reading this, yes, I checked! :P) The gripes I have about this map is that it shows Sakhalin as a peninsula instead of an island, and the fact that the destination name was listed as Destination instead of Tokyo throughout the entire flight.
Cabin shot about two hours before landing. This flight was chock full; I think there were three or four empty seats for the 115 seats in my section.
Pre-arrival snacks and drinks were handed out an hour before touchdown. It didn't escape my notice that SQ uses little trays for their snack services – just another item in the long list of things that SQ pays attention to that UA doesn't.
We touched down on Haneda's Runway 14L at 2.58pm, more than half an hour ahead of the scheduled arrival time.
View of Haneda during taxiing. The aforementioned mist had dried to leave a dirty film on the window, resulting in the milky images.
There's Lufthansa D-ABYP, the 1500th 747 built and my first spotted B748.
Final view of SWB as we disembarked.
ANA B772ER JA716A parked next to us.
Haneda's arrival terminal behind us as we headed to immigration. Immigration was fairly quick and courteous, and we were soon landside.
Haneda post-arrival, post-immigration. HND's international terminal is rather quiet for an airport that lies at the heart of one of the largest megalopolises on Earth, though that could be because the international traffic into the airport is largely premium.
View from the 4th-floor mezzanine. If there ever was an airport terminal more beautiful than SIN, here it is.
Bonus planespotting section Quirks in scheduling meant I would not be leaving the airport immediately, and since my trip into HND was one-way (my return leg is to be from NRT, since I'm leaving on the homeward-bound leg of SQ's LAX-SIN direct flight), I decided to go to the viewing gallery to do some planespotting. The air was frigid at this time of year, but it was a good dipstick for the weather I was to experience for the rest of my trip.
JAL B77W JA735J on the left and B763 JA653J on the right.
JAL B77W JA732J.
Vietnam Airlines A321 VN-A606.
SWB pushing back for her return flight to SIN as SQ633.
A B744 that seems to be in JAL's old livery. I wonder what this plane is being used for?
JA801A, the very first 787 in passenger service. This also means that this plane is the first one that I have spotted in two separate airports.
Singapore - SIN
Tokyo - HND
Apart from the inattentive crew, SQ continues to display singularly excellent service. The only real detriment was the fact that the cabin was rather toasty throughout the flight. The quality of their service is such that I am left seriously wondering how they manage to make profits year after year, even after spoiling all their Economy passengers with fruitcakes in the catering, oshibori, and metal cutlery.
I found HND to be one of the best airports I've ever been in, to the point that it surpasses SIN in several aspects. For one, there is a direct indoor link to the Tokyo metro, unlike SIN, where one has to pass through several walkways to get to a terminal other than T3.
Overall, an excellent flight; in fact, the best of all the flights that I've written a report on for FR. SQ largely continues to perform up to standards.
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