Hello, this series covers a total of 34 flights that I have and will be taking over the next few weeks. I am a little slow in catching up with the reports but quite a few should be completed over the next few days! Please read Parts 1 or 3 for the full introduction, I’ll just duplicate a small portion here as a reminder.
1. I intend to do this series semi-live; i.e. I shall type as I fly and publish the FR soon after arriving at a destination. I do apologise if there are delays but I will try my best to be as up to date as possible.
2. I will do away with my usual “timeline” style (see my past reports), otherwise it will take me much, much longer to get my reports ready.
3. Those square brackets in italics will give you an idea as to when exactly I was writing parts of the reports in this series, i.e. right now I am typing away as I wait in MFM to board GE362, bound for KHH.
4. And lastly for now, my apologies for not catching up on those previous series of mine. Was so super busy in school and also, busy preparing for this massive trip of mine. (:
A look again at the map and flights included in this series:
British Airways BA15 Aircraft Registration: G-STBL Origin: Changi International Airport, Singapore (SIN) Destination: Kingsford Smith International Airport, Sydney, Australia (SYD) Date: Sunday, 8 May 2016 STD/STA: 1920h (UTC+08:00) to 0505h (UTC+10:00) ATD/ATA: 2012h (UTC+08:00) to 0513h (UTC+10:00) Estimated Duration: 07 hours 45 minutes Actual Duration: 07 hours 01 minute Flight Distance: About 3,908 miles / 6,289 km
[Waiting for my flight to KHH at Macau Airport…]
Welcome to Part 7 of this series! This was the 3rd flight I would be taking on 8 May 2016, but since I didn’t collect my boarding pass from KHH and also did not tag my bag all the way, I had to clear immigration in SIN and complete check-in again for my BA flight.
1. KHH-HKG KA451 2. HKG-SIN CX739 3. SIN-SYD BA15 <– We are here! 4. SYD-MEL QF439 (Flight changed to QF461)
My previous flight arrived in Singapore at about 3pm and my next flight departs at 7.20pm. Thus, check-in for the BA flight has not commenced yet but I was able to use the early check-in lounge in Changi Airport.
There was a little bit of waiting time, but the whole process didn’t take too long. One thing to take note – if you are an Economy class passenger with Oneworld Sapphire status, there will be no priority check-in available if you intend to use the early check-in service at SIN.
I had a quick afternoon tea after getting my boarding pass and before heading airside.
I made my way to the immigration counters at about 4.40pm and bypassed the British Airways’ counters that were already opened.
Once airside, I walked in a direction that I was already very familiar with, towards the Qantas Singapore Lounge.
But this time, I turned right towards the British Airways Lounge – my first time visiting it! The lounge entrance looks really stylish, isn’t it?
There were several kinds of seats available – suitable for travellers with different needs. At about 4.45pm, the lounge was still not very crowded, but the crowd slowly built up as passengers for BA15 streamed in.
I took one of the sofa seat (the photo immediately above), put down my belongings and went around the lounge to see what food options were available.
There was a bar with all sorts of wine, though I wasn’t in a mood to drink alcoholic drinks that day.
And these are some of the other food and drink options available. Hot items for dinner were still being prepared at about 4.55pm but I didn’t get to sample them during this visit.
I wasn’t exactly hungry since it wasn’t mealtime yet, so I just took some snacks and a cup of tea before getting back on my computer to clear more work.
Back at my table, I decided to check out the status of the incoming BA15 from LHR. Oh… Looks like it’s been put on hold for quite a while – it was probably the peak period for SIN.
Between 5pm and 6pm, more passengers strolled into the lounge; most of them probably waiting for BA15 like me. I wasn’t sure if incoming passengers from LHR had enough transit time in SIN to head to the lounge, but I just wanted to make sure I can take a shower before there’s a queue, so I decided to head to the shower rooms at around 6pm.
Elemis’ products were available in the shower rooms – hand lotion, hand wash, body wash and shampoo.
There was a nice waterfall shower head and another handheld one.
But what happened later on was – I pressed the right most button and water started flowing out, only that the water flowing was scorching hot, so I quickly tried adjusting the water temperature and it only got hotter! I tried turning the knob in both directions, but the water just became even hotter… Like, dangerously hot. I tried to switch it off, yet, pressing the same button on the right resulted in water flowing from the other showerhead on top! Gosh, I felt like an idiot at that moment.
I clumsily pressed the other buttons repeatedly and after a while the flow of water finally ceased. At that point, the water temperature was already enough to boil an egg, I think.
While it’s definitely my own problem that I couldn’t use the showerhead properly, what if this experience of mine wasn’t an exception but rather a norm? It does sound a little dangerous. But still, I decided to attribute this incident to myself and not blame the lounge at all.
After turning off the water, I decided not to shower in BA Lounge since I didn’t have much time to figure out how to adjust the water temperature. A thought came by – QF Lounge is right beside, why not go there?
So I quickly left BA Lounge, went into QF Lounge and headed to the shower rooms that I was much more familiar with.
I’ve actually written flight reports that included more detailed reviews about the QF Lounge in SIN and its shower rooms, but those reports are yet to be translated into English. So as of now, my apologies for not providing more details about this lounge.
In general, the lounge is really quite huge in size and there are tons of seats available. The food in general is above average, and made-to-order hot meals are always available – two varied choices every day. The lounge staff here are also awesome, usually very friendly and helpful. Along the way as I publish more reports, I will share more about this lounge since it probably is a lounge that many would want to visit when passing by or originating from SIN.
For this flight, however, all I had after the shower was a quick bowl of soup.
Thereafter, I had to rush to the gate as boarding was already well underway.
BA15 is a flight from LHR, bound for SYD. SIN is the intermediate stop, and therefore allowing SIN-based passengers like me to ride on British Airways without having to go to Europe.
BA15 also codeshares with Finnair, so I believe there may be quite a few passengers originating from HEL. It doesn’t codeshare with QF, however. In the Singapore-Australia market, BA and QF are more akin to “competitors” rather than “alliance partners”. Why so? Because, Emirates. Oh well, that’s another story altogether.
Passing security was, and is always, a breeze in SIN. It was no exception for this flight. After 3 minutes, I was already through.
At other airports, I usually place my camera in my bag before passing through security checks. But in SIN, my standard practice is usually to place my camera separately in a tray (along with my phone and laptop). You may ask: Why? Reason – since thorough security checks are only conducted at the gates in SIN, most of the time, the best time (and place) to take photographs of the aircraft I’ll be travelling on will be after security.
This is a BA B77W, the one that will fly me to SYD. Prior to this, it already had an almost 13h flight from the UK. After a change of crew in SIN, this flight continues onward to SYD.
I don’t know if you will be surprised if I say this, but this flight is my first one on BA! This explains why I was actually very excited about it. Really! I was looking forward quite a bit to boarding my first BA flight.
British Airways / B777-300ER / G-STBL / BA15 LHR-SIN-SYD
Boarding queues started to form at 6.58pm.
There were various queues and they seemed sort of complicated. Passengers from LHR were required to board through a separate line from passengers originating from SIN. The reason for this seemed to be that the airport was testing out the “self boarding gantries” but only SIN-issued boarding passes could be used. #itscomplicated
There was a short queue on the aerobridge but it took just a while to clear.
I was able to take a handful of photos of the Business and Premium Economy cabins before reaching my seat.
There isn’t really any privacy for these aisle seats in Business class – they are like RIGHT beside the aisle.
Rear-facing window seats like this one had much more privacy.
And for couples, the centre two seats would be the ideal choice. But imagine if two strangers are seated in those seats…!
I think the Premium Economy seats look a bit more comfortable than the Business seats (when compared with the same cabin classes of other airlines, of course).
The Economy seats look very similar to those in Premium Economy, only that it’s narrower.
I found my seat and quickly sat down as more passengers boarded. It seemed like a totally full flight so I wasn’t looking forward to having any empty seats beside me.
Anyway, the headrest on these seats can’t be adjusted. This is the fixed position.
Looking at the cabin as boarding continues.
After settling down, I quickly took more photos of the seat features before my seatmates arrive. In sequence, they are – the seatback with screen, USB and remote control; the legroom; and, the blanket, pillow and headsets that were pre-set on the seats.
The legroom, by the way, was quite okay. Not tight but there was the IFE box, which reduced the space I had by quite a bit. My bag couldn’t fit in, for that matter.
As boarding continued, I went to take a look at the lavatory near the rear of the aircraft. These are the biggest lavatories on the aircraft and it seems to be of the same size on most B777s.
(Photo above) The lavatory floor had a nice dark blue & black decoration.
There were also seat wipes available, something that not all airlines have.
Back at my seat, the boarding process was still continuing 5 minutes before scheduled departure time. While the FAs rushed a little to get everyone settled, I had a feeling that we will not be departing on time.
True enough, our captain soon came on the PA informing us that our departure time will be delayed by 35-40 minutes even though all ground operations and departure preparations had been completed. Reason for this was because of our anticipated short flight time coupled with Sydney Airport’s curfew – one that allows flights to start landing only after 5am. So, it’s quite interesting that we will have to wait for time to pass by before we can depart and land in SYD after 5am.
I really like it that the captain gave a detailed announcement providing us with lots of information. He also mentioned that the weather conditions en route were expected to be bumpy, so seatbelts need to be done up whenever seated.
After that, the safety video played. Remember, this was my first time flying BA, so everything seems fascinating to me. That’s probably why I recorded the entire safety video. It wasn’t a fascinating video, however. The music seemed a little bit airy and uncomfortable to be heard in an airplane – but that’s just my feelings. In between, the video was just kinda boring, I’d say?
Boarding was completed at about 7.29pm. At this point in time, the crew weren’t actually conducting safety checks, but rather just walking around the cabin to assist any passengers who need help.
During the wait on ground, passengers were allowed to walk around the cabin and use the lavatories. Water was also served by the cabin crews.
The IFE was available very soon after the safety video finished playing. I decided to search for a movie to watch since we would still be at the gate for another 40 minutes or so. There were many choices available but I felt the screen wasn’t as sensitive as some other touchscreens I used on other airlines, e.g. Emirates, EVA Air. The layout of the IFE wasn’t very intuitive also, so maybe flipping the magazine to search for what you want to watch would be faster.
After searching for a while, I decided to watch the movie – Steve Jobs.
Eventually, we waited for about 55 minutes before actually pushing back. With the anticipated flight time of around 6.5h, we should touch down just after 5am (Sydney time).
The cabin crew conducted a really detailed safety check, and I observed the particular FA on my aisle taking extra care to make sure everyone’s seat belts were properly done up. This reflects a lot on the level of professionalism that the crews on this flight had, and for that matter, the crew’s professionalism was upheld throughout the entire flight.
Gathering from many reports I’ve read online about BA, it seems that at times, BA’s crew may be a little unfriendly, disinterested or even outright rude. But this time on my first ever BA flight, the crews did not leave any negative impressions at all, kudos to them! I hope it will be the same, or even better, on my daytime return trip with BA in June.
Anyway, here’s the pre-takeoff announcement.
Some timekeeping as we taxi out to the runway.
2012h Push Back 2021h Began to Taxi 2033h Take Off from Runway 20C 2042h Signs Off at FL110
Once airborne, I took a break from my movie and switched on the flight map to take a look. I initially thought that flight map was only available by clicking on “flight path” (as you see below).
But very soon after, I figured out how to get it on full screen. This will come in useful later, once I’m done with my movie.
As we approached the cruising altitude, the purser came on the PA to give another welcome announcement, which contained all the standard information.
At about 9.22pm, 50 minutes after take off, drinks and snacks were provided. I really liked the sour cream flavoured pretzels and was so tempted to ask for another packet. I decided not to ask eventually since I wasn’t actually hungry at that time.
As I watched the movie, I was hoping also that the meal service on this flight would be conducted quickly. It eventually took two hours before the meal was served, which is a little long, but most of the time – a norm on routes between SIN and Australia, since these flights are typically extremely full.
Before getting my food, however, the meal service was disrupted for a short moment when we hit some turbulence at around 10.25pm. Cabin crews pushed the meal trolleys back to the galley, and then went down the aisle meticulously checking that each and every passenger had their seat belts properly fastened.
And then came my meal, at 10.35pm.
Wow! I was surprised by the size of the tray! It was huge.
Menus were not provided so I don’t know exactly what the individual items were. We’ll still take a closer look at the appetiser, main dish and dessert nonetheless.
There were also biscuits, cheese, cookies and a bottle of water separately provided.
Frankly speaking, I didn’t know what meat these were. Turkey bacons? But me being me, I eat almost anything being placed in front of me! The salad was nice!
The main dish consisted of fish and prawns. It was edible but nothing amazing. The veggies tasted boring too, but everything went well with the rice and I finished it in no time.
As much as I always try to finish everything in my meals, this dessert was too sweet and I only managed about two-thirds of it before surrendering.
The main aim for this flight was to sleep. After BA15 (this flight), I still had one more flight to go before arriving at my final destination, Melbourne. While the SYD-MEL hop will take nothing more than 1.5h, my flight for that route was only scheduled to depart at 1400h, which also means I’d have a layover in SYD of about 9 hours. Crazy as it may sound, it was deliberately planned like this because according to my original schedule, if I had arrived too early in MEL, I’d have to wait at the airport till late afternoon before I can leave for town.
However, I endured my desire to fall asleep for a while more so that I could quickly photograph the seat pocket contents.
First, the safety information card. It’s interesting that “Safety on Board” was presented in 7 other languages. But inside the card, there were only English instructions.
The waste bag however was presented thoroughly with a variety of languages.
And this is the High Life magazine.
It was quite late at night already, so I really wasn’t that interested in reading the articles. I flipped quickly to the airline information section.
Some of the information for “flying BA”.
Apparently, a BA Cabin Guide was also necessary, probably because people tend to get confused between what’s the difference between Club Europe and World Traveller. Those names really aren’t very intuitive I’d say.
Anyway, let’s synchronise the cabin names here.
Economy – World Traveller Premium Economy – World Traveller Plus Short-Haul Business – Club Europe Long-Haul Business – Club World Business on LCY Services – Club World London City First – BA Business Class? (Haha! Just kidding…)
Anyway, if you have a fear of flying, BA can assist. But I’m sure many, many experience travellers on this website can provide even better help!
A small section explaining that small handheld electronic devices with flight mode enabled can be used throughout all stages of BA flights. (I can’t help but to think about how Chinese carriers are still restricting the use of mobile phones throughout their flights, even with flight mode enabled…)
This article caught my attention almost immediately! “Flight report?”
I took a look at the BA network as well. But I think I will document the maps in more detail on my next BA flight.
Hmmm… Yeah awards. There’s just too many awards out there.
Another interesting article about the “world’s largest airliners” back then.
With all flight-report-writing formalities done for now, it’s time to sleep! I have 4h before landing, I was hoping for at least 2.5h of sleep.
Time check: 11.13pm (Singapore time). Good night!
Eventually, I managed to get 3h 5mins of sleep and only got awoken by the cabin lights when breakfast was served at 4.19am (Sydney time).
Breakfast was served in a box and drinks were served at the same time. (Sorry for the poor photograph quality!)
Is this the kind of sandwich that Economy passengers get on BA short-haul flights? Personally, I think it was alright. But I can’t remember if I finished eating it.
The flight information updates from the flight deck came at 4.32am, about half an hour before landing.
I packed up my belongings, placed my bag back in the overhead compartment and used the lavatory once more. The cabin was more or less awake with other passengers also preparing for the arrival.
The seatbelt signs were switched on at about 4.46am and safety checks began at 4.55am.
Prior to landing, the cabin crews also sprayed the cabin (in accordance to requirements by local authorities). But I’ve never seen this being done on QF, SQ, MH, EK, TZ, PR and JQ before?
Anyway, another interesting message appeared on the screen prior to landing. Will there really be anyone that desperate to finish his/her movie?
Cabin lights were turned off once again in preparation for landing.
Upon landing, I recorded the announcements made after touchdown. There was some extremely detailed information provided about domestic connections in Australia. Passengers were specifically informed that “baggage will not be automatically delivered onto domestic flights” – a standard protocol in Australia, and many other countries when transiting from international to domestic flights.
The touch down into SYD was extremely smooth, by the way. And we had a short 6-mins taxi to our gate, arriving at 5.13am, 8 minutes after scheduled arrival time.
Thank you for reading about British Airways!
That’s about it for this BA flight. I got off the aircraft quickly and breezed through immigration since there were still very few people. With our flight arriving just 10 minutes after the curfew was lifted, the airport technically just “opened for business” at that time.
Less than 20 minutes after BA15 arrived at the gate, I was already waiting for my bag at the luggage carousel.
This redeye flight has ended. But with 9h of transit time in SYD, my day of travelling/flying continues…
[Signing off from Kaohsiung, Taiwan.]
(To be continued)
This report was completed on 19 May 2016 at 1.01am (UTC+08:00).
The BA World Traveller seat (i.e. Economy class) was actually surprisingly comfortable. It makes me want to try the airline’s Premium Economy one day. But maybe not Business class – unless I don’t have another choice. I liked the highly professional attitudes displayed by cabin crews on this flight. As for BA’s IFE and meal, they are above average and have performed their functions well. Nothing too amazing, but what’s there is there, properly.
The BA lounge is nice. In fact, it feels even nicer to lounge in as compared to the adjacent QF lounge. I do see myself visiting this lounge more often in future, so I promise there will be another opportunity where I will properly review the catering aspect of this lounge. Throughout my stay in the lounge, the washrooms, shower rooms and the lounge as a whole was kept clean.
My score for SIN remains at it is. This time, the early check-in service came into good use again – it’s really something I truly appreciate and hope that more airports can implement.
SYD performed well in terms of its efficiency too!
Thanks for reading and look out for the next part on Qantas’ domestic flight!
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