The subway ride from door to door took exactly the same time as in Paris when there is no incident (but we had incidents each way in Paris), more or less the same distance, but it cost 1.84 SGD, i.e. eight times less than the 10 EUR fare in Paris.
Arrival in the departures hall in SIN Terminal 3, with a ceiling decorated with soundproofing panels
The BP obtained one line specified that check in was until ETD-90’, versus ETD-60’ on QR’s website and also at the airport. I decided to play it safe and added safety margins to manage improbable transportation glitches which did not occur. The result was that we were of course much earlier than needed: it was ETD-120’ when we arrived here, where the waiting time was all the more limited that the staff at the J/Elite counters processed the Y passengers too, rather than doing nothing (I have patronized many airports where the ground staff would do nothing rather than serve passengers).
The Marathons’ suitcase had taken on weight during tht vacation, less because of souvenirs and more because in that direction, we had no need for essentials in case the checked suitcase had missed the connection, and only fragile / precious / forbidden in the hold items deserved being in our hand luggage.
QR grants a 30kg checked luggage quota in Economy, which meant that even thought this suitcase was officially heavy, it was no problem. Our hand luggage suitcase was weighted too, but the check-in staff did not bother to check the weight of the laptop case (unlike in CDG). “It is always lightweight”, she said, but it was actually packed with two laptops and magazines and was slightly above the meager 7 kg limit for a hand luggage.
There were virtually nobody left when we left with these BPs in hand. The yellow envelope for the connecting flight’s BPS is a short connection indicator (1h15’, nearly the same as on the way in), but it appeared useless in DOH.
The green wall and the palm trees which dominate the luggage delivery facilities.
SQ displays their Y, Y+ and J seats of their A350s
But it was not possible to test the comfort there:)
We had nothing special to do landside and went directly to the immigration controls
The opinion of the Marathons who took different lines was unanimous :
… on all criteria, the most smiling smiley was justified, with a bonjour in French at the sight of our passports and a very natural looking smile, and all that without any waste of time.
A playground with a slide several meters high : that is serious business !
Some plane spotting with SQ aircrafts Arrival of an MH 738
An SQ A380
… with one reactor undergoing maintenance
A departing A380
Arrival of the QR A350, seen here above the reactor #4 of the A380
Seats with multistandard power ports
Internet access station, to be used for free, but standing only, with twenty minute renewable sessions
They provided me an opportunity to display the front page of Flight Report which had shifted to Revision 3 since our arrival in Singapore.
Water fountains for adults and kids (or wheelchair handicapped persons)
From a distance, the baby care room appeared open to men
But I had a doubt when I reached the door.
I diregarded the ambiguity of the pictogram to show you these facilities.
The toilets were spotlessly clean
And deserve the most smiling smiley
Mrs Marathon liked these flowers alongside a corridor
If you forgot that a boarding ax in your hand luggage is not accepted when boarding a plane, this facility can send it for you.
Arrival of the crew of our flight at the safety check, which in SIN is dedicated to each group of gates. The only facilities beyond are the toilets.
Apart from a flight to Jakarta which was to close after the breathless arrival of the last passengers, this was the only flight here, which meant that the vast space was really empty.
Some internet stations, which provided me an opportunity to display flight reports that I recommend you;)
How about power ports ? No, there was none near the boarding gates. I had to go all the way in the far end of this panoramic view, on the right, to find some
No multistandard power ports : the ports were Type G only.
The baby care room, also for female use
A320 Jetstar, just above the winglet of the A350
The very unusual design of the A350 windshield
Priority boarding of J/Elite passengers : only four showed up.
Next was the time of the Economy passengers who were really few. This picture of the bar in the middle of the J cabin got me a kind smile of the FAs who proposed to take a picture of me there. I am not a selfie collector, but I appreciated their gesture
We had been nearly first to board, in a nearly empty plane
The considerable volume of the overhead luggage bins makes it possible to place standard hand luggage on their thinner edge, but the low load ratio made that useless.
See : the central luggage bins remained unused, because there weren’t any passengers in the central seats. This passenger, among the last boarding, had a window seat passenger in the wrong row move to her correct seat. A rather meaningless change…
For this A350 was marginally more loaded than the DOH-SIN flight ten days earlier : 95 passengers versus 77, or 30% of the seat capacity. A QR FA confirmed it to me with a slightly embarrassed smile: all the flights on the DOH-SIN line are very empty. For that line, an A319LR would do (in capacity and autonomy), but QR has only one in their fleet, and a longish flight in a small single aisle aircraft might deter customers even more.
Both QR and EK operate three daily flights with twin aisle aircraft : there is an obvious glut on the market for flights connecting in the Gulf from SIN.
The deep headrests which keep the head from falling aside during sleep.
The seat pitch, measured this, was 27cm from the magazine pocket to the front edge of the seat.
And a comfortable 45 cm width between armrests
A reminder of the seat number on the IFE remote control for passengers who did not read correctly the traditional overhead seat numbers.
The folding tray table which was nothing revolutionary
The blocks of three seats on the window side have only two supports : the tubing on the aisle side is there only to keep the luggage placed under seat from straying from their space.
The seat’s reclining limit was quite symbolic
I hope that the cleaning staff will abide by this recommendation, engraved on the outside window (I inverted the picture to make it legible).
The safety car both sides
A man was in the shade of the wing.
He later went out the sun drenched tarmac. What was the use of an armed policeman there ?
Some plane spotting through the window before the pushback. Air Asia A320
Batik Air A320
Shanghai Airlines A330
I wished I could have boarded this CI A330 heading back to TPE ;)
Two Jet Airways 738 following each other
This was the second one
Mrs Marathon liked the design of the accessory holding the hair of the female FAs.
They do not hesitate to help place luggage in the overhead bins.
A very short prayer (less than ten seconds ?) in Arabic
The the safety demonstration, made in a humorous manner on a soccer them, in English and then in Arabic.
A spectator on the bleachers of a stadium shows the use of the whistle of the life jacket
Why the hell did the referee blow his whistle ?
You can understand why it is recommended to wait until you are out of the plane to inflate your life jacket
Some more plane spotting during taxiing, with an SQ 777 in Star Alliance livery
The Batik Air A320 seen previously just after her landing
787 Scoot (a LCC subsidiary of SQ), and a TNT 747 freighter in the background
A series of SQ rgoup aircraft
The screen on the bulkhead separating both Y cabins shows the image of the front camera.
An Air Asia A320 was landing Runway 02C
There she was on the ground after we had taken off from Runway 02L
An ANA 787 seen shortly before
Overall view of SIN’s terminals
The technical installation beyond the terminals
The runways end close to the shore
Pulau Urbin, an island belonging to Singapore which has remained undeveloped. Beyond, this is Malaysia.
Steel and possibly oil factories on the Malaysian side
Meanwhile, with the dedication of a Flight Reporter’s spouse, Mrs Marathon recorded the best shots provided by the ventral camera.
She provided me this picture of the causeway linking Singapore and Johor Bahru,
…and the straits between Singapore and Malaysia.
And also the image of the camera from the top of the vertical stabilizer
The characteristic six finger hand shape of the Sultan Iskander water reservoir.
The straits between Singapore and the left and Malaysia on the right, after image enhancement.
A paper menu was distributed on this flight, whereas the choice of hot meals was simply announced by the FAs during the service on the CDG<>DOH flights.
The outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, with and without image processing.
In the lower corner of this picture, the runway of Subang Airport (the Kuala Lumpur domestic airport).
In the immediate vicinity, Avenue Persiaran Balairong with Avenue Persiaran Singhasana run three quarters of a full circle, making them an easily recognizable landmark from the sky.
The localization provided by the air show was curiously shifted time- and space-wis: the plane was represented here 20 km north-east of Subang airport, which is slightly top left of the P in Petaling Jaya (the new satellite city of Kuala Lumpur).
I don’t think that the plane was 35 km from these islands, located south-east of Kelang.
The exact location did not matter : this was the time for lunch, brought this way.
The label confirms that I chose the lamb tajine, which was good.
I actually chose lamb only because my wife chose the chicken and noodles.
To the health of Flight Report, version 3 !
When she saw me take this picture, or rather this series of multiple picture tries, a FA proposed to take me with my camera.
The drinks on the trolley, with the smiling complicity of the FAs. This was really one of the crews most open to the photography of every single detail of the aircraft that I had had in the past years.
The good news were that this cake contained few calories. The bad news was that it did not contain much chocolate either. I was not far from suspecting the use of much cheaper artificial coloring.
I was impressed by the linguistic skills of Mrs Marathon who asked for a can of a drink whose name I am totally unable to read.
Nature abhors a vacuum, and we used the empty seat in our row to store our loose stuff
This suggestion appeared for a few seconds at a time at repeated intervals. She needed to be fast, but this an admirable determination of a Flight Reporter’s spouse, Mrs Marathon kept trying until she could recommend you to remain seated will praying on board.
The home page which had not changed on most IFE screens betrayed the very low load ratio.
The toilets were quite standard, but there was a discreet colored lighting at the bottom of the furniture. Note the used syringe container in the center.
Could using a cell phone perturbate the operation of the flush ?
Airlines became smoke-free around the year 2000, but a Flight Reporter taught me that the presence of ashtrays remains compulsory, possibly to make it possible to safely extinguish the cigarette of an offender.
The cabin moodlighting (it was not mandatory to close the window shields)
There was a decent movie offering ; note the indication of the remaining flight time and the flight number : it was reassuring to have the confirmation that we had left SIN and were heading to DOH),
…. but both the initial advertising and the poor sound quality discouraged me to watch a James Bond movie. I am definitely no movie fan when in flight .
But I kept an eye from time to time on Titanic watched by the passenger seating in the row ahead …
… and saw that this was the most explicit scene left by QR’s censors.
The alarm clock had rung very early in our hotel room, and the day was going to be a very long one, but Guanyin had been merciful to us : thanks to the very low load ration, we had two hours of sleep, each in a full flat 144 cm long bed on a central 3 seat row. This was a rare case where I felt slightly too tall for perfect comfort in an aircraft, but I was not going to complain about being able to actually choose which 3 seat row I would use for sleeping !
What did this wrap received after our siesta contain ? Like on the previous flight, the box did not provide any information, apart the fact that I had chosen the vegetarian option and that it had been made in Turkey.
Mrs Marathon’s reprobation, followed by shock and eventual resignation did not deter me from doing a vivisection of my wrap which probably contained mostly spinach and sorrel. I apologize for the lack of decency of this food porn.
It was much better than on the way in, whereas the chicken one chosen by my wife was somewhat stodgy.
Water and fruit juice was available in the galley, but the FAs came several times through the cabin to propose them to the passengers.
India’s western coast
Arrival in view of Oman’s coast, south of Muscat
These were some of the many means of knowing where we were with the air show.
My camera’s autofocus had such a hard time in such a featureless desert that I took this picture in manual mode.
The dryness of the air was so dry and the uniformity of the landscape are highlighted by the dark line in the top third of this picture, which is simply the shadow of our plane’s contrails.
The characteristic winglet of the A350
The FAs started preparing the cabin for the descent. A colored lighting which remained discreet because the natural light was so strong.
Details of the overhead panel ; note the smartphone in the pictograms
I may be picky, but the air show did not display the projected route, and simply drew a straight line to the destination.
A partially built artificial peninsula at the northern edge of the new city of Lusail.
The end of Pearl Boulevard
The passengers on the other side could see this marina – I took this picture on the way in
The Isola Dana string of artificial islands
The one on the left below has been built, but most of them are still bare standardized artificial land.
Clearly marked wrecks
These pictures of the front camera on the IFE have been taken by Mrs Marathon
Touchdown at 13 :11 local time : the flight was perfectly on time
Plan spotting during the short taxi was limited to this 788
And this A340 at the terminal
Going briefly through the J cabin, shortly after the final stop since there were so few passengers before us.
What happened next belongs to the FR of the last flight of this trip, and you can skip the ensuing tourist bonus if you are not interested in Singapore’s architecture.
The architects who worked in Singapore have sometimes a hard time drawing straight lines, like here in Reflexions at Keppel Bay, a luxury residential complex located alongside the bay of the historic harbor of Singapore.
Or the towers on Beach Road, designed by Foster & Partners
And when they have plain rectangular building blocks, they have a hard time not making a jumble out of them, like here at The Interlace, another residential complex out of the beaten path of architecture.
At 25 SGD (15 EUR) each, these fruit juice glasses were by far the most expensive we drank in our vacation, but they deserved the view,
Or more accurately, they were offered with the view from the viewing platform on top of the One Raffles Place building, which justified the price tag
The One Raffles Place is one of the tallest buildings in Singapore, where there is a 280 m height limit on most of the country because of the proximity of the airports and airbases.
You have recognized the unique silhouette of the Marina Bay Sands hotel (and casino in front)
This hotel is famous for its infinity pool which provides a spectacular view on the heart of the city, but it is for guests only.
But if you balked at the price of the rooms there, you can go to the Skypark located on the daring cantilevered end of the building. The ticket is somewhat cheaper than at One Raffles Place (23 SGD vs. 25 SGD, but the view is less too). On the other hand, the One Raffles Place viewing platform is accessible until 5 pm only : the view at dusk and night is reserved to the clients of the restaurants, whose prices are on par with that of the fruit juice.
This open corolla at the foot of the Marina Bay Sands is that of the Art Science Museum which accommodates temporary exhibits.
The Louis Vuitton Island Maison (sic), the leading facility of this brand in Singapore which must have cost a bundle to LVMH.
There is a perfect 360° vista from this terrace, especially at noon : since Singapore is only a few degrees north of the equator,the sun at the zenith guarantees perfect lighting conditions in any directions. Better bring a hat to protect yourself from the sun, but on a weekday, we felt like on a private (albeit costly) terrace where we were completely by ourselves.
There are many noteworthy buildings in the immediate vicinity of this ideally located viewpoint.
In the foreground below, the buildings of the immense and remarkable of the Asian Civilizations Museum.
The Victoria Theater and concert hall
The twin concert hall and theater of Esplanade - Theater on the Bay have been compared to two oversized durians… and criticized for their 600 million SGD construction cost.
The metal flower on the top of the Capita Green building
The lines for turning right at the foot of the tower.
The housing high rises built by the HDB (Housing Development Board) , a government agency which can be credited for the elimination of the slums and overcrowded shophouses where the lower classes of the population of Singapore was packed fifty years ago.
The cranes in the distance are a reminder that Singapore’s opulence owes mostly to the strategic location and efficiency of its deep water harbor.
In the center, the very narrow shophouses of Chinatown, whose typical architecture has been preserved.
This long white structure is the canopy of the pedestrian Nankin Road, which protects passers-by from the heat of the sun (and of the monsoon rains).
In the foreground, the gopuram of Sri Mariamman Temple, oriented in a different direction from the grid pattern of the streets of Chinatown.
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple was built in 2005-2007 in a neo-Tang Dynasty (7th -8th century) style. The rooms inside are marvels up to the importance of the relic coming from Burmese pagoda.
On the left, the new building of the Supreme Court, whose flying saucer top symbolizes its preeminence above all other powers. The Supreme Court was previously housed in the building on the right, where the National Gallery – a wonderful museum of art – was opened in the end of 2015.
From its terrace (where access is free, unlike the viewpoints mentioned earlier), there is an admittedly lower, but nevertheless interesting view.
The durians of Theaters on the Bay
The Marina Bay Sands, dominating theArt Science Museum on the left and the Louis Vuitton Island Maison in the center.
The jetty built to provide more and better viewing space of the Merlion, the mermaid-lion hybrid which has become the symbol of Singapore.
There it is from the there. The One Raffles Place is the narrow white triangular building in the background center.
The St Andrew Cathedral is very accessible, but it is impossible to take satisfactory overall pictures from the ground level because of the trees which surround it.
Nobody calls the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus Middle Education School that way: it now goes under its acronym CHIJMES, pronounced like “chimes”. This former convent has been converted into a fashionable and pleasant set of shops and restaurants.
The restored chapel can be rented for wedding ceremonies.
The 165 m tall Singapore Flyer was the world’s tallest Ferris wheel when it was inaugurated in 2008. The consensus on the internet is that the view during the 30 minute ride is not worth the rather expensive ticket, and the first operator went bankrupt in 2013.
The Ferris wheel dominates the floating scene and the multicolored bleachers of The [email protected] Bay. Singapore’s Formula 1 circuit passes in front of this bleachers.
The air conditioned cabins of the Singapore Flyer, in front of an SQ 777 SQ
She was landing in Changi (SIN) of course, not on the runway of Paya Lebar airbase, which was Singapore’s international airport until 1980.
After this 360° tour of the city center which brought us back to aviation, it is time to reach the conclusion. Thanks for reading me all the way to here!
Singapore - SIN
Doha - DOH
With three daily flights, competing with three daily EK flights on the Gulf transit routes, the market is not enough to fill QR’s brand new A350s on the Singapore line. This translates into exceptional travel conditions for the passengers in these empty aircraft.
QR’s FAs are also among the best on that line, based on my statistically irrelevant sample of two flights only. I kept finding the IFE navigation unnatural and confusing, and the audio –video offering somewhat disappointing. On the other hand the air map makes maximum use of the good screen, with crisp pictures, a lot of flexibility and excellent touch screen response times. The catering was also slightly below expectations.
All in all, it was nevertheless an excellent flight, much better than my expectations before starting this trip,thanks to the comfort of this grand new aircraft and cabin, magnified by it being empty, and the excellence of the crew.
Changi was up to its reputation for excellence when departing too. That the flight as empty and that plane spotting was possible from the boarding room made the dedicated safety check arrangement tolerable – I usually dislike that. The only tiny reproach was that it is a long (but reliable and comfortable) subway ride to the airport.
The grades of DOH will be explained in the FR of the connecting DOH-CDG flight : the transit was efficient, but the comfort was less than what could be expected in a brand new airport of a rich country.
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