"Are you aware that you're living in the Mecca of good fares?"…. This was a comment posted by Pititom on my first report here. Well, I had no idea about how low the prices can be out of CMB…… until I booked this trip!
Being a small island nation with very little domestic aviation activity and holding on to a travel document ranked among "the worst 10 passports in the world", flying is a rarity for Sri Lankans unless you are sent on a business/official trip or study/work abroad. As for me, my goal is to complete at least one leisure flying trip to a new destination per year! Obviously you first eye on the visa free countries closer to you, which are only a handful in my case. Luckily, Indonesia opened up their borders for 160+ countries for tourism purposes including Sri Lanka. Ever since then I was so eager to plant my foot on Indonesian soil.
After a successful trip to "the valley of the gods" (Himachal Pradesh) in late 2016, I was again hunting for prices, this time it is for "the island of the gods". Then my mind suddenly started to tell me something, "Thurya, you are always looking for novelty. Why don't you change your flight class as well?". "Nah, it is out of my budget." I replied back!, but there is no harm in searching, right? When I put my dates and hit the search button on singaporeair.com my jaw just dropped! The price for J class for the given dates was merely USD 60 over the economy price and it came to a total around USD 440!!! Is this real or am I having a dream??? Still feeling suspicious I started dig more to see what what's going on. There was a little catch!!! SQ started their second flight to Colombo recently which only operates on Wed,Thu and Sat. Soon they switched this service to SilkAir, the less fancy regional arm of Singapore Airlines. For the given price I had to use this flight for the first segment and the rest of the flights were operated by SQ, so I get to see the business class of two airlines which even great! Then I was given a choice of 50 mins (minimum transfer time at SIN) or an overnight stay to transfer from the first flight to the second. Owing to the great record of both SQ and SIN, I chose the first option. Anyway after few days from the booking, SQ informed me via SMS and e-mail that second flight's scheduled departure is changed so I will have 1 hr 15 min transfer time :)
The itinerary is as follows :
1. CMB SIN - MI427 - 08 Jul 2017 - Boeing 737-800 - You are here 2. SIN DPS - SQ948 - 08 Jul 2017 - Airbus A330-300 3. DPS SIN - SQ943 - 11 Jul 2017 - Airbus A330-300 4. SIN CMB - SQ468 - 11 Jul 2017 - Airbus A330-300
I reached the airport just three and half hours before the departure. No traffic since it was a public holiday.
After the first security check, you have to go through a corridor with few banks and shops. It was under renovation.
The old school FIDS which I love!
At the security check just before check-in I was told to wait and be seated on the waiting area as the check-in counters are yet to open. They normally open sharp before 3 hrs from the departure time, so I had about 10 mins to wait.
As soon as it was 8:05 I went past the security check and on to the check-in area.
Business Class Check-in Desk of MI/SQ. I had already checked-in online, it was matter of dropping bags and getting the boarding passes which was done in two minutes time.
Towards immgration behind Oman Air crew.
Immigration was a quick and friendly affair, I was airside in no time.
Before going anywhere, its time to go to my favourite place in the whole airport!
Not much activity on this apron.
I had ample time so started to wander around the terminal a bit.
Special seating area for Clergy.
Time for some breakfast and relaxation!!!
The proposed Terminal 2. YET to begin construction work!
The single pier at the airport.
"Araliya" is the business class lounge at Colombo contracted by many foreign airlines which is located in the pier.
Apart from SriLankan Airlines, Emirates is the only other airline to operate a dedicated lounge here. There was an EK uniformed crew sitting at the front desk of Araliya Lounge which made me wonder. It turned out to be that EK lounge is under renovation so those pax are also sent here.
Newspapers… Sorry I couldn't take any pictures of the seating area.
Desktops are available with internet if you need 'em.
Models on display.
The buffet area. Breakfast was served at the time I went there. There was a selection of hot and cold dishes. Limited selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages were also available.
My fusion breakfast :D The diamond shaped item is a traditional Sri Lankan breakfast dish called "Kiribath". It is made with rice cooked in coconut milk. Usually eaten with Sri Lankan chillie sambal or some sort of a curry. Beware! Its on the heavy side. Even one piece can make you start feeling sleepy!!
WY372 to Muscat pushing back.
There is a shower room also in this lounge. I didn't try it so have no idea about the condition.
FR24 showed that my flight is arriving on time. Decided to have a coffee before leaving.
Oh, there she is!
The guestbook! It had some funny comments, both negative and positive!!
The gate was few feet away from the lounge. The final security check is done here like in SIN and KUL.
The young 9V-MGN will be taking us to Singapore today.
Dedicated seating area for the J class pax.
Boarding started around 10.40 am with priorities respected. There were two or three families with little kids and they were given the chance to board first followed by biz class.
A very familiar face at CMB.
My seat today will be 1A!
Water, Orange Juice and Apple Juice were served as pre-departure beverages. I chose Apple Juice.
Leg space at the bulkhead.
Bulkhead pocket items.
Portable IFE device offered in J Class for flights over 2hrs. The content is streamed through wifi. In economy, IFE is streamed to your own device which can be view via their app.
Hot towels were presented before takeoff.
The menu was shown and taken away after you make your choice. Not a fan of pasta dishes, but my instincts told me to chose it over the Indian option.
Pushback started with a few mins of delay. The flight is full today.
The overhead displays couldn't show the safety video thus it was manually performed by the crew. The female crew uniform is a short black skirt with bright coloured blouse in contrast to the traditional sarong kebaya of Singapore girl.
Taxiing. 4R-ABO of UL with oneworld livery is taking off before us to the same destination.
View of the airport!
Sri Lanka is rich with water resources. This is such a reservoir called "Rantambe".
Another smaller reservoir.
Turned on IFE. The selection is limited. Couldn't find the flight path programme either!
"Senanayake Samudraya", the largest reservoir in Sri Lanka. Located just near the east coast.
Leaving the east coast…
A pre-meal drink service started as just as we left the coast. Mixed nuts with a pine apple juice. Alcoholic drinks were also offered but decided not to take any.
Overhead screen showing movies / tv programmes.
Linen was laid and it was time for lunch.
Appetizer : Oriental Spicy Black Fungus Salad. Good but little bit overwhelmed with soy sauce.
Main : Shell Pasta with Seafood Ragu in Lemon Cream Sauce. It was delicious!
Dessert : Almond Peach Crumble. Great dessert, not too sweet but bit heavy.
Tables cleared and it was time for some coffee. But the crew apologized as hot drinks can't be served due to turbulence. The weather in this long sector over the Indian Ocean is turbulent most of the time and today is no different.
No coffee doesn't mean no chocos!
Finally the seat belt sign switched off and the crew distributed coffee.
Another hot towel was given in the meantime. We were approaching Sumatra.
On to the strait of Malacca, and KLIA is visible in the distance.
Just as we started descent, the captain informed us that due to congestion we have been put on a holding pattern. ETA was given as 6.00pm. I began to feel little bit uneasy as I had a tight connection.
BA15 from LHR doing the same routine as us.
After circling over south of Singapore near Batam, landing procedure commenced.
We landed at 6.08pm with a delay of 38 mins.
QF35 from Melbourne with A333 VH-EBV in oneworld livery. It was just passing 4R-ABO with same livery, came ahead of us from Colombo.
Here is 4R-ABO.
The famous "bikini" airline of Vietnam.
The BA 777 which was circling with us has also landed just behind.
Towards Pier F in the terminal 2.
We were parked at Gate F60 next to a Tigerair A320. They will be absorbed to Scoot in two weeks time.
One more look at the seat before leaving the aircraft.
I had about 30 mins for the next departure. There were another three passengers from J cabin trying to catch the same flight. So we hoped someone will be waiting for us at the jet bridge but we only found this notice.
There was one lady guiding passengers to Delhi flight. She casually informed us to go to Gate E28. OK!!! May be the flight is further delayed! So I started walking without much urgency. Wait! E28!!! We are at F60, at the end of Concourse F and E28 is the last gate of Concourse E. Time to burn some calories you put on 40000ft above ground!
Colombo - CMB
Singapore - SIN
SilkAir exceeded my expectations in this flight. You don't get the SQ touch here but everything was done efficiently and cabin crew did it with all smiles. Lounge at Colombo was ok! In flight catering was great. IFE was the only department disappointed me. Late arrival made my connection tight but eventually it was fine. I have no problem flying with MI in this sector again.
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