Like for the previous segment, it was impossible to select a seat before the OLCI because I had BR tickets on SQ flights. This was the cabin’s landscape at OLCI, where many seats were available. True to my habits, I did not keep pre-assigned Seat 40K (a window seat, but overwing), and selected 61K instead: as far from the wing as possible so that it would not be in the frame when taking picture outside, and also as far rear of the aircraft as possible, and therefore the least desirable for passengers who want to leave the aircraft as fast as possible, which meant conversely with the most chances of an empty middle seat. I did not choose one of the twin seats, precisely because they would not have an empty seat next to them if all aisle seats were occupied.
SQ keeps being remarkably terse about the meal to be served on board.
There were few passengers at the luggage drop, but also few open counters. I did not record the time spent, but I did not have the impression of a very fast service.
SQ sets a 7kg in Economy but according to a frequent flyer on SQ, this LCC-like limit is never enforced.
A Merlion (hybrid of a mermaid and a lion), the symbol de Singapore, at the other end of the check-in area.
Going through immigration was very fast ; arrival airside
A floral decoration
There is a small pool and a glass-bottomed balcony which is obviously there for souvenir shots.
Another floral decoration alongside a corridor
You can’t go thirsty in SIN : there are many water fountains like these, where the lower one is accessible to wheelchair handicapped persons and kids alike.
SIN is also an airport where each boarding gate has its own security check, like this one for my flight : this one opened 1h10’ before takeoff, and once you passed it, you are in a relatively limited space without any facilities. It is actually the same as LCC pre-boarding in Europe, and to a European traveler, it gives a distinct LCC ground experience to flying from SIN, be it with SQ or any other airline.
In all airports in the world, taking pictures of security check facilities is forbidden, even though nothing is more standardized than security check facilities. Here, those which are unused because no flight is going to depart from the corresponding gates are ideal for completing your picture book.
No flight was departing from that gate : this was a training session for security check staff
This configuration with security check facilities dedicated to each gate has a major inconvenient for a Flight Reporter : the vast majority of the windows are inaccessible.
And when there is an accessible window which does not require boarding a flight to reach it, there is often something in the way.
This rest area providing a view to the outside could attract plane spotters
Only that the designers seem to have a rule to hamper plane spotters, here with a row of potted plants in front of the window. The said windows are heavily tinted to reduce the power of the air-conditioning: it’s good for the environment, not for plane addicts. (Why did they not use a neutral grey tint ?)
In such a challenging hunting ground, this is the meager result of my hunt. (In all fairness, I should mention that I once found a decent place for plane spotting last time I departed from SIN, but it was not in Terminals C and D.)
Singapore Airlines A330
In the distance, blurred by the hot air, a British Airways A380 hiding a Jetstar A320
Silk Air A319
A large white aircraft emerged from behind these palisades
An entirely white A380: no, this was not of the A380s that MH will dedicate to the transportation of Hajj pilgrims also wearing white clothes.
This was 9V-SKB, the second oldest A380 operated by Singapore Airlines which does not own her: she has been returned to her owner after the expiration of the ten-year lease. Nobody is operating her as of now, hence the white livery.
An aircraft which never flies degrades, so the crew will take her on a one hour flight disclosed later by Flightradar24
GCL-Poly is a Chinese company specialized in renewable energy which their corporate A319CJ parked here.
What can you do once you have exhausted the meager plane spotting after walking miles, when the boarding room is not opened yet ?
I could for instance on one of these seats on the right and recharge my laptop. I note the presence of multistandard power ports: too many international airport managers forget that some passengers are connecting between two flights and do not have an adapter for the local plug standard. This is the case in HKG where the power ports are mercilessly Type G only, inherited like in Singapore from a British colonial past.
SIN is one of these annoying airports where you must have a cell phone with roaming access to connect to the internet, because you must receive a code by SMS.
After going quickly through the security check of my gate, and then a passport check (background, right)
This was the boarding room. Note the steel circles on benches to stop homeless passengers from sleeping there.
The seats next to power ports were monopolized by passengers not using them. Humph…
This gate is compatible with an A380
But there was no view on our aircraft : this A330 was at the next gate.
You probably noticed the green tinge of these pictures : the windows in SIN are heavily tinted green and plane spotters have to do with that. I find this green rendition rather depressing; in this regard, SIN is not the best advertisement for its country.
Air Asia A320, bearing the logo of Charterprime, a brokerage company.
Silk Air 737-800
Bangladesh Airlines 737-800
Singapore Airlines 777-300
Singapore Airlines A350-900
Batik Air A320
Cathay Pacific 777
Singapore Airlines A380
The A380 lifts slowly : contrary to all other aircraft I saw there, I could just see it above this building in the foreground.
Boarding through a jetbridge with carpeting with an elaborate design.
For door addicts (I can barely provide their dose here, but they will have more later)
Headphones placed to the disposal of the passengers
The newspapers offered to the passengers
Entering the second Economy cabin which is still empty
The space in front of the bulkhead seats (picture taken while deplaning)
View towards the rear
And view towards the front
Do these pictures give the impression that the cabin was empty ? It was. Apart from a group inexperienced Chinese travelers who were as noisy as their guide (they were fortunately far from me), there were few passengers in this cabin: I counted around 30 for 117 seats. A FA later told me that there were 150 passengers in Economy on this flight, but they were mostly packed in the first cabin. This was a good example of betting on seats in the rear and winning extra comfort.
This FA helps the Chinese find their seats.
This is Seat 61K
The carpeting was quite worn and dirty, both in the corridor
… and in the aisle
Two controls of the seat back… which I did not try even though I had all freedom to do so in this empty cabin.
The IFE’s remote control is on the side of the armrest : this is a poor design because you can activate it by mistake, especially while sleeping. A usual irritating case is when you are awaken by the light of the screen because you activated it in your sleep.
This remote control was dangling this way when I arrived: this was untidy.
Same comment for this leftover earphones plastic wrapping: it was not dirty, but untidy.
This was not the only problem with aircraft cleaning. The weather had little to do with the greyish appearance of this ANA 787
… and a lot more with the fact that the window was really dirty, as revealed by this handkerchief used to clean it.
The IFE screen is small (6 inches diagonal), but the hardware quality does not matter much when the software is the problem.
The seat’s upholstery did not let the armrest fold up all the way, but that did not hinder passage, or lying on the seats if they were empty.
There is an IFE box at an aisle seat of each set of three : if you have an aisle seat in the center, better be on the right.
The width of the seat between armrests is OK, no more.
The seat pitch, measured from the edge of the seat to the back of the preceding seat, is rather good for a seat in Economy.
But the comfort, ouch! It does not show very well in this picture, but the padding had been crushed by years of usage and you actually sat on two structure beams separating the seat in three thirds.
I did not take much time to decree that I would not stay in that seat during this flight, especially since the cabin was really very empty.
I self-upgraded myself to Seat 60K which was much more comfortable.
I had to disregard the dirty safety belt. Aircraft cleaning was definitely substandard, and well below that of the terminal.
The carpet there too was both worn and dirty.
On the other hand, just one row difference made the seat pitch leap from 27 to 33 cm
… on the condition of sitting on the window seat, because the aisle seat had « only » 29 cm and this 4 cm difference was obvious to the naked eye.
The reason was that this was where the cabin starts narrowing. From Row 60 inclusive, the side three-seat sets are not strictly perpendicular to the plane’s axis: Row 60 is therefore not parallel to Row 59, hence the increased space for the window seat.
SQ’s safety cards are especially verbose
After this detailed cabin and seat check, after I had cleaned the window, I turned to plane spotting before take-off. A light drizzle began unfortunately just after I had cleaned my window, worsening lighting and shooting conditions. Bangkok Air A319
Singapore Airlines A330
The same in her environment
Tiger Air and Scoot merged recently, hence the apparition of Scoot liveries with a tiger tail.
Malaysian Airlines 737
Silk Air 737
ATR72 Firefly, in a livery to which I could not do justice due to the lack of light
Cebu Pacific A330
Air Asia A320
Takeoff under a sky which gave little impression that it was still over an hour to sunset (the advantage that day was that I did not sweat the minute I would set a foot outside).
Arrival of a Scoot A32x with a tiger tail and a yellow nose (yet another livery variant)
Takeoff : the construction area between the airport and the coast on the east side of Singapore
The only program of an IFE that I am interested in is the moving map, and these are the instructions in the in-flight magazine
Travel & Info : there we are
And once there, no matter how many times I tried, when I click on it, I only have the Entertainment menu. It was an obvious software bug; since the flight was going to be nearly entirely over water and then at night, I did not call a FA for a possible reset.
The in-flight magazine provides details well beyond my competencies on the various 777 of SQ’s fleet
The route was successively over a portion of the Malay peninsula covered mostly with endless palm oil plantations which were masked by the clouds, and then over water.
These pictures illustrate the resemblance between an SQ girl and a 21st century Economy seat : not very wide when seen from behind,
… and thinned to the utmost limits when seen sideways, with a slight thickening in the upper part for the resting and visual comfort of the passengers.
This was the meal as served
Two choices for the hot meal : chicken or fish ; I chose the latter which was somewhat had, but OK.
The water capsule was produced for SQ
36g for 45 ml mean an overrun of 80% : not bad, IMO.
Another ice cream which travelled a long way, or at least its ingredients did.
I had of course plenty of space to get rid of my food tray after finishing my meal,
… but I nevertheless indulged in my usual wrapping packing exercise.
For doors and emergency exit fans
Magazines at the disposal of the passengers
There is a water fountain next to the toilets located between the two Economy cabins.
The pictogram above remind passengers that changing a baby’s diapers is a female task, and the recommendation to no throw them (and tampons too) in the toilet is presumably directed at women only.
The usual supplies in the toilets
The SQ girls are used to play hide-and-seek with their colleagues during the flight, using the fact that they are both thin and supple enough to hide behind a trolley.
They kill two birds with a stone by delivering or recovering the meal trays during the game.
Taking so many pictures and measurements did not go unnoticed by a FA who came up to me after the end of the meal service and asked me if I was a Boeing employee, or a competitor’s staff ? He was very friendly in his approach (another Flight Reporter recently reported a very unpleasant experience on an American Airlines flight, where he was questioned at length, and his cell phone was confiscated during the flight and all airport and in plane pictures deleted). No, I was neither, and I told him about Flight Report which interested him. (At this stage in flight, unveiling the fact that I would report this flight would not make a difference – I went so far as to refuse the offer for a drink which could have been offered to any other passenger anyway).
We had a very interesting conversation ; I incidentally mentioned that I always blurred the faces of FAs which happened to appear in my pictures.
But there is no problem in taking pictures of us ; do you want to take a picture of me and one of my colleagues?
We were nearly at the beginning of the descent, and I only cursorily checked my pictures on the spot. Why did this FA give such a stern look? He was every bit as smiling and friendly as his female colleagues during his interactions in the cabin and our chat in the galley!
So we were descending toward BKK, and the cabin lighting was appropriately dimmed.
Only after landing did I realize that we had been put on hold towards the end of the downwind leg.
It was very cloudy
The ground appeared at low altitude
These may be the roads on both banks of the Saen Saep
The successive interchanges north of BKK between expressway #7 and the roads serving BKK
We are in Thai Airways territory, but the night precludes any plane spotting.
The fully lit terminal
Arrival at the terminal next to a China Southern Airlines A321
It was a long walk in one of the branches of the terminal
This exit was not for me this time
Not only I am less than 100 years old, since I flew on SQ whose drop down check-in menu does not accept passengers born before 1918, but I am less than 70 years old, i.e. too young to have any priority. And no, I am not a Buddhist monk either.
My only choice was the standard immigration access. I had terrible memories of spending a full hour there in the middle of the night; the waiting time this time would be “only” twenty minutes, partly because the processing of each passenger seemed exceedingly long, and it was also the case the previous time I landed here.
Arrival in the luggage delivery room
Last bag ? No, not quite
… but I was going to wait only five minutes for my luggage which appeared 39 minutes after the plane had reached a complete stop at her gate: luggage delivery was not very fast.
Going down the lower level to reach the taxi stand, after withdrawing some cash from an ATM.
You must take a ticket from one of these machines, which tells you which taxi to take among some twenty waiting cars. It is considerably more efficient that having a single waiting line of passengers, but requires more walking.
The taxi driver took a minute on the phone to check the destination before leaving.
The arrival at the JW Marriott is part of the first bonus.
Thanks for reading me!
The bedroom is quite usual
I did not try to pretend that I was in Paris at breakfast
The somewhat surprising sofa in front of the entrance
It belongs to this bar and leisure area in the lobby
For relaxation, some go to the hotel’s swimming pool
And others go further in the same direction : Nana Plaza is a complex of strip-tease and pay for play offerings.
The cityscape beyond is an architectural jumble
Traffic jams in Bangkok can be a disaster – I experienced them – and the subway is a valid option.
And you are guaranteed to not travel in the vicinity of durians
On the other hand, since I am too young, in too good health, without a baby now or soon… and without a monk’s clothing, I had to stand in the rush hour.
It was a short stop in Bangkok and the JW Marriott recommended in its thick information folder for its customers (now called « guests » ; I wonder how I should call friends who come to my home without being charged) to remember about the departing flight. I did not find the e-mail address where I could tell Bangkok’s JW Marriott that flight reconfirmation disappeared several decades ago, and that they should now recommend century checking on line.
This vintage 20st century folder was not the least attraction of this hotel.
As a conclusion, I offer you a second bonus on BKK’s Airport Museum.
I had left my hotel at noon (the check-out deadline) and had ample time in BKK once checked in. I went out to take an outside view of the terminal and chanced to see one hundred meters away this Airport Museum. (In case you are curious next time you are in BKK, it is in front of the left third of the terminal in a north-oriented map. It is mentioned on Google Maps if you zoom in enough). I knew that BKK is even worse than SIN for plane spotting, so why not go and have a look?
The welcome was very friendly; the first question asked was how much time I had before boarding. I did not want to be in hurry in the terminal and announced half an hour. I signed in and entered with a guide.
Yes indeed, it is a guided visit, but the role of the guide consists mainly in pushing the start button of several five minutes videos, and also making sure that you will leave on time.
Not only I learnt the meaning of the name Suvarnabhumi (the tones in the Chinese rendition素万那普 do not match those in Thai, but it is nevertheless a decent try)
… but I also had an example of the hagiographic level of the veneration of the late Rama IX in his country.
The first Thai pilots have been trained in France
It was no surprise to see that Suvarnabhumi was a very rural area when the construction was decided
… and was a major construction area thereafter.
Two oversize models constitute the highlight of this museum : the airport’s surroundings
The airport itself is only sketched there
But around it, there are thousands of tri-dimensional buildings
You can have the view of a pilot in final descent to BKK (not correctly aligned with any runway, in this picture)
The other model is the airport itself, with of course no lack of aircraft in local liveries
A Thai Airways in vintage livery is present as well as a TG A380
I could not refrain from mentioning this Eva Air Hello Kitty777
Several models had a small balance and gluing problem.
I had a small doubt on the realism of this Cargolux 747 next to the terminal’s gates
The access roads
Another view with the control tower
A smaller model shows a cutout of the terminal, with the Departures level
And the Arrivals level
An additional terminal is planned for the future, to be connected with the existing terminal by a people mover
I hope you liked this visit; thanks for your comments!
Singapore - SIN
Bangkok - BKK
The cabin of this 772 betrayed her age (I did not check, but she probably was among those which entered revenue service around 2002) : a badly worn and stained carpet, an uncomfortable seat because of crushed padding, with outdated IFE screen with bugged software. Poor cleaning of the aircraft did not help : the initial impression after boarding was that of a second tier airline operating vintage second hand aircraft with minimal budget for on-ground services.
SQ’s hard product was below standards on this flight, but on the other hand the soft product was top level. The meal was good and plentiful. I wish to the FA with whom I chatted that his management will read this report and my satisfaction about his services (and that of his colleagues on this flight): the excellence of SQ’s FAs is no news, but is re-validated at each flight.
The taxi ride to SIN was fast and cheap; taking the MRT would have been taken more time, but would have been even cheaper yet comfortable : SIN’s accessibility is excellent.
The fluidity at immigration and at the security check were excellent, it was decent at check-in. I penalize the obligation of receiving a SMS to have access to the internet, and indirectly the meager possibilities of plane spotting through heavily tinted windows.
I had very bad memories of BKK’s immigration ; the waiting time was tolerable with time, but nevertheless more than hoped for in a non-peak traffic time slot. The taxi ride to a hotel located somewhat on the airport side of the city took a reasonable amount of time. The connection to the internet in the terminal was fast, and there was no need to receive a SMS.
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