Report #24: 3K247 - Cheapest lounge access opportunity in Singapore SIN
This will be my report on flying Jetstar Asia economy class from Singapore to Surabaya, a short haul international flight within SE Asia and yet another Singapore - Indonesia shuttle flight (for what it's worth, this is the 15th of such report from me). Despite the flight being on Jetstar, this report includes a review of the SATS Premier Lounge at terminal 1 thanks to admission fee promotion. I am also working on making my pre-departure reviews easier to read, so feel free to let me know if it has got any improvement.
Since I didn't go back home on semester holiday, I asked my parents for the possibility to return home for Chinese new year, and even suggested flying between Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta with excruciatingly long combined overland trips between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur as well as Jakarta to my hometown to cut costs. After some challenging negotiations, I ended up flying direct between Singapore and Surabaya, which consisted of:
- Singapore - Surabaya by Jetstar Asia with SATS Premier lounge access (you are here), and - Surabaya - Singapore by Garuda with upgrade bid (let's hope it get through so I can be the first to review their business class on the route; to be announced).
I also bought paid, standalone access to SATS Premier Lounge, which costed me only S$24 (US$18) thanks to the promotion using SATS' own app. I don't value lounge access highly, but S$24 for no strings attached lounge visit in Singapore (no Priority Pass for now, thanks to student budget, but even so my parents aren't a fan of it either) represented a decent deal.
Trip to Singapore SIN and check-in
In Singapore we can eat really well on a budget, so I decided to have some satay as my mood called fit for dinner after a meeting.
After my dinner I decided to go to the airport by bus and electric train.
I then arrived at the airport train station.
Since I was looking to get a sip of the free Singapore Sling I decided to reach the departure area from terminal 3. Note the Chinese new year decorations still present.
Some Sanrio characters, which came up to me as cute.
The departure area, which looked crowded. I was denied entry using my mobile boarding pass there since everybody must depart from the correct terminal (except Singapore where I could enter from terminal 3 despite departing from terminal 2).
I proceeded to the terminal 1, and more works on the check-in rows were made.
Under that, even traditional airlines (i.e. those not reliant on self-service kiosks) will have their counters changed to the more compact one.
On the terminal 1, I was initially also denied entry with the boarding pass scanner showing a warning of me being too early. I then retreated to the Starbucks downstairs to do some of my works.
The self-service boarding pass, which was flimsy as ever.
Since I would rather not sit on a middle seat, I decided to go to the service counter to change my seat to a window one, which was also done in a minute.
To add to the Chinese new year festivities, they have envelopes traditionally used to give money to relatives but with Jetstar being Jetstar it's orange instead of red.
The self-service boarding pass was taken and torn, and a new one issued, which feature a more decent stock paper and seat selection.
The departure area. After I got my boarding pass checked, I got selected for a quick bag check and after that I was off to the automated immigration counter.
Singapore SIN transit area
The automated immigration gates from the inside.
Cuteness overload spotted.
As expected, the terminal 1 was mostly dead on midnight.
The interterminal people mover station seemed to undergo some minor facelift.
The terminal 2 was also quiet ….
Except for the inbound immigration.
I decided to be a zombie for that night and return to my favourite place to do some more work.
My sister had unfortunately asked me to buy some potato chips, so I queued to get some for her (were it not for that I would sleep at the rest area instead). After that, I slept very poorly at the same spot.
As expected at terminal 2, the views were mostly of Singapore's group's planes, although I also got to see United's 787 closer later on.
With my booking time approaching, I then proceeded to terminal 1 to go to the lounge. Naturally, what follows will be my review of the lounge.
Lounge test: SATS Premier Lounge at Terminal 1
The entrance looked rather cold.
I then proceeded to the sole reception staff, who at first was confused when I showed my booking on their app, after which I showed the invoice. She then asked me to send the invoice to her email address as I didn't bring a hard copy and copied my boarding pass before I was let in.
A narrow, bland walkway led to the lounge.
The lounge was fitted with normal sofa and massage chairs.
More seats with partitioned areas to be reserved as needed, but the lounge was very open, which I disliked. I also saw the lack of power plugs on most sofas, which wasn't a good sign.
Seats outside the partitioned area.
There were even more seats inside.
Personal-sized benches and private booths, which I opted as they offered better privacy and more power plugs (2 for each seat).
There were several areas, so I will cover them as appropriate - like my other lounge tests this will be the longer one. On the first hot dishes section, Western-styled breakfast options were available.
The other all day offerings there were just starch.
Meal test round 1. The Western-styled breakfast was ordinary and I hated how they had frittata instead of some ordinary egg-based dishes (ex.: scrambled egg). Their fried rice and noodle was better though nothing spectacular, and I appreciated the meat/starch balance there.
The second hot dishes section feature vegetable bun and radish cake (usually called as carrot cake in Singapore).
Soup consisted of some lotus root soup, which I took from the first section.
Second meal test. The vegetable bun was disastrous as it was mostly bun with very few vegetable inside, while the lotus root soup consisted of, well, lotus root and red dates (I had been accustomed to one with meat, hence the disdain). You also didn't get the smell from the wok in the carrot cake, though at least there was a lot of egg there and was quite flavourful.
SATS' sole "live" station was the noodle station, which that time featured rice noodle with fish balls in chicken broth. In fact, the station was weird because: - An elderly staff was working the station instead of it being self-serve as intended, but - The manner it was served was unlike any proper live station since it was just blanching noodles and adding broth.
The fourth section consisted of mostly a very basic selection of salads and breads.
Later on during lunch period they would add pineapple and cheese selections.
Cakes were also available for dessert.
Back to the third section, there were some quick meal selections.
Espresso-based coffee, tea, and drinking water was available - with that, they also didn't offer bottled waters to go (especially that SIN have their security at the gate).
I expected their alcoholic drinks to be basic, but this is a very basic one by SIN standard. There seemed to be very few people drinking in fact I opened a new bottle of wine.
They also provided some wine pairing suggestions.
I had forgot to take a photo of the drinks selection in the fridge, but it offered some soft drinks, juices, and Tiger beer (all in can).. Beer lovers may rejoice that there were chilled glasses inside, but other than that it wasn't that noteworthy.
Third round meal test. The rice noodle was ordinary and unbalanced, while the wine was drinkable. Note the plates beside, which wasn't cleared quickly. It would be quite a while after the third lounge test that the plates were cleared, which was unsatisfactory.
Fourth (and final) round meal test after the cheese plates were out. It was ordinary, but I still opted for some additional packs of camembert cheese to have for my flight.
A corporate shot.
Continuing to the shower, the room itself looked clean and didn't see much usage but the floor felt soapy when I stepped on it especially after shower.
Amenities were available in the drawers, which consisted of dental kit and comb.
Shower was typical of a contract lounge, and while the temperature was stable they can improve the water flow, which was too slow to my liking.
The best view from the lounge was a blocked view of the arrival immigration.
There were more people inside when I left, but it still stood at less than 10 (when I entered there were only 3 guests)
Lounge test verdict and departure
The lounge isn't spectacular (nothing like The Private Room) with barely any view and slow service, but it was well worth the cost if you are mostly into working in a quiet space and getting some quick meals. Had the price been any higher (i.e. back to the normal price) I would prefer having a decent meal downtown before and find some space outside the lounge (which was quite quiet as well) to work.
I proceeded to my gate.
FIDS of the afternoon, showing my flight on gate C26.
That calls for walking right to the end of the pier, which wasn't pleasant especially with a couple heading to the same gate blocking the walkway (we walk quite fast in Singapore, yet we're accustomed to stand on one side of the walkway or escalator and walk on the other).
At least there was Fiji's A330 to Nadi.
The gates between the piers were rather empty.
At last I managed to reach the gate.
The gate was only used for the flight, so it was rather empty.
Security was painfully slow and took me 8 minutes to clear.
I decided to top up my empty can of drink with water.
Boarding was slow at 1 1/2 minutes, and the staff didn't respond to my question on the load for the flight.
I then proceeded to the aerobridge.
There were also some queue, exacerbated by the rather full overhead bin.
After 2 minutes from joining the queue again I managed to go into the plane.
The first row seats, with those on the left side having infinite legroom while those on the right side doesn't need to directly face the FA.
I went further in to my seat and since the overhead bin was quite full I needed to stow one of mine 7 rows behind and the other (which is my larger backpack with 15.6" laptop inside) under my seat,
The slimline seat had slightly better legroom, but the benefit was annihilated with my laptop bag below.
The safety card was there.
In-flight dining, which I didn't bother due to its outrageous price, and in-flight magazine was present.
The Chinese new year-special meal combo, which at S$18 (US$13.5) was outlandishly expensive.
Do they take care of their duty-free catalogue?
Last but not least, the plain airsickness bag.
The slimline seat means that the documents were put behind the headrest and there were no more seat pocket, so I needed to hold my can of drink by hand.
Due to the thinness as seen below, the seat was also pretty hard. This was my first time having the slimline seat, and I wasn't satisfied.
Soon the plane started its pushback.
Meanwhile, the flight attendant conducted the safety demo.
We passed through the terminal 3 despite the runway 02C departure later on.
I almost couldn't catch a shot of EVA's Hello Kitty jet.
We passed through Etihad's 787.
Just in front of us were Cathay's A350 and Malaysia's 737-800 in old livery.
After they took off it was our turn and we then started our climb.
Indonesian customs cards were distributed after the seatbelt sign was turned off.
At least the weather was clear.
Foods and beverages were being sold, but barely anybody seemed to bother.
I decided to ask the person behind if he was cool with me reclining my seat a bit, and after he was cool with it I slightly reclined mine and I decided to take a nap.
Since I magically happened to wake up while still cruising despite the lack of sleep, I decided to go to the toilet and found the previous user's feces still in the closet.
Worse, the tap also kept dripping. I told the flight attendant about it after the lavatory visit, after which she checked it and mentioned it being normal.
My classic view: cabin from behind. Note the flowers put to set mood for Chinese new year.
Later on the weather turned slightly gloomy and there were some slight turbulences.
Meal of the day: 3 pieces of prepacked camembert cheese.
Soon after I finished the meal they started their descent.
Strangely enough, we passed over Madura island.
It was a slightly cloudy day in Surabaya.
The view confirmed that we would be landing at runway 28 instead of 10 as usual.
Landing was uneventful.
After a short taxi we arrived at the international part of terminal 2, which was empty.
Since my bag was behind, I would be the last person to land.
A view of the cockpit.
In the meanwhile, the flight attendants had started their turnaround.
I bid farewell and left the plane.
It was a very bad day to get a decent shot of the plane before arrival, with that being the best I could take.
Arrival at Surabaya SUB and post-arrival trip
I proceeded down the sloped walkways to the arrivals area.
The walkway to immigration was nothing more than a bland wall with a single line of moving walkways, prayer room, and lavatories.
Some better, yet slightly tilted views of the plane.
The immigration was a mess and it took me 7 minutes instead of less than 1 minute in CGK. I also asked the staff working in the queue on when will they have automated gates, to which he replied, "Soon," despite the larger proportion of Indonesians.
Since I had no checked luggage, I decided to proceed to the customs where it would be another 3 minutes of queue and bag check (unlike in CGK, they check every single bag in SUB).
There were some people approaching us as we went.
Since I was still not married, I was eligible for the Rp30000 (US$2.3) burger promotion, which I took and opted to upgrade with bacon and onion ring for an additional Rp10000 (US$.75) since my parents were still stuck in jam downtown.
While waiting, there were at least 3 of Garuda's flights being delayed by up to 3 hours, which reflected quite badly for them.
Jetstar Asia Airways
SATS Premier Lounge
Singapore - SIN
Surabaya - SUB
It's not that I have much choice (mostly due to budget), but now that I've got to experience their slimline seats they're further into my to-avoid (but still can't :( ) list. SIN was fine as usual, while SUB was quite much a chaos with long queues on both immigration and customs.
It remains to be seen whether this will be the last great shuttle for me, but it seems that I need to push my case harder to fly on Garuda/Singapore when I go for my next shuttle.
Some thing done well for the trip: + Check-in and seat change processing time at Singapore SIN + Lack of immigration queue at Singapore SIN + Affordable lounge access (on promotion) + Relatively new plane
Things that can be improved: - Meal options in SATS Premier Lounge - Gate selection at Singapore SIN - Security and boarding queue length at Singapore SIN - High load factor - Full overhead bins - Torn catalogue - On board meal price - Lavatory cleanliness - Unresponsive flight attendant - Immigration and customs queue length at Surabaya SUB
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