After reading so many flight reports on the internet, finally I was inspired to do the same. Since this is my first ever flight report in English and I haven't written in English for a long time, pardon me for any grammar mistakes or if the content is rather lacking, and any comment or feedback would be greatly appreciated ;)
I'm an Indonesian who has been living and working for 3 years in Himeji, Japan, about one hour journey from Osaka, and since I wanted to celebrate the 2018 Eid al-Fitr on June 15th in my home country Indonesia for the first time since I started working in Japan, I decided to take about a week of paid leave to go to my hometown in Trenggalek, a small town located about 4-5 hour drive from Surabaya, the 2nd biggest city in Indonesia.
There are 3 airports serving Kansai area, KIX being the biggest and the only international airport, and the other ones which are the domestic-only ITM near Osaka city center and UKB in Kobe. Normally, it is preferable to fly via UKB or ITM since it is only about 1.5 or 2 hour away respectively from Himeji and I can go there via a regular commuter train which is relatively cheap and practical. From there, going to CGK near Jakarta, Indonesia, (or any international flights) just require one short layover at either HND or NRT. Going to KIX, on the other hand, is somewhat a hassle and time-consuming approach for me, taking over 3.5 hours by train involving several transfers (no direct limited express train service from Himeji or any location west of Osaka for that matter) or 2.5 hours by the more expensive direct bus, since it is located literally on the other side of Osaka Bay.
But since this time I'll be going to SUB, going via KIX will still be the fastest and most convenient option since it will be only one stop service using either GA, CX, SQ, or D7, with transit at either CGK or DPS, HKG, SIN, or KUL, respectively, because HND or NRT does not have flights direct to SUB. Here is the map of all possible one-layover routes from KIX to SUB.
My usual first choice was usually CX since it takes the fastest time to SUB with only an hour of layover time. But since SQ announced that it will operate the world's first 787-10 flight between KIX-SIN starting May 2018, I realized this is a great opportunity to try it; plus the fact that I've never flown SQ before.
DEPARTURE TO AIRPORT
The flight would depart at 23.25 and since I finished work at 17.00, I got a plenty of time and option to go to KIX. This time, I decided to go by direct bus. Alas, the last bus bound for KIX from Himeji station departed at 17.20 and it took about 30 minutes from my place to Himeji station, so I had to go by train to Kobe and took a direct bus from there, which had plenty of departure times until 22.00.
Japanese trains are always punctual, clean, and riding them is always a pleasure. Here is the one I used in station near my home in the suburb of Himeji, showcasing the all new 6000 series trainset of the Sanyo Electric Railway, made by Kawasaki Heavy Industries.
After about one hour of train journey, I arrived at Sannomiya, the busiest station in Kobe. As with everything in Japan, more and more transaction are being done via vending machines; my bus ticket was no exception with the vending machine located conspicuously beside a beverage vending machine near the JR Sannomiya South Exit.
The machine was available in 5 languages and would only accept cash or coins. One way trip cost 1950 yen, but if you plan to use the same bus again on the return trip within 30 days, at 3080 yen, the round trip ticket is your best bet. Some buses are equipped with IC card reader so your regular train card such as ICOCA or Suica might work.
The bus itself was a standard 2+2 seater, immaculate and with a decent legroom (I'm 170 cm tall). There were some leaflets on the back of the seat, mainly some safety instructions regarding the use of seatbelts and some ads. The bus conductor also issued a baggage tag which was required upon arrival at KIX to make sure that you'll get the right bag or to prevent theft (something that is extremely unlikely in Japan). I noticed that this is one of the aspects of Japanese culture that is known to be well-organized; I never encountered this in Indonesia, but I don't know if this is also common in USA or Europe.
ARRIVAL AT KIX
Due to light traffic that evening, I arrived at KIX after 55 minutes, about 10 minutes faster than the scheduled journey time of 65 minutes. I went directly to the SQ counter and since I had checked in online, I could use the bag drop facility which had far shorter queue than the regular check-in queue. The flight itself was almost fully booked, because the seat selection was almost full and the check-in queue was quite long. I noticed the passengers consisted of mainly Japanese people doing business trips and some middle-aged leisure travellers.
Since I arrived at 21.30, I still got around 2 hours to kill so I headed directly to a restaurant selling one of my favourite Japanese dishes, udon noodles! What I liked most was that aside from the light dashi soup made from fish sauce, there are a number of toppings to choose, such as fried shrimp tempura, fish cake, squid, etc., so if you are starving, you could fill it up as much as you like. Basically you have to choose the base noodle and broth type first, then you can add what kind of topping you prefer. Regarding restaurant, there were a number to choose from, such as Japanese, Chinese, Western and some cafes, and all of them had English language menu.
After a full tummy I did some light souvenir shopping and headed directly to the security checkpoint. There was a useful TV screen showing the queue congestion of all four security gates, which I found to be highly accurate, so if you are in hurry to catch a flight, you might wanna to check it first.
Actually my gate was nearer to Departure 4 gate, but look at that Gate 1, soo empty! Thanks to the TV screen.
After security checkpoint, the next step was immigration, which was fairly empty too, so I cleared it all in just under 10 minutes. What I liked about KIX is that for an airport serving the 2nd largest metropolitan area in Japan, it still felt fairly compact and not too overwhelming, although at night it was a bit too dark for my liking. However, the dining selection after clearing security and immigration was rather lacking, only two or three restaurants and cafe, so if you wanna eat something before flight, make sure to do it beforehand. There were also some shops selling souvenirs such as Japanese sweets, snacks, and collectibles, and some duty-free shops; great for last-minute shopping.
The gates were also connected to the main building via an automated people mover so the amount of walking required could be kept at minimum, even though the gates were a bit far away. This is why KIX don't have many travelators; even I didn't remember seeing any… Sadly, it was too dark to do plane spotting and photography; one of the drawbacks of flying in the middle of the night…
BOARDING THE FLIGHT
About 30 minutes before the departure time, boarding sequence was announced starting from the business and priority passengers, rear rows of economy, middle rows and front rows. All done efficiently in under 15 minutes, even though it was a full load.
There were many pair of earphones and some Japanese and Singaporean newspapers provided before entering the aircraft, although the earphones themselves would also be distributed later inside the cabin for those who forgot to take one.
Aircraft: Boeing 787-10 Registration: 9V-SCC Serial Number: MSN 60258 First flight date: 05/04/2018 Age: 2 months 8 days
The cabin itself was in 3-3-3 configuration with simple blue and gray colour scheme which felt clean and modern. There was also purple-blueish coloured LED mood lighting on windows that added some feeling of calmness.
Finally I arrived to my seat, 63A; Hello my seat for the next 7 hours! Blanket and pillow were also provided.
The headrest was the adjustable type, so it could be folded to protect your head from sliding over to your side during sleep and could also act as neck support.
Regarding the seat pitch and width… hmmm… this is usually the bad part of many economy flights in the Dreamliners, especially with the 3-3-3 configuration. The seat pitch and width was not that great, although for me (I'm 170 cm with regular build) I could accept that; it could get more cramped during meal service, though, so it is probably a bit of a challenge for passengers with bigger posture.
Let's see other features on the seat then… A cup holder and a small pocket right below the IFE screen…
USB charger, earphone output socket, LED light and FA call button below the IFE screen on the left side, which was great since you wouldn't have to press the buttons that is usually placed on the ceiling anymore… Oh, and there were also power outlets too for each seat located just below the seat pocket, facing the passenger side.
And a small mirror on the foldable tray; nice touch!
Next, let's see the stuff I got before entering the aircraft, starting from the newspaper. My flight was on June 13, just a day after the historic summit between Trump and Kim in Singapore, so no wonder it garnered the headline news on the local Singaporean newspaper.
The earphone itself was an in-ear type with three different earbud sizes, although the sound quality itself leaves a lot to be desired and it didn't do much to block noises…
Which brings us to the ad on the inflight shopping magazine, KrisShop, offering a better pair of active noise cancelling earplugs! I see what you did there, SQ…
Let's see the other stuff tucked in the seat pocket. SilverKris magazine with some interesting travel articles…
Boeing 787-10 safety information leaflet…
And the KrisWorld IFE guide…
Including inflight Wi-Fi leaflet (more on that later)…
Exclusive on the new A380 and 787-10 aircrafts, KrisWorld includes a personal account management called "myKrisWorld", so you can save your playlist, add favourites and a tailored entertainment choices based on your input such as favourite genres of movies or music. You could also connect your device to the IFE wirelessly so you could watch the IFE on a bigger screen device such as a tablet. The system must be accessed by signing in with your KrisFlyer member account the moment you start operating the IFE screen. This proved to be my most favorite feature so far, because when I discovered some great music albums and shows, I could save them on my personal favourite playlist in the system. When I flew back to KIX later in 787-10 I could just simply log in to the system and my favourite playlist could be reloaded again; all in a simple and seamless interface.
Here are some detailed explanation about what you can do on myKrisWorld, found inside the IFE guide magazine.
Regarding the IFE, being a brand new aircraft, I expected a brand new IFE system and it didn't disappoint. It was an 11.6 inch HD monitor with a responsive capacitive touchscreen, so navigating the content was very seamless. The content was also more than adequate with a number of Western and Asian movies, TV shows, music albums from many genres and some games. The IFE could be operated right from when you enter the aircraft.
But as always, my favourite entertainment choice is always the flight map! It was the Voyager 3D version, so you could act interactively with the map by pinching to zoom or swipe to rotate, just like on Google Earth, with a pretty detailed satellite photography that you could zoom in to reveal the details of many cities.
After all passengers have boarded the flight, hot towel was provided. This was the first time I got a hot towel service on any airline, and as simple as it was, it was a really good way to refresh myself and prepare for the journey. Not to mention that it was also useful for cleaning the windows from oily smudges left by previous passenger leaning on the window!
And then the menu card was provided to all passengers, regardless if they booked special meal or not (I booked Seafood meal, out of curiosity). This was also the first time I got a menu card on any aircraft (I have never ridden any class outside economy class), with a professional looking design and typeface. Along with the hot towel service, this gave me a little bit of special treatment feeling even though I only rode in economy.
Let's see what it offers, starting from the beverages. A number of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are available on board, including SQ's signature drink Singapore Sling.
Then the breakfast choice, with a Japanese and Western selection.
The menu card actually doubled its purpose for the outbound flight from SIN too, so one could peek on what would be served on that flight sector. There were also two menu selections on that sector, but the interesting thing was that it took two pages to describe them all, as opposed to only one page on the inbound flight. I wonder why…
And the international selection.
A few minutes after the boarding had been completed, the safety instruction video was played on the IFE screens. The video itself was pretty interesting, with the instruction set beautifully outdoor across interesting tourist attractions in Singapore, as opposed to regular setting inside an aircraft, which had successfully caught my attention. Thus, the video also doubled as tourism advertising for Singapore and this made me regret skipping extended layover option in Singapore. If you're curious, you can watch the video here:
After a smooth takeoff, finally the 787-10 was in the air and KIX could be seen from above, floating in the middle Osaka Bay darkness.
After seatbelt sign had been turned off, amenity kits were distributed, which consisted of toothbrush, toothpaste and a pair of socks.
Snacks were also distributed, two humble peas and crackers, which was pretty good and vegetarian, if I remembered it correctly.
About 3.5 hours into the flight, breakfast were distributed, and the main benefit of booking a special meal was that I could get served first; perfect because I was already starving! Here it is, my seafood meal in all its glory.
The main course consisted of grilled salmon with egg and mushroom with some baked potatoes. It was acceptable, although the salmon were a little bit on the drier side to my liking. The fruits were decent and the bread were on the softer side, complemented with salted butter; overall no qualms at all, and it was a decent meal in my opinion.
Time showed 02.31 in Singapore time, about 2.5 hours left before the scheduled arrival time of 05.05. And since it was already cruising altitude, I also checked the cabin equivalent altitude using my watch and it showed around 1760 metres (approx almost 6000 ft).
For comparison, this the altitude reading on the later flight from SIN to SUB using Airbus A330-300, showing around 2440 metres (approx 8000 ft).
This confirmed that the cabin air pressure in the Dreamliner during cruising is indeed higher than in regular aircrafts; hence the lower equivalent altitude reading, almost 700 metres (2000 ft) of difference. Personally, it felt more comfortable and I could sleep more soundly. Higher pressure could also lead to lower cases of altitude sickness, so if flying is an uncomfortable feat for you, it would be better to choose newer generation aircrafts such as 787 or A350.
Time to check in-flight Wi-Fi then! It is available with the SSID name "KrisWorld".
Here are the plan options available for this 6.5 hours flight.
I had tried Cathay's inflight Wi-Fi which was priced around the same, but the package prices was based on the duration such as an hour of use, 6 hours, or whole flight, and there was no data cap. That made SQ's offering seems to be more expensive so I didn't try that. For Suites, First and Business class pax, also PPS Club members, though, Wi-Fi is offered free of charge. Even if you opt not to purchase the internet plan, there are still some info that could be accessed by the Wi-Fi such as destination guide.
After catching some needed sleep, the aircraft descended and landed smoothly on Changi International Airport at 4.07, almost one hour ahead schedule. A few seconds after the landing I noticed that the window immediately blurred due to heavy condensation from the outside air, which made seeing outside a little bit hard; Welcome to high humidity Singapore indeed!
The flight arrived at Terminal 2, and now it's time to search for my gate for the connection to SUB, which was luckily located in the same terminal, so no hassle. Since the flight arrived earlier than scheduled, there was plenty of time, around 3 hours left before the next flight so I could catch some sleep again on several comfy sofas available in the terminal. It was still early in the morning though, so almost all shops were closed, except some 24 hours restaurants.
My arrival in SIN concludes this segment of flight report, any comment or feedback would be greatly appreciated ;)
Osaka - KIX
Singapore - SIN
Overall, the flight was smooth and efficient; The brand new 787-10 product was also great, offering superb in flight entertainment options, great cabin service, decent catering and comfortable cabin experience. Although for passengers with bigger postures, I could imagine the seats may felt a little bit cramped. The other 787 I've flown was JAL's 787-9; this 787-10 was longer in comparison and had more seats so it felt slightly larger, although the width is similar, so it's still rather cramped. The aircraft was brand new so it was spotless; add the exceptional service given by SQ to the equation: you get a great overall product. The distribution of hot towel, amenity kits and dining menu sets SQ apart from its competitors. A small gesture, but it kind of elevates the economy experience in SQ. Also, the IFE system was the highlight of my trip, with its big screen, seamless operation, lots of contents, and the ability to save and load your very own playlist.
Would I fly again with SQ? Yes definitely, especially on its newer aircrafts; SQ's A350 flight is my next bucket list, since it's my favourite aircraft type. Are there any bad points regarding the flight? Hmmm, none that I could think of. On first appearance, the cabin crew might not be as warm as Garuda's, but they did their job perfectly, efficiently, and is as attentive, in my opinion.
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