Review of Singapore Airlines flight Houston Manchester in Economy

Airline Singapore Airlines
Flight SQ51
Class Economy
Seat 58K
Aircraft Airbus A350-900
Flight time 08:08
Take-off 28 Aug 18, 19:10
Arrival at 29 Aug 18, 09:18
SQ   #2 out of 122 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 475 reviews
TheWindowSeat
Published on 8th September 2018

Welcome to SQ51




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Driving into George Bush Intercontinental
Some of the following few photos were taken the day before departure as, in order to get from my hotel to my airport hotel I had to take a SuperShuttle into the Airport ! Long story,don't ask !


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Houston Airport Marriott at George Bush Intercontinental
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Continental Airlines - the UNITED titles make no difference…this is Continental in every way !
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Check In



I was dropped off to Terminal D by my hotel's courteousy shuttle at 1530pm.
Please note that Singapore Airlines have their own dedicated Checkin area in Houston at the far end of Terminal D ( last door ).
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As soon as I entered the terminal I noted that around 30 passengers were already queued up in line with the checkin opening time of 3 hours 45 minutes before departure.
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SQ 51 today is operated by 9V-SMQ ( Arrived into Houston as SQ 52 at 1408pm).
Factoid ; if you take the last letter of registration of my SQ52 flight on Friday and the last letter of the registration of today's SQ51, this forms the 2 letter code of Singapore Airlines !

Checkin was still being setup when I spotted Singapore Airlines' Jael ( Hael ) from Friday and he welcomed me warmly.

Passengers soon dispersed quickly to all open check in desks.

Jael kindly got me checked in by the very friendly and professional Ms Neda. The checkin experience was far more superior and friendly than in Manchester.
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Strange rule on the left side - have a read !
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The September edition of the Silverkris magazine was present at the check in desk - talk about being ahead of the game in August !
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Never mind Red Carpet Treatment - here I am getting Blue Carpet treatment from Singapore Airlines !
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I asked Jael about popular connections and I have come to learn that popular connections for SQ51 are as follows ;

Passengers travelling to Manchester > Aberdeen and Edinburgh

Passengers travelling to Singapore > Manila for Houston and Philadelphia's Filipino community plus Jakarta and Denpasar Bali

Easyjet has signed up Singapore Airlines and its subsidiary Scoot as new partners for its Worldwide by Easyjet connections service.

The additions will allow Easyjet customers to connect onto flights to South East Asia with Singapore Airlines via Milan Malpensa, and with Scoot via Berlin Tegel.



My suitcase was was under the permitted baggage allowance - there is a very generous allowance of 2 x 23kg however I only took one suitcase for convenience. I will definately need to make good use of two cases for further trips !

I was really delighted to be offered Priority fastrak through security, however, like in Manchester, there was no queue and I went straight through to security.

Immigration was so ultra quick I didn't even realise it had been done ; the security guys were nice but a lady by the body scanner was clearly having a bad day. I didn't let it get to me.
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I went up the escalator and was greeted instantly by Hersheys with a nice Texan welcome !
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I went straight to gate D1 for shots of my ride to Manchester
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The Houston Spotter's Guide !



Houston offers some carriers which fly in a long way from home such as Qatar Airways, Air New Zealand,Emirates, Air China, Eva Air, the most exotic of course being Singapore Airlines !

Spirit - I prefer this livery over the former HLX taxi livery !
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Make your own mind up !
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Air China 777-300 B-2043 departing later as CA996 to Beijing
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BA194 to London Heathrow a 777-200 registered G-YMMP
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Lufthansa D-AIMK "Dusseldorf" on her way to Frankfurt
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A better photo of "Dusseldorf" as LH441 to Frankfurt. After a short rest in her homebase she flew LH400 to New York JFK.
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Air China being towed ? To where ? She isn't departing until 0100am to Beijing. Meanwhile Star Alliance partner Air New Zealand is seen landing from Middle Earth !
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Air New Zealand 787 Dreamliner ZK-NZL
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Spirit again
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Qatar Airways 777-LR QR713 landing from Doha
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AM471 departing later to Mexico City
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XA-GAK - Embraer 190 of Aeromexico waiting to fly back home
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QR713 registered A7-BBG, just arrived at her gate and will depart later on back home to Doha as QR714
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Air New Zealand 787 Dreamliner - ZK-NZL - having arrived at the gate and will depart back home later to Auckland as NZ29
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Air New Zealand and Qatar Airways - Star Alliance meets Oneworld in Houston Heights !
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Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand - Star Alliance sisters in Texas
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After some exotic spotting, which I would never get in Manchester ( ! ), I then walked all the way back to the Paradies Lagardere newsstand / souvenier shop.

Marycruz at the store tried to work out my accent when a guy stood near me and flying to Costa Rica said " Scottish" !

I said well done to him and he advised that he goes to Birmingham,England often for biking race/conventions . I gave a bundle of magnets to Marycruz to hold onto whilst I looked at gifts.

Marycruz said she always gets an influx of British accents when BA departs to Heathrow and Singapore Airlines to Manchester from the neighbouring gates !

I bought magnets and postcards for family,friends and colleagues….for a mere USD80.00 !!! I say mere 😊

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A glance around Terminal D



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It is unbearable to imagine our devices with a low battery but is very much something we once never had to worry about !
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After some spotting, I passed the Qatar Airways gate and could see South Asian and mainly Indian passengers waiting to fly to Doha. I saw some wheelchair passengers and one elderly lady reminded me of my late Grandmother which made me well up a little.
The Middle Eastern carrriers bread and butter routes sure are are those to the Indian Subcontinent.

I remember seeing Qatar Airways passengers in the gate area at Istanbul Ataturk last year and the majority were South Asian.






Gate D1



Heading back to gate D1,several announcements were made for passengers with United Airlines boarding passes who were travelling on SQ51.

I took a seat at the as yet, unoccupied gate area to get photos of the aircraft. The view isn't amazing as an airbridge vertically blocks the view. So unless you like angled aircraft views, then it is best to get a photo before you walk down the corridor to gate D1.
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Using the Airport's free superfast wifi I chatted via WhatsApp to my Mum and youngest brother who were preparing to go to sleep whilst I looked forward to a night in the sky - a night onboard Singapore Airlines ! Despite the time difference I would still land early morning in Manchester !

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As I was sat at the gate area, Patrick, a Singapore Airlines Customer Service Agent approached me and asked if I was Mr Window seat ?! Word must have got out that I am the Singapore Airlines posterboy for MANIAHMAN ?!

I said yes and immediately a kebaya design giftbag and bear was given to me ! Patrick sat and chatted with me for a few moments ; I was really honoured that he took the time to sit with me and this caring attitude evident throughout Singapore Airlines service ethos.

More than I can "bear" !

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Whilst I sat in the gate area, I saw an older American couple walked past and the lady of the couple loudly but jovially stated to her male companion that "this flight goes via Moscow" .
The male of the couple said in a very Texan drawl " It neaw goes via Menchesturr" and said to Mr Van ( one of the Singapore Airlines Customer Service Agents ) that that they used to fly this route often when it went via Moscow.

A man was showing showing his baby the SQ51 aircraft – it made me feel all emotional inside – aviation is truly magical for all ages.
I wish I had my own children to share this passion with but hey, my little nephews and nieces will surely grow up to have some love for aviation having an Uncle like me !





Boarding



Boarding commenced at 1810pm ,after my boarding pass and passport were checked.
A female staff member in a trendy Singapore Airlines combo Western Kebaya dress said "have a good one ! ".

And when the door leading towards the airbridge opened I saw this, the most wonderful view of my skyride to Manchester which I am more than happy to share with you !
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I then continued to the airbridge where I met the Singapore Airlines Houston Station Manager who personally took me to the aircraft ! I had just moments to get you some nice shots !

Help Yourself to earbuds for the IFE :)
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It was a true delight to see several Singapore Girls stood at the doorway just as boarding was about to commence ! I wished them all a Good Evening and the Chief Steward took my boarding pass,welcome me by name and took my hand luggage - he patiently waited whilst I took snaps in Business Class and Premium Economy as well as the forward Economy cabin. You won't see that on any European airline. They would get paranoid at seeing a 6 foot tall ethnic male photographing the cabin. Because he must be doing something wrong right ?!

The spacious thrones of Business Class
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Premium Economy with the now famous orange pillows - remember orange is part of Singapore Airlines' livery !
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Looks like someone forgot they are placing headrest covers on the world's best airline
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and they forgot again…the aircraft had arrived around 5 hours earlier from Manchester. So why the rush to get new headrest covers placed ?
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Whoever replaced the headrest covers in the rear Economy zone took pride in doing so. Cabin presentation may take time to get right but the end result is stunning.
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3 seats to myself on an almost full flight - am I lucky or what ?!
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My handluggage in my overhead locker - these 2 bags and 1 of another passenger would be the only ones occupying this locker for the entire flight.

My hand luggage was swiftly taken and stowed by Chief Steward Mr Gregory.
Wow - I haven't had a bag stowed in my entire adult travelling life so felt very special.

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Look at the size and style of these pillows ! Never mind Economy Class…this is Economy Classier !
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No sooner had Chief Steward Mr Gregory placed my baggage in the overhead locker than a gracious and charming Singapore Girl ( Ms Madeleine) came and wished me Good Evening with a beautiful smile,she took my jacket.

I advised I had been in Houston for my birthday and she wished me a belated Happy Birthday in a really sincere manner as did Mr Gregory.

Ms Madeleine took some pictures of me posing in the cabin - looking very crew-esque and professional by the way ! I joked with her if she needed help on our way to Manchester to let me know. She responded so warmly by saying "oh no,you are here to be pampered". Wonderful !

Boarding getting underway whilst overhead the boarding music is " If I was a rich girl"…Say whaaat ?!
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Boarding continued at an extraordinarily quick pace - at one point the cabin filled with the unmistakable smell of Singapore Airline's Stefan Floridian scent. Some American girls joked that someone had taken their shoes off ! However this heavenly scent could only be one thing :)

Hot scented towels handed out and promptly collected as well as earbuds for those who had not picked up a packet in the airbridge.
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Spot the Silverkris logo on the hot towel !
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The hold almost ready to close in preparation for departure.
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Menucards handed out - let's take a look at what my fellow passengers will be enjoying enroute to Manchester and for select others onwards to Singapore !

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Our Houston to Manchester routing tonight
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At 1855pm the Captain did a Welcome PA ( I had a smile on my face as I had met the Captain a few days before as I was staying in the same hotel as the Singapore Airlines crew ! ).
Then the crew announced "doors closed" and there was a welcome PA by an Airhostess.

Pushback was at 1957pm
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just as the safety video started playing and the engines sprang into life !
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Taxying to the runway…
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British Airways BA196 getting ready for London Heathrow.
This 777 is registered G-YMML and has a "Great Festival of Creativity in Shanghai" special livery.
Also in the photo is Air China's CA996 heading to Beijing in the early hours as well as an Emirates A380 preparing to fly back to Dubai.
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Continuing the taxi to the runway. A Turkish 777- 300 ( TC-LJB )"AyaSofya" has just arrived from Istanbul.
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Note the time on this screen and bear in mind the scheduled time of departure STD for SQ51 is 1910pm.
Like JAL, there was an announcement that went like " Ladies and Gentlemen,thank you for waiting, please ensure your seatbelt is fastened and your window shades are raised,thank you".
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Takeoff to Manchester



At 1910pm, exactly on time ( a first in my life ! ) SQ51 positioned onto the runway and roared into the evening Houston skies….

with lovely views of Houston Downtown. Picture taken from the video I made of take off.
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15 minutes after take off, Airhostesses came through the cabin with "sleep kits". I am still unsure of the link between sleep with socks and a dental kit !
2 kits at a time were taken out of a plastic branded Singapore Airlines bag and handed out. The Airhostess who handed me my kit had the most beautiful smile.
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At 1940pm, half an hour after take off, pre meal drinks and nibbles were distributed. I chose an Orange Juice.
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Climbing into the evening Texas sunset !
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Footrests - take the weight off your feet as you fly high above the world !
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Texas starts settling down for the night whereas my higher than high night is just beginning !
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Dinnertime on SQ51



The special meals were hand delivered to various passengers ahead of the main meal service..

My MOML ( Moslem Meal ) tray as presented ( note that cup contents were initially actually lined up on the tray).
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Cutlery pack
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Let's Eat !

Succulent Garden Salad Starter with fresh lemon
Plain Yoghurt
Warm bread roll with butter
Crackers
Water Cuplet
The main course was a tantalising Aloo Gobi ( spicy Potatoe and Cauliflower ) mix with boiled rice and a lamb curry in a rich curry sauce. Spiced just like the way I love it.
I am not even a lamb eater yet I loved the taste that I finished the entire main course ! The main course was very Pakistani in taste and spiciness !

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In extremely rare online reviews of this route, I note Tillamook cheese is always served with crackers. For some strange reason no cheese had been loaded on my tray yet within moments of me mentioning this to an Airhostess I had a little portion of Tillamook to enjoy with the crackers ! Say cheese !

The tray doesn't have a trayliner - instead ( and so much more environmentally friendly) the tray has a slip resistant coating which creates a grip like effect for tray dishes.

A full can of coke with ice - the world's best drink onboard the world's best airline !
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Quick progress update

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Cabin Crew confidently explained the menu to passengers as they served the meals. This was really nice to witness and is testament to the high level cabin services training of Singapore Airlines.

Ice Cream Time - decadent Vanilla Bean Ice Cream - oh baby !
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I didn't have a hot drink during meal service but then requested a coffee - which was delivered within 2 minutes of me having pressed the callbell.

Some coffee to finish and get ready to sleep ! The coffee was delivered on this little tray. I politely said to the Airhostess that I needed a spoon but then noted one on the tray and in astonishment said "Oh there is one on the tray" to the Airhostess. She smiled so elegantly and let this be a lesson that when you fly Singapore Airlines, no detail is overlooked !
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Is it August or September ?!



Lo and behold - all the August 2018 inflight magazines have been replaced with brand new September ones !
Singapore Airlines - always ahead of the game. Never in my flying life have I seen the following month's inflight magazines onboard a flight during the previous month !

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Time to buy all the Silkair merchandise you can - before the brand dissappears - then reappears as………………..Singapore Airlines
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Krisworld during the flight



When flying from Beyonce's home city, it would be "crazy" not to listen to some of her tunes !

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Oh Whitney…you will always be a legend. Thank you for being part of our lives for the short time that you were.
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Another legend, step forward Ms Janet Jackson…all the big stars are at home on Singapore Airlines !
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Some Bombay Mix …I mean Hindi Hit Mix !
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SIA Top 20
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Relax with Singapore Airlines Boarding Music
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TV Times !
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Music on your tv but not Music TV and certainly not MTV !
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Movie Magic !

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Learn a new language in the sky with Berlitz - Well over 12 years ago, Singapore Airlines was the first in the world to offer this great service !
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Oh man..Family Guy…even crazier in the sky !
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The not so subtle adult content warning !
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It seems to me that all we see… you know the rest !
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Wherever I go in the world, I will always be deeply proud of my Scottish Pakistani roots…
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Jellycat !
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My own playlist shows just how diverse and comprehensive the Singapore Airlines Music library is…
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The King is keeping me company. Another late legend but one that will live on forever x
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Vistara - born in India but with a Singapore Airlines spirit !
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WiFi Information
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WiFi Flyer
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Let's take a look at the Singapore Airlines Channel
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The Magic Pen
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View it below- I dare the toughest to not feel all cutesy after watching it !
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7dKdyEXa-U

The A350 - the very aircraft I am flying on right now - the pride of Singapore Airlines ( after the A380 of course ! )
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There's no place like home !
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The cabin settles down for the transatlantic crossing….
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I went into the rear galley for a walk and Ms Madeleine asked if there was anything I would like to eat or drink. I was so so full that I politely just asked for a water.
After indulging your taste buds on Singapore Airlines you really need to draw the line at eating any more !
On a further galley visit I got offered some nice giveaways which I will show you at the end of the report !
I certainly have been appreciated as a fan and now lifelong Singapore Airlines passenger. I had a photo with the Singapore Girls too and I am the envy of my Instagram followers !




A350 Economy Washroom



Combs and Dental Kits - look and feel your best onboard Singapore Airlines !
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As I came back to my seat, I noted the lady of an American couple in front of me was making the most beautiful creative little cards. I wish I had asked her for one as they were so cute !

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Drinks rounds were made frequently throughout the flight and always on offer was apple or orange juices and water

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Flying over Canada
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This is most likely Quebec !

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And over the Atlantic we go … let the transatlantic crossing begin !
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I then slept for a while - this time round I didn't change into comfortable clothing but rather slept in my business suit ( it is doable, be sure to stay in one position and as Ace of Base once sang "Don't turn around !"




Breakfast Time



After a short rest, I went to the washroom to tuck in my shirt and fix my tie.
In doing so, I missed the pre-breakfast hot towels.
I politely asked and received one in seconds with a lovely smile !
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After passing Charlie Gibbs, breakfast began with special meals
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My MOML ( Moslem Meal ) Breakfast Meal tray..I can't wait to have a nice omelette with mushrooms,maybe some spicy chicken…..or maybe not !

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Melon starter, plain yoghurt, orange juice and warm bread roll and croissant.

The main hot meal was an Indian Spicy donut called Vada/Bara, served with aubergine curry ( on the right ) and Upma ( an Indian savoury porridge ( on the left ).

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Breakfast is nothin without a blueberry muffin but I am getting nothin !

When Breakfast was being prepped in the rear galley, I happened to walk past enroute to the washroom and saw a tray with a blueberry muffin.
I was a touch dissappointed when my tray didn't have one but upon asking I found out that a certain special meal had the muffin on the tray.
I would have been happier with an omelette wish mushrooms and tomatoe, fruit yoghurt, fresh orange segments and a warm croissant instead of,essentially, a Subcontinental Dinner !
I didn't even touch the plain yoghurt and I continue to be baffled as to how it fitted in with the rest of the meal.

Mirror Mirror on the wall..or rather traytable !
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Descending to Manchester



At 0840am UK time an announcement was made that a new crew would be flying the MANSIN sector ,that MAN was 30 mins away and that Machester is 6 hours ahead of Houston.

A further announcement followed regarding the carriage of meat/dairy products from outside the EU.

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Ireland in view ! Over Ireland landing music filled the cabin
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Irish Green ! Let's just say Ireland "may" feature on a flight report next year …but it "may" not be as you may be thinking !
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Continuing descent over Ireland and into England

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As sweet and charming as the Cabin Crew are all through the flight, during cabin secure checks they are great when enforcing seatbelts to be fastened, seatbacks to be upright, window shades to go up ,foot and armrests to go down. A special mention to Steward Mr Nigel, Airhostess Ms Madeleine and Mr Gregory for all making my flight wonderful. I wish I had the name of another Airhostess who served me throughout the flight. If she is reading, thank you !!!


After another amazing flight, let's get ready to land in Manchester..after the heat of Texas, this dull rainy Manchester morning sure didn't start the day off nicely !
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B&Q store in Stockport - the orange logo and the store itself is similar to the USA's "The Home Depot ".
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Getting low over Wythenshawe
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Welcome to Manchester



At 0918am we landed safely at Manchester, some 50 minutes early !

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Amazing how American Airlines can't make New York JFK work from Manchester yet manages to "fill em up" to Chicago, Philadelphia and seasonally to Charlotte !
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When taking off at Houston, a Turkish 777 had landed moments before.

Upon landing at Manchester, I saw TK1993 , an A330 TC-LOG ( ex Skymark) from Istanbul ….. anyway my point is #stalkedbyturkish !
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The First Officer then advised a 10 minute wait for a gate as were early !

Let's do some quick spotting at Manchester

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Continental Airlines 757 pushing back for New York Newark…I mean UNITED Airlines ( whatever ! )
But can you spot someething even better in this photo…let's say towards the far end of Terminal 2 ?!
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Transat Twins with their Mancunian cousin Thomas !
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Our sistership 9V-SMN getting ready for departure to Houston !
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Time tooooo - say goodbye !
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I bade farewell to some Airhostesses throughout the cabin and they said Goodbye too.

I was last to disembark and went for a pre agreed photo in Business Class with the Captain. The cleaning staff had arrived and were huffing and puffing for having to stop the cleaning to allow me to have my photo. I saw some miserable faces from when I worked in PIA Manchester Airport in 2005 and my God did their cloths/mops stink. I will certainly be feeding this back to Singapore Airlines. I felt so bad for Business Class passengers who would be boarding shortly and possibly smell the stink of worn out cleaning materials. What made the situation worse was that the air raft was on stand almost 40 minutes early so why were the cleaners in such a rush ?

Mr Gregory helped me with my hand luggage as I left the aircraft ..where else will I ever get this level of service !
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On my way to Passport Control / Immigration check,I noted that transit passengers from SQ51 were being ticked off a list and being redirected to a secure zone for more security and to be sent back up into departures. I was less than impressed at seeing signs for Singapore and PIA Airlines Transit passengers. PIA Airlines ? Still I guess it beats the people who refer to PIA as Pakistan Airways. Worse still the ITV ( UK's tv Channel 3 ) documentary Heathrow ; World's Busiest Airport once did a PIA feature and called the airline Pakistan Air.

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My Singapore Airlines collection



before my flights
My Singapore Airlines memorabilia collection - the safety card is from the A380 when it was around 1-2 years old in the SQ fleet ! Also is a 60 years of SQ special edition Silverkris magazine,a cute little model 777 and an A350 Kebaya design baggage strap.
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Posters from Frankfurt Airport showing off their most exotic visitor !
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Silverkris magazines
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after my flights
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I am well on track to a great way to start a Singapore Airlines Museum !

Join me again one day for a trip onboard Singapore Airlines and thanks for liking my reports !

Hope you really enjoyed the read for this flight and SQ52 to Houston !
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Verdict

Singapore Airlines

9.0/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment10.0
Meal/catering7.0

Houston - IAH

9.0/10
Efficiency10.0
Access10.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.0

Manchester - MAN

7.5/10
Efficiency6.0
Access10.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness6.0

Conclusion

Another superb and amazing flight on Singapore Airlines.
Endless IFE, genuine smiles from an enthusiastic crew and a very pleasant ( and great ) way to fly !
The so called sleep kits can easily be replaced with eyeshades and earplugs - dental kits are still available in the washrooms and upon request from the crew.
I cannot wait to book my next flight and look forward to spending time in the Singapore Airlines Sky !
At IAH I hope Singapore Airlines will negotiate to have a gate nearer to the entrance into the Departures area as the long walk upon departure out of IAH ( and arrival into IAH ) really really drags !
Thank You Singapore Airlines for giving me a birthday to remember and reminding me why I love flying and why the romance of travel is well and truly alive.
Thank you for showing me that the sky is no limit when it comes to service excellence !
I wish Singapore Airlines would train all the world's airlines in how to provide excellent,polite and professional service.

Informations on the route Houston (IAH) Manchester (MAN)

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