On the morning of departure back to Singapore, we encountered a rare weather condition as very think fog rolled into Christchurch. Visibility was down to only barely a couple of hundred meters. We arrived at Christchurch Airport safely via the airport shuttle.
Due to the thick morning fog, many domestic morning arrivals were cancelled as flights got diverted to other airports. Our SQ flight was still running on schedule, though the aircraft had not arrived.
Checking in at the SQ counters and boarding passes issued. The ground staff were also anxiously checking on the aircraft status via FR24 app, hoping that the aircraft would not be diverted. During check-in, the aircraft was nearing CHC and preparing to go into a holding pattern.
After check-in, we proceeded up to the departure level on the second storey. There were a number of shops at the departure level which leads to the domestic departure gates.
International departures hall was via a separate immigration and security check.
Needed to go through a small duty-free area after immigration.
International departure lounge, which was pretty quiet as we were the only international departure at the time of the morning.
The fog outside was still rather bad.
Our arrival aircraft had begun flying in a holding pattern near CHC, awaiting for the conditions to improve.
In Christchurch, SQ uses the Air New Zealand Lounge, which I guess most other international airlines also do. With only a handful of international flights to serve, the lounge was not too big, but was comfortable and has all the necessary amenities.
Work area with PCs.
The buffet area, which was serving breakfast at this time. Selection was basic and choices limited.
There are well-equipped and clean shower rooms, stocked with Antipodes products.
My breakfast selection from the buffet.
We were continuously kept updated on the status of our flight by a SQ representative at the lounge. The flight held in the air for an hour and started the approach into CHC for a landing almost an hour behind schedule. Luckily the arrival flight had fuel to spare! Our new STD was pushed back by an hour as well. The aircraft finally landed an hour behind schedule, and was the first arrival after the fog partially lifted.
The breakfast buffet selection was cleared for lunch, and some cheeses, sandwiches and dessert were brought out.
Had a tea and red velvet cake during the wait.
Left the lounge when it was near boarding and spotted a SQ B772 aircraft parked ahead. Or issit?? Haha, it was the titleless NZ-leased ex-SQ B772ER aircraft which had just arrived from AKL after the fog lifted.
Our aircraft was parked right at the far end of the terminal. So we have 2 SQ aircraft (including the NZ-leased plane) on the ground in CHC. A rare sight. The skies were now clear blue, a start contrast from just 2 hours earlier. There was a separate waiting area for priority passengers.
27 August 2018 Singapore Airlines SQ 298 Christchurch (CHC) - Singapore (SIN) B777-200ER 9V-SVC Business Class Flight Time: 10H23M
After a short wait, boarding was called and we were invited to board. The ground staff were so relieved that the aircraft landed, albeit a bit delayed, as it averted the need to handle a flight diversion and lengthy delay. One of the staff said they even thanked the captain of the incoming flight for landing the aircraft! 9V-SVC, a retrofitted B772ER with the 2006 products and updated IFE, would be operating the flight.
With only one aerobridge at the gate, we boarded from Door 2 and turned left into the Business cabin.
The Business Class seat on the B772ER needs no introduction as they are the classic 2006 Long-haul J seats, also still found on most A380s and a couple of B77Ws. The B772ER Business cabin is fitted with 26 seats.
Home for the next 10.5hrs.
Clear sunny skies outside. Where has the fog disappeared to?
Slippers, socks and eyeshades were already placed on the seat.
Inflight magazines and IFE guide. The September issues and IFE selections were newly loaded even though it was still the month of August. SQ normally updates its entertainment selection ahead of the start of the month.
IFE controller and seat controls. IFE controller was still the old-styled ones and there were no USB ports, only the traditional empower electrical outlets. This was even though economy was re-retrofitted with the hand-me-down old B77W seats with newer IFE controllers and USB ports.
No complains about the leg room.
Welcome beverages were offered along with hot towels, and I went for the champagne.
Boarding completed and we pushed back. The US Air Force Antarctic base is at CHC.
Safety video played.
Taxied to the runway.
We departed from Christchurch Rwy02 about an hour behind schedule.
Video of the taxi and takeoff.
Final scenic views of the NZ mountains.
Climbing through the clouds where some turbulence were encountered.
Firing up he Krisworld entertainment system, I started the flight with Deadpool 2.
When the seatbelt signed were switched off, I made a beeline to the lavatory at the rear of the cabin. Business Class on the B772ER has 2 lavatories for the 26 passengers. The lavs were well-stocked with amenities, including the new Penhaligon amenities.
View of the Business Class cabin. The flight was about 2/3 full in Business, with 4 crew serving us. Post takeoff drinks and satay was being served.
I had my delicious satay with a NZ-crafted beer, Hapi Daze, which is only available on flights originating from NZ.
Time to peruse the menu.
Menu for lunch, which would be served about an hour after takeoff.
Mid-flight snacks and dinner before arrival.
Selections of the SIN-CHC sector for those interested.
The vast beverage selection.
Lunch service commenced.
The meal trolley rolled down the aisle and my table was set. Starter and selection of breads were offered. I went with garlic bread and lavosh.
Peppered Gravadlax salad to start. It was nothing fanciful, but tasted fresh. I am generally not a huge fan of fish-type starters.
For main, I selected the Seared Fillet of Beef with Garlic Mustard Butter. It was skilfully prepared still with pink in the middle, as good as how inflight steaks could be.
My friend chose the Grilled Pork Fillet with Chorizo Crumbs and Apple Jus. According to him, it was way to salty for his liking.
For dessert, I had the Affogato ice-cream with Granola. It was pretty good.
On the other hand, the Pavlova with Passion Fruit and Mango Compote way too sweet! And I have a sweet tooth….
Cheeses and fruit served, where I had a selection of cheeses and a melon.
Ending with an Earl Grey tea and some pralines. A bottle of water was also distributed to each of us.
Flipped the seat over and converted it into a bed after the meal.
Time for movie in bed.
After finishing the movie, we were somewhere above the Australian desert.
And starting on the second movie.
Feeling peckish mid-flight, we had Oriental noodles, chocolates, muffin and chips.
About 2hrs prior to landing, dinner was served. Again, the table was set up and starter delivered, along with breads. The Barbequed Prawns starter was pretty good.
For the main, there was a hiccup as my originally ordered Salmon ran out due to, as the crew very apologetically explained, inaccurate numbers uplifted versus as stated in their catering list. I then went for the Wokfried Chicken in Dried Red Chilli and Kuay Teow. It was flavourful, but too spicy, even for my Asian tongue. Surprising, since the dish was catered from Christchurch, where normally spices would be toned down from non-Asian countries.
My friend had the Mongolian-style Lamb Loin with steamed rice. This was a rather good dish.
The Blueberry Roulade dessert was a nice ending to the light dinner.
With a cup of jasmine green tea to clean the palate.
Approaching Singapore and started our descent. We managed to make up some time enroute and only arrived half hour behind schedule.
Landing into Rwy20R.
A short taxi to Terminal 3 and parked at A20.
View of my seat before disembarking.
Thanks for the flight, 9V-SVC.
Air New Zealand Koru Lounge - Star Alliance Gold
Christchurch - CHC
Singapore - SIN
It was a comfortable ride on the classic B772ER on the long-haul. Service was pretty good as expected on SQ, food was acceptable, IFE selection on this re-retrofitted aircraft was as good as on the newer aircraft, and overall a very comfortable flight. With only 5 (or less soon) B772ERs in SQ's fleet, it would be harder to get a chance to fly on these classic workhorses, though I am also looking forward to try out the new products on the 787-10s and new A380s in the SQ fleet.
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