Since my last trip to Seoul 1.5yrs ago in winter, I decided to pay a visit again over the recent holidays, just before the searing heat of summer hits Seoul. Flight up was on SQ economy, and back on TG and SQ Business Classes via Bangkok.
Checked in at Terminal 3 self check-in kiosks and boarding pass printed.
Paid a visit to the brand new Marhaba Lounge at Terminal 3. The lounge has replaced the old Dnata Lounge (which is currently closed), and is used by some airlines as well as available for Priority Pass and other lounge cards holders.
As expected, the lounge facilities are very new and clean. It was not busy as well, with plenty of seating available. Toilets, equipped with showers, look beautiful too.
There is a rather substantial buffet setup as well, which puts many airline-specific lounges to shame.
A couple of the more interesting selection included the Taiwanese Braised Minced Chicken with rice.
And the satays!
Some of our late supper from the buffet.
Headed to the gate which is at the far-end of the terminal at A17.
Boarding had already commenced and judging by the length of the queue to board, it looked like it was gonna be a full flight.
05 June 2019 Singapore Airlines SQ 608 Singapore (SIN) - Seoul Incheon (ICN) B787-10 9V-SCF Economy Class Flight Time: 5H56M
Boarding the rather new B787-10.
Will by flying in economy on this red-eye, though I guess I already scored one of the better seats in the house, being a bulkhead at the first row, though in the middles 41J seat. On each seat was a pillow and blanket. Expecting the seat width to be less than other SQ aircraft (this being a 3-3-3 configured 787 afterall), the seat width at the bulkheads were further reduced due to the tray tables and IFE controllers in the armrests. Really felt squeezed in while seated in the seat.
Legroom was no problem of course. J/K seats IFE monitors were on the bulkhead while H seat's was at the armrest (no IFE controller for H seats and normal seats where IFE monitor is within touching distance).
View towards Business Class.
Rolls-Royce (problematic) engine view from the window. A SkyTeam liveried MU A330 parked beside.
Reading materials in the magazine pocket.
As boarding was completed, hot towels and menus were offered.
Tuned in to the flight info.
Doors closed slightly behind schedule, safety video played and we pushed back.
Taxied to Rwy20C. Passing a TG B773 parked for the night.
Took off from Rwy20C, capturing the Singapore night view on climbout.
After seatbelt signs were turned off, amenity kits were given out. Kits consisted of a toothbrush set and a pair of socks.
Visit to the lavatory just ahead, where some cost-cutting is evident. No more extra toothbrushes and combs in the amenity drawer. To confirm my findings, other lavatories did not have the items as well. However, the mouthwash and nice-smelling stuff were still stocked.
A round of peas and crackers, and drinks from trays were offered, then it was lights off for the night. Though there were quite a few passengers requesting for instant noodles upon realising only breakfast would be served before landing.
Got a bit of disturbed sleep over the next 3 hours until cabin lights were turned back on 2.5 hrs before arrival and hot towels offered. Felt that it was a bit early but guess that is the SOP for SQ.
Taking a look at the menu. Breakfast choices were a Vegetable frittata or Korean-style fish with rice.
Menu for the return ICN-SIN sector.
Breakfast tray, which included fruits, warm roll with butter and preserve, coffee and a juice. I went for the fish with rice. More cost-cutting noted. No more salt/pepper/sugar sachets in the cutlery pack. These were only provided on demand from the meal cart, and the crew did not proactively offer them as well, so no sugar with my coffee….Guess SQ crew are still not used to offering sugar with hot beverages in economy….
To be honest, the fish with rice was bad… Just some tasteless fried fish covered with a hint-of-spice sauce, along with tasteless vegetables nad steamed rice. Only something which I would eat if I am on the verge of starvation. Very poor! Should have went for the frittata instead as it looked better than this.
My friend pre-ordered the Hindu meal, which is much more substantial and delicious. It was a pratha bread with minced mutton. At least there was an additional yoghurt as well.
Sun started rising.
Caught some IFE.
View of the cabin. The aisles were really narrow in economy. Moving down the aisle, one would repeatedly bump into passengers' elbows, arms or shoulders.
Soon we started our descent into Seoul.
Clouds were very low, and we were still above the clouds when gears were lowered.
Broke through the clouds and landed on Rwy33R ahead of schedule.
Pretty long taxi to the gate, passing the new Terminal 2 and the midfield terminal.
Some plane spotting on the way to the gate, including OZ A333, Jin Air B772 and others.
A look at the seat before disembarkation.
Disembarking into the terminal.
Caught a sight of an OZ B744 while on the way to immigration.
A bit of wait to clear immigration due to the morning peak arrivals and we were into the arrival hall after baggage was claimed.
Bonus : Click here displayhide
As it was still too early for hotel check-in, and our hotel strictly does not allow early check-in, we booked at room at the landside Darakhyu Capsule Hotel for a nap for 4hrs. It was badly needed after the gruelling red-eye in economy. The capsule room, located within the transportation center across from the terminal building, was well equipped with a comfortable bed and basic amenities, including a shower. Rates were also very affordable.
After the short nap and feeling more refreshed, checked out of the hotel and had a bite at A Twosome Place café nearby. It is a popular dessert and coffee chain throughout Seoul, and they have a few outlets within Incheon Airport as well.
Simple but yummy pastries with coffee.
Then took the airport train into Seoul city, changing to the subway to our hotel at Hotel Gracery Seoul, near City Hall and walking distance to Myeongdong. It is a popular Japanese-chain hotel, and was newly opened just less than a year ago. Rooms are brand new as expected, and reasonably comfortable and cosy as well.
We were given a room at the top floor, overlooking the city skyline.
After a quick rest, proceeded to Gangnam area.
Grabbed a quick bite of the popular pork cutlet sandwich from Dosan Bunsik.
Dinner at Shake Shack.
Back to Myeongdong at night, and had a japchae from the street vendors.
First thing the next day was to visit a popular Michilin bib-gourmand Korean restaurant nearby the hotel.
This restaurant is renowned for its braised pork trotters and grilled pork belly.
Back to Seoul Station area, where there is a DMZ museum, as well as Lotte Mart and outlet.
Lotte Mart shopping
Dinner at a simple Korean eatery at Namdaemung. This is a popular SQ crew joint, and the eatery even has SQ advertisements within.
Ending the day with an Osulloc green tea latte and cake.
We went on a half-day Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) tour. On the way to DMZ, we drove along the fenced-up coastline, with North Korea just across the bay.
Passing through the checkpoint to DMZ.
First stop of the tour was to an observation tower where North Korea could be seen afar.
Map of the sites across at North Korea. Unfortunately as it was drizzly, the view was not very good.
Went down the 3rd Tunnel, which was definitely a very tiring climb on the way up. Not suitable for the elderly or those with health problems.
Then onwards to an unopened train station, where hopefully sometime in the future, there would be train service from Seoul to Pyeongyang. The train station was built by the same designers of Incheon Airport. As for now, it remained as a symbolic structure, though immigration, customs and security facilities are ready.
Back to Seoul for a bibimbap lunch.
Singapore - SIN
Seoul - ICN
I will have to say that I am not a very big fan of the SQ B787-10 economy seats. Even though the seat has all the bells and whistles, it is compromised in seat width due to the narrower cabin with 3-3-3 configuration, though I cannot fault SQ as almost all other airlines have configured their B787s similarly. Did not sit at the normal rows so could not comment. Service was fine as per SQ, but catering was quite woeful, easily one of the worst inflight meals I have had on any full-service carrier. Not only the quantity was lacking, the quality was poor as well, at least for the choice I had. No wonder I noticed there were plenty more orders for instant noodles by other passengers after the breakfast service.
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