This is the first leg of a long routing mixing holidays and business trips over 3 continents.
My first stop is Chicago. From Singapore, there are several options to reach Chicago. - Westbound with 1 stop in NRT: SIN-NRT-ORD on SQ then NH or UA. - Eastbound with a connection in Europe: SIN-LHR-ORD / on SQ then VS or UA. The stopover could also be in CDG rather than LHR, which would allow me to visit my homeland (France). Last options are the 2 future ex-ultra long haul SQ flights: SIN-LAX or SIN-EWR followed by a domestic flight to ORD.
At the time of booking, to my surprise the cheapest options turned out to be via LAX on the direct SQ route then a domestic flight on UA. To keep the budget under control, the LAX-ORD leg will be in economy class. Even more surprisingly (to me, at least!), the most expensive option is SIN-NRT on SQ then NRT-ORD on UA.
So, let’s settle on SIN-LAX direct on SQ followed by LAX-ORD on UA. Obviously, as you noted, being a SQ PPS and LH M&M member, only *A options were looked at.
A quick word on the SQ flight on 345. Currently (and until later in 2013), SQ operates the 4 longest commercial flights, between SIN and EWR and LAX, operated on all-J Airbus 345. These flights are respectively 15,300kms in 18hrs40mins (EWR-SIN) and 14,100kms in 17hrs20mins (LAX-SIN). According to my research on the internet, not only these 2 flights are the longest in 2013 but also the longest in the history of commercial aviation (scheduled flights only). By mentioning « scheduled flights only », I intend to exclude the longest ever flight of a commercial jetliner, a 777-200LR which reached LHR from HKG non-stop through the East route, a nice 21,600kms (22hrs40mins). At that time (2005), this flight aimed at promoting the 777-200LR against the Airbus 345.
All right, time to fly off to LAX!
2 :30pm, my pickup to reach Changi airport
3pm : check-in at Changi T3. Oddly, only 2 check-in banks are open. Although the J check-in at the T3 is rarely overcrowded, 2 banks is not much.
According to the agent at the check-in bank, reason for this is a flight leaving for Mecca, lots of pax and lots of well-wishers… so lots of staff have been requested to join and help.
Being a SQ PPS, I am now chasing the SEN status on LH. That’s a double dip, my « regular » miles should be credited to my LH account while my PPS $ should go towards PPS requalification. Since a couple of flights, this has proven to me a pain in the &%$^ ! Double dip has failed many times at check-in, resulting in a need of many follow-up emails to SQ and LH to make things right afterwards.
In line with this, once again, my check-in took forever. According to the agent, this is due to the new IT system implemented since less than 1 month. My BP SIN-LAX and LAX-ORD are issued. In terms of FFP, one is fully LH without mention of PPS or SQ KF while the second one (LAX-ORD) shows the correct information (LH number but also *G derived from my PPS membership). Anyway, it seems indeed complicated (or staff are not properly trained, not sure…). After printing 5 sets of the BP always showing the wrong information, the agent left his desk for 15mins to seek help from colleagues. I eventually give up, this is taking way to long and nobody seems to know what’s going and how to manage the double dip. I’ll follow-up later through emails with PPS and M&M.
Passport control is cleared quickly like always in SIN. Due to this flight going to the US, only difference with other flight is a 2nd passport check just before boarding (at the entrance of the aerobridge). Gate A14, let’s go !
My aircraft today, a 345 number 9V-SGE, was born in 2004. Like its 4 siblings in the SQ fleet, it will be returned to Airbus in Oct-Nov. 2013 when the direct routes to the US will be discontinued (LAX will remain through NRT and EWR will be replaced by JFK through FRA).
I haven’t had time to check in online, therefore no windows seat ? I’ll be in 14F, in the front of the cabin. The all-J cabin is divided into 3 sections. Galleys are only in the very front and very back of the cabin. Toilets are in the central dividing sections in between each section. As mentioned before, the configuration is all-J, 100 seats in 1-2-1 with the famous SQ long-haul seat. I really enjoy this seat for an overnight flight as it turns into a wide full-flat bed. As a normal seat, I find it to be too hard and always use a cushion under my bottom lol The cabin is obviously narrower than that of a 77W but it doesn’t feel cramped at all. I estimate the flight to be 90% full. Crew is 14 commercial and 4 pilots.
A view of the cabin
Another view from the back, a sea of J seats, 100 that’s a lot !
The corporate picture
This flight is almost full. I ask a crew to switch to a window seat, I can see 11K seems empty. My wish is granted. The chief pursers tells me, although she had other similar requests, I get the seat due to my PPS status, thank you ma’am.
While I move my belonging to my new seat, she hands over to me some earplugs and warns me there may be some noise due to proximity of the galley, nice gesture.
The crew in charge of my area takes my order for post-lunch drinks.
Doors are closed. The captain introduces himself, the 1st officer, the relief pilots and the IFS (in-flight supervisor). He mentions a flight duration of 15hrs40mins and an expected landing time in LAX at 5:20pm local time (same day). He also makes an announcement which is unusual to me : « at the request of US authorities, we kindly request passengers not to congregate in groups in the cabin », probably post 9/11 security procedure.
4:25pm, we push back (5 mins delay). The plane will then stay still for quite a while after pushing away from the gate.
I have 2 windows, nice, however rainy weather on SIN today, so the spotting will be limited.
I was still able to spot a few birds while taxiing, though : QR
China Eastern A300-600
SQ 77W, about to depart to SFO via HKG
A320 Sichuan Airlines
SQ 388 later departing for CDG
This is the reason for the mess in the terminal, the Saudia flight
BA, KLM, QF
The same in one shot
Lion Air 737-900ER and Air lagentsecret (TK) in the background
This means « take it easy » lol
A Silk Air 320 departing to Hyderabad
Another Silk Air (319) on its way to Coimbatore (CJB, India)
4:46pm, take off !
Shortly after (4 :52pm), the seatbelt sign is switched off.
Here is the menu. 3 meals will be served: dinner, snack during the night then another meal (kind off early dinner before landing).
For diner, I pick the sirloin:
The second meal is only upon request because in the middle of the night Singapore-time.
The 3rd meal, before landing. I will have the cod
The drinks section of menu shows Bollinger is served, great news, Bollinger is way better than Heidsieck ! I ask a crew who is passing by, he goes for a check and come back to deliver the bad news… only Heidsieck :( He is super smiling and cheerful and asks if my France jersey is football or rugby lol
This aircraft is fitted with wifi. I won’t use it though. A plane is the last place of peace, no internet no phone and I’d love it if it stays that way !
Apparently it cost USD 30 for 30Mb of data, how does this compare with the competitors ? Looks pricey, isn‘t it ?
Unlike in PVG, I haven’t met with lagentsecret and Numero_2 last night so no hangover, I can treat myself to a glass of champagne ;)
The front galley
Space is plentiful, both in breadth and in length. I like this seat, much better as a bed than a seat (I find it too hard in the normal seating position).
The chief stewardess (crew 2nd in command)
No neighbor on my left ;)
After takeoff… this 777 is very strange, the 2 engines have been moved under the same wing, so no engine on the left side ? lol
A view looking back from my seat, J all the way
and looking forward !
Now let me show you this seat, its environment and features Directly in front of me, the screen is really wide !
The command panel. This is a lie-flat, not a toboggan. The seat can be moved forward a bit only but the backrest folds into bed position.
The connectors around the IFE screen
this is for ladies…
The panel above my seat
My view into the galley will be limited to this for most of the flight… the curtain
The IFE remote control
The geovision system of the IFE is fairly recent. Usually it’s an older version on the 333 and 777.
This is the comfort kit… NOT !! Only the smurfs socks and sleep mask.
That’s me ! Ugly but comfortable. SQ is clearly behind most competitors when it comes to amenities and comfort kit.
Being on the first row of seats, I have this ottoman
Why would anyone sit on the ottoman with such a big seat !
5:07pm, my wine order is delivered. The Chablis usually on the menu for regional flight sis missing ? Too bad I wanted to give it a try… cheers, that’s a Medoc 2009
The drinks section (except the spirits section which I did not pictured)
Here we are, cruising altitude !
5:15pm, I go to the washroom (yes, fascinating, I know ;) A few pictures. It starts with an orchid
5:21pm: satay time
My goal is to not leave anything!
The wine, fair but not outstanding.
5:30pm. No luck for the month of heavy travel for me, the movies choice is really not great… I’ll start with A good day to die hard.
Bruce Willis is on the wrong side of the cannon!
5:40pm. The chief stewardess comes back to refill my glass. I interrupt her thinking that she’s pouring a different wine than the one that was first served to me. She smiles, shows me the bottle and says « No worries, we know what you’re drinking Mr. Durian »
5:41pm. Start of dinner service. The starter
and my favorite, the garlic bread !
5:55pm: Bruce Willis starts his killing spree
5:56pm: Bruce Willis is done killing all the bad guys
6:10pm. Main course, the sirloin turns out to be a very good choice, it is very tender and tasty.
Desserts, only for the picture (I’m a cheese person, not dessert ;)
6:25pm, another glass of red wine and all-I-can-eat garlic bread
The cheeses tray
that’s my selection, better than on SQ regional flights.
7:15pm: 2nd movie, « l’affaire Dumont », a French movie based on a true story about parents abusing their children… at watching this movie, I felt a bit depressed ;(
7:20pm : in jolly mood again due to 2nd round of cheese !
7:51pm: cabin light is switched off. From what I saw by walking around, many pax are sleeping, which IMO is a mistake, this time is early morning LAX time and early evening SIN time.. why sleep ?
8:30pm: I press the call button to have water. 2 crewmembers arrive at the same time, one from the left one from the right… I’m embarrassed because I don’t know whom to talk to ;) they spot my (relative) embarrassment and laugh ! Professional yet relax atmosphere on board.
9:15pm: 3rd movie, Moebius, with Jean Dujardin
10:15pm: Jean Dujardin wins of course ! He eventually killed the bad guy
10:50pm: actually Jean Dujardin has lost, he was misled and betrayed by a woman !
The SQ Girl who’s in charge of my area notices I down my glasses of water fast so she gives me big bottle for the night, more convenient ;-)
10:55pm: time to take a nap. Although a full night of sleep is not my plan, a few hours of rest will help me be tired enough upon reaching LAX and beat the jetlag (hopefully !). The crew prepares my bed and I request for a wake-up in 5 hours, at 4am Singapore time.
04:00am: I am woken up by a sweet voice, I open my eyes then the window blind… bright sun, and it is 1pm LAX time. I ask for a double espresso, most pax are still asleep and the cabin is still dark. I will now do some work for the next 3 hours. I got a new laptop from my office, Excel in English is much better than in mandarin like on my previous laptop !
We’re getting closer to LAX. When looking at the map, I can’t help thinking that I feel safer with 4 engines.. in case of a technical problem, there’s really nowhere around to land ! The Azores glider without Azores for landing is not a great idea!
04:20am: I skip the night snack that a crew offers to me. I’ll take another coffee, will finish my work and eat the 3rd meal.
At 6am (2hrs30mins before landing), cabin light is switched on again. Drink service. For me, fresh orange juice.
06:40am: pre-landing meal.
Starter: endive, very uncommon in Singapore ! Reminds me of my childhood.
Very delicate fish, awesome.
some more cheese ! (I can’t get enough !)
8am: we are now above ground. The captain announces that we are 200 miles from LAX, landing is in 35mins and 10mins later at the gate.
It’s time to complete this form
LA residential lol
No doubt we are in the US, what a big football stadium !
We’re getting closer from the airport, housing has turned into warehouses
And here we are, touchdown! 8:31am on Sunday Singapore time, 5:31pm on Saturday local time. Flight duration has been 15hrs45mins. Ground temperature is 20 degrees (Celsius).
1st plane spotted after landing…. CX, I feel at home!
Air Fiji et Asiana
Nice group shot: Air New Zealand, Virgin et V Australia
Qantas 744 and 388
Air Marathon (Eva Air, which has joined *A since that flight)
A VX and this building typical of LAX
Time difference is 15 hours, ouch !
A first time for me, Southwest 738
Air Berlin, I deleted the picture of the plane by mistake but I kept the picture of the plane number, it’s a 332 built in 1999 but delivered in 2011 to Air Berlin
We have reached the last turn near the gate then we stop. The captain announces that we will be pulled to the gate… strange, first time I experienced this procedure.
5:45pm: we are at the gate.
The aerobridges’ bank !
Arrival, let’s follow the signage
Run, Forrest, run!
This local celebrity welcomes us !
I think we were the only international flight landing at that time, there was no line, and immigration was cleared within 5 minutes.
Here is my suitcase coming. These employees’ job is to arrange the luggage on the belt with the handle upward and the baggage tag visible, very thoughtful.
Surprisingly, customs check will take longer time than immigration.
These are my luggages. The black one is empty. The price to pay for a long trip away from home is to bring back lots of stuff ordered on internet by Mrs. Durian and delivered to my hotel in ORD.
No, I’m not going to Disneyland!
This is what the hotel shuttle buses look like
Here we are, thanks for reading me!
Singapore - SIN
Los Angeles - LAX
Take off roughly on-time, landing before schedule time. I had not time to go to the Krisflyer lounge at Changi airport.
I just love this cabin: very wide seat, lots of privacy, big IFE screen and hundreds of movies to choose from from all over the world. Cabin crew are always present, sometimes even to beat my expectations. Professional, smiling, relax just the right balance. I liked this food, I was able to be at peace with my diet with a healthy fish then have loads of garlic bread and cheese :) Overall a good flight, I was able to manage my sleep well, could work 3 hours and sleep 5. A long journey, but a good one... unlike the LAX-ORD to come soon ;)
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