Almost 3 months of non-flying and the itch has started again. Surfing the web, I chanced upon very good deals to Kuala Lumpur on various budget airlines. Since Firefly started flying from Singapore, I had always wanted to try their flights on a propeller aircraft. With a bit of mix-n-match, I got to book a 2-day trip to KL, going up by Firefly and returning by Air Asia. The Firefly flight costs RM77 all inclusive while the return on Air Asia was an unbelievable RM25 all inclusive!! Cheaper than me taking a taxi to the city from my home!!
26 October 2009 Firefly FY 3502 Singapore (SIN) - Kuala Lumpur Subang(SZB) ATR72-500 9M-FYD
Firefly operates from Changi's budget terminal as by operating the ATR72s, they do not need aerobridges and the budget terminal offers the fastest turnaround for their aircraft. Firefly was handled by ground handling agent CIAS. All their flights were also code-shared with Malaysia Airlines. Firefly markets themselves as a community airline and not a budget airline. Free 20kg luggage check-in (have to when the overhead bins of the ATR72s are pathetically small) and free refreshments onboard were offered.
2 check-in counters were opened for our flight and there were no queues, despite us checking in less than 1.5hrs before departure. Boarding passes were printed onto supermarket receipts ala low cost style and luggage were tagged with a hand-written luggage tag. Seats were also allocated.
Smooth clearance through immigration and after a coffee at a cafe in the terminal, we proceeded to gate 8 for our flight. Firefly only has a 25min turnaround time in Singapore and our plane was already at the gate being prepared for the flight.
Gate 8. Note the MH codeshare.
9M-FYD being prepared for the flight.
Teeny weeny Firefly vs the mighty Tiger
Cebu Pacific A320 arrived from Manila
Soon after, boarding was called. Boarding was done orderly, starting from the front rows as there is only a rear entrance on the ATR72. Walked across the tarmac to our small plane.
Tiger A319 pushing back for Penang
Was welcomed aboard by a very cheery Val, one of the 2 cabin crew serving us today. The other was Amanda. The cabin height of the ATR72 was really low for my height. My head could almost touch the ceiling of the cabin (well, I am 1.8m). Seating configuration was 2-2 and seats were upholstered in leather, similar to Jetstar and Air Asia. Seat pitch was slightly better than Jetstar's awful pitch.
At the gate
Seat pitch was average, but ok for such a short flight.
Seatbelts with the signature Firefly logo
Boarding was completed rapidly as there would only be a maximum of 72 passengers. Surprisingly, the load was very healthy, with the flight about 80% full. Doors closed and Amanda demonstrated the flight safety features manually. Flight time would be about 50min. We had a long taxi to the runway and had to hold short for a few departure and arrival aircrafts.
SQ A380 to HKG
Departing SQ B772 ahead of us
Takeoff!! We departed towards the south and made a left turn back towards Malaysia peninsular. The takeoff roll was really short!
Ascending through the clouds
Seatbelt signs were switched off shortly after takeoff and Val announced that a light refreshment would be served shortly. Weather enroute was good with barely a bump encountered by our small plane. Our cruising altitude was announced to be 20000ft.
Cruising above the clouds
Another cruising pic
A view of our small but very new and clean ATR cabin.
Stuff in the seatback pocket. Safety card, MH airsick bag and a promotional pamphlet.
Amanda first came down with a basket full of muffins and offered each pax one. 2 flavours were available, coffee or original. After muffins were distributed, both Amanda and Val came down again with trays of drinks. Very professionally carried indeed! Orange or grape juice were offered on trays while coffee/tea were also available upon request after the initial drinks service. Well done, Firefly! Even the premium carriers ala SQ, MI and MH do not serve any food, but only the obligatory coffee, tea or juice in economy on the SIN-KUL route.
Amanda serving muffins
Muffin and grape juice. Muffin was a bit dry, but better than nothing at all.
Service was very efficient and was completed within 15min. Val and Amanda then came down with trays again to collect the used cups and trash.
Another cabin view. The ATR cabin did not looked very small from this angle.
Aircraft door cum steps
Soon after, we started our descend. The female first officer also came on and gave the weather and also our estimated arrival time. We would be arriving on schedule.
We flew over KL city and approached from the north towards Subang Sultan Abdul Aziz airport.
Landed on schedule and had a quick taxi to the new Skypark terminal. Disembarked by stairs again. Being a small terminal, we had a short walk to the arrivals area.
One final look at our plane.
As we were the only arrival then, immigration took less than 5 minutes. However there was a slight wait for baggage as apparently the baggage handlers could not keep up with us. The new Subang Skypark terminal was brand new and offered many facilities, but the main attraction was the proximity to the city center. It was only a short 15-20 minutes taxi ride to the city, compared to from KLIA which could take up to an hour and more than double the taxi fare.
View of the terminal
Singapore - SIN
Subang - SZB
Flying on the ATR72 was definitely a different experience from the jet planes. The flight was also very smooth, probably due to the good weather. Would not know how the plane would fare in bad weather. I would gladly fly on another of their ATRs again. Also kudos to Firefly for a job well done in providing such a good standard of service on the SIN-KL route as compared to other major league airlines. Hope the Firefly would soar higher in the future and launch even more routes out of Singapore.
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