After staying 4 nights in splendid Seoul, it was time to go home. I was very looking forward to the flight back as it had been quite a while since I last flew SQ. My last flight with SQ was more than a year ago on my trip back from Bali. It would also be my first time flying on SQ's new A330 and I would really liked to feel how the experience would be.
Took the airport bus from Myeong Dong to Incheon airport for only 10,000won (S$12) and we promptly reached Incheon in about an hour. Incheon airport is truely massive, open and bright. I guess the whole terminal area is equivalent to Changi's T1 and T3 combined, or even bigger.
SQ's check-in was handled by Asiana staff. Both SQ609 to SIN and SQ16 to SFO were in the process of checking in. However there were not much of a queue at all. Check-in was fast as I had done an internet check-in earlier.
After checking in, we proceeded through immigration and security to check out Incheon airport.
KE's largest aircraft, B747-400
and it small brother, B737-800
Lots of shopping in the transit area.
Gate waiting areas.
As SQ flights (along with almost all other foreign airlines) depart from the midfield Concourse, we had to take the shuttle train over.
I decided to check out the Asiana Lounge at the Concourse using my Priority Pass card. SQ First and Business class passengers also uses the same lounge. There was another Asiana lounge at the main terminal, used mainly by Asiana's passengers.
We were directed by the very friendly lounge attendants into the business class area. The lounge is not too big, but with comfortable seating and a work area. Food offerings were not too great as it was not meal time. Only finger food and refreshments were available.
Instant noodles and wide range of beverages.
Sandwiches, Korean snacks and nuts.
Salad bar and bread counter.
Overview if the buffet area.
I had some instant noodles and cakes for refreshment.
Followed with a coffee and apple juice.
Lots of comfortable seats
Relaxation room. I think there were 4 of such rooms.
About half hour before STD, I proceeded to the gate. The departure gate would be the exact gate that I arrived at. On the way to the gate, I also did some aircraft spotting.
Jeju Air B737-800
UA B744 still in old colours, and boy, their cabin crew who were waiting to board also looked very experienced. I guess all of them were more experienced than my SQ flight's inflight supervisor.
My plane, 9V-STN. Hmm, it was 30min before departure and the plane was still being catered. I looked up the FIDS and true enough, the flight was delayed by 20min, I guess most probably due to late arrival of aircraft.
So off to do more spotting. Air Canada B763ER just arrived.
Air India B777-200LR departing to Hong Kong and Delhi. Very short flights for the B772LR.
Qatar Airways A330-300 just arrived.
Catering is done. Left the loading of cargo.
Boarding is called to request passengers to board by rows. However it was not enforced, resulting in a bit of a mess during boarding.
Boarding my first SQ A330 flight soon.
Was welcomed aboard by the crew and turn right into the economy section. And a hell of a shock did I got at how small the width of the aisle was! Having flown B777s quite often, I was stunned at how the aisles of the plane can be so tiny in width. I bet if a meal cart was in the middle of the aisle, nobody, not even the petite Singapore Girl, can pass through. I guess SQ decided to sacrifice the width of the aisle to have wider economy seats.
Seat colours were a bit dull. I miss TG's colourful seats.
Reached my seat at 56A and 2nd shock, the seat pitch is so tight!! Again, having been pampered by TG with their generous seat pitch, I was taken aback with the tight legroom on SQ's A330. Unlike TG, there was no way I could straighten my leg (I am 1.8m) in these seats, much less crossing my legs. Even though the seat has all the high tech gadgets such as PTV, USB ports and inseat power supply etc, I would rather sacrifice some of these gadgets for just an extra inch of seat pitch.
Tight leg room. Supposed to be 32 pitch, but doesn't feel like it. TG's B772 with 32 pitch felt much roomier.
Across the aisle. There were a pillow and blanket on each seat.
At the gate.
Due to the delay, the crew were having a hard time to get everyone settled in and start the pre-takeoff service and checks. As always, hot towels were distributed (I do miss those hot towels, haha). We started to push back once doors were closed and the safety video was screened. Really, SQ's new safety video is so much worse than TG and many other airlines. It just lacks the class that SQ is supposed to be renowned for. Probably SQ should get the agency that produced TG's safety video to film one for them too. And it may be cheaper! LOL.
Pushback, engine startup and safety video.
We had only a short taxi to the runway. Due to the rush and short taxi, crew were unable to retrieved the used hot towels till after takeoff.
Taxi to runway.
Takeoff bound for home.
Making a left turn..
After seat belt signs went off, the crew came and collect the used towels, followed by distributing headsets and menu cards.
Magazines and seat pocket and menu card.
Climbing to 39000ft, which was our initial cruising altitude. In fact we stayed at FL390 for most of the flight.
Cabin view. Flight was 70-80% full.
Firstly, the crew came around with peanuts and bar service. At least bar carts wer used this time round and not only water/beer/juice service. However the bar cart top looked pathetic as on display were only 2 bottles of wine, few cartons of juice, a jug of water and few cans of soft drinks. All other liquors were hidden in the bar cart drawers. Compared to TG where a full bar cart with all sorts of drinks/wines/liquors on display on the cart top were pushed out, even on the short SIN-BKK sector. Really a poor showing by SQ here.
I had a Singapore Sling with my peanuts. At least the crew offered another round of drinks.
After the bar service, I made the ritual lavatory visit. SQ still had most of the amenities in their lavatories, except shavers which were now upon request from the crew.
I went back to my seat to watch some movies on the Krisworld IFE. It worked perfectly with no hiccups. Dinner would only be served 2hrs after takeoff.
Cruising at 39000ft.
Finally 2hrs later, I smelled food. Lets take a look at today's menu.
dinner SEOUL TO SINGAPORE
appetiser Coleslaw salad with ham
main courses Stir fried beef in oyster sauce with carrot, leafy greens and fried rice or Pan fried chicken in red wine jus with seasonal vegetables and potatoes
cheese Cheese and crackers
dessert Ice cream
from the bakery Roll and butter
hot beverages Coffee - Tea Green tea
I chose the beef with fried rice. Meal tray.
Stir fried beef with fried rice. It was not bad but portion seemed kinda small.
Coleslaw with ham and bread roll. Coleslaw just tasted like any other coleslaw. Nothing special.
Crackers and cheese spread, kimchi and hot pepper paste. Probably due to cost-cutting, kimchi and pepper paste is now only available upon request (and it is not even stated in the menu) when previously, it was preset on all oriental choice trays. So ask for your kimchis on SQ flights to/from Seoul!
Ice cream!! The ice cream was great, but was served rock hard.
Surprisingly, service was quite fast today, but I counted an extra crew in economy (7 vs the usual 6 crew). Probably business class had a light load today and so 1 crew came down to economy to assist. So having more crew in the cabin do make a big difference in service speed. After dinner trays were collected, lights were dimmed for passengers to rest. I continued with my movies on Krisworld. The crew were diligent to come around with water every half hour.
About 1hr before our arrival, crew came around with peanuts and juices again. However, I would rather they serve a pre-landing snack such as a sandwich or cake. Descent started about half an hour before arrival. By this time, my legs were almost numbed. Damn the tight seats.
Overflying Tioman and reaching Singapore very soon.
As soon as the captain made the pre-descent arrival announcement, all the cabin crew started to collect headsets and request all passengers to be seated upright, window shades up etc even before the plane started descending. The cabin was readied for landing and crew seated almost 20min before actual touchdown!! Don't the landing preparations seemed a bit too early and rushed? No wonder there were complaints that SQ crew always seemed too eager to prepare the aircraft for landing when there is still ample time left. Contrast with TG where crew only sat down for landing probably about 5min before touchdown. In fact, I realised that on TG, the pilots would only request for the crew to go to their landing stations when the gears are lowered and 2 chimes are heard in the cabin.
Landing at Changi Rwy20R. No landing music to calm the souls, haha.
Even with our late departure, we still landed on time, probably due to weak headwinds. Had a very short taxi to Terminal 3 where we parked at Gate B3.
Parked beside SQ's A380.
Asiana Airlines Business Lounge
Seoul - ICN
Singapore - SIN
Overall, SQ provided a very decent economy class service and performed what is expected of them. Everything moves like clockwork and service is consistent. IFE is great of course, but the seats are really too tight! I guess the A330s have the tightest seat pitch in SQ's fleet as I don't remember SQ's B777 seats being so tight. If flying economy, I would only fly on SQ if the price is competitive as many other airlines do offer similar economy products and equally good service too.
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