For my birthday, I decided to give myself a treat, ie a trip to a place that I have always wanted to go, Maldives!! The resort chosen was the Holiday Inn Resort at Kandooma, which was booked using a mixture of earned/purchased Priority Club points (which was very good value considering the 'crazy' hotel rates in Maldives) with the flights on SQ booked on a mix of redemption on outgoing flight and paying one-way back on the return (the return flight booked via an agent was cheaper than booking through SQ's website and with 50% miles accrual too!).
Finally the long-awaited day of departure arrived. I had checked in online earlier and just needed to drop my bags and get my boarding pass at Terminal 2. The flight was going to be very full!
Made a visit to the Green Market, compliments of my credit card, but only a buffet continental breakfast was available. The all-day set-menu would only be available from 11am.
The Green Market is quite empty in the morning.
Some nibbles from the breakfast buffet.
After the quick bite, it was up to the Sunflower Garden to spot my plane.
9V-STA, SQ's first A333, would be flying me to Male. Departure was from Gate F41. Also spotted are more SQs and MIs. Boring…
03 August 2012 Singapore Airlines SQ 462 Singapore (SIN) - Male (MLE) A330-300 9V-STA Economy Class
Proceeded to F41 as boarding was commencing. The gate was filled with passengers, majority are Chinese families with kids transiting via SIN. Looks like Maldives is not just a destination for honeymooning couples anymore!
Boarding commenced shortly and was conducted from the rear of aircraft. Greeted at the door and directed towards the correct aisle. My first impression of this set of crew - Not very warm with few greetings along the aisles. Oh, and boarding music is back!
Window seats at the forward cabin.
Rear economy cabin.
At the gate.
Legroom was just average on the A333. I just could not find a comfortable sitting position on the new SQ economy seats. Hard seat cushions and I could not fully stretch my legs under the seat in front.
The plane plane filled up to the brim, with barely any empty seats left! Could be a 100% load in economy today! Business class should be quite empty as a crew member to sent up to assist in economy. 7 crew in economy and 3 crew in business class today. My cabin was served by 3 crew: LS, FSS and FS. As usual, the SQ protocol of hot towels, menus and headphones distribution. Flight time was announced to be a short 4h05m.
All the mags and menu.
Departure time of 0945hrs came and went, and then the pilot came on nearing 1000hrs, explaining that there was a slight technical problem with the aircraft and the technicians were working on it, and we would be expecting a delay of about 10-15min more.
Finally we were pushed back at about 1015hrs with safety video playing. SQ birdies, including the famous 9V-SYE, can be seen parked at T2 remote stands.
Even though we had pushed back, we were number 7 for takeoff, which means another 15min of taxiing to Rwy20C. Some of the planes taking off ahead of us includes:
CX B744 to HKG
MI and another SQ behind.
And finally we were off, almost 45min behind schedule.
Post takeoff service announcement.
And it was time to fire up the Krisworld entertainment system. Not sure if it is my personal preference, but I find the selection of movies offered for the month of August rather poor. What's with the offering of 8 movies from the Avengers series?? In the end, I settled for the comedy Mirror, Mirror starring Julia Roberts. In comparison, I find QF's entertainment system to have much more variety of movies and serials compared to SQ.
Cabin Service: Initially, I mentioned that my first impression of the set of crew was not too great, well they remained that way (especially the junior crew) for the rest of the flight. Very robotic service from the junior crew members and even lack of smiles from some. Most were just going through the motions with few, if any, interactions with passengers. Really not up to the usual high SQ standards. During boarding earlier, a FSS was only eye-powering rather then settling pax or assisting with bags. A stark contrast from my recent Jetstar flight where the crew were much more proactive during boarding. And the full-load up did not really help either.
Bar service was offered first using bar carts. Each pax got 2 packets of nuts. I had an apple juice to go along. No alcohol for me so early in the day.
Cruising above clouds.
Lets take a look at the menu today.
As the fish option doesn't sound too appetising, I went for the Japanese curry.
Marinated seafood with penne pasta salad. Tasted quite fishy.
Cheese, crackers and butter. And SQ had changed the roll to a soft roll instead of the previous hard roll!
Japanese style chicken curry with steamed rice. Just very average and tasted similar to those bought-off-the-shelf japanese curry mix. Quite similar to what I had months back for Jetstar's BOB meal too!
Meal service. After the meal, I overhead that the fish option tasted horrible…
Best part of the meal, Magnum Ice-cream!
Magnum at 37000ft.
After meal service, I visited the lavatory. Still quite well-stocked.
Another view of cabin after meal.
After meal service, I finished up my movie followed by just browsing through the other entertainment options. Best entertainment is still the flight map!
Slightly more than an hour to go.
Rather strong tail winds.
Nothing but the Indian Ocean all the way to Maldives.
Soon started our descent. Again same procedure: Seats up, window shades up, headphones collected, all 30min prior to touchdown.
Glimpse of atolls through the clouds.
Amazing view of Maldives atolls!!
Passing Kurumba just before touchdown.
Landing into Male Rwy18. My shortest taxi ever from runway to the gate!
Landed 20min behind schedule but most passengers were not too bothered. At the parking stand just beside the runway.
In Maldives, the holiday atmosphere starts at the airport! No aerobridges at the airport (but going to change in the future) and we got to walk along the tarmac to the arrival hall, while basking in the Maldivian sun! Not to mention lots of photo taking too!!
Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engine.
Yepp, it is STA alright.
On the tarmac in front of the aircraft.
Male's recently renamed Ibrahim Nasir International Airport.
Still on the tarmac. Everyone was seen photo-whoring in front of the aircraft! Haha!
Some Maldivian regional planes at the domestic end.
Air India A320 preparing to depart for Bangalore.
Partnership with Malaysia Airports
Singapore - SIN
Malé - MLE
A very average flight on SQ. Yes, everything moved like clockwork, but I felt that there was no soul, no enthusiasm. Food was not too appetizing, but the ice-cream saved the day. Entertainment selection on the IFE was not too exciting, and anyone noticed that the inflight magazine is getting thinner and thinner? The Duty-free and Krisworld guides are even thicker!
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