Lets have a look at the departures for the day. Mainly domestic departures in the afternoon…
with more international departures in the evening hours.
I had done a mobile online check-in earlier (the website check-in is not working for my agent booked itinerary…) and thus proceeded the internet check-in counters with no queues.
View of the check-in area. Went through immigration and security with no hassles.
My boarding pass. The Maldivian departure immigration stamp is cute!
Grabbed a quick bite at the airport cafe (with not too ridiculous prices) and proceeded down a level to the waiting lounge. Reminded me of KL's LCCT Terminal!
Departure gate 3. Again, most passengers are PRC nationals, transiting in Singapore. However the load seemed quite light, probably around 50% full.
Mega Maldives B763 arriving from a Chinese city.
Boarding was announced by rows and it was again a long walk to the plane in the sun. Not that I minded!!
06 August 2012 Singapore Airlines SQ 461 Male (MLE) - Singapore (SIN) A330-300 9V-STH Economy Class
World's Best Airline vs World's Most Awarded Airline
9V-STH would be flying me back. Second time on her!
Boarded the plane via stairs again. The set of crew on this flight was definitely much better than the incoming flight. Warm, genuine smiles and proactive assistance during boarding and more interaction with passengers. This should be the SQ that I know of!
2 Mega Maldives B767s were parked beside.
At the gate. Hot towels, menus and headphones were distributed with smiles. Flight time was announced to be a longer 4h35m due to strong headwinds.
All passengers were boarded by 1440hrs, 10min before STD of 1450hrs, but the captain came on the announced a 10min delay in pushback due to single runway operations restrictions at Male. As there were no taxiways in Male, we needed to allow some arrival planes to land before we can push back. When the slight delay was announced, the crew immediately came around with a water service, which was much appreciated with the hot weather. Conversely, no such service was conducted on the previous flight even though the delay stretched to almost half hour.
At exactly 1500hrs, we started our pushback. It was weird yet amazing to be pushed back directly onto the runway! There was absolutely no space for our A330 to taxi past the parked aircraft on the ramp.
Engines started up and we backtracked along the runway. Spotted a few planes that had just landed, including A320s of Etihad and Sri Lankan.
And an Emirates B772.
Taxiing along the runway.
Just beside the sea!
Made a U-turn at the end of the runway and departed from Rwy18.
Blue skies and blue sea….
Last few glimpse of Maldives atolls…
Tried to recline my seat, but unfortunately the seat was spoilt and cannot stay in the reclined position. No worries as the cabin was quite empty, I moved to the rear seat 61A. Surprisingly, the window seats at the last few rows felt to have slightly more seat pitch, probably due to the curvature of the cabin.
Climbing to cruising altitude. Nothing but the ocean for almost the entire flight.
First up, bar service and again using full bar carts. Of course, Singapore Sling for me! All of us were given 2 packets of nuts each again.
A second round of drinks were served, and the very kind stewardess along my aisle, on seeing my eaten packets of nuts, offered me another packet. Well, I politely declined but requested for an apple juice. Boy, I am beginning to like this set of crew!
Crew conducting bar service.
About half hour after the bar service, dinner was served. Lets take a look at the menu. Hmm, not too exciting.
Dinner is served. Had a coke light to go along.
Pasta and tuna salad. Simple starter.
Cheese, crackers and roll.
Braised beef with green peppercorn sauce with sauteed vegetable and mashed potatoes. Portion was sufficient but taste was not too inspiring.
Stir fried chicken with ginger and spring onion, chinese vegetable and steamed rice. This selection was slightly better.
Again, the rich and creamy dessert was the redeeming factor. Enjoyed it with a cup of hot coffee. Chocolate cream cake with coffee sauce
Meal service in progress. The crew offered another 2 rounds of drinks after distribution of trays!
Amenities in lavatory, again…
Settled into the seats (which was transformed into a mini-bed with the empty seat beside and thus more comfortable), and tried to find something to watch on Krisworld. Settled on a romantic comedy, but was so bored halfway that I started playing some games. Luckily I was not flying long-haul! Would be bored to tears if I did not have my own entertainment!
Sun is gradually setting.
Midpoint of the flight.
SQ writing kit.
While overflying Sumatra, we experienced some rather strong turbulences due to changing wind directions. With the very strong headwinds coupled with peak arrival traffic, it further delayed our arrival timing to 2255hrs instead of the scheduled 2235hrs. Nearing Singapore.
Made a very long approach by flying along the southern coast of Singapore, up north towards Malaysia before making an approach back south into Changi.
Landing into Changi Rwy20R.
View of seats at the end of flight.
Malé - MLE
Singapore - SIN
SQ still maintained a minimum standard of service and amenities but the Singapore Girl experience in sorely lacking on the flight up to Male. Fortunately, the experience on the return flight is much better and restored some my confidence in SQ. Food wise, there is definitely room for improvement. After tasting the inflight meals on a variety of airlines over many flights, SQ had seldom impressed me with their economy meals. It is not the worst, but definitely not the best either. Probably this is due to personal preference but in this aspect, I find that TG fared much better with their economy meals. Inflight entertainment choices is not lacking, but the selection is definitely not comparable to some other airlines. Again, it could probably be just an August thingy. As for the inflight magazine, has SQ editors ran out of stories/ideas or is it to save on the weight? It is so thin that the inflight magazines of Jetstar/Tiger/Scoot appear to have more contents! Overall, SQ's economy class has lost some of its sparkle and does not offer the unique flying experience anymore. It could be other airlines are fast catching up or standards of SQ's crew service are now a hit or miss. The latter, I felt, is more of the case.
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