Good day friends! Over the past 1 year 2 months, I flew the SIN-MEL route (with a handful of varied routings / airlines) quite a few times. In my opinion, despite the fact that it’s almost always the same 6000+km that I am travelling on to and fro, every single flight allows me to carry away with more memories of flying, and no single trip out of my home country ever failed to provide me with more new perspectives about this world where all of us reside in.
As promised in my previous report (which is also my first attempt on Flight-Report) – even though there may not be much varieties among the reports that I will progressively share with everyone (in terms of routings and maybe airlines), I strongly believe that every single flight carries with them different stories, life experiences and reasons to travel. Since every single passenger on-board the aircraft is different, each of them will definitely have his own story to tell – I am glad to say that I am one of them.
This report covers a flight that I have been looking forward to for two whole months, after my girlfriend left in February for her university's second year. And by the way, it’s quite long! Sorry about that!
(Most of the time, I will start the flight report with my journey to the origin airport, before actually bringing you through the entire process of the pre-flight procedures, the flight itself, and finally the arrival at the destination airport. Similarly, I will continue the report with my journey beyond the departure airport up till my final destination, as far as possible, because I believe this gives a more realistic account of the entire experience, which I value deeply. Nevertheless, please feel free to follow the photos and “fast forward” to the flight section if you are more interested with that!)
My 6th Flight with Emirates – A Surprise on Arrival
This report was completed on 2 May 2014, in Singapore. Note: All the time stated in this report are UTC+08:00 (Before Take Off) and UTC+10:00 (After Take Off).
The Night Before As you can already sense from the introduction, I have been eagerly awaiting for the day of this flight. For two reasons: 1) Looking forward to meet my girlfriend! 2) Looking forward to fly (after so long since my last flight…?)
Okay… Maybe not “very long after my last flight” – a return trip to and fro Penang, Malaysia just back in February 2014. But, I am sure you guys understand very well… We all love to fly!
I was given an upgrade to Business Class on my last Emirates flight – at the gate. So, it left me with pleasant impressions with them! On Wednesday, I was already checking the flight status, doing my online check-in and also watching the seats of the aircraft fill up… Like, this:
This definitely looks like a very full flight…
I wasn’t quite prepared for a full flight initially, thinking that I may at least be lucky enough to get an empty seat by my side, or something like that… But, oh well.
The next morning…
I also got my online check in done, but did not print out the confirmation slip because they usually just want the ticket printed during booking and my passport. Also, in some instances (not for Emirates at Changi though), if you print out your boarding pass, you won’t get the one they usually give to you at the counters; which, I find is fun to collect, and take photographs of. Isn’t it true?
Emirates also sent me an SMS reminder for my flight; it doesn’t sound quite logical that someone will actually forget their flight, but I actually do know of a few whom did that before…
1800h (UTC+08:00) Status: Left Home 03:40 to Boarding Time 04:40 to ETD
6pm, Singapore time, the day of departure. It was time to set off for the airport. Today, I am bringing with me exceptionally more luggage than usual. The bag you see below weighed 19kg. The other one that I did not remember to include inside the photo weighed 15kg. That adds up to an astonishing 34kg – given that I am travelling alone and going for just a 5 days trip!
After becoming a Silver member with Qantas, they gave me the luggage tag you see on my bag, which I like a lot!
1830h Status: Travelling to Changi Airport 00:30 from Leaving Home 03:10 to Boarding Time 04:10 to ETD
Some geographical knowledge about Singapore – as you may already know, this is a small country: 26km North-South, and 50km East-West; but in our country, we have 106 Metro stations and 34 Light Rapid Transit stations packed in this tiny island, and there’s even more to come!
I stay about 20+km away from the airport and it takes me only a very short ride via the highways (we term them – expressways).
We have PIEs on the roads! Just kidding, PIE – Pan Island Expressway.
Here I am, at Changi Airport.
1914h Status: Arrived at Changi Airport 01:14 from Leaving Home 02:26 to Boarding Time 03:26 to ETD
Emirates operate their flights to and fro Singapore from Terminal 1, the oldest terminal among the 3 in operation now at Changi.
I had to sacrifice the lighting for the background so as to get the airline logos clearly captured in this picture.
The partnership between Qantas and Emirates are evident in many airports that they serve together (I believe!); previously, Qantas had their counters with British Airways at Changi.
1923h Status: Completed Check-In 01:23 from Leaving Home 02:17 to Boarding Time 03:17 to ETD
Alright! After 9 minutes, I am done with checking in – one of the greatest benefits I like about the Silver status. I get to skip the queue here, and later at the boarding gate. If you look close enough at the top left corner, you can see Silver spelt as “SLIVER” on the screens – I was just… A little too observant and couldn’t resist to point the mistake out to the ground staff.
I like the blue carpets – I don’t exactly mean the colour!
Information for departure flights can be located anywhere in the terminal.
1930h Now, it’s time for DINNER!
Apart from the restaurants at level 2 and 3 of Terminal 1, there is also a staff canteen that offers more food varieties at a cheaper price. It is essentially a food court for airport staff members, and Singaporeans. Why? Because it’s almost totally OUT of the way and most people won’t be able to find it. (The next time, maybe I will film the directions to get there, so that you can experience a different Changi Airport when you happen to come here? It’s not that bad though!)
Nothing appeals to me in T1, so… Let’s go to T3’s food court!
A short ride on the Skytrain brought me to T3 conveniently.
This is the Skytrain platform at T3.
At Changi Airport, the three terminals currently in operation are connected via the Skytrain and also, by footpaths – which I recall, are long and boring.
Inter-Terminal Connection – note that Singapore Airlines depart and arrive at both T2 and T3; departure flights are fixed at either T2 or T3 but arrival flights are not fixed by terminals (aircrafts will probably be parked at where they are supposed to depart from for their next destination).
I liked it quite a lot when I first stepped into T3 when it just opened. Bright lightings, high ceilings, and spacious designs – this makes the terminal very different from its two older counterparts. And it makes me look forward to the future T4 and T5!
Terminal 3’s departure hall.
You can see in the next picture a very simple and brief summary of how landside is structured in Terminal 3.
Terminal 3 landside.
When they say shops at Basement 2 – they mean it. The management of Changi Airport aims to welcome the public to the airport for all kinds of purposes other than flying, that’s why, the airport always seem exceptionally crowded on weekends and at night. In fact, they used to operate a few shuttle bus services from residential areas in Singapore to attract Singapore residents to visit the airport more!
There are however, down sides to it; and that is – the CROWD. My flight departs on the eve of Good Friday; with an upcoming public holiday, the airport has basically become half akin to a shopping centre… And that is no good, because with the food court that I initially wanted to visit closed for renovation, I had nowhere to go for my dinner because every restaurant was extremely crowded.
This is another popular food court in Changi Airport, which was unfortunately closed for renovation.
2000h Half an hour has passed since I began my search for a place for a quick dinner. However, with the crowd, I reckon that it’s more feasible to get into the airside for my dinner instead. Back to Terminal 1 then!
This a small comparison between the oldest and the newest terminals of Changi, the top row compares the check-in counters and the bottom compares the departure hall… Quite a bit of differences, yeah?
2010h Status: Cleared Departure Formalities 02:10 from Leaving Home 01:30 to Boarding Time 02:30 to ETD
As I have mentioned in my previous report, the immigration procedure using the automated clearance is really quick and efficient. In just a few minutes, I am done. At that time, I was already very hungry and thus was rather desperately looking for food.
I search for a sign that says “24hr Food” because a Silver status does not entail lounge access except for one complimentary visit, which I have used last year.
And I decided that my dinner shall be…
Other choices available at the “24hr Food” section of the air side includes…
However, I do not recommend the various food stalls above because my personal opinion would be that staff canteens at the public area of T1 and T2 have better varieties and probably, quality of food.
And here’s my boarding pass for this flight! (Strictly speaking, I am travelling on QF8404.)
2100h Status: Exploring Changi Airport’s Airside 03:00 from Leaving Home 00:40 to Boarding Time 01:40 to ETD
What I plan to do now, is just to wait… Wait for the stipulated boarding time before making my way to the gate.
There are plenty of places that you can take a seat and rest, nap or just chill out inside Changi Airport’s airside. The free cinema is quite famous – but I have not tried it nor even located it before; I will, soon!
Otherwise, a few steps out of the “24hr Food” area will bring you to – the Snooze Lounge…
Calling it a lounge is just a nice way of naming an area with plenty of chairs for passengers who are done with all that they can do, and finally just to kill some more time while waiting for their flight.
As you can see, this place is however quite a good spot for some limited plane spotting; I am sure many will be interested! (There's space behind those plants.)
Also, you are able to charge your mobile devices or laptops here! The USB port is nice, I like it that it exists – saves quite a bit of trouble especially for our foreign friends whom may not have three-pinned plugs.
Televisions were also screening programmes suitable for all ages!
2130h I didn’t take many photos of the few aircrafts that were parked in T1 that night because the resulting quality of the photographs wouldn’t be good. Thus, making it up when I come back to Changi Airport in the day might be a better idea!
However, this Taiwanese carrier’s A330 caught my eye while I was about to leave for my gate. This China Airlines flight was making a stopover in Singapore before continuing on to Surabaya – its final destination, as CI751.
China Airlines / B-18306 / A330-300 / CI751
The flight was scheduled for a departure at 2145h – 15 minutes left to ETD and ground operations were still going on.
Did it make it in the end for an on-time departure?
By the way, China Airlines used to be known as a dangerous airline among all the others in the world. However, their safety standards have tremendously improved over this decade and I do believe they have really extraordinary service standards too! I happened to come across a video report of this exact flight, CI751, on YouTube (Not done by me! Please find the credits to the author below the video) – allow me to share it with all of you:
2140h Status: Gate Opens 03:40 from Leaving Home 01:00 to ETD
Let’s go! It’s time to head for the gate.
Spotted the “flight info” kiosk? This is how the screen looks like. I will try it out the next time.
Duty free shops are abundant in the airside area. Apart from the normal shops, you also see…
Shops selling electronic appliances…
… And apparel stores that I thought would only appear in shopping centres. I was surprised to see Uniqlo in Changi Airport, on the airside!
Upon reaching the juncture where we will make a slight right turn to the gate area, you may notice groups of passengers walking quickly against your direction – headed towards the arrival hall.
Departure and arrival passengers are not separated onto different levels like how other airports do it.
2143h Along the corridor for Gates C1 to C26, C20 is the first one on the left – which explains why I took just a mere 3 minutes to get from where I was at previously. Conversely, many Australia-bound Qantas flights depart from gates that are further in and the long walk really differs quite a lot from C20’s convenience.
The aircraft that operated EK404 bound for Melbourne was a B777 that is about 6 years old. This flight originated from Dubai and it was my third time flying on EK404 so far. The previous two flights were both delayed – one for 2.5h and the other for about an hour. It seemed that late arrivals of aircraft were always the reason and I was keeping my fingers crossed that this time it will get airborne on time!
Things were looking pretty good right at that moment.
Emirates / A6-ECF / B777-300ER / EK404
One last point that I would like to make about Changi Airport before we get on-board is the security screening. Checks are only done at the gates – explaining why boarding time was scheduled to be an hour before departure. Thus, remember to empty your water bottles because water dispensers are available at every gate lounge.
2205h Status: Boarding 04:05 from Leaving Home 00:35 to ETD
Boarding began with a bit of time left before the ETD. Thus, I was quite confident that this time round, I would get to Melbourne on time! As I have said, the Silver status allowed me to board with Business Class passengers.
Why a seat on Row 36 (the last row in the middle economy cabin)? I wanted to try if the last rows in a cabin were really “bothersome” due to the “close proximity” to galleys and lavatories (as quoted from SeatGuru.com). It turned out to be actually quite okay and not much of a problem! As for the aisle seat – that’s my habit when I travel alone.
The seat pitch on Emirates B777’s economy class was always quite reasonable. Don’t be mistaken by the thick newspapers in this photograph, 33-34” is really more than enough!
The boarding procedures went on for about 15 more minutes. Emirates usually board by zones, instead of simply calling out the row numbers – it makes it kind of clearer but you do see some confusion among the customers here and there, especially so in Melbourne.
This video is just a very short one showing the estimated flight distance and duration for EK404, followed by the welcome announcement from the flight deck. The captain mentioned that he was hoping for an early push back, and then went on to give a very detailed briefing about the flight route that we would be taking. The flight time was announced to be about 7 hours with our aircraft cruising at 37,000 feet for most parts of our journey.
I am betting that most of us really like the front camera that you can find in Emirates’ air show!
The other components of the air show were good as well.
By about 2229h, boarding was almost completed.
So, this journey was 6,041km long and it will take us an approximate duration of 06:59 to cover it.
2240h Status: Push Back 04:40 from Leaving Home 07:10 to ETA
Exactly at 2240h Singapore time, push back commenced. EK404 is going to get 10/10 from me for its on-time performance today!
Hot towels were distributed before safety demonstrations began on the IFE. As always, it is important to watch it and at least know how to save your life should the need ever arise! Nevertheless, I always have utmost trust for the flight crew knowing that passengers’ safety will never be jeopardised in their hands.
2253h Status: Take Off 04:53 from Leaving Home 06:57 to ETA
The aircraft took off at 2253h. At this time of the day, traffic at Changi Airport was presumably still manageable. I watched the take off using the IFE and I am guessing I will never find it boring. Soon after the seatbelts sign went off, menus for the flight were distributed.
0148h(+1)(UTC+10:00) Status: Cruising – Meal Service (Supper) 05:48 from Leaving Home 00:55 from ATD 06:02 to ETA
Supper was served on the flight. At this point, I would like to mention that I have actually wanted try out the special meals on board Emirates flight for this journey – thus, I selected seafood meal for the flight out and oriental vegetarian meal for the flight back.
However, on this flight, apparently they did not consider seafood meal as a special meal and therefore did not serve me beforehand with a “seafood meal”. I didn’t bother asking as well since I am actually okay with anything. It was like that probably because there was a full seafood choice on the menu.
The starter was “Marinated Prawns with Potato Salad” which tasted very nice!
The main course that I chose was “Snapper Fillets in Oyster Sauce”.
And the dessert was “Sicilian Cheesecake” that I couldn’t finish because it was just too sweet…!
On all the Emirates flights that I have taken before, drinks service was always conducted on a separate trolley served by another flight attendant. Thus, being seated at the last row of the cabin means that if I eat a little faster, I would only have water to go along with my meal. By the time the drinks service reached me, I was already done with my meal for quite a while! (Can I be stingy and deduct some marks because of this?)
0227h(+1) The crew came down the aisle once more at about 2.30am to offer hot drinks and clear our trays. The Emirates crew is always quite friendly, and they will always look very willing to serve passengers with a smile. There are however still loopholes – on this particular flight, a flight steward spilled quite a bit of water on me while serving water for another passenger. After that, he just tilted his head a little to barely look at me, said “Oh? Sorry.” And walked away as though nothing happened. It may be a minor incident but it was still enough to affect the crew’s grades for this flight.
Next, it will just be a series of photographs about the seat pocket contents and this aircraft’s facilities.
B777-300’s safety card.
ICE entertainment guidebook.
I must say that in-flight entertainment on Emirates ICE system is superb. Really good – the only complaint I have is that sometimes, the screen tends to be a little less sensitive than usual. Maybe they don’t maintain it frequently?
In-flight magazine and duty free shopping guide, along with the envelope for donations to the Emirates Airline Foundation.
This is the Emirates route map on the last few pages of the in-flight magazine; I don’t quite like the way the map is presented – makes it quite hard to read.
Water dispenser on board the aircraft, which I have not used before.
And finally, the lavatory.
Cups are available in the lavatory, probably for use if anyone wants to drink from the dispenser outside?
0243h(+1) The cabin crew had completed their entire meal service in about an hour. It was quite a good supper and since I was hungry again after my Subway dinner – I enjoyed it!
0250h(+1) Status: Cruising – Meal Service Completed 06:50 from Leaving Home 01:57 from ATD 05:00 to ETA
You can see from the air show that the ETD was 0742h(+1), for this report however, I will stick with the original ETD of 0750h(+1) so as to be consistent!
The aircraft’s location before I took a nap.
And the cabin lights were dimmed – it’s time to sleep now.
0511h(+1) Status: Cruising – Meal Service (Breakfast) 09:11 from Leaving Home 04:18 from ATD 02:39 to ETA
When I woke up, we were already about halfway through into Australia.
Cabin lights came back on for the breakfast service, which I thought was a little too early!
Breakfast was served supposedly with fruits, croissant and breakfast pastry. However, the croissant never actually came after they ran out of it a few rows in front of me. Doesn’t matter, I just wanted to continue to catch some more sleep.
I finished my breakfast very quickly at this considerably unearthly hour for my time zone and went back to sleep before 6am.
0712h(+1) Status: Cruising – Preparation for Arrival 11:12 from Leaving Home 06:19 from ATD 00:38 to ETA
We are almost there!
Cabin crew distributed the Australian arrival immigration form, which has to be filled up by everyone entering Australia, regardless of nationality.
This video is a rather boring one; I just wanted to film the decrease in altitude while we descended into Melbourne. I looked at it closely while watching the plane land – it’s quite cool!
0730h(+1) Status: Descend and Initial Approach 11:30 from Leaving Home 06:37 from ATD 00:20 to ETA
Everyone was fully awake as the sun was out, welcoming us to Melbourne!
While descending, the First Officer (I think?) mentioned that we would take two turns before approaching Melbourne from the south. I didn’t quite visualise the route until I checked the flight path on FlightAware.
0747h(+1) Status: Final Approach and Touch Down 11:47 from Leaving Home 06:54 from ATD 00:03 to ETA
Touched down slightly early. And here is the surprise that I was talking about – watch where we taxied to.
It was nothing much actually, but still – a surprise to me because I haven’t disembarked from a remote stand out of so many arrivals into Melbourne before. This was the first time. The disadvantage however, was the long, long wait to get off the aircraft.
0814h(+1) Status: Disembarking 12:14 from Leaving Home 00:27 from ATA
It’s finally our turn to disembark.
The bus was parked right beside the aircraft and thus I couldn’t take a full shot of the aircraft. How about this?
This gave me a free ride from the remote stand to the terminal on the bus. And we were held back on the bus for quite a while because someone was crossing our path…
There were already 2 Qantas A380s there – one was probably QF10 and the other QF94 (from London via Dubai and Los Angeles respectively).
And this was the best shot that I could give to SIA’s A380.
Singapore Airlines / 9V-SKG / A380-800 / SQ227
A last look at the aircraft that took me to Melbourne. See you soon! Thank you Emirates!
And caught a glimpse of the airline with the world’s best economy class seats.
Garuda Indonesia / PK-GPC / A330-300 / GA718 & GA719
Apparently, Singapore passport holders were recently included into the list of nationalities allowed to use Australia’s automated arrival immigration clearance. I tried it, and it didn’t work. Not just for me, for many others – Australians, Singaporeans, New Zealanders etc… We just had to queue up at an immigration counter eventually and it took QUITE long.
0851h(+1) Status: Cleared Arrival Formalities / Baggage Collection 12:51 from Leaving Home 01:04 from ATA
Finally done with immigration clearance and it’s time to wait for my luggage. Waiting, and waiting, and waiting – this is what you should expect upon arrival at Tullamarine. First, the immigration. Then, your luggage. Finally, to get out into the arrival hall.
I watched this thing go round and round for almost 25 minutes.
0913h(+1) Status: Queuing to Clear Security Checks 13:13 from Leaving Home 01:26 from ATA
When you finally get your luggage – that’s not all. It’s now time to queue for customs check, which essentially was a procedure where custom officers direct people either directly into the arrival hall, or the security check areas – which will almost certainly be extremely troublesome. I got asked to go there for three times before – I can only say: it’s an extremely thorough check of your bags.
Upon seeing this queue, I was quite certain that I could not catch my 9.30am airport bus direct to my final destination. Finally, after 20+ minutes, I was out.
0941h(+1) Status: Flight Completed / Setting Off for Final Destination 13:41 from Leaving Home 01:54 from ATA
Close to 2 hours after touch down, I am finally on the SkyBus towards Melbourne city. A single trip costs AUD18. The round trip ticket is slightly cheaper.
1008h(+1) Status: Travelling to Final Destination 14:08 from Leaving Home 02:21 from ATA
After a long journey from Singapore, here I am – at Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station. From this station, I had to transfer to another suburban train, and then a public bus before I will reach my final destination.
Thank you very much for reading the report! I hope that I have provided you with a comprehensive reading about the experiences of departing from Singapore Changi Airport, flying on Emirates and finally, arriving at Melbourne Airport. Please do read my return trip report too! (:
9 May 2014: Malaysia MH602, SIN-KUL (A Short Route on Malaysia Airlines for the First Time) Coming Soon…
Singapore - SIN
Melbourne - MEL
Thanks for reading my 2nd report on Flight-Report!
Economy cabin on Emirates' B777 are comfortable enough for a good sleep during the flight! Personally, I prefer Qantas' A330 even though those are older aircrafts I think? Nevertheless, there aren't much differences and Emirates is good enough for a decent rating for cabin comfort! As I have mentioned, I found that Emirates' crew are just a little bit inconsistent in their service standards - it's however not a very serious fault, just minor details. For meals, food was nice! It's okay to forget my seafood special meal - doesn't affect my rating at all. I just didn't prefer the drinks service to come so much later after the food was served. Entertainment on-board can definitely score 10/10 with ICE. Lastly, the only reason why EK404 isn't getting a full grade for on-time performance is because I am blaming the fact that we were being parked at remote stand, which caused me to miss my bus by an extremely slight margin!
Singapore Changi Airport is definitely efficient in terms of departure immigration procedures. I am giving the same grade for accessibility as it will always be. I am faulting the services for this time because of the crowdedness at almost every single F&B outlet in T1 and T3. I literally toured almost the entire landside of both terminals.
Lastly, this was one of the trip that I took such a LONG time to get out of Melbourne Airport after arrival. As always, immigration efficiency wasn't THAT good. More marks are deducted for the delay in baggage delivery. By the way, I did not mention this... While waiting for my bags, the announcement was made Passengers arriving from Seoul on Korean Air please collect your bags from the FLOOR beside carousel number 2 due to a shortage of carousels this morning, we apologise for the inconvenience. I am quite sure my ears did not play a trick on me about this. Finally, regarding the airport's accessibility - SkyBus to the city departs every ten minutes in the day, so it's pretty good and fast!
ANYWAY - my rating for Melbourne Airport is 6.5, 8.0, 7.5 and 10.0.
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