Impressions of EWR-SIN-EWR

Old Jul 28, 04, 3:34 pm
  #1  
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Impressions of EWR-SIN-EWR

My girlfriend and I enjoyed the new SQ21/22 route this month, flying to SIN on July 11 and returning yesterday, July 27. Our full itinerary was EWR-SIN-PEK, HKG-SIN-EWR. (We had a <24h stopover in SIN.) We flew on UA award tickets in J. Due to some miscommunications by the UA award folks, our tickets were issued for 90K miles rather than what turns out to be the proper 105K miles. Either way, it is a great deal... we enjoyed about 45 hours of SQ Raffles Class for 90K miles! This was my first time flying SQ, and something that I looked forward to doing for many years. (We planned this trip on fairly short notice of a few months, but I have always hoped to fly a premium cabin on SQ.) To give a bit of background on myself, I am a young US-based traveller. My only status is several years of top-tier on DL. My travel is more domestic than international, but my international experience is primarily AF (J and Concorde), LY (J), KE (J), TG (J, but short haul), and perhaps a few others. My travel is a mix of business and leisure, normally accruing miles and status with the former and burning it (at a slower pace) on the latter.

Rather than sharing a blow-by-blow account of my trip, I am just going to share a few things that I consider noteworthy. It seems that others have written extensively on these new flights. If you have any specific questions that I don't address, just post a reply.

One caveat: Much of what I am going to write below will be perceived as negative. However, this is only because I am noting things that were counter to very high expectations. Bottom line is that we were very, very pleased with our SQ experience. Here are some observations and experiences:

-Upon check-in at EWR, there was a short and fast-moving J line. The ExecEcon line was also short and fast-moving. For some reason, the staff seemed to require great effort to check us in. There were three of them manning the computer terminal, despite our straightforward award flight. Despite all this manpower, they still forgot to return our tickets to us before we walked away, though one of them tracked us down a minute later before we were far from the counters. It was strange.

-We were hoping to sample both the Virgin Clubhouse before security and the SAS one after security. I was disappointed when we were told that we could only choose one. We chose VS, because I perceived the VS clubhouses to have a good reputation.

-The VS lounge was very disappointing. It was drab. Internet didn't work. It was pretty much shut down as all VS flights had departed. There was little food, if any (I wasn't looking to eat, so don't recall much). Anyhow, I just expected more given the way VS markets their lounges.

-We ordered BTC meals for all of our flights. One overall observation on BTC: It would make more sense to do BTC after knowing what the standard choices are for your flight. Otherwise, how is one to know if he'd prefer the BTC options? In some cases, we regretted having ordered BTC in advance. At other times, we were happy we had done so. To be fair, when we weren't happy with the outcome, the FAs were happy to let us have the standard choices, even after consuming some of the BTC. They were good about this.

-On the outbound EWR-SIN, we were told that there was just one meal to choose BTC (vs. 2 on the return). It was to be served first... a very late supper. So, the FAs brought us our meals. I ordered braised short ribs. My girlfriend ordered a certain lamb dish. They presented the meals. Mine was clearly not braised short ribs, but some other sort of meat dish. Nevertheless, the FA insisted it was braised short ribs upon presenting it. So we were left with our meals. Mine was certainly not short ribs, but rather some sort of steak. Moreover, my girlfriend's meal was also wrong. It might have been lamb, but clearly not the one we ordered. We kept a printout of the BTC menus, marked with our choices. Anyhow, not only were the dishes wrong, but neither was to our taste. The FAs were very apologetic (and, by the way, did agree that the dishes were incorrectly loaded). They encouraged us to select new dishes off the regular menu (although our first choice was no longer available). They apologized to us for this incident repeatedly over the course of the next ~16-17 hours. It wasn't that big a deal, but they ensured us that they would write up a report for management! Well handled, though I did have higher expectations. None of our remaining BTC orders (4 meals each, including two apiece on the SIN-EWR return flight) was mishandled.

-The seats themselves were good but not outstanding. The slope is pretty significant, and the seats were tough to adjust. In certain positions, you can't move a part of the seat without using the button that adjusts the entire seat. It is hard to explain, but it was a hassle. Overall, I was comfortable and able to sleep. The seats were good, but not quite up to expectation.

-I am surprised that there is no small F section. I imagine that those used to flying F will not be happy with this route, even though it is non-stop. If money was no object, I would try (and likely prefer) JFK-FRA-SIN in F.

-Why did EWR get the nonstop rather than JFK? Seems JFK is a bit more preferred by more New Yorkers. Granted, it depends where you are coming from. We are on Long Island, and the trip to and from EWR seemed more arduous than the 18.5 hour flight.

-On our return to EWR last night, our bags came out quickly, but I did notice that there were non-Raffles/elite bags that came out earlier than some priority tagged bags.

-Some of you might be interested in loads. The SIN-EWR flight was ~33 pax (of about 66 or so seats). 6 were PPS flyers and 2 were "staff," according to a list I observed in a galley. The Y section was more full, perhaps about 75-80%.

-I really enjoyed the windows in some of the bathrooms. I noticed they took care to have the shades lowered while on the ground. I can imagine someone going in and doing their business before realizing they were putting on a show for the ground staff. Also, when flying in daylight, one could easily forget to lock the door. On most planes, it is dark until you lock the door... not so with a window facing sunlight.

-Speaking of lighting, the overhead lights in J were miserable. Perhaps it is a design flaw. When the cabin lights were dimmed, my girlfriend in the aisle seat really struggled to read. I had the benefit of the sunlight, but when that waned, reading was just too difficult, and we both gave up. I noticed another pax facing the same problem. Has anyone else noticed this?

-On the flights, they had promotional decks of cards and postcards. However, they were from the LAX-SIN route, which I thought was odd. Nevertheless, I was impressed that they would affix postage and send the postcards for us! We'll see when they get to their destinations!

-I did buy the model A345 in order to get the certificate of flight, to go with my Concorde certificate.

-On the SIN-EWR flight, I struck up a conversation with the in-flight supervisor, who was extremely friendly and happy to speak with me. He asked my impressions of the experience and for comparisons to other airlines. I demonstrated airline knowledge (thanks, FT) and interest, and he was keen on sharing thoughts with me, which was fun. He offered to show me the crew rest facilities, and I jumped at the offer. He allowed my girlfriend to come as well. He took us toward the end of the flight after the rest periods. He allowed us to take a photo (might post to airliners.net soon, though I have never done that). It was like cruise ship berths: 4 "bunk beds" that appeared to be comfy enough. There was a pilot rest area down there as well, but we couldn't see it as it was occupied. I let him know that I knew about the "morgue" on board (without using that word), a picture of which I have seen at airliners.net courtesty of a link from this forum. But he did not offer to show us this area. On a side note, there is a pilot rest area just behind the cockpit which I was shown earlier, after landing in SIN. It looked quite comfortable. The in-flight supervisor regretted that he could no longer take me to the cockpit during flight. He says they even used to let pax stay in there for landing (as a newly licensed pilot, this would have been quite a thrill for me). Oh well! He shared reminiscences of riding the jump seat into the old Hong Kong airport (Kai Tak).

-I was very disappointed in the SilverKris lounge at SIN. It was serviceable, but not exceptional as I had expected. The shower rooms were cramped and disappointing. Another poster said they were not so private. To be honest, I didn't figure out the locking mechanism until after I had showered, but didn't really care about it. The food and beverage service was fine, but not great. Granted, this was for Raffles pax and not F... but I expected something more based on the great SQ reputation. My girlfriend was bothered by the lack of windows. I would have liked to watch the planes. I really loved the KE lounges in ICN. I spent most of my time in the F lounge there, so this is not apples-to-apples, but they had a great view/sunlight, tons of flat screen computers, very good snacks and drinks, huge shower rooms, slumber rooms, massage chairs, etc. I quickly checked out their J lounge, which also seemed to be significantly better than the SK lounge. Again, just based on comparative reputations, I had much higher expectations of SQ. I should note that early in the morning before our PEK departure, the place was very crowded and there was a wait for the computers.

-I expected better amenity kits. They gave everyone eye shades and slippers. You got ear plugs if you asked for them. I don't think Y got anything different. I dunno, for 18.5 hours, I just expected something more.

-Similarly, the SK lounge in HKG was pretty weak.

-The AVOD system was good, but could use improvement. The fast forward function was rather cumbersome (you couldn't see how far you were forwarding it) and it was hard to avoid advertisements. While there are indeed 60 movies, the selection is weak. About 15 are international, a bunch of "classics" and very few "new" movies. With all our flying in July, we quickly ran out of things that interested us, including the tv shows. Interestingly, we had the August options for our return yesterday. However, there was significant (>50%) duplication between the months.

-They collected the menus on each flight, so I can't recount the options. As for alcohol, I drink little while flying, so I can't critique.

-As for routing, our EWR-SIN flight cross the Atlantic and went through Europe (over Germany is one part I recall). The route continued through Kabul and Delhi on the way to SIN. On the way back, we went up over HKG and Siberia, over the Bering Strait to Alaska, and then over Canada and down to EWR. After the outbound, I spoke to a pilot who acknowledged that based on prevailing winds, they rarely take the polar route in either direction, and our routings seemed to be the standard.

-The routing is heavily advertised throughout HKG and SIN, and all over Asia via CNN and the like.

That is about all I can think of. Again, despite negative comments, my experience was by and large a very positive and enjoyable one. I feel we got great value. However, some of the above were suprises based on very high expectations.

I hope this is helpful. If you have any questions, fire away. I am sure that there is much that I didn't address.

Last edited by andymo99; Jul 28, 04 at 8:10 pm Reason: Add routing in each direction plus note about morgue
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Old Jul 28, 04, 5:41 pm
  #2  
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Hi...

I can only defend SQ's decision on a few things..

You can't fast forward and view exact video presentations of things while the whole feature is on a hard drive. And advertisements is what primes the features.. just like in the movies.

I agree that the Silver Kris lounge is dark.. especially the Raffles Class section. However, when the new Silver Kris lounge opens at Terminal 3, that's when things will improve (hopefully).
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Old Jul 28, 04, 10:09 pm
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- I was looking forward to checking out both lounges as well, so quite disspointed when I was turned away from the VS lounge due to SK lounge invitation issued to me.
- I ordered what you ordered for my meal. My meal didn't even make it on the flight. The IFS apologized and said that SQ recently changed inflight meals supplier in EWR and has lots of problems with this new one.
- What good eyes you have . I always to see the list from the galley but never got information THAT complete.
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Old Jul 28, 04, 10:50 pm
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I concur with nearly all of your comments. But I love these long non stop flights and look forward to flying them again in both Y and J on SQ.
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Old Jul 29, 04, 12:08 pm
  #5  
 
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I did the nonstops earlier this month as well - upgraded BKK-SIN-EWR and back. I'm not one for doing trip reports, but since you got all the main points down, I'll just add my two cents worth.

Originally Posted by andymo99
-Upon check-in at EWR, there was a short and fast-moving J line. The ExecEcon line was also short and fast-moving. For some reason, the staff seemed to require great effort to check us in.
I had the same experience...it took them ages to check me in. Also, at the gate before boarding, the staff seemed to be a bit confused about how to set up the separate boarding lines for J and Y passengers.

Originally Posted by andymo99
-We were hoping to sample both the Virgin Clubhouse before security and the SAS one after security. I was disappointed when we were told that we could only choose one.
Here's how to do both

I chose an invite to the Virgin Clubhouse(I requested and got an invite for a guest as well for a friend who was travelling in Y). Incidently, KrisFlyer Elite Gold members travelling in Y can also request for an invite to the Virgin Clubhouse. Later after I went through security, I walked into the SAS lounge to check it out. When the receptionist asked for my invite, I replied that I didn't have one and I wanted to get in as a *Gold. She scowled and took down my card number before letting me in.

Originally Posted by andymo99
-The VS lounge was very disappointing. It was drab. Internet didn't work. It was pretty much shut down as all VS flights had departed. There was little food, if any (I wasn't looking to eat, so don't recall much).
I had checked in as soon as the counters had opened at 7.30pm, so the VS lounge was pretty crowded when I entered. The was plenty of food - I helped myself to the buffet dinner and the yummy dessert cart which was brought around the lounge. After the announcement to board the VS flight (maybe around 845pm?) all the food was cleared up and the lounge emptied out with only the SQ pax remaining. You probably got in about this time. The internet terminal I had a look at was terrible - still on dialup - but it worked well enough for me to check my mail.

I was in the SAS lounge only for about ten minutes, but the VS lounge was miles better than the SAS lounge from what I saw.


Originally Posted by andymo99
One overall observation on BTC: It would make more sense to do BTC after knowing what the standard choices are for your flight. Otherwise, how is one to know if he'd prefer the BTC options?
Thanks to StarG, who scanned the meals from the inaugural EWR flights, I knew exactly which meals I didn't want from the menu and did BTC accordingly.

Originally Posted by andymo99
We kept a printout of the BTC menus, marked with our choices. Anyhow, not only were the dishes wrong, but neither was to our taste.
I had a slightly different experience - my BTC meals out of SIN were loaded, but they didn't have it listed on the passenger manifest. I had to explain twice to the stewardess taking the main course orders that I had BTC meals.

I've only done BTC out of SIN, and I've found it can be hit-or-miss. Now I've more or less settled on my favourite (the Wild Mushroom and Chorizo Risotto) which thankfully has been consistently good.

Originally Posted by andymo99
In certain positions, you can't move a part of the seat without using the button that adjusts the entire seat.
I know exactly what you mean - that is my main complaint about the Spacebed. However, as someone who does 80% of his flights in Y, I'm more than able to make myself very, very comfortable in a Spacebed. However, when I took my connecting flight SIN-BKK, I did feel the difference in the width of the Spacebed (its about an inch narrower on the 345 vs the 744).


Originally Posted by andymo99
Why did EWR get the nonstop rather than JFK?
Dunno, but EWR suited me fine...got into Midtown Manhattan and out of Lower Manhattan in under 25min each way using the Newark Airport Express for $19 RT.


Originally Posted by andymo99
-Some of you might be interested in loads. The SIN-EWR flight was ~33 pax (of about 66 or so seats). 6 were PPS flyers and 2 were "staff," according to a list I observed in a galley. The Y section was more full, perhaps about 75-80%.
My SIN-EWR flight on 11 July (I flew in to EWR on the plane you flew out) was almost full - 5 empty seats in J and 7 empty seats in Y. I went back to try the Y seats but couldn't find one open on the aisle. The flight back to SIN on 19 July was also almost full in Y, but only about half full in J.


Originally Posted by andymo99
-Speaking of lighting, the overhead lights in J were miserable. Perhaps it is a design flaw. When the cabin lights were dimmed, my girlfriend in the aisle seat really struggled to read. I had the benefit of the sunlight, but when that waned, reading was just too difficult, and we both gave up. I noticed another pax facing the same problem. Has anyone else noticed this?
I didn't like that I couldn't adjust the overhead light, which was set to light up the area near the armrest, well off-center. I had to use the reading light in the Spacebed to get any useful light on my book.


Originally Posted by andymo99
As for routing, our EWR-SIN flight cross the Atlantic and went through Europe (over Germany is one part I recall). The route continued through Kabul and Delhi on the way to SIN. On the way back, we went up over HKG and Siberia, over the Bering Strait to Alaska, and then over Canada and down to EWR. After the outbound, I spoke to a pilot who acknowledged that based on prevailing winds, they rarely take the polar route in either direction, and our routings seemed to be the standard.
I had the same routes...the EWR-SIN went over the Atlantic, Belfast, Copenhagen, the Caspian Sea, Kabul, Delhi and the Bay of Bengal. There seemed to be turbulence almost all the way - I slept a lot during this leg, but everytime I woke up the seatbelt sign was on. Also spoke to one of the pilots who told me the same thing - that they would be following the atlantic route for the coming months.
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Old Jul 29, 04, 12:46 pm
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Originally Posted by andymo99
-We ordered BTC meals for all of our flights. One overall observation on BTC: It would make more sense to do BTC after knowing what the standard choices are for your flight. Otherwise, how is one to know if he'd prefer the BTC options? In some cases, we regretted having ordered BTC in advance. At other times, we were happy we had done so. To be fair, when we weren't happy with the outcome, the FAs were happy to let us have the standard choices, even after consuming some of the BTC. They were good about this.
Book the cook meal choices are located here:

http://www.singaporeair.com/saa/app/...entSite=global

However, there is no listing for EWR, which sucks.
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Old Jul 29, 04, 1:33 pm
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Originally Posted by gnedge
Book the cook meal choices are located here:

http://www.singaporeair.com/saa/app/...entSite=global

However, there is no listing for EWR, which sucks.
People, just a reminder that linking to any page in SIA website will not work - you will be directed to the SIA home page regardless of what page you intend to link.

Actually the EWR selection is listed on the website. Here they are:

FROM NEW YORK (JFK Int'l)
• Grilled shrimps and scallops in tarragon mustard sauce with leeks, carrots and linguini
• Pan-fried chicken in green peppercorn sauce, squash and creamy mashed potatoes
• Pan-fried fillet of beef in three peppercorn sauce with green vegetables and roasted potatoes
• Roasted seabass with wilted spinach and glazed crab-mashed potatoes
• Roast rack of lamb with natural jus, roasted vegetables and creamy garlic mash
• Baked Chilean bass in Oriental XO sauce with mixed vegetables and fried rice
• Braised short-ribs of beef in Chinese wine and 5-spice with mixed vegetables and egg noodles
• Stir-fried chicken in Chinese wine with seasonal vegetables and chicken flavoured rice

FROM NEW YORK (Newark Int'l)
• Chicken Wellington in pergourdine sauce with squash and wild rice
• Grilled shrimps and scallops in tarragon mustard sauce with leeks, carrots and linguini
• Parsley crusted loin of lamb with grilled vegetables and potatoes
• Mediterranean BBQ noisette of lamb with sun-dried tomato couscous
• Pan-fried fillet of beef in three peppercorn sauce with garden vegetables and roasted potatoes
• Baked Chilean bass in Oriental XO sauce with selected vegetables and fried rice
• Braised short-ribs of beef in Chinese wine and 5-spice with mixed vegetables and egg noodles
• Stir-fried chicken in Chinese wine with seasonal vegetables and chicken flavoured rice
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Old Jul 29, 04, 3:16 pm
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Originally Posted by Savage25
I was in the SAS lounge only for about ten minutes, but the VS lounge was miles better than the SAS lounge from what I saw.
I'll second that. The VS lounge is infinitely preferable to the SK lounge, and the food has always been decent. I never stayed there late, as the SQ AMS flight used to leave around the same time as the VS flight.
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Old Jul 30, 04, 6:50 pm
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Disappointment Wirh SQ

I 100% agree with andymo99 about his and his girlfriend's opinion on SQ. I just completed a very similar trip to his on all SQ flights in Raffels class: JFK-FRA(stopover)-SIN-PVG-SIN-EWR.

One word to summarize the experience: disappointment. Starting from SQ's check-in process to boarding, meal service, duty-free shopping service, in-flight announcement, baggage handling and lounge service, I have noticed so many things necessary for improvement. To be frank, I believe United has far superior management.
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Old Aug 3, 04, 9:48 pm
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-Why did EWR get the nonstop rather than JFK? Seems JFK is a bit more preferred by more New Yorkers. Granted, it depends where you are coming from. We are on Long Island, and the trip to and from EWR seemed more arduous than the 18.5 hour flight.
I read somewhere that Newark got the nonstop because the JFK-FRA 5th freedom leg of SQ's JFK-FRA-SIN service was doing very well, while the EWR-AMS 5th freedom leg of SQ's previous Newark service wasn't doing well at all. Not terribly surprising - I would imagine that there would be far more demand for JFK-FRA tickets than EWR-AMS. IMO, It's just as well; I've been to both JFK and Newark and found that Newark is smaller and easier to manage than JFK. Also remember that JFK has far fewer connecting domestic flights than Newark, so if your journey begins or ends in a place other than New York, it's probably easier to go through Newark.

As for routing, our EWR-SIN flight cross the Atlantic and went through Europe (over Germany is one part I recall). The route continued through Kabul and Delhi on the way to SIN.
Even though you'd be going with the prevailing winds, this route is considerably longer distance-wise than going over the North Pole. Because of the added distance of this routing, are there payload restrictions?
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Old Aug 4, 04, 3:06 pm
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Originally Posted by NJFlyGuy
I read somewhere that Newark got the nonstop because the JFK-FRA 5th freedom leg of SQ's JFK-FRA-SIN service was doing very well, while the EWR-AMS 5th freedom leg of SQ's previous Newark service wasn't doing well at all. Not terribly surprising - I would imagine that there would be far more demand for JFK-FRA tickets than EWR-AMS.
One of the big problems of the AMS-EWR flight was that it wasn't operated as a daily. Although it was by far my preferred way of going to NYC from AMS, it meant I could not always fly SQ. I think this must have contributed to the poor loads in F and J. There's plenty of business demand on the AMS-NYC route, with five daily flights (3 KL, 1 CO and 1 DL).

IMO, It's just as well; I've been to both JFK and Newark and found that Newark is smaller and easier to manage than JFK. Also remember that JFK has far fewer connecting domestic flights than Newark, so if your journey begins or ends in a place other than New York, it's probably easier to go through Newark.
I agree, I tend to prefer Newark over JFK, although it does depend on which terminal at JFK you have to use.
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Old Aug 5, 04, 5:16 pm
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I too bought the airplane model because the certificate was a novelty for me. I planned to give the model to my 4-yr old because it seemed to be plastic in the box (I expected something metallic I guess).
As my ride pulled up to the curb at EWR, I accidentally left the box on the ground, not realizing it until 20 miles down the turnpike.

I do have the certificate though, but everyone I show it to laughs at me. I don't even tell them I paid $20 for it.
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Old Apr 27, 07, 8:09 am
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update on lounge access at EWR

Any update on lounge access at EWR? I'll be on SQ21 soon. As a PPS, will I still be able to get into both VSCH and the SAS lounges? Earlier posts mentioned a choice between the two, so should I get the VSCH invitation card for VSCH first. After it closes, I can then make my way to the SAS lounge and use my *G card to get in?
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