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SIN-HKG on SQ 2 in First class

SIN-HKG on SQ 2 in First class

Old Dec 13, 09, 2:01 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Amman
Programs: CX DM, BA G4L, 9W PLT, EK PLT, Hyatt CourtesyC, HH DM, AA PLT, BonvoyGld, LH, AI, UA, DL
Posts: 1,647
SIN-HKG on SQ 2 in First class

I pulled up to the first class check at Terminal 3, which is much more exclusive than T2, with its own driveway and similar hotel style porters with luggage staff and staff member waiting to great you at check-in. I already had my boarding pass issued at MAA and I just wanted to enquire about my luggage making sure it would be loaded. This was confirmed efficiently by the check-in agent and I was then given an invite to the TPR by the premium service agent (white jacket). I have to admit that I question the presence of SATS staff all together in the FCL check-in (if that’s who they are). I assume they are SATS because the staff handling the check-in desks are always a lot less polite and friendly than the ones that great you on arrival to the First class check-in and show you to the desk.

Anyway – I hid my TPR invite as a souvenir, since my MAA issued BP already state “You are invited to the TPR” or words to that effect. Immigration was a breeze with an extremely friendly IM officer for SIN standards. I quickly made my way towards to SKL lounges and instead of entering went straight out for a cig to the balcony. Then I proceeded to walk towards the lounge and the dragon, who was for a change not breathing fire but sweet words, had already notice my FCL Bpass and jumped in to walk to the TPR. I was a little excited, nowhere near the feeling of awe I had when entering the CX F lounge for the first time or the BA CCR or most of all the LH FCT. I was welcomed in and shown to a seat. There was no waiter / waitress to be seen and the sweet dragon who brought me in had to go hunt one down for me. There were only 3 people in the TPR (can’t imagine how empty it would have been when SQ had their uber-restrictive policies on access, which today I would have passed as well being a fare paying F passenger). I had little over an hour to go and I needed to get some duty free. Also knowing that meal isn’t served till the second half of the flight on SQ 2 in F (so much for dining on demand), I decided to indulge some.

I placed my order – the three cheese lobster - opened my laptop and got the internet access details from the lounge attendant in charge of the TPR, checked some mails and decided to stick to diet coke as my drink of choice. I had a look around the self service buffet which was unimpressive. The only impressive thing in the lounge was the wide selection of newspapers from all across the world. I grabbed the Sunday Times of India and read through it. My meal looked like it was a while away and so I decided to head out of the lounge for my pre-flight cig. I told the lounge attendant I was leaving my hand luggage in the dining area. Normally at SIN they snap at you right away barking instructions to take away your luggage with you. Surprisingly – she was more concerned about my belongings, and I told her not to worry my valuables were with me. Guess that’s the benefit of having TPR access. Within 10 minutes my Lobster arrived. It was quite good (much better the than the Lobster thermidor ex JFK) and a decent size for a lounge meal (wouldn’t want more with a FCL dining experience awaiting me). After I was done, I kept staring at my watch, as I still had a duty free pit stop to make (a sunblock that I only get in Asian airports – biotherm SPF50, and is cheapest in SIN), and was getting anxious about getting some desert in. It took a while to get the attention of the lone server who was hardly in the lounge. When I did, I ordered some ice-cream, which was basically Ben and Jerry’s scooped onto a plate (from the small cups in the SKL F lounge). I supplemented this with a slice of “American Cheesecake” from the buffet as well as some fresh fruit. The cheesecake was excellent.

I grabbed my stuff, and headed towards the gate thanking the lounge ladies on the way out. Gate was a bit of a trek through the two shopping areas on the other side of the terminal and I made my quick duty free pitstop with the utmost efficiency, zeroing on what I wanted, paying for it and leaving the shop within 3 minutes. I arrived at the security check point which was empty, and made it through fairly quickly. 16 minutes to departure time – not bad, 6 minutes from SQ’s gate closing time. Once on board I was shown to my seat 1F, and noted that only two other F Pax had boarded – was this my lucky day? No, unfortunately not – possibly a few last minutes from 1900 (1h10 mins later) dep on SQ 870 – the crappy 772.

Once on board service was mediocre at best pre-take off. The Leading steward and the IFS were good but surprising the Leading stewardess needed to get her act together. SQ doesn’t have overhead bins or wardrobes like CX and I hate having my carry-ons crowding my seating area. Once boarding was completed I put some of my bags under the seat in 2D and moved back to my seat before the safety video. She passed a comment about how I could have just easily stored my bags under my own seat. Then when it came to slippers, she offered me a pair and I asked her for the large size. She said SQ had only one size slippers. After take off I proceeded to get my large slippers from my previous flight from my carry on and presented these to the IFS asking him if either they could tell me if they didn’t have any large ones or get me a large pair and not feed me with a pack of lies. He was very apologetic and took special care of me for the rest of the flight, minimizing my interaction with his moody leading stewardess. Just goes to show how individuals can mar the perception of an organization.

After take off things settled down and our SQ team got into their groove. Headsets were offered fast, and I had already plugged mine in and started enjoying krisworld while we waited on ground. Our take off was slightly delayed due to late passengers and a missed slot.
The menu was as follows:


dinner FROM SINGAPORE TO HONG KONG

APPETISERS
Tian of crabmeat and avocado salad
Basil oil and liquid mango

Assorted Asian Apetizer
Tuna roll wrapped with cucumber and roasted garlic, baby bamboo shoot with preserved vegetables and marinated prawns, drunken chicken gelo with wolfberries

SOUP
Double boiled soup with morel mushroom, bamboo pith and wolfberries

SALAD
Rocket leaves with cherry tomato and parmesan cheese
Singapore dressing infused in shallot oil with sambal, lime and honey
Balsamic and extra virgin olive oil dressing


MAIN COURSES
Prawn in sweet and sour hot bean sauce, seasonal vegetables and fried rice

Panfried chicken with cheese-spinach sauce, Kenya beans, carrot and potatoes

Seared tournedos of beef with blackened spices, asparagus, vine-ripened cherry tomato and roasted pumpkin mash

Singapore sliced fish soup served with steam rice
Broth with sliced pomfret filet, tofu, tomato, seaweed and Chinese greens
A flavourful light local favourite.


Vegetarian rice vermicelli in miso soup with assorted mushrooms, tofu and leafy greens

DESSERTS
Almond tuile shell with gelato ice cream and toasted nuts

Warm almond soup with sesame dumplings

CHEESES
Selection of caprice de dieux, bousault fromage and smokey pepper cheeses served with garnishes

FRUITS
Fresh fruits in season

FINALE
A selection of gourmet coffees & fine teas served with pralines



I was served my Krug, at just cooler than room temperature, and the IFS informed they were having a problem with their chiller but he had put the Krug on ice for me and would bring me a fresh serving as soon as it was chilled. 10 minutes later, my glass was cleared and replaced with perfectly chilled glass of Krug. By now the Leading Stewardess had come to apologize for her mess up with the slippers – wanting a pleasant experience and satisfied with the way the IFS handled it, I gladly accepted and told her it was not an issue and lets get on and have a great flight – which she did make every effort to do after that. Drinked were served along with warmed honeyed walnuts and macadamias. As is customary I requested for a refill of the walnuts, which were perfect.

I watched a film and relaxed, but found the seat uncomfortable. I got up and converted the seat (flipped it over), into bed mode – propped myself up with extra pillows and cushions and felt better, but still uncomfortable.
Dinner orders were taken at around 7pm (an hour after take off) and I opted for the Asian appetizer (disappointed as a few months ago they were serving Caviar once again on this route – darn it!). I followed this with the whole nine yards - the soup, which was ok, and the salad with Singapore dressing which was excellent. For my main course I had the prawns, which were excellent, but not as good as the ones I had on CX in September on the same route.
The cheese selection was limited but good – no Blue cheese surprisingly, which I always enjoy. I had this with a glass of 20yr old Dow’s tawny. I then took a break, had some Blue mountain and finished up the rest of my movie before having desert, which was simple but excellent – chocolate gelato in a crisp almond tuile shell with berries and nuts.

One thing to note is that the meal service only started at around 7:45pm, almost 2 hours into the 3and a half hour flight. Given that I had snacked in the TPR I was ok, but had I not, I would have not enjoyed the wait. I find this aspect of SQ’s first class service lacking – they don’t officially offer a dine on demand service, and while crew are often happy to delay your meal service, should you wish to sleep and the menu does state that you can be served at your preferred time (upto 2 hours prior to landing), I was never asked, nor was the option available given that it took them over an hour to take meal orders in the first place on this flight.

On a Sydney – SIN flight that departed at 4pm or so, the meal service was a Lunch followed by a snack on arrival. However the IFS decided based on every ones feedback on board to switch for the entire First class cabin and serve the snack first and a leisurely dinner from 3hours out onwards. I much prefer the CX/BA approach (well I should give credit to BA, who really started this when they started their solo fully flat seats) – where not only are you asked what you would like when meal orders are taken, right after take off, but also when you would like it.

Arrival was smooth, with 2 out of 6 in First going on to SFO. I deplaned and went for my FV-eChannel registration, which took a while, but will be worth it the next time I enter HK. My bags were waiting for me as was the Hyatt rep, who was going to escort me to the Airport express ticket counter since that was my preferred mode of getting to Kowloon for a stay at the newly opened Hyatt Regency Tsim Tsha Tsui. I told him I was heading to check-in one of my bags with CX upstairs for my flight to SF the next day and was fine. I did this, had a quick cig and got on the AEX to Kowloon and was at my hotel within an hour and a half of touchdown – not bad for an FV registration and a second Check-in.

Overall - I must say I am not a fan of the 77W product, especially on a day flight when not sleeping. For a flight like this, if guaranteed AVOD, I would actually have prefered SQ 870, if the seat next to me wasn't occupied - but too many ifs to take that chance. SQ service while good, wasn't excellent - I found crew not as willing to chat or engage with their passengers nor did I find anything exception except to FCL winelist, which was as always stellar and full of the big brand names - Krug, DP, Dow's, Chateau Poyferre


Upcoming reports include:
BOM-LHR-JFK and return on BA first

Flying solo – HKG-SFO in CX First.
avm2806 is offline  
Old Dec 13, 09, 3:15 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
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Thank you for the TR! An interesting read.
ThatJohn is offline  

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