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London to Singapore & Bali – SQ A380, 777, a private villa and a wedding!

London to Singapore & Bali – SQ A380, 777, a private villa and a wedding!

Old Apr 5, 10, 11:07 am
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Kent, UK
Programs: BA Gold, SPG Platinum, Marriott Platinum, Hilton Diamond
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London to Singapore & Bali – SQ A380, 777, a private villa and a wedding!

The Ylang Ylang private villa in Bali, Indonesia

Welcome to the second of my recent trip reports

The first can be found here: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip-...eb-2010-a.html

My previous trip reports can also be found here:

-Nov–Dec 2009: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip-...y-pacific.html
- Feb 2009: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip-...d-lhr-jfk.html
- Nov 2008: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip-...rld-777-a.html
- Oct 2008: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip-...747-400-a.html
- Sept 2008 - My first TR: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip-...lub-world.html

This report features the following:

- Singapore Airlines A380 in Economy
- Singapore Airlines 777-200 in Economy
- The Marriott Singapore Hotel, Singapore (http://www.singaporemarriott.com/)
- The Mandarin Marina Hotel, Singapore (http://www.meritus-hotels.com/index....med=1229583948)
- The Bali Hyatt, Bali (http://www.bali.resort.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels/index.jsp)
- The Ylang, Ylang Private Villa, Bali (http://www.theylangylang.com/)


- London Heathrow T3 (LHR) – Singapore T3 (SIN): Singapore Airlines (SQ), Economy (Y), A380
- Singapore T2 (SIN) – Denpasar, Bali (DPS): Singapore Airlines (SQ), Economy (Y), 777-200
- Denpasar, Bali (DPS) - Singapore T2 (SIN): Singapore Airlines (SQ), Economy (Y), 777-200
- Singapore T3 (SIN) - London Heathrow T3 (LHR): Singapore Airlines (SQ), Economy (Y), A380


Only 6 days after arriving back from Mumbai (see here) I was heading back out to Asia, this time for a holiday rather than work. This trip had been booked since August last year. What was the occasion? Well, my Mum, who now lives in Australia had planned to get married in Bali and the whole family was travelling out to take part in the celebrations.


The flights were booked online at singaporeair.com and at the time, SQ had a very good deal on economy flights from the UK to Bali via Singapore. My ticket cost only £575 (plus £30 for the extra leg room seat on the way out) which was an absolute bargain. I haven’t seen that fare since.

There were about 8 of us travelling from the UK but bookings were made separately so people were left to make arrangements which best fit their own schedules. As it happens, I was the only one that had decided to travel out of the Friday night, rather than during the day (some of us have to earn a living!).

Despite being on separate bookings, we were able to co-ordinate to ensure that we all sat together on the other sectors. Unlike some other airlines, SQ allow you to select and change your seats at anytime until online check in opens. This meant that with a bit of leg work, we could separately move our seats around as required.

Note, that for me, this would be my first ‘non-status’ trip for almost two years. All of my prior flights (90,000 miles worth) have been on Oneworld carriers so I’ve been able to take advantage of the benefits that my BA Silver card provides. However, there would be no such treatment on this trip. To sum it up, this meant: No premium check in (no use of the business class desks), no use of the lounge (I had to slum it out on the departures area with everyone else) and no priority boarding (I had to wait for my seat number). I knew that this trip would highlight how much I rely on my Silver card for additional benefits or prove that these benefits don’t really count for much in the grand scheme of things.

London to Singapore on the SQ A380 in Economy

Flight: SQ321
Carrier: Singapore Airlines
Aircraft: Airbus A380
Scheduled Departure time: 22.05
Duration: 12h 50m
Scheduled Arrival time: 18:55 (local)
Routing: London Heathrow (LHR) T3 – Singapore (SIN) T3
Class: Economy
Seat: 81A – Upper Deck Exit Row (seat plan)

Getting to Heathrow

I’d arranged with my usual taxi firm to pick me up at 5pm. Where I live means travelling around the M25 to get to Heathrow so as it was a Friday night, I’d expected the traffic to be bad. Leaving at 5 meant that even if it took two hours, I’d still be checking in within plenty of time.

The journey actually didn’t take as long as expected, only an hour and a half although the queue to get to the drop off area for T3 meant that we sat around for a good 10 minutes waiting for a spot.

Very busy T3 drop off area on a Friday night

It was quite cold outside, but I didn’t bother to bring a coat. No point as I certainly wouldn’t need one in Singapore and I really didn’t want to have to drag the thing around the airport, so it stayed at home.

Check In and Departure Area

The bright purple lighting courtesy of Virgin Atlantic lured me into the terminal. I hadn’t done my research so had no idea where Singapore Airlines check in desks were no located since the swap around. They were actually located in Zone A, which is mostly occupied by Virgin. I had to make a big turn left to reach the check in area.

There were quite a few passengers checking in for Virgin Atlantic flights but the Singapore desks were deserted. So, that’s benefit number one of my hit list rendered unnecessary. There would have been no benefit in checking in at the business class desks, this time round at least.

The SQ check in desks at Zone A (iPhone camera)

Check in was swift and as expected, I was allocated the seat that I had paid for online. SQ allow passengers to choose the exit row seats for a £30 fee per sector. I’d paid for 81A at the back of the upper deck, right next to door U3L.

Seating Plan:

Having deposited my bag and obtained my boarding pass I made my way to security. My boarding pass was checked and then I joined one of the reasonably long queues. The staff working tonight seemed to be in a very good mood. I recall one particularly chirpy lady who was chatting away and making jokes with the passengers.

After security I entered the vast maze that is the Terminal 3 World Duty Free shop. I didn’t fancy carrying a bag around with me for the next 15 or so hours so I exited without buying anything.

And so, there it was in front of me, the departure area. At this point I’d normally be making my way to some sort of Oneworld Business Class lounge but as I had no status with SQ or Star Alliance I had to stick with the ‘normal people’. And there were lots of them. Rather expectedly, the departure area was packed.

Heathrow’s T3 departure area is a bit of a cave. There are no windows so it is not possible to get any natural light during the day. Passengers are penned into the centre, surrounded by shops. Leading away from this are large corridors for the gate areas and lounges.

Floor plan:

It was about 7pm at this point, and I hadn’t eaten so I looked at what was on offer. Not much really and everything was busy. I wanted to eat quickly, but also to have a reasonably substantial meal so I settled on TGI Fridays. There was a reasonable queue but as I was on my own I only had to wait about 10 minutes before I was shown to a table.

The pace was quick and the place was buzzing as it was packed out. The service and the food were ok and within 30 minutes I’d had my meal, paid, and was out the door.

What next? At this point in the lounge I’d have probably gone to top up my glass of champagne, fetch some more food or grab a magazine or newspaper from the rack. This time not only did I have to pay for my alcohol and food, I also had to queue up and pay for any magazines and newspapers that I wanted. Disgrace

I went to WHSmiths to pick up an overpriced paperback, a magazine and a bottle of water for the flight. I then found a suitable spot to park myself, sat down and waited for the gate to show on the overhead screens.

It’s pretty obvious that relaxing in an airline lounge is going to be better than waiting in the main departures area. One thing to say though, the lounges that I have been in do not have the buzz of the main area. While in the lounge, anyone making noise is met with stern looks and tutting, in the main departures area it isn’t so much of a nuisance because there is so much noise anyway. I’m not saying that it’s more relaxing outside of the lounge though, because it certainly isn’t, but there is more activity outside the lounge than inside.

The gate (7) was announced at 9pm so I decided to take a wander down to get a good look at the big bird. This would be my second time on an A380, the first being in November when I flew with Qantas to Singapore.

Gate 7 provides excellent views of the aircraft and many people were gathering around the windows to take photos. I showed my boarding pass and was then let into the large waiting area.

The SQ A380 that would be operating flight SQ321 today

A view into the cockpit – preparations under way

I’m of the opinion that the A380 has quite a contrasting design language. Looking at it head on, I can see why it’s often gets called the ‘whale’. However, the outline and shape of the wings is so elegant, it’s quite something. Just look at how much the wings angle into the centre of the aircraft!

Boarding was announced at 9.30pm through either door A or door B depending on if you were sitting on the lower deck or upper deck. Note that two air bridges were attached. One for the main deck (for Suites, rows 1-4, and main deck economy, rows 31-63), the other for the upper deck (for business, rows 11-27 and upper deck economy, rows 71-83).

Boarding started with Suites and business and SQ’s Kris Flyer and Star Alliance members followed by upper deck economy by row and then main deck economy by row. Boarding was fairly orderly.

Due to the location of the upper deck economy cabin (at the very rear of the aircraft), passengers seated in this area had an envious walk past the many rows of business class.

Walking past business class to reach the upper deck economy section

I’d only seen Singapore’s business class product in photos up until now and I was surprised not by the width of the seat but by how close the seats are to each other. The front and back room between the seats was a lot less that I had expected. Of course though, it still looked very comfortable and this product is definitely on my list to try at some point in the future.

After trying not to look too hard at the business class seats I moved through the aircraft to the rear economy section extending past door U2L and U2R to the very rear of the aircraft. This comprises of rows 71 to 83 and is set up in a 2-4-2 configuration.

I found my seat (81A), right behind door U3L which was situated in the last 2 rows of the cabin. I’d paid £30 for this seat as it had yards of extra leg room.

81A – An extra leg room seat

My leg room with door U3L to the left

The seat itself was comfortable with the large IFE screen and the table tucked down the left hand side and arm rest respectively. While the extra leg room is great there are a couple of downsides to this seat:
  1. No window (except the tiny window in the door, not accessible while seated)
  2. No window bin. The passengers behind me in row 82 had sole use of the two very small window bins near me
  3. No storage, there is absolutely nowhere to store anything so I ended up tucking my blanket down the side of the seat
  4. Cramped head height to the left due to the curvature of the aircraft
  5. Tiny (and I mean tiny!) overhead bin which would only fit a small laptop bag or handbag (no good for me)
On the positive side:
  1. You have unlimited leg room
  2. You only have one person next to you
  3. You are able to exit the seat without disturbing anyone
  4. You have no-one in front of you
  5. It’s also close to the rear galley which makes stretching your legs easy
  6. It’s close to the toilet but not directly in front of it (the toilets are quiet anyway on this aircraft)

Overall, I was happy as I like to be able to get out of my seat without disturbing anyone. This means that I can keep drinking water to keep my hydrated without worrying about frequent trips to use the facilities.

I was sitting next to a nice lady from Coventry who was flying over to Singapore to visit her sister who was working out there at the time. Interestingly, not only was this her first trip to Singapore, it was her first A380 flight and in fact her first long haul flight ever. I told her that’d she’d picked a good one and that her expectations would be set quite high from now on.

Hot towels were handed out and shortly after the crew came around with menus and amenity kits at 9.50pm. The amenity kit consisted of nothing more than a toothbrush and tooth paste and some socks, no eye shade.

The menu was a glossy affair:

SQ Economy Menu – SIN to LHR (and return) - Feb 2010

The menu contained the meal details for both Singapore to London and London to Singapore sectors. There was a supper service, snack service and then a ‘before touch down’ service. Below is the menu for the supper service.


Marinated seafood salad

Main Courses
Roasted pork in apple sauce, seasonal vegetables and roasted potato


Singapore style roast chicken served with chilli sauce and chicken flavoured rice


Indian style lamb fried with chillies and spices, vegetable Jalfereiz and biryani rice

Cheeses and crackers

Chocolate cake

From the bakery
Roll and butter

Hot Beverages
Coffee - Tea


Dry Vermouth

Cognac Otard VSOP
Johnnie Walker Red Label
Jim Beam Black Label Whiskey
Gordon’s Dry Gin
Smirnoff Red Label Vodka
Bacardi Superior

Baileys Original Irish Cream

Red Wine – Cabernet Sauvignon
White Wine – Chardonnay
White Wine – Riesling

International Selection

Singapore Sling
Bloody Mary

Non-alcoholic cocktails
Fruit Spritzer
Orange Cooler

Fruit Juices

Soft Drinks
A range of regular or low calorie drinks is available
At this point, our scheduled push back time of 22.05 came and went with no announcement from the Captain or cabin crew. About 10 minutes later an announcement was made but no reason was given for the delay. The Captain strangely mentioned that we’d need to go for de-icing, which was a bit odd as it really wasn’t that cold outside.

We pushed back at around 22.50 with no de-icing taking place. The take off was very smooth and quiet. I quickly went to use the toilet as the soon as the seat belt sign was turned off. The toilet was clean and bright, with lights around the mirror. Strangely, there were no hand towels, only tissues. This was the case in all of the toilets that I went to on this flight and even on the return flight too. Had SQ messed up the order from the supplier?

Dinner was served at 23.45, about an hour after take off. I opted for the pork. It turned out to be a rather large slab of meat that was actually a bit tough and difficult to eat.

Roasted pork main (iPhone camera)

The started was good and the dessert was excellent. Overall the meal was pretty good.

I decided to take a wander around the cabin at this point. Singapore Airlines don’t have any issues with passengers moving between the various economy cabins so I went down the stairs to the main deck. Unlike the stairs on a 747 the stairs on the A380 are quite shallow and wide and are very easy to navigate without fear of tripping over.

The spiral staircase at the back of the aircraft

View of the rear main deck economy cabin

Like the upper deck, the main deck was also packed to bursting. The main deck is quite a bit wider and therefore accommodates a 3-4-3 seating configuration. It certainly felt a lot more spacious than the upper deck.

Looking through the upper deck rear galley into the cabin

The upper deck economy cabin (taken later in the flight)

I decided to try and get some sleep. SQ provide economy passengers with a ‘deluxe’ blanket which is quite soft and comfortable, unlike the plastic static blankets provided by other airlines. A large pillow was also provided.

I really struggle to sleep while flying, even when seated in lie flat business class seats so I didn’t manage much more than a light doze for a few hours.

I decided to try out the AVOD IFE on offer. Like Qantas, SQ have large 10” screens in economy with a large selection of films, TV programmes and music available. While the menus were easy to navigate I found the response time from the system quite slow. There also wasn’t a huge choice of films or programmes but enough to keep most people entertained. Crucially, no Family Guy was offer. SQ loses points for this

I dozed for a few more hours and woke up feeling quite sleepy. The menu listed a snack service but I didn’t see it, I must have missed this while I was dozing.

Light Bites

Savoury sandwich
Vegetarian sandwich

Roasted peanuts
Chocolate bar
Assorted biscuits
Potato chips
The second meal was served about 2.5 hours prior to landing. This one was a little bit strange, as although we were due to arrive into Singapore in the early evening, this meal was presented as breakfast.

Before Touch Down

Fruit appetizer

Light Starter
Fruit yoghurt

Wholesome beginnings
Braised egg noodles with chicken, mushroom and onion


Poached eggs with hollandaise, bacon, bubble and squeak

From the bakery
Breakfast roll
Butter – fruit preserve

Hot Beverages
Coffee – Tea
I’m a complete fan of Eggs Benedict so it had to be the eggs for me. They were pretty good actually and the bacon was just as I like it. None of that ‘fried to a crisp’ rubbish that you get across the pond. This was more like cooked ham. Yummy.

Breakfast/light dinner

A little bit more TV and then it was time to get ready for landing. The seat belt sign came on around 10 minutes before landing. The approach and the landing itself were very smooth. We touched down right on time at 18.55 and were on stand at 19.10.

We’d arrived at the relatively new Terminal 3 and parked ourselves next to another A380 at the ‘A’ gates. I also happened to see the Qantas A380 which would have been ahead of us in the air.

De-boarding was reasonably quick and we went out through door U1L, the same way that we boarded.

The terminal wasn’t very busy, almost deserted in fact so immigration was quick. I collected my bag and then was soon out into the humid air, in a taxi and on my way to the Marriott hotel.


Overall, another smooth and quiet flight on the A380. The seat was comfortable, the service was good if not a little impersonal, the food wasn’t bad and the overall ambiance and décor of the aircraft was excellent. I would definitely choose to fly with Singapore Airlines again on the A380, although perhaps not if Qantas was an option instead….

Singapore Airlines vs. Qantas on the A380

Both airlines now serve London and Singapore with their A380. Both offer different levels of service and have decided to arrange the cabins differently. The interiors of the aircraft also differ greatly.

So, having now flown on both of these aircraft, which did I prefer and what were the differences?
  1. The seat – Both offer a modern economy seat which is very comfortable. The thin cushions increase the amount of personal space. I prefer the hard back shell product on Qantas as this also includes a comfortable foot net as opposed to the rather hard foot rest on SQ.
  2. The service – SQ staffs it’s aircraft with crew based in Singapore with Qantas staffing their A380 aircraft on this route with either local, European based crew or Australian crew depending on the flight number. I found the crew on the Qantas flight to be more personable and really made the effort to chat with passengers. The SQ crew were generally rather impersonal and simply went about their duties. I prefer the Qantas crew.
  3. The food – The food on SQ was really quite good and it certainly topped the quality of food that I’ve had on other carriers, apart from Qantas. I’m told that Qantas spends proportionally quite a bit more than other airlines on passenger food and I think that this shows.
  4. The interior decoration and cabin layout – The SQ economy cabins are very bright and airy with light seat fabrics and carpet throughout. This results in a modern feel but it does not feel radically different to other aircraft. The Qantas A380 has been completely re-designed to offer a different experience to other aircraft in their fleet. Darker colours and clever lighting is used to give a clean, sharp, modern look to the cabin. Additionally, self service snack bars are available to passengers so that they can help themselves to drinks and snacks throughout the flight. This was not present on the SQ A380.

Overall - They are both great products but I personally prefer the Qantas A380 for the better service, better food and modern décor.

To follow

- My time in Singapore
- The flight from Singapore to Bali
- My time in Bali
- The flights back to London

Last edited by matthandy; Apr 5, 10 at 11:28 am
matthandy is offline  
Old Apr 5, 10, 12:59 pm
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Great report Matt.

Looking forward to the rest.
macabus is offline  
Old Apr 5, 10, 1:00 pm
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Great report and nice pics. Thanks for the useful comparison between SIA and Qantas. Looking forward to the rest!
debonairy is offline  
Old Apr 6, 10, 12:13 pm
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Once again, a very well-written and entertaining trip report

The price must have been substantially cheaper for you to book Star Alliance where you don't have status over oneworld - out of interest, what would have been the cost had you gone QF to SIN and then SQ to DPS?

Did you think about trying to get a status match with bmi for this trip, so that you could have used the business class ground amenities?

I've never tried SQ, although they're a carrier that I've always wanted to (maybe in Business though ).

The food looked reasonably well presented for an economy class product, and I do like the interior of SQ's refreshed/new aircraft judging by photos. I think I actually prefer SQ's interiors to QF's.

Not have Family Guy on the AVOD is simply a disgrace.

Looking forward to the next installment.
Genius1 is offline  
Old Apr 6, 10, 1:39 pm
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Terrific report. I love your intro, telling us what is to come and giving us links to what you've already written. I'll confess, I don't often read reports about coach travel, but I really got into it. You used pictures very effectively, and I was quite impressed with what I read about the SQ product. I'm now looking forward to the upcoming segments very much.
SanDiego1K is offline  
Old Apr 6, 10, 2:12 pm
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Originally Posted by SanDiego1K View Post
I'll confess, I don't often read reports about coach travel, but I really got into it.
Same, I don't often read economy class reports (but matthandy's report is first class even if he is travelling in economy ).
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Old Apr 6, 10, 2:18 pm
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Good reports, its so weird reading because all the way through it seemed so strange and then it clicked I know you mum, I worked with her in company called Travel Places in Arundel before she left for Oz. I am sure its her. Won't put her name on here, but got an e-mail from her saying she was getting married in Bali In March. I hope it was amazing for you all xx

Last edited by alilandeg67; Apr 6, 10 at 2:25 pm
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Old Apr 6, 10, 3:05 pm
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Oh Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt. Economy AND no lounge access.

Great report. I am looking forward to the remaining logs.
Moomba is offline  
Old Apr 6, 10, 5:16 pm
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Originally Posted by Genius1 View Post
Once again, a very well-written and entertaining trip report

The price must have been substantially cheaper for you to book Star Alliance where you don't have status over oneworld - out of interest, what would have been the cost had you gone QF to SIN and then SQ to DPS?

Did you think about trying to get a status match with bmi for this trip, so that you could have used the business class ground amenities?
I looked at flying QF but the cost of the return to and from SIN alone was about £200 more than the whole trip on SQ. So it was a no go really given that I'd be paying for the hotel in Bali too.

Didn't think about BMI but that sounds like a good option for next time!
matthandy is offline  
Old Apr 6, 10, 5:25 pm
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Originally Posted by alilandeg67 View Post
Good reports, its so weird reading because all the way through it seemed so strange and then it clicked I know you mum, I worked with her in company called Travel Places in Arundel before she left for Oz. I am sure its her. Won't put her name on here, but got an e-mail from her saying she was getting married in Bali In March. I hope it was amazing for you all xx
Ha! Small world! Yes that's her.
It was great thank you! You'll see some more of the photos later....
matthandy is offline  
Old Apr 6, 10, 7:19 pm
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Very interesting. Can't wait for the rest of it to come!
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Old Apr 7, 10, 2:13 am
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Great trip report. Looking forward to the rest.
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Old Apr 7, 10, 5:16 am
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Thanks for the report, looking forward to the rest. Its nice to see Y reports every now and again (as someone who flys in the back).

Just out of curiousity, you briefly touched on the lower deck seeming a little more spacious give that its wider.
As a single traveller I'm a fan of the 2-4-2 layout much more that the 3-4-3 just because its better for both window and aisle preferring people, but is the upper deck claustrophobic or cramped in any way? Or is it just a matter of spacious vs uber-spacious?
How tall are you for the head space to be a problem?
Is there much of a flight noise difference (engines, wind roar etc) between the decks?

Last edited by Ben Ell; Apr 7, 10 at 5:26 am
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Old Apr 7, 10, 6:20 am
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Nice report and comparison of Singapore vs. Qantas on the A380.
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Old Apr 8, 10, 2:09 am
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Most intersting. Thanks.

Off on SIN A380 next week.
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