Surprising Horizons

The Joy of Travel. The Realities of New Experiences.

Tag: SIN

Review: Singapore Airlines Business Class 787-10 Singapore – Bangkok

With Singapore Airlines miles to burn before I shuffle off this mortal coil island state I decided to experience SQ’s very new Boeing 787-10 business class offering on a local route. Bangkok was (and is) being used by SQ to ease the 787-10 into their network of flights. So Bangkok it was and it was quite fitting as Bangkok was my first introduction to Asia way back in 2006 and so it would be my last city to visit in Asia whilst living here. This time around.

On this journey, I was very happy to have TravelogyDepartment along for the ride.

Changi Departure

Our flight number was SQ982 (9V-SCB which is listed as Brand New on FlightRadar) and we would be taking off from Terminal 2 which meant a nice wait in the SilverKris Lounge Business Class area. This lounge has a very nice low key vibe in the quite large sitting area. Muted colours and comfortable chairs.

The food and beverages on offer are immense and I was happy with the chicken rendang that I had. Taittinger champagne was the order of the day (happy birthday to me) which was fine.

The three hours and > 3 Taittingers went by very quickly and before we knew it we were heading towards our departure gate of E11. We timed it perfectly to saunter on board without queuing and we veered off to the left to the awaiting cocoon-like business class section.

On Board

Welcoming us on board with a smile at the front door were our crew who would become friendlier at different parts of our flight individually…it just took some time for certain ones to warm up to some eager 787-10 fliers!

The seating in SQ’s 787-10 business class section is in a 1-2-1 configuration with alternating rows changing their specific layout a little bit as you can see in the below official layout diagram from SQ. It is worth noting when I booked this flight Seatguru didn’t have accurate seating map for the 787-10; they have since rectified that.

As you can see for couples the even numbered rows in the middle would be more suited. Or the other rows; depending on how your relationship is going. For solo travellers or for a couple who both like to sit by the window the side seats on the odd numbered rows are best and also have the feeling of more privacy and cosiness (see video report for more seat antics).
The seat itself is comfortable and testing the lie flat feature led me to believe it would be a very good seat for long haul flights and trying to get some shut eye. Around the seat you have a crazy amount of nooks and crannies to store everything you could possibly need. USB ports and power port are also part and parcel with this seat.

As a business class flyer you can “Book the Cook” which gives you a wide variety of meals up to a few days before the flight departure. I went Singaporean and opted for the chicken rice. As I stuffed my face in the lounge beforehand it still was very tasty but I was pretty full. Before the meal I was presented with a very nice birthday cake from the head purser Mr. Pan (pre-arranged by the travelogydepartment guru). Much appreciated for the gesture on both SQ’s and TD’s behalf. Also more champagne was had.

There are two toilets at the front of the business cabin and two economy toilets behind the iron curtain. I went to the both of them and the business class one is only slightly bigger.

So a word on the crew. They were nice just not overly chatty. We got in to a nice long conversation about the plane and staffing duties with a female attendant at the start of the flight who was more than happy to give us more details about her role and the planes she flies. Mr. Pan as head purser was attentive but not overly so; but he brought the cake so there’s that. The other female attendant didn’t really make herself available for chatting or inquiring into if we needed anything until I offered the rest of my birthday cake to the crew. She was pretty happy after that..
To compare this to my return flight on the A330 service I was being called by my last name with every question put to me; it just came across nicer like they really appreciated me more. Has to be said too, that the 787-10 business class was nearly empty and the return A330 was completely full so it wasn’t down to passenger load.

In flight entertainment by SQ is probably the best there is on any airplane. Ever. A never ending supply of movies and TV. Screens are touch screen with this new business class setup but with the option of using the remote in your armrest also. It’s only when I fly on other so-called top class airlines that I realise how much Singapore Airlines cram into their in-flight entertainment; other airlines’ offerings just pale in comparison.

So what else? I’m not sure. It is certainly an amazing hard product on offer. The seats are fabulous and the rest of the Singapore Airlines experience that comes along with it just makes it a top class business class offering.

Arrival

Nothing too much to report here apart from the Priority/Express lane pass you get as a business class passenger that allows you to skip the general throng of tourists at immigration and head to the indicated express lanes. A nice welcome after a flight. It was my first time to grab the Airport Express train from BKK and it was very convenient and cheap (40 Baht). Staying at a hotel near one of the stations on this line is highly recommended. No more taxi scrambles…unless you have a tonne of luggage I guess.

Get yourself on a 787-10 to experience what it’s like! As of writing only Singapore Airlines have the 787-10 in service with 4 aircraft in service (9V-SCA, 9V-SCB, 9V-SCC, and 9V-SCD) servicing Bangkok, Perth, Osaka, and Kuala Lumpur (not sure for how long though).

 

Return to Hong Kong

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Hong Kong: land of my late twenties and early thirties and my welcome mat in to Asia.

Three years were spent working and living in Hong Kong from 2008 until 2011 and the living was amazing. The work? Not so much.

I remember getting my first Airport Express from the airport on to Hong Kong island and being immediately enthralled with the tall and thin, old and new apartment and business buildings along Kowloon. I never grew tired of just…looking.

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To walk the streets of Hong Kong is to experience true city living. Cramped, busy, smelly, rushed, compressed, bombarded, and delighted. I often walked for the sake of walking and I often marvelled that I was actually living there. It was surreal that the green fields of my rural past were replaced by urban grey blocks and Cantonese neon splashes.

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I have been back a number of times for work and I try to get a semblance of the feeling I got back then by just wandering the streets and just being in the moment. I was a Kong Kong Island resident so my walks were around the Causeway Bay, Tin Hau, and Wan Chai areas. Areas rich in everyday living meshed around Ferrari dealerships and Swarovski jewellery stores.

On my recent visit back, I walked down my old street, Jardine’s Bazaar, to see how much has changed and to see if I could see any of the old faces behind the counters at Circle-K or 7-11 peddling their ridiculously cheap (and very welcome) TsingTao beers. I even pondered going up to see if our old security guards were still working their endless shifts. I didn’t, I don’t think I could have handled it if they didn’t remember me.

I always try to dissect why I always feel so melancholic about travelling back to Hong Kong. It dawned on me that it was mostly memories of a younger me where I could easily play football every Sunday at 11am in low thirties-baking sun conditions. Where I was still chasing academia at Hong Kong University and when my hair was blacker than it’s aging tincture it has now.

Hong Kong was the frame for a very fruitful part of my life and it will always remain so. Going back will always be bittersweet but exciting all the same.

Note: I documented the airports and a bit of the in-flight experience in this here Youtube video, which kept me sane throughout and is something I will do with my trips from now on:

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