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SIN TR: Kyo Does JetQuay

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  • SIN TR: Kyo Does JetQuay

    Off to Changi's JetQuay...



    Before I begin, allow me to point out that this TR is for all intents and purposes a 'Terminal Report' rather than a 'Trip Report'.

    Singapore's Changi Airport is a world-class terminal. Often praised for its efficiency and all-round pleasant surroundings, it's no wonder that it has won the numerous accolades it rightfully deserves.

    As Singapore happens to be 'home base' of yours truly, I've had the good fortune to visit each of Changi Airport's terminals - good old faithful T1*, charming T2, state-of-the-art-superlatives-cannot-describe T3 and even the Budget Terminal
    . Each terminal holds a unique memory with lounge meets (and greets), and each lounge reminds me of the effort the various carriers undertake in order to try and please their *premium* pax.

    But ever since the middle of last year, when I heard there was a separate terminal to rule them all, my curiosity was piqued. After much scheming, preparation and planning, a cunning plan was hatched to get behind the fenced-off perimeters of the JetQuay CIP Terminal.

    Since lounge access is generally incorporated into the price of a Business or First Class ticket, I hypothesised that the best way to maximise the limits of a JetQuay experience would be to use it in conjunction with an Economy Class ticket during departure. Armed with my mantra of 'whY not if travelling Y?', I hopped into a taxi and headed for the little white building to the right of T2!


    JetQuay - The Elite Gateway At Changi


    Directions - Ironically, in the same direction as the budget terminal!


    Painful-looking
    - The fences mentioned earlier


    Stop! - A massive crash barrier gate reminds the riffraff to keep out! No one unannounced gets past this fella...


    Security Post - Guard comes out. First question by the guard with a probing look, "Your purpose?"


    Guard re-enters - Presses the magic button


    Barriers deactivated - Cleared for entry


    Jetquay driveway - Curves first to the left, then to the right in an 'S'




    Friendly, Courteous and helpful - One of the famous Jetquay ladies (forgive the poor quality, it wasn't taken well)

    *The TR for this has long been in the works, coming in an upcoming (hopefully soon) TR!
    Last edited by Kyo; 10 March 2009, 07:01 PM.

  • #2
    Create Your Gastronomic Experience

    Eager to discover what else was in the terminal, I decided to begin by checking out the food and beverage section as I was feeling a bit peckish.

    It didn't get off to a good start.

    When it comes to hot food options, a selection of instant cup noodles were on offer. I placed an order for the chicken noodles. Impressed? Well, when you are paying these prices, you'd expect a bit more, frankly.

    Nevertheless, it was here the service provided by the pleasant and professional personal attendant took centrestage. She informed me she would prepare the noodles whilst I selected other food items to complete my five-star dining experience that until now included a 3-pack of chocolate Oreos I had started munching on as I walked around. She also proffered a glass of champagne without any prompting.


    I know everyone's eager to discover the flavours on offer - Let me not disappoint: a choice of Tom Yum, Chicken or Curry.


    Le Bar - Some beer and bubbles, spirits, soft drinks, freshly roasted coffee and mini Fiji water to round things off. A choice of fresh fruit was also readily available - some apples, bananas and plums.


    The pastry selection
    - This was far more varied and interesting than the hot food. There were three choices of muffins, cakes, some brownies and tarts (kiwi, strawberries, chocolate, custard etc).


    All done, I walked over to a lounger and awaited the feast to come.


    Instant chicken-flavoured noodle soup - The hidden noodles pairing with an impromptu glass of champagne, in this case, Mot et Chandon

    Both offerings were consumed in very un-CIP like fashion. But in today's episode, creative license allows me to skip that bit!


    The 36
    0
    I decided to take a 360-degree scan of my surroundings.


    To the front - Lots of seats


    Front, to the right - Toilets at the far end and a luggage display (will come back to that in a moment)


    To the right - Corridor leading to the gym, showers and spa and private meeting rooms


    Back, to the right - Further in the far left corner of this photo houses the three nap rooms


    Directly behind - Business Centre equipped with complimentary international calls (Skype phones), Internet and fax facilities are all available. I used the Internet which was also free.


    One of the JetQuay computers - The logo reminds you where you are

    Comment


    • #3

      To the left - Through the three slits, you can see the main lobby


      Left, and to the front - The F&B section


      Catching the Zzz's + Showers

      Of special interest in particular for transiting passengers, are the nap rooms and the showers.

      And here they are -


      Nap Room 3 - Picked one at random. I should probably point out that the cost of JetQuay admittance for one would be less than say a hotel room at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Not to mention far nicer in ambience, plus you'd likely be going for the Quayside or Transit package. Far better value in my opinion.

      The attendants can be advised prior to your nap about the time you'd like to wake up. So no need to worry about oversleeping. They record your flight times into their logbook to ensure you will depart on time with no hassle.


      On the inside - A single bed, various other things you'd expect to find in a hotel room. The interior even has an air purifier, which was unusual but nice to have!


      The Spa room - Located a few doors down

      The Spa and Nap Rooms are separated by private meeting rooms (a few comfortable seats and a table, nice perhaps for those travelling in a group). Here's one:


      The Private Rooms - Pun totally intended


      The Gym - Lose those calories here


      Shower Rooms - Very pleasantly furnished, they are larger than those in the SKL F in T3


      Bathroom amenities - Carven of Paris (side comment: I was pleasantly surprised at their shampoo product)

      One rinse through with these and you're done... reminds me of shampoo by Penhaligons of London, massive thumbsup!


      Washbasin - A bowl of potpourri with dried roses and other fragrant items, a tray of your standard bathroom accessories including razor etc, Molton Brown moisturising handwash (it's hidden behind the tissue box)
      Last edited by Kyo; 10 March 2009, 10:25 AM.

      Comment


      • #4

        Shower - Close-up


        I finished showering and took a detour back through the Spa. I noticed they had a menu which I promptly took photos of:



        Spa Menu - Not complimentary and overpriced, but at least you have the option if you're a tired traveller or just want to be pampered (and are willing to pay for it - there are cheaper options in the other Changi terminals, frankly)

        Hair-removing treatments are available. Prices vary according to type of body part requiring hair-removal.

        I think I'll pass, thanks.

        Stopped at a small table with some reading material.


        Magazines - Plenty of reading material (there are many in here)

        Ever wonder what kind of magazines could possibly be relevant to the clientele waltzing through these vaulted halls?


        Elite Traveller & Prestige - But of course, Elite Traveller: 'The Private Jet Lifestyle Magazine' and Prestige: 'The Very Best In Life'

        Almost on the way out, I walked in between the two luggage displays:


        Samsonite Black Label's McQueen collection - Alexander McQueen-designed with reptilian, organic themes in black and white


        Samsonite Black Label's Opto and Sevruga collections - The Tumi-esque Opto line was on display, along with the new Sevruga range

        Short diversion - Some prefer Tumi but I'm ultimately a sucker for the SBL range.

        Short note for those interested in buying - Don't bother buying at the in-Terminal prices, you can easily get 30-40% off during promotional periods at the Raffles Hotel or Takashimaya Orchard boutiques. I've even managed 50% off by bargaining at Central Chitlom in Bangkok. Not to mention you get additional VAT back at the airport. Great way to double-dip. Also the McQueens are 20-30% cheaper in Bangkok compared with the online-USD price to begin with!)

        The attendant who greeted me earlier had noticed I was using one of the SBL X-Lite two-wheeler carry-on as my weapon of choice for this short 2 or 3 day getaway. Personally I prefer to give the McQueen an airing when travelling long-hauls.

        The same attendant offered me another glass of Mot for the road. I told myself it was for the sake of this SQTalk TR.


        Mot - A necessary sacrifice


        The Quayside Departure Service

        Now that I had 25 mins to go until departure on my first OneWorld experience in a very long time, I waved a quick goodbye to the attendants at the curving reception area... (I didn't take a photo of this, must've been tipsy - worry not, however, as a quick Google search will reveal two reports elsewhere that have photos of this)

        ...and entered into...


        The Main Lobby - Futuristic and modern, it houses the Grand Staircase


        Chandelier - Impressive


        Three 'slits' - View into the lounge from the main lobby


        Straight to the back - If you're fortunate enough to experience this, a waiting limousine will await ready to take you 'Jetside' if you pay $SGD800+, for a nice 5-minute ride on the tarmac.

        Here, you hand over your passport to get it checked/stamped (once again, handled by the PA). You will be invited to take a seat whilst she proceeds upstairs to prepare the buggy that will take you to the boarding gate. I sat down..

        ..and promptly stood up to see what else I could find in the main lobby, read on...
        Last edited by Kyo; 10 March 2009, 05:05 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          To the left, I discovered these four lighted pillars are actually located directly in front of a bank of unseen elevators (in case you don't want to use the sweeping staircase).


          Various duty-free luxuries - Displayed in the glass cabinets


          Unused check-in counters - Also unmanned, I can't imagine they ever get used unless checking-in with large groups (highly doubt this is a common occurrence)


          Artpieces - With clocks above set to various timezones


          Zoomed-out - To give you a better idea of what to expect



          Whirling Indian dancers - The entire terminal has an entire series of these. I liked their style, so I took a few photos


          Grande Staircase - Yes, it's cool and looks like something out of Star Wars

          To be a true Lounge/Terminal/Staircase PITA, I decided to evaluate the spring in the carpet. I am most pleased to report that the carpet was soft enough to minimise impact on my ankles whilst walking. It's definitely cushier than in T1, T2 and even T3. The stairs were well-lit, the floor to ceiling glass offered a complete viewing experience. The music whilst I walked up the stairs was pleasant.


          View from the top - Looking down at the main entrance


          View at the top - JetQuay buggy fleet on the left! Boardroom to the very far-left (out of frame)

          Now that I had 25 mins to go until departure on my first OneWorld experience in a very long time, I waved a quick goodbye to the attendants


          Security / Welcome Counters at the top with entrance to T2 - Here you get a goodbye wave back


          Kyo + Buggy - Gratuitous (sorry)


          JetQuay Buggy- And then numerous stares as you're sped to your gate

          My gate was D44, towards the far end of T1. We got there in 5 minutes. That's also with various stops along the way so that people could move out of the path of our buggy.

          Yes, you do get to feel a bit like a VIP (but then again, it's not like you're not paying for it)

          I arrived just in time and cleared security speedily. It was the most stress-free departure I've had in a while, I must say.


          Comments

          1) There are times when a service like this can come in useful. Perhaps when travelling in a small group in Economy, or even as long as you've exceeded the number of guests you are allowed (often, one guest max per BP in premium classes). Do note that all pax have to be travelling to/from the same 'Event' (i.e. same flight). So if you're planning any air-side meets, be well-prepared for a rejection if you're all dispersing to various destinations.

          2) The drinks selection is as great as the hot food is poor. For an ultra-premium dedicated terminal, one would expect the food to equal/exceed the offerings in the other lounges. This is not the case.

          3) The lounge is good, no doubt, but not sooo great and it cant be said that it is far beyond SKL J/F (especially compared with the SKL F T3 TPR's food selection - which as we already have concluded, is a bit of a farce anyway for forcing a 'Second' First Class onto redemption pax). However if you need to catch up on sleep - then yes, this option works out even better than paying for the Crowne Plaza at T3. It works out cheaper, PLUS you get the added benefit of the Quayside pickup/transfer.

          4) If you're a obsessed with privacy, you will love this place. On the other hand, if you want to be noisy, I doubt you'll be very welcome here. But there's always the Private Room for that.

          5) If you're out to impress someone, or if you regularly rollin' like our dear HUGE AL, and plain ol' Flounges don't quite cut it, then of course, you owe it to yourself to give JetQuay a try. Let's be honest - if it's 5-star dining you're after, nowhere, not even TPR is going to satisfy. You would very likely eat outside, before going airside.


          Conclusions

          In this day and age, the premium/frequent global traveller may end up visiting a fair number of airports, sometimes as often as on a weekly basis. As a result, various airports, or carriers/alliances have invested not insignificant sums of money in their offerings in an effort to demonstrate to their customers how much they value their loyalty.

          Singapore's Changi Airport prides itself as being world-class, with offerings second to none.
          And for the most part - it is. But since we're splitting hairs here - for an entrance fee of over 100 smackers, we still hear of the funky VS Clubhouses in London or beyond, the extensive menu and Porsche Cayenne transfers in FRA's FCT, the ambience and free massages of BKK's TG Royal Orchid Spa.

          On the whole - whether or not JetQuay suits you will depend on your intended purposes there. For me (and I suspect for most people), it was nice but not worth the money I paid for it as a single traveller. I would frankly not bother booking such a service again unless I had company whom I could also bring inside to share the experience.

          I had hoped that JetQuay was SIN's answer to FRA, to LHR and to BKK. But it was not to be. Whilst an attempt at differentiation succeeds to some extent, perhaps the execution or consistency seems to have fallen a bit short when it comes to the product being offered. Certainly at these pricepoints (my lounge entrance cost more than my JL ticket!), discerning FF-ers have a right to raise their expectations accordingly.

          I would like to conclude with a line I heard from SQ's CEO Chew Choon Seng (paraphrased on Channel News Asia earlier this evening): You should only raise expectations if you can meet them. Consistently.


          Mine were simply not met for the $107 I paid. I certainly hope your experience is far, far better if you ever do try JetQuay.

          Thanks for stopping by!


          More info about membership and pricing can be found here
          (I got in by virtue of a DBS Altitude credit card promo. Membership is also automatically accorded to Citibank's PremierMiles cardholders which entitles a member for a slight discount.)
          Last edited by Kyo; 11 March 2009, 01:42 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Great start.

            Doesn't seem as though too many people are using it, eh?
            Last edited by jjpb3; 10 March 2009, 01:10 AM.
            Lean into the sharp points

            Comment


            • #7
              Very cool and INFORMATIVE report!

              I'm curious to hear the "In conclusion..." section.
              HUGE AL

              Comment


              • #8
                Great introduction Looking forward to the rest of the report.

                Comment


                • #9
                  V comprehensive report so far.
                  All opinions shared are my own, and are not necessarily those of my employer or any other organisation of which I'm affiliated to.

                  Comment


                  • #10


                    I have no intention of ever using JetQuay, so thanks for the pics.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Very interesting so far, Kyo+, thanks!

                      What brand of shower toiletries do they provide ? Anything nice ?

                      Did the taxi driver know where you wanted to go when you mentioned JetQuay ? I can't imagine it's that common.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks for the report, Kyo.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          jjpb3: It was absolutely teeming with people but fortunately I happen to possess mad Photoshop skillz and managed to clone-stamp everyone out! (j/k - seriously it was almost empty. Staff : pax ratio was through the roof, a certain carrier would be proud!)

                          HUGE AL: You'll have to wait til I get home tonight... I promise you'll get a special mention.

                          Nick C: Hope it comes in useful one day, thanks for the comment!

                          KeithMEL: Sorry it's not a Flounge report. We know how keen you are on those! Do try the champers one day (I'm sure you'll exceed the cover charge anyway)! Anyway, the tipples are better than Heidsieck... but still not a Perrier-Jouet so don't raise your hopes up too much.

                          milehighj: Who knows, perhaps if there's a few of us all going at once somewhere (that's what Lounge Meets is for, after all!)

                          jhm: As noted in the updated posts above, Carven of Paris is the brand used and I found it most enjoyable to use. Thumbs way up. It's not a common request to go to JetQuay, of course - however this taxi driver is literally on my speed dial, and he's been at the top of my call list for the last 2+ years. He's one of those Mercedes Limo taxis that you can pre-book, and I was travelling with two other people from my office (I dropped them off at T1 before looping back to JetQuay). He was familiar with JetQuay and he knew exactly where to go. If it was a regular taxi driver, I'd say your chances are more 'miss' than 'hit'. But there are signboards that clearly mark: CIP Terminal, as noted in the first post. I know that a lounge afficionado like yourself will thoroughly enjoy all that pampering (and rightly so!) - you may have to pop out and get some real food though (or ask them to buy it for you, hehe)

                          StarG: Glad you enjoyed it, and actually I think you'd be one of the ones that could really stretch the limits of a JetQuay session. Imagine not have to check-in a contingent of travellers by yourself! Priceless...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Kyo View Post
                            $SGD800+, for a nice 5-minute ride on the tarmac.
                            Wow, that's STEEP! More than the cost of the RT airport transfer via the St. Regis Bentley -- which includes JetQuay!

                            Originally posted by Kyo View Post

                            Zoomed-out - To give you a better idea of what to expect
                            Don't even get me started on those sculptures...
                            HUGE AL

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Great report....I am surprised to learn that the hot food selection was so poor and that there's hardly anyone there. The TPR does look good. By the way, excuse me for asking again, how does one get access to Jet Quay? Membership fee?

                              Comment

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