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Old 14th August 2017, 12:51 AM   #1
yflyer
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Default SQ A380 to FRA, AB to TXL, and Berlin Christmas Markets after the Terror Attack

I was in Jakarta when I heard the news. On 19th December 2016, a terrorist rammed a truck through one of the main Christmas Markets in central Berlin. A reprehensible act that drew condemnation for the perpetrator, and sympathy for the victims, from across the globe.

The next day, 20th December, I was scheduled to fly out of Jakarta back to Singapore and spend a couple of hours in transit in Changi Airport before flying out to Berlin, via Frankfurt, for a business meeting.

My boss emailed my colleagues and I, and urgently asked us to check the latest travel security guidance. "I assume it recommends to cancel", he wrote.

The guidance from the travel risk management and safety outfit did come down: Avoid the area around the Christmas Market, and expect heightened security...but no blanket ban on travel was advised.

So the decision was ours, and no-one would have objected if we had decided to cancel. But of course we didn't.

"Looks like we are going ahead, unless advised by our client", I replied.

"Agree - planning on meeting unless the client decides to postpone," my US-based colleague chipped in.

And so off we went...

In the lounge in JKT, while waiting for my SQ flight to SIN, more news of the attack streamed in...



My flight from Jakarta to Singapore on SQ was uneventful, and Mrs yflyer came to the airport to meet up with me, briefly, in the T3 food court for a snack before I kissed her goodbye, and headed back airside for my flight SQ26 from Singapore to Frankfurt.

What would the mood be like in Berlin? I would soon find out.

Last edited by yflyer; 22nd August 2017 at 09:13 AM..
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Old 14th August 2017, 01:03 AM   #2
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SQ26 that day was operated by 9V-SKT, a 5 year old A380...



At that time of year, most SQ planes had Christmas decor up in the cabin, and 9V-SKT was no exception.



On the way to my seat in the main deck Y cabin, I passed the PEY cabin, laid out 2-4-2.



The main deck was laid out 3-4-3...



My seat was in the rear of the main deck...

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Old 14th August 2017, 01:09 AM   #3
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SQ's A380 cabins are due for a major refresh soon, but the current cabin config is still a very competitive, and comfortable, offering.

Each Y seat has widescreen AVOD, along with USB...



...as well as A/C power.



While the UI is not as snazzy as the latest Krisworld on SQ's A350's and 77WN/77WR's, this is still a decent system, with very good picture and sound quality (As long as you use your own headphones with 2-prong airline adapter).

Good seat recline...



...with paddle-shaped footrests...



Generous seat width for a Y seat...

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Old 14th August 2017, 01:11 AM   #4
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An updated safety card...these cards come in different colours, depending on aircraft type.



Amenity kit...



A 12 hour 25 minute flight to Frankfurt this evening...

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Old 14th August 2017, 01:19 AM   #5
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At that point in time, they were serving a special Christmas menu...



A full beverage listing in the menu in Dec 2016, unlike the simplified menus now published...



Three choices of main course for supper this evening...



...midflight snacks...



And a choice of two breakfast options prior to landing...



The Thai stir fried beef with rice was quite delicious...



A tasty starter...you don't often see scallops in a Y appetizer...



The main course...



Mango coconut mouse cake...


Last edited by yflyer; 16th August 2017 at 10:52 PM..
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Old 14th August 2017, 01:24 AM   #6
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I browsed the movie selection, which was quite impressive (That month, the selection included "Your Name', a Japanese anime which was the highest grossing movie in Japan last year (A good article on this here).



I also signed up for inflight wifi...on this flight this was based on GB downloaded, rather than time-based, so it was not cheap, but a 15MB package was enough for simple WhatsApp texting...

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Old 14th August 2017, 01:29 AM   #7
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About 2+ hours prior to landing (Why does SQ always serve breakfast so early?), breakfast was served...







I find the egg breakfast dishes in Y on SQ and most other airlines quite bland and boring, so I was quite happy that the nasi lemak option was still available when the cart came round to my seat.



This was a marvellous dish...thumbs up! SQ should come up with a Book-The-Cook option for economy. It might make sense to even make it a chargeable catering option. I would certainly pay for a delicious nasi lemak breakfast!

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Old 14th August 2017, 01:32 AM   #8
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Cabin ambience...a cavernous Y cabin. Even though the flight was completely full, the cabin felt spacious and roomy.



As you can see, a very well-filled flight in the days before Christmas.



I snuck a peak into the PEY cabin up front, and it looked to be very comfortable too.




Last edited by yflyer; 19th August 2017 at 05:13 PM..
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Old 14th August 2017, 01:34 AM   #9
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We landed in Frankfurt at 6am on the morning of 21st December...





I made my way from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2, Concourse E, for my connecting flight to Berlin...




To be continued!

Last edited by yflyer; 19th August 2017 at 05:13 PM..
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Old 16th August 2017, 09:55 PM   #10
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Yflyer,that was the beef option,wasn't it?i cant seem to find the beancurd...lol
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Old 16th August 2017, 10:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by balajih67 View Post
Yflyer,that was the beef option,wasn't it?i cant seem to find the beancurd...lol
Yes, you are right! The Y meal I had on the SIN-FRA leg was the beef with rice...I've amended the text!
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Old 19th August 2017, 05:18 PM   #12
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Frankfurt Airport is a large, sprawling hub. It is an aviation enthusiast-friendly airport: Great spotting opportunities, a large outdoor viewing area, and a wide range of aircraft types and airlines from the four corners of the earth. Airlines like Iran Air serve FRA, and in the not too distant past, you could even see Russian aircraft types like the Tupolev TU154, spewing dark smoke from their engines as they approached FRA to land.

It can also be a crowded, confusing and intimidating facility, which may appear to some to have been built by a maze designer, rather than an airport architect.

This is especially true if you are connecting from one airline to another. I’ve never seen so many people looking and bewildered, or so many people running through a terminal, anywhere else but Frankfurt.

All that said, while the airport layout is complicated, the facility is quite organised and fairly efficient. You have got to observe the signs closely, and before joining the queue, verify exactly what the queue is for before you actually join it. If you do that, and if you plan enough buffer time between flights, then a connection in FRA need not be a nail biting affair…

SQ26 landed in T1. I would now need to make my way to T2, Concourse E.

I caught the PeopleMover from T1 to T2/Concourse E, where I eventually found a large customs/immigration hall complete with multiple manned booths and snaking queue barriers, which was completely deserted.

How max pax from SQ26 were connecting on Air Berlin to Berlin Tegel at that time? Or any other airline for that matter? Only me, by the looks of it!

When I eventually got to the booth, the immigration officer at the counter looked at me, the lone passenger in the huge, empty hall, and asked “Are you the first, or are you the last?”

I told him I had just come in on SQ from Singapore, and was connecting to Berlin on AB (Air Berlin).

That explanation seemed to satisfy him...just a few cursory follow up questions before he smiled, then stamped and handed me back my passport, and I was through to the landside area of T2, Concourse E.

I guess this isn’t a common itinerary as SQ is Star Alliance and AB is Oneworld. They were also separately ticketed.



No queues at the AB check-in counters…



I now had several hours to kill before my flight to Berlin. It was time to check out the lounges in Concourse E.

Last edited by yflyer; 21st August 2017 at 10:34 AM..
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Old 19th August 2017, 05:46 PM   #13
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Conveniently, the two lounges I could use in that part of the concourse were right next to each other.



The first was an Air France Lounge, which also admitted an assortment of other airlines, including Finnair, Iceland Air, Air Baltic and Air Berlin, as well as all Skyteam carriers.

The one next door was an Iberia Lounge, which also admitted Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald.

I decided to do a mini lounge hop and check out Air France first, before heading over to Iberia...

Last edited by yflyer; 19th August 2017 at 06:09 PM..
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Old 19th August 2017, 06:05 PM   #14
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The Air France lounge in FRA T2 Concourse is a fairly large lounge, which was not busy in the early morning.



Lounge decor was ok but not particularly distinctive.



The only thing that identified it as an AF Lounge was the man-size Air France poster in one corner.



The range of liquor and beverages available was fairly wide, though I would not call it a premium selection...









The food available at breakfast time was exceedingly basic...







I can imagine steaming cup noodles being an attractive meal to have at some point in my trip, but I had just arrived in Europe, and I hadn't reached that level of desperation for a taste of Asian comfort food yet...



I recalled that the food selection in the LH Senator / Star Gold lounges in FRA was in a different league, much better in terms of taste, variety and presentation.

At least Christmas mulled wine was also offered (But not at that hour of the morning...)



So this was an adequate lounge if you just wanted to rest and surf the internet before your flight, and perhaps have a snack or a drink (Or maybe many drinks...).

But after very good experiences in the Lufthansa lounges at FRA, which have sleek decor and tasty catering, I was hungry for something more interesting. Perhaps the Iberia Lounge next door would be better?

I headed next door...

Last edited by yflyer; 21st August 2017 at 10:35 AM..
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Old 19th August 2017, 06:24 PM   #15
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The Iberia lounge was smaller, but I thought the ambience and styling were more appealing than the lounge next door.



Dark red leather seats gave the lounge a warm, cosy feel, which I felt quite relaxed in.





The beverage selection...







Exactly one red wine, but at least it was Spanish...



Mini bottles of Cava - a nice touch! If I hadn't planned to go for a run in Berlin later in the day, I would have popped a bottle for breakfast...



The food selection here was even smaller than the AF Lounge next door. No wonder visitors to Changi and other Asian airports are bowled over by the food in our airline lounges...



It looked like I wouldn't be having much breakfast in FRA this morning, but then I had already eaten nasi lemak on SQ a few hours earlier, so I wasn't hungry yet.

I preferred the ambience of the Iberia lounge, so I decided to stay here until it was time to head to the gate for my Air Berlin flight.

And on TV in the lounge, there was still wall to wall coverage of the Berlin Christmas Market terror attacks, and the aftermath...


Last edited by yflyer; 21st August 2017 at 10:36 AM..
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