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Old 1st July 2019, 12:21 AM   #1
cavemanSIN
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Default An Extended Dubai Weekend on SQ B777-300ER Economy - SQ494/495 SIN-DXB-SIN

Sometime in end-May, I made an extended weekend trip to Dubai. It would be my first time there, and was in part triggered by the various episodes of Ultimate Airport Dubai. Much had been featured of Emirates and DXB's Terminal 3 that it operates from. But what would the experience on SQ's daily flight be like? What would Dubai be like as a city? How would DXB's Terminal 1, which all other international airlines used, be like? I took a short trip to find out!

SQ494 to DXB is a 3.10 pm departure. After checking in my bag, I briefly checked out Jewel Changi Airport.



The 40m high vortex in its daytime glory, with many people - residents and tourists alike - taking photos of and with it!



I had a quick meal at one of the restaurants and made my way Terminal 3. I did some plane spotting on the way to gate B7, where SQ494 would be departing from.

9V-SKY at B2 ..



Hello there, 9V-STU! While I won't miss the hard product, SQ's A330-300 has (soon to be "had") been a regional workhorse to many of my favourite destinations such as Bali, Bangkok and Seoul, and I'm appreciative of their service!



9V-SWQ, which was delivered to SQ in 2008, would be doing the 7-hour run to DXB today. It had just landed earlier in the morning from PVG as SQ825.



SQ631 from HND, operated by 9V-SWR, was just taxiing in to B6 prior to the boarding call ..



A view of the nose prior to boarding from Door 2L ..


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Old 1st July 2019, 12:30 AM   #2
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Please bear with the Photobucket watermark for now. There's a glitch on Photobucket's end and their tech support chaps are working on it!
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Old 1st July 2019, 03:45 PM   #3
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Quote:
in part triggered by the various episodes of Ultimate Airport Dubai. Much had been featured of Emirates and DXB's Terminal 3
You were like me ! Had great expectations of DXB airport prior to landing and looking forward to comparing first hand the much vaunted DXB airport with Changi airport. Let's just say I was in for a shock.
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Old 1st July 2019, 11:42 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boing View Post
You were like me ! Had great expectations of DXB airport prior to landing and looking forward to comparing first hand the much vaunted DXB airport with Changi airport. Let's just say I was in for a shock.
Indeed, as the bird prepared to land and I took in the views of the sheer size of DXB, I wondered what the airport would look like - grand and bustling, and all. Only to be greeted by quite the different sight at Terminal 1 where SQ operates from.

That however, did set me thinking, whether this might be how tourists in Changi Terminal 1 might have felt in contrast to Terminal 3, prior to its renovations a few years ago.

The difference might not have been big, but it was still felt. These days, while Changi Terminal 1 still feels smaller than its newer siblings, the SSCI kiosks and the bright arrival hall connected to Jewel does give off a refreshing vibe!

Last edited by cavemanSIN; 2nd July 2019 at 12:17 AM..
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Old 2nd July 2019, 12:00 AM   #5
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SQ494
Singapore (SIN) - Dubai (DXB)
B777-300ER
9V-SWQ
Economy Class


Upon boarding the aircraft, the air felt stuffy and many passengers were fanning themselves with the inflight magazines, though some had brought along their USB-charged portable fans.

I learnt later from the FSS that after landing from PVG, the aircraft had been towed to a remote bay before being towed to the gate approximately 90 minutes before departure, and despite the air-conditioning being turned on, it would need more time to cool the aircraft.

The flight was approximately 70% full, with most passengers appearing to be connecting from China, Indonesia and the Philippines, going by the languages and accents I heard in the cabin.

The menu for the flight was already in the seat pocket. Service on this flight would comprise a bar service after take-off, dinner service approximately 1 hour after that, and a refreshment prior to landing.





I had the Chicken Thigh with Lemon Pepper gravy and it was very good!



I had a can of Coke to go along, and the ever proactive LS kept offering me more. In all, I had 4 cans of Coke on this flight! The last time he came around, I told him that I would have to pass. The LSS also came around to apologies for the stuffy air at boarding. Thumbs up to them!



The view of the sky over the Bay of Bengal, with the window at Door 5L wrapped around it ..



Prior to landing, a light snack of Beef Pastrami was served ..



SQ had teamed up with SG Enable to promote the inclusion of Persons with Disabilities, and this was featured on the packaging.


Disembarking at DXB ..



I took a train from the concourse to Terminal 1, and the train had magnificent views of the airside. Unfortunately, the train was crowded and I could only look out but was not able to get any photos.



Immigration and collection of my check-in bag was quick. From the arrival, I took a taxi to the JW Marriott Dubai Marquis, a 72-storey, 355m twin-tower complex. Also the world's second tallest hotel! Plane to hotel in 50 minutes!

The hotel lobby ..



I was assigned a room on the 61st level ..


Last edited by cavemanSIN; 2nd July 2019 at 09:34 PM..
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Old 2nd July 2019, 12:14 AM   #6
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The room was spacious and bright, with warm lights ...



As well as a large work table and two arm chairs. Wifi connectivity was great, with the Wifi indicators on my phone and Mac never dropping below full signal ..



The bar would be refilled twice daily with Arabian tea, and the complimentary snacks during turndown each evening would alternate between dates and chocolates ..



The bathroom was large ..





The lights, air-conditioning, DND and request for services were controlled using this device, which was very convenient!

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Old 3rd July 2019, 02:11 AM   #7
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As I was feeling quite tired, I had dinner at the Executive Lounge before retiring for the night. The Executive Lounge is open 24 hours, with buffet spreads for breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner. The mezze and humus were very good!



As was the fish and chips to order ..



The views from my room were good, and one of Dubai's canals could be seen, as could the construction activities all around. The vast views and soundproof (relatively) windows were splendid for me-time and meditation ..





I had breakfast at the international restaurant, Kitchen6. The restaurant was large and there was a wide spread - Indian, Japanese, Oriental, Thai, Western. It was very crowded when I went the first day at 7.30 a.m., but the crowd was much less on the subsequent days from 9.00 a.m. onwards ..







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Old 3rd July 2019, 02:24 AM   #8
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The noodle soup was also very good, with a choice of miso or oriental broth ..



After breakfast (it was more like breakfast and lunch combined, going by the amount that I had!), I headed to the Dubai Mall by Uber. A view of the Burj Khalifa prior to entering the mall ..



I learnt from my Uber driver that the mall's layout was constantly being changed in order to keep the offerings fresh ..



As it was the Ramadan season, the mall was quite quiet in the late morning, with the foot traffic made up mainly of expatriates and tourists (including SQ crew from my flight that I bumped into!) ..



There was also a dinosaur exhibition going on ..



The mall also has an aquarium and "underwater zoo", but I didn't go in ..



And the walk around the mall never seemed to end ..









As it was the Ramadan period, most F&B outlets had boards or curtains to cover their main entrances, and only those who were not fasting would be allowed in.
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Old 6th July 2019, 01:17 AM   #9
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The Dubai Mall had some interesting decorations ..





The Burj Khalifa looked even better at night, and was lit up not just for the Ramadan season, but to accompany the fountain show that is (at time of writing) held every 30 minutes between 6.00 p.m. and 11.00 p.m. nightly, with 3 additional shows between 1.00 p.m. and 2.00 p.m. daily. There are almost 50 different soundtracks that the company operating the show chooses from for each performance.

It has also been the backdrop for many movies, such as Mission Impossible's Ghost Protocol in 2011.



The waterfront view prior to the start of the show ..



And just as it was starting ..





The next day, I visited the Mall of the Emirates, another large mall in Dubai.





With its own Snow City ..

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Old 6th July 2019, 01:29 AM   #10
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I returned to the hotel's lounge to try its afternoon tea buffet, which was very good even though I couldn't eat more after trying out Din Tai Fung at the Mall of the Emirates!





The view to accompany afternoon tea ..



I returned to the Mall of the Emirates for dinner. During Ramadan, most restaurants open till 2.00 a.m. Craving for beef, and reminiscing my trip to Joburg last year, I had dinner at the Butcher Shop and Grill.



The starters ..



The mains of a medium-rare ribeye, which was very well marinated and with black pepper and mushroom sauce as the topping, while the corn was marinated with a sweet, sour and spicy sauce. Secret recipe the waiter said ..





On the morning of my departure, I had a heavy breakfast at Kitchen6 ..





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Old 6th July 2019, 01:36 AM   #11
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Thereafter, I took an Uber to the Dubai Museum, the oldest existing building in the city.





Which showcases Dubai's history in the areas of day-to-day living, as well as in commerce and its ties to the sea ..







I also walked around the area. Personally, I like the rustic and simple feel of the design. While the weather was hot, the people I met on the streets were warm and friendly.







Thereafter, I took an Uber to the Mall of the Emirates for some shopping, and then back to the hotel for a late lunch to freshen up before heading to the airport.

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Old 10th July 2019, 11:32 PM   #12
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There are 3 terminals at DXB. Terminal 3 is solely for Emirates flights, Terminal 2 is for LCCs and flights to the gulf region and Terminal 1 is for all other international flights, including SQ.

Terminal 1 is quite different from the pomp of Terminal 3, as depicted in the documentary Ultimate Airport Dubai. It's not bad, but in comparison to Terminal 3, it feels a little like the cousin left behind. This said, SQ's contract lounge more than makes up for it - more on that later!

A long list of non-EK international flights depart from Terminal 3. I only realised after I got back to Singapore that I had clicked the shutter when all the destinations were listed in Arabic and not English!



I checked in at SQ's counter ..



Before clearing CIQ and getting a shot at the upcoming departures - thankfully in English this time! Immigration clearance was quick, and security checks while detailed were fast and efficient. Kudos to the DXB authorities!



I took the Automated People Mover to Concourse D, and headed 1 level down and then another level up to the Ahlan Business Class Lounge ..



In the lounge was this display screen which I'd love to have in my home!



In addition to a small buffet spread and a manned full-service bar, all food at the lounge was available for ala carte order at no cost. I had a Pepsi and a Bloody Mary to begin ..



Followed by a mushroom pasta which came with a choice of pasta - I chose Penne ..



Still feeling hungry, I had a chicken noodles soup, which came with a generous portion of chicken "hidden" beneath the noodles ..



Before heading to the gate where 9V-SWD, which was delivered to SQ in 2006, would be doing the sub 7-hour run back to SIN today.

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Old 10th July 2019, 11:57 PM   #13
cavemanSIN
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SQ495
Dubai (DXB) - Singapore (SIN)
B777-300ER
9V-SWD
Economy Class


As my boarding pass was being scanned, I heard the "beep" and the gantry didn't open. It turns out that the IFE at my seat 61C was not working and the ground handling agent had assigned me another seat. It was handled quickly and professionally, and I was issued a new boarding pass.

I was welcomed on board the aircraft with a warm smile, and a "Mind your head, Mr cavemanSIN!" I knew that this would be a great flight, and I wasn't disappointed. I informed the crew that I wasn't intending to use the IFE, and would be happy to retain my original seat.

There were 2 crew on training during this flight, but they were amazing and I wouldn't have noticed if not for the additional tag they wore above their name tag. They checked with the LSS immediately and quickly brought me a pillow and blanket for 61C, which had been blocked out.

MU756 bound for Kunming beside us ..



The doors closed and the Y cabins flight were approximately 70% full.

The menu for the flight was distributed. Service on this flight would comprise a bar service after take-off, dinner service approximately 1 hour after that, and a refreshment prior to landing.





The bar service began and I had a Bloody Mary and a Ginger Ale ..



The Ginger Chicken with Fried Rice, as served. It was very tasty, and the bread was served warm just like on other airlines such as TG!





After dinner, I was proactively offered multiple refills of drinks, and continued with my reading.

About 90 minutes to landing, the refreshment service commenced. I had asked the crew to alert me 15 minutes before refreshment service, so that they could help me fill hot water in my cup noodles. They remembered and offered me the refreshment in addition to this, but I declined ..



The LSS was most caring! "Mr cavemanSIN, is your cup noodles enough for you? A heavy breakfast is important for a good start to the day. Let me know if it's not enough. I'd be happy to offer you mine too."

I've observed that in all cabins, the LS or LSS - or IFM, CS or CSS in the case of J cabins - sets the tone. Indeed throughout the flight, the other crew serving my cabin were non-flustered, warm and friendly. Kudos to them!

The sunrise as we approached the Malaysian coast ..



And we landed in SIN on Runway 02C thereafter before taxiing via the North Crossing to Terminal 3.

On the whole, it was 2 excellent sectors with SQ, yet again! The service was proactive, genuine and warm, and the crew gave the feel that they loved what they did. The food was good, and the frequent refills were much appreciated.

Personally, I enjoyed visiting Dubai. The people I met - be this in the hotel, in Ubers and in the malls - were friendly and I learnt much from my conversations with them. The JW Marriott Dubai Marquis is a very good hotel, and offered strong offerings in terms of accommodation as well as food and beverages. I intend to return, and to take the opportunity to make trips to Abu Dhabi and Sharjah too.

Thank you for reading!
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