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Old 8th April 2018, 10:04 PM   #46
yflyer
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As usual, it was a hectic few days at work. When it was time to head home, I stood outside the office campus and hailed an Uber on my own, using my iPhone Uber app.

The driver was a friendly man who spoke limited English, but who was an excellent driver, as he had previously been the driver of an Indian lawyer for many years.

The drive from Navi Mumbai to Mumbai airport took almost 2 hours...first speeding along wide streets...



...but later right smack into the cacophony of Mumbai rush hour traffic, and by rush hour I mean any time between 10am and 10pm...

"Can you turn on the radio?" I asked...he did..."Louder please!"...wonderful music with an infectious beat...an entirely appropriate accompaniment to the bustling, chaotic, yet strangely enervating and lively traffic outside...


Last edited by yflyer; 9th April 2018 at 11:10 AM..
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Old 8th April 2018, 10:18 PM   #47
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But my destination wasn't the airport -- not just yet. SQ423 was an 11.40pm departure...I would have time for dinner back at the ITC Maratha, located next to the airport.

I had checked out of the ITC Maratha days ago, but that was no obstacle to having dinner there. I strolled into the lobby lugging my rollerboard, and headed back to Dakshin....



A cocktail to start...



More of the delectable crackers and papadums, and rasam, but this time, rather than a set meal, I would zero in on a single main course of Sudal, a quail curry hailing from Pondicherry....



Delicious...



Crisp, delicately cooked quail simmered in a mild curry sauce, and served with rice...



Now this was something I managed to polish off completely, leaving just a pile of quail bones on the banana leaf.

I even had room for a kulfi falooda dessert...



Paan, or betel nut, offered to all guests after dinner...not something I tried this time round...


Last edited by yflyer; 9th April 2018 at 11:13 AM..
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Old 8th April 2018, 10:28 PM   #48
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On red-eye flights, many frequent travellers prefer to have dinner prior to the flight, in order to maximise sleep time onboard. This works whatever class of travel you are in, whether Y, J or even F (!).

My dinner at Dakshin, at the ITC Maratha, before the SQ423 red-eye flight home was very satisfying. A meal there prior to flying home from Mumbai is something I like to do as a routine, and this is something I have done regularly in the past.

However on that day, I was enjoying my dinner so much that I lost track of time.

By the time I hailed an Uber for the 5-10 minute drive from the ITC Maratha to the international terminal, it was 10.30pm, 70 minutes to departure, and almost time for check-in to close.

As my Uber car drove up the Mumbai Airport driveway, I received a phone call on my Singapore cell number. It was the SQ airport staff...

"Sir, are you planning to travel with us tonight?"

"Yes I am, I am just coming up to the driveway!"

Thank goodness I had done an online check-in earlier. This is only the second time in all my travels that SQ station staff had to contact me by phone to check if I was going to make my flight...

The Business/Krisflyer Gold Check-in counter was already closed when I got there, with only Suites check-in open. They were expecting me, and issued me my Y boarding pass without delay. The friendly staff member even began writing me a lounge card, when I told him "I don't need one -- I am going right in..."

So far so good...

But my heart sank when I reached the immigration queue...it was long. And not only was it long, it was very slow. My section had 3 lanes, and 2 were held up by pax who evidently had issues with their visa's and/or passports, and each took 15-20 minutes (!) to clear...

There was nothing to be done but wait. Eventually, at around 11.15pm, after 30-35 minutes in the immigration queue, my turn came. After that, I speed walked straight through the sprawling terminal to the gate, and only arrived at the SQ gate at 11.27pm, 13 minutes before scheduled departure time (Do they close departure gates 10 min prior at overseas destinations?).

This was way too close for my liking, but I did make it. Phew!

At that point, with 3 (or 13) minutes to spare, I took another minute or so to snap a pic of the plane, 9V-SKG, a 9+ year old A380...



...before rushing in as one of the last pax boarding...

I know some people for whom last minute boarding has been honed to a fine art...not me. I am the other extreme, and usually show up at the airport way in advance at any airport except Changi. I have been known to show up at airports just as check-in opens. The experience on this evening was quite nerve-wracking. But I think ultimately it was all worth it, though, for a proper dinner before my flight.

Last edited by yflyer; 9th April 2018 at 10:51 AM..
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Old 8th April 2018, 10:42 PM   #49
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My seat was on the upper deck mini Y cabin.

I snagged my favourite seat: 83G. This is one of a pair of 2 seaters in the rear of the upper deck.



These were the 2006 Y seats, which are still very comfortable, with a wide seat base and good recline.



You get a lot of space next to you, and full recline without having to worry about anyone behind you.



Some seating plan websites say that these are undesirable seats. I hope they continue to perpetuate this myth...then it will be more likely that the seats will remain available to choose from!

Apart from the 2 newest A380's, 9V-SKU and 9V-SKV, which have the newly introduced 2017 A380 cabin products, the other A380's, including this one, still had the old style IFE...



These are non-touch screens, and the handheld controller buttons are now quite hard to press, but the program selection is still vast, and video/audio quality still superb.

Hot towels...



...and Y amenity kits, in a shade of silver/grey...



Today's supper menu...




Last edited by yflyer; 9th April 2018 at 10:50 AM..
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Old 8th April 2018, 10:53 PM   #50
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This flight was an unusual one for me in another way...I was fairly sleepy after boarding and sat in my seat while the aircraft taxi'ed for what seemed to be an extremely long time.

Then with a chime, the seatbelt sign went off, and cabin service began. What? We were already airborne? This was the very first time I had completely missed the aircraft taking off! Had I drifted off to sleep at some point during the taxi, and missed the take-off, or was the take-off so quiet and gentle that I was not even aware that it had happened?

There was no initial round of drinks, and the cabin crew immediately began serving special meals.

I pressed the call button, and a friendly cabin crew member came by within seconds.

"Can I have a G&T please? And then after that just a do-not-disturb sticker -- I wont' be having my meal..."



...so no food shots from this flight, just a DND sticker...



I slept well, and awoke close to top of descent...



...just as the sun was rising...





Wonderful cabin ambience on the upper deck of the A380, laid out 2-4-2.



The main deck, laid out 3-4-3, feels very spacious too. While the 2006 Y product (And IFE) on the A380 is not the newest, the added seat width and sense of spaciousness in the cabin makes up for it, in my view.

Between A380 Y and A350 Y, I would be perfectly happy travelling on either one.

An on-time arrival in SIN, and 9V-SKG at the gate at T3.



While 4 and a half hours flight time isn't really enough to get a good night's sleep onboard, I think having dinner prior to boarding enabled me to maximise time to rest.

Last edited by yflyer; 8th April 2018 at 11:14 PM..
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Old 8th April 2018, 11:07 PM   #51
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Final reflections?

All the flights I took were up to SQ's high standards as far as service and punctuality were considered.

As for the hard product, SQ Y is still remarkable for its excellence and consistency. The economy seat, IFE and catering on the A350 were all top notch.

Is it the best Y you can get on SQ? While SQ A350 Y is excellent, I think my personal favourite remains 77WR/77WN 2013 Y. This Y product, in 9-abreast in a wide 777 cabin feels very spacious.

Even the older generation 2006 Y on the A380 and A330 or 77W are perfectly comfortable too, with wide seats and spacious cabin making up for slightly older IFE.

For Premium Economy, I prefer the A380 PEY hard product to A350 PEY, which I feel is not sufficiently differentiated from Y. And I really think SQ needs to up its game for PEY catering to make it a competitive offering.

As for Mumbai, I had great meals and a wonderful stay at the ITC Maratha, which I would recommend if the location near the airport is suitable. I would recommend the ITC Maratha for a meal before flying home too, in order to maximise sleep time onboard. Just ensure you watch the clock, and budget enough time to get to the airport to check in and clear immigration!

Thanks for reading!

Last edited by yflyer; 9th April 2018 at 10:52 AM..
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Old 11th April 2018, 10:45 PM   #52
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Great rest of the TR as always yflyer. Loved the pics of Mumbai and the A380 on the way back to Singapore.
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Old 12th April 2018, 11:44 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by SQfanatic View Post
Great rest of the TR as always yflyer. Loved the pics of Mumbai and the A380 on the way back to Singapore.
Thanks, SQfanatic!
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Old 20th April 2018, 01:27 PM   #54
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Awesome TR once again yflyer.

I share your thoughts exactly on the A380. The older product with dated IFE will surely be missed in the future with Economy class becoming tighter on the B78X and most likely on the upcoming B777X. As for the 77W 2013 Y, I would say that is the best of the best when it comes to Y travel.

CX has already gone 10-abreast in Y on one of their 77W - and I am sure to avoid it whenever possible.
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Old 21st April 2018, 09:22 AM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GR1 View Post
Awesome TR once again yflyer.
Thanks, GR1!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GR1 View Post
I share your thoughts exactly on the A380. The older product with dated IFE will surely be missed in the future with Economy class becoming tighter on the B78X and most likely on the upcoming B777X.
Yes, I would prefer the original 2006 Y Economy on the A380 to any 10-abreast 777 or 9-abreast 787 .

For the upcoming B777X, I am keeping an open mind, since the B777X fuselage is slightly wider than the 777, so 10-abreast on that aircraft may be ok. I am looking forward to how economy seating will evolve on the B777X. Let's see if SQ brings some out-of-the-box thinking to the B777X cabin configs across all classes.

They certainly can't afford to get complacent with the B777X even in Y. Examples of innovations from other airlines in Y include:

- Air New Zealand Skycouch (Link to airline website here.)
- Qantas new economy meal format. (Link to TR with new QF meal here.)
- Y screens can get bigger too. Example look at EK's new A380 Y seatback screen, which is even bigger than SQ's 2017 A380 Y screen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GR1 View Post
As for the 77W 2013 Y, I would say that is the best of the best when it comes to Y travel.
Agree! My favourite ride in Y at the moment!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GR1 View Post
CX has already gone 10-abreast in Y on one of their 77W - and I am sure to avoid it whenever possible.
I used to be a fan of CX -- at one point in the past I thought they were neck and neck with SQ in both long haul J and Y cabins (Example: CX 77W SFO-HKG-SIN in Y and J, in TR here). And their home base lounges in HKG remain far superior to the SQ Changi lounges.

That said, in recent years, even I, as an infrequent flyer on CX, have noticed a decline. For a start, their CX regional J seats were not impressive, and the CX A350 Y seats have a soft seat back where you can feel the knees of the pax behind you (Which is a pity, since the CX A350 is otherwise quite impressive, especially J and PEY). You will not find me on a 10-abreast config on CX's 77W's on any sector other than the 3+ hour hop from SIN to HKG. CX Y used to be a candidate for me to SFO, but if they put the 10-abreast Y on HKG-SFO, then that rules it out for me.

Last edited by yflyer; 21st April 2018 at 10:02 AM..
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Old 13th May 2018, 03:46 PM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yflyer View Post
Thanks, GR1!



Yes, I would prefer the original 2006 Y Economy on the A380 to any 10-abreast 777 or 9-abreast 787 .

For the upcoming B777X, I am keeping an open mind, since the B777X fuselage is slightly wider than the 777, so 10-abreast on that aircraft may be ok. I am looking forward to how economy seating will evolve on the B777X. Let's see if SQ brings some out-of-the-box thinking to the B777X cabin configs across all classes.

They certainly can't afford to get complacent with the B777X even in Y. Examples of innovations from other airlines in Y include:

- Air New Zealand Skycouch (Link to airline website here.)
- Qantas new economy meal format. (Link to TR with new QF meal here.)
- Y screens can get bigger too. Example look at EK's new A380 Y seatback screen, which is even bigger than SQ's 2017 A380 Y screen.



Agree! My favourite ride in Y at the moment!



I used to be a fan of CX -- at one point in the past I thought they were neck and neck with SQ in both long haul J and Y cabins (Example: CX 77W SFO-HKG-SIN in Y and J, in TR here). And their home base lounges in HKG remain far superior to the SQ Changi lounges.

That said, in recent years, even I, as an infrequent flyer on CX, have noticed a decline. For a start, their CX regional J seats were not impressive, and the CX A350 Y seats have a soft seat back where you can feel the knees of the pax behind you (Which is a pity, since the CX A350 is otherwise quite impressive, especially J and PEY). You will not find me on a 10-abreast config on CX's 77W's on any sector other than the 3+ hour hop from SIN to HKG. CX Y used to be a candidate for me to SFO, but if they put the 10-abreast Y on HKG-SFO, then that rules it out for me.
Thanks very much for all the links to your other TRs, which as always are very in depth and a joy to read. Totally agree with all that you have said - lets hope the 777X Y is a "Game Changer" when it finally rolls out
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Old 18th May 2018, 02:03 AM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GR1 View Post
Awesome TR once again yflyer.

I share your thoughts exactly on the A380. The older product with dated IFE will surely be missed in the future with Economy class becoming tighter on the B78X and most likely on the upcoming B777X. As for the 77W 2013 Y, I would say that is the best of the best when it comes to Y travel.

CX has already gone 10-abreast in Y on one of their 77W - and I am sure to avoid it whenever possible.
I heard of CX going 10 abreast on their 77W, and they only have started with a few. However, I hope that I can still fly on CX's 9 abreast 77W before it all changes, but dunno if it will happen anytime soon yet.
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Old 19th May 2018, 08:25 AM   #58
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Originally Posted by SQfanatic View Post
I heard of CX going 10 abreast on their 77W, and they only have started with a few. However, I hope that I can still fly on CX's 9 abreast 77W before it all changes, but dunno if it will happen anytime soon yet.
Yes, they have started doing this...terrible move, IMHO. Hopefully they go slow on this retrofit!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GR1 View Post
Thanks very much for all the links to your other TRs, which as always are very in depth and a joy to read. Totally agree with all that you have said - lets hope the 777X Y is a "Game Changer" when it finally rolls out
Thanks very much, GR1! Yes, looking forward to hearing more about SQ's upcoming 777X!
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Old 26th May 2018, 11:34 AM   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yflyer View Post
Yes, they have started doing this...terrible move, IMHO. Hopefully they go slow on this retrofit!
While it might sound like this is an assumption, judging by some pics of their 10 abreast 77W, it looks incredibly narrower. And I have been on a 10 abreast 77W on EK before and for long haul, very uncomfortable.

I hope the 777X with 10-abreast will not compromise the comfort we already have on the current 77W fleet.
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