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Old 24th August 2019, 01:46 AM   #1
ycp81
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Default An Icelandic Summer and a side of London, Stockholm & Oslo (SQ, FI, SK, QR in J/Y)

Early this month, I took a trip to one of my most wanted country to visit, and a very popular tourist destination these few years, Iceland. During the trip, I also dropped by London, Stockholm and Oslo. This trip was flown on various airlines, including Singapore Airlines, Icelandair, SAS and Qatar Airways, both in Business and Economy Classes.

Starting with the 1st sector, I flew up to London via SQ Business Class. Check-in at the Business Class counters were empty as it was the non-peak hours during my flight departure.




Proceeded to the Silver Kris Lounge, which was rather empty a this time of the day.








Food and beverages in the lounge. Nothing exciting compared to many other airlines' hub lounges.












My 'snack' before flight.






Soon it was time to head to the gate.

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Old 24th August 2019, 02:23 AM   #2
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03 August 2019
Singapore Airlines
SQ 318
Singapore (SIN) - London Heathrow (LHR)
B777-300ER
9V-SWQ
Business Class
Flight Time: 13H06M



Flight would be operated by SQ's long-haul workhorse, B777-300ER.




Boarding has commenced at the gate and we proceeded to board immediately. Newspapers and magazines available at the door.






Boarded via Door 1 and passed the intimate 4-seater First Class cabin.




Into the forward Business Class cabin.




Despite the rather full Business Cabin, I was able to score the bulkhead seat at 11K, which offers nearly as much space as the First Class seat just behind the curtain! Many of you would have already been very familiar with this Long-haul Business Class seat fitted on all B777-300ERs and most A350s.










View from my seat.




13hrs to London, and a champagne to start the long-haul.



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Old 24th August 2019, 02:48 AM   #3
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Hot towels distributed. I am pretty sure the hot towel has shrunk in size.




Inflight literature and menu booklet.




Amenities provided and a selection of magazines for the flight.




Noise-cancelling headphones




Safety video played.




As we started out pushback.






Taxied towards Rwy20C for southerly departure.






And here we go! A very powerful takeoff assisted by the GE engines as we began our 13hrs trek across continents.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-sY_w9zTlw





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Old 24th August 2019, 12:43 PM   #4
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Powering away from Changi






As this was a day flight, most of the flight would be spent on the IFE. Starting with the first mindless local comedy. Lots of room to stretch at 11K.




For the post takeoff drink, I requested for a cappuccino.




This was quickly followed by the famed satay service.




View of the 12-seater forward Business cabin, which is the Jcl cabin to be in on the B773ER.




Visit to the lavatory, which was stocked with the usual amenities. However, the linen towels were not stocked since halfway through the flight. Not sure if overlooked by the crew or SQ uplifted fewer linen towels now.








Lunch service started nearly 2hrs into the flight, by which time we were over the Nicobar Islands. It was also starting to get pretty bumpy.






I had also started on my second movie, another local mandarin comedy.

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Old 24th August 2019, 12:57 PM   #5
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Lunch, midflight snacks and dinner would be served on this flight.








The menu offered for the LHR-SIN SQ319 sector for those interested.






As usual, a very extensive beverage list.














Table set up for lunch, starting with the appetiser and bakery selection.

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Old 24th August 2019, 02:01 PM   #6
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Duck liver terrine and smoked duck breast was alright.




For main, I had Booked-the-Cook the Grilled Chilean Seabass on New England style clam and mussel chowder, served with ciabatta crouton. Seabass was tender but the chowder tasted and smelled very fishy compared to the last time I had it. And as I was typing this, I just realised that the ciabatta crouton was missing too!




My friend has the Gosht Biryani from the inflight menu, which was pretty good.




Coconut ice-cream was light and refreshing.




Port to go with dessert and cheese.




Cheeses and tropical fruits. Not a fan of the cheese selection as they were too strong-tasting.






Ending with an earl grey and pralines. Here was when I thought that the crew had forget to give out the post-meal hot towels, until we asked the crew and they confirmed that the post-meal hot towel service has been withdrawn, and gave a lame reason justifying that it was not due to cost-cutting... roll-eyes.... Come on SQ, even the most basic full-service airlines still provide this basic frill in their Business Classes.




By the time lunch service was completed, we were already over India.




Cabin view after lunch. Time to make my bed!






On to the 3rd movie.

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Old 24th August 2019, 02:18 PM   #7
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In the middle of the movie, a 'surprise' birthday cake was presented by the cabin crew. Yes, my friend pre-ordered the cake for me as it was nearing my birthday, but for some unexplainable reason, SQ reflected the birthday cake on my booking under Special Meal when I viewed my flight reservation online. Duh... so much for a surprise... but I still appreciated the effort the crew went through for the wonderful presentation!




Somewhere over the drier parts of Earth.




Having some midflight 'delectables'. Still finding it a corny term.






Nice mountain views down below while I started on the 4th movie.






Dinner service started about 2hrs before arrival, starting with a tasty marinated scallops salad.






For the main, another Book-the-cook meal for me. I pre-ordered the Seared Nut-Crusted Veal Fillet, which was well-prepared though not too memorable.






My friend also booked the cook the Singapore Chicken Rice, which tasted authentically like the local fare.




Ending with a simple and light cherry cake.

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Old 24th August 2019, 02:46 PM   #8
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A latte double-shot to perk myself up before arrival.




We were soon nearing our destination.






Great views of London city during the approach into Heathrow.












Landing on Heathrow Rwy27R ahead of schedule.










View the full video of the approach and landing here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2teTDOBsFg
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Old 24th August 2019, 03:05 PM   #9
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A lengthy taxi to the Queen's Terminal.










Last look at 11K and disembarked.






My thoughts on the flight. It was a pretty comfortable way to 'endure' the 13hrs trek across continents in SQ's Business Class. Service wise, it was the normal SQ good service, but not exceptional above other flights. Catering was a hit and miss, depending on the choices. However, for the frequent SQ flyers, the tiny cost-cutting measures may be somewhat evident (eg. downsized towel may not be, but the sudden disappearance of post-meal hot towels are so glaring, unlike what SQ claimed its trials and survey shows). However, SQ still remains one of the better airlines along with the competition (I dare not say SQ is the best) out there in the Business Class experience.


Surprisingly, with the introduction of automated immigration clearance for certain nationals (me included) and very fast delivery of baggage, clearance through Heathrow was a breeze! Well up there with Changi efficiency-wise, though this might not be a frequent occurrence.




Stayed at Shepherds Bush area for my 3 nights in London.






Always start your day in London with a hearty English Breakfast!




Visited Camden Market on the Sunday morning.



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Old 24th August 2019, 03:27 PM   #10
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Exploring Camden Market






2 of the most popular street foods at Camden market.






Shopping street in Oxford.






Dinner at the very popular Goldmine Chinese restaurant at Bayswater.




Another tasty start to the day.




Trip to Kew Gardens







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Old 24th August 2019, 03:42 PM   #11
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Exploring Kew Gardens










Burger & Lobster feast




Touristy at the Thames








Another Goldmine dinner!




Cod and Chips at Westfield food court.




Pinkberry!

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Old 25th August 2019, 08:29 PM   #12
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Onwards to the 'main course' of the trip, which is Iceland! Headed back to Heathrow Terminal 2 for the evening flight up to Reykjavik. Terminal 2 is the dedicated Star Alliance terminal, with a few other non-alliance airlines using the terminal as well. Luckily, Icelandair is not affiliated with Star Alliance, as the Economy check-in queues for the common Star Alliance self-check-in machines were snaking long! Icelandair has its own dedicated check-in desks at the center of the terminal.




Check in was fast and boarding pass issued. Surprisingly there were no queues even though the flight was totally full. This flight would be on Icelandair's economy class, as my bid-upgrade failed to go through (Saga Class was totally full too!).




Even though the check-in area was crowded with the summer holiday crowds, security was painless and we were through into the departure hall in no time. As expected, it was pretty busy inside.






Headed to the Plaza Premium Lounge to grab a light dinner. Being the only 3rd-party lounge in Terminal 2, it was busy and overcrowded, with most seats taken. At least there were some hot food at the buffet, though it was very average. A far cry from the peace and calm when I visited a couple of years back when it was just opened.








Left the lounge early and headed to the gate, which would be at the satellite terminal and requiring a lengthy walk. The usual Star Alliance aircraft and our B757 could be spotted at the satellite terminal.






Some plane spotting of the long-haul aircraft of the Star Alliance airlines.





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Old 25th August 2019, 08:46 PM   #13
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Our B757-200 being prepared for the flight, with a BA Whale taxiing past. It has been a long, long while since I have flown on a B757. Seldom do we see this aircraft type in South-east Asia as well.





06 August 2019
Icelandair
FI 455
London Heathrow (LHR) - Keflavik Reykjavik (KEF)
B757-200
TF-FIP
Economy Class
Flight Time: 2H31M



Boarding commenced rather early.












"Snaefell" is the name of our aircraft.




Economy on the B757 is in a 3-3 configuration, with the first few rows designated as extra-legroom seats. All of the leather-cladded seats are fitted with individual IFE touchscreen monitors.








Interesting headrest designs explaining different Icelandic terms.

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Old 25th August 2019, 09:12 PM   #14
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Looking forward to the rest of this report! Iceland is on my bucket list too.
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Old 25th August 2019, 09:16 PM   #15
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Boarding in progress. It was a totally full flight.




Legroom was very decent.




The reading materials.




The airsick bag is certainly a collectible!




Icelandair's network. Reykjavik is the hub between North America and Europe, which Icelandair leveraging on this hub for their network strategy flying pax between both continents.




Pillows and blankets are available upon request. I got myself a wooly and comfortable blanket.




View out the window with the last bags being loaded up.




Doors were closed ahead of schedule and safety video was played.






The IFE system was activated after the safety video was shown. Icelandair operates as a hybrid-carrier, with certain frills such as blankets, IFE and non-alcoholic drinks offered free-of-charge, but meals, luggage and earphones would have to be paid for separately. So bring your own headphones when flying in economy.




Pushback

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPhP8_pN8VA

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