SQTalk  

Go Back   SQTalk > General > Trip Reports

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 3rd August 2019, 01:26 PM   #1
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 6,931
Default Three A350s and a Dreamliner: Regional Flights in Asia with SQ, TG and CX

In a recent USA TR, I recounted my experience on a 4+ hour SFO-ORD sector in economy. This was a good flight, but one flown on a narrowbody 737, where the only complimentary F&B comprised soft beverages and a packet of pretzels.

In that TR, I wrote: "It was ok, as long as you didn't compare it to a 3 or 4 hour international sector out of Singapore, where on SQ and many other international airlines, you would be on a widebody jet, and wined and dined with a full meal service and a free flow of complimentary liquor."

This TR aims to cover this regional travel experience in economy class (And in one case, premium economy) on full service airlines in Asia.

In Asia, we have several established regional airport hubs. In this TR I'll cover three of these airport hubs and their home airlines, Singapore Changi and SQ, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi and TG, as well as Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok and CX. I also spent time in two other major hubs, KUL and JKT, although I did not fly on any Malaysia or Indonesia-based carriers on this occasion.

There is huge spending for both business and leisure travel in Asia, with airlines in fierce competition to serve this lucrative market. I think this competition has spurred SQ, TG and CX (And their respective airport hubs) into developing very strong products and services.

is there cost pressure on these airlines? Sure there is...LCC's are growing at a phenomonal pace, and a lot of leisure travellers, and even cost conscious business travelers are going the LCC route. But all that said, whether or not there were cost cutting initiatives ongoing at the airlines I flew, the level of service, equipment and catering I experienced was very impressive.

For USA-based travellers, for example, who have only experienced domestic sectors on US mainline carriers, I think they will be in for a pleasant surprise when they fly even 2 hour international sectors within Asia.

In the past 2 weeks, I flew SIN-JKT-BKK-SIN on Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways, and then SIN-BKK-HKG-KUL-SIN on Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon and SIA.

I flew some of these airlines' newest equipment types: SQ's regional A359, TG's 788 Dreamliner and A359, as well as CX's A359. It was interesting to compare these three airlines' products on these flights.

The remaining sectors were flown on A330's, which still form a major part of the fleets of CX, KA and SQ. I'll share an opinion on how big (or small) the difference is between cabin products on the older workhorse, A330, vs the shiny new A359s and Dreamliners.

On this trip, I finally got to experience the amazing new Changi Airport Terminal 4, and the Cathay Pacific Lounge there, when I flew to BKK on CX. I also got to spent time in the the new Saphire/Plaza Premium Lounge at JKT T3, which is the designated lounge for TG and SQ flights there.

Flights and Lounges aside, I stayed at the JW Marriott in Jakarta, the Bangkok Marriott Sukhumvit, as well as the W Kuala Lumpur.

No hotel in Hong Kong? There is an interesting story there: As in my previous USA TR, my trip did not go quite according to plan...

TR INDEX

1. Flight - SIN-JKT on Singapore Airlines SQ964 (Airbus A350-900 Regional)
2. Hotel - JW Marriott Jakarta
3. Lounge - Saphire / Plaza Premium Lounge @ JKT T3
4. Flight - JKT-BKK on Thai Airways TG436 (Boeing 787-8)
5. Hotel - Marriott Bangkok Sukhumvit
6. Flight - BKK-SIN on Thai Airways TG409 (Airbus A350-900)
7. Airport - Changi Terminal 4
8. Lounge - Cathay Pacific Lounge @ Changi T4
9. Flight - SIN-BKK on Cathay Pacific CX712 Premium Economy (Airbus A350-900)
10. Lounge - Cathay Pacific Lounge @ Concourse G, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi
11. Flight - BKK-HKG on Cathay Pacific CX616 (Airbus A330)
12. A change of plan...
13. Lounge - CX Lounge: "The Bridge" @ HKG
14. Lounge - CX Lounge: "The Deck" @ HKG
15. Flight - HKG-KUL on Cathay Dragon KA729 (Airbus A330)
16. Hotel - W Kuala Lumpur
17. Lounge - SilverKris Lounge @ KUL
18. Flight - KUL-SIN on Singapore Airlines SQ119 (Airbus A330)
19. Final Reflections

Last edited by yflyer; 8th September 2019 at 03:53 PM..
yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd August 2019, 02:27 PM   #2
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 6,931
Default

My trip began on Singapore Airlines, on SQ964 SIN-JKT. This was a 5.20pm departure, with a scheduled time of 1 hour 45 minutes.

The day's flight was operated by 9V-SHG, a regional configuration A359, delivered just 3 months previously, in April 2019.



A350's are easily recognizable by their "Mask of Zorro" cockpit windows, with the black border, as well as the gracefully curved winglets...



On time boarding...I ignored the box of pick-up-yourself earbud headphones by the aircraft door -- much better to bring your own headphones/earbuds.


Last edited by yflyer; 3rd August 2019 at 10:21 PM..
yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd August 2019, 04:31 PM   #3
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 6,931
Default

SQ's new regional A359s differ from the long haul A359's in that they have a 2-class cabin comprising the latest regional business class and economy products.

The new regional J product is a forward facing 1-2-1 layout...



These seats are slightly staggered, which means that every seat has aisle access...



The window-side seats either closer to the aisle or the window...



An aisle-side seat...



Window seat...



The middle seats are either closer to either aisle, with a console in the middle, or together in the middle, with aisle-side consoles, although the middle seats would also have direct aisle access.



The bulkhead J seats have a different layout, with a space for a bassinet, as well as a larger cubby hole for your feet.



I have not flown this regional business class product on SQ's A350, but I have tried this J seat on SQ's 787-10 on the SIN-PER sector (TR here) and found the seat very comfortable.

Last edited by yflyer; 3rd August 2019 at 07:05 PM..
yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd August 2019, 04:35 PM   #4
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 6,931
Default

The Y cabin was laid out 3-3-3, which is pretty-much standard on A350s.

The first Y cabin...



The cabin had a very stylish, spacious feel.

The 2nd Y cabin...



Seatbacks in dark grey, with large IFE screens...



Very large and spacious overhead bins...



LED display for fasten seat belt signs etc. No individual air vents...


Last edited by yflyer; 3rd August 2019 at 05:37 PM..
yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd August 2019, 05:17 PM   #5
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 6,931
Default

My seat was the row 41, first row bulkhead window seat...



The bulkhead row had only one window, but it was a large one with a great view. IFE screens were mounted in the wall for window and middle seats.



In the second Y cabin, the emex row 55 was a two seater, with the next row window seats in row 56 having direct aisle access as there was no window seat in front of it...



In the middle bank, row 55 bulkhead seats, the D-E seats had a movable armrest, whereas 55G had a fixed armrest.



Convenient walkway between the two aisles just ahead of row 55.

yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd August 2019, 05:22 PM   #6
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 6,931
Default

Adjustable headrests...



Very good Y seat recline...



Recline was comparable/indistinguishable from SQ's long haul Y recline. However, unlike long haul Y, there were no footrests in this regional configuration.



A/C power between the seats...



Overall this was a very comfortable, fully featured seat.

Last edited by yflyer; 3rd August 2019 at 05:38 PM..
yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd August 2019, 11:32 PM   #7
SINFJ
SQTalk PPS Club
 
Join Date: 22-Sep-2007
Location: Sillypore
Programs: KF, ROP, MPC
Posts: 916
Send a message via MSN to SINFJ
Default

Thanks for the SQ A350 walk through. Really appreciate the pics for the 2nd cabin EY exit row Glad to know that these seats are partitioned unlike the CX ones. I am plus sized and at times, my seat mate and I will be jostling for real estate . This would be the go to seat pair if I next travel on SQ's A350
SINFJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th August 2019, 08:18 PM   #8
SQ218
SQTalk PPS Club
 
Join Date: 06-Jan-2008
Location: MEL
Posts: 375
Default

Thank you yflyer. Good luck on your next stay.
SQ218 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th August 2019, 11:12 AM   #9
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 6,931
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by SQ218 View Post
Thank you yflyer. Good luck on your next stay.
Thanks, SQ218! Looking forward to the next roll of the room upgrade dice later this month!
yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th August 2019, 11:21 AM   #10
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 6,931
Default

Continuing with the TR...

After arriving back in Singapore on TG, I spent the weekend at home before heading out again the next week, for meetings in Bangkok, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur.

It is not so well known that CX not only flies to HKG from SIN, but also SIN-BKK and then onwards BKK-HKG. I took the opportunity to book a SIN-BKK-HKG-SIN sector operated wholly by CX. Later on, a meeting in KUL popped up on my calendar, which meant it was now SIN-BKK-HKG-KUL on a CX/KA combination, ending with KUL-SIN on SQ.

I was very excited to be flying CX again, as this would be my first Changi Terminal 4 airside experience...

I headed to Terminal 4 just before noon for my appointment with CX712...


Last edited by yflyer; 12th August 2019 at 01:53 PM..
yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th August 2019, 12:06 PM   #11
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 6,931
Default

I love Changi Airport. The departure and arrival experiences at Changi are among the best in the world, whether you are at T1, T2 or T3. But even using these terminals as benchmarks, I found the T4 travel experience to be exceptional, in some ways even superior to Terminals 1-3.

After so many trips through Changi Airport, I sort of take it for granted.

Facilities are great: I don't spend much time in any queues at all, and there is plenty to do there if I am early. Changi is supremely well designed from the perspective of process flow and efficiency, with a lot of shopping and F&B, some very nice features such as the abundance of greenery and nature, and attention to little details, like water coolers and some of the nicest bathrooms you may ever encounter in an airport.

Aesthetically speaking, though, I've always found Changi to be a bit of a hodge podge, without the thematic unity or soaring grandeur of airports like HKG or PEK.

Jewel is jawdropping as architecture, but it is more of a shopping mall and public space attached to an airport, rather than an air travel facility per se.

I was therefore very delighted to experience Changi T4, which I think excels in terms of both efficiency as well as beautiful design, with a unified theme and aesthetic. This is a very user friendly terminal, not too large (Size in an airport facility is overrated), and a joy to spend time in.

The departure drop-off area, with the T4 control tower visible in the distance...



Some interesting design elements in the roof...



A bright and inviting check-in hall...



Self service check-in kiosks, with manned counters still available for premium pax...



Open concept automated immigration gates for Singaporeans and eligible passport holders, along with a centralized security checkpoint just after immigration...


Last edited by yflyer; 12th August 2019 at 12:42 PM..
yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th August 2019, 12:20 PM   #12
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 6,931
Default

Right past security was duty-free shopping, but at least there was a clear path through, without having to weave around aisles of shopping...



A fairly conservative choice of carpet design, unlike the weird and sometimes vertigo inducing carpet patterns seen in the other Changi terminals...



Past the duty free outlets, passengers emerge into a large, beautifully decorated airside atrium...



...and beyond that another open area with more shops, F&B and a Heritage Zone...



...which showcased the frontage of traditional Singapore shophouses...



...as well as Peranakan culture and architecture...



...with some of the shophouse panels being video projections...



...showing very realistic high definition video depictions of local cultural events and activities taking place within the shophouses...



If I was in need of a snack, I would head straight to that comfort food favourite, Old Chang Kee...



...and pick up a chicken curry puff...



Not that there was any shortage of local F&B in the airside area. There was an excalator leading to an upper level...



...which had a large international food court.

yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st August 2019, 12:29 PM   #13
loldude333
SQTalk PPS Club
 
Join Date: 07-Jun-2016
Posts: 306
Default

Another stunner of a trip report, yflyer. I must say that the W KL looks especially fun and snazzy to stay in, though i suspect older folks preferring a more sedate feel would probably steer clear of it.
loldude333 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd August 2019, 10:31 PM   #14
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 6,931
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by loldude333 View Post
Another stunner of a trip report, yflyer
Thanks very much, loldude333!

Quote:
Originally Posted by loldude333 View Post
I must say that the W KL looks especially fun and snazzy to stay in, though i suspect older folks preferring a more sedate feel would probably steer clear of it.
Haha yes...a place with a very distinctive vibe...loved the place, although I agree it might not be to everyone's taste. The location is great, especially if you want to be near KLCC and the Twin Towers...
yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +8. The time now is 01:39 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Techadmin: Luke | Hosting: www.lomag.net