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Old 3rd September 2019, 06:04 PM   #1
pokfur
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Default Flat-bed on a short-haul: SIN-SGN on the 77E



Background

With the 777 withdrawal thread going strong on this forum, I thought I'd do a short report on a recent flight on one of SQ's last 5 77Es. Once upon a time sporting the Spacebeds in Business Class, the 77Es (or 9V-SVx series) were delivered in the early 2000s and used to ply many long-haul routes. Personally, I had the chance to fly them to destinations such as YVR and CPH. Mid-way through their life with SQ, I believe 9 of them were refurbished with the 2006 Business Class, while Economy received new upholstery and a larger IFE screen. Originally 10 were planned, which left us with the infamous 9V-SVF as the sole spacebed aircraft in SQ's fleet for quite a while.

Fast forward to today - only 5 are left, 3 of which have been lucky enough to receive some hand-me-down interiors from the 77Ws giving a nice boost to the Economy Class section, and a better IFE system. With the advent of the A350s, these aircraft no longer fly long-haul much anymore, with IST being the only route. Instead, they spend their time plugging the gaps in the regional network, and occasionally standing in for Scoot.

I've had the pleasure of flying them in recent years, mostly to Hanoi in 2016-2017, then this year again on the Manila route, and most recently on the Ho Chi Minh City route. With just 26 seats in Business Class, the 77Es have the smallest Business Class cabin on any SQ aircraft, making it a rather nice intimate cabin.

The Flight

It was a leisurely Monday. With an afternoon departure time of 1.30pm, I arrived at Changi Airport Terminal 2 just before noon. I was with my wife today and we decided to have lunch at the SORA Japan Gourmet Hall, which we had never tried before.


Ageing check-in hall as seen from Level 3, where the food hall is

As we parked our car on the same level as the food hall, we decided to head there first. After some browsing, I placed an order for an Unagi rice bowl, before heading down to the departure hall to check-in. Since I had no check-in bags with me, I decided not to bother walking all the way to the F check-in, and instead used one of the near-by self service machines to print my boarding pass.




Voila!!

Yes it was on a flimsy piece of paper with no blue band.. but I saved myself quite a few steps!

Back at the food hall, our food actually took quite a while to be ready, even though it wasn't particularly crowded.



The unagi was tasty as I expected, though nothing spectacular. The roll however was really good!! My wife ordered an okonomiyaki which took really long to come... By the time we were done with lunch, it was 1pm, and I had no time to spare!! A quick goodbye later, I was airside and walking briskly to my gate; no lounge stop today!


My gate - E3

Thankfully the Changi Gods were kind to me today. I would say I always get the last gates about 80% of the time, but E3 today was as near to the departure hall as I could wish for!!!


9V-SVB!

My ride 9V-SVB, currently the oldest aircraft in SQ's fleet, was delivered in 2001 and was already 18 years' old!! It spent a brief 2 years of its life with Royal Brunei Airlines, and despite its age was strangely chosen to receive the hand-me down YCL interior and IFE system from the 77Ws. Coincidentally, my previous flight on a 77E about 1.5weeks ago was also on this exact frame.

The boarding gate was already empty by the time I reached, and I overheard the security staff saying there were only 4 other passengers left
Straight onto the plane it was then!!

I was welcomed so warmly at the door, or rather, 1/3 way up the aerobridge, by IFM Jamal and LSS Hennie, and instantly knew it was going to be a fantastic flight today!!
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Old 5th September 2019, 12:23 AM   #2
pokfur
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I was walked to my seat, which, tbh, wasn't all that far away at 11A, while Jamal helped to stow my hand carry in the overhead compartment.


Seat 11A

For many of you who are used to flying SQ's A380s or other long-haul aircraft, perhaps this seat wouldn't wow you at all. In fact, it might even be super outdated!! But for a 90% regional flyer like me, it was a welcome change to have a long haul seat on such a short haul flight!! And i was loving it!



As many fliers are already familiar, the bulkhead row has the added benefit of a full bench instead of a 'cubby hole' for your feet. On my seat was already a krisshop bag filled with some items that the cabin crew had prepared for me such as slippers, socks, as well as some magazines which I usually read.

Hennie appeared again to ask me if I'd like to have a drink before take-off. And well, I just had to go for champagne right?

She came back shortly with an ice cold glass of bubbles saying, "Mr pokfur, unfortunately we don't have Dom on this flight, but we do have this glass of Charles for you!"

I laughed and thanked her, wondering what kind of rubbish was noted down on their iPads about me....

Not long later, Jamal popped by and struck up a conversation.

The first thing he asked me: "Mr pokfur, you finish NS already not??"

I didn't know whether to laugh or to cry, but thanked him for the compliment (?) nonetheless! We spent a good few minutes chatting about how long I was staying in Saigon and other inane stuff... Meanwhile, Hennie was hovering in the background, and after Jamal had left to check on the rest of the cabin, I was surprised to see her produce another pair of slippers, remove the plastic and place them on the floor for me. First-class service right there!


Business Class slippers are now this reddish color

Not long later, we pushed back and headed towards the runway for departure.



Take off was a leisurely affair for these overpowered Trent 892s.


Banking left very quickly after take-off towards the south

The seatbelt signs were soon switched off and I continued to ooze happily in my seat, reading the day's newspapers.

Suddenly Jamal popped by with two SQ bears in his hands and gave them to me!

"Mr pokfur, would you like a couple of bears? The male bear was recently promoted to Leading Bear!"



Indeed, the green bears were the latest color available. But up until this flight, I had only gotten my hands on the female ones as I was told they had released the female green bears first. So I was quite happy to get a male one this time too!

I asked for a blanket as I was getting cold, and Hennie dug it out from behind my seat and proceeded to remove the plastic wrapper, and placed the blanket on me, again like how it's done in First Class.
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Old 16th September 2019, 06:14 PM   #3
pokfur
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Oops sorry for the delay. Went for a holiday last week

Being a rather short flight, service commenced soon after take-off. On flights shorter than 3 hours, typically all items are served on one tray. This is especially so when the flight is full. On emptier flights, I sometimes do encounter minor variations in this service where the crew will bring out the main course separately from the tray, which was the case today.


Prawn starter and some raspberry thingie for dessert

As I was rather full from my recent lunch, I opted not to touch either of these. I had the Australian Shiraz to accompany my meal today. For the more keen-eyed, you'd notice that butter no longer features on the tray on shorter flights. It is offered with the bread basket if you wish. Also, I used to love the little creamer pods that they had, but now it's been replaced with UHT milk sachets for a couple of years already. Confusingly, this milk sachet and packet of sugar is absent on flights above 3 hours. Just for further sharing, on flights above 4 hours, you also get an extra table cloth below the tray. It must be mind-boggling for the cabin crew!


Something's missing...

Not long later, my BTC of Black Angus beef burger was served.



And it was super duper yummy as usual. Not only was there a thick, juicy beef patty, there was also a huge portobello mushroom. On some flights where the meal service is classified as 'breakfast', the full BTC menu isn't available - in fact it's very restricted - I'd recommend taking this beef burger as it's one of the available options for breakfast (i.e. those that depart before 9am if i'm not mistaken)

Halfway through my burger the IFM popped by my seat with a bottle of choya in his hand saying "Mr pokfur, I'm going to make one of these for you and you're going to drink it."

I was like. What?? But he insisted that I have it no matter what which I found super amusing lol.


And here it was

Hmm to be honest it was my first time trying Choya and I didn't quite like it. So with a heavy heart hoping I didn't hurt his feelings, I sent it back and asked if he had any sake, which unfortunately was not available on this flight...

I had a nice good chat with him about other inane things which was really fun. It made the atmosphere light-hearted. A really jolly guy.

Hennie was also really great, always checking on pax non-stop. At this point she offered me some coffee which I gladly accepted. And to my surprise, she appeared again and offered me a hot towel!



Why should I be surprised? You might ask. Well it seems that as of sometime in the last 2 months, SQ decided to cut down its towel service in Business Class. I personally use them (yes, on my face ) and find them refreshing and useful especially after getting your hands dirty from eating the bread. And so on one of my previous flights, I actually thought I had been missed out from the service and asked the IFM for one. It was then that I found out that the second hot towel service had been discontinued. Basically, you only get one towel per meal service. So on a short flight with just one meal, the towel you get after boarding counts as the only one you'd get. On longer flights with two meals, I suppose you'd get the second one before the second meal service. The towels that used to be served after meal service were cut.

For the rest of the flight I just relaxed in my seat. Somehow although the flight was so short, I felt like I got to know Jamal and Hennie super well in such a short time. They were just so engaging and attentive. For example, everytime I went to the toilet, I'd come back to find my seat tidied, blanket folded. This was really considered First-class type of attentiveness.

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Old 16th September 2019, 06:27 PM   #4
pokfur
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Just as I thought we would start our descent and that was it, Jamal appeared around the curtains with a cup in his hand.

"Mr pokfur, this is green tea with honey. You have to try it! It's very good for your throat!!"



Again I was like, what??? LOL. It would have been too harsh to send back Jamal's drink for a second time so I accepted it and enjoyed about half a cup. Indeed it was soothing for my throat.

Soon, the pilots announcedour descent into Ho Chi Minh City. Suddenly Jamal appeared around the curtains again with a wide smile on his face.

I was like. Omg no stahp.

But nooo he wouldn't because he produced a full glass of champagne and plonked it down next to me.

"Let's have some bubbles before you land!!" he said cheerfully.



"Eh Jamal I have to work after I land you know???" was my semi-incredulous/joking response to him.

"Ahhh nevermind la. Just drink la."

-smacks forehead-

This one I gulped down quite a lot


Cloudy!

As we continued our descent into SGN, I decided to take a picture with Jamal and Hennie as they were simply too fabulous to forget. (Not posting it here haha) They were more than happy to. I really hope I get to fly with them again.



Soon it was time for the crew to take their seats as we arrived into SGN.


Arrived!

And with that, my short but super enjoyable flight came to an end. I was really floored by the attentiveness of the cabin crew on this flight. I do have to admit this is definitely not the norm on majority of my SQ flights, which is why it deserved special mention and even a trip report. But besides that, it is also a tribute to the 77Es which are likely to be phased out by 2020. Nevertheless, the 2006 J seats will continue to ply the skies on the A380s, since the refitting programme for that is basically moving at a glacial pace...

Thanks for reading!
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Old 17th September 2019, 07:39 PM   #5
yflyer
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A very nice read, pokfur! I think somewhere in your customer profile there is a line that says "serve hot towel after meal" now :-)

Hope you encounter such superb cabin crew on your future flights!
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Old 23rd September 2019, 04:19 PM   #6
pokfur
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yflyer View Post
A very nice read, pokfur! I think somewhere in your customer profile there is a line that says "serve hot towel after meal" now :-)

Hope you encounter such superb cabin crew on your future flights!
Hi yflyer! Thanks for dropping by. In fact I think you're right.. Almost all my flights since I've gotten a hot towel still after the meal On one of my flights they even went overboard and served a third one before landing hahaha
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