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Old 14th December 2019, 11:28 AM   #16
yflyer
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At about 4pm Singapore time, the lights came on for the 2nd meal service. This was listed in the menu as "breakfast", however it was closer to dinner time in Singapore, and midnight in San Francisco, with more than 7 hours to go on the flight.



This was an interesting timing for the 2nd meal service, and calling it breakfast was also something I found quite bewildering. I recall that on my previous SIN-SFO on SQ, the 2nd meal service took place a few hours prior to landing, and that is how UA does it on the SIN-SFO sector on UA2 as well.

After lights came on, a second round of hot towels were distributed.



Very good cabin ambience in the A350 Y cabin, despite it being a 100% full flight...



A glance at the inflight map showed a whopping 240km/h tailwind...no wonder we were going to arrive in San Francisco in only 13 hours 45 minutes!

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Old 14th December 2019, 11:32 AM   #17
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For "breakfast" I opted for the noodle selection...



This was tasty!



After breakfast, lights were dimmed again, and pax either slept or rested.

Of course, given the long flight time remaining, pax were bound to get hungry again.

There was an array of self-service snacks and fruit laid out in the rear galley.



By the end of the flight, I think all these were gone. While not stated on the menu, there were limited stocks of cup noodles available for pax as well.

Several pax (Myself included) decided not to take any chances, and also packed their own cup noodles.

I headed to the galley to request hot water for my cup noodles about 3+ hours prior to arrival, and washed it all down with a G&T.


Last edited by yflyer; 15th December 2019 at 08:48 PM..
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Old 14th December 2019, 11:35 AM   #18
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Dawn broke as we approached the West Coast of the USA...





Lights came on for a final cabin check, as cabin crew prepared the aircraft for arrival...





Approach into SFO from the south...



...and a silky smooth landing into San Francisco.
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Old 14th December 2019, 11:50 AM   #19
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Overall an excellent flight on SQ nonstop to San Francisco. The short flight time due to strong tailwinds meant that this 13 hr 45 min flight really felt no different from a SIN-LHR sector. This was so much more convenient than the 1-stop flights of the recent past.

The economy class seat and hard product on SQ's A350 were superb. My only minor quibbles would be the lack of a footrest, and also the tricky volume adjustment on the IFE, but apart from that, this must be one of the most comfortable long haul economy class products, and best IFE, in the air today.

Catering was good too, although I think in general Y catering on other top Asian airlines was just as good, with TG having an edge in terms of taste and JAL with a more refined and sophisticated style of Y catering. On the non-stop SIN-SFO sector, UA's catering was more basic than SQ's but UA's Y catering standard is now quite decent, and their mains on this sector were quite tasty.

I also think that SQ's meal timings and service concept were less than ideal. There was still a need for me to supplement onboard catering with my own cup noodles to stave off hunger towards the end of the flight.

As for cabin service, it was very good on this flight: friendly and responsive, with the crew doing a good job of keeping pax comfortable, fed and watered throughout the flight.
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Old 14th December 2019, 12:06 PM   #20
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There were the inevitable immigration queues at SFO upon arrival, but on the day I arrived, the queues were moderately long, but not horrendous.

I caught an Uber from the airport to my hotel in the city, the Hilton Financial District, located close to San Francisco's Chinatown.



Statue at the Hilton entrance...



The lobby area...



My room at the Hilton was not large, but the decor had been refreshed, and it was fairly comfortable.





Long work table...



Fairly basic bathroom...





The rooms at the Hilton were decent, but unexceptional. I think the real draw of the hotel would be the location, close to Chinatown (And some really great eateries), and Union Square and the Embarcadero / Ferry Terminal both not more than 15-20 minutes walk away.

I was quite happy to be at the Hilton, because right next door was Hon's Won-Tun House, my go-to place in San Francisco for won ton noodles or braised beef tendon noodles...



The TransAmerica Tower was also not far away.

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Old 14th December 2019, 03:50 PM   #21
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Apart from the Hilton, I also spent several nights at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport.

This hotel is close to SFO, and is a good choice if you need to make a quick transit stop in SFO. That said, the hotel is less than 30 minutes away from San Francisco by car.

The hotel has rooms set around a large atrium...



A view of the atrium by night...



The rooms themselves were large and stylishly decorated in a fairly minimalist style...







The bathroom...





Purely in terms of room design, I liked the Hyatt more than the Hilton, but of course the location of the Hilton, right in the city, was much more convenient.

The Hyatt Regency SFO has a room service menu, however in terms of presentation, the room service orders were packed in disposable takeaway containers, for either self collection or delivery to your room. I was not aware of this when I ordered, and was a little surprised when the doorbell rang later for my room service order delivery, and instead of a tray or moveable table, the staff member at the door had in his hand a paper bag of my room service order, packed to go.



Packaging aside, my order of clam chowder and penne bolognaise actually tasted very good.



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Old 14th December 2019, 04:11 PM   #22
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Regulars on SQTalk will know that one of my favourite activities in San Francisco is to go on a run along the Golden Gate Bridge.



This is something I managed to do on my last evening in San Francisco. The difference between this run and my runs on previous trips was that I did it at dusk, with much of the back half of the run done in near total darkness...

At this time of year, the sun started to set at around 5pm. I began my run, as usual on the SF side of the Bridge, and by the time I had gotten to the Marin end and turned back across the bridge, the sun was already very low on the horizon...



The weather that day was mild, perfect for a run, and the sunset views were quite spectacular...



That said, I miscalculated the amount of daylight I had remaining that day, and ended up running a lot of the run in near total darkness.



Back on the SF side, I headed down the hill along my usual route towards Crissy Field...



...passing through the short (and dark) connecting tunnel along the way.



If I had not done this route many times before, I think I would have been very reluctant to head into this short, but very dark, tunnel...

As I ran along the waterfront towards Crissy Field, I could see the night time skyline of San Francisco in the distance...



Crissy Field, the Marina and the hill at Fort Mason were almost pitch black, and the area was fairly quiet except for a few other joggers and cyclists...

Thankfully this was a running route I was quite familiar with, otherwise I might have abandoned the run right there and called for an Uber. Instead, I decided to continue the run, even though conditions were nearly pitch black.

No pictures on this 4km stretch of the route, because as mentioned, I ran in near total darkness, with only the occasional other jogger or cyclist in view along the path...

Eventually, after Fort Mason, the lights of the Oakland Bay Bridge came into view...





...and after jogging past the Maritime Museum, I finally reached Ghirardelli Square...



I ended my run at Fisherman's Wharf...



...for a total distance of just over 11km, with the stretch from the 6km mark to the 10+ km mark run in near total darkness.



Not sure if I would recommend a night time run to others, as it really was very dark much of the way. Next time I would time my run in order to finish before sunset. Still, it was an exhilarating experience, if not one that I would be keen to repeat anytime soon.

Last edited by yflyer; 17th December 2019 at 02:51 PM..
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Old 14th December 2019, 04:24 PM   #23
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After my run, I headed back to the hotel, showered, then headed out for dinner.

The evening's restaurant was Lord Stanley, picked out by Mrs yflyer as a restaurant that I should try, if I had a free evening.





This was a very popular restaurant which had received many accolades in recent years.



My reservation for dinner was a last minute reservation, however the wonderful staff there managed to accommodate me on their 2nd floor balcony extension, overlooking the main dining room.





Apertifs and wines by the glass...



A la carte menu...



The tasting menu...



I decided to go for the tasting menu, along with the wine pairing, but without the OTT caviar course...

Last edited by yflyer; 15th December 2019 at 01:38 PM..
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Old 14th December 2019, 04:52 PM   #24
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Sourdough bread and butter...



The first wine was a French sparkling wine, Du Rififi Beaulieu...



This was a crisp and delightful wine -- I could have drunk a lot of this...



The first course was Kusshi oyster with nasturtium, yogurt and granny smith Apple...



A very refreshing way to start the meal, with a very tender and fresh oyster.

The next wine was a Julien Altaber Bourgogne Blanc...



...a Chardonnay from Burgundy...



...which was paired with an inspired dish of Roasted Autumn Squash with sea urchin bottarga and curried buttermilk.



The next wine was a Spanish biodynamic wine, Els Bassotets, made with Chenin Blanc and Macabeo grapes...



This was an unfiltered wine that was distinctive and assertive...



This was paired with a scallop mousse with lettuce, ginger and Cilantro...



The scallop mousse was wrapped inside the lettuce...this was just so fine and delicate...


Last edited by yflyer; 15th December 2019 at 11:36 PM..
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Old 14th December 2019, 05:01 PM   #25
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The next wine was a Puzelat-Bonhomme 'La Tesniere' Pineau d'Aunis....



...which was really the lightest red wine possible...



This was paired with the hen consomme with crispy fried chicken, grains and grapes...



This tasted both familiar and unfamiliar, with a rich fragrant broth reminiscent of a good Chinese/Oriental chicken stock, contrasted with the texture of mixed grains, savoury chunks of tender fried chicken, and smooth, tangy grapes...

The next wine was a red wine from Sicily, Torrettanera Etna Rosso...



...to go with the grilled Wagyu beef...



Needless to say, the beef was superb, with great texture and flavour...



A sorbet followed...



...and then a late harvest sweet wine from Italy, Alessandro Viola 50 Gradi All'ambra...



This was an organic, unfiltered wine...what an intriguing selection.



There seems to be a trend towards unfiltered wines in San Francisco restaurants, and Lord Stanley was no exception. The wine selections and pairings at this dinner were as interesting as the cuisine...

Dessert was this beautiful chocolate creation...



A macaroon and chocolate to finish...



What an amazing dinner!

Last edited by yflyer; 15th December 2019 at 04:43 PM..
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Old 14th December 2019, 05:02 PM   #26
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The next morning, I headed to SFO for my flight home on SQ31, a 9.30am departure, with scheduled arrival in Singapore at 7.05pm the next day.



The check-in area...



At 7.20am, while there was a queue at the Economy check-in counters, there was just a very short line for Businss Class and KF Gold / Star Gold...



As usual, the bottleneck was at the security checkpoint. That said, there was priority queue that KF Gold were eligible to use. When I joined the queue, the priority security lane was not yet opened, so I joined the regular queue. I believe the priority lane opened a few minutes later, although by then I was so far along the regular queue that I did not bother to switch.

The gates at SFO have all been renumbered, with the international G gates all having single digit gate numbers now, rather than numbers in the 90's or 100's...




Last edited by yflyer; 15th December 2019 at 04:45 PM..
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Old 14th December 2019, 05:22 PM   #27
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I popped briefly into the United Club...



The United Club was not too busy at that hour in the morning, and believe me that made a lot of difference to lounge ambience and comfort...



Refreshment at the entrance...



Sit-down dining area...





Wine and beer...







A fairly basic continental breakfast selection, comprising pastries and bread...



Oatmeal...



Fruit...



Cereal...



Overall a fairly basic lounge. J pax have a separate SFO Polaris Lounge to go to, but for KF Gold and Star Gold flying in Economy or Premium Economy, this was the lounge that you were directed to.

Last edited by yflyer; 15th December 2019 at 04:43 PM..
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Old 14th December 2019, 05:24 PM   #28
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I left the United Club, then headed to the outdoor area at the end of the international pier for a quick look around...



...before heading to the boarding gate...



...where 9V-SMZ was already parked...


Last edited by yflyer; 15th December 2019 at 04:46 PM..
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Old 14th December 2019, 05:34 PM   #29
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Boarding was called on time...

Copies of the Straits Times at the aircraft door.



Thanks to timezone differences, this was still today's newspaper: the Saturday edition of the Singapore Straits Times, ready for pax as they boarded SQ31 on Saturday morning in San Francisco!

Cabin crew welcome...



I passed through the J cabin...



...and PEY...



...before entering the Y cabin...



My seat on this flight was in the rear of the aircraft...



The last row of this A350 had no window-side seats, just 3 seats in the middle bank, with the right side occupied by amenity and cart storage...



...and a restroom on the other side...



Most pax prefer to sit in front of the Y cabin, but for flights returning to Singapore, I like choosing a seat in the rear of the plane -- for flights that are not full there is a higher chance of empty seats next to you in the rear of the plane.



Of course, this being SQ31 on the popular SFO-SIN route, this flight was almost completely full.

The seat itself was very comfortable, with full/nearly full recline even in the last row.



...and inner armrests that could be fully raised...



On my outbound flight, I did not sign into Krisworld on the IFE, but on this flight, I did sign in using my Krisflyer number, just to check out what new capabilities and programmes I had access to.


Last edited by yflyer; 15th December 2019 at 04:50 PM..
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Old 14th December 2019, 05:36 PM   #30
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Bathroom with white/cream counter tops, well stocked with amenities such as toothbrushes.

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