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Old 25th September 2018, 11:31 AM   #121
yflyer
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Breakfast was served 90 minutes prior to landing…



Coffee and juice…



The breakfast tray as served…



Two choices, both of which were available…

The first was an egg dish, which looked like omelette, sausage and potatoes all mixed together…a very interesting presentation…



Why they didn’t just put the sausage, egg and potatoes in the dish separately is beyond me, but although the dish looked like nothing I had ever seen before, it actually tasted quite good…

The other choice was French Toast, which both looked and tasted great…



Cloudy skies as we approached Singapore from the North…



Cabin secured for arrival…



A nice view of the electronically dimmed window shades…



These were very dark at the highest/darkest setting…


Last edited by yflyer; 25th September 2018 at 03:00 PM..
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Old 25th September 2018, 11:32 AM   #122
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Some beautiful cloud patterns as we made our final approach to Changi…



I was not the only one taking photos on this flight…



Land reclamation on the islands off Singapore northeast coast, with the shapes of the islands changing dramatically over the years…



Over Nicoll Drive…



A smooth landing on Runway 20R…



The exterior of Changi Jewel, to the left of the control tower, is now complete…



The windows of the 787 fogged up after arrival, an unusual phenomenon I had not noticed previously…



At the gate in T2…




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Old 25th September 2018, 11:32 AM   #123
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This was a wonderful flight, due in no small part to the light passenger load, and the fact that we each had 3 seats to ourselves to stretch out on.

That said, this didn’t happen often: most other UA flights I have been on were quite full in Y and Y+.

What if the flight was more full, or even completely full? Perhaps we wouldn’t have stepped off the flight feeling so fresh, but extrapolating from the outbound journey to LAX, and previous UA nonstops to SFO, I am of the belief that these sectors are no different from regular long haul flights from a passenger perspective. At the right price, I would be quite happy to do these 16 hour sectors in regular Y.

Of course, if I wanted to be sure of a comfortable flight, rather than a tolerable one, I would definitely consider all factors, and perhaps choosing a seat beyond regular Y, whether this was Y+, true PEY (If available) or J. I might also plan travel to try and fly when flights had a lower load, for example mid-week.

As for suggestions on what UA or other airlines could do differently on sectors of this length?

On regular Y seating, this flight again reinforced my view that 9-abreast on a 787 is too narrow for comfort on such a long flight. It is only because I had an empty seat (or 2) next to me that I was able to enjoy the flight. If this were a full flight, 9-abreast would be tolerable, but not particularly enjoyable. I also think UA needs to review their economy seat recline for long haul, which was sub-par.

I think more food is needed midflight. On all these flights, I have always had to bring a snack (Whether cup noodles or something more substantial). Otherwise my stomach would be growling. I’ve always wondered how other passengers without extra food get by. Then again maybe I’m just greedy…

Regarding schedule, I think UA has got it right – no complaints on that front. Their schedule for both SIN-LAX-SIN and SIN-SFO-SIN are ideal for me.

UA’s IFE and inflight wifi are great too (I just hope they reinstate radio/music selections, which were missing on this flight, although the menu option was there, and musc was present on my previous UA SIN-SFO flight). These are really important for such a long sector, and on UA, they looked sufficient to keep passengers well entertained.

Last edited by yflyer; 1st October 2018 at 10:28 AM..
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Old 25th September 2018, 11:33 AM   #124
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Overall, as I said at the start of this TR, I think non-stop to the West Coast of the USA is the way to go, and this is possible with the standard long haul product in economy class.

UA is already doing both SIN-LAX and SIN-SFO with the standard Y cabin product. Although UA is discontinuing SIN-LAX at the end of October, they are moving to twice daily SIN-SFO nonstop. I think SQ should follow suit. The demand looks to be there, for both business class and regular economy. Although I have a soft spot for SQ1 SFO-HKG-SIN, I suspect that for future travel I would choose a nonstop to/from West Coast USA over any one-stop option.

Final reflections on the trip? Vegas and LA were great places to visit. Both are very different cities, and both are compelling destinations to visit in their own way. Visiting both these places in a single trip is quite a viable option.

If anyone is planning to head to the Grand Canyon from Vegas, I would highly recommend a helicopter tour – it saves time, and the flight itself is quite an experience if you are an aviation enthusiast.

For foodies, this TR should give you an idea of the kind of indulgences that await in these amazing cities.

Thanks to Lobster, reddevil0728, 9V-JKL, fone, inkoherent, ek&sq, SQfanatic and flyguy for the Vegas and Nevada travel suggestions prior to the trip…and HUGE AL for so generously sharing intel on all his favourite eating spots!

As for "Crazy Rich Asians", so much has been said about it, I really have to go watch it. The only question is whether to go watch it in the theaters, or wait for it to screen on some airlines' IFE...maybe on UA or SQ! Anyone know how to book a flight on Pacific Asean?

Thanks for reading!


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Old 26th October 2018, 09:54 AM   #125
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Very informative TR as always yflyer. I really enjoyed the pics you took of UA's 787 Dreamliner as well as pics of LA and Las Vegas. I could tell you really had a great time.
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Old 28th October 2018, 12:12 AM   #126
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Thanks much for the extensive report. It’s giving me a window to something I will try to avoid as much as I can.

I am intimidated by ULRs. I was on TG flights to and from New York in 2006 (in Y) and it felt like forever. 18 hours with sleep and eat cycle three times every 6 hours was quite too much and I was quite restless as I remembered it . I would probably still prefer to take a 1 stop or even 2 stops to US. Esp it has to be in economy

UA meals seem to be really good. And overall experience you shared doesn’t match my last UA flight in 2010 or so (have not been to North America for a Long while now). They have upped the game.

Interesting to see they shared a live seat map prior to boarding. I would think this might ‘disrupt’ boarding as if I were there, I would have picked a different seat than assigned to have an empty seat next to mine. If everybody were doing the same, then might be a problem. But then perhaps only aviation geeks could read seat maps like us do.

How did you find it useful to sleep first moving westbound. Generally, I would try to hold on awake as much as I can, sleep and wake up almost in morning at the arrival city which is the natural thing to do.

How did you compare SQ and UA on these sectors? If you may summarize the Essence, you have tried both, right? Setting aside the seat comfort which is obviously superior in SQ, how would you compare their meal qualities, quantities, wines, service, scheduling, price point or value for money etc.
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Old 1st November 2018, 08:47 AM   #127
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SQfanatic View Post
Very informative TR as always yflyer. I really enjoyed the pics you took of UA's 787 Dreamliner as well as pics of LA and Las Vegas. I could tell you really had a great time.
Thanks, SQfanatic!
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Old 1st November 2018, 09:23 AM   #128
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SQueeze View Post
Thanks much for the extensive report. It’s giving me a window to something I will try to avoid as much as I can.

I am intimidated by ULRs. I was on TG flights to and from New York in 2006 (in Y) and it felt like forever. 18 hours with sleep and eat cycle three times every 6 hours was quite too much and I was quite restless as I remembered it . I would probably still prefer to take a 1 stop or even 2 stops to US. Esp it has to be in economy
Thanks, SQueeze! And thanks for your perspective on ULR flights as well. I guess if spending too many hours at a stretch onboard is an issue, than breaking the flight into multiple segments is a decent strategy. I used to find that time seemed to go by quicker, subjectively speaking, on flights from SIN to the USA with a stop closer to the halfway mark of the flight, like SIN-ICN-SFO or SIN-NRT-LAX, maybe because there was more going on onboard to break the monotony.

Of course personally speaking, I am quite comfortable in Y in a metal tube for long hours (As long as I have an aisle seat), so the convenience of not having to get on/off for a security check makes a big difference for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SQueeze View Post
UA meals seem to be really good. And overall experience you shared doesn’t match my last UA flight in 2010 or so (have not been to North America for a Long while now). They have upped the game.
UA meals have improved a lot over the years, I think. There was a period (I am thinking early 2000's) when UA managed to underwhelm me with their Y meals, even though I had low expectations to start with, but in recent years I have been quite happy with their Y catering (The only misfire would be their "oriental" noodles on the return sector, which don't taste like any kind of Asian noodles I have ever eaten...). On my flights in the past 2-3 years, I have really enjoyed their onboard Y meals.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SQueeze View Post
Interesting to see they shared a live seat map prior to boarding. I would think this might ‘disrupt’ boarding as if I were there, I would have picked a different seat than assigned to have an empty seat next to mine. If everybody were doing the same, then might be a problem. But then perhaps only aviation geeks could read seat maps like us do.
Ya, I was surprised that they would show the seat map like that too, although it is probably only folks like us who will study it like a chessboard and plan our next move...

Not clear if it was a real time view of seat allocation or just a snapshot from earlier on. Also, I didn't notice folks asking to change their seats at the gate. I think for most United frequent flyers, they are more concerned about their standby status or if their upgrade clears. Most US airlines are very transparent about standby's and upgrade priority/sequence, and show this on their departure boards.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SQueeze View Post
How did you find it useful to sleep first moving westbound. Generally, I would try to hold on awake as much as I can, sleep and wake up almost in morning at the arrival city which is the natural thing to do.
I find long westbound flights the easiest to cope with, although my approach is a little different from yours: For a late night departure (e.g. SQ322 SIN-LHR 11.45pm, or SQ1 SFO-SIN 1.05am) rather than stay awake as much as I can, I sleep as soon as I can after take-off or 1st meal service, then wake up after a "normal" night's sleep, which is usually quite early in the destination timezone. Then when I arrive, I will continue till the end of the day, and maybe go to bed earlier. But I think your approach is a good one too i.e. stay awake longer before sleeping, then waking up in the "morning" of your destination.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SQueeze View Post
How did you compare SQ and UA on these sectors? If you may summarize the Essence, you have tried both, right? Setting aside the seat comfort which is obviously superior in SQ, how would you compare their meal qualities, quantities, wines, service, scheduling, price point or value for money etc.
For economy class, comparing SQ and UA on SIN-SFO nonstop:

Meals: SQ slightly better meal quality, presentation (Metal cutlery on SQ vs grey plastic on UA) and menu choices, although UA meals are tasty too. Portion sizes are similar. Both don't serve a large enough mid-flight snack...I have to bring my own cup noodles to eat midflight

Drinks: SQ provides complimentary liquor, wine, beer. UA liquor is chargeable although wine and beer are complimentary. UA soft drink and beer selection is pretty good, though. I think neither SQ nor UA has a great wine selection in Y. The best for Y wines seems to be QF, which always has a nice selection of mini wine bottles of Australian wines, esp reds.

Seats: Yes you are right, SQ A350 Y (3-3-3) is far superior to UA 787 Y (3-3-3 in a narrower cabin). Recline and seat comfort far better on SQ.

IFE: SQ is amazing, but UA IFE on the 787 is good too.

Wifi: I prefer UA wifi since it is a time-based plan, rather than per MB on SQ.

Service: SQ more attentive and polished, and SQ takes great care of kids/babies onboard. SQ cabin crew spend more time doing rounds of the cabin, whereas UA cabin crew tend to spend more time in the galley outside of meal service hours. That said, I found the UA cabin crew on the international sectors to be very professional and friendly -- you felt quite welcome onboard. No "attitude", like you occasionally get on domestic US flights on various carriers.

Schedule: I like UA1's late night departure out of SFO -- my preferred timing to leave West Coast USA when flying home to Singapore.

Price Point: UA fares can go very low, especially if you book tickets early. In my experience UA Y fares are often lower (Sometimes much lower) than SQ fares, although promotional fares on SQ can be very good too. For example, my nonstop UA SIN-LAX return ticket in Y was S$1328 all in, including taxes, which was incredible value. The closest promo fare I could get for SQ for similar dates was about S$1600 for a one-stop, which was also a good deal but not as good.

Overall, I would still fly SQ if I could (The cabin and seat comfort makes the most difference to me in SQ's favour), but depending on schedule and price, I would be very happy to fly UA as well.

...there is one thing on UA, which they used to have (But which seems to be almost nonexistent now, although this is still mentioned in the UA magazine as available on certain flights "at pilot discretion") is "Channel 9" on the inflight audio, which allowed pax to listen in on ATC and flight deck communications...I used to love this feature. If UA still offered this, my preference for UA would increase by a notch or two...

Last edited by yflyer; 1st November 2018 at 09:36 AM..
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Old 25th November 2018, 08:57 PM   #129
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Default Crazy Rich Asians

I finally got round to watching the movie Crazy Rich Asians earlier this evening...

I thought it was a superb movie: great storyline and cast, and it is always a treat to see your home country in a Hollywood film...Mrs yflyer found it very enjoyable too...

Some reflections, while they are still fresh in my mind...

SQ really missed a huge PR opportunity here...given that this movie has Singapore front and center, featuring so many of the sights and landmarks of Singapore, it would have been perfect if SIA had been featured...I think the PR impact would have been so positive...instead we have nameless Pacific Asean Airlines...the movie would have benefited so much from an SQ A380 Suite in the opening sequence, not to mention SQ's iconic cabin crew...and given how good the movie is, SQ would definitely have benefited from beng part of this movie...

As for how true-to-life this movie is, well, I thought the movie did a decent job of portraying the actual places and locations of Singapore...Newton Food Centre and the hawker food scene, Marina Bay Sands, Gardens By the Bay, Ann Siang Hill (Complete with Coupon Parking Signboard), not to mention the ECP (And Laguna Park), not far from where I go for my regular runs...

I also thought they did a credible job of Singlish expressions and lingo as well, even if all the lead characters sported British or American accents...

As for the plot, this was a work of romantic fiction, plain and simple, about as realistic a portrayal of life in Singapore as Disney's Cinderella. I don't mean it as criticism -- it is a great story...just not a documentary on life in Singapore...

That said, I thought the storyline was excellent, with the right dramatic arc, plot twists and turns, and near perfect pacing. And the casting was quite inspired too, with very strong performances from Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh as well as the large supporting cast. I particularly enjoyed Michelle Yeoh's performance as Nick Young's mother. As a Singaporean, I appreciated a lot of the local flavour, and it was also great to see so many familiar faces from the local entertainment scene acting in this movie, including Koh Chieng Mun, Tan Kheng Hua and many others.

I am not crazy rich, or even rich...even so, I think some aspects of the lifestyles of the rich and famous depicted in the movie are too overtly flashy to be considered Singaporean. I suspect this sort of OTT display of wealth is more common in places like Shanghai, Mumbai or Jakarta. Of course I am over-generalising: Many high/ultra high net worth individuals are humble, unassuming, and not flashy in the least (And perfectly nice people!). There are many ultra wealthy people in Singapore, and they have their own games and power plays, but I suspect the way they signal their wealth and influence in Singapore would be a little more subtle and private. Then again, I don't move around in those circles, so I could be completely wrong here.

Still, as a movie, I thought it was all good fun, and very enjoyable...

Best of all, the movie ended in a very familiar place to me: the Y cabin!



Watch it if you can!

Last edited by yflyer; 26th November 2018 at 09:18 AM..
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Old 30th November 2018, 08:24 AM   #130
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Yes, i think it's a missed opportunity for SQ.

Recently on a TK flight, I watched this Turkish movie "Ayla" - which is a great movie btw, a must-not-miss, an Oscar nominee. TK was featured in it (obviously they sponsored it), a bit too blatantly advertising but it's a great way to reach out. And Ayla probably won't reach out to as many audience as Crazy Rich Asians.
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