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Old 31st March 2016, 02:55 PM   #1
nykelaz
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Default Trip to Edinburgh on SQ and BA: SIN-LHR-EDI-LGW-LHR-SIN

This trip report is on my recent trip to Edinburgh (SIN-LHR-EDI-LGW-LHR-SIN). I flew on SQ from SIN-LHR-SIN and on BA for the domestic sectors. This would be my first time flying Premium Economy on SQ and I was thrilled to find out if it lived up to the hype.

I arrived at Changi at around 8 pm which was more than 4 hours before my scheduled departure. The airport was surprisingly not too busy during this hour, and there were no queues at the check-in counters. Check-in was processed by a very friendly and efficient lady who only took minutes to check me in. I went straight into the transit area once I received my boarding pass.

I was feeling a little peckish, but I wanted to enjoy the supper on board so I settled for something light (not really) at Burger King. BK’s Chicken Fries seem to be the new ‘craze’ in SG. To me, it’s just chicken fillet that is cut into strips. Good but not fantastic. In fact, it was a little too oily to my liking.


XX enjoying his Chicken Fries. Om nom nom.

For the rest of the time, I just wandered around the terminal. My flight would be leaving from gate A14 that night. As I had lots of time to spare, I strolled to the gate instead of taking the shuttle. Being one of the last few SQ flights to depart T3 for the night, the terminal was pretty quiet by the time my boarding gate opened.

Date: 10th March 2016 (Thurs)
Flight: SQ306
Sector: SIN - LHR
Reg: 9V-SWJ
Type: B777-300ER
Seat: 31A (Emex row)
Class: Premium Economy (S)
STD/ATD: 01:15/01:12
STA/ATA: 07.20/07:03



9V-SWJ: The first 77W retrofitted with PEY.

The load was pretty light on my flight. I didn’t check the actual numbers, but the boarding gate was not even half filled when boarding commenced. UK arrival card was handed out by the gate agent upon scanning my boarding pass. I thought this was a good idea as it kept passengers occupied while waiting to board the plane.

Boarding was called in sequence according to the boarding groups, but this was not strictly enforced. There was no gate agent present to check the boarding passes and everyone is free to board. Anyway, the flight was not full so no one was in a hurry to board the plane.


We finally get our own throne. No more squeezing in the seat pocket! Yay!

First impression of the PEY cabin was that it felt a little cramped. There were 4 rows of PEY seats on the 777WR, decked out in a 2-4-2 configuration. There was a partition between PEY and Y class which made the PEY cabin kind of private. While some of you may like the coziness of the mini cabin, I personally found it slightly claustrophobic. Also, there were no lavatories in PEY so passengers have to use the ones in Y at the back of the plane (Someone did try to peep through the J class curtain while searching for the toilets though )


Why do the seats in front look different from ours? Hmmm.

The seat itself was pretty comfortable for lounging. There were two buttons to control the seat – One for recline, and the other for the calf rest. The foot rest was attached to the calf rest and had to be manually extended. I found the foot rest too short and it restricted my movement while I was sleeping. But at the same time, I can't avoid using the foot rest as the calf rest would leave my legs dangling in the air. That being said, I slept for a good 7 hours on the seat. So good that I was totally oblivious to the severe turbulence that happened while we were overflying India. I only got to know that from my seatmate when I woke up for breakfast.

As I was seated in the emergency row, the PTV was stored in a compartment in front of me. I had issues taking them out and a friendly FSS came to my assistance. The Krisworld selection for March was not too great. Although the content in the library was extensive, I didn’t find many programs that interest me.


Whoa.. our private cinema!

There were two meal services on my flight (Menu posted here). Supper was served immediately after take-off, while breakfast was served 2 hours before landing.

For supper, I chose the Oriental Barbecued Pork Combination. The pork was a little too fat for me, but I can imagine fans of fatty roast meat would adore this. The chilli was the kind you get at chicken rice stalls - Spicy, garlic-ish and gingery. Dessert was a boring Tiramisu cake. Good but unmemorable.


Supper - Oriental Barbecued Pork Combination

For breakfast, I chose the Singapore Nasi Lemak. The rice was fragrant and the chicken was well fried - oily, sinful but sooooo good. The otah was so-so (I would prefer it with less flour). Also the sambal was a little too mild for me.


Breakfast – Singapore Nasi Lemak


Breakfast - Selection of Dim Sum (My seatmate’s choice)

Both meals were served on a tray ala Y class, only with the addition of a table cloth. There were also three choices each for both meals in S class. Overall, the catering for both meals was quite good for this flight. I’m quite a picky eater, and I enjoyed the food

The highlight of my flight was the service. My aisle was served by FSS Kavitha who embodies the warmth and hospitality of a true service professional. She was friendly and her service was polished. During boarding, there was a seat allocation issue and FSS Kavitha handled it very well. She invited the affected passengers to sit down and chatted with them while waiting for the gate agent sort out the discrepancy. During the flight, she attempted to make conversations with her passengers and you can really feel her passion for service. Kudos to her!

We landed ahead of schedule at about 7 am London Time. As with all SQ flights, we arrived at Terminal 2B which was a really long walk to the immigration. My connecting flight to EDI on BA leaves from T5 at 10.30 am. As I booked this flight on a separate ticket, my bag was not tagged to EDI and I had to clear immigration. By the time I was done with the immigration, it was close to 8 am. Uncertain of the travelling time required between the two terminals, I made my way to T5 immediately.

To be continued..
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Last edited by nykelaz; 31st March 2016 at 04:32 PM..
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Old 31st March 2016, 02:56 PM   #2
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I took the free transfer on the Heathrow express from the train station to T5. Shuttle trains run at 15 minutes intervals, and the travelling time is about 6-7 minutes from T2 to T5. Clear signage showing the directions to the shuttle were available throughout the terminal. It was easy for me to find the train station, albeit a long walk.


Freezing train platform

After arriving at LHR T5, I went to the Departure Hall to get my boarding pass. Although I had checked-in online, I still wanted to get a hard copy boarding pass. Well, that’s just me. I’m pretty old school.

The Departure Hall was pretty empty at that hour and there were plenty of check-in counters available. I tried to print my boarding passes from the self-service kiosks but it didn’t work so I had to approach a rather grumpy staff at the counter for assistance. I passed her my passport and she asked me for my name.

Me: *My name as stated in my passport*
Staff: You have so many names. Which one is your real name?
Me: Erm, everything?
Staff: Your family name?
Me: Ohhh..


I guess it’s 7 am in the morning and my brain wasn’t functioning well. But she could have told me she wanted to know what my family name was in the first place to prevent the confusion.

After printing my boarding pass, she went on to tag my hand carry bags. With 2 pieces of baggage, I must say BA is pretty generous with their hand carry allowance (I would later find out otherwise).


Now even bears can fly!

After obtaining my boarding pass, I went straight for security screening at the North entrance. The queue for security checks was pretty long, although several were counters opened. The screening process was thorough and strict. It didn’t help that there were many people who were unfamiliar with the regulations (i.e. People who bring in liquids > 100ml, people who didn’t remove their boots). There were actually staff positioned at the entrance and clear signage before the screening area to remind passengers of the dos and don’ts. But I guess most people just can’t be bothered.

After clearing security, all I see were herds of people. The empty departure hall was a deception and T5 was sure bustling with activities in the mornings. The terminal was cramp, noisy and warm. There was barely space to move around without knocking into people and the entire terminal just felt like a bus terminal. Guess I’m too used to the spaciousness in Asian airports.


Excuse us, bears passing through!

I checked the flight information board and it seems that my boarding gate would only be announced at 9.45 am. Since I had some time to spare, I decided to grab some light breakfast from Pret A Manger as they had the fastest moving queue among all the cafes. I tried the chocolate and almond croissant, and I must say that the almond croissant was amazing. The pastry skin was flaky, and there was almond filling throughout the dough. Quite different from the ones in SG where the almond croissant was just a croissant with some almond flakes.


Nice architecture but way too crowded.

For the rest of the time, I hanged around in the middle area of the terminal because I didn’t know where my gate was going to be, and how far it would take me to walk there. At about 9.55 am, my boarding gate was finally announced and I proceeded straight for boarding.


When are we getting on the plane? Yawnz.

Boarding started at around 10.25 am. Business class passengers were invited to board first, followed by those with FFP statuses, before everyone else was allowed to board. The boarding sequence was enforced by the gate agents and the passengers complied in an orderly manner.

As the flight was 100% full, the gate agents requested passengers with oversized hand luggage to check them in. Everyone was asked to fit their hand luggage into the sizing rack after having their boarding passes scanned. Those whose bags don’t fit in the rack were made to check in their bags. No explanations accepted. My bag fitted nicely into the rack and I was shooed to proceed to the aircraft.

Date: 10th March 2016 (Thurs)
Flight: BA1436
Sector: LHR - EDI
Reg: G-EUUB
Type: A320-232
Seat: 18A
Class: Economy
STD/ATD: 10:30/10:39
STA/ATA: 11:40/11:57



G-EUUB. The aircraft that would bring us to Edinburgh!

Boarding was done via the front door. There were two cabin crew chatting at the door while the passengers were streaming in and they just let the passengers proceed on their own. Not at once did they look at the passengers, nor did they bother to check the boarding passes.

The seats on this plane were the ‘new’ slim Euro Traveler leather seats. Leg room was tight but still acceptable for a short domestic flight. The seat cushion was firm, and the reclining was almost non-existent. I didn’t bother taking pictures of the seats as there was nothing to shout about. Just imagine your typical budget carrier seat (e.g. Air Asia, Jetstar).

While boarding was still ongoing, the cabin crew made an announcement to request passengers to place smaller hand luggage under the seat in front due to insufficient space in the overhead compartment. Most passengers complied with the request and the cabin doors were closed shortly after. However, due to congestion in LHR, we did not manage to get ATC clearance for pushback till very much later. Typical morning in LHR.


Long queue for take-off

I dozed off while we were queuing up for take-off, so I didn’t keep track of how long we taxied. It did felt like an eternity though. I only woke up during the take-off roll.


Bye LHR! Till we meet again!

Cabin service commenced shortly after the seatbelt signs were turned off. There were four cabin crew on my flight. Two of them served from the front, while the other two served from the back. The cabin crew serving my aisle were efficient and cordial. Not that they were rude or anything, but they were not exactly friendly either. A lack of warmth is the word.

I was offered a drink (coffee, tea or water) and a choice between a pack of Lemon Melts or Sea Salt crisps. I took the Lemon Melts and it was amazing. The cookie itself was a little tart from the lemon, but that was balanced off nicely by the white chocolate which was not overly sweet. I’m not a huge fan of sour stuff, but this cookie was scrumptious! I almost wanted to ask for seconds, but the flight time was simply too short.


I want mooooooooreeeeeee

The rest of the flight remained uneventful. The pilots tried to catch up for the lost time and we landed slightly behind schedule. Our aircraft parked at a contact gate, but the aerobridge was not used. Instead, air stairs were used for disembarkation from both the front and back of the aircraft.

I did not check in any bags so I can’t comment how long it took for the baggage to arrive at the carousel. Within minutes of disembarking from the plane, I was already on my way to the Old Town via the Tram.


Edinburgh Tram - A convenient way to get to the city.

To be continued..
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Last edited by nykelaz; 31st March 2016 at 11:15 PM..
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Old 31st March 2016, 02:56 PM   #3
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Two days later, it was time to bid farewell to Edinburgh. I decided to fly to LGW instead because the fares were more reasonable (Read: Not cheap). I was really hoping to fly into LCY but the timings were bad. The only saving grace for flying to LGW was that this would be the first time I flew on an A319. A new aircraft type for me

I took the tram from Princes Street and arrived at Edinburgh airport at around 11.45 am for my flight. During check-in, I was told that my flight would be delayed to 4 pm with no further information given. I asked if it was okay to transfer me to be on the earlier flight to LHR leaving at 12.35 pm, but was told flatly that they don’t entertain any changes for flight delays that are less than 4 hours. Tried to explain to him that I had plans in London that night but was not accepted. No apologies were extended, and I was told to just sit and wait. I was pretty upset with the agent’s nonchalance, but it didn’t seem that pursuing the matter could be of any help so I left the counter and explored the airport.


Stucked.

Edinburgh airport was really small. There were a few grocery stores (M&S Simply Food and WH Smith) and cafes (Starbucks and Costa) at the check-in hall/baggage claim level so there was nothing much for me explore.

At around 12.30 pm, I saw on the flight information board that my flight was further delayed to 4.30 pm (This was later revised to 4.05pm, but the plane did not actually leave EDI till 4.27pm). This really dampened my mood as I had a ticket to Phantom of The Opera at 7pm that was non-refundable. What a bummer!

With so much time to spare, I cleared the security screening at my own leisure. The entire process was similar to my experience in LHR. It was equally thorough, but with much fewer people. The screening took less than 10 minutes to clear.

The sterile area was not any more interesting than landside. Immediately after security was the duty free shop that all passengers are forced to pass through before reaching the gates. The duty free selection was okay, but the pricing was not very attractive. Other than that, there was also a bookstore, a souvenir shop and a convenience store in the airside. Food wise, there were a few cafes/bistros but they were all selling similar stuff. It was lunch time by then, so I settled down at a chain café called EAT. (Note: Their Chicken Pie with Mashed Potato was scrumptious!)


Plane, plane, where are you?

The inbound aircraft arrived at about 3.30 pm. Like my flight from LHR to EDI, disembarkation was done via the stairs although the plane was parked at a contact gate. The inbound flight was full and it took a while for all the passengers to disembark. A fresh set of crew would be operating my flight to LGW tonight. Once the aircraft was checked by the new crew, boarding commenced at about 4.10 pm.

Date: 12th March 2016 (Sat)
Flight: BA2939
Sector: EDI - LGW
Reg: G-DBxx (ex-BMI aircraft)
Type: A319-131
Seat: 10F (Emex row)
Class: Economy
STD/ATD: 14:05/16:27
STA/ATA: 15:10/17:30


My flight was 100% full in both classes. There was a group of school kids sitting behind me (think they took about 4-5 rows), and they were rowdy throughout the flight. The cabin crew went on the PA to persuade passengers to check-in their hand luggage as they do not have sufficient space in the overhead compartment. This was the same scenario as my flight from LHR to EDI. Not that I am complaining, but why would BA publish such a generous hand carry allowance (2 pcs of bags per passenger) only to request passengers to check-in their bags at the gate/after boarding? Thought it would make boarding swifter had they set the allowance at 1 bags per passenger, and allow passengers to bring additional bags on a case to case basis. I believe this would deter passengers from bringing excessive hand carry on board. Oh well.

My first impression of the A319 cabin was that it was not as well maintained as the A320s. The seats were the old-styled seats with more cushioning and recline. Leg room was decent as I sat in the emergency row. However, the seat pockets were filled with biscuit crumbs, and the carpet was sticky and wet. Not sure if it’s due to the limited ground time given to turnaround the aircraft, or the cabin crew just can’t be bothered to check the plane. Gross.

There were 3 (maybe 4) cabin crew on my flight. They were sloppy, both in their attitude and grooming. The senior crew’s hair was falling all over the place and she had to keep adjusting her ‘hive’. The male cabin crew’s tie was loosely done up and his shirt was not properly tucked. Perhaps they were standby crew that were called up last minute for the flight due to the delay.

Service was similar to our inbound flight from LHR. Passengers were offered a drink and a choice between Lemon Melts or Mixed Nuts. I was exhausted from the delay so I didn’t take any photos on the plane.

The rest of the flight remained uneventful and we landed in Gatwick Terminal N about 2 hours behind schedule. We parked at a contact bridge but were bused to the domestic arrival hall. The first bag took about 20 minutes to arrive, but I only managed to get my bag about 15 minutes later.


No bags in sight..

After retrieving my bag, I took the shuttle train to the South Terminal where I transferred to the Thameslink (National Rail) to get to the city. I only reached my hotel at around 8 pm so I just stayed in my room for the rest of the night.


Almost 8 pounds for a train ticket. Yikes.

Overall, my experience with BA domestic was at most mediocre. Other than the complimentary drinks and snacks served on my flight, the experience was not much better than flying on a budget carrier. I would not have spent the extra cash to fly them if they were not the only ones who fly from LHR to EDI.


London Blackfriars station. Love the blue lights!

To be continued..
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Last edited by nykelaz; 31st March 2016 at 04:41 PM..
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Old 31st March 2016, 02:57 PM   #4
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It was time to head home after an enjoyable stay in the UK. On the day of departure, I took the underground (Piccadilly Line) to the airport. My hotel was actually on the District/Circle Line so I had to transfer to the Piccadilly Line at Hammersmith station. If your hotel is also on the District Line, I recommend you to transfer at this station as it has lifts and also because it is less crowded than say South Kensington or Earl's Court. Good if you have many luggage.

The train ride was not too painful, and I reached T2 in less than an hour.


Note that this is not an LCD wall. The silhouettes are formed by the sun shining on the people in the smoking area.


I don't wanna go home

Check-in was done over the automated self-served kiosk. The interface was easy to understand, and I got my boarding pass and luggage tag pretty swiftly. There were 3 people in line at the bag drop so the wait was short. The bag drop agent was friendly and efficient. Security screening was the standard drill, and I took 15 minutes to clear it.


Cool centrepiece

Airside in T2 was boring. I tried to window-shop a little, but didn’t find anything interesting to buy. Knowing that my flight was departing from T2B, I made my way there and settled down at Café Nero till it was time for boarding.

B38 was the gate used for my flight which was not too far from the café. Due to the late arrival of incoming aircraft, boarding was slightly delayed.



Date: 14th March 2016 (Mon)
Flight: SQ319
Sector: LHR - SIN
Reg: 9V-SNA
Type: B777-300ER
Seat: 40A
Class: Economy (Y)
STD/ATD: 20:35/20:51
STA/ATA: 17:30/17:35


Boarding sequence was not strictly observed by the gate agents which resulted in congestion of the aisle. The flight was running late and the cabin crew were rushing to get everyone settled down as soon as possible.

I explored the IFE while waiting for departure. The interface of the flight path was of the older version without the 3D map. Other than that, the Krisworld selection was the same as my flight from SIN-LHR.

Service was acceptable, but not the best I’ve received on SQ (Especially since I had an exemplary crew on my flight up). The FSS serving my aisle was forgetful. She kept forgetting my seatmate’s requests. For example, the FSS ran out of red wine during meal service and she promised my seatmate that she would be back but she didn’t. That happened a few times during the flight. I don’t really ask for assistance on flights so that part didn’t bother me. But I could see from my seatmate’s face that he wasn’t too happy about having to keep reminding the FSS about his requests (Granted, he did have a lot of requests throughout the flight).

There were two meal services on my flight, Dinner and Breakfast. I totally forgot to take photos of the menu for this flight so I don’t have the ‘fancy’ names for the dishes. For dinner, there was a choice between fried rice and braised pork.

I chose the fried rice option and it was good. The rice was flavourful and not too oily. But when I saw my seatmate’s braised pork, I instantly regretted. The fragrance of the braised sauce filled the entire cabin and it was irresistible.

Both options came with salad (which was blah), bread roll, cheese and crackers. The cheese was firm and salty, which is my kind of cheese. Yums!


Dinner - Fried Rice


Sneaky shot of my neighbour’s braised pork

The meal ended with a heavenly salted caramel ice cream. It was not overly frozen (is there such a term? ), and I could scoop it without much effort. I hate it when they serve ice cream that is rock hard. One thing to note is that the tub of ice cream was bigger than the usual ice cream served in Y class.


Good quality salted caramel ice cream

Cabin lights were dimmed after the meal service and I managed to sleep for a good 6 hours. The cabin crew constantly patrolled the aircraft throughout the flight, offering passengers who are awake with drinks and snacks.

Breakfast was served quite late, about 1.5 hours to landing in Singapore. Not sure what was the reason for the delay but the cabin lights were turned on pretty early and I could hear the cabin crew preparing the meals. There were two options for breakfast, either poached eggs or fried bee hoon. I chose the former as I’m pretty sure I can get better fried bee hoon at home.


Breakfast - Poached egg with potato, sausage and beans.


Sneaky shot #2 of my seatmate’s fried bee hoon

The poached egg was your typical run-of-the-mill airplane breakfast. I appreciate that it was moist, and the sauce complemented the eggs well. It was a satisfying meal.

By the time the meal service concluded, our plane was already in a holding pattern over Malaysia. I wonder if the crew would be able to finish conducting their meal service had we not been holding in the air. Hmmm.


Final approach. Not may ships this evening.

We parked at B10 in T3, which was just next to the Skytrain shuttle. There was no queue at the immigration, and the bags were already on the carousel by the time i reach. Now, that’s what I call efficiency.

So this concludes my short trip to London and Edinburgh. As usual, SQ did not fail to deliver. Both the software and hardware were good and I enjoyed my flights with them. There is a subtle difference between PEY and Y but mainly in the seats. Honestly, I would be happy flying with the 2013 Y seats. I probably won't splurge on PEY for short haul, but I would definitely fly PEY on long haul if the fare difference is not too much.

BA wasn't THAT bad either, it just didn't justify why I should pay extra for them. Thinking back, I was really upset with BA over the delay in EDI only because I already had plans in London. Otherwise, 2 hours of delay is pretty common in air travel and most people would just suck it up. Oh well.

That's all I have to say now. Thanks for reading!
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Last edited by nykelaz; 31st March 2016 at 11:30 PM..
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Old 31st March 2016, 10:58 PM   #5
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Thanks for the TR, nykelaz!

The BA hand luggage issue has been exacerbated by BA selling slightly cheaper HBO (Hand Baggage Only) fares with no checked baggage allowance and more people therefore deciding to take everything on board as hand carry.
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