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Old 15th July 2018, 11:52 AM   #1
yflyer
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Default Eating Ethnic in Oz: SQ221 to Sydney in New A380 Economy, and Qantas Biz to Melbourne

I had to make a last minute business trip to Sydney and Melbourne in May this year. Meetings were hastily arranged and flights booked. Fortunately, despite the short lead time, it was also possible to plan a couple of informal meet-ups with several SQTalkers...

On this trip, I had the opportunity to revisit SIA's new A380 cabin products, this time just in the economy cabin (For an account of a trip in SQ's incredible new A380 suites, click here.).

I also flew from Sydney to Melbourne on QF's A330. While this was just a short hop, the aircraft I flew was equipped with Qantas' latest lie-flat long haul business class product, which I checked out on this 1 hour 35 minute flight.

In SYD, KeithMEL introduced me to a great place for cocktails near Circular Quay, and in MEL, I joined SQ228 and Kyo for a scrumptious Turkish meal in the suburb of Brunswick. On this short trip, I also managed to check out one of Singapore's latest food exports to Australia: Hawker Chan's new outlet near the Melbourne Marriott.

TR INDEX

1. Flight: SQ221 SIN-SYD in New A380 Economy
2. Hotel: Marriott Sydney Harbour
3. Drinks & Dinner: Bulletin Place / Mercado
4. Lounge: Qantas Business Lounge in SYD Domestic Terminal and Qantas Heritage Collection
5. Flight: QF453 SYD-MEL in New A330 Business
6. Hotel: Marriott Melbourne
7. Dinner: Hawker Chan
8. Dinner: Alasya
9. Lounge: Air New Zealand / Star Gold Lounge MEL
10. Flight: SQ218 MEL-SIN in A350 Economy

Last edited by yflyer; 31st July 2018 at 09:54 AM..
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Old 15th July 2018, 12:09 PM   #2
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SQ221 is an 8.20pm departure. I arrived at Changi T3 at 7.10pm, just before sunset...



At the gate was 9V-SKV, first delivered in Nov 2017, the second of four A380's in SQ's fleet with the latest cabin products.



Boarding was called on time, although we only took off at 9pm -- a short flight time of 7 hours 10 min meant that we had to delay take-off in order to arrive after the 6am Sydney airport curfew...

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Old 15th July 2018, 12:21 PM   #3
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In SIA's new A380 cabin configuration, Suites and Business class are on the upper deck.

The premium economy cabin is now in the forward section of the main deck, with the economy cabin occupying the remaining space on the main deck (I will miss the upper deck mini-Y cabin!).

I passed the PEY cabin on the way to my seat.



This looks to be the best PEY cabin in SQ's fleet right now.



The seats, laid out 2-4-2 are large, and comfortable.



The wide A380 main deck cabin means that A380 PEY is the most spacious and roomy PEY among SIA's different aircraft types.

A couple of comparisons:

SQ's PEY on the 77WR (Boing 777-300ER with 2013 cabin products) uses the seat frame, and is also laid out 2-4-2. This is also comfortable, but the 777 has a slightly narrower fuselage, which slightly reduces the spaciousness of the cabin.

The poorest PEY, in terms of hard product, in SQ's fleet is A350 PEY, which has a slightly smaller seat frame (Only slightly wider than regular economy), and the same 2-4-2 layout in the A350's fuselage, which is slightly narrower than even the 777.

The new A380 PEY layout has another advantage compared to PEY on the 1st generation SQ A380 cabin: the forward position of the cabin in the new layout means that the restrooms are just behind PEY. There is no longer a need for PEY pax to walk past the economy cabin to use the restrooms.

Here is a picture of the superb PEY cabin on the new A380 later in the flight.



Great cabin ambience, and a decent load in PEY on this flight this evening.

In terms of premium economy hard product, this is pretty good. Now if only SQ would raise the level of PEY catering to a comparable level...

Last edited by yflyer; 25th July 2018 at 12:15 PM..
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Old 15th July 2018, 02:26 PM   #4
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I headed to my seat in the economy cabin, which runs through the remaining length of the main deck of the A380.



The seats in the economy cabin are laid out in a comfortable 10-abreast 3-4-3. The design theme is now a modern/stylish blue/grey theme with dark coloured seat backs.

This is a strikingly different look from the 1st generation 2006 Y A380 cabin, with its pastel shades of brown, blue and grey, with light coloured seat backs. The 1st generation Y cabin is pictured below for reference.

SQ 1st gen A380 Y cabin (brown/beige themed section):



SQ 1st gen A380 Y cabin (blue/grey themed section):



Which did I prefer? I thought the updated design felt more contemporary and current...certainly it had a very cool, modern vibe about it.
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Old 15th July 2018, 02:40 PM   #5
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The seats themselves were very comfortable to sit in. Seat pitch was good as well.



Seat width was excellent...



...and recline was superb as well, as far as Y seats were concerned...



No underseat obstructions...



New IFE seatback.



The seatback design itself is not the most elegant looking, aesthetically speaking, but it does come loaded with features. There is USB charging, and a headphone socket which allows stereo even if you plug your regular miniplug into one of the two sockets .

Some features are there for future use: for example, the NFC (Near field Communication) panel is not currently in use, but future payment applications are envisioned.

Most importantly, the new Krisworld IFE system is superb, a wide touchscreen with great screen quality and is very user friendly.

Cup holder...



Foldable tray table with a sliding cover that reveals a vanity mirror...





Universal AC power...



Armrests that go all the way up. The aisle-side armrests go up as well. (Amaze your fellow passengers by discretely pushing the metal lever at the underside base of the armrest, and raising it up, and watch them struggle to raise theirs, without knowing that they need to press the button...)



The row 70 emex row seats, with the emex window-seat missing. This means the next row window seats (71A/K) become preferred seats, with both window and aisle access.


Last edited by yflyer; 16th July 2018 at 02:36 AM..
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Old 15th July 2018, 03:04 PM   #6
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Overall, this is a very nice Y seat. A well designed product that is as good as any in the SQ fleet. This is a seat I would be very comfortable flying long haul, or even ultra long haul in. The 2nd generation Y seat is clearly preferable in practically all respects to the 1st generation A380 Y seat.

To be fair, SQ's 1st generation A380 Y seat has stood the test of time very well, and is still a very competitive product that I would be quite happy to fly in, even on long flights, but the difference is very clearly in favour of the new seat.

The difference is less clear when comparing 2nd generation A380 Y to the 2013 Y seats on the 77WR. I would say the new A380 Y seat is about equal to the SQ 2013 economy products. The 2013 products feel a little more solidly built, and somehow I perceive the fabric and cushioning on the 2013 product to exude more quality/luxury. The new A380 Y seat feels very comfortable to sit in, but the sponge cushioning feels just a little too light, and the fabric not as fine, as the 2013 products.

Some pics of the SQ 777-300ER (77WR) economy seat for comparison purposes:

2013 Y on the 77WR, beige/grey theme:



2013 Y on the 77WR, blue/dark brown theme:



This impression of a tie between 2nd gen 2017 A380 Y and the 2013 Y on the 77WR was also something I felt the first time I flew on the new A380. This second try-out of the new A380 Y seat seemed to confirm the perception that the 2017 A380 Y seat is about on par with, but not better than, the 2013 Y seats on the 77WR.

All that said, the new A380 Y seat is a very good one, that can hold its own against any other Y seat that I have flown on other airlines.

Last edited by yflyer; 16th July 2018 at 02:43 AM..
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Old 15th July 2018, 03:18 PM   #7
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My seat on this flight was the aisle seat in row 71, seat 71H, a regular seat which can be selected at no extra charge.



Note that the window seat in that row, seat 71K, is a preferred seat (Reservable at extra charge online), with no seat in front of it i.e. that seat has direct aisle access ahead.

While 71K is indeed a preferred seat in that you have both a window and unlimited legroom and aisle access, note that the armrest for that single seater is fixed, whereas the armrest between the aisle and the middle seat is movable.

On my flight, 71J, remained empty which meant that 71K had her preferred seat, and I had 71H and 71J to myself...muah hah hah...
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Old 15th July 2018, 03:20 PM   #8
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Bathrooms on the new A380 are done in white, with dark faux wood panelling.





Drawer stocked with amenities...

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Old 15th July 2018, 03:28 PM   #9
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Hot towels prior to take-off...



3D map views (But still no live-camera feed...)





Singapore sights-themed safety video...



I checked the onboard wifi to see what plans were available:



The plans on offer had both time and data limits. While the topline plan description was based on time, these were in practice data-based plans because the data limits were fairly low. 150MB for 3 hours? That hardly seemed sufficient. 500MB for "Pro" didn't seem too bad, although these days it was possible to exceed 500MB in a few hours, depending on what you did. If this was a daytime flight, I would probably go for "Pro", but manage it very carefully, but turning it on or off only when I was using it. As this was a red-eye, I did not purchase any internet.
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Old 15th July 2018, 03:31 PM   #10
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After take-off, amenity kits were distributed...



And then pre-dinner drink service, with snacks...



I ordered a Gin & Tonic...it seems that SQ has dropped lemon slices from their cocktail cart -- or at least you didn't get one in your G&T if you didn't ask...



Very pleasant economy cabin ambience on the spacious A380 main deck...


Last edited by yflyer; 26th July 2018 at 10:45 AM..
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Old 15th July 2018, 03:41 PM   #11
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It was soon time for dinner service...



Today's menu...





Two choices for dinner: a Western style tomato and basil seafood pasta, or an Oriental style wok-fried minced beef with veggies and steamed rice...



...and a simple continental breakfast prior to landing...



For dinner, I opted for the seafood pasta...

The tray as served...



...and with covers off...



High quality real metal cutlery, however my white wine was served in a plastic cup.

Potato salad with a slice of roast chicken as a starter...a nice beginning...



I found the seafood pasta to be very satisfying...



...with tender chunks of seafood in a tomato-based sauce...



The pasta went very well with the Frontera Sauvignon Blanc from Chile...



Dessert was sea salt caramel ice cream...which was also pretty good. I didn't know SATS made house-brand ice cream!


Last edited by yflyer; 26th July 2018 at 10:45 AM..
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Old 15th July 2018, 03:46 PM   #12
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Whisky on the rocks as a nightcap...



...which I sipped while browsing the IFE...

A few SQ short features...



And a very interesting program on unique hotels...



...the first episode of which features Mashpi Lodge, deep in the cloud forests of Equador...





If any SQTalker has been to Mashpi or Ecuador, please share your experience!

Of course there was a huge selection of Movies, TV and music on Krisworld onboard, but this was a red-eye flight...



...by the time meal service ended just before 11pm Singapore time, there was just about 5+ hours left to catch some sleep...and of course in practice your time to sleep was far less than that if you decided to have breakfast prior to landing...

I reclined my seat, raised the armrest, put on a pair of eyeshades...



...and tried to get comfortable to rest...



Another view of the cabin just before lights were dimmed for the night...a very comfortable and spacious cabin...


Last edited by yflyer; 15th July 2018 at 03:52 PM..
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Old 15th July 2018, 03:57 PM   #13
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About 2 hours before scheduled arrival time, breakfast was served...



If I had a pet peeve about SQ, it would be that they turn on the lights and serve breakfast way too early before the flight lands...I wish they would leave this to just an hour or 75 min before arrival, and serve a very quick/simple breakfast.

After taking into account time for meal service etc, a 7 or 8 hour flight time doesn't leave much time for a proper night's sleep, but that's not SQ's fault is it, and the same issue arises for for 5 or 6 hour sectors like Singapore-Tokyo or Delhi-Singapore.

Perhaps the only way to at least mitigate this issue to this is to get meal service over as quickly as possible after departure, or prior to arrival. Certainly the economy passenger experience would be enhanced if this could be done.

Of course another obvious solution in this sort of situation is to skip breakfast, and that is what I often do. But even if you decline breakfast, more often than not, you are jolted awake by the need to raise your seatback to upright position so that the person behind you can eat, which is why last row economy seats are so desirable on red-eye flights -- you can stay reclined and blissfully asleep throughout!



So here I was, awake at the equivalent of 2am Singapore time...

I accepted the tray...a simple breakfast of fruit, muffin and roll with jam and butter...



I wolfed part of it down before going back to sleep again...

Soon we were approaching Sydney...


Last edited by yflyer; 15th July 2018 at 04:55 PM..
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Old 15th July 2018, 04:49 PM   #14
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A fairly direct routing over Australia in the last 7 or so hours....



...with a pre-dawn arrival just 12 minutes after the end of the 6am curfew...





At the gate on a wet morning, just after pre-dawn showers...



Summing up, I had a superb flight in terms of cabin service, hard product, and catering.

As for SQ's 2nd generation A380 Y product, which I have now tried out twice on the SIN-SYD sector, I am happy to say that I still find it top notch, and well up to SQ's high standards, even if it doesn't really break new ground as far as economy class is concerned. Pluses include great IFE, and very good seat comfort and recline. Negatives? Can't really think of any of note, except that the seat back layout looks slightly cluttered. Overall, a thumbs up!
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Old 15th July 2018, 05:17 PM   #15
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Immigration was very quick using the new automated system -- hardly any queues at all -- there are many automated passport scanning booths along the passageways in the terminal. This is a two-step process where you first scan your passport and answer a few simple questions and collect a printed card. If you see too many people lining up to use the first ones you see, just move on further into the terminal -- there are many other machines closer to the immigration counters. After that, card in hand, just proceed to the photo-recognition gates for a quick scan. After the scan you might be asked to proceed to an immigration counter, but usually you are just waved through to baggage claim.

After that, there was the usual customs check, which was fairly quick, before exiting the terminal.

Once again, I took the train into Sydney. There are a combination of old and new double decker trains -- this time I caught a new one.



It started out quite full...



...but the crowd thinned out as we got into Sydney.



I got off the train at Circular Quay...



...and walked over to the Marriott Sydney Harbour, just a short distance away.



The Sydney Marriott has a large atrium...



It is not a new hotel, but the rooms have been renovated over the years, and are fairly modern, if a little minimalist in design...



Mine was a triangular shaped room...



Always refreshing to get a room in a shape other than a boring rectangular box...

The room had a view of the Harbour Bridge...



The bathroom had a tub and separate shower stall...

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