A flight of this length is just at the threshold for providing a somewhat full service. Shorter flights will usually only have a tea/ coffee service, however a full service is provided on this flight. Onward, experiencing SQ’s regional business on such a short flight!
Carrier: Singapore Airlines (SQ)
Flight Number: SQ 973
Route: Bangkok (BKK) – Singapore (SIN)
Duration: 2h 05m
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300
Cabin Class: Business Class
Seat Number: 15K
Ok, so here is some clarification. We fly in Business and First on a fairly regular basis, however, we almost NEVER pay with cash for these flights. Being able to experience these things is all about being smart with miles!
For this trip, the cost (in Business Class) from BKK-SIN-SYD would cost 43,750 KrisFlyer miles. However, we were waitlisted in Business for a very long time. I eventually got confirmation for the Bangkok to Singapore sector, however, the Singapore to Sydney sector remained waitlisted up until a couple of days before we left Sydney. After calls to the Singapore Airlines office almost every day for weeks, and extensive searching online for other options, I realised there was only one way to use miles and be confirmed on these flights… FIRST CLASS. So, all we needed to do was purchase and extra 17,500 miles per passenger (at a cost of US$40 per 1000 miles), and we would have sufficient mileage to confirm the booking. I will say, that the Singapore Airlines contact centre was INCREDIBLY HELPFUL. Due to immigration restrictions, you can not enter Thailand unless you have a return flight confirmed. We were due to leave for Thailand in less than 48 and still didn’t have anything confirmed. In order to purchase these miles, you would usually have to fax a form, and they take up to 3 business days to manually process the transaction. So you can see me problem… Anyway, I called SIA again and explained the situation, and the agent was very happy to manually organise the purchase of miles within the hour. She totalled everything up, charged the credit card and within a couple of hours it was all confirmed. We ended up paying 63,750 miles per passenger (it is usually 75,000 if you book through the call centre, and 63,750 if you book online, but they were happy to honour the discount, as they usually do). This price is for First Class from Zone 1 to Zone 9. The furthest out in Zone 1 is Hong Kong, so for this price you could also get a 4 hour flight in First/Suites followed by another 8 hour flight in First/Suites. UNFORTUNATELY, SQ doesn’t operate First Class between BKK and SIN, so ALTHOUGH we paid that price, one of our flights was in Business. Nonetheless, the next flight (SIN-SYD) was in First Class.
DOWN TO BUSINESS
We arrived at Bangkok International Airport in the morning, and there was absolutely no line to check in (for Business and Economy). Here we checked in for this flight, as well as our next flight (SIN-SYD) in First Class. As the agents were checking us in and attaching priority tags to the bags, one of them began attaching Business Class tags to the bags. I immediately stopped her and said “Can you please give the bags First Class priority?” If we’re paying for First, I don’t want Business service!! Even though they don’t operate First Class to Bangkok, they still have First Class and Suites luggage tags, boarding passes and priority tags, as there are many passengers who would be connecting to onward flights. Due to a UM issues, check-in took way too long. Usually they would sort this out while we are at the lounge and clear it up at the boarding gate, however, they decided to do it all at the check in desk this time.
Bangkok has a Premium Lane for departures, which is ALWAYS really handy. What’s surprising is that the Premium Lane (security and immigration) is shared between premium passengers as well as diplomats and CABIN CREW. I just found it really weird to go through security and immigration with cabin crew!
We quickly went through but then had a fairly lengthy walk to the Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge (SKL), which itself is quite far from the boarding gate. The lounge was pretty full, with passengers on this flight, as well as the later flights, and even other airlines’ flights. It accommodates Business Class, PPS Club and Star Alliance Gold passengers. It is very simple and offers a small selection of light snacks and drinks. There are also no toilets, however most secondary lounges like this don’t have the room for them.
We headed towards the gate and just as we scanned our boarding cards boarding was called for Business Class, so we walked straight onboard the aircraft. The IFS welcomed us onboard very warmly, and asked briefly about the UM dealio (in a friendly way). The crew quickly handed out the welcome drinks and newspapers/ magazines. I always ask for the T3 or Business Traveller magazine. The seat itself is the regional business class used on aircraft for short-medium haul routes (including day flights to Australia). I have flown this same business class on the 777-200, however it seems as though the legroom is slightly less. We pushed back on schedule, and headed towards runway 01R. Interestingly, the usual “Welcome onboard Singapore Airlines SQ 973 to Bangkok. We are pleased to be carrying passengers of our Star Alliance and codeshare partners….” was done AFTER the safety video after pushback. As we taxied, we noticed that several parts of the tarmac were INCREDIBLY bumpy! I do worry about the dangers of FOD (Foreign Object Debris) in BKK…
The flight was short, and the meal served about 30 minutes in. As they cannot provide a staggered 3-course meal, due to time, the main setting is placed on a tray. The tray has a white tablecloth and the proper ceramic dishes for breads/ entree/ dessert. The crew then serve the main meal separately (as there are three choices). The meals were all served from trolleys (once again due to time restrictions). The entree was a Waldorf Salad and was presented beautifully and tasted amazing. As SIA does with most Business and First flights, one of the selections was created by an International Culinary Panel (ICP) chef. In this case it was Georges Blanc’s lamb with ratatouille. The meat was incredibly tender, and the serving incredibly busy, with several flavours and ingratiates on the plate. Although it looked incredibly rich and hearty, it wasn’t so flavoursome. Warm breads were offered, as usual. There was little offer of drinks with the meal, and the crew were very slow to refill water glasses (however this may well have been due to the very full cabin).
Following the meal I went to the galley and asked one of the stewards to get the captain’s names and the aircraft registration, and he did so very quickly. He also said “Is there any other information I can get for you?” For now, I said no, but later realised I should get the departure runway. I asked him for that and he said “Ok sure. Do you want the arrival in Singapore as well?” I said yes, and he promptly delivered the information. Soon before landing I had the First Class boarding cards out for the next flight, and he saw them and said “Ah, so where is your next flight?” We had a short conversation about our travel and about SIA as well. He said he formerly worked on the A340, and is now trained on the 777, A330 and A380 (so essentially can operate all aircraft). The IFS later came by (after hearing about my questions) and said “Your father’s a pilot?” Unsurprising they would think this, but it is not true!
I also noticed the guy sitting across the other side of the aircraft (15C) was wearing shorts and was barefoot, and had his feet up next to the IFE screen on the seat-back. And as the flight attendant refilled his water, he just sat there in that position! Absolutely disgusting, especially for Business Class.
Well, we arrived on time, and after landing the same steward, who was so helpful in the air, gladly lent me his name-badge pin to open up my iPhone SIM card tray! My excitement was still building, as ahead of us was a meeting with a Singapore Airlines executive, the First Class lounges and then a First Class flight back to Sydney!
And as usual, some window shots to conclude:
Stay tuned for the following reports:
SIN-SYD (SQ First Class)
DMK-LPT (Nok Air)
CNX-DMK (Nok Air)
See you soon!
And Enjoy Your Journey.