Welcome to the second component of the November trip, consisting of the following:
- Singapore Airlines Premium Economy (Sydney – Singapore)
- Singapore Airlines Economy (Singapore – Beijing)
- Hilton Wangfujing, Beijing
- Air Koryo Economy (Beijing – Pyongyang)
- Koryo Hotel, Pyongyang
- Hyangsan Hotel, North Pyongyang
- Tour of North Korea
- Air China Economy (Pyongyang – Beijing)
- Raffles Beijing
- Hong Kong Airlines Economy (Beijing – Hong Kong)
- Singapore Airlines Economy (Hong Kong – Singapore)
- Singapore Airlines Premium Economy (Singapore – Sydney)
Following a night’s stay at the Ambassador Transit Hotel in Terminal 3, I headed to the A gates for my next flight, a quick 5 and a half hour haul up to Beijing.
Carrier: Singapore Airlines (SQ)
Flight Number: SQ 802
Route: Singapore (SIN) – Beijing (PEK)
Duration: 5h 30m
Aircraft: Airbus A380-800
Cabin Class: Economy Class
Seat Number: 54C
Boarding commenced early, and I was quickly onboard in an exit row, at 54C, just next to the M4L door. I had originally selected a seat on the upper deck, however, an aircraft change occurred, and the configuration was switched to an all Business-Class upper deck. Much to my delight, however, the two seats next to me were free during the flight.
Following the usual SQ hot towel service and menu distribution, we were able to depart early, thanks to quick boarding. As this was not considered a proper medium-haul flight, the headphones were simply earbuds, and the post-take off drinks service consisted only of juice and water.
Well into the flight, the meal service began, with 2 choices on offer. I selected the ‘Singapore Fried Carrot Cake’, which the stewardess said was an excellent choice.
The crew on this flight were actually more attentive and friendly than the previous Premium flight. I got talking to one of the stewardesses, who was incredibly engaging, as all SQ crew should be. She explained that something that really surprised me about the flight attendant ranks. Singapore Airlines crew fit into the category of Flight Steward(ess) [blue tie/ kebaya], Leading Steward(ess) [green tie/ kebaya], Chief Steward(ess) [red tie/ kebaya] and Inflight Supervisor [violet tie/ kebay]. She informed me that to reach the rank of Leading, some crew can work 15-20 years, and often stay at that rank for a very long time. I previously thought that just a few years and some passenger compliments could see a promotion, but it seems they must work for an incredibly long time to be promoted to higher ranks. It also involves taking part in extra-work activities on the ground, which she said was not ideal for crew with family. One of the other stewards also explained that there is little difference between Leading and Chief attendants. While the Leadings manage and oversee the Economy cabins, the Chief will simply oversee the Business and/ or First Class cabin.
Following a pretty basic flight (albeit with great crew), we began an early descent into Beijing, which the captain said was “normal for flights into major Chinese airports”. Not sure why this exists, but the air traffic control seems to request an early descent for all aircraft.
We touched down on time and disembarked quickly into a freezing Beijing.
Overall, it was a fairly typical Singapore Airlines flight, with excellent crew to top it off.