Saturday, 15 January 2011

Trip Report 4 - Part 5 - BNE - SIN, SQ J

Airbus 330-300
Business Class, 11A

Checking in was not terribly quick or easy, both sets of passengers using the Business Class Desks seemed to be taking a great deal of time. As large families, they were probably having fun getting seats together or something. However, eventually I was called over and everything was done for me in a trice. I wandered back outside to enjoy a smoke before dealing with Immigration and Security. Both Immigration and Security were extremely quick and extremely painless.  I then went to the SilverKris lounge, which wasn’t very exciting, however, it provided me with the breakfast I didn’t have time to have on leaving the hotel. Vegemite toast, apple juice and a long black. I thought the selection of food was weak.

I did try to settle down, but the area was invaded by what I believe is termed in Australian English “cashed-up bogans”, who at the tender hour of 7:45 decided to hit the beer and vodka. After the second lengthy sighting of the grubby underdaks of one of the younger(and deeply unattractive) bogans due his low riders, I decided to see if I could find some cufflinks and have a general wander through Duty Free, after a short search I did find a display of links, although it did take some time to find some subtle ones. I then went in search of the secret smoking terrace at Brisbane, it does exist but is signposted nowhere.

Boarding was called very much on time and I swiftly found myself on board my first Airbus 330-300, I have the bulkhead row at the front and no seat mate. This is very lucky as there are only 2 free business class seats (and economy looks very full as well). The bogans are at the back of business class.

We are immediately offered, newspapers, magazines and a fruit  juice, I take tomato and a Straits Times. The rather paltry business class amenity kits are distributed, socks and eyeshades, I’m afraid I take my Suites slippers out my case, they are very comfortable and I’ve been wearing them in the hotels. Menus are distributed as well.

We push back bang on time, take off bang on time and are told that our flight time will be around seven hours. Just a small hop around here J

Quickly another round of juice is distributed with the hot towels, both of which I’m very grateful  to receive. The bogans are demanding beers, I can hear them from the front row.  We are then asked for our selections for brunch and I settle down with Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex – which is at least more readable than The Virgin Suicides, if somewhat unfinished. I can’t help feeling that there should have been a second book there.

The choices today for Brunch are

Sliced fresh fruit

Cereal (Raisin bran or Cornflakes) or Yoghurt

Grilled beef fillet with rosemary jus, roasted vegetables and potatoes
Singapore style roast chicken with chicken flavoured rice and chilli sauce

Scrambled egg with ham steak, sautéed mushroom, roasted tomato and roesti

Sticky rice ice cream garnished with yam and sweet potato in coconut milk stew.

The fruit is, as ever on airlines, slightly too cold. However, the mango is nice and ripe and the two raspberries and the blueberries are always welcome. I get a cup of tea, more juice and water to go with it all.

Breads are served, nice and wam, only one each and the brown roll is pretty dry. Those complaining of Lufthansa’s bread rationing may wish to take note. The yoghurt is Ski, wild strawberry, it might be slightly more classy to put it an bowl, but this is the Brisvegas route.

The Roast Chicken Rice is fairly decent, the chilli adds a good kick and the chicken is juicy, especially the two dark meat pieces, the rice has suffered slightly in the convection oven. However, an enjoyable choice, I’ll pop down Maxwell Road for the real thing later this week. I did see the grilled beef fillet served to another passenger and it looked very good.

The ice-cream is slightly strange, it’s a bit of an unusual combination for me and I approach it with a certain degree of caution. It is, like 99% of airline ice cream, rock hard. When melted, it’s delicious. I’d happily order that again.

The cabin then settles down, some go to sleep, some use Krisworld. Myself, I get the seat into a nice comfy position and I switch between reading Middlesex and writing this trip report. After just half the flight, we leave Australia and I decide that as it is now Australian lunchtime, I’ll take a beer. It comes with mixed nuts (which are carefully examined for the presence of the fell walnut before consumption). The regional seat isn't as generously wide as some SQ seats, but does have a nice reclined position for reading with loads of legroom.

Just after that, there is another drinks round and then orders are take for what is deemed refreshment which is served about 75 minutes out of Singapore.

Our choices today for refreshment are:

Warm smoked chicken, brie and Avocado in rustic Turkish bread served with rucola
Braised egg noodles with beef mushrooms and greens.

I took the sandwich with a cup of tea and some water. It was tasty, but quite messy to eat.  It was certainly just about the right size after only 5 hours.

The decent into Singapore was a little delayed due to a thunderstorm in the area, but we made a nice landing at Changi just before three o’clock Singapore time.  We then proceeded to have a small tour of the airport before arriving at one of the far gates in T2. We were off quickly, I popped for a quick smoke, then joined what I thought was the shortest immigration queue, but unfortunately was behind some French cretins who felt they didn’t have to fill out a landing card.  Sigh. Bags were, of course, on the belt by the time I got to them and I was quickly into a taxi for my hotel where a big surprise was waiting for me.

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