Route: Male (MLE) – Singapore (SIN)
Class: Business Class
ETD: 2315 Actual: 2318 (takeoff)
ETA: 0700 Actual: 0652 (landing)
On The Ground
Check-in at Male Airport was fast and efficient and the ground staff was helpful. I checked-in at the Business Class/ PPS Club/ Star Alliance Gold Lounge check-in counters and the total time taken was under 10 minutes. I was given a lounge invitation to the Finifenmaa Lounge and was there within 30 minutes. The lounge is used by SQ, MH, EK and a few other airlines.
The lounge has basic amenities such as food and other beverages. The best benefit of the lounge is the complimentary Internet access. Overall the lounge is ok but cannot be even compared with SQ’s Business Lounge in T2 in Changi. It has reasonably good views of the tarmac.
Boarding was average with long lines for passengers in Y. Business Class and Star Gold passengers had priority boarding which was great. Male Airport does not have aerobridges so we had to walk to the tarmac which was a nice change.
Singapore Airlines has the largest fleet of Boeing 777’s in the world with a total of 31 B777-200’s, 15 B777-200ER’s, 12 Boeing 777-300’s and 18 Boeing 777-300ER’s, with a total of 76 B777 aircraft. They are used on the short-hop to Kuala Lumpur as well as on 22-hour flights to Houston via Moscow. The new B777-300ER’s are fitted with the new First, Business and Economy Class products as on the A380 and the A345. The older -200’s are being replaced by the A330-300’s, fitted with the new regional Business Class product, on routes to Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Perth, Brisbane and Tokyo. These are an interim solution as SIA waits for the Boeing 787’s and Airbus A350’s due in 2011.
The aircraft I flew on, 9V-SKL, is fitted in SQ’s Regional configuration with 30 Business Class (2-3-2) seats 293 Economy Class seats (3-3-3).
I was warmly greeted at the door by one of the Singapore Girls, the Leading Stewardess. She showed me to my seat, 12H and offered me a selection of newspapers and magazines. She also offered me a drink before takeoff. There was a light load in Business Class today with only about 20% of the seats filled. The aircraft was fitted with SIA’s Video-On-Demand (VOD) system, KrisWorld. The doors were closed promptly at 2313 and pushback occurred at 2315. The Cabin Crew were polite, helpful and friendly in typical SIA fashion. After taxiing onto the runway, the B777 raced down the runway for about 40 seconds before the nose pointed towards the heavens powered by the powerful Trent 884 engines. The cabin lights were dimmed and the cabin crew gave out eyeshades and socks. For the price you pay for an SQ ticket, you would expect at least an amenity kit. However, I cannot fault SQ’s service which was impeccable for the entire duration of the red-eye flight.
The seat had good recline and was fine for a 4+ hour flight, but here’s a tip- row 16 in Business Class does not recline as much as the other rows. I chose not to have any meals so as to extend my sleep time.
Top:Business Class fully-reclined
Middle:Seats 16 D,E,G
Bottom: The Cabin
The elegant Boeing 777’s undercarriage gently touched-down on runway 02L in the morning sunrise and taxied to the gate F50, ready for a morning departure to Jakarta as SQ956. Terminal 2 was crowded as many passengers were departing to many destinations around Southeast Asia during the peak year-end travel season.
With priority baggage for Business Class passengers I collected my bag and was past customs 14 minutes from the time the aircraft arrived at the gate.