Sunday, August 12, 2012

Moving to Austin: Penang to Tokyo


Penang airport was still under a much needed renovation and upgrading when I left. Hopefully I'll be greeted by a refreshed airport when the next time I see Penang. Since it was the school holidays, the airport was packed with families going off on holidays including a large tour group on my Silk Air flight to Singapore.

There was no business upgrade availability for the short hop to Singapore so I was stuck in economy for my first flight. I tried checking in 3 bags but the agent initially gave me some grief about it. As a Star Gold, I was entitled to an additional piece of luggage in addition to the two piece allowance but the agent said my Star Gold status was only good for the Singapore to Los Angeles route since Silk Air was not part of Star Alliance. After checking with her supervisor, she did eventually check in the 3 bags for free. Singapore Airlines should seriously just make Silk Air into Star Alliance.

I spent my remaining time in Penang chilling at the landside McD with the wife who would only be joining me in Austin a couple of weeks later. As soon as I got the departure gate, boarding was called. As usual, there was nothing too exciting about the flight to Singapore. It's a short hour long flight with a snack and drink run by the flight attendants.

I was greeted by a crowded Silverkris lounge in Terminal 3. I was not hungry so I just enjoyed some champagne before a quick shower. I got too the departure gate right as boarding was called.

Thanks to recommendations from online seat reviews, I had pre-booked a window seat in the forward business class "mini" cabin of the Boeing 777-300ER. There was only 8 seats in this cabin giving privacy and almost giving a first class experience.

My seat

The "mini" cabin

Since I was just behind first class, I snuck in front before take off to take a few pictures. The TV was larger than business class and seats slightly larger but I could see why there are serious questions as to the need to book first class with business class seats comparable to first class especially in the "mini" cabin.

I started to get peckish after takeoff and decided to eat before going to sleep. Singapore Airlines only offers one meal on this red-eye flight with the meal served either right after take off or before landing. I opted for the Japanese option since it was my first time on this route. The meal came in a bento box and I liked that it was not too heavy.

Since was my first time on Singapore Airlines long haul business configuration, I struggled to have my seat made into a bed after supper. I had to call on of the flight attendants who was glad to show me how to do it. The seat had to be flipped around with the back of the seat turning into a lie flat bed.

By now I was dead tired especially after only 4-5 hours of sleep for the last couple of days trying to pack and tie up loose ends due to the move.  I sure was happy to have redeemed the upgrade in spite of the lack of value and not having to "suffer" in the back of the plane. I slept like a baby until just about we were about to land in Tokyo. I managed to sneak in a good cup of cappuccino on the plane while thinking of the sushi and good food awaiting me in Tokyo.


  1. Wow. That's a great experience. And I love your seat near the window. I would also love that seat. And the food looks good. I love Japanese foods.

  2. Delicious Japanese food ...
    and also very comfortable seat...