Sunday, September 22, 2013

4th July Getaway: Newark to Singapore


Since we were on separate tickets for the Newark to Bangkok via Singapore flights, we had to re-checkin the luggage and obtain our boarding passes at the SQ counters in Newark. It wasn't a big deal since there were no lines at the check-in counter. It did take a while longer than I would have wished to get through the security lines with only one line present with no premium lines to cut through.

Instead of proceeding to the SAS lounge that Singapore Airlines uses in Newark, we headed first to the Lufthansa Senator lounge that was just next door thanks to my StarGold status. The lounge was tiny and we only spent like a couple of minutes in there since it was stuffy due to what looked my air- conditioning problems. The Lufthansa lounge did have better food and drinks selection if compared to the SAS lounge.

Food selection in the Lufthansa Lounge
The air-condition situation wasn't much better in the SAS lounge but thankfully the lounge was a tiny bit larger which helped the air circulation. The lounge was pretty packed with passengers from the SAS and Swiss flights sharing the lounge and we had a hard time finding a place to sit. In the future, I would not arrive early just for the lounge.

SAS Lounge

There were snacks like sandwiches, cheeses and chips on offer but overall nothing too exciting. I did some wine tasting on the wines on offer and also had several shots of espresso that helped me stay awake. About an hour before the departure for the Singapore flight, there was a buffet of several hot items like chicken and noodles that were compliment of Singapore Airlines. I assume this was meant for passengers on SQ21 but there wasn't like there was anyone checking boarding passes.

With only roughly a hundred passengers on the flight, it was a quick boarding process. After checking our boarding passes, the gate agents were offering sweets and chocolates which I thought was a nice touch.

Once we both got settled in our seats, the crew came around offering the usual selection of water, OJ or champagne pre-depature drinks - champagne of course for me. The captain soon came on and informed us that our flight time would be around 18 hours - plenty of time for sleep and movies for me.

After another round of drinks and nuts once we were airborne, it would be around one in the morning before the supper service started. Since it was a supper service I was disappointed that there was no satay on offer but the starter of lobster was pretty good and somewhat made up for the disappointment. We both looked through the menu and decided to stick to our Book-the-Cook selection of Chicken Wellington and rice with Chinese style chicken.

I wasn't feeling all too sleepy yet after the meal even though it was already 2-3 in the morning in Austin probably thanks to the multiple espresso shots in the lounge earlier. I flipped the seat into "bed-mode" and tried to get comfortable while watching back-to-back "Ah boy to men" movies - a hilarious Singaporean movie about a boy growing up and going through National Service.

The espresso finally did wear off and I was able to get a good couple of hours to sleep. By now on any other flight, we would be close to arrival but on this flight we were only half way to the destination. I tried again to make myself comfortable lounging in the bed which was not the easiest thing to do and watched another movie.

Lydia had also woken up soon after and both of us were feeling peckish - time for more food! I opted for the savory option and Lydia as usual, opted for the sweet option of waffles and doughnut. The stewardess did not want to serve both A DOUGHNUT and the waffles at the same time to Lydia citing some obscure policy so Lydia just headed to help herself to a doughnut in the snack bar in the galley. REALLY SQ?

We continue catching up to movies we've been missing an soon enough, we were only two hours from Singapore and the lights came on and breakfast service started. By the time the crew got to us, the only thing available were the noodles which were pretty good.

I'm happy that I got the chance to get on SQ21 before the flights goes out of service. The flight itself wasn't nothing spectacular - hey it's not First Class but it's probably the most comfortable and efficient way to get from the US to South East Asia. I sure hope so we can see similar flights return in the future.

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