For those of you that took a look at part 6, you’ll know that I ended up having to take a detour through Hong Kong to get back to Singapore from Sydney. The second part of this detour was booked in Cathay Pacific’s great first class cabin.
However, around six weeks prior to departure, I just happened to be checking my booking on the BA website (whom I had booked through) and noticed something was amiss.
Annoyingly, I had been bumped down to business (its pretty rare occurrence that line is used). Fair enough, these things happen but what did annoy me the most was the fact that BA had made no effort to contact me regarding the change. I fired off an email to their customer services and I got a reply around a week later saying that ‘whilst they endeavor to fulfill seat requests, sometimes they’re changed due to operational reasons’. Well yeah, my requested seat had been changed but I feel they missed the point slightly… I didn’t bother to chase it much further as I feel I would have been wasting my time slightly.
Anyway, picking up from where I left off in part 6:
After arriving from SYD, it was a short nights sleep before my alarm was going off at 05:15 the following morning. I got ready, checked out and made the walk over to the terminal.
The Cathay business check in was at the opposite end of the terminal to where my hotel was, so I ventured outside to grab some HK air, before coming back indoors and making my way to the pretty average looking business class check in.
I mentioned to the check in agent about being downgraded and she was very apologetic. She was insistent about phoning her supervisor to find out the reason why, but I said it was due to an aircraft change and to not worry herself.
After this it was on to a very quiet security and immigration before heading in the direction of the cabin lounge.
I stayed here around twenty minutes or so, but just wasn't really feeling it, so I moved on to the wing lounge instead - as it was nearer to my gate anyway.
I much prefer this lounge to the others I've sampled at HK. The advantage of being in this lounge and departing from gate 2 is that you can look over the balcony and see when your flight is boarding. I did exactly that - the first time I'd gone straight from the lounge to the aircraft.
A330-300 / B-LAM
Seat: 12A / Business Class
Off Stand: 08:07
On Stand: 12:15
I made my way in board and was shown to my seat of 12A. Almost immediately, the woman in front was pestering me to swap seats with her teenage daughter. No, sorry.
A selection of welcome drinks were handed out. Just a water for now. And a hot towel.
View of the flight deck during boarding
One thing that immediately struck me about this seat design was the lack of storage options. I couldn't find anywhere to store anything bigger than a magazine!
We pushed back more or less on schedule.
During pushback, we seemed to jerk backwards a little. Then a few moments later, we jerked forwards again. Then we waited. I noticed a few ground workers heading in the direction of the nose gear. Around five minutes passed with not much happening, until the engines were shut down. Here we go again. Seconds later, the captain informed us that the pushback tug had managed to wedge itself at a bad angle and was now stuck. The aircraft was fine, but it would take a while to free the tug.
My view for half an hour.
Some thirty minutes later, the engines fired into life again, the dozen or so ground workers scuttled away from the nose gear and we made our way down to the active.
We waited for a business jet and a China Airlines A330 to depart before we made our way into the cloudy skies.
During our climb, the purser welcomed me by name and handed me the menu. A few moments later, she was back again serving drinks from a trolley.
Shortly after, the breakfast service began. First off was the bread and fruit run.
After this, the trolley was brought forwards again, this time offering cereal. I declined this though, and was told the main course would be served shortly.
Very BA Club Europe looking…
Once I had finished eating, I reclined in front of Top Gear.
Followed by The Middle.
The final hour or so of the flight was quite bumpy, but the seatbelt sign wasn't switched on. I ventured forward to use the washroom. I caught the crew a little off guard, as when I appeared through the curtain, most were sat down eating – however as soon as they saw me, every one of them shot up and busied themselves, with the purser approaching me with a cheerful ‘Hello Mr White’. Very professional!
With around 30 minutes to go, the British captain updated us on the progress of the flight, saying the weather in Singapore was fine, 32 degrees and apologised fir the delay. Before he'd finished his sentence, descent had started.
The most I got to see of the wing on this flight.
Another hot towel was given out during descent.
We came in over the city, but it was a little on the hazy side to see too much until we got quite low down.
I did get a decent view of the famous ships though.
We touched down and made our way over to terminal 1, passing a sorry looking SQ 777 on our way in.
Within a minute or two, I was making my way out through the front door and off to immigration.
Immigration was quick and painless, and then it was on to baggage claim.
Once more, I was only waiting a few minutes before heading off in the direction of the MRT to the city. It’s a little annoying that the machines only give out a maximum of $4 change (if I remember correctly), yet the smallest note I had was $20, the fare was only around $2 and you could only pay by card at a manned kiosk. Luckily I managed to get change from a passer by.
I arrived at my hotel, The Peninsula Excelsior around an hour or so later. Despite arriving before the allocated check in time, I was given a room.
It had a decent view too.
After this, it was out into the sticky city for a hot walk around.
The grounds of the Singapore Recreation Club
Singapore Flyer and the Grand Prix track – complete with left over tyre rubber from last Septembers race.
Heading down to Marina Bay, still following the Grand Prix track.
Marina Bay once more, this time after the sun had set.
St Andrews Cathedral:
Orchard Road, with yet more rain:
Some of the many shopping malls. Handy to cool down in:
Singapore Recreation Club main building:
And with that brought my time in Singapore to an end.
Although I was disappointed not to sample Cathay Pacific’s First Class again, Business class was fine on the 3 hour or so journey. It sure was a step up from the European Business Classes. The staff were great, right from the check in agent being so concerned about my down grade, to the cabin crew making an attempt to look busy when I walked through the galley to the washroom. The Wing lounge at HKG remains one of my favorites – and at least now I can say I’ve tried both the first and the Business class sides.