Welcome to my trip report on Singapore Airlines Boeing 747 farewell flights!
I have written 2 parts; SIN-HKG and HKG to SIN with photos of the ceremonies which took place at both airports. I did some editing on these reports so please sit back and enjoy!
I would like to dedicate this trip report to a friend called Kenny who has passed on in 2013. Without him, I wouldn't be on this trip.
Do check out my return flight.
My adventure begins:
A very tired looking "me" with 9V-SPQ!
With a lovely crew on board the flight.
The last SQ's Boeing 747-400 Pax in the fleet - 9V-SPQ
Flight route: SIN-HKG
Flight number: 747
Date: 6th April 2012
Routing: SIN-HKG (longer routing via MNL)
Seat number: 36J
Aircraft type: Boeing 747-412
My 13th and 14th ride on this aircraft type and 7th airline to have flown on this aircraft type
3rd onboard 9V-SPQ (including airshow visit)
Engines: 4x PW4056
Line number: 1289
Plane delivered: 31-10-2001
Registration: 9V-SPQ (To become EI-XLO, Transaero)
Flight Duration: 4 hrs
Scheduled departure time: 0830
Actual departure time: 0830 (pushed back)
Scheduled arrival time: 1315
Actual arrival time: 1300
Load factor: Close to 100%
Departure gate: B7(Terminal 3)
Arrival gate: C25
Departure runway: 02C
Arrival runway: 07L
I didn't book this flight until to the last minute and it was exactly around 0415 hrs on the actual day itself. As usual, when booking on SQ's website, it was not a pleasant experience. The bugs which have been around since the launch of this website made me very frustrated. In the end, I was relieved and glad that I made it for both of the flights. It was my first time doing a return flight on the same day. Since young, I had flown a lot of SQ's Boeing 747-400 and it was a great feeling to be flying again before it is gone forever. I told myself, it is now or never! The reason why I didn't book earlier was that I had a commitment on this day. I decided to cancel it and just go for it. I didn't sleep at all throughout the night, so I apologized to anyone whom I met especially to the nice and friendly ladies (Wendy and Tracy) as at times I couldn't find the right words. (Took longer than usual to reply)
It was only appropriate that SQ ended the 747-400 revenue service (tribute flight) on the very first route of the 747 to HKG (B747-200). Anyway, I felt disappointed that there was no water cannon salute which I was hoping for and a rumoured flypast Marina Bay Sand Hotel was not true after all. In addition, I felt that the return flight number should be SQ744 instead of 748, as the number 748 sounds more of the Boeing 747-8. Other than that, I was pleased with the events that SQ had arranged.
Before my flight
I decided to do my check-in at the airport instead, hoping to take some photos of any special decoration for this flight and also to get an emergency row seat if possible so that I have legroom space and also able to move around without disturbing anyone else. As I didn't sleep for the whole night, I went to the airport quite early. I saw on SBS's website that the first bus of 53 would arrive at 0535. However the bus didn't turn up at 0550, so I took a taxi to the airport.
When I reached there, the check-in counters were opened.
Check-in was a breeze, the staff was friendly and I was given this pass. So I made my way to the gate B7 where the celebrations were to be held. The excitement was increasing as I made my way to the gate.
Once I reached the gate, I had a little problem with the security counter. It was almost 630am and one of the ladies told me to come back at 0730. I explained to her there was supposed to be a reception, but she still insists on me coming back at 0730 unless I was a staff for SQ. I looked very puzzled, but luckily someone else came and said to her to allow me in as it was time for the event.
Once inside, I took the chance to take as many photos as possible before the crowds come. Always like to be early especially when it comes to flying. Looking at the beautiful Boeing 747-400, always make me smile. There is something about this aircraft that makes it different from the others.
The flight crew posed for the camera!
Once the party had started, the host kick-started the event with a blast and to be honest, at that point of time, I just wanted to settle into my seat on board and take a nap for an hour or two.
The event was quite happening. The holding area was filled with passengers and SQ staff. The SQ staff did a performance and not long after a speech was done. Had some breakfast and soon after boarding commerced. What was missing from this whole event was water cannon salute - still haven't got to experience it. (July 2014)
Soon it was time to board the aircraft, a huge crowd gathered at the boarding area and we were boarded by different classes before the economy class passengers were seated by rows. It took around 20 minutes before I got myself onto the aircraft. Along the way, we were given a goodies bag which consists of the following items.
On my way to the aircraft.
Welcome aboard! The crew knew they were going to have a tough day.
Once onboard, I made my way to my middle seat. Fortunately for me, 2 nice ladies of small built came and sat beside me. We had a bit of chat throughout the flight and some explanation on the last flight. Great chat! Anyway, once everyone was settled down, the Captain gave us a warm welcome and was very informative with the flight details. This was our program. First, we had a toast to the B747-400 with either champaign or orange/apple juice which took place 30 minutes after takeoff. After that, we played our bingo game in which we had to get 5 numbers in straight, diagonally or horizontally. Once it is done, we had an interval before our lunch and another hour later, another quiz this time it was questioned on SQ's 747-400 history and then that was the last program before we enjoyed our landing in cloudy Hong Kong. I have to admit I did quite a bit of exploring only in the Y class. I met up with a few old friends such as Benny Zheng, Aaron Yan, Nicholas Chee and new ones too. We all share the same passion, that is the love of flying and the aircraft we follow. It was a flight with mixed feeling, to be honest. I wished SQ would keep the 747-400 longer, but then its the airline's policy to maintain a young fleet, so that I can understand. Just as long as the aircraft doesn't head to the scrapyard, that all matters. In fact, the good news for us is that this airline would be flying for Transaero once the aircraft touched down back to Singapore. Anyway, here are some of my inflight photos.
So happy to be on board the Queen of the sky once again.
We got to play the Bingo game, unfortunately, I didn't win.
A glass of champagne for everyone on board! Orange juice was for those who can't drink it.
A news reporter was in action!
Proof to show that I was indeed onboard 9V-SPQ!
The in-flight meal was excellent, I had a choice of the beef or the fish. I chose the beef and it tasted better than the normal standard economy class. The best so far, for sure. Thoroughly enjoyed it, I had Singapore sling to complement my meal.
Approach to HKG was slightly bumpy especially going through the clouds, as predicted by the Captain. There were 4 pilots on board today so they would take turns to fly this majestic aircraft. 21 cabin crews were on duty today taking turns of course. It was also nice to see Mr Mak walking around, having chats with passengers. Not just him, the pilots off duty were also seen. Anyway, seat belt sign came on and the landing in HKG was as usual, great! I was hoping to see a few fire engines waiting for our aircraft to pass them and a cannon salute for our aircraft, but that didn't happen. We landed on runway 07L and made our way to our gate at C25. The feeling of this being the last flight out of SIN has definitely got into my head at this point. It took me a while to realise and digest it, but at least we are ending it on a high note, right?
Overall, this is not the typical normal flight you have, this flight was certainly special in many ways: Flying SQ's 747-400 on its last flight, flying with many familiar faces, playing games on board, interacting with the members of SQ's staffs and of course having a delicious meal fit for a King.
Service on board was quite good considering the fact that many of us were walking up and down the aisle making it difficult for them. As an observer, one of them seems to be nervous on this occasion but in general, this set of crews did their jobs well, with the usual SQ smiles on their faces. Comparing with EVA Air that I flew 8 flights with them not long ago, the Taiwanese carrier's service has a lot to do to match the service of SQ.
On ground service: 6/10
SIN airport experience: 10/10
In-flight service: 8/10
In-flight meal: 9/10
Seat comfort: 7/10 (Ample legroom space)
IFE System: 5/10 (non-AVOD)
Aircraft condition: 9/10
Overall rating: 72/90
It was definitely a flight experience to remember and it is not every day you get to fly a flight of such significance. This was my very first flight of such and I hope this will be the first of the many!
Do check out my part 2 of my SQ's farewell flights experience.
Thank you for reading!