Saturday, 22 February 2014

Flying SilkAir's Boeing 737-800 on its 2nd revenue flight

Welcome to my trip reports on my Indonesian trip in February 2014!


I will be doing them in parts, first starting with SilkAir's Boeing 737-800 trip report. 

Here is my itinerary

14th Feb SIN-KUL A320 (9V-SLB)
14th Feb KUL-CGK A340 (9K-ANB)
17th Feb CGK-DPS A332 (PK-GPJ)
18th Feb DPS-SUB CRK (PK-GRI)
18th Feb SUB-CGK 735 (PK-CLI)
19th Feb CGK-KUL 739 (9M-LNF)

Introduction


How did this trip come about?

Well, it all began in December when a few of my friends had done some wonderful trips of catching their desired aircraft type and I thought I need to do one soon so I decided to do it in February, the 14th would be the perfect day for me. I knew the Singapore Air show would be around at that time, but I thought maybe I might skip it to concentrate on my trip. In the end, I didn't go for the air show due to work. No regrets at all!

Once I decided that I would be going somewhere in February, I looked up at the 'Skyscanner' application and trip reports on airliners.net to see where I should go. My friend gave me an idea and that was to fly Kuwait Airways to Jakarta. Originally I was supposed to fly until to the 18th which meant that I wouldn't have been able to do some of the flights, but because SilkAir had brought forward the inaugural flight of the Boeing 737-800 to 20th February, I decided to go ahead and do it.

Once I knew which airlines I wanted to fly on, I decided on this routing. I wanted to add the SSJ into the list but wasn't able to find a favourable timing. SSJ can wait, but not the 737-200. That was my priority!



My original routing: SIN-KUL-CGK-PKN-CGK-DPS-SUB-CGK-KUL-SIN

later became 

SIN-KUL-CGK-DPS-SUB-CGK-KUL-SIN

However, CGK-PKN-CGK route was postponed and I had to re-adjust my schedule, more of that in my next trip report. 

Once I made my decision, I went ahead and do the booking one by one. I was to travel alone for most part of the trip until the last sector, KUL-SIN with SilkAir's Boeing 737-800 with my friend, Julius.

Silk Air's Boeing 737-800 trip report

When SilkAir announced the order of 737s (MAX and current), it shocked the aviation industry especially in Singapore. Few expected Boeing to win the order. Congratulations to Boeing for winning this order! In hindsight, it is a good thing for us as we have already a lot of Airbus A320 operators in Singapore. A good mix of Airbus and Boeing narrow-bodies would certainly give the aviation spotters in Singapore more varieties to choose from when deciding which airline to fly. 

                        Without further ado, let's begin the trip report!




I completed my booking and chose the seat 22A, however I changed it a few times before finally settling for 26F. I couldn't make up my mind!


On the day of departure

On the day itself, I checked out from the hotel I stayed in, Bury Inn. Its at Subang area and is about 15 minutes away from the Airport. However the hotel is at a very remote place where very few shops were available. The nearest shopping mall or even a convenient store was a 15 minutes drive so unless you are staying for a night or just a quick stopover, I wouldn't recommend this hotel. Furthermore, the room I stayed in wasn't in the good condition; dirty bed and noisy air-con. Fortunately, I managed to get a decent rest.

I woke up at 5.30 and was at the airport around 6.15 in the morning. Since I had a bit of time to spare, I went to do my check-in before having my breakfast at Secret Recipe while waiting for my friend, Julius to join me.




Did a bit of checking to make sure my flight was confirmed.







The check-in counters were vacant when I went over, I went to the male staff and he knew about the 737-800 and jokingly asked me whether I wanted to change my flight to the earlier which was an A320 (9V-SLG), my response was "You have to be kidding, right?" A bit of humour in the morning did both of us some good. Great service! After he issued me the ticket, he wished me a great flight and told me to take many photos! Nice.


Anyway, we checked-in after a quick bite. I had this for breakfast, banana chocolate cake with a cup of warm honey lemon tea.


Gate C11 was perfect for photography! Both of us took quite a number of photos of this beauty. 


Checking the arrival time of this flight, the aircraft arrived late by 10 minutes. 


Personally I felt that the airline should have taken this opportunity to change its livery. This 25th anniversary ribbon livery across the fuselage is painted on this aircraft to celebrate the occasion. It looks alright to me, but nothing outstanding about it though. 

Unfortunately for the spotters, the aircraft is now in the normal livery.


Carrier: SilkAir 
Flight number: MI321
Routing: KUL-SIN
Date: 20th February 2014
Seat number: 26F 
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800 with winglets
Registration: 9V-MGA
Delivered on 9th February 2014
Engines: 2 X CFM56-7BE
Departing gate: C11
Arrival gate: E2 (Terminal 2) 
Schedule departure: 0855
Retimed departure: 0905
Push back: 0920 
Schedule arrival: 0950
Actual arrival: 1025 
Duration: 40 mins 
Departing runway: 32R
Arrival runway 02L 

Our flight route of the day! 


The reason why I didn't book the very first flight was because of the airfare which I didn't feel it was worth paying for such a short sector. For both of my MI's flights, I paid around $105, slightly more expensive than the Low Cost Carriers but for this occasion, I made it an exception.

I was very disappointed that there wasn't any sort of celebration; water cannon salute, little party ...etc in KUL to celebrate the arrival of the new aircraft. Nothing at all even on board - no announcements or anything. Most passengers boarded the aircraft as per normal, they don't seem to care whether its a new plane or not, just as long as they reach their destination on time and that matters. For this case, the aircraft came late and we departed quite late too due to heavy traffic at KUL at that time. It didn't make matter any better when the pilot announced that we were 8th in the queue for departure. I didn't mind the delay at all; more time on the plane, the better for both of us! 

Photos of the cabin


Frankly speaking, when I first stepped into my seat and saw this, I was wondering to myself, am I on an LCC, where is the IFE system? Yes, there is the online wifi system but not all would use the wifi. 



Julius and I wonder what's the gap for since the magazines and the safety card was located at the seat pocket below. 





A common sight on all new Boeing aircraft! 



The seat pitch is very tight even without the PTV's box. 



Audio system to listen to news or music. 



Boeing Sky Interior makes the cabin more pleasant. 



A Low Cost Carrier's cabin if you ask me 



Since not all the seats were taken, I moved myself to this row later on during the flight.




I like the orange colour, it matches the cabin quite well together with the Boeing Sky interior, however I find the seat a bit hard for my liking. Not very comfortable if you fly medium - long haul. 

Photos taken inside the toilet.






More photos of the seats


The Boeing Sky Interior is one of the positive aspects about this cabin.





Flight wasn't full; there were a few empty seats at the back and only a couple of rows were vacant. 



The emergency row exit! Julius was sitting here so I gave it a try while he went exploring the cabin.





Legroom space is definitely better and I recommend anyone with long legs to choose the emergency row.






Photo taken after the flight. The seat colour does looks nice. 







A cute flight attendent posing for us! 




J Class seats 










I was able to photograph both the Y and J class seats in one photo. There was another plane spotter on board, he is from Malaysia.




A photo taken of myself on board 9V-MGA!



My verdict on the the in-flight product

One word to say, 'underwhelming'! I expect more from SilkAir especially when its supposed to be a full cost carrier, a premium carrier being taken care by Singapore Airlines. Coming from my previous flight, Malindo Air, my jaws dropped when I sat down at my seat. I cannot express how disappointed I was with the product. Like I have mentioned earlier, its like flying on a Low Cost Carrier, being only offered a drink on this flight. ( I know MH also offers drink on this route as well) Besides this, no drop-down screen to display the flight route or anything.

From my understand, I was told that Wireless-wifi would be installed on these new Boeing, but a few questions would be; Will it be free? Some of the countries that the plane flies through, would there be connection? Would everyone use the wifi? If that happens, will that slow down the connection...etc Some of the questions I can think of for now. My friend has answered them, the wifi streaming will be free and the connection should be fine if many are using it a the same time. I did turn on my wifi to check but it wasn't switched on, so if someone could do a write up about this, that would be great for the rest! 

In addition to the information I received so far: there are actually 2 power plugs and 2 USB outlets in every block of 3 seats and they are located below the seats. I didn't know about this until then. I am pretty sure others would have missed them too. So SilkAir, please paste a sticker somewhere to let the passengers know about their existence. 

On the bright side, the cabin service was great, all of them had smiles on their faces and were just like me preferred the A320 over this aircraft. Main reason from them was more work was required on the 737 than the 320. The flight deck crew did apologize for the delay and kept us updated through out the flight which was good. 


Only a drink was served and this was very disappointing. I expect more from this airline. 

Even on a 40 minutes flight from DPS-SUB (Denpasar to Surabaya), I was offered this on my Garuda's CRJ1000 flight! 




See the difference? 

What's inside the seat pocket!?




This magazine has some interesting content and you are allowed to take it with you according to a crew on my previous A320 flight. Another source of entertainment for the passengers. 





Window-shot photos

From take-off to landing




Malaysia Airlines' livery on the A380 is hideous, probably the worst in my opinion












The take-off was very bumpy and noisy! 


I was glad to move to the left side. The flight in general was pretty smooth especially landing in Singapore. Weather was perfect for flying and if only the flight would continue for another hour or so. 








 Beautiful view, isn't it?








At this point, we were on our final approach. 



When you have good weather, you are able to take superb photos like this! 





Welcome back to Singapore, Charles! 

Overall, I am not impressed with the seats. Cramp + hard seats make it very uncomfortable for me. If I am to fly with on this aircraft in the near future, its either business class or the emergency row. 

Is it worth paying more to fly with Silk Air? No, not at all. 

Just check out Malindo Air's in-flight product. This was taken from Jakarta to Kuala Lumpur the day before this fight. This carrier is considered between Low Cost and Full Cost, yet it offers lots more than Silkair. 


The Chicken briyani cost RM12 and its worth it. 

Thanks for the ride, 9V-MGA! 



My rating:

Website: 8/10 
On-ground service: 8//10
In-flight service: 8/10 
Seat comfort: 6/10 
Cabin interior: 8/10 
Aircraft cleanliness: 10/10
Punctuality: 3/10 
In-flight snack/drink: 3/10 
Overall rating: 54/80 

Conclusion

This airline purchased the Boeing 737-800NG and MAX for fleet renewal and expansion and also introduced a new Y class product and wireless entertainment system on board. I am glad to be able to sample the new aircraft and in-flight product. However, I was disappointed with the offerings from the airline. In my opinion, I prefer using the IFE screen on every individual seat, like Malindo Air and the economy class seat is a huge let-down. I wouldn't want to fly this on flights more than 2 hours as I would probably have backache after the flight! Service on the other hand was great, it was nice to see this set of crew interacting with the passengers. 


Thank you for reading my trip report. 

Cheers,
Charles 

My take-off video 


My landing video 





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