Friday, 14 October 2022

Flying Singapore Airlines Boeing 737-800 (Part 1: SIN-HKT)

 Welcome to my trip report on Singapore Airlines 737-800! 



My ride: Singapore Airlines Boeing 737-800 (9V-MGM)

Introduction 

I was looking at the 737 MAX 8 routes and comparing with the prices, Phuket was the most attractive option for me. If I had known this route would have its aircraft changed to the 737-800, I would have gone somewhere else instead. I was also thinking of doing SIN-HKT-BKK-SIN, flying on SQ's 737 MAX 8, Thai Vietjetair and returning home from BKK on SQ's A350. Despite the disappointment of the aircraft change, I had a good time in Phuket and Bangkok. More on that in my next few trip reports. I booked this return flight about a few months ago with an attractive airfare of about S$180 per person in Economy Basic Class. Adding on another $22 per person for the seat on each leg, overall it cost just under $230 for the return flight. I would be going with my partner on this trip as she deserves a good break. Without further ado, let's begin this trip report! 

For my short trip, I will be flying on this route (Below) with the following airlines: Singapore Airlines 737-800 (Twice), Thai Vietjet A320 (HKT-BKK) and Thai Smiles A320 (BKK-HKT) 



Why did the Boeing 737 enter Singapore Airlines's fleet?

As you know Covid has ruined a lot of businesses, a lot of lives and affect those that depend heavily on transport to get from once place to another. With multiple lockdowns and drastic measures being taken to prevent the virus situation from going out of control. Fortunately things have improved now, much to my surprise. This is great for the economy especially the small business. As for the aviation world, many airlines have cut/reduce the network and operate the more efficient fleet. For Singapore Airlines, the management has decided to reduce the types to just 2. Scoot - the low cost carrier and Singapore Airlines taking over the assets of Silkair including the routes and the aircraft types. 

In 2012, Silkair shocked the aviation world by announcing an order for 68 Boeing 737 which includes both the -800 and MAX 8. The airline received its first 737-800 in February 2014 and the first 737 MAX 8 in October 2017. A year later, the announcement was made to transfer a number of Boeing 737-800 to Scoot to better optimse the group's network. However due to the grounding of the MAX 8, the plans was changed, SQ (Singapore Airlines) would instead take in all the 737s from Silkair and Scoot would continue to operate an Airbus narrow-body fleet of A320 and A321. 

Booking with Singapore Airlines's website and mobile app 

Singapore Airlines's Basic Economy Class is known as Economy Lite Class. These are the conditions (below) which suits me fine, I decided to save the extra $ for shopping. 


I picked the standard seats since its a short flight. I was tempted to book window and aisle seat for both of us but I decided not to especially if the worst scenario happens and my partner would be unhappy with me. 


As you can see the scheduled aircraft was 737 MAX 8, the aireraft was changed about 2 weeks before my flight. 





Singapore Airlines's website and mobile app is more user-friendly than the previous version. I managaed to get my booking and check-in done without issues. So for this, I give the airline a thumbs up for the user-friendly experience. 

On the day of departure 

I selected the evening flight as the airfare was cheaper. I was glad I didn't overspend on this flight as the 737-800 which the airline would operate until 2025 was configured in Silkair's configuration, only difference is the seat covering is in Singapore Airline's colours. I have flown with Silkair's 737-800, you can check out the trip report for comparison. (Click here for the trip report). 

Once I arrived at terminal 3, I checked in my partner's baggage and the experience was a pleasant one. 






The self check-in kiosk 

I have to personally thank the staff for helping us with the process. We got stuck for a while as the machine didn't recognise the barcode but after getting her help, it was done. 





At the airside 

Since we had time to spare, we walked quite a bit at terminal 3. Our gate was located at terminal 2 so we decided to take a long walk and then the skytrain over to our gate. 



I am very happy to see the A380 in service again. 


It was nice to see the crowd again after a couple of turbulent years for everyone. 


From here, we took the train over to our gate. 


I stopped by one of the small cafes and bought this noodle soup with pork.


A view of the expressway while we were on the skytrain heading to terminal 2. 





Now we were at terminal 2. Can you see the difference between this (below) and the terminal 3 (above)? 




At the boarding gate 


At this point, I sighed heavily as the 737-800 was being towed in from a remote parking lot. 




It was time to board our plane! 


It turned out to be a full flight as majority of the passengers were connecting passengers. 


Time to board! 


I wasn't excited about flying this aircraft, honestly speaking. 


My ride: 9V-MGM (Photo: Andrew Hunt) 


9V-MGM in Silkair livery (Photo: Andre Giam) 


Aircraft owned (Formerly Silkair's aircraft) 
Transferred to Singapore Airlines in May 2021
Configuration: C12 Y150
Age: 7 years old (Sept 2022)
Line number: 5572 
Engines: 2 X CFM56- 7B
Built in Renton (RNT)

My flight route: SIN-HKT 


Miles: 607

Date of departure: 17 September 2022
Airline: Singapore Airlines 
Flight: SQ740 
Route: SIN-HKT
Aircraft type: Boeing 737-800
Registration: 9V-MGM 
Seat: 61A 
Gate: F20 
Terminal: 2 
Load in Y class: 100%
Boarding: 1802 
Pushed back: 1847 
Scheduled departure: 1830
Announced flight duration: 1 hour 30 mins
Actual flight duration: 1 hour 24 mins 
Take off: 1906
Scheduled arrival: 1920 
Actual arrival: 1930
Take off runway: 20L 
Arrival runway: 27 

My in-flight experience 

Once on board the aircraft, it took a while before everyone settle down. I noticed that the wifi was not working as I wasn't able to connect and it remain like that for the duration of the flight that means no entertainment on this flight. There was charging port and usb point located at the leg of the armrest which is incovenient especially for the usb port. Anyway, it was a short flight so it doesn't matter. 

I spent the time chatting with my partner as we taxiied a long way to runway 20L. It was my first time departing from this runway as currently runway 20C was closed due to the construction of terminal 5. Once airborne, we headed north-east towards Phuket with a bit of bumps along the way. Meal service was served after half an hour of flying. I notice that there were 2 meal trolleys and both of them were served from the front and that means a good chance those that were sitting near the rear may missed out on one of the choices for the meal service and it proved the case when the trolley came to my row. We missed out on the fish so we settled for both chicken and beef. 

I felt that the meal service of both trolleys should start from the front row to middle row and back row to middle so that it would be evenly contributed and it makes more sense. Anyway the in-flight service was not bad and one crew in particular was exceptional. I didn't want to incovenient her and ordered a drink from the cart as she told me that she would serve me my drink later. Knowing how busy this crew is especially on this short flight, its better to think for them. However, after the meals were served, she came and gave me my drink, I was impressed! For the rest of the flight, it was uneventful but we landed 10 minutes late. 
Business Class 

This reminds me of the U.S domestic first class seats. 




For the airfare that this airline is charging for this business class product, I would rather sit at the back. 

Economy Class 







The only thing I like about this aircraft is the fantastic Boeing Sky Interior. 




The dropdown screen showing the safety video.




The literature holder of every seat in Y class makes the whole cabin looks very budget style. 



More photos of the Economy Class Seats 


There are only 2 usb ports and power point for every row of seats in the Y Class cabin.


The airvent and reading light was available together with the call button. 


Doesn't this remind you of the olden days of flying which the audio entertainment was the only option?


Legroom space was tight. 


What's inside the seat pocket? 

Disposal Bag


Safety Card


In-Flight Entertainment 

Basically - zero entertainment on this flight, as the WiFi was not working on our flight. 

In-flight meals 

We were given a choice of Chicken Mash Potato, Beef Noodles and Fish (Unfortunately, it wasn't available when the crew served us) 

This is SQ's latest in-flight Economy Class Boxed meals for flights up to 3.5 hours. 

What can I say? For short-haul flights, I suppose they are alright but for longer sectors, one would expect more from this meal especially when you are paying premium prices flying out of Singapore. My partner and I were feeling underwhelmed when we first look at it. Where was the usual casseroles, aluminium foil and plastic-wrapped metal cultery? Was this one of the ways of cost savings? These were the things that came into our mind. The airline has mentioned that this new concept of Economy Class meals would offer more food choices for passengers, the paper boxes retain heat longer and helps to reduce the weight of the in-flight meals, which means the aircraft's fuel consumption would benefit from this change as it burns lesser according to the airline.This paper boxes can be recycled into refuse-derived fuel, generating lesser waste as a result. 

However, from my prospective, what I see here, is the reduction of the meal, as no warm bread and appetizer being included and I see it more of a downgrade, than anything else. I might as well pay for my meals on a budget airline like Scoot flying on this same route. Perhaps I should, since the 737 MAX 8 was changed to 737-800. Furthermore I feel that this looks more like a takaway from the restaurant bringing it home to enjoy. Even so the box should be bigger for take-away. So for me personally, I dislike this product. 

My partner had the chicken and she didn't like it. We ended up later getting dinner at a restaurant nearby the hotel as we were still hungry. 


I had the beef noodles, it was saltish and it is not to my liking. The ice cream does make up for the disappointment and as for the drink, I chose apple juice as a replacement of my original drink (which I thought). I originally ordered tonic water. Overall, I was underwhelmed with the meal. 


It has been quite a while since I last enjoy this type of ice cream in flight.


Designed for a Cause? That would be cutting cost in my opinion. That's the only thing I see about this meal concept)


Window shot photos 

Our engines were started and we were on our way. 



It took about 15-20 minutes of taxi before we reached the runway. 


Taking off was slightly bumpy. 




Near the end of the flight, the beautiful sunset was about to disappear from the skies. 


We took about 8 minutes before reaching the gate. 


Arrival at HKT Airport


Clearing immigration was fast and the good news is that we didn't have to fill up any immigration forms, making the process faster. 



Once we were outside the airport, we took our waiting driver who drove us to our hotel. More of Phuket and the hotel we stayed in my next trip report. 

My flight review 



My rating

Airline's mobile app and website: 4/5 
Airport staff: 4/5 
In-Flight Service: 4/5
Seat comfort: 3/5 
Cabin interior: 3/5 
In-Flight Entertainment: 0/5 
Cleanliness: 4/5 
In-Flight Meals: 2/5
Punctuality: 4/5 (arrival 10 minutes late)
In-Flight experience: 4/5 
Overall rating: 30/50
Percentage: 60%
Verdict: Average 

Conclusion 

After flying on U.S domestic flights with Jetblue, Alaska, and Delta Airlines, I was expecting something better as this is supposed to be one of the best airlines in the world. I was underwhelmed with my experience, due to 2 factors, the meal service, and the Y-class product. I can do without the IFE system as it is a short flight. If it's longer than 3 hours, I would expect more, that's for sure. The only consolation from this flight is that outstanding crew. Let me give you a conclusion of SQ's 737-800 on my return leg. 

Hope you enjoy this trip report! Next trip report, My time in Phuket and the flight to Bangkok with Thai Vietjetair! 

Thanks for reading! 
Charles 


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