Welcome to my first trip report of 2023!
First, I like to wish you all readers, a happy 2023 new year! May your wish come true and stay safe always.
Since the aircraft type was changed to 737-800, I wasn't so excited about the return flight. The few days in Thailand was great and as usual, time went past far too quickly for our liking. Anyway, after arriving from Bangkok, we had about 5 hours to kill so we spent our time at the restaurant in the Phuket international terminal. If I had known of the aircraft change, I would have just booked the BKK-SIN on the A350 instead. Checking the registration of the aircraft that I could have flown on, it was 9V-SMP. Anyway, after arrival from Bangkok, we had about 5 hours to countdown for our flight back to Singapore. Phuket Airport isn't ideal for long layover, as it is small with limited facilities. There are lounge access available for business class passengers but I doubt there is anything to shout about in this airport.
Phuket international terminal
This airport is located about 32km away from the centre of Phuket. So to get to the city, its best to travel by car and the grab or other transport app does the trick. This is the 3rd busiest airport in Thailand and many like to visit Phuket for surfing and relaxing at the beaches. This airport has 3 terminals: Terminal X - for charter flights, terminal 2 for international flights and terminal 3 for domestic flights. They are within walking distance between the domestic and international terminal.
My partner and I walked from the domestic terminal to the international and it roughly took around 10 minutes to do so.
The international terminal
The interior looks similar to SGN Airport.
Nothing much to do at the international land side area. Airport WiFi was available but the connection was slow during this period.
Before we checked in, we went to have our lunch at a restaurant in this terminal.
We ordered the Tom Yum soup with egg omelette with rice plus a drink to enjoy our last few hours of our trip.
This is the mango sticky rice. The food quality is so-so, you can of course, get better quality in town.
Once the time to check-in (3 hours before our schedule departure) came, we headed to the check-in counters. The process was done quickly and efficient.
Checking what aircraft we be flying on, we were to be flying on a different 737-800, this time on 9V-MGC.
Once security to the airside was done, we decided to walk around and check out the shops before grabbing a light meal later on.
The air-side of the international terminal
There are more duty-free shops in this part of the terminal.
This is one of the business class lounges at the airport.
Overall, the terminal reminds me of the U.S airports except that the traffic over here at this timing was light.
Thai Smile Airbus A320 was being prepared to fly to another city in Thailand.
We decided to have something to eat before our flight.
I had the fried rice.
My partner had this Chinese style seafood rice.
Soon it was time to board, the flight ended up to be pretty full as most passengers at the terminal was boarding this flight.
My ride, 9V-MGC.
My ride: 9V-MGC (Photo: Andrew Hunt)
Aircraft leased from Pembroke (Previously operated by Silkair)
Boeing 737-800 with winglets
Configuration: C12 Y150
Engines: 2 X CFM56-7B27E
Transferred to SQ: March 2021
Built in Renton (RNT)
My flight route: HKT-SIN
Date of departure: 21 September 2022
Airlines: Singapore Airlines
Flight: SQ 735
Aircraft type: Boeing 737-800
Load in Y Class: 90%
Flight duration: 1 hr 40 mins
Actual flight time: 1 hr 38 mins
Schedule departure: 1810
Schedule arrival: 2100
Pushed back: 1808
Take off: 1819
Actual arrival: 2057
Departure runway: 27
Arrival runway: 20R
My in-flight experience
Once on board, I was surprised that a cabin crew sat beside me at the aisle seat. My partner this time had the window seat. I believe there were more crew on this flight, possibly the senior crew training the junior crew, giving them some valuable experience working on this flight.
Anyway, while waiting for departure, my partner and I agreed that the cabin was hot as the air con wasn't functioning at that point of time. Later on, there was a loud pitch noise which I had experienced on my Delta Airlines A321CEO flight (Click here for the trip report) which went on until the aircraft took off. Announcement made by the cabin and flight crew was too soft and to make it worse, the WiFI connection didn't work until midway through the flight. Fortunately this was a short flight, so it was bearable.
As for the in-flight meal service, we had a choice of seafood laska and Chicken pasta in the mini box. We had both and after trying them, I prefer the seafood laska. The interesting choices of meals I must say is the highlight of this flight. For dessert, we had the walnut cake, it was ok.
Since the WiFi connection wasn't working for half of the flight, I spent the time chatting and enjoying the spectacular view for some parts of the flight. There were patches of turbulence, nothing bad but we landed smoothly at Changi Airport. This would turn out to be my last flight for 2022 as I decided to concentrate on work and save up for my flying trip next year.
Overall, while the service was ok, the experience flying on the airline's 737-800 was disappointing. However, I should book myself on the airline's 737 MAX 8 to review the airline again as that would be a better comparison due to it's up-to-date in-flight product.
The dreaded windowless seat on this 737-800.
Legroom space is better at the emergency rows but they cost more.
What I like about the Boeing Sky Interior is the mood lighting.
More photos of my seat
The krisworld wifi connection was initially not working, only during mid-flight, I was able to connect.
Good varieties of movies. I didn't use the entertainment system as I see no point since the flight duration was left than half an hour to go before landing.
Unfortunately, my partner's phone wasn't able to connect to Krisworld.
The passengers sitting on the right side of the aircraft got to enjoy the sunset view.
My Flight Review
After the flight, I was reading my twitter when I came across @JTGenter's tweet that he was on the same flight as me so I met up with him and his wife briefly after arrival at SIN. Here is the photo!
If you readers out there would like to meet me in person, feel free to send me a message! Always love to meet up with fellow travellers and avgeeks. :)
HKT Airport Experience: 3/5
Airport mobile app: 4/5
Check-in counter staff: 3/5
Seat comfort: 3/5
Cabin interior: 3/5
In-Flight Entertainment: 2/5
Cleaniness of the aircraft: 4/5
In-Flight meals: 3.5/5
In-Flight Experience: 2.5/5
Overall rating: 33/50
Verdict: Not too bad
Singapore Airlines is one of the top airlines in the world and as one knows that usually you pay premium for the product of what the airline is offering. Fortunately, the airfare I paid with SQ was at a reasonable rate so no complaints at all in regards to my flight experience on both flights. If I had pay more for it though, I would be disappointed. The idea of coming out with a different concept has to be applauded but I am not a fan of it, as I preferred the standard layout though that means selection of meals is limited. The seat comfort is bearable for 2 hours and no longer and the business class is similar to the U.S Domestic first class seats, not SQ level of standard if you ask me. The good news is that the airline will be retiring these 737-800s in 2025 and that means the standard cabin class products would then be covered on all the regional and international routes operated by the Boeing 737 MAX.
I hope you enjoyed this last trip report of 2022! Stay tuned for my upcoming trip report in May 2023, more information to be released on one of my next blog posts.
For my part 1 of this trip report, click here.
Thanks for reading!