Home > India, Lounges, Singapore Airlines, Star Alliance, Trip Reports > Asia 2012 Trip Report: Singapore Airlines Business Class, Singapore to Mumbai

Asia 2012 Trip Report: Singapore Airlines Business Class, Singapore to Mumbai

Part 1: Introduction

Part 2: United Airlines LAX-SFO, United International First Class Lounges at LAX/SFO

Part 3: United Airlines Global First Class, San Francisco to Frankfurt

Part 4: Lufthansa First Class Terminal at Frankfurt

Part 5: Lufthansa FRA-ZRH, SWISS First Class Lounge at Zürich

Part 6: SWISS First Class, Zürich to Hong Kong

Part 7: Emirates A380 First Class Suites, Hong Kong to Bangkok

Part 8: Singapore Airlines Business Class, Bangkok to Singapore

Part 9: Exploring Singapore

Part 10: Singapore Airlines Business Class, Singapore to Mumbai

—————————————-

There are plenty of worse places to sit out a long airport stay than Changi airport, with or without lounge access. All the cool stuff is in T3, but India and Southeast Asia flights all depart T2, so I was relegated to the older terminal on this itinerary. In fact, I didn’t know if I could have gone to T3 … I imagine so, but didn’t question it until close to boarding time, way too late to go visit another terminal. I’ll visit T3 on another trip in the near-future …

Terminal 2 SilverKris Lounge. Business to the left, First to the right.

Can’t get enough of this table!

After a while, it was apparent that the only two departures remaining were my flight to Mumbai and another to Delhi. Both have departures past 2am on the weekends, which I can’t say for any other flight that departs T2. Since the Silver Kris lounges are for only Singapore Airlines business passengers, the lounge was full of passengers heading to the subcontinent on either of these flights. Already, I was being reintroduced to the motherland.

With eyes drooping, I tried to get some shut-eye in the far corner of the lounge, devoid of any other passengers. This worked for about 10 minutes until a group of Delhi-ites joined the seats near me and started speaking loudly in Hindi. I asked them in their native tongue to keep it down, but got dirty looks instead.

So I moved to the other side of the lounge, where I was soon joined by a family of 6, including 3 playfully excited and loud children. Needless to say, I got up as soon as possible (and prayed they were on the Delhi flight and not the Mumbai one).

After a quick dose of caffeine via the coffee machine, I decided to whip out my computer and check/respond to emails before being disconnected for lord knows how long. The business center in the lounge is right near the entrance – some of the stations have computers in them, while others are simply desk areas for work. I took one of the latter and was actually productive for 15 minutes, until getting distracted by a gentleman behind me who was blasting Indian Premier League cricket video highlights at full volume. Seriously, dude?? I tried to ask him to lower the volume, which he would do momentarily before raising it again a short while later. When his child joined him and began playing internet games at similar volume, I packed up my things and left the lounge and joined the peaceful serenity of an empty Terminal 2.

I made a visit to the duty-free store right below the lounge to get some chocolates for my family in India (and to get rid of the remaining Singaporean dollars I had). By then, it was 1:00am, and the two India flights were assigned “F” gates in the high 50s, about 15 minutes walk away. Frankly, I don’t blame the airline for sticking us at the end of the terminal. The behavior in the lounge shows we’re a loud bunch.

T2

Indoor gardens and koi ponds. Non-lounge serenity.

I made the walk to gate F58 and was greeted by a long line for security check. It took about 10 minutes in line, but I was quickly let in and took a seat toward the gate, surrounded by all sorts of folks with green boarding passes denoting Economy.

One thing I love to do when I’m on my own is people-watch, and with the amount of people in the gate area, that was an easy task to do. While mostly Indians, there was a diverse array of folks around. Next to me was a young couple with a kid not older than 3-years-old. They were filling out the immigration cards and talking to their child in their native Marathi tongue, asking him if he was excited to go on the plane but also telling him to keep quiet when he shouted answers. Across were a couple of older Indian grandmothers, adoring the young couple’s child, mentioning that they each had grandchildren his age. On the other side was a group of three Australians, all excited to visit India for the first time on a volunteering trip. It’s surreal to think that I’d share a airborne vessel with these people for the next 5+ hours, yet would probably not see them due to a curtain separating our seating areas. They all seemed to have interesting stories, stories I’d never probably get to know deeply, yet knew only barely due to being outside the confines of a lounge. It’s easy to get jaded with all this premium class travel … sometimes a seat amongst the masses can be just as invigorating.

Oh what’s that? Business class is boarding? Out of my way, everyone! 😛

Singapore Airlines 422, SIN-BOM
2:30am – 5:00am (5h)
Boeing 777-200
Seat 18K, regional business class

This 777 has just business and economy. There is a large business class cabin at the front separated from a smaller business cabin at door 2L. I decided on the smaller cabin at the back, which turned out to be a good choice since there were only 4 of us compared to about 14 in the front. I was able to get a window seat and an empty aisle seat next to myself.

Smaller rear business cabin

Row 2

18K

Bulkhead Row 17, for comparison

View from 18K

I was welcomed by an Indian Singapore Girl, who offered some champagne and confirmed my Book the Cook meal selection I had made online. For both my flights out of Singapore, I went with Singapore Chicken Rice. A great decision. I was also given an “amenity kit,” which on SQ is just a sorry set of eyemask and odd-fitting booties to put over your feet. I know this is only business class, but I expect better. Some airlines, like Turkish, have better amenity kits in economy.

The regional business class seat itself is comfortable, more so than the old business seat from Bangkok, though it is an angled lie-flat product and not fully lie-flat like the new business. There are various places for storage but they all seem to be pretty useless. Rather than have one large storage place in the seat in front, SQ decided to place two small storage units that can’t really hold anything. The charging port is awkwardly placed in an area on the side of the seat, although they did put a good-sized space to keep a laptop computer.

Charging port/laptop slot

Seat control panel within the armrest. Apologies for the blurriness

Reading light, off and on.

Before takeoff, the FA came by to ask what I’d like to drink after takeoff, as I expected (I’m getting used to the business class routine on SQ). Since Mumbai is India, I asked for my Masala Chai that was previously unavailable, but due to the heat in the cabin (no individual air vents on SQ), asked for it iced. The FA acted as if I had requested the ice to be flown in from the north pole, commenting that “I don’t know if I could do that.” This despite the menu clearly saying that Asian teas are “[a]vailable hot or with ice.”

The disappointing thanda cold chai tea. I’ll stick to hot from here on out.

Our Boeing 777 took off toward the southwest with an incredible amount of thrust, pushing me back into the comfortable seat. Somehow I think that Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor was part of the Boeing and Rolls Royce design teams … “MORE POWER” followed by lots of grunting. This plane is the anti-Airbus A340.

As soon as the seatbelt sign turned off, the sound of seat belts clicking open emanated from the galley and jump seat areas. Given the late departure and supper service, the FAs put on a quick service. Here’s the menu, for both this flight and the return:

Supper menu: Singapore to Mumbai (SQ 422A – 2:30am departure)

Starter
*Gravadlax with mesclun and grilled vegetables
Sweet mustard dill dressing

Main
Awadhi jheenghey, bhein palak, rajimah anardana and zaitoomi pulao
Saffron prawn, lotus stem with spinach, spiced kidney beans and olive pilaf rice

Chicken and salted vegetable noodle soup
Wheat noodles in chicken soup garnished with sliced chicken and salted vegetables

Lamb loin in thyme sauce with roasted bellpeppers, asparagus, red onions and leek potato grain

Indian vegetable biryani with mirchi ka salan
Spiced vegetarian basmati rice with braised green chilli and pineapple-onion salad

Finale
A selection from the fruit basket
Gourmet coffees & selection of fine teas

Breakfast menu: Mumbai to Singapore (SQ 421A – 7:30 am departure)

Prelude
A choice of apple, tomato or freshly squeezed orange juice
Sliced fresh fruit

Starter
Choice of cereals or yoghurt
Cornflakes with milk or Birchermuesli
Plain or fruit yoghurt

Main
Stuffed vegetable paratha, spiced paneer, vegetable dumpling and Indian pickles

Seafood rice noodle soup
Rice noodles in rich broth garnished with steamed seafood and vegetables

Spinach omelette with chicken sausages, grilled tomato, mushroom and sautéed potatoes

Delicious starter. You can’t go wrong with salmon on a plane!

I don’t know why I took this picture. In my tired state, I must have forgotten that I took one before digging in.

AMAZING S’pore Chicken Rice. Look at those chili sauces!

A great meal – I definitely recommend the Singapore Chicken Rice for a BTC meal. After my setting was cleared, I put the bed down for 3 hours of solid sleep, or about as solid as one can get on angled lie flats. They’re not bad for a nap, but I wouldn’t want them on 8+ hour flights.

I was awoken as we made our initial descent into the Mumbai area, approaching from the east. I think. It looked like the east. It was dark. Frankly, I’ve never seen BOM airport during the day so I have no clue what it looks like.

We landed shortly before 5am, to a lack of fanfare. Not that any was needed, but it was a special landing for me. You see, I had just done a really really really cool travel geek thing. The furthest airport on Earth from Mumbai is Mataveri International on Easter Island, 2300 miles west of the Chilean Pacific Coast. The same airport that I had departed just 2 months earlier. From antipode to antipode, from a tiny, isolated island in the South Pacific, home of the world’s most remote airport; to the densely populated motherland, considered one of the cradles of modern civilization.

Immigration went quickly, mostly thanks to a dedicated business class line (though not that much faster than the line for the special type of Indian visa I hold).

Too early of an arrival. I had half a mind to ask the captain to figure-eight around the Arabian Sea for 20 more minutes.

I’m going to need more boxes for #13

I left the confines of the airport and entered the already 32ºC/89ºF temperature outside. At 5:30am. A quick location of my ground transport to take me to my family’s home a couple hours away. I conked out for the extremely bumpy, hot, and loud car ride. Horn OK Please.

I left Los Angeles early on a Tuesday morning and arrived India early Saturday morning. Given the time change, it took in the ballpark of 84 hours to make a journey that normally takes less than 30.

Welcome to India. Finally.

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