D for Dhaka [17 – 20 Feb 2012]
Bangladesh and Dhaka
I wasn’t too sorry when the time to leave Dhaka arrived; the crowds and the dust was creeping on me but I was still glad that I visited. Although the sights of Dhaka are a little underwhelming and the tourist infrastructure in the city is sorely lacking, it is somewhere unique and different from Singapore. Perhaps Bangladesh was not given a fair chance since I didn’t venture out of Dhaka; I really love the Sri Lankan countryside although I didn’t like my short transit in Colombo at all.
Bangladeshis are by and large friendly; there were quite a few occasions when some of the locals came up and chat with me and asked me where I was from. One even told me about his visit to Mustafa Centre on his trip to Singapore. However the standard of English in Bangladesh was surprisingly low compared to its South Asian neighbors. Perhaps it is due to the relative linguistic homogeneity in Bangladesh where there is no need for English to be a lingua franca like in India or Sri Lanka.
Service was excellent on SQ 446. One of the positive surprises was that I was addressed by name in the entire duration of the flight. I couldn’t recall the same thing on my previous flight with SQ though. The crew were also pro-active; one of them brought me a bottle of mineral water after my meal without me asking for it.
It was a nearly full J cabin on SQ 979 so the crew’s attention to details were not clearly evident. Nevertheless the service was still professional albeit a little formulaic.
Hardware-wise the regional J seats couldn’t be compared to the long-haul ones on 77W or 388 but were definitely more than adequate for the trip of such length. IFE was good as usual; there were plenty of stuff to choose from although I’ve seen quite a bit of those that I am interested in on my NRT-SIN flight in December.
It was a pleasant surprise flying with TG. I was expecting something similar to SQ regional seats on its 772 (considering the flight time of 2.5 hours) so it was really nice to have their newish business class product. Service was good and it was a plus to let passengers to keep the headphones until after landing.
The novelty of flying in Business class was wearing off for me and I found myself quite getting used to lounges, plush seats and fancy meals. With the impending demise of BMI, most probably I wouldn’t fly in J for a long time after this year. It was as good as it lasted and I was glad that I sampled quite a few business class products (TK, OZ, NH, SQ & TG so far) with my BMI miles.