Completing the ASEAN list: Manila & Taipei 28 April – 1 May 2012
Packing was uncharacteristically long as I struggled to fit everything into my backpack.
The alarm was set to my usual waking up time of 6.45am and I was out of door by 7.15am. I was somewhat unlucky with the buses and I reached Changi Airport T3 at only 8am.
Low on cash, I headed for Citibank ATM, located at the far corner of T2 Arrivals.
Apparently T2 had a re-shuffle since my last flight from there in February and check-in for SQ J is no longer at row 4.
The agent checking me in for MNL was coincidentally a Filipino (maybe not really coincidental after all since there are so many Pinoys working in Singapore) and she requested me to show my ticket out of MNL.
Easily found my way to SilverKris Lounge after immigration and couldn’t wait to have breakfast.
It was quite a nice breakfast and I finished off with some slices of watermelon.
I headed for E24 at around 9am. By then the queue through security was relatively short and passengers were invited to board already. I overheard the gate agent getting some passengers to gate-check their bags because “the flight is full today”.
Flight: Singapore Airlines SQ 910
Depart: Singapore (SIN) – 09:30 – Actual 09:48
Arrive: Manila (MNL) – 13:05 – Actual 12:59
Duration: 3h35m (Actual 3h11m)
Distance: 1474 miles
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200
Seat: 11 A
The aerobridge was crowded when I was boarding; a ground staff asked if there were any F or J passengers and told us to board through Door A instead.
My seatmate in 11C was already there when I boarded and pointed me to the overhead cabin. Wanted to have my camera bag with me but the crew insisted it to be stowed for take-off.
The SQ crew did the standard routine, offering pre-flight drinks, hot towels and reading materials. They also took post-takeoff drink orders.
I went through my usual SOP of rummaging the seat pocket’s content.
By then our plane had pushed back in the morning drizzle.
After the seatbelt sign went off, the crew resumed their service by delivering the drink orders while I powered up KrisWorld.
There were probably around ten movies on loop and I ended up watching All Well’s, Ends Well 2011, a HK romcom starring Louis Koo, Donny Yen yand Cecilia Cheung. Not the best of movies but it helped to while the time away.
In the meantime, I was served my brunch.
I’ve pre-ordered the seafood meal although on hindsight I should just order the dim sum selection on the plane instead.
Despite just eating not too long ago at SKL, I still managed to clear my plates. At the end of the meal, I got the crew to bring me hot green tea (had it every flight since SIN-ICN on OZ).
What I liked about SQ’s service is that they serve their meals fast and the passengers get to have more free/rest time. Although the service was quick, the meals didn’t seem hurried at all.
After the movie ended, I was still an hour out of MNL and I occupied myself by filling up the necessary forms and looking out of the window.
About half an hour outside of MNL, the pilot came over the PA and informed that we would be descending soon.
True enough we started to see land.
During the taxi, I managed to capture the OZ bird taking off for ICN.
MNL was no doubt PR-central.
The ops went a bit off when the curtain on the left aisle wasn’t drawn up after F passengers departed.
One of the male crew members spotted it and quickly drew it up while apologizing.
I was impressed (once again) by the crew who thanked me by name on my way out.
However, by the time I got out of the aircraft, there were already Y passengers ahead of me. Thumbs down IMO.
I walked briskly and was ahead of most people from my aircraft. There wasn’t any queue at the foreigners’ line and I was the second person to be processed through.
The only open green lane at the Customs was strangely not moving, forcing me to use the red lane. Interestingly the customs officer just waved me on after receiving my customs declaration, allowing me to officially enter Philippines, my final ASEAN country.
Out of the three business class offerings that I had experienced on SQ, the old regional setup on 772 was the most disappointing. While the seat’s comfortable enough, the non-AVOD IFE was a let down for a flight of this length (~3.5 hours). Service-wise it was the usual SQ, albeit with a minor hiccup during disembarkation.