This is a review by CHC on his recent SQ67 trip from GRU back to SIN. Sadly, this flight will no longer be around after October 2016 as it will be culled from Singapore Airline’s service.
SQ67 4 July 2016, GRU-BCN-SIN
Scheduled EX GRU 1750hours , ETA Barcelona El Prat 0930 hours +1
Scheduled EX BCN 1040hours, ETA Singapore Changi 0535 hours +1
Actual 1803hours, Arrived 0846hours+1
Actuall 1114hours, Arrived 0538hours+1
Guarulhos International Airport Terminal 3
After an incredible mindblowing holiday covering Peru and Iguazu Falls, we reluctantly bade farewell to the continent by taking Singapore Airlines longest and only flight out of South America from Sao Paulo. As great as the holiday was, it was time to come home, and what better way to beat the jet lag and post holiday blues then via the “best” airline in the world?
Our minder picked us up at 1400hours from our hotel in downtown Sao Paulo just off Avenida Paulista, as they were worried about the notorious traffic in the city. Guarulhos International Airport is a sprawling airport, with Terminal 3, the terminal we were departing from, only recently completed in March 2014 just in time for the World Cup. And thus, it looks nothing like what Guarulhos used to look like, being spanking new and sporting all the modern amenities of a modern airport.
Traffic was manageable and we arrived at the airport in good time, without a hitch. As we were now checking in almost 3 hours early, both the economy and premium lines were short and a smiling agent quickly waved us through and checked our luggage through to Singapore. We had checked in prior to arrival and had selected seats 12D/F, and this was confirmed on the boarding pass which she deftly printed out. 10minutes and we were done! Considering all that I had read before hand about the mess in Guarulhos, this was unexpected, but very much welcome!
Similarly, the security lines after check in to clear immigration was also short, and the immigration agents were efficient and cheerful as we bade “tchau” to Brazil. Everyone goes through the same lines, so I can see a potential bottleneck during peak hours. Thankfully, that was not for me to worry and we quickly made our way to the Star Aliiance lounge, located on the Mezzanine floor one level above the duty free shops. This lounge is reviewed here in a separately.
Boarding started promptly at 1720hours, with premium customers clearing first. There however did not appear to be any differentiation of F/J/PPS/those with status on SA as it was just a single line. Nevertheless, it was good to board early as Y looked to be packed (which is supposedly unusual for this flight). In any case, I had just learnt that SQ will be donig away with this flight from October. What a waste. There goes the only SQ flight to the South American continent.
The moment we were along the gangway, the familiarity set in. Maybe its just me, but it is comforting to know I’m back in ‘familiar’ territory. We were greeted by the leading stewardess as we entered from the front, taking us through F (which looked empty) and led to our seats in the mini cabin at the front of the J cabin. Unlike upfront, nobody offered to help us (the missus and myself) with our carry-on but with a full cabin, I could understand why. Nevertheless, the luggage was quickly stowed away in the overhead bins as it was still empty.
About 5 minutes later, another FA came around with a hot towel, and took our pre departure drinks order. Another FA came around with a selection of magazines and newspapers. Once again, no nuts were offered with the champagne. A small point, but hey, its surprising how this differs between flights. In most of my previous flights, another FA would be now busy trying to organize dinner orders, but I was quite surprised when nobody came around.
Hardware wise, SQ67 uses this configuration http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/Singapore_Air/Singapore_Air_Boeing_777-300ER.php and I had prebooked 12 D/F in the mini cabin. This semi private cabin is great as it mimics the configuration up front , just that the seat pitch and width are slightly reduced. Not a big deal, as there was still plenty of space for an extra bag to be stowed in front of me just under the IFE screen without affecting leg room.
Just before pushback, we were all given our amenity kit which featured a slight departure from what I remembered -a pair of slippers, on top of the usual eye shades and socks.
Pushback was on time, and we took off only 10minutes after the actual departure time, for a smooth journey to BCN. Dinner service started pretty soon after reaching cruising attitude, with one FA efficiently taking orders and another setting up the table and starting the Satay Service simultaneously. There were 4 choices for dinner, and I chose the EeFu noodles with Stir Fried Pork. The wife chose the Teriyaki Garlic Chicken Steak. Both selections were good, but I am not so sure whether this was because we were missing some Chinese food….or if the food was genuinely good. In any case, it was more then edible, and portions were sufficient.
There were no choices for the appetiser, but it was done pretty well. Marinated scallops on a vinagrette based salad, with a choice of bread. As usual, it was garlic bread for me, but I decided to try the bread sticks. I regretted that as it was soft and soggy. Moral of the story? Just stick with the garlic bread. SQ does it brilliantly, all the time.
As such by the time dessert came by, we were both pretty stuffed. But the glutton in us meant that a separate compartment in the stomach was available for dessert. I chose the gourmet rum and raisin ice cream which came nicely plated and was topped off with a huge scoop of rum and raisin ice cream. The mango mousse cake was also excellent, which was washed down with a cup of Pu-erh tea.
Both of us gave the cheese and fruits a miss as we were completely stuffed, and we saw that the bulk of our fellow travelers also did the same. In fact, the gentleman next to me was so full that he had to walk up and down the aisle a few times!
After about 2 hours, and with most of the business class passengers having completed their meals and were ready to turn in for the night, the lights were dimmed and the FAs came by to help with turndown service and distribute a bottle of water. I was keen to get back to Singapore time as soon as I could so I decided I would sleep earlier so that I would also be tired on the next leg and be able to sleep on the next leg. I also decided to skip out on breakfast to catch up on much needed sleep.
Managed about 4-5hours of sleep before the lights came on and the captain came on the speaker to announce our descent into El Prat Airport in Barcelona. The lie flat bed in J was perfectly adequate and although the slant may be a problem for lankier passengers, I had no issues finding a comfortable position to get some rest. With eyeshades in place, the zzz monster came easily. Touch down was a straightforward affair with minimal of fuss and we taxied quickly to the gate without missing a beat.
We were hooked up to the aerobridge and disembarked orderly, with the crew wishing us bon voyage as a new set of crew was going to be joining us for the next leg.
After a 2.5 hour transit in El Prat, I was back on board and found almost the entire premium cabin filled with different passengers. Clearly, most passengers had disembarked in BCN and a whole new passenger load had come on board.
It appeared that this new set of crew were refreshed by their off-days in BCN and were smiley, cheerful and efficient. I was greeted by name and offered a towel and a drink the moment I was in the seat and lunch was confirmed by another FA. I had ordered a BTC seafood paella and she confirmed that was what they had it as. The wife had ordered the BTC Thai green curry with rice and it was similarly confirmed, prior to takeoff.
Had an Apple Bliss instead of the usual champagne as I was craving something sweet and fizzy, and it came nicely chilled, so thumbs up for that. In fact, I have never ever drank this beverage elsewhere other then on board! There after, the crew came around to distribute the amenity kit of socks , eye shades and slippers, which I promptly slipped into.
As usual, after pushback, the FAs were prompt to come by with the appetizer of Satay. However, the meat was a little chewy so I only ate 2 sticks. The satay sauce saved the day for this part, which was thick and tasty.
Once we hit crusing altitude, the aroma of the microwaved food from the galley hit our noses, and lunch was served. As usual, bread basket was paraded down the aisles and garlic bread the choice again. This was followed by the appetizer, with a grandish sounding name of “Colossal Crab Salad”, with the crab…..just well, normal sized. Once again, the piquant citrus sauce came to its rescue and did whet the appetite for the main meal.
The main course – a seafood paella was chockful of seafood and very flavourful, but I must admit that I had to ask for some red cut chilli to reduce the ‘jelakness’* (satiated by the richness of the food to the point of repulsion) of the dish towards the end. Tried a bite of my wife’s green curry which was also admirably done, rich and tasty.
Tried to skip everything else after because I was so full, but succumbed to the call of dessert, a chocolate ice cream with some fruit coullis. As desserts generally go for me, this hit the spot.
Caught some movies which I had missed due to 1) laziness 2) lack of time 3) couldn’t be bothered to watch in a cinema to pass time and SQ doesn’t disappoint with more then enough shows to last the entire flight and more. Not being a big movie buff, I was happy enough with the selections available.
As I was trying to adjust back to local time, I decided to have an early night. The crew had set up the snack bar by this time and all the usual culprits were present – chocolate bars, nuts, potato chips etc. By the time the crew came by with bottles of water, I had already converted the seat into a bed and was ready to sleep. Thankfully, the long trip meant that fatigue overcame jetlag and I slept fitfully till breakfast.
Breakfast was a quick affair for me, as I had ordered a BTC Ee-fu noodle, and had some English Breakfast Tea to go with it. Skipped the toast and cereal as I was still groggy from having to interrupt my sleep, and hence, the lack of photos as well.
Before long, the captain came on air to announce the descent into Singapore Changi Airport, and we landed approximately 40minutes after he did so, with a minimum of fuss. As always, disembarking from the front meant that we were quick to deplane and at 5+ am in the morning, the airport was quiet. The crew wished us a pleasant trip and waved their goodbyes as we stepped off, what was by far the longest flight of my entire life.