[Travel] Changi Airport: Behind the scenes

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Woke up pretty early on 3rd March 2016 morning around 5:11am and saw a message from Wilson (Global Travelogy) that was sent at 3:31am. He was travelling in New Zealand and saw an email from Changi Rewards about an insider visit to Changi Airport. (That’s when time difference works in your favor.)

Changi Rewards Email

Changi Rewards Email.

Since I have more than 500 points in Changi Rewards account (DFS shopping, dining and gold tier status FTW!), I quickly lock in my redemption and proceed to Changi Airport to make payment for myself and an additional slot for Wilson on the same day. However, I was told that there was no more allowance available for additional slots when I wanted to make payment. Not good news for Wilson. But thank goodness, an additional slot was made available for us and I went down to make payment for Wilson a few days later. On actual day last Saturday (19 March 2016), we discovered that my redemption was 2nd on list. Guessed that helped Wilson in securing his spot. He is a happy man.

So on 19 March 2016, woke up early in morning and head down to Changi Airport on an UberX. Comfy ride as usual even though it is not a limo. This driver provides charger on board for mobile devices. Not bad. The best I have seen so far is charger + drinks + sweets. It is my preferred mode of transport for Airport other than MRT as it is competitively priced against taxis with no midnight surcharge, comfortable and no queue.

Uber

UberX

Upon arrival at Changi Airport, I jumped into action immediately. Started my first Facebook Live broadcast at entrance. After that, I took some photos and met up with Wilson at Terminal 2 Staff Canteen for breakfast. It is quite easy to find the place with prominent signs.

Changi Staff Canteen Breakfast

Changi Staff Canteen breakfast from pancake stall. Had peanut pancake as well. Not bad.

After breakfast, we head down to Changi Airport Group’s office to register and collect airport visitor pass. There are some interesting sights there too.

Changi Airport Group Logo

Changi Airport Group Logo.

Starwars

Star Wars!

Changi Airport Model

Changi Airport Model. I love taking Panorama shots like this using my Sony a5100. No tripod and minimal to no post editing required.

So here are some pictures of our day in Changi airport. Thanks to Changi Airport for hosting us!

Sunflower Garden

Sunflower Garden.

Enchanted Gardens

Plant in a ball.

Enchanted Gardens

Enchanted Gardens.

Koi

Koi

Orchid

Orchid

Swimming Pool

Swimming Pool.

The Social Tree

The Social Tree.

Butterfly

Butterfly

More Butterfly

More Butterfly.

Dom Perignon

Dom Pérignon at DFS Wines and Spirits Duplex.

Wine for sampling

Wine for sampling at DFS Wines and Spirits Duplex.

Bus

Bus for airside tour.

Firefighting Gear

Firefighting Gear.

Water blast

Water blast.

Redbird

Redbird

Changi

Good to see this whenever landing in Changi.

Disclaimer: Drink responsibly.

[Travel] Singapore Airlines A380 Suites to Hong Kong

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Hope you have enjoyed my recent review of Singapore Airline SilverKris Lounge The Private Room at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3. I always believe that travel experience and service from an airline starts from ground and ends with ground. From check-in to lounge to boarding to in flight and eventually disembark. Airlines will need to deliver a good experience to delight passengers. Singapore Airlines remains on top of my list when it comes to this. Whenever I fly with them, I enjoyed their service. It is still a great way to fly.

So I flew with Singapore Airlines A380 Suites to Hong Kong in end January 2016. It was my second time travelling on Suites on this route. So I am familiar with this product and what it offers. It is the shortest route (4 Hours at max.) on Singapore Airlines that offers Suites product and they are the first airline to fly Airbus A380 with Suites offering before their middle east competitors.

Boarding

Boarding at Singapore Changi Airport is a smooth and efficient affair. After security screening at gate, I comfortably waited for boarding announcement for Suites, First Class, Business Class and PPS members. PPS stands for Priority Passenger Service which is the elite frequent flyer program offered by Singapore Airlines. Need to spend SG$25,000 with them on premium cabins within 1 year to qualify. (Ouch. Personally thought that unless travel super frequently for business. Otherwise forget about qualifying for this. Even KrisFlyer Elite Silver status is also a bit far fetch for me.)

After boarding announcement was made and ground agent scanned my boarding pass, I am on my way to plane on aerobridge. So far I never had to take a bus to board or disembark a plane in Singapore Changi Airport and I have to thank (But no thanks!) Doha Airport for giving me a chance to do that when I boarded a plane which has Doha as a home hub. (Quite easy to know which 1.) For that experience and many other unpleasant things that add up, that airline went into my condemn list. (That experience is enough for me to write a horror story. Will write about it when I feel like.)

At end of aerobridge, lovely cabin crew were there anticipating arrival and gave a warm welcome.

Gate Display

Gate Display

Priority Lane

Priority Lane

Gate

Gate

Airbus A380

Airbus A380

In cabin

As soon as I set foot on plane, cabin crew escorted me to my Suites: 3D. As I am travelling solo, ground agent did ask me if I like to have a window Suites instead. In any other class, I will have asked for that. For Suites, no way! Unless Suites 3C or 2C is taken. Why? When Suites 3C or 2C is not taken when you are on either Suites 3D or 2D, you can enjoy an expanded feel of roominess. On long haul flights or when travelling with a companion, you can even request for 2 Suites to be combined into 1 with full flat bed deployed for 2. (Not converted from seat.) If not all 12 Suites are occupied, you can even have luxury of requesting for 1 Suites to be used for living/dining room and another 1 for sleep on long haul flight. (First come first serve!)

Suites Plan

Suites Plan. Lower deck front of plane.

Suites 3D

Suites 3D. Small closet for jacket which cabin crew will gladly help you stow your jacket into. Blinds can be pulled down for Privacy.

Empty Suites 3C

Empty Suites 3C. Divider can be pulled up for privacy.

Around Suites

Bose QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Cancellation Headphone

Bose QuietComfort 15 acoustic noise cancelling headphone in compartment, ports and power socket.

Seat Control

Controls

Seat Control

Seat Controls on armrest.

Leg rest or Stool for guest

Leg rest or Stool for guest. Pillow etc by Givenchy. Hand carry luggage stows below here as there is no overhead bins. Magazines and safety information on side.

Full stretch

Full stretch

Door

Door

Food and Beverages

Welcome Drink: Krug Grade Cuvee

Welcome Drink: Krug Grade Cuvée

Dom Pérignon Vintage 2006

Dom Pérignon Vintage 2006

Table set

Table set

Fruit Platter

Fruit Platter: Pomelo, Raspberry and Blueberry

Special K and Pastries

Special K cereal in skim milk and Pastries

Book-The-Cook: Nasi Lemak

Book The Cook: Nasi Lemak. Recommended by my friends who are in service and ex Singapore Girl. Good recommendation. Had this as I have tried Boston Lobster Thermidor in my first Suites flight.

Dessert: Warm Banana Crumble with Chocolate Ice Cream, Canilla Sauce, Fresh Fruit Salad and Blue Mountain Coffee

Dessert: Warm Banana Crumble with Chocolate Ice Cream, Vanilla Sauce, Fresh Fruit Salad and Blue Mountain Coffee

In Flight Entertainment System (KrisWorld)

Personally find in flight entertainment system to be lacking in content and sound quality. Especially if it is middle east airlines. Censored movies…Thanks! I prefer to bring my own Asus Transformer Book T100 Chi with movies loaded and use Sennheiser PXC310 Noise Cancelling Headphone nowadays. However, Singapore Airlines KrisWorld is one of the better In flight entertainment system around.

KrisWorld Controls

KrisWorld Controls

Screen and leg rest

23″ Screen and leg rest

Flight Map

Flight Map with Dom Pérignon Vintage 2006

Screen

23″ Screen

Benefit of empty Suites next door

Benefit of empty Suites next door: 2 screens!

Conclusion

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites may have been caught up by middle east competitors in terms of hardware like newer Airbus A380, more lavish Suites, in flight shower, bar etc. However, 1 thing remains in Singapore Airlines favor: Service. Service in Singapore Airlines A380 Suites is very personalize and attentive. Team of Stewards and Stewardesses make sure you are well taken care of. They check in from time to time to see how they can help you and make your journey a comfortable 1. I also enjoyed my conversation with them about the flight, experience, Hong Kong and even food/drinks options. They make good recommendations. Some of them are even certified Sommeliers.

This flight is also a test to crews’ capability. As it is only a 4 hours flight, crew delivered nothing short of the impeccable service offered on A380 Suites on a long haul flight.

Suites

Suites

Stairs to upper deck

Stairs to upper deck

Disclaimer: Drink Responsibly.

[Travel] Transport in Hong Kong

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Update (1st February 2016): Price increased to HK$350. (SG$66.36)


Whenever visiting Hong Kong, will always travel by MTR. After all, even our government is looking up to them for their service quality and standards. It is also very comfortable and convenient. So I make a booking online for Airport Express Travel Pass – 2 Airport Express Rides for HK$300. (SG$56.88)

Airport Express

Airport Express Travel Pass

What this provides is 2 rides on Airport Express (Excluding travel between Airport and AsiaWorld-Expo stations.), 3 days of unlimited rides on MTR (Except additional travel on Airport Express, East Rail Line First Class, and travel to/from Lo Wu or Lok Ma Chau stations.), Light Rail and MTR Bus. (Northwest New Territories.)

It is quite economical as return ticket on Airport Express can cost up to HK$180. (SG$34.13) At end of your stay in Hong Kong, you can refund ticket for HK$50. (SG$9.48) So that works out to HK$250. (SG$47.40) HK$70 (SG$13.27) for 3 days of unlimited rides is good.

They also run complimentary shuttle bus service to many hotels. (Including Dorsett Mongkok that I am staying at.) Check out here.

You may book online at here.

[Travel] Booking Hotel Through Agoda: Dorsett Mongkok

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As mentioned in previous post here, you can use your credit card to earn yourself some discount off your next hotel stay by booking with Agoda. So as a person who walk the talk, I booked my next hotel stay in Hong Kong via Agoda Citibank portal using Citibank PremierMiles Visa Signature Credit Card.

Before making booking, do your research. Few pointers:

  • Location! Location! Location!
  • Budget.
  • Facilities.
  • Loyalty Program.
For research, I depend on tripadvisor. (http://www.tripadvisor.com) So far, I have booked hotels in tripadvisor’s top 10 ranking in cities like Hong Kong (#4: Hotel Icon), Taipei (#3: CityInn Hotel-Taipei Station Branch II/#4: Dandy Hotel-Tianmu Branch) and Tokyo. (#10: Hotel Ryumeikan) So far, they have not disappoint.
However, for this trip to Hong Kong, I decided to make a return to Dorsett Mongkok. (Ranked #67 in Hong Kong.) Why?
  • Location:
    • Centralize in Mongkok.
    • Near to places that I want to visit.
    • Good as a base.
    • Free shuttle bus service to many places. (Langham Place/Ladies Street, Temple Street, Star Ferry and Elements-Kowloon Station.)
  • Budget:
    • Bang for buck.
    • SG$204.79 for 2 nights!
    • Free WIFI. (Must have!)
    • Free smartphone provided for use!
      • Unlimited data! (With tethering support!)
      • Free IDD call to Singapore!
      • Navigation on Google Maps.
      • Can do whatever you are doing with your own smartphone!
  • Facilities:
    • Room is clean and neat.
    • Dorsett Lounge available with a basic gym.
  • Loyalty Program: Not applicable to Dorsett group.

With that, I will be posting pictures and review of Dorsett Mongkok during my trip. It will be my 2nd time there. Hopefully I will be able to see them maintaining their standard or even better it.

Agoda

Agoda Booking with Citibank discount

PremierMiles

Citibank PremierMiles Visa Signature Credit Card