Every trip must come to an end, and ours ended quite dismally (through nobody’s fault but our own).
But this was also the time that Singapore Airlines‘ service really outshone all others we’ve flown recently.
You see, spending 10 days in Singapore and Hong Kong, we ate a LOT of Asian food. As much as we love Asian food, we were all dim-summed out.
So when we reached Hong Kong Airport and had a couple of hours to go before boarding, we hit the most non-Asian food we saw:
Er yes, the antithesis of everything else we ate the past 10 days. Popeyes is a fast food chain that serves deep fried cajun / Southern stuff like breaded fried chicken, biscuits, gravy and onion rings.
We should have known better than to do this. In no time, Zombie was doubled over in gastric pain. Zombie has the most sensitive stomach. We both have our health downfalls when travelling — I have my whacked respiratory system (but I’ve a stomach of steel!) and Zombie has his very sensitive stomach (yet could withstand extreme cold and has great immune system).
We tried to get antacid tablets at the airport pharmacy but we all know too well that when Zombie has had one of these attacks, he will definitely be knocked out for a day and he will be ok again. (We’ve had several tests done before, endoscopy, etc but nothing was found)
It was going to a long evening, we just hoped that the flight back will be as smooth given the situation.
HONGKONG to SINGAPORE
Depart: 1955 Arrive: 2340
Flight time: 3 hours and 45 minutes on Economy
As we were waiting to board, with Zombie curled up next to me silently in pain, I watched the crew enter the aircraft. They were in good spirits, chattering excitedly to each other. It’s hard to explain but they radiated a positive aura. This lifted me up a bit. As a former cabin crew, I know that every flight has a certain crew group chemistry. You are usually randomly paired and there are certain flights when everyone got along well, and this radiated in your service. I felt that when I saw the crew of SQ 871.
(Same goes the other way around, when the crew group camaraderie isn't right, this will affect the service, and passengers will definitely feel that.)
And this is what I love about Singapore Airlines – the service is consistent from ground to air. When my accident happened, I immediately informed Singapore Airlines and in all 4 flights, they ensured I was assigned a bulkhead or an aisle seat (where the left leg can be free). There was no need to repeat this request at the check-in desk.
The very roomy bulkhead seats really does make a great difference (same as our other flight from Hong-Kong to Singapore)
After take off, one of the flight attendants on our zone immediately noticed that Zombie didn’t look very comfortable. Take note that we didn’t call their attention or help. She asked if he was ok, and when Zombie told her what was going on, she immediately went to the galley and bought out a box of antacid chews, and thoroughly explained how to take it.
She must have informed the entire crew in the zone because an hour later, a different crew (later I am to find out she was the Chief Stewardess) came up to us and said that she found a row of seats free so that Zombie could lie down. Again, we didn’t request this at all nor did we call for more attention or help after the first crew gave the box of antacid chews. We of course took the offer. Zombie left and I stayed in my seat. Then the same cabin crew approached me and asked me to come along because she found 2 rows of 3 seats each, next to each other.
How’s that for thoughfulness?
And so for the duration of the flight, Zombie slept while I also enjoyed the 3 seats to myself just next to him.
Again, the efficiency of the crew came to place because:
- Due to us moving seats and me having a special meal, the cabin crew who moved us immediately informed the rest of the team so during meal service, they delivered my meal straight to my new seat without any hiccups.
- Zombie told me that the last thing he wanted was to eat so I told the same cabin crew that he won’t be eating. Again this was advised throughout the team because not one of the crew asked him or me. They already knew.
As the flight was only 3 hours and 45 minutes, only 1 meal was served
A very generous, full hot dinner.
As Zombie was out of commission I cannot show you the regular meal.
Seafood meal consisted of a tuna salad for entree, dinner roll, crackers, cheese and butter. The main meal was steamed prawns and vegetables in garlic sauce with pasta. This was really good, and as I already ate an early dinner at the airport, I ate just the prawns and vegetables.
And just as I thought that the dessert of sliced fresh fruits were great, in came the real dessert:
After meals, the flight time left was too short to complete a movie so I just listened to Katy Perry (Double Rainbow is nice!) and read this book:
I was in the middle of reading this book that I picked up in Singapore (which by the way is highly entertaining. Initally annoying but has a nice moral lesson in the end), when I was tapped gently on the shoulder.
It was the Chief Stewardess. I asked for her name: Audrey Chan. Audrey very worriedly asked how Zombie was feeling, and I told her she shouldn’t worry, that they’ve done everything they could to make his flight comfortable. I explained that with his stomach condition, nothing can be really done but just to rest it over (which is what he was doing.)
After I gave a bit of history on this, Audrey shared that her husband, who happened to be on the flight as well (I’m unsure if he is also a cabin crew in business class or a pilot) has the exact same condition. She said that she always keeps Gaviscon for him on her bag so she was going to look inside her bag, and if not, search his bag as well. I told Audrey not to go to any trouble but she said it will be easy for her and she was really worried for Zombie
A few minutes later:
Audrey, thank you so much! You and your team have really shown genuine concern and care for both my husband and I on this trip.
Guys, believe me the Singapore Girls of Singapore Airlines– they are more than just pretty faces!
Speaking of which, I was browsing through the in-flight magazine when I saw the colour-code of Singapore Airlines cabin crew uniform:
Update: Though still groggy, Zombie was feeling better after touchdown.
We rushed to our next flight which was boarding in 40 minutes:
Singapore to Sydney
Depart 00:45, Arrive: 10:25
Aircraft type: B777-300ER
Flight time: 7 hours 40 minutes, Economy class
I noticed immediately that this aircraft, though also a Boeing 777 seemed to be an older model than the other 3 previous flights we’ve taken (all brown/tan scheme in Economy)
*editor’s post note: I stand corrected after a couple of readers (and I myself confirmed this through further research) , that the Boeing 777-300 ER is actually newer than the B777-200. The USB port and lights in the entertainment system was a giveaway that it’s newer but I just felt the seats were narrower, (leading me to think it was older).*
I wasn’t able to get a bulkhead seat this time as the flight was full but it didn’t matter because everyone just wanted to tuck and sleep given the very late hour (almost 1am)
While the entire IFE (In flight entertainment) system seemed clunkier and older, I do like that it has a USB port! (the others didn’t) and that beneath the monitor is a light beam, which is handy for looking for little things you may have dropped in the floor or buried in the back seat pocket along the flight.
For a flight that’s 7 hours and 40 minutes, there are 2 meal services on this flight. Refreshments (or midnight snack) and breakfast.
Zombie got the seafood option of the regular meal which is the double deck tuna sandwich, and for my seafood meal I received a tuna and caper sandwich. Initially it looked like one of those rock-hard plastic-y bread but it was really good! It was soft and the tuna pieces were really chunky which I like. And not dry at all.
We both got the ‘eggy’ breakfasts – I loved my salmon omelette was the salmon were actual chunks and not meager flakes.
For the regular breakfast meal (by this time you can tell Zombie was well on the mend as he’s eating) Zombie got the Omelette with chicken sausage and potatoes.
Both breakfast trays were accompanies by tubs of yogurt, breadroll, fruit and muffin.
This flight overall, was very quiet and uneventful. I guess this is the joy of travelling a red-eye flight. Everyone just wants to sleep!
I’m so glad that I experienced first hand Singapore Airlines’ renowned world-class service. We flew economy but the service we received specifically from the crew of SQ 871 (Audrey Chan and her team) was premium class.
The meal service, even on shorter flights, are never just dry snacks or meals that will leave you wanting more.
There is a reason why Singapore Airlines has a stellar reputation, and it is well-founded.
When we arrived at Sydney airport we were greeted immediately by Blacklane limousines, which I’m so glad to have booked prior to our trip. Between my busted ankle and Zombie’s gastric pains, this was definitely a nice welcome home.
Have you ever been sick on a flight? How did you deal with it?