Flying SQ916 Singapore to Manila

Finally, after two years… I’m travelling to the Philippines! I mentioned in an earlier post the ten things I want to do during this trip. Hopefully I can do most of them.

The terminal assignments are still “different” and my flight to Manila on SQ is from Terminal 3 (normally it’s T1 or T2 I think). I remember that T3 had the SQ flights that are long-haul. Anyway, after having a quick lunch with PJ at Central Thai (public side of T3), I used the automated immigration gates to get to the airside. First thing that I spotted was this Louis Vuitton display. Lavish and… aquatic!

I only had ten minutes to spare before boarding. I didn’t get to look around much of T3. But happy to see that it was filled with passengers again. The stores were open and the food stalls too. I don’t think the Hard Rock Cafe re-opened. My flight was assigned to Gate A3 which is one of the gates that is combined with all the other ones (A1, A2, A3, A4, etc.).

Like in Hanoi airport two weeks ago, I was comfortable to sit further away from the crowds. Sometimes I don’t even think it’s about the pandemic anymore. I enjoy the peace and quiet while seated away from where everyone else is. Except that there was no time to read a few chapters of my book. Boarding commenced shortly after I arrived.

I normally fly Philippine Airlines on this route (Singapore to Manila, and return). But since this was my first trip to the Philippines in over two years, I fancied myself a seat on one of the world’s best airlines. I dunno, there’s something magical about seeing the Singapore Girl – and I don’t mean that in an sexist way obviously… but as a brand, an experience you trust… Singapore Airlines is a great way to fly.

I’m coming from a vantage point of appreciation. I enjoy flying on SQ.

SQ916 leaves Singapore at 1:30pm. Today, on a Sunday, it uses an Airbus A350 with a 3-3-3 seating configuration in economy. There’s a business class (about SGD 2,000++, is that even worth it for a 3.5 hour flight). Then there’s economy and I got my seat for less than SGD 500.00 this season. It’s typically in the SGD 600-700 range pre-pandemic. By comparison, Philippine Airlines on this route is SGD 350-400 pre-pandemic. I didn’t even check how much it costs this time since I was sure about flying on SQ.

Omg it’s Father’s Day and I almost forgot! I thought there’d be some type of teddy bear (I’m not even a dad! but something I could give to my dad perhaps?). But behind the sign were the headsets for the seats lol.

It was a PACKED flight – or in other words, normal and pre-pandemic already. I did select a seat (aisle as usual) and wanted to be closest to the front as possible so I could get off the plane faster lol. Meal service started about an hour into the flight and the choices were baked fish with potatoes or braised chicken with noodles. I picked out the baked fish (see picture below). Coffee, coke, and ginger ale as well. And guess what… for the first time ever… no alcohol! I skipped the sling, the wine, and the beer this time. I’m now seven months off of alcohol. ❤️

I really like the copy behind Udders’ ice cream:

I used the Singapore Airlines app to pre-select my onboard entertainment. I queued up House of Gucci, Belfast, Spencer, and a few other films. I ended up with House of Gucci (which I suddenly disliked! Lady Gaga was fine though). I was engrossed with Kristen Stewart in Spencer. But the plane landed about halfway through the film.

***

Frankly, there’s no point spending SGD 500-600 on SQ for only a three hour flight to Manila when you can enjoy a decent flight on Philippine Airlines at about half the price. Of course the service couldn’t be compared – as SQ is in the league of airline gods while PAL is still catching up. But PAL is charming in its own way, it’s my preferred airline (except today)… and somehow it feels good to support the flag carrier. I did a review of flying on Philippine Airlines business class in 2019/2020… the last flight I took out of Manila before the pandemic.

Still flying on SQ was fine earlier. The inflight entertainment was loaded with films. I really think SQ is best when you’re flying long haul or flights over six hours. Or if you’re flying to San Francisco or London.

Bonus material: A blog entry from 7 years ago on SQ912

Experiencing Business Class for the first time with Philippine Airlines PR507

New video episode! I experienced flying with business class for the first time. YEAAAH. I fly economy. Even on most business trips. I’m not accustomed to the perks of flying business. But I can understand now why it can be addicting.

  1. Legit preferential treatment when checking in.
  2. Access to airline lounges.
  3. The seats on the plane.

In the video, I talk about how I ended up booking a business class seat. Don’t forget to hit subscribe. 🙂

If the video won’t play, you can view it via YouTube here.

Video

Flight Review: SilkAir Singapore to Kalibo (MI 599)

I can now strike this off the bucket list!

I’ve always wanted to make a flight review video. I used to kill time by watching “flight review” videos on YouTube. When I was a little depressed last year, I would watch videos from the guy behind FlightTravels. It’s like I didn’t have to spend thousands of dollars flying around the world when all I could do is immerse myself in his videos.

Here’s a pocket-sized flight review of my experience on SilkAir flight MI 599 Singapore (SIN) to Kalibo (KLO).

The reason I prefer to fly direct to Kalibo from Singapore is because two years ago I almost missed my connecting flight back to Singapore after delays at NAIA. The bus ride between Kalibo and Caticlan isn’t so bad (the route is scenic).

As of April 2017, Kalibo is currently the only international airport that handles larger jets carrying travellers to Boracay. AFAIK, Caticlan has already expanded its runway but it hasn’t completed a new terminal yet.

When that new terminal opens in Caticlan, huge aircrafts will be bringing more and more tourists to Boracay. It’s good news for tourism but bad news for the environment. I personally can’t wait for Caticlan International Airport to open… but I also hope local government is stepping up to address Boracay’s growing pollution.