Silkair A320 Economy Class: Singapore – Phuket

This happened all so quick.

Less than a month into my job, my Managing Director told… or rather, ordered me to go for a junket trip to Thailand. It being my first ever trip on business, I was excited to say the least. Yet, as the days drew nearer to my departure, I found myself dreading it as my interest in it began to wane. My life was in an up swing – I had a good thing going on at work, and I was roped back into the dating game quite unexpectedly. But nevertheless, work is work and I’ve gotta be professional about these things.

Having spent much of the evening before with Keidi, and with little time to spare the next morning, I found myself frantically packing. It wasn’t so much packing, but more of shoving and dumping than actual packing. Despite the short window of time, I made sure I checked-in online. When you’re flying, nothing is more important than your seat so it was imperative that I selected a seat that was “desirable” to me. Some people like aisle seats, but I value my window because it gives me a sensation of space.

By eleven, I was out of the house and en route to the airport.

Once I reached the airport, the Flight Information Display System (FIDS) was displaying my flight as being “re-timed” – with a thirty minute delay. The check-in agent, a Mainland Chinese, however courteous and polite with a fairly audible command of English, failed to mention a thing about it. This was in contrast to the check-in agents at Terminal 1 for my Beijing flight whose first agenda was to take it upon themselves to explain and apologize the delay. Much of Changi Airport’s check-in agents, regardless of airline, share the same third-party check-in agents, so I didn’t know why the issue wasn’t broached. Nevertheless, this meant that I had more than enough time to walk, and take my time with Ramen Champion, located at the southern end of Terminal 3’s third basement. After that, I entered Terminal 3’s airside and took the nearby Skytrain near the A-concourse to Terminal 2, and finally met my public relations liaison and media peers outside the gate.

Walkabout in Terminal 3. I love the abundance of natural light.

Flight “re-timed”

Scenic Skytrain ride to Terminal 2.

The airlines of Singapore Airlines Group in a single frame – Singapore Airlines, Silkair, Scoot, Tiger Airways.

With the Budget Terminal closing and all resident airlines moving to Terminal 2, gates are being reconfigured to accommodate the smaller aircraft that low cost carriers use.

Gate F32 to Phuket

Silkair MI 754
Also sold as Singapore Airlines SQ 5054 and Bangkok Airways PG 4203
Aircraft: Airbus A319-100
Scheduled Departure: 1320h
Actual Departure: 1350h
Scheduled Arrival: 1410h
Actual Arrival: 1450h
Seat: 11A

My aircraft being prepped for departure.

The cabin.

Legroom at the emergency exit row.

Despite a mostly negative experience with the regional arm of Singapore Airlines barely a few months ago to and from Bandung, I still wanted to give Silkair a chance at redemption. This time, the issue was a little different. I don’t want to make it a race thing, but the crew of Malay ethnicity for some reason, didn’t smile at all throughout the flight. This was a stark contrast to the crew of Chinese and Indian ethnicity who were not only all smiles, but genuine in their service delivery. From greetings to catering, everything was done looking annoyed, frustrated and vexed. It’s not a major nitpick, but as a passenger flying to Phuket, an exotic resort island destination, I was in a happy and relaxed mood, and the light-brown skinned crew’s faces were an absolute buzz kill.

But my happy and relaxed demeanor didn’t last long. The Southwest monsoon, the force that drowns Mumbai in flood waters and flings ferocious cyclones into India, the Ganges plains of Bangladesh, Myanmar and East Africa, was in full swing and determined to make its presence felt even in cruising altitude. While it wasn’t quite the level of horror that was my Haneda – Beijing ride, it was certainly relentless and forceful. Compared to my Bandung flights, the catering for Phuket was really stepped up, with a delicious local-style chicken chop. However, it was really hard to cut the chicken and stomach it in a butter churning environment. The thing about these 1.5 hour flights is that at the end of it all, it’s just a ninety minute ride and before long, and before long, we had arrived. Late, but nonetheless, at our final destination, safe and sound.

The best inflight entertainment – the view from the window and listening to music on my iPhone as the geography goes by.

We park next to a Mahan Air charter.

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