Day 6: SQ503 BLR-SIN J Class B777-200 ER

After check-out in the morning, it’s time for me to make my way to a series of meetings before I head back to the airport. These days, checking out of hotels has become extremely easy and simplified. I was the only one at the counter with the whole process taking less than 2 minutes.

 photo IMG_8689_zps00fche3e.jpg

The décor inside the hotel was magnificent, the last time I was here I recall seeing the huge space filled with a Christmas tree so this part never stood out as much.

 photo IMG_8690_zpsdmx9ul0d.jpg

To reach my meetings, I give myself 2 hours and decide again to take an Uber instead of a hotel car. This resulted in a bit of excitement. My driver accidentally took a wrong turn and ended up on a one-way street, it was difficult for him to know it was a one-way street as Google Maps took him down this direction. There was heavy traffic coming towards us and unfortunately police came by and forced my driver to pull over requesting him to hand over his ID card. After around 30 minutes the driver paid a fine and then given back his card. We were then permitted to be back on our way. The police stopped everyone going the wrong direction.

 photo IMG_8692_zpsxhkmoytq.jpg

My meetings end and after being warned it may take a couple of hours to reach BLR, I decide to head straight to the airport for what potentially could get me in time for when check-in opens or a couple of hours early. Better to be early than late! Along the way, I spot one of many motorcycles and auto rickshaws (tuk-tuk) on the road.

 photo IMG_8697_zpsqgtcssaq.jpg

 photo IMG_8699_zpshobvoopt.jpg

With little traffic and less than an hour on the road, I spot the ATC for BLR.

 photo IMG_8715_zpssca7d6n5.jpg

As you can see, there’s still plenty of light outside and with my flight being a red eye, it was going to be a long wait inside the terminal before I could check in. Only ticketed passengers are allowed inside the terminal so there’s not much happening inside with most of the café’s and eateries situated outside. Also, once you enter the terminal you are not permitted to leave so for smokers, be prepared as after this you only be able to smoke once you are past immigration / security.

I grab myself a spot and stay here for a few hours watching a movie on my iPad.

 photo IMG_8716_zpsiqqnrdfc.jpg

3 hours before my flight, check-in opens with the normal channels of separate desks based on travel class. All check-in desks were empty.

 photo IMG_8719_zpsao8xihfm.jpg

After checking in I head for the departure area and again experience the joys of being pushed around during security. Not to worry, this adds 10 minutes only and eventually I reach the lounge. With the day being more than 12 hours already, it’s time to grab a shower and slip into travel gear for a red eye flight.

Shower was nothing special but comfortable enough to freshen up for your flight.

 photo IMG_8721_zps189o1j0j.jpg

 photo IMG_8722_zpsvzooewc8.jpg

Inside the shower room was also a massage table in case you wanted one on offer. The sign asks you to Respect the Masseuse.

 photo IMG_8724_zpsz2hwt8lr.jpg

Back to the lounge itself, there was a bar, cooking station and with plenty of items on offer.

 photo IMG_8729_zpslfvb3avp.jpg

Seating area was a plenty but it did get full pretty quick.

 photo IMG_8730_zpse5hnlexk.jpg

View from inside the lounge is of the shopping area after immigration.

 photo IMG_8731_zpsfuxnkuso.jpg

For food, I go for a cooked to order pasta with a chocolate pancake for dessert. This washed down with a local IPA and a can of Pepsi.

 photo IMG_8732_zpsx3ygo5ie.jpg

I was quite hungry so this went down pretty quick and I have to admit, it tasted quite good. After catching up on some emails, I head to the gate with around 10 minutes to go before boarding. The terminal is very nice, with a nice ambient feel to it.

 photo IMG_8736_zpstdp3rlrs.jpg

Next time, I think I will come here for a drink before my flight. Looks pretty chilled out and relaxing.

 photo IMG_8738_zpsxol2ogg2.jpg

The gate had security personnel dressed up in army gear. After your boarding pass is checked, the guards check to see if your carry-on luggage has been stamped by security otherwise they will rummage through your stuff before you are permitted to board. Separate boarding channels as expected.

 photo IMG_8739_zpsglhvq3n5.jpg

With this being a 777-200, tonight’s red eye in J class will be on the regional 2x2x2 layout.

 photo IMG_8740_zpsnnusj6rz.jpg

 photo IMG_8743_zpsivvnqswz.jpg

Entertainment is on the old set up. This didn’t concern me as the flight would be 4 hours 30 minutes only and after supper I planned to grab some sleep.

 photo IMG_8745_zps1lfuanmt.jpg

Tonight’s supper menu….

 photo IMG_8750_zpsn2un0bag.jpg

 photo IMG_8752_zpsksbkcyek.jpg

Chicken for main….

 photo IMG_8754_zpsfulixrhj.jpg

Food so far was OK but nothing special. This on the other hand was delicious.

 photo IMG_8755_zpsumipcida.jpg

With almost 3 hours to go on the flight, I decide to settle in and grab a few hours’ sleep before arriving back in Singapore at 6am.

 photo IMG_8756_zpsaeh69xei.jpg

Overall, the slight out to Mumbai was excellent with the new J product. Loved it! Looking forward to one day trying this on the long haul routes to SFO and LAX.

The regional product is still good but I prefer to take this on a day time flight as the flat beds are slightly angled and not as comfortable for a long sleep (I did get the opportunity to try this not so long after fortunately).

Thanks for reading, please do look out for my future trip reports on recent trips I took to Tokyo via SQ, a week-long trip at the Singapore F1 and Hong Kong, and a trip to San Francisco via NRT on ANA J.

Advertisements
Posted in Trip Reports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 5: 9W2952 GOI-BLR Y Class ATR 72. Hotel JW Marriott

Unfortunately, due to plenty of travel and friends visiting, my latest update on this report has taken a lot longer compile than expected.

Day 5 began with breakfast and then a quick 2-hour flight from GOI to BLR on board an ATR 72. GOI was nothing to write home about. High security before checking in at the airport followed by separate queues based on gender to go through departure security. The women’s queue was a lot shorter than the men’s with many folks trying to push in. Be warned that getting through security can take some time.

Once past security, the airport itself does not have much to offer. Not much choice for food so do ensure you are full before heading to the airport. I hate to see what the airport is like during peak travel period, not long after this photo was taken, the airport got crowded quite quickly.

 photo IMG_8648_zpsasktoswo.jpg

After a brief delay of maybe around 30 minutes, our flight is called for boarding. The notices for the flight were a bit confusing but eventually, myself and fellow passenger managed to work out where we had to go. Coincidently, she was going to be my seatmate for the next 2 hours.

We board a bus that takes us on a quick 30 second journey to our plane.

 photo IMG_8650_zpsoifrmgaj.jpg

For those interested, you board this aircraft from the rear and not the front.

 photo IMG_8652_zpsobtqipwr.jpg

Seating is in a 2×2 format with 1 class only.

 photo IMG_8653_zpswlixwlqs.jpg

Seating space was adequate.

 photo IMG_8655_zpsjclc6wuj.jpg

A snack consisting of sandwich and muffin was served almost immediately after takeoff.

 photo IMG_8658_zpsxuzucmqx.jpg

We arrive in Bangalore in good time and pleased to say there was no rain.

A quick shot of the front of the craft before we head off to the hotel.

 photo IMG_8659_zps4gdopcze.jpg

After collecting my luggage, I decide to grab an Uber, partly because the hotel taxi was going to cost around 8x more. I had to walk about 10 minutes from arrivals to the designated Uber pick up point. Taking an Uber was a great idea, but Uber really needs to signpost this better as it can be quite confusing.

In my Uber on my way to JW Marriott….

 photo IMG_8663_zpsvfevchhj.jpg

This driver was a complete c#@k. The maps used by Uber (I am assuming it’s Google Maps) were slightly wrong and he had to drive an extra 150-200 metres to reach my destination. He demanded a tip from me because the maps were wrong, in fact he was quite threatening. Needless to say I told him I’ll be contacting Uber management about what’s happened. Anyhow, not sure if Uber are still associated with him.

After checking in, I make my way to my room and grab some quick shots of the view before I head to dinner.

 photo IMG_8687_zpsrkxico0z.jpg

 photo IMG_8686_zpsgtbatnrd.jpg

 photo IMG_8684_zpsu9m9bsd7.jpg

Semi view of the stadium next door…

 photo IMG_8682_zpsfrygxkdj.jpg

I head to the restaurant for buffet dinner before the evening rush arrives.

 photo IMG_8679_zpsyhhkkdgz.jpg

 photo IMG_8678_zpsnwdivw8o.jpg

 photo IMG_8677_zpspi5om19n.jpg

 photo IMG_8676_zpsdlk0xryu.jpg

 photo IMG_8674_zpscfbmewwi.jpg

The choice of food was quite excellent, especially the desserts. After 3 rounds, I decide to call it a day with my decision to go early a winner as after this, the restaurant got quite busy.

 photo IMG_8673_zpsgkskwlsw.jpg

The JW Marriott buffet restaurant is one of my favorite places to dine in during all of my stays here in Bangalore.

Some final snaps of the hotel room before I get down to work for the night.

 photo IMG_8668_zpskajiaauw.jpg

Spacious even with 2 queen beds in the room.

 photo IMG_8667_zpsiv22znkw.jpg

A lot different compared to the shower in Goa…

 photo IMG_8665_zps7hrc1ffs.jpg

Bathroom with a view.

 photo IMG_8664_zpspy3jpjns.jpg

JW Marriott is probably one of the best hotels in India that I have stayed in. It’s comfortable, spacious and has a lovely atmosphere. There is also a shopping mall next door with a number of restaurants. I ate in a Mexican restaurant the last time I was here, as well as a Chinese restaurant. None however were as good as the hotel hence why I decided to eat there this time.

My stay here lasted one night only. Once morning came, after a day of meetings it would be off back to the airport for a red eye flight back to Singapore.

Posted in Trip Reports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SQ / 9W: SIN-BOM-GOI-BLR-SIN with a Mix of J and Y with Various Hotels Part 3….

With a bit of time spare before a full day of meetings, I take a gander around the grounds of Park Hyatt Goa. Although I wasn’t too keen on the room, the grounds itself is quite exceptional. Especially for this part of the world, an unexpected hidden treasure.

The hotel entrance as expected is highly guarded. Once you pass security, you come to this wonderful looking complex.

 photo IMG_8638_zps3ihq6yak.jpg

 photo IMG_8637_zpsc5acnf90.jpg

Hotel staff all courteous.

 photo IMG_8636_zpswsafkojk.jpg

I must add that the photos were only able to be captured due to a temporary break in the rainfall.

 photo IMG_8635_zpsig0loq7p.jpg

View of the pool with the Arabian Sea in the background.

 photo IMG_8634_zpsrylrvuar.jpg

Hotel gardens.

 photo IMG_8631_zps3vys65cy.jpg

View of the hotel from the garden.

 photo IMG_8630_zpshqyrst36.jpg

 photo IMG_8629_zpskfzen2jp.jpg

 photo IMG_8624_zpsp8jyfkkf.jpg

Reached the sea. As you can see it was quite windy.

 photo IMG_8628_zpsawmcex3k.jpg

 photo IMG_8627_zpsayydy5gm.jpg

 photo IMG_8626_zpsnbfmgsam.jpg

After this I head off to work for the day. Work finishes and I arrive back at the hotel with the rain still falling and the light beginning to fade.

 photo IMG_8612_zpsxaqzniq4.jpg

My colleagues and I head off to a restaurant 15 minutes away. The name of the place is called Martin’s Corner.

 photo IMG_8617_zpsjphpgozd.jpg

 photo IMG_8619_zpsenym1bsm.jpg

Had to try the light spiced Goan Crab. This was delicious. To go with this, we ordered a coconut chicken and a spinach dish. Also delicious.

 photo IMG_8620_zpsjkgfuyjc.jpg

 photo IMG_8621_zpsovagcgl3.jpg

A lovely restaurant, named after the original owner now passed down to his children.

 photo IMG_8622_zps0wlzkucq.jpg

After dinner, it’s back to the hotel for a bath and shower in one.

 photo IMG_8641_zpsih5hukzc.jpg

Never seen this concept before. Wasn’t sure if this was a good idea or a bad one. Having a bath in this wasn’t very comfortable. This brings my stay in Goa to an end and the next day will see me fly to Bangalore for the final stage of this trip report.

To be continued.

Posted in Trip Reports | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SQ / 9W: SIN-BOM-GOI-BLR-SIN with a Mix of J and Y with Various Hotels Part 2….

Apparently, the rain had been non-stop for 36 hours by the time I arrived at the hotel. Understandable with this being monsoon season of course. However, the next morning the rain did stop briefly. As I looked outside the window, there was what I could only guess to be a hotel security or staff briefing.

 photo IMG_8489_zpsxqm7yreb.jpg

The last time I was here was in November 2015, I don’t recall the progress of the construction opposite so I decided to add this for next time sake.

 photo IMG_8490_zpsgfxxtyyw.jpg

Before I head for check-out, I grab a quick bite for breakfast. Lovely selection of cereals and fruits on offer.

 photo IMG_8492_zpsaohxuvoq.jpg

 photo IMG_8491_zpsnemm8wva.jpg

Congee cooking station…. better than many hotels I’ve stayed in around Asia.

 photo IMG_8493_zpso2jcdkwz.jpg

Other offerings include local and western…

 photo IMG_8494_zpsjwzujsk1.jpg

 photo IMG_8495_zpspvtgdhzt.jpg

After breakfast it’s time to head off for my day of meetings before making my way back to the airport for a domestic flight to Goa.

Jet Airways shares a first and business class check in area with Emirates.

 photo IMG_8499_zpsl8ezruzl.jpg

 photo IMG_8497_zpsvmelfeyr.jpg

Everything related to check-in was efficient except the check-in girl printed off a priority sticker for my suitcase but forgot to include this with my suitcase. Unfortunately, this meant when I arrived in Goa, my suitcase inevitably was last rather than first!

As I didn’t have time to get lunch, I decide to head straight to the lounge after security. There is no separate section in security for business class passengers. Queuing is not an option for many as a large number of passengers decide to walk straight to the front of queues and push in, in front of other folks. No one seemed to care about this either (including employees). It’s not worth the hassle I’m sure so after a delayed 15 minutes I finally make my way to the lounge and grab a bite!

 photo IMG_8503_zpskwb69jn4.jpg

 photo IMG_8502_zpskbzgluxk.jpg

It is here that I discovered a love for Roti and Prata! The food wasn’t bad either.

 photo IMG_8505_zpsaa1surek.jpg

With the rains lashing down, every couple of minutes or so I still see a plane landing.

 photo IMG_8506_zpsvbsydr9b.jpg

Bar area…

 photo IMG_8507_zpszl2lhqdw.jpg

Lounge overall wasn’t so busy…

 photo IMG_8508_zps4iyd9nhj.jpg

I pop out for a walk after to see what the shopping is like at the airport. Goodbye lounge!!!

 photo IMG_8510_zpsulrdqucl.jpg

I take a glance at the screen and it’s suddenly changed from being on time to being delayed by 35 minutes.

 photo IMG_8511_zpsxejqejti.jpg

The airport terminal has a nice ambience feel to it…

 photo IMG_8513_zpse9ajxbz4.jpg

So with the delay, it’s back to the lounge I go.

 photo IMG_8514_zpsfqhhspf9.jpg

Lounge is still nowhere near half capacity.

 photo IMG_8516_zpsggomkb1m.jpg

45 mins to departure and it’s time to head to the gate.

 photo IMG_8519_zpsiee12fdj.jpg

Another delay is announced so I do a bit more window rain staring.

 photo IMG_8526_zpsozr9v3dd.jpg

Eventually it’s time to board and I make my way on to the 9W 737 aircraft to Goa.

 photo IMG_8529_zpswfgeds2j.jpg

There are 3 rows in business class each with a 2×2 layout. Total number of pax in business was 4.

Plenty of leg space, reminds me of premium economy on long haul flights on some carriers.

 photo IMG_8530_zpsarrjyegw.jpg

Even on this short 1-hour flight there are light refreshments served.

 photo IMG_8531_zpspuzxdetc.jpg

With a break in the rain, it’s time for take-off.

 photo IMG_8537_zpsee802jss.jpg

Quick bit of plane spotting..

 photo IMG_8540_zpst46crid5.jpg

 photo IMG_8545_zpsl9mzi1gz.jpg

 photo IMG_8548_zpsckjb33z4.jpg

And off we go.

 photo IMG_8554_zps7hiwaprr.jpg

Shots of Mumbai as we leave.

 photo IMG_8557_zpssvffpnx0.jpg

 photo IMG_8562_zpsqebtonq3.jpg

Light meal served not long after take-off.

 photo IMG_8568_zpsobpceqa8.jpg

After food the flight gets hit with quite a bit of turbulence so we all remain in our seats until the end of the flight. Upon landing it’s a quick exit with the exception of luggage. As mentioned earlier, my luggage wasn’t tagged priority and ended up being one of the last bags to come out.

30 minutes later, I arrive at Park Hyatt Goa. I head straight to my room with high expectations.

 photo IMG_8570_zpsizdio3xx.jpg

 photo IMG_8571_zpsli5oet43.jpg

 photo IMG_8573_zpsv7ausfjz.jpg

Nice hotel overall and will share the photos of the surroundings in my next update. However, I did expect the room to be better as I have had good Grand Hyatt experiences in Bangkok, KL and Regency HK.

To be continued….

Posted in Trip Reports | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SQ / 9W: SIN-BOM-GOI-BLR-SIN with a Mix of J and Y with Various Hotels Part 1….

I hope my last trip report travelling around West Coast USA was enjoyable to read, well enough for you to be interested in this one anyway.

For this trip, I was lucky enough to visit 3 different places in India staying at a different hotel chain at each one during monsoon season.

The itinerary in early August was as follows:

Day 1: SQ424 SIN-BOM B777-300 J Class new layout. Hotel Sofitel Mumbai.
Day 2: 9W426 BOM-GOI B737-800 J Class. Hotel Park Hyatt Goa.
Days 3-4: Hotel Park Hyatt Goa.
Day 5: 9W2952 GOI-BLR Y Class ATR 72. Hotel JW Marriott.
Day 6: SQ503 BLR-SIN J Class B777-200 ER.

The day began on a rainy afternoon in Singapore. My journey to the airport took me past some iconic views from around the city.

 photo IMG_8392_zpses5rmn8r.jpg

Blurry picture of MBS…. The rain began to fall not long after this.

 photo IMG_8393_zpss0yontus.jpg

Business class check-in area of Terminal 3 was empty. With this being a Sunday afternoon, I did expect a slightly more packed airport.

 photo IMG_8396_zpsyzjq4thl.jpg

Time to head out to the back….

 photo IMG_8397_zps8izoxfe4.jpg

A quick visit to the lounge….

 photo IMG_8401_zpsec5jap9x.jpg

 photo IMG_8402_zpsd95qmxbl.jpg

A very empty lounge I must say……not that I minded.

 photo IMG_8405_zpsawaoxjxg.jpg

There are seats inside the lounge that provides good viewing of the transfer area. Unfortunately, no windows to see any birds.

 photo IMG_8406_zpsbmd5dxyc.jpg

Just to show how quiet this lounge was…..

 photo IMG_8407_zpsmwwmybg8.jpg

Food wasn’t particularly appetizing so I ended up with some chicken wings, meatballs and potato.

 photo IMG_8409_zpsgp78nxlz.jpg

Drinks counter.

 photo IMG_8410_zpsk6rhyrzt.jpg

After food, I head to our gate. B10 if I remember correctly.

 photo IMG_8411_zpsvnokpay9.jpg

I couldn’t get a shot of our bird for the night but I managed to take a shot of the plane parked next door.

 photo IMG_8412_zps95brzpcp.jpg

Time to board and I make my way to my seat 20K.

 photo IMG_8413_zpsdgzrydgd.jpg

I didn’t realise I would be trying the new J class layout until boarding. Small storage area. Adequate.

 photo IMG_8416_zps9bry5vfz.jpg

Nice touch screen remote…

 photo IMG_8417_zps5hbucy44.jpg

The bed layout still directs your legs towards the corner. Although the seat is wonderful, if sleeping it can be a little restless.

 photo IMG_8422_zpsbkjpur0z.jpg

IFE screen.

 photo IMG_8423_zpsvqvp7bpf.jpg

Plenty of leg space.

 photo IMG_8425_zpsg6n9g2gm.jpg

View from the side.

 photo IMG_8428_zpsn0mlgvvn.jpg

Food menu.

 photo IMG_8429_zps70wrsa4f.jpg
 photo IMG_8430_zpsxelnhtrq.jpg

 photo IMG_8431_zpssmjini6g.jpg

Champagne and wine offerings….

 photo IMG_8432_zpsehqtn7vc.jpg

 photo IMG_8433_zpsl5vlxvkf.jpg

 photo IMG_8435_zps5wpopjal.jpg

I went for my usual champagne…

 photo IMG_8439_zpsigljbebs.jpg

As we approach for take-off I do a little plane spotting, ironic I spot a couple of Jet Airways birds.

 photo IMG_8441_zps0ogvuf4d.jpg

Heading off…

 photo IMG_8446_zpsyqahjkdm.jpg

And off we go…

 photo IMG_8450_zpsw4vuit5r.jpg

Flight information on SQ has improved a lot.

 photo IMG_8453_zpsbgwvzcpb.jpg

 photo IMG_8454_zpsae4wlmnk.jpg

Headset, slippers and socks!

 photo IMG_8457_zps4a2mxcii.jpg

Seat view…

 photo IMG_8458_zpshqov64qh.jpg

Time for food beginning with the traditional satay!

[IMG]http://i61.photobucket.com/albums/h69/mlee21/India%20Day%201/IMG_8459_zpsdmcrziko.jpg~original[/IMG]

Seafood starter with garlic bread. Delicious!

 photo IMG_8466_zps7yeuc2js.jpg

I went for book the cook. Beef fillet with mash potato and roasted vegetables! Great choice.

 photo IMG_8469_zpseuexbjft.jpg

 photo IMG_8470_zpsx2kvwe8r.jpg

Ice cream dessert and cheese and crackers! I love cheddar cheese with crackers. I always ask for more.

 photo IMG_8472_zpsf5i1vje6.jpg

After food I get some rest and the flight map indicates we are an hour away from Mumbai.

 photo IMG_8473_zpsv04r1yd9.jpg

Wifi was available on board but came at an expensive price.

 photo IMG_8464_zpseghswbxs.png

$19.99 for 50MB, other options include 30MB for $12.99 or 15MB for $6.99.

As we land, it’s raining extremely heavy. No more photos as it was pointless until I reached the hotel. It is monsoon season after all.

This is my 3rd time staying in Sofitel Mumbai. It’s a lovely hotel with great ambience about the place. I didn’t have time to visit the gym or pool as I arrived late and my stay here would be for less than 12 hours. When I arrived they took me straight to my room to check-in. I am not a big fan of this as sometimes I like to enquire what my room is like before I reach.

 photo IMG_8484_zpswwrq3hyb.jpg

Restaurant entrance where I would have breakfast the following morning.

 photo IMG_8485_zpsegaimwz0.jpg

Room was pleasant with a nice feel to it. I can’t complain really as it’s my 3rd time here and it’s the same quality of stay as my previous visits.

 photo IMG_8486_zpswoukq42n.jpg

Separate bath and shower….

 photo IMG_8487_zpsvkhbo0u3.jpg

Time to sleep before another days flying begins.

 photo IMG_8488_zpsf3jezsfw.jpg

To be continued….. 

Posted in Trip Reports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

USA California / Nevada / Arizona Road Trip May 2016 – Day 14 SQ11 LAX-SIN via NRT

What a great 2 weeks this trip has been, after visiting San Diego, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Los Angeles, and Santa Monica. it was time to say farewell to my friends where my wife and I would leave first taking SQ 11 from LAX to SIN.

Our friend also residing in Singapore was booked to be on BR departing a few hours after us with a transit in TPE. The last of our group would be taking VS from LAX to LHR.

We leave our Airbnb apartment just before midday and arrive at the car hire location within 45 minutes. We hand our vehicle keys back and pack our luggage onto the shuttle bus that would take us to the terminal. We arrive at the terminal 2.5 hours before departure.

Tom Bradley in the past used to be a good spot for us as our group of travellers always departed from various terminals. We would sit upstairs at the back of pre-departures in the seating area and have dinner together at one of the many eateries available. When we arrived we were surprised to see this was no longer there. Shucks! An earlier goodbye than expected.

A couple of shots from the terminal at Tom Bradley. Notable airlines such as Etihad, JAL and China Airlines check-in at section A of the terminal.

 photo IMG_8030_zpsfok9iyvr.jpg

Section B includes Emirates, BA, KLM, and Korean Air. Forgot to blur the folks out on the right hand side. Sorry.

 photo IMG_8032_zpsu9vtneku.jpg

Our 3:45pm departure points us to check-in at section C. Other airlines in this section included BR.

 photo IMG_8031_zpsg78glofj.jpg

Despite the recent renovations in Tom Bradley, I see they still use the old style system for departure information.

 photo IMG_8042_zpsi0qhfn09.jpg

Automated check-in options available for many airlines.

[IMG]http://i61.photobucket.com/albums/h69/mlee21/SQ%2011/IMG_8034_zpsxifqbq5n.jpg~original[/IMG]

Time to check-in…

 photo IMG_8033_zpsozpumkrh.jpg

My friend takes a shot of Mrs Mlee888 and I waiting to check-in.

 photo IMG_8036_zpszcwuwara.jpg

This is where the check-in process got slightly complicated. Due to a last minute aircraft change, with my wife and I originally scheduled to sit together in seats 96 D/F, with the replacement plane no longer being an all upper business deck, this meant that our seats were no longer available. On top of this, with us having separate bookings (wife took an earlier departure to US at the start of our trip), their systems automatically seated us quite a distance from each other. For a few hours this would be OK but with this being a 16.5 hour flight time overall, we would prefer to be seated together.

The SQ staff couldn’t think of a way to change our seats to begin with but continued to try their best to see what alternative arrangements could be found. The supervisor eventually managed to work out a solution by calculating who had checked-in and who hadn’t. Everyone in business class had been given a new seat in the last 24 hours so anyone who checked-in online prior to this would not had known of any aircraft change until they arrived at the airport. The supervisor switched our seats to 26 D/F for the first leg and told us we would have to wait until arriving in NRT to be given new seats for the second leg. She explained she could only override the system in LAX but was unable to do so for NRT, she did say she would make sure we would be seated together.

What great service this was. I was so impressed with the way they handled this. I can see why SQ is one of the worlds best airlines.

So to the below…..today’s flight would be the following:

Plane: A380
Class: J
Seats: LAX-NRT 26 D/F, NRT-SIN 22 D/F (both upper deck)
Departing Airport: LAX Tom Bradley
Arriving Airport: SIN Terminal 3
Via: NRT (Tokyo)

We say our farewells to our friends and head for the departure lounge. Tom Bradley has an express queue for Business Class passengers so going through immigration and security was relatively quick and easy, compared to my experience when arriving a few weeks before.

The Star Alliance Lounge was packed! There was not a spare seat in the house and when looking at the departure board, I saw quite a few other Star Alliance flights departing around the same time.

The food also didn’t look that great to be honest, I took a quick shot and then walked around the lounge briefly. Poor quality photo sadly.

 photo IMG_7947_zpsvxx0gu1m.jpg

There were more people inside the lounge than in the shopping area downstairs.

 photo IMG_7948_zpskdse26yo.jpg

Mrs Mlee888 and I decide not to stick around and head to gate 150 where our flight would depart from. Quite a bit of heavy traffic here so looks like a full flight.

 photo IMG_7951_zpsd2ccne8t.jpg

The staff getting ready and with T-45 mins no one is queueing up just yet

 photo IMG_7952_zpsjuzekdjg.jpg

Our beautiful whale that would take us all the way back to Singapore.

 photo IMG_7949_zpsj0toog7x.jpg

Boarding is announced with Suites first followed by Business Class and PPS members.

 photo IMG_7959_zps0iikvsdg.jpg

Seat 26A with the older generation business layout. Still extremely comfortable and one of my favourite J class seats.

 photo IMG_7957_zpsksa3nqrx.jpg

Today’s LAX-NRT first meal options.

 photo IMG_7960_zpsozqwxakp.jpg

 photo IMG_7961_zpssbxvrgy4.jpg

Snacks during flight available.

 photo IMG_7962_zpstasxv012.jpg

Due to the timing of the flight, when you land in NRT it is evening time so a second meal is served on board before landing.

 photo IMG_7963_zpszp8k6cng.jpg

 photo IMG_7964_zpsmogbfmh0.jpg

Dinner menu from NRT-SIN.

 photo IMG_7965_zpsvk7lehyn.jpg

 photo IMG_7966_zps2no8zok8.jpg

Having a glass of bubbly before take-off.

 photo IMG_7968_zpstgqs4pan.jpg

Having a bubbly before take-off. Drinks were the same as on the way out so I didn’t take a photo of what was on offer.

 photo IMG_7968_zpstgqs4pan.jpg

Flight map shows a flight time of 10 hours and 45 minutes.

 photo IMG_7970_zpsocie3mn7.jpg

An hour after take-off, the meal service began.

The marinated crayfish with gralic bread. Delicious!

 photo IMG_7972_zpsenlftpvc.jpg

Mrs Mlee888 used Book The Cook option and selected sweet and sour fish with fried noodles. She said it tasted quite good.

 photo IMG_7976_zpsfuwxhual.jpg

My BTC option – Steamed crab ravioli in creamy lobster sauce with mixed vegetables. It was nice but the portion wasn’t filling.

 photo IMG_7978_zpsjy8xvr92.jpg

The yoghurt cranberry cake with cheese and crackers served together. Went well with my vodka and coke.

 photo IMG_7980_zpshzw8izfh.jpg

To keep myself entertained, I watched Zootopia which was great followed by London Has Fallen. I started watching Ip Man 3 but with about 5.5 hours of the flight to go before reaching NRT, I decided to take a nap.

 photo IMG_7983_zpsswprwegd.jpg

 photo IMG_7984_zpsnituakbh.jpg

Mrs Mlee888 already asleep at this point but this is a shot of how the flat bed appears on SQ on the A380. Your feet go into the corner which for some may not be comfortable.

 photo IMG_7988_zpsrqebgixx.jpg

I sleep around 2 hours and check on the flight map to see where we were.

 photo IMG_7989_zpsd9usaxil.jpg

I watch the rest of Ip Man and then decide to put Race on. An inspiring movie. I realised I watched more movies during this flight sector than on the whole way out.

With around 2 hours to go, the lights come on as the cabin prepare for the second meal to be served.

 photo IMG_7992_zps2wndpkma.jpg

The prosciutto ham for starters….and more garlic bread.

 photo IMG_7994_zpsxtuooyj1.jpg

Not sure what wifey ordered here on BTC. Possibly the lamb.

 photo IMG_7995_zpsfjrg3xqb.jpg

My order – Peppered fillet mignon with mustard jus, chanterelle mushrooms, fava beans, and paprika red potatoes. Very yummy!

 photo IMG_7996_zpsxiljpef5.jpg

40 minutes to Tokyo and the mood lighting is switched on.

 photo IMG_8003_zps0xpn7vlq.jpg

As we arrive in Tokyo, I spot SQ12 preparing for NRT-LAX. They both arrive in Tokyo and refuel around the same time.

 photo IMG_8005_zpswf4gjhtn.jpg

SQ staff in LAX were true to their word. As we entered the arrival area there was a big board with our names on it to get our attention. A staff member was there ready to give us our new boarding passes. We were given seats 22 D/F and would be seated together for the second leg. Excellent service overall.

Back to the ANA lounge for a quick visit and game on this.

 photo IMG_8009_zpskiyo1gww.jpg

Offerings at this lounge aren’t that impressive. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to go see what the main lounge was like.

 photo IMG_8010_zpszhmfr5ed.jpg

Famous Japanese snacks. I end up leaving with a couple of boxes of Tokyo Banana.

 photo IMG_8011_zpsu2g0xf6k.jpg

 photo IMG_8012_zpssvyocebp.jpg

Waiting to be called up for boarding with order as shown in the photo.

 photo IMG_8013_zpsouwwlkm3.jpg

Back on board for the 6 hour flight from NRT-SIN and we take our new seats. Time to get comfortable!

 photo IMG_8017_zpsgkpdhzkq.jpg

An hour after take-off the food is served. After satay, they dish out the smoked duck breast starter with vegetables and a helping of garlic bread (again).

 photo IMG_8019_zpsvv4kyqmy.jpg

Mrs Mlee888 main course on BTC would be Grilled fillet of beef with pesto. Same as what I had on the way out.

 photo IMG_8021_zpscn4hpuaq.jpg

I went for the chicken stuffed with prosciutto and mushrooms in creamy sauce with braised turnip, spinach, and potatoes. Again another great meal by SQ.

 photo IMG_8023_zpsq1e3dtyn.jpg

I accompany my meal with the movie Dirty Grandpa starring Zac Effron and Robert De Niro which I had been watching since the start of the flight. This would be my 5th movie of the entire flight and also my last. The film was much better than I thought it would be. After it ends I settle down and grab nearly 4 hours sleep and wake up around 30 minutes before departure. The lights come on and the cabin crew prepare for arrival.

 photo IMG_8024_zpsyqjudx5p.jpg

We arrive 30 minutes before schedule and after immigration and customs, we eventually get home around 3:30am. 2 days later. Lost out on a whole day due to the international time zone but this just balances out how we gained a day when we flew out. 😀

Hope you have all enjoyed this trip report and I look forward to sharing my next adventures (that’s worth posting of course).

Posted in Trip Reports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

USA California / Nevada / Arizona Road Trip May 2016 Day 13 – Rodeo Drive and Santa Monica

So our last full day in the US was upon us and we decide to spend the day on Rodeo Drive and visiting Santa Monica. We have been to Universal Studios Hollywood and Disneyworld Anaheim on past visits so no point in going to either of these again.

Our day began roughly around 10:30am with a quick stop at the Urban Lights at LACMA. Not my kind of thing however but my wife and friend seemed to enjoy it. I doubt I will come again.

 photo image1_zpslzhpindz.jpg

Off we go to Rodeo Drive, a short 10 minute drive from LACMA. We find street parking that cost less than $2 for an hour. Not bad.

Some shots of the famous street and designer shops. My wife was a bit disappointed that we didn’t see any celebrities though.

 photo DSC_0524_zpsfhwnewv2.jpg

 photo DSC_0541 2_zpsnvb71n1p.jpg

 photo DSC_0521_zpsbpggaoqc.jpg

 photo DSC_0525 2_zpstzhbl0qi.jpg

 photo DSC_0528_zpsxwr0yxnb.jpg

 photo DSC_0531_zpsthu2xckb.jpg

The whole place just seemed very superficial to me. Oh well, at least I can say we have visited now as I always skipped it in the past.

Back to the car we go and a 20 mile drive to Santa Monica. We arrive in Santa Monica around 2pm parking in the main shopping district.

Where to eat???

 photo DSC_0639 2_zpsskpjb2rw.jpg

Oh look, another Cheesecake Factory. After San Francisco and Las Vegas, this would be our 3rd visit to this chain.

I went for the Steak Diane and Chicken with Fries.

 photo IMG_7943_zpsqrecsmel.jpg

Tasted great! This was a much needed meal. After lunch we take a walk towards the beach and make our way to the pier.

 photo DSC_0553 2_zps9vqos3ds.jpg

 photo DSC_0559_zpsui42lcev.jpg

Beach looks lovely. I remember seeing a womens beach volleyball game once in LA. That was awesome. No volleyball match today though.

 photo DSC_0568 2_zpsus62sh01.jpg

Rollecoaster on the pier. $8 a ride

 photo DSC_0582 2_zpsvhpd9zpq.jpg

Fishing in the Pacific Ocean.

 photo DSC_0623 2_zps8bgpydmf.jpg

View of the amusement park and beach from the end of the pier.

 photo DSC_0625 2_zpskkflo5mi.jpg

I realise the park has a name!

 photo DSC_0629 2_zpscvttywlg.jpg

Back to the main high street.

 photo DSC_0634 2_zpsltzvwgem.jpg

Santa Monica is an extremely pleasant place. I always enjoyed visiting in the past and this was no different.

Rodeo Drive, done. Santa Monica, done. Where to next? OK, let’s go to Citadel Outlets in Commerce, LA. Only 25 miles or so from Santa Monica. We head off at 4:30pm and due to traffic we arrive about 6pm. Oh well, last minute shopping never sucks. Last day complete and it’s time to pack our suitcases one last time.

Posted in Trip Reports | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

USA California / Nevada / Arizona Road Trip May 2016 Day 12 – Los Angeles

Day 12 began with what probably was the most depressing part of the trip. Leaving Las Vegas to drive to Los Angeles. We set off at 10am and give one last wave goodbye towards the Las Vegas sign before we hit the road to LA. We stop off about 90 mins later at the infamous world’s largest thermometer located in Baker and grab a bite to eat at Arby’s. More fast food! No photos though as it literally was just a quick bite and then back on the road.

We arrive in LA about 4:30pm and instead of checking into a hotel, we decided to give Airbnb a shot. For privacy reasons I won’t be sharing any inside photos of the apartment. The Airbnb apartment was located a stones throw away from the Chinese Theatre. Literally 2 minutes walk away. It was a 2 bed apartment with 2 queen beds in one room, and 1 queen bed in another. Perfect for our group. The apartment also came with 2 parking spaces! We had one vehicle only but we were still more than happy with this.

Internet connection was strong and the apartment was extremely spacious and felt very cosy. Lovely view from the balcony.

 photo DSC_0451 2_zpscvv0heqy.jpg

After settling down, we make our way towards Canyon Lake Drive which has some of the best views of the Hollywood sign. To me coming to LA is always a bit of a downer after Vegas but it does help ease me back into the pattern of going home. One member of our group had never seen the sign in person before so this was another reason to come here to get the mandatory tourist shots.

 photo DSC_0478_zpsvwdrtwcn.jpg

Nice view of part of the city from here.

 photo DSC_0465_zpsvz3vjhdh.jpg

Action…….all of a sudden these helicopters come out of nowhere.

More helicopters join, shouldn’t they be reporting the traffic around LA?

 photo DSC_0490_zpsdas82yju.jpg

A police helicopter arrives….

Turns out that there’s a man that climbed up to the top of the “D”. There was a camera crew next to us who were really excited. The one guy kept shouting “my best friend is photobombing all your photos right now!”………

This was the story.

http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Man-YouTube-Star-Hollywood-Sign-Climb-380901481.html

After this we had back towards the Chinese Theatre parking back at the apartment.

We spot the Dolby Theatre….

 photo DSC_0497_zpsvny6raat.jpg

The shopping mall next door…

 photo DSC_0498 2_zps6foauc4j.jpg

Lame Hollywood Walk of Fame…

 photo DSC_0499_zps9w1l1rvu.jpg

Back to the mall….

 photo DSC_0506_zpsw7usyfas.jpg

Chocolate anyone?

 photo DSC_0507_zpseqsmufo0.jpg

California Pizza Kitchen with Hollywood sign in the background.

 photo DSC_0508 2_zpseczbennq.jpg

Hollywood again…

 photo DSC_0509 2_zps8lfyuewa.jpg

After dinner a quick visit to the Chinese Theatre itself…

 photo DSC_0510_zpsqgbavrkh.jpg

A nearby souvenir shop had this awesome display of Terminator.

 photo IMG_7939_zpsqozje02r.jpg

After a depressing long day where we left the biggest fairground in the world, it was time to head back and grab some sleep. Only one full day of our vacation remained after this before I begin my trip back to Singapore.

Posted in Trip Reports | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

USA California / Nevada / Arizona Road Trip May 2016 Day 11 – Las Vegas Part 4 (Plus Hoover Dam)

Time does fly when you’re having fun. We begin day 11 with a drive to Hoover Dam leaving our hotel around midday arriving at Hoover Dam just before 1pm. For all first time drivers to Hoover Dam don’t be fooled by the car parks that cost so and so to park your car. If you carry on driving across to the other side of the dam, there is parking further up that’s free to park. Yes it’s a tad further to walk but it will save you $15.

I have been to Hoover Dam quite a few times now and it never ceases to amaze me how wonderful this piece of engineering truly is.

 photo DSC_0352_zps4ykvvwgo.jpg

A photo of how the water levels here have dropped over the years.

 photo DSC_0358_zpsbp9yocok.jpg

Fine engineering.

 photo DSC_0359 2_zpshitbl0jd.jpg

As Hoover Dam lies on the state line, one side shows Arizona time…

 photo DSC_0361 2_zpstaekuvvn.jpg

Whenever I used to visit during November, due to daylight saving time one side of the Dam would be an hour ahead of the other. At time of this trip both timezones were the same.

 photo DSC_0377 2_zpsrnlwijri.jpg

The bridge designed to stop traffic jams that used to hit Hoover Dam. Gone are the days of drive through traffic.

 photo DSC_0365 2_zpsnqjkcpka.jpg

Wonder how long it will take for the water to all disappear….

 photo DSC_0378_zpspfwzdcf4.jpg

If you ever come here, do stop off at the viewing point for Lake Mead.

 photo IMG_7915_zpszgnhqm2t.jpg

Those water levels that used to be….

 photo IMG_7916_zps7slv9hvh.jpg

No rest for the wicked….it’s time to head back to Vegas to grab some late lunch. We head to Boiling Crab for a lunchtime feast.

 photo DSC_0404 2_zpsgocvuf8m.jpg

Catfish and Fries basket.

 photo IMG_6743_zpsu8nbkymj.jpg

The Boiling Crab half naked crawfish with corn, potatoes, sausage, and mushroom. Bargain at less than $20++.

 photo image2_zpsazcfn6ja.jpg

Wife had some Snow Crab Legs but it was all in this big bag with some crazy combination sauce. It tasted great but the pictures of the bag didn’t come out well so no photos sadly.

After lunch we head back to the hotel and freshen ourselves up for a night of entertainment at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace with……..

Celine Dion!

 photo IMG_6755_zpsmlrtl1vn.jpg

The security took away my camera (along with everyone elses) to prevent photos from being taken inside the concert hall.

Out came the mobile phones to take sneaky pictures of the auditorium.

 photo IMG_7919_zpsuhpsc3nf.jpg

Celine belted out some fantastic tunes. I have to admit she really does have a great voice and sings with so much passion.

 photo IMG_6772_zpstys08umr.jpg

 photo IMG_7928_zpszctw81w9.jpg

Full house…

 photo IMG_7929_zpsgx8i8syi.jpg

Coming towards the end of her show…some folks got stopped taking photos but being sat where we were sat, we could clearly see many folks on the ground level taking photos freely without being asked to put their cameras away. Perks of having expensive seats. 😀

 photo IMG_7930_zpstbojsqz9.jpg

The encore being My Heart Will Go On from Titanic.

I was really surprised how much I enjoyed this concert. I can see why she’s such a huge role model to many of those out there.

After the concert had finished, we grabbed something to eat at the food court inside Caesars Palace and then headed back to Marriott Grand Chateau to pack our suitcases. Next morning we would be leaving for Los Angeles.

Posted in Trip Reports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

USA California / Nevada / Arizona Road Trip May 2016 Day 10 – Las Vegas Part 3

After an exhausting trip to Grand Canyon South Rim, it was time for a more relaxing day that began around midday. After a quick stop at the Fashion Mall for a bite to eat, we make our way to Fremont Street. With this being the older part of Vegas, it has never appealed to me to stay at any of the hotels here, however saying that I do enjoy coming for a a walk and spending an hour or two there.

I remember from my last visit there is now a zipline here. Seeing this brings back memories of mine from 2012 where I spent a whole day doing ziplines at Red Rock Canyon near Boulder City, about 15 miles outside of Vegas towards Hoover Dam.

 photo DSC_0265 2_zps2n0sdvnb.jpg

It looked fun but nowhere near as good as Red Rock Canyon.

A shot of Fremont Street with 2 of what would have been at one point the most popular hotels in Vegas.

 photo DSC_0268 2_zpspqi8do55.jpg

After an hour, we head back to Las Vegas Premium North Outlet for some more shopping. The great thing about outlets in US is that outlet shopping outside of the US is extremely expensive. For a quick comparison I once purchased a Tommy Hilfiger shirt for around $50 USD and the same shirt in Asia would cost $120 USD.

2 friends of mine from the UK arrived in Vegas this day so we met up with them at the outlet for a catch up. As it was approaching 9pm, we decided to eat at the outlet. My friends and I used to meet up in Vegas quite regularly (even going on vacations there together) and each visit always included a meal at The Cheesecake Factory. Luckily there was one at the outlet so off we went for some Steak Diane. We continued this mini tradition.

And each time I always ordered a chocolate milkshake…..

 photo IMG_7910_zpsgbmzmr89.jpg

After dinner we head back to the strip together for some group shots at the Bellagio Fountain. I won’t embarrass the group so here’s a few shots of the Bellagio. I will never get bored of visiting this place.

 photo IMG_0601_zpseoyc2oyj.jpg

Billie Jean by MJ starts to play and the fountain begins its magic.

 photo DSC_0295_zpsvgotzups.jpg

The Cosmopolitan looked wonderful in the background.

 photo DSC_0287_zpsa62mcaxo.jpg

Time for a midnight stroll along the strip heading past New York New York along the way.

 photo DSC_0304 2_zpsbhhvgbjn.jpg

The mini Statue of Liberty…

 photo DSC_0306_zpsoughdzhh.jpg

The Excalibur always looks better at night.

 photo DSC_0317_zpsaoyivomi.jpg

Inside Luxor they have a Titanic Exhibition and a small version of the Sphinx.

 photo DSC_0323 2_zpscpcawpls.jpg

Outside Luxor is a bigger version of the Sphinx and a Pyramid which is actually the hotel itself. Apparently the light you can see from space.

 photo DSC_0333_zpsvqbcmlbu.jpg

We also saw the light from some distance when we drove back from Grand Canyon the previous night.

Before we head back to our hotel, here’s a shot of New York New York with the rollercoaster and Statue of Liberty.

 photo DSC_0334_zps8pzwbdjp.jpg

The walk started about 11pm and ended about 1:30am. I recommend if you ever go to Vegas do spend some time walking up and down both parts of the strip. A wonderful experience.

A chilled out day, but again extremely exhausting. Time for a good nights sleep.

Posted in Trip Reports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment