USA California / Nevada / Arizona Road Trip May 2016 – Singapore Airlines SQ12 SIN-LAX via NRT 14th May 2016

First WordPress TR: SQ SIN-LAX via NRT RT (J) with California / Nevada / Arizona Road Trip.

My first trip report begins at Changi Airport and a flight on Singapore Airlines.

So here’s my itinerary that began on 14th May –

Day 1: 14th May SIN-LAX via NRT in J class on SQ12 departing 9:25am arriving 1:25pm local time.
Days 1-3: San Diego
Day 4: Drive from San Diego to San Francisco
Days 5-6: San Francisco
Day 7: Drive from San Francisco to Las Vegas
Day 8: Las Vegas
Day 9: Grand Canyon South Rim
Days 10 and 11: Las Vegas
Day 12: Drive to Los Angeles
Day 13: Santa Monica
Day 14: 27th May LAX-SIN via NRT in J Class on SQ11 departing 3:45pm local time arriving 3am on the 29th May Singapore time.

Will post more photos from the trip as weeks go by but here’s day 1. Hope you enjoy the report.

Plane: A380
Class: J
Seat: 96a (upper deck)
Departing Airport: SIN T3
Arriving Airport: LAX Tom Bradley
Via: NRT (Tokyo)

Changi Terminal 3 has a separate check-in row for SQ Business Class. Didn’t have to wait to check-in but with this being early on a Saturday morning, all rows including economy were quiet from what I could see.

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SQ are currently displaying their premium economy seat in the terminal. It looked quite reasonable but I know the price difference from Y may deter many from using. I may be tempted to give PE a shot in the future so watch this space.

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Departure area, not busy at all compared to early weekday mornings…

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After a quick check-in process and provided with my Row 96 all upper deck A380 J boarding pass, it would be time to hit the lounge. Immigration is mostly always smooth for those that are citizens / residents here in Singapore. I make my way to the Silverkris Lounge to grab something to eat before making my way to gate B4.

SKL is quite a big lounge but IME, this is where SQ probably falls slightly in their quest to be the worlds all-round greatest airline. The ambience was dark and for some reason I didn’t feel like I wanted to be in there anymore. I decide to take a couple of shots of the food area and after a quick bite I make my way to the gate area 30 mins before boarding.

With this being 8am, food choices were mainly a selection of dim sum and western choices.

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The siew mai which you can see on the right were actually very nice. I forgot to take a picture of this sadly.

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Breakfast shot….

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A brisk 5 minute walk from the lounge to Gate B4 shows a collective lounge area for those departing from B1-B4. Other flights departing around the same time include an SQ flight from SIN-LHR. Entering the area took around 10-15 mins due to congestion of other travellers. Everyone except those requiring assistance have the same status regardless of travel class when entering security here. Other airlines at Changi however do have separate channels for priority checks, notably Skyteam. SQ seems to fall on this sadly.

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B4 appeared to be quite busy and with 5 mins before boarding, I was surprised to see no one queueing up yet. There are separate channels for status as expected.

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The location of the waiting area made this difficult to take a picture of our beautiful whale.

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Boarding was announced and after suites, it was business class. I made my way to what would be home for the next 17 hours.

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The seat itself appears to be older with this being the former generation of J but it’s still very comfortable. I chose row 96 due to others on the forum mentioning the privacy of this seat does make this row feel like a mini cabin making it a unique travel experience, sure why not? I have been fortunate to experience rows 11, 21, 23, and 25 on SQ before and loved each time. In fairness, we are lucky whatever row we sit in when travelling in J.

Before taking this next photo, a gentleman took the seat next to me and I thought I had a close-ish neighbour for the journey, until Tokyo at least. An FA asked to see his boarding pass and somehow he made his way to the upper deck as his seat was actually downstairs in Y.

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A quick look at the entertainment screen. In row 96 it is slightly further away from you than the other seats but there is slightly more leg space.

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Captain announced all doors were closed and there I was the only pax in row 96. Any downsides to this row? Not really except the close proximity to the galley behind and a toilet which was rarely used.

In the back cabin, load was 8/24. We had 3 flight attendants covering us and I have to admit the lighter load really did make a huge difference in the level of service. SQ service was truly magnificent, I compare this with the full load on my return journey which was a full cabin and although staff were more rushed here, they still provided an outstanding job not far off from the level of service I received here.

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A quick look at the in-flight menu….

Japanese lunch option from SIN-NRT

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Western option

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Dinner option from NRT-LAX. Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of the Japanese option. For some reason I seem to have missed this.

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Breakfast options…we had an option to wake up 2.5 hours before landing for a full service or sleep longer and have a light breakfast 90 mins before landing. I actually woke 4 hours before landing and didn’t fancy either of the breakfast options so I went for the beef sandwich instead.

Breakfast options.

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My drink options for the flight….

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Drinks are standard on most airlines so I took this shot of the champagne offerings only.

Plane was ready to depart and off we go….not sure what the runways are called so I name this the runway that requires the plane to cross over main road before taking off. Before heading over the bridge, I spot a couple of SQ planes in *A livery.

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Here we are crossing the bridge…

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And take-off…..

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Shortly after take off the FA provides me with my goodies that consists of slippers (which are comfortable mind you), socks and sleeping mask. Oh and my glass of champagne……

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Toothbrushes and lotions etc. can be found in the bathrooms if required. I didn’t take any pictures of the bathroom this time round but the one by seat 11a at the front of the plane in upper deck is huge!!!! If i remember correctly it’s about 2-3x bigger than the ones at the back.

A quick look at the internet wifi service.

30MB at $12.99 just seems a bit too expensive for me.

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I took this later in the flight as I know some have asked if you can use the same wifi purchase on a different sector of the flight. This confirms you are not able to do this so in my case, I wouldn’t have been able to use any remaining data from the first leg on my second. Shame they don’t have the unlimited usage providers like they do on some of the newer planes as thats a much cheaper option than this.

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After an hour the food service began. I wasn’t that hungry and skipped the satay knowing it will also be available on the second leg.

I asked for my main course and dessert only. For my main, I requested the classic lobster dish via book the cook.

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This was absolutely delicous. The sauce wasn’t overpowering and the saffron rice complemented this very well. The lobster was cooked perfectly and it wasn’t too salty.

Dessert was Macadamia Ice Cream with Banana in Caramel. It was also very nice. As I didn’t have starter or appetiser, the FA’s did ask if I wanted seconds and thirds which I kindly declined. 🙂

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The rest of the flight was uneventful with me watching The Revenant. Great film!

Approaching NRT.

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Arriving 45 mins before schedule in Narita was brilliant. However we were stuck on the runway near our gate for about 25 minutes due to another plane delayed in departing taking our spot. We eventually deboard around 20 mins before schedule. In Narita, those carrying onto LAX still have to come off the plane and go through security in Japan. This allows time for the aircraft to be cleaned and my guess also to ensure those that are supposed to get off the plane here do so.

Plane spotting at NRT….

Air Canada….

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Of course an ANA plane…

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At NRT, clearing security took 20 minutes. It’s a quick process where after 2 minutes walk you enter security and are then back at the gate area. J class has access to ANA lounges and there’s one conveniently located by the gate here.

I went in briefly but only to grab a quick drink so sadly no photos here other than the following.

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Food options were not many but didn’t concern me as I knew dinner would be served on the flight within an hours time.

I returned back to the gate area and people were queueing up for the flight already.

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After 5 mins I was welcomed back on board by lead flight supervisor Shirley who had a team of 3 (including her) to once again serve a load of 8/24 pax in the back cabin. Although saying this I am not sure if they help out in the middle or front cabins also.

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I had a really nice conversation with the crew on this flight. One of them told me that the flight crew for SIN-LAX round trip took them away from their homes for a week. After the first leg they stay over fpr one night in NRT before proceeding to take over the NRT-LAX route. They remain in LA for 2 nights before returning back to NRT and then onto SIN the following day.

One more photo of another plane before settling back for take-off.

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Another glass of bubbly followed by the start of dinner service of satay. I also asked for a glass of vodka and coke and did warn them not to serve me too much alcohol as I had to drive once arriving in LA. The crew were excellent, they only served me juice or water after this.

The satay.

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The ham starter with SQ’s famous garlic bread. The garlic bread is delicious.

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For my dinner, I ordered book the cook again and requested for the beef fillet with pesto. The beef was cooked medium and was quite juicy. Very nice meal overall. The pasta was so so but at this stage I didn’t care as all I wanted to do was sleep after this.

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The night before, due to the early start I managed 4 hours sleep only. I forced myself to stay awake for the first leg knowing that a good sleep on the evening flight would leave me in good stead for west coast USA with this being 15 hours behind Singapore time (during daylight saving).

As I skipped dessert due to tiredness, Shirley kindly offered to make up a bed for me in another seat on the plane as she was worried the noise from the galley may wake me. I kindly declined again and she insisted on making up the bed for me in the seat next to me (96D). She also gave me some ear plugs. Watching Deadpool on this flight helped me sleep well also. I didn’t enjoy it unfortunately.

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With the whole back row to myself, it really did feel like a private mini cabin.

My wife was already in the US on vacation and she also previously sat in this row the week before and warned me that it got pretty cold there. It really does get cold but getting cold is better than getting too hot. The quilt does keep you relatively warm and I managed to get a good 4-5 hours sleep.

I woke up around 3.5 hours to departure and didn’t fancy any of the breakfast on offer. I asked for one of the snacks which was a beef sandwich with onions. It looked and tasted great!

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This was about 45 mins to landing, cabin shades open and along came my first views of California.

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Landing at LAX can be hit and miss. On this occassion it was a miss for me as I had to queue 2 hours at immigration. By the time I got out, the luggage from our flight had already been removed from the conveyor belt and placed on the side for collection. Priority luggage on this case didn’t help.

A friend of mine landed an hour after me at Terminal 2 or 3 via Virgin Atlantic and arrived to meet me at Tom Bradley 10 mins after I came out. His immigration experience was less than 30 minutes. A second friend arriving 3 hours after me at Tom Bradley took only 20 mins to get through. I guess 1pm is peak period with so many flights arriving from across the pacific and atlantic at the same time.

I end this chapter with a final photo of 5 different airlines in 1 shot at Tom Bradley. Hope you have enjoyed this so far and I look forward to sharing the next leg of my journey in the near future.

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About mlee888uk

I am a frequent traveller who likes to share his experiences from different locations around the world on various websites. No more will I be confused and all will be shared here on 1 place. This blog at times will include reviews on airline experience, hotels, restaurants, and various city and town locations. Note these are all my own words and I am not associated with any of the companies featured unless stated. Hope you enjoy reading my blog.
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