It’s an inspiring title I know. I’m going to split this trip into three parts because it will just be an absolute epic otherwise, and we’ve all got lives to live.
I shall start right at the beginning with a brief explanation for those of you that aren’t privy to the inner workings of Mixed Fleet scheduling. Basically we operate the non-stop Singapore/Sydney flight on the 777. There is a separate Singapore flight that terminates in Singapore operated by our lovely Worldwide crew on the A380.
We operate this flight as a 9 day trip. For those who care I have laid out how it should work below. For reference Singapore is 7 hours ahead of the UK.
Day 1 –> Leave London around 9pm. 13 hour night flight to Singapore.
Day 2 –> Land in Singapore. It’s the night-time. You are confused and tired and in need of wine.
Day 3 –> Clear day in Singapore. Entertain yourself as you see fit.
Day 4 –> Leave Singapore around 8pm. 7 hour night flight to Sydney.
Day 5 –> Land in Sydney around 5am. You are delirious. And cold.
Day 6 –> Leave Sydney at lunchtime. Still delirious. Still cold. Land in Singapore late-ish that evening.
Day 7 –> Clear day in Singapore.
Day 8 –> Leave Singapore around 9pm. 13 hours home. This flight never ends. You will run out of Club desserts to gorge yourself on. You’ll have eaten all the Club kitchen. Drunk all the nice teas and used all the Nespresso pods from First (I never told you that..). Life isn’t worth living anymore. You’ll have done all the sudokus in the Mail and the Times. You don’t know whats happening. All you know is you are in a metal tube in the sky and you may never get to the UK and you mustn’t forget your orchids when you get off the plane.
Day 9 –> Land in London around 5am. You’ve gone mad. This is what it’s like. You’re so tired you don’t know how you got home.
Those who were paying attention at the beginning will note I said that this is how it should work.
So off we went. It was all marvellous. I was working in Club with two particularly wonderful people, one of whom I had flown with a couple of times before which is always nice (you just amuse yourself for 13 hours playing the ‘was it a Joburg we did?’ ‘No definitely wasn’t Joburg, haven’t done one for ages, what about Chicago?’ and so on and so forth until you’ve listed every bloody city The Worlds Favourite Airline flies to and you’re still no closer to knowing). On this occasion he had his parents with him, so it was lovely to be able to get to look after them, getting to look after yours (or other crew members) nearest and dearest is one of the best bits of this job.
We arrived in Singapore in good spirits, it amazed me how much better I felt having come this far east to land in the evening, rather than first thing in the morning as we do on most of our China routes. Maybe I was just hypoxic, who knows. My first impression of Singapore? It’s humid. Really really humid. Don’t bother straightening your hair, or putting on foundation. It’ll drip down your face in a really unattractive fashion within 5-10 minutes of being outside.
After a quick shower and change of clothes we headed out to Raffles Hotel for a Singapore Sling and some monkey nuts. The hotel has been there since 1887 and was named after Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the British founder of Singapore. The Singapore Sling was originally created in the hotel’s famous Long Bar to allow women to consume alcohol in public. And we drank several of them.
The next morning, after what was possibly the best sleep I’ve ever had, a couple of us headed to Sentosa. For those that don’t know Sentosa is an island just off the mainland. The island has been turned into a resort that they call ‘The State of Fun’. It’s fine. It’s perfectly pleasant. A lot of crew rave about Sentosa. You can have your picture taken at the ‘Southern Most Point of Continental Asia’ sign, have lunch in a massively over priced beach bar, get eaten alive by sandflies, etc etc. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly didn’t hate it, but it didn’t massively inspire me.
It’s worth going to see but essentially it’s an island on the edge of a massive commercial shipping harbour where the water is slightly questionable and the sand is similar to construction sand. And it’s still very humid. I’ve just remembered – it’s also home to Universal Studios – Singapore. Looks very much like the one in Orlando but in Singapore obviously.
That evening we went to a restaurant known as Fattys (if you’re there are wanting to try it you need to tell the taxi driver its Wing Seongs in Albert Square or you’ll end up driving round the entire state of Singapore). Fatty’s is a chinese restuarant well-known amongst airline crews from all over the world, in fact my mother has pictures from dinners at Fatty’s when she was crew back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. After dinner we headed over to the Gardens By The Bay at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel (3 towers, looks like it’s got a boat on top, you know which one I mean).
It is an amazing piece of design and engineering that hotel, it really is (no prizes for guessing what sort of job I do now!). It’s the worlds most expensive standalone casino (total land acquisition and build cost reportedly topped $8 billion Singapore dollars, about $5.8b USD) and is owned by the Las Vegas Sands Corp who also own The Venetian and The Palazzo in Vegas. Inside the hotel you can kind of tell, it’s a bit like a cross between The Palazzo and the main lobby of Ceasars Palace in Vegas.
Anyway, I digress. We had a little potter round the gardens and looked at all the lights then walked over to the Marina Bay Sands itself for a drink at the top. The bar at the top is called Ce La Vie. It’s something you definitely have to do if you’re in Singapore but it’s not somewhere I would particularly recommend for a proper night out as it were. The drinks are ridiculously expensive (anyone spotting a theme here..), the music has no words, there are very limited places to sit down and the bouncers are just a touch over zealous. I’m very easily pleased obviously, but we did have a nice drink.
We then decided to head back to our hotel as we were heading to Sydney the next day.
When we got back to the hotel and walked into reception our phone’s picked up the hotel wi-fi. Then we all started to get messages coming through from home. Whatsapp’s were read. BBC News was looked at. Confused looks were exchanged.
As I’m sure you will all have read in the news at the time, there was a wee bit of difficulty with the computers, which left everyone a bit short of information. To cut a long and dull story short, we found out we weren’t going to Sydney the following night. What does one do with an extra night in Singapore?
We went to marvellous bar called 1-Altitude. Well known amongst crew, 63 floors up with amazing views of the city, it is apparently the highest bar in the world. The music is amazing, the views are amazing, the wine is good, the gin is better and there is seating. What more could you want. Fun was had by all.
Crew night is Wednesday by the way. Cheap wine.
The next morning we all had a little lie in and a few quiet cups of coffee. At some point during the course of the day a note was put under the door (totally standard method of communication..I kid you not), saying we would be operating down to Sydney the following night. I did drag myself down to the pool for a couple of hours, then in the evening a few of us headed back to Gardens By The Bay to watch the Super Trees light show. Free to watch and on every evening, if you are ever in Singapore this is an absolute must-see.
The Super Trees are between 25 and 50m tall and are their own little ecosystems. It’s pretty cool. I won’t bore you with the details but you can have a little read about them here if you fancy it. Basically though, amongst other things they’ve got lots of LED lights in them, every night there is a light/music show with a various different themes. Whilst we were there, the show had a Star Wars theme. You have to lay on the floor to watch it. Everyone does it. It’s an essential part of the experience. Singapore is really clean by the way. It’s not like laying down on the floor in Slough.
The following day was pretty chilled, a gym session and a swim was followed by a nap in the afternoon ready for pick up at some stage early in the evening for the flight to Sydney…which I shall bore you all with at some stage next week.