So, I’m back in Japan. Probably my last time here for awhile, considering the next school holiday’s quite near to when Ailin finishes her contract anyway. I’ll probably try to do my Europe holiday during that time – Anyone interested in visiting Germany/Austria/Czech republic this June? =P
Anyway, this time I’d opted to fly by Air China, since it’s a lot cheaper than Singapore Airlines (nearly half the price), plus I’d get to use the lounge while in transit anyway so I figured the wait wouldn’t be too bad. Anyway, Air China operates at Terminal 1 in Changi Airport, which made it the first time I was flying from there in awhile.
The thing that struck me at Terminal 1 was the availability of a check-in lounge for business/first class passengers (and also to Star Alliance Gold members). I’m ever-mindful of how I’ll be losing the Gold status after this June (possibly forever), so I thought I’d go check it out. Basically it’s just an area full of comfortable seats for rich people to sit at instead of standing in the traditional queues. Frankly, I’d thought it quite a waste of space/money given that non-economy passengers already have priority queues of their own, but I guess if someone offers you a comfortable seat rather than standing in line for ten minutes, you’ll sit, right?
I’d actually got bumped up to a business class seat for the Singapore-Beijing leg of the flight, although I was supposed to be getting economy class service. Still, that got me pretty excited, especially since that was the leg I was expecting to sleep through. Unfortunately, Air China’s business class seats had nothing on Singapore Airlines’ version – maybe this isn’t the case for other aircraft in their fleet, but the business class seat I got was essentially a roomy economy seat. It was slightly better for sleeping than the standard economy seat, so I’m not really complaining, but I just can’t see why anyone would pay good money for this.
Although I was promised economy class food, I got the same meal as everyone else around me – either I got the business food too, or everyone in the business section that day was an upgraded passenger. I’m going with the former assumption, but if so – the food’s pretty much the same as an economy class meal! The only real difference I noticed between this and the economy meal I had later was the provision of a wet napkin (with the business meal).
[Edit: I later got bumped up into the full service business class and have since revised my opinion of it.]
Beijing’s airport was actually pretty nice – I wasn’t all that interested in exploring it though, and headed straight for Air China’s business lounge there. It was alright, I guess. Breakfast was being served (yay!) and there was a nice variety there, although I’d found (unfortunately) that the western food like hash browns and scrambled eggs were soggy and not particularly good.
Tea eggs were a nice touch, though.