Thursday, August 30, 2012

Winter Holiday in Hokkaido in December 2010 - Section 5

This is the fifth and final section of my winter holiday in Hokkaido, Japan in December 2010. It will mainly cover my return journey from Sapporo to Singapore with a brief transit stopover in Seoul.

Part 1 ~ The Journey Back to New Chitose Airport


After spending an enjoyable two weeks of snow and trains in Hokkaido, Japan, it was finally time to head back home to Singapore. On Monday (27 December), we woke up at around 8.30 a.m. to pack up our remaining baggage for the journey back home to Singapore.


Our itinerary for the return journey would be to fly with Korean Air on flight KE 766 for the first section between Sapporo (Chitose) (leaves at 1.50 p.m.) and Seoul (Incheon) (arrives at 5.10 p.m.). After a layover at Incheon International Airport for 1 hour 10 minutes, we would connect to Korean Air flight KE 643, which would leave Seoul (Incheon) at 6.20 p.m., and arrive back in Singapore Changi Airport at midnight.


We also had a shower and changed up into our return journey attire after packing our baggage. As soon as everything was finished, we made a check to see if nothing had been left behind in the room before calling the reception to check out and assist us with our baggage.



The port of Otaru and the Sea of Japan view on a clear winter's morning

The magnificent view of the Sea of Japan as seen from my hotel room on a clear winter's morning

The port of Otaru by the Sea of Japan on a sunny winter's morning

At 9.30 a.m., a hotel porter came up to our room to assist us with our baggage. After making final checks to see that nothing was left behind, we took the elevator down to the entrance hall, where my mum checked us out and my dad went to get the car.

As soon as all our baggage had been loaded into the boot of our rented car, we finally left the Grand Park Hotel Otaru by 9.40 a.m. for a 2-hour journey to New Chitose Airport. We would stop for a petrol re-fill and breakfast along the way to the airport.



The exterior of Grand Park Hotel Otaru just as we are about to leave the city of Otaru

Driving along the coastal route by the Sea of Japan on the Otaru-Sapporo Expressway

Bypassing the cities of Otaru, Sapporo, and Ishikari on the way to New Chitose Airport

Bypassing some housing areas in Teine-ku, Sapporo along the Otaru-Sapporo Expressway

The food and beverage counters at the Wattsu Rest Area near the Otaru-Chitose Expressway

A set of sliced pork with steamed rice and miso soup for myself

A small souvenir shop in the Wattsu Rest Area

The overall interior of the cafeteria in Wattsu Rest Station

Passing by a snowy plateau on the Sapporo-Chitose Expressway

Running parallel to the JR Chitose Line tracks towards New Chitose Airport

Bypassing Chitose Rera Outlet Mall

Bypassing Minami-chitose Station

Several aircraft hangars around the tarmac near New Chitose Airport

Finally approaching New Chitose Airport

The domestic flight terminal as we approach the International Terminal of New Chitose Airport

Part 2 ~ The Flight to Seoul (Incheon)


After driving for approximately two hours, we finally arrived at the International Terminal of New Chitose Airport at 11.40 a.m.. At the drop-off area, while my parents unloaded all our baggage from the car, I went to get a few baggage trolleys to push our baggage.


While my dad went back to the Toyota Rent-a-Car area to return the car, my mum, my brother and I went up to the third floor towards the departures and check-in area. Once we were on the third floor, we proceeded to the Korean Air Prestige Class check-in counter to check ourselves in for Korean Air flights KE 766 and KE 643 bound for Seoul (Incheon) and Singapore, respectively.



The drop-off area at the International Terminal in New Chitose Airport

The receptions area on the first floor of the International Terminal at New Chitose Airport

The international departures and check-in hall at New Chitose Airport after we arrived

The entrance to the international departure airside at New Chitose Airport

The Korean Air check-in counters in the International Terminal at New Chitose Airport

The airline check-in counters on the other side, which house Cathay Pacific and China Airlines

A row of shops in the international departures and check-in area at New Chitose Airport

The international departures and check-in areas at New Chitose Airport

A variety of indication signs in the International Terminal at New Chitose Airport

An All Nippon Airways Boeing 777-381, registered JA755A, taxiing along the tarmac from the domestic terminal

The overall view of the roads and airport tarmac at New Chitose Airport

As soon as we had finished checking in for Korean Air flights KE 766 and KE 643 bound for Singapore, we received our boarding passes for our flights. At the same moment, my dad bustled in to meet us. The check-in agent then informed us that Korean Air flight KE 766 bound for Seoul (Incheon) would depart at 1.50 p.m. from Gate No. 65, and that, boarding would commence 30 minutes prior to departure.


Noticing that we had some drinks to finish, we consumed them as they were over 100 ml, which were prohibited beyond the security checkpoint. This was due to liquids, aerosols and gels restrictions, which limits liquid capacities to 100 ml per container in a transparent resealable plastic bag of 1 litre, with only one bag per traveller. These restrictions were in force since an aviation terror plot in mid-2006. Japan implemented these restrictions on all departing international flights in early 2007, with violations punishable by law.


As you know, especially in Japan, failure to comply with these new liquids, aerosols and gels restrictions is a serious offence under national law and international civil aviation regulations. This is especially an offence under Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) Regulations.


It is also an offence to try and conceal liquids, aerosols and gels in hand-carry baggage in Japanese airports. Offenders may be liable a fine of up to 500,000 yen and / or an imprisonment term not exceeding around two years, if found guilty of these offences. I have typed some frequently asked questions, if you like:



Liquids, Aerosols and Gels Restrictions (Japan)

Questions and Answers

1) What are the new restrictions and rules?

The new measures apply to the amount of liquids, aerosols and gels passengers can take on their flights in their carry-on baggage.

Under these new restrictions, passengers can take their liquids in containers of up to 100 ml in a transparent, resealable plastic bag with a maximum capacity of 1-litre.

The containers must fit comfortably in the bag, which must be completely closed. Only one bag per person is allowed.

2) Why are these new security measures being implemented?

The security measures are in line with the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) recommendation made after the August 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot.

Though some countries do not experience aviation threats, the August 2006 incident highlights how real transnational terrorism is. Japan strongly supports this recommendation as this will help ensure the safety of their airport users.

3) When were the measures implemented?

The measures were implemented on 1 March 2007.

4) Do the measures apply to both arriving and departing flights?

The measures apply to departing international flights only.

5) What are considered liquids, aerosols and gels?

Such items include, but not limited to:

- Drinks, including water and juices
- Soups and sauces
- Creams
- Perfumes
- Any other items related to the above

6) Can I still purchase duty-free items in the airport?

Yes. However, in case of connecting flights in other countries, liquids purchased in this way may need to be surrendered to the transit airport security personnel in that particular state.

7) Am I able to bring my jams, pastes and creams on board my flight?

You may bring these items on your flight. However, they must be in containers with a maximum capacity of 100 ml in transparent, resealable plastic bag with a capacity of just 1 litre, which must be completely closed.

Any liquids and gels in a container greater than 100 ml (even if partially filled) should be put in your check-in baggage. However, please note that the restrictions on hazardous items still apply.

8) Are empty containers allowed on my flight, even if its capacity is at least 100 ml?

Yes. As long as containers with a capacity exceeding 100 ml are completely empty, they will be allowed through the security checkpoint.

9) What happens to surrendered liquids, aerosols and gels?

All such items are usually disposed of.

10) What will happen if I fail to comply with the measures?

You will not be able to board your flight, unless your liquids, aerosols and gels comply with the new measures.

Attempting to conceal liquids, aerosols and gels, or failure to comply with these new restrictions is a criminal offence under national law and international civil aviation regulations. This is especially an offence under Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) regulations.

If you deliberately try to conceal liquids, aerosols and gels, or violate the new restrictions in any way, you may be liable to a fine of up to 500,000 yen, two years’ imprisonment, or with both penalties.

Remember, in many countries, different airports may have different procedures.

11) What if I am connecting to another international flight via transit in Japan?

Passengers are advised that when transiting in Japan, duty-free purchases are restricted to 100 ml or less. These may be packed in your 1-litre transparent, resealable plastic bag.

In other cases, you may have to surrender these items to pass through the transit security checkpoint. You are advised to check with the duty-free personnel at your departure airport if you have a connecting international flight in Japan.

12) What are the special exemptions for liquids, aerosols and gels?

Special exemptions will be made for medication, infant food and special dietary items in liquids, aerosols and gels form. These should be taken in sufficient amounts for your flight, and presented separately to the security officers.

13) For liquid medications, infant food and special dietary items, how do I get these past the security checkpoint?

To get these items past the security checkpoint, you may be asked to taste the items before approval. It is advisable to bring a doctor’s prescription should you have any liquid medications with you.

14) What if the security-screening officer does not accept the amount of liquid medication, infant food and special dietary items I require?

The security-screening personnel have the final decision of what can be brought on board your flight. Take note that some security-screening officers may consider certain liquid medication, infant food and special dietary items exceeding the allowance limit.

Where it is not possible, you may have to surrender these items in order to pass through the checkpoint. Failure to do so can result in the prohibition of boarding your flight. As with all other liquids, aerosols and gels restrictions, failure to comply with these new restrictions is a criminal offence under national Japanese Law and Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) Regulations.

15) A caution about getting angry or aggressive (physically or verbally) at the security personnel after seizure of liquids, aerosols and gels (i.e. Physically assaulting a security-screening officer after he or she has seized my favourite maple syrup).

If you get angry and respond in an aggressive manner to security-screening officers in any way over your liquids, aerosols and gels, the situation will be very likely to become worse; not better for you.

For example, if you deliberately and physically assault any security screening personnel after he / she has seized your liquids, aerosols and gels, the relevant Japanese airport authorities may reserve the right to take legal action against you. Hitting any security-screening personnel is considered a serious airport security personnel assault and can result in police arrest by the Japanese National Police Agency.

Attempting to conceal your liquids, aerosols and gels, or failure to adhere to these new restrictions is a criminal offence under national law and Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Civil Aviation Bureau Regulations. It is also a serious offence to respond aggressively or physically assault any security-screening personnel after they seize your liquids, aerosols and gels, since you are endangering the safety of the security personnel at the airport.

Offenders may be liable to a heavy fine, a possible jail term, or with a combination of both penalties if convicted of the above mentioned offences. The Japanese airport authorities take incidents involving security-screening personnel assaults over any seizure of liquids, aerosols and gels VERY seriously.

Airlines may also reserve the right to take the following actions against the offender, of which, such actions include, but not limited to:

- Not allowing the person to board his or her flight
- Banning the person from future travel with the airline
- Revocation of the person’s loyalty programme membership with the airline
- Reporting the person to the relevant authorities
- Assisting any relevant authorities in any investigations and / or the person’s prosecution

These new security measures are implemented not to make your journey difficult and unpleasant, but they are to protect you from any potential dangers of any terrorist plots. Always remember that the use of violence towards security screening staff over liquids, aerosols and gels restrictions under any circumstances is wrong, no matter what the reason is.

Dos and Don’ts

Do:

- Pack your liquids, aerosols and gels in accordance with the new rules and regulations.

- Place your liquids and gels in containers with a maximum capacity of 100 ml. They must fit snugly in a 1-litre transparent, resealable plastic bag.

- Place any liquids, aerosols and gels in containers more than 100 ml in your check-in baggage.

- Follow all instructions given by the security-screening officers.

- Present any liquid medication, infant food or special dietary items to the security officers separately.

- Purchase duty-free liquids, aerosols and gels ONLY at your last point of departure if you have a connecting flight in another country (i.e. If you are travelling from Tokyo to Frankfurt via Singapore, duty-free liquids, aerosols and gels should only be purchased in Singapore).

Don’ts:

- Don’t overpack your 1-litre transparent, resealable plastic bag.

- Don’t carry liquids, aerosols and gels in containers more than 100 ml in your carry-on bag. You risk having to surrender these items at the security checkpoint.

- Don’t even try to conceal your liquids, aerosols and gels. This is a criminal offence, especially in Japan, and may incur a fine of up to 500,000 yen and / or an imprisonment term not exceeding two years. Police investigations may also be likely.

- Don’t get angry or aggressive at a security-screening officer after he or she has seized your liquids and gels. Getting into serious arguments or fist fights with them may eventually result in legal action.

- Don’t physically assault a security-screening officer after he or she has seized your liquids and gels. This is also a criminal offence, since you are endangering the safety of the security staff at the airport, and may incur a heavy fine and / or a possible imprisonment term. The Japanese airport authorities take incidents involving security-screening staff assaults over any seizure of liquids, aerosols and gels VERY seriously.

- Don’t purchase any duty-free liquids, aerosols and gels if you have a connecting flight in another country. You may risk having to surrender these items at the security checkpoint at the particular transit airport.

After we had finished all our beverages, we proceeded to the security checkpoint for a relatively quick security check. We were then in the airside of the International Terminal by 12.35 p.m..



A lineup of duty-free shops in the international departure airside at New Chitose Airport

The gate waiting areas in the international terminal airside at New Chitose Airport

The international flight departure information screen showing the flight departure timings in English

The international flight departure information screen showing the flight departure timings in Japanese

After we entered the airside of the International Terminal, we decided to go to the Royal Lounge for a break before our flight to Seoul (Incheon). The Royal Lounge was opened on 26 March 2010 in the International Terminal, and it caters to all passengers flying in First or Business Class on any foreign airline serving New Chitose Airport.


With that, we took the elevator up to the Royal Lounge, and charged our electronic devices before the flight to Seoul (Incheon). We also had some light bites and beverages there at the same time.



The sign by the escalator that leads to the Royal Lounge

The list of airlines using the Royal Lounge at New Chitose Airport

The interior of the inner seating areas of the Royal Lounge

The outer seating areas in the Royal Lounge

The waiting areas by the boarding gates as seen from the Royal Lounge

The overall interior of the Royal Lounge

Airline: Korean Air

Flight No.: KE 766
From: Sapporo, New Chitose Airport (CTS / RJCC), Chitose, Hokkaido, Japan
To: Seoul, Incheon International Airport (ICN / RKSI), Seoul, South Korea
Aircraft: Airbus A330-323X
Registration No.: HL7554
Class: Prestige Class (Business Class)
Seat No.: 9H
Date: Monday, 27 December 2010

After relaxing in the Royal Lounge for about half an hour, we packed up all our hand-carry belongings and left the lounge at 1.10 p.m.. Knowing that boarding for Korean Air flight KE 766 bound for Seoul (Incheon) would commence in 10 minutes, we quickly proceeded to Gate No. 65 to await the first boarding calls.


I then took one look at our aircraft through the window. Today, Korean Air flight KE 766 bound for Seoul (Incheon) would be operated by an Airbus A330-300, registered HL7554. The aircraft had arrived from Seoul earlier as Korean Air flight KE 765 at 12.35 p.m..



The departure information screen at Gate No. 65 displaying the details for Korean Air flight KE 766 bound for Seoul (Incheon)

Our aircraft for today, HL7554, having her last minute preparations at Gate No. 65 before her regional flight back home to South Korea as Korean Air flight KE 766 bound for Seoul (Incheon)

A closer view of HL7554 waiting for boarding at Gate No. 65

At 1.20 p.m., the first boarding calls for Korean Air flight KE 766 bound for Seoul (Incheon) were finally made. The First and Prestige Class passengers, as well as the SKYPASS Elite members, and passengers needing special assistance were called to board the aircraft first.


We then grabbed all of our hand-carry baggage, and were finally on board HL7554 at 1.25 p.m., just in good time for a 1.50 p.m. departure. After stowing all our baggage in the marked storage spaces, we settled into our seat numbers 9A, 9D, 9E and 9H respectively for the flight. I would have Seat No. 9G to myself throughout the entire flight.


The flight attendants carried out their usual pre-flight routines by distributing pre-departure beverages to the First and Prestige Class passengers, as well as the food and beverage menus for the flight. I then selected my usual pre-departure glass of orange juice and water, as well as two packets of honey roasted peanuts. I then settled in as the aircraft awaited departure.



The Korean Air Airbus A330-300 Prestige Sleeper cabin during boarding at New Chitose Airport

A pair of middle row bulkhead Prestige Sleeper seats on Korean Air's fleet of Airbus A330-300s

The front view of the Korean Air Airbus A330-300 Prestige Sleeper cabin during boarding at New Chitose Airport

The cover page for the food and beverage menu for the sector between Sapporo (Chitose) and Seoul (Incheon)

Reviewing the food and beverage menu for the sector between Sapporo (Chitose) and Seoul (Incheon)

The 'no smoking' and 'fasten seatbelt' signs illuminated as the aircraft awaits departure from New Chitose Airport

The tarmac view of New Chitose Airport as the aircraft awaits departure

My usual pre-departure glasses of orange juice and water and two packets of honey roasted peanuts

At 1.55 p.m., five minutes behind schedule, all the aircraft doors were closed and we finally pushed back from Gate No. 65. As the safety briefing demonstration video was shown on our video screens, we made our way to our assigned runway for take-off. After taxiing to our assigned runway for approximately 10 minutes, we finally lifted off from New Chitose Airport at 2.05 p.m., heading for a regional flight time over the Sea of Japan of 2 hours 55 minutes to Incheon International Airport in Seoul, South Korea.



The view of the International Terminal at New Chitose Airport after we pushed back

The safety briefing information video being shown on my front video screen

A China Airlines Boeing 737-809, registered B-18601, being serviced at Gate No. 64 in preparation for her voyage back home to Taiwan as China Airlines flight CI 131 bound for Taipei

An All Nippon Airways Boeing 777-281, registered JA8969, being serviced at the domestic terminal for another domestic flight within Japan

The tarmac view as we prepare for take-off on a clear winter's afternoon

Korean Air Flight 766 ~ Take-off from New Chitose Airport

Flying past the city of Muroran towards Seoul

Flying over a blanket of clouds over the Sea of Japan

The seat belt sign was turned off at 2.20 p.m., which was just 15 minutes after take-off from New Chitose Airport. As the flight attendants sprung into action to commence the in-flight light meal service, I went to do my usual cabin shots and visit the lavatory before doing anything else.



The Korean Air Airbus A330-300 Prestige Sleeper cabin shortly after the seatbelt sign was turned off

Prestige Sleeper Seats No. 10G and 10H during the flight to Seoul (Incheon) from Sapporo (Chitose)

Cruising over a blanket of clouds over the Sea of Japan somewhere past Yamagata and Niigata Prefectures

A few minutes later, a flight attendant came by to my seat to take my light meal order for the flight. Not in the mood for anything spicy, I opted to have the Japanese style grilled beef roll with Welsh onion served with steamed rice and mixed vegetables.

The flight attendant then took down my meal order and went to get me a glass of orange juice. She then re-appeared 15 minutes later with my meal tray containing my appetizer.


My glass of orange juice and a packet of honey roasted peanuts

The first course: Seasonal garden salad

After I had finished my first course, the flight attendant re-appeared 10 minutes later. This time, she had my Japanese style grilled beef roll with Welsh onion served with steamed rice and mixed vegetables. I then tucked into my main meal. The steamed rice and tofu tasted soft. The beef was good enough, though it was a bit too dry.


My main meal: Japanese style grilled beef roll with Welsh onion served with steamed rice and mixed vegetables

After I had finished my main meal, the flight attendant came by to my seat to clear my meal tray. I then went to the lavatory, and did my own usual stuff to entertain myself for the entire flight. At the same time, I did my usual cabin shots.



Flying over the Sea of Japan between Japan and South Korea

Flying over a blanket of clouds somewhere over Fukui and Kyoto Prefectures in Japan

The Korean Air Airbus A330-300 Prestige Sleeper cabin view from my seat

Flying over more blankets of clouds somewhere over Kyoto and Hyogo Prefectures in Japan

The flight indication map indication our cruising altitude over Hyogo and Tottori Prefectures in Japan

Singapore Airlines Boeing 747-412 Herpa Scale 1:500 (500852) ~ Old Generation

The 'fasten seatbelt' sign illuminated due to turbulence over the Sea of Japan

The safety information brochure for Korean Air's fleet of Airbus A330-300s

The airsickness bag for Korean Air

Cruising over a blanket of clouds over the Sea of Japan as we near South Korean land

A view of my seat, 9H, during cruising altitude

The right rear view of the Korean Air Airbus A330-300 Prestige Sleeper cabin during the flight over the Sea of Japan

The left rear view of the Korean Air Airbus A330-300 Prestige Sleeper cabin during the flight over the Sea of Japan

The deserted Korean Air Airbus A330-300 First Class Sleeper cabin during cruising altitude over the Sea of Japan

The nameplate of HL7554

The front view of the deserted Korean Air Airbus A330-300 First Class Sleeper cabin during the cruising altitude over the Sea of Japan

Approaching South Korean soil at cruising altitude over the Sea of Japan

The centre view of the Korean Air Airbus A330-300 Prestige Sleeper cabin during the flight over the Sea of Japan

The seatbelt sign was illuminated at around 4.45 p.m., 15 minutes before landing in Incheon International Airport. Immediately, we stowed away all of our carry-on items, and buckled up in preparation for the landing in Incheon International Airport. After a flight time of 2 hours 55 minutes from Sapporo, we finally touched down in Incheon International Airport at 5 o' clock, 10 minutes ahead of schedule. By the time we had landed in Seoul, the sun was already setting beyond the horizon.



Our cruising altitude over the Sea of Japan towards Busan

A snowy South Korean plateau as seen from the aircraft

Flying somewhere between Busan and Daegu as we commence our approach to Incheon International Airport

Flying past a South Korean offshore island during sunset

The sun setting over the sea between Incheon International Airport and Mainland Korea

Korean Air Flight 766 ~ Landing in Incheon International Airport

The snowy and icy tarmac at Incheon International Airport shortly after we landed

The Main Terminal and Terminal A during sunset at Incheon International Airport

Taxiing along the icy tarmac towards the Main Terminal during sunset

A Korean Air Boeing 747-4B5, registered HL7498, being prepared for departure from Gate No. 24 as we finally dock on to Gate No. 23

After approximately 10 minutes of taxiing along the snowy and icy aircraft tarmac at Incheon International Airport, we finally docked on to Gate No. 27 at the Main Terminal at 5.10 p.m., located beside Gate No. 24, where a Korean Air Boeing 747-400 was being serviced.


As soon as the seatbelt sign was turned off, we unbuckled and took all of our baggage; at the same time, we checked to see that nothing had been left behind. As we exited the aircraft, the flight attendants bade us farewell and wished us a pleasant journey back home to Singapore.


The grading system for each airline and sector are as follows:

A+: 85% or above (Airline has an excellent rating and performance)
A: 75% ~ 84% (Airline has a good rating and performance)
B: 60% ~ 74% (Airline has a good rating and performance)
C: 50% ~ 59% (Airline has an adequate rating and performance)
D: 35% ~ 49% (Airline has a fair rating and performance)
E: 20% ~ 34% (Airline has a poor rating and performance)
U: Below 20% (Airline has not met the requirement for the minimum grade)

Korean Air Flight 766 Score Report


Seat: 18 / 20
Food: 13 / 20
Service: 15 / 20
Aircraft cleanliness: 18 / 20
Legroom space: 18 / 20
Total: 82 / 100

Overall, Korean Air scored 82% on this sector. This literally means that they deserve an 'A' grade. It was another good flight with Korean Air.

Part 3 ~ The Flight Back Home to Singapore

After disembarking from Korean Air flight KE 766 from Sapporo (Chitose), we headed to the transit security checkpoint before our connecting flight back to Singapore, scheduled to depart at 6.20 p.m. later that evening. We had exactly 1 hour 10 minutes left before our connecting flight back home to Singapore.

Once we were in the airside, we checked the departure flight information board to see where Korean Air flight KE 643 bound for Singapore would depart from. According to the departure flight information screen, Korean Air flight KE 643 bound for Singapore would depart from Gate No. 31 at 6.20 p.m., and we knew that boarding would commence at 5.50 p.m..


The signs towards the transit security checkpoint areas by the immigrations area

The immigrations area along the arrivals and transit passageway

A Korean Air Boeing 777-2B5/ER, registered HL7526, being serviced at Gate No. 24 for another long-haul flight

One of the main transit areas in Incheon International Airport

The massive departure flight information screen in the airside at Incheon International Airport

The indication signs towards Gates No. 26 to 50 and to Concourse A via Shuttle Train

Bypassing a lineup of duty-free shops in the airside in the Main Terminal at Incheon International Airport

The indication board towards the Shuttle Train towards Concourse A

The long escalators downwards to the Shuttle Train Station to Terminal A

The concourse towards the Shuttle Train between the Main Terminal and Concourse A

Travelling along the moving passageways towards Gates No. 30 to 41

The airside concourse in the Main Terminal leading towards Gates No. 30 to 41


Airline: Korean Air
Flight No.: KE 643
From: Seoul, Incheon International Airport (ICN / RKSI), Seoul, South Korea
To: Singapore Changi Airport (SIN / WSSS), Singapore
Aircraft: Airbus A330-323X
Registration No.: HL7586
Class: Prestige Class (Business Class)
Seat No.: 10A
Date: Monday, 27 December 2010


After we walked along the airside of the Main Terminal building, we finally arrived at Gate No. 31 at 5.40 p.m.. Knowing that we had 10 minutes before the first boarding calls were made, I did some brief plane spotting.

Tonight, Korean Air flight KE 643 bound for Singapore would be operated by an Airbus A330-300, registered HL7586. I was pretty familiar with this aircraft, for it was HL7586 that transported us between Singapore and Seoul (Incheon) for our inbound journey to Sapporo, Hokkaido two weeks earlier.

HL7586 was also the first Korean Air aircraft I have ever taken. For more details, you may refer to this following link: http://www.barrych.blogspot.com/2012/05/winter-holiday-in-hokkaido-in-december.html.


The concourse towards Gates No. 30 to 41

A lineup of duty-free shops near Gate No. 31

The indication sign towards Gate No. 31

The departure information screen at Gate No. 31 displaying the details of our flight

Our aircraft for tonight, HL7586, almost ready for boarding for her flight to Southeast Asia at Gate No. 31 as Korean Air flight KE 643 bound for Singapore

A closer view of HL7586

The passenger waiting area at Gate No. 31

A lineup of duty-free shops in the gate concourse between Gates No. 30 to 41

The departure flight information screen nearby Gate No. 31

At 5.50 p.m., the first boarding calls for Korean Air flight KE 643 bound for Singapore were finally made. The First and Prestige Class passengers, as well as the SKYPASS Elite members, and passengers needing special assistance were called to board the aircraft first.

We then grabbed all of our hand-carry baggage, and were finally on board HL7586 at 6 o' clock, just in good time for a 6.20 p.m. departure. After stowing all our baggage in the marked storage spaces, we settled into our seat numbers 10A, 10B, 10E and 10H respectively for the flight. I would be seated beside my brother for the entire flight.


The flight attendants carried out their usual pre-flight routines by distributing pre-departure beverages to the First and Prestige Class passengers, as well as the food and beverage menus for the flight. I then selected my usual pre-departure glass of orange juice, as well as a packet of honey roasted peanuts. I then settled in as the aircraft awaited departure.



The Korean Air Airbus A330-300 Prestige Sleeper cabin during boarding at Incheon International Airport

The language options for Korean Air's in-flight entertainment system

The 'no smoking' and 'fasten seatbelt' signs illuminated as the aircraft awaits departure from Incheon International Airport

My brother and I posing for a picture in our seats

The flight indication map indicating that we are still boarding in Incheon International Airport

The jet bridges still being joined to our aircraft

My usual pre-departure glass of orange juice and a small packet of honey roasted peanuts

Watching 'Shrek Forever After' on my brother's front seat video screen

A Korean Air Airbus A330-223 parked beside us at Gate No. 30

At exactly 6.20 p.m., all the aircraft doors were closed and we finally pushed back from Gate No. 31. As the safety briefing information video was shown on our video screens, we started to taxi along the airport tarmac.


However, during the taxi, there was a problem. Ice was surrounding our aircraft and it had to be de-iced before we were allowed to take off. The entire de-icing process took nearly an hour, due to the bad winter weather.


After the de-icing process, we made our way to our assigned runway for 20 minutes. After approximately 20 minutes of taxiing to our assigned runway, we finally lifted off from Incheon International Airport at 7.25 p.m., 1 hour 05 minutes behind schedule, eventually climbing into the pitch black night sky for a flight time of 6 hours 30 minutes to Singapore.



The safety briefing information video detailing on how to use portable electronic equipment that are acceptable during the flight

A Korean Air Boeing 777-3B5 aircraft parked at Gate No. 32 at the Main Terminal

Taxiing past the Airline of the Year 2010: Several Asiana Airlines aircraft parked at the Main Terminal

Our aircraft standing beside a Korean Air hangar waiting to be de-iced

Waiting to be de-iced before resuming our taxi to our assigned runway for take-off

A Korean Air Airbus A330 taxiing to the runway for take-off

Reviewing the food and beverage menu for the sector between Seoul (Incheon) and Singapore

A closer look into the food and beverage menu for the sector between Seoul (Incheon) and Singapore

Taxiing past another Korean Air hangar on the runway for take-off

Korean Air Flight 643 ~ Take-off from Incheon International Airport

The lights of Korea shining as we head into the pitch black night sky

Climbing into the pitch black night sky for a flight time of 6 hours 30 minutes to Singapore

The seatbelt sign was turned off at 7.40 p.m., just 15 minutes after take off from Incheon International Airport. I went to the lavatory before I went to do my usual cabin flight shots. At the same time, the flight attendants sprung into action to commence the in-flight dinner service.



The Korean Air Airbus A330-300 Prestige Sleeper cabin shortly after take-off from Incheon International Airport

A view of my seat, 10A, during the flight between Seoul (Incheon) and Singapore

The Korean Air Airbus A330-300 First Class Sleeper cabin during cruising altitude from Seoul to Singapore

A pair of middle row Korean Air Airbus A330-300 First Class Sleeper seats during cruising altitude

The aircraft registration plate of HL7586

My brother resting fully flat in his seat

The contents of the front seat pocket

The 'no smoking' and 'fasten seatbelt' signs illuminated due to turbulence in mid-air

The Korean Air Airbus A330-300 Prestige Sleeper cabin just before the in-flight dinner service commenced

The flight indication map indicating our cruising altitude over Gwangju

Watching 'Shrek Forever After' on my brother's video screen

My tray table pulled out in preparation for the in-flight dinner service

A few moments later, a flight attendant came by to my seat to take my meal order. For the main meal, I opted to have the roasted red snapper with crunch herb served with herb cream sauce, roasted potato and sautéed vegetables. At the same time, I requested for my usual glass of orange juice to commence with.

With that, the flight attendant took down my order and went back to the galley to prepare the meal trays. Within 15 minutes, she brought my orange juice, appetizers and my meal tray containing my first two courses. Over the next half an hour, the flight attendants distributed the meal trays containing the first courses before arriving with their main meals.



A glass of orange juice to commence the in-flight dinner service

The first course: Cubed beef steak wrapped with cucumber with soft basil

The Korean Air Airbus A330-300 Prestige Sleeper cabin during the in-flight dinner service

The second course: Seasonal salad with prawn

The third course: Green pea and mint soup

Approximately 10 minutes after I had finished off my first three in-flight dinner courses, the flight attendant re-appeared at my seat. This time, she had my red snapper with crunch herb served with herb cream sauce, roasted potato and sautéed vegetables. I then tucked into my main dinner meal.

When I took a bite out of the fish, it tasted a bit dry, but much better and more moist with the herb cream sauce. The potatoes tasted a bit dry too, but tasted better with the herb cream sauce. To summarise, this dish was decent enough to my liking, as I felt like something fishy on the flight.


The fourth course (my main meal): Roasted red snapper with crunch herb served with herb cream sauce, roasted potato and sautéed vegetables

After a pretty decent in-flight dinner, the flight attendant came by to clear my meal tray, and asked me whether I wanted anything else. For dessert, I simply requested for a small tub of Chocolate Häagen-Dazs ice-cream. It was then brought to my meal table just five minutes later.

Feeling that there was nothing better to do for the remainder of the flight, I did my own personal things until the seatbelt sign was illuminated for landing in Singapore Changi Airport. Midway through the flight, the seatbelt sign was illuminated due to the aircraft experiencing turbulence.

A small tub of Chocolate Häagen-Dazs ice cream to round off dinner

The overhead panels in the Korean Air Airbus A330-300 Prestige Sleeper cabin

The wing view of our aircraft as we cruise over the South China Sea

Cruising over the South China Sea at night

The Korean Air Airbus A330-300 Prestige Sleeper cabin during the dessert service

The 'no smoking' and 'fasten seatbelt' signs illuminated as the aircraft was experiencing turbulence

The cabin seat view of the Korean Air Airbus A330-300 Prestige Sleeper cabin during turbulence

The flight indication router indicating that we are getting closer to Singapore airspace

The Korean Air Airbus A330-300 Prestige Sleeper cabin slightly dimmed to allow the passengers to rest

In accordance with the Singapore & Malaysia Local Time, the seatbelt sign was illuminated at 12.25 a.m., half an hour in preparation for landing in Singapore Changi Airport. Knowing that the aircraft was going to land in Singapore soon, we packed up all of our hand-carry belongings and buckled up in preparation for the landing. After a flight time of 6 hours 30 minutes from Incheon International Airport, we finally touched down in Singapore Changi Airport at 12.55 a.m., approximately 1 hour 10 minutes behind schedule.



The wing view of the aircraft as we prepare for arrival into Singapore

The 'no smoking' and 'fasten seatbelt' signs illuminated as the aircraft prepares for descent into Singapore

The Korean Air Airbus A330-300 Prestige Sleeper cabin as the aircraft prepares for descent into Singapore

The lights of Singapore shining over us as the aircraft descends into Singapore Changi Airport

Korean Air Flight 643 ~ Landing in Singapore Changi Airport

A Singapore Airlines Boeing 747-412, registered 9V-SPQ, resting on the tarmac at Singapore Changi Airport. Sadly, the Boeing 747 passenger planes are now relics of the history of Singapore Airlines since their retirement on 6 April 2012, flying for the last time between Hong Kong and Singapore

A SilkAir Airbus A320-233, registered 9V-SLI, parked at Gate No. E4 at Terminal 2

After approximately 10 minutes of taxiing along the airport tarmac, we finally docked on to Gate No. E5 at 1.05 a.m.. As soon as the seatbelt sign was turned off, we unbuckled and took all our hand-carried belongings, checking our seats to see that nothing was left behind.


Upon checking that nothing had been left behind, we headed to the exit door. The flight attendants bade us farewell and wished us a pleasant journey home as we left the aircraft.


Korean Air Flight 643 Score Report


Seat: 18 / 20
Food: 15 / 20
Service: 15 / 20
Aircraft cleanliness: 18 / 20
Legroom space: 18 / 20
Total: 84 / 100

Overall, Korean Air scored 84% on this sector. This literally means that they deserve an 'A' grade. It was another good flight with Korean Air.

After disembarking from Korean Air flight KE 643 from Seoul (Incheon), we walked along Concourse E towards the main airside of Terminal 2. We also took an escalator down towards the immigrations area to clear the immigration. To do this, we used the thumb fingerprint checkpoint, which is reserved exclusively for Singaporean citizens and permanent residents of Singapore.



Walking along the airside in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 towards the immigrations area

Taking the escalator down towards the immigrations area in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2

The immigrations area in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2

Three Christmas Trees in the immigrations area in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2

After we had cleared the immigrations area, I headed to the baggage claiming information screen to see which belt our check-in baggage would be arriving at. According to the baggage claiming information screen, our check-in baggage would be arriving at Belt No. 31.

Without wasting anymore time, we grabbed a few baggage trolleys, and my brother and I followed our dad to Belt No. 31 to claim our check-in baggage. Meanwhile, my mum went to a nearby duty-free shop to shop for some duty-free items.

The baggage claiming hall in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2

The baggage claiming information screen indicating that our check-in baggage would be arriving at Belt No. 31

Passengers crowding around the baggage claiming belts to claim their baggage

The arrival flight information screen in the baggage claiming hall of Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2

As soon as we had claimed all our check-in baggage, we loaded all of them into the trolleys which we had fetched earlier. With that, we made our way into the arrival hall, and went to a MaxiCab counter to arrange for a MaxiCab for the journey back home.

The arrival hall in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2

As soon as we reached the MaxiCab counter, my mum went to make the arrangements for a MaxiCab back home. Within five minutes, a gentlemen from the cab pick-up area arrived to meet us in the arrival hall. He then offered to assist us with our baggage as he escorted us to his MaxiCab.

Once we were at the MaxiCab pick-up area, the driver of the MaxiCab assisted us with the loading of our baggage into the boot of his cab. With that, we finally left Singapore Changi Airport at 1.35 a.m. for a 25-minute journey back home.

By 2 o' clock that morning, we finally arrived back in the familiar surroundings of our home. Our housekeeper welcomed us back and helped to bring our baggage into our house. For the remainder of the night, we nearly spent a sleepless night unpacking our baggage.

This officially brings my blog report of my winter vacation in Hokkaido, Japan in December 2010 to a complete close. Thank you very much for your attention. In the coming months, there will be more posts to come.