Thursday, December 26, 2013

Combined Christmas Winter Vacation to Hokkaido, Japan and South Korea in December 2013 ~ Section 6

Welcome to the sixth section of my combined Christmas winter vacation in Hokkaido, Japan and South Korea in December 2013. This will be the final segment of the entire Christmas special report. There will be a total of two focus topics that will be covered in this segment. They will mainly be the road trip back to Incheon International Airport from the Han Suites Serviced Residences and the flight back home to Singapore.

Part 1 ~ The Road Journey Back To Incheon International Airport

After spending a brief and quick night in downtown Seoul, it was finally time to head back home to Singapore. On the morning of Wednesday (25 December), which was Christmas Day, all of us woke up at around nine o' clock after having a well-earned good night's sleep. The first thing we did was to have a nice, hot shower and change up into our attire for our return trip before making ourselves some hot beverages in the kitchen to warm ourselves up.

Upon having some nice, hot beverages, we proceeded to pack our baggage in preparation for the afternoon flight home to Singapore. As for the return flight back home to Singapore, we would be flying with Korean Air on flight KE 643 bound for Singapore, which would be scheduled to depart Incheon International Airport at 2.20 p.m., and arrive at Singapore Changi Airport at 7.55 p.m. late that evening. We were lucky since Korean Air was taking care of most of our baggage during our overnight stay in Seoul.

Once we were done packing our baggage, my dad went to call the hotel receptionist to send for a hotel porter up to our Room No. 604 to assist us with our baggage, and to arrange for a black luxury cab to come and fetch us to Incheon International Airport at 10.45 a.m. later on. While waiting for the hotel porter to come up to our Room No. 604 to assist us with our baggage, we checked around the room suite area to ensure that none of our belongings had been left unpacked.


The view of our Room No. 604 on a bright Christmas morning at the Han Suites Serviced Residences

The interior of the kitchen area in our Room No. 604 on a bright Christmas morning

The view of downtown Jung-gu, Seoul, as seen from our Room No. 604 on a bright Christmas morning

After spending the early morning packing up our baggage for the afternoon flight back home to Singapore, a hotel porter finally came up to our Room No. 604 with a baggage trolley at 10.30 a.m.. While the hotel porter helped to load our baggage onto the baggage trolley, we did one final check on our suite Room No. 604 for any unpacked belongings before taking the elevator down to the main hotel lobby with our lighter carry-on baggage.

Once we were in the main hotel lobby at 10.35 a.m., we promptly returned our suite room key to the hotel receptionist and sat down in the lobby for a while as we waited for our pre-arranged black luxury cab to Incheon International Airport. Soon enough, our pre-arranged black luxury cab finally showed up outside the main entrance to the Han Suites Serviced Residences at 10.45 a.m., which was just as scheduled.

The driver then got out of the cab and offered to help the hotel porter in loading our baggage into the boot of the cab while we boarded for the early afternoon road journey to Incheon International Airport. Soon enough, we finally departed the Han Suites Serviced Residences at 10.50 a.m. for an early afternoon road journey of 55 minutes to the compound of Incheon International Airport located in the metropolitan port city of Incheon.

In conclusion, the Han Suites Serviced Residences was not of good quality anymore unlike last time due to the unusual arrangements of our room. It was quite regrettable that the Han Suites Serviced Residences has now lost its personal comfort and touch, in comparison with our first stay here in December 2008. Hopefully, we may be able to find much better places to stay at on future stays in Seoul, whether it is overnight or not.


The interior of the main hotel lobby at the Han Suites Serviced Residences on a fine Christmas morning shortly before we left for Incheon International Airport

The black luxury cab that would soon take us to the Main Terminal at Incheon International Airport

Finally on the busy roads of downtown Jung-gu, Seoul, on a fine Christmas afternoon

Travelling along the roads of downtown Jung-gu, Seoul, near the Myeongdong shopping district on a bright Christmas afternoon

Travelling through the busy roads of the centre of downtown Jung-gu, Seoul, on a bright Christmas afternoon

Bypassing the Shinsegae Department Store located in downtown Jung-gu, Seoul, on a bright Christmas afternoon

Bypassing Seoul Station via a flyover bridge

A Korea Train Express (KTX) high-speed train near Seoul Station below us

Bypassing some downtown infrastructure located between downtown Jung-gu and Yongsan-gu, Seoul, on a bright Christmas afternoon

Finally on the start of the Gyeongin Expressway close to the Han River

Travelling alongside the Han River along the Gyeongin Expressway on a bright Christmas afternoon

Travelling along the Gyeongin Expressway away from downtown Seoul close to another road bridge crossing the Han River

Approaching a long road tunnel on the Gyeongin Expressway

Travelling along the Gyeongin Expressway somewhere close to Gimpo International Airport

The view of another expressway viaduct near the metropolitan port city of Incheon along the Gyeongin Expressway

Bypassing Gyeyang Station on the way to Incheon International Airport

Travelling past some housing apartments along the Incheon International Airport Railroad (A'REX) close to the toll gate to the metropolitan port city of Incheon

Approaching the toll gate linking to the metropolitan port city of Incheon on the Gyeongin Expressway

Bypassing Geomam Station on the way to Incheon International Airport

The view of the Yellow Sea as we cross the Incheon Bridge to Incheon International Airport

Crossing the Incheon Bridge linking Incheon International Airport with downtown Seoul

Travelling parallel to the Incheon International Airport Railroad (A'REX) tracks on the Gyeongin Expressway close to Incheon International Airport

An Incheon International Airport Railroad (A'REX) Airport Express train heading to downtown Seoul from Incheon International Airport on a bright Christmas afternoon

Bypassing Unseo Station on the Gyeongin Expressway in the direction to Incheon International Airport

Approaching the end of the Gyeongin Expressway close to Incheon International Airport

The Main Terminal of Incheon International Airport coming into view

Finally arriving at the drop-off area located just outside the Main Terminal at Incheon International Airport

After a short road journey duration of 55 minutes from the Han Suites Serviced Residences located in downtown Jung-gu, Seoul, we finally arrived at the drop-off curb side outside the Main Terminal at Incheon International Airport at 11.45 a.m.. While my younger brother and I went to grab three baggage trolleys, the cab driver offered to help my parents unload all our baggage from the boot of his cab. Once all our baggage had been loaded onto the baggage trolleys, we paid up our cab fare and thanked the driver for his services.

Entering the departures and check-in hall of the Main Terminal, we immediately headed to the Korean Air Prestige Class check-in counter, eventually arriving there by 11.50 a.m.. At the Korean Air Prestige Class check-in counter, we checked the rest of our baggage in for Korean Air flight KE 643 bound for Singapore, since most of our baggage was checked in all the way to Singapore from Sapporo, and specially taken care of by Korean Air. The entire check-in process took no more than just 10 minutes.


The black luxury cab that previously took us from the Han Suites Serviced Residences to Incheon International Airport earlier

The drop-off curb side located outside the departures & check-in hall in the Main Terminal at Incheon International Airport on a bright Christmas afternoon

The departures and check-in hall of the Main Terminal at Incheon International Airport on a bright Christmas afternoon

The Korean Air Prestige Class check-in counter in the departures and check-in hall of the Main Terminal at Incheon International Airport

After we had completed our check-in for Korean Air flight KE 643 bound for Singapore, we finally received our boarding passes and lounge invitation passes at 12 noon. The check-in agent then informed us that today, Korean Air flight KE 643 bound for Singapore would be scheduled to depart at 2.20 p.m. from Gate No. 22. Boarding would also commence at 1.50 p.m., approximately half an hour before the scheduled departure timing. With that, we also thanked the check-in agents and proceeded to the security entrance with our belongings.

Arriving at the security checkpoint itself, we saw that it was crowded with many passengers trying to get home for the Christmas holiday. Clearing the security checkpoint by 12.15 p.m., we immediately proceeded to the passport control area for passport clearance, eventually entering the airside of the Main Terminal at 12.25 p.m.. Since we were feeling very hungry already, we decided to purchase some light snacks from a fast-food restaurant first before heading over to the Korean Air (KAL) Prestige Class Lounge.

With that, we walked through the airside of the Main Terminal to look for a restaurant to buy some snacks for ourselves, only to find that they were packed with travellers dining there. Seeing that they were crowded, we decided to head to the Korean Air (KAL) Prestige Class Lounge first before buying some snacks. With that, we immediately headed to the Korean Air (KAL) Prestige Class Lounge, eventually arriving at the main entrance to the lounge by 12.45 p.m..

Entering the lounge itself, we took the escalator up to the lounge reception counter, where we had our lounge invitation passes checked before being allowed to enter. Heading to one of the open seating observation points, we stored all our belongings and did our own usual stuff while having some light bites and beverages. At some point, my parents went out to get some light snacks for both my younger brother and I from Burger King fast-food restaurant.


My boarding pass for the return segment from Seoul (Incheon) to Singapore

The departures and check-in hall of the Main Terminal at Incheon International Airport shortly before heading into the airside

Finally in the airside of the Main Terminal at Incheon International Airport on a bright Christmas afternoon

The transit mall in the airside of the Main Terminal at Incheon International Airport on a bright Christmas afternoon

The massive departure flight information board in the airside of the Main Terminal at Incheon International Airport on a bright Christmas afternoon

A lineup of shops in the Main Terminal at Incheon International Airport on a bright Christmas afternoon

The departure flight information screen in the Main Terminal at Incheon International Airport located just aft of the immigrations area and near the Korean Air (KAL) Prestige Class Lounge

Finally arriving at the main entrance to the Korean Air (KAL) Prestige Class Lounge on a bright Christmas afternoon

The interior of the Korean Air (KAL) Prestige Class Lounge on a bright Christmas afternoon shortly after we arrived

A box of chicken fingers and french fries purchased from Burger King from my parents

Three Korean Air Boeing 777-300/ERs resting at the Main Terminal on Christmas Day

A Korean Air Boeing 777-3B5/ER, registered HL8210, being serviced at Gate No. 12 in preparation for her long European journey towards France on Christmas Day as Korean Air flight KE 901 bound for Paris (Charles de Gaulle)

A Korean Air Boeing 777-3B5/ER, registered HL8209, resting at Gate No. 14 on Christmas Day after arriving from her regional afternoon journey from the capital city of Japan as Korean Air flight KE 706 from Tokyo (Narita). She will then have another afternoon Christmas flight to the Republic of Indonesia as Korean Air flight KE 627 bound for Jakarta

A Korean Air Boeing 737-9B5, registered HL7716, resting at Gate No. 11 at the Main Terminal on Christmas Day

A Korean Air Boeing 777-3B5/ER, registered HL7783, about to taxi towards her assigned runway for take-off in preparation for her long afternoon European journey towards the Federal Republic of Germany on Christmas Day as Korean Air flight KE 905 bound for Frankfurt

A Korean Air Airbus A330-323X, registered HL7720, about to taxi towards her assigned runway for her afternoon regional hop towards the People's Republic of China (Mainland China) on Christmas Day as Korean Air flight KE 869 bound for Dalian

An Asiana Airlines Airbus A330-323X, registered HL7792, taxiing towards the Main Terminal shortly after arriving from her regional afternoon journey from Kyushu, Japan, on Christmas Day as Asiana Airlines flight OZ 131 from Fukuoka

A bowl of pumpkin soup with a glass of Coca-cola for myself

A Korean Air Boeing 777-3B5/ER, registered HL7784, taxiing towards the Main Terminal on Christmas Day after arriving from her long overnight journey from the Federal Republic of Germany as Korean Air flight KE 906 from Frankfurt

A Delta Air Lines Boeing 777-232/ER, registered N866DA, taxiing towards her assigned runway for take-off in preparation for her long transpacific journey back home to the United States on Christmas Day as Delta Air Lines flight DL 158 bound for Detroit

A Korean Air Airbus A330-223, registered HL7538, taxiing towards her assigned runway in preparation for her long European journey towards the Czech Republic on Christmas Day as Korean Air flight KE 935 bound for Prague

An Aircalin Airbus A330-202, registered F-OHSD, taxiing towards her assigned runway in preparation for her delayed flight back home towards New Caledonia on Christmas Day as Aircalin flight SB 701 bound for Nouméa

A Korean Air Airbus A380-861, registered HL7612, being towed to the Main Terminal to be serviced for her long transpacific journey towards the United States on Christmas Day as Korean Air flight KE 017 bound for Los Angeles

Part 2 ~ The Flight Back Home To Singapore

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: Boeing 777-3B5/ER
Registration No.: HL8217
Class: Prestige Class (Business Class)
Seat No.: 9J
Date: Wednesday, 25 December 2013 (Christmas Day)

After spending approximately 45 minutes of relaxing and having some light beverages in the Korean Air (KAL) Prestige Class Lounge, the clock was finally showing 1.30 p.m.. Knowing that boarding for Korean Air flight KE 643 bound for Singapore would commence in just 20 minutes' time, I grabbed hold of my carry-on baggage and informed my family that I would be proceeding to Gate No. 22. My family then agreed to meet up with me before boarding commenced.

Without any hesitation, I left the Korean Air (KAL) Prestige Class Lounge for Gate No. 22, with the entire walk taking no more than just 10 minutes. Soon enough, I finally arrived at the passenger waiting area at Gate No. 22 by 1.40 p.m., with my family members also arriving there by 1.45 p.m.. Judging by the number of waiting passengers near Gate No. 22, I could see that Korean Air flight KE 643 bound for Singapore would have a somewhat light load today.

For today, Korean Air flight KE 643 bound for Singapore would be operated using a Boeing 777-300/ER aircraft, registered HL8217 and powered by two General Electric GE90-115B engines. HL8217 was delivered new to Korean Air on 7 June 2011 as the eighth Boeing 777-300/ER and the 30th Boeing 777 for the airline. The overall delivery would make the aircraft approximately 2.5 years old today, making it one of the youngest Boeing 777s in the Korean Air fleet.


One last view of the Korean Air (KAL) Prestige Class Lounge as I begin to make my way towards Gate No. 22

About to head down towards the airside of the Main Terminal at Incheon International Airport

The entrance to the Korean Air (KAL) Prestige Class Lounge just as I make my way towards Gate No. 22

The departure flight information screens located just aft of the passport control area and security checkpoint

Several beautifully decorated Christmas decorations located above the information counter in the transit mall of the Main Terminal at Incheon International Airport

The massive departure flight information board in the main transiting mall in the Main Terminal at Incheon International Airport

The passageway leading to Gates No. 12 to 25 in the Main Terminal at Incheon International Airport

A Korean Air Airbus A330-223, registered HL8276, awaiting pushback from Gate No. 23 for her afternoon regional journey towards the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong on Christmas Day as Korean Air flight KE 601 bound for Hong Kong

The entrance to Gate No. 23 about to be closed

Our aircraft for today, HL8217, being serviced at Gate No. 22 in preparation for her mid-afternoon journey to the Republic of Singapore on Christmas Day as Korean Air flight KE 643 bound for Singapore

A closeup of HL8217 being serviced at Gate No. 22

An Etihad Airways Airbus A340-541, registered A6-EHB, about to be towed away from Terminal A for a long rest on the tarmac after arriving from her long overnight journey from the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East as Etihad Airways flight EY 876 from Abu Dhabi

The entrance to Gate No. 22 as I wait for boarding for Korean Air flight KE 643 bound for Singapore to begin

The passenger waiting area at Gate No. 22 with some waiting passengers

One last look at HL8217 being serviced at Gate No. 22

One last look at the waiting area near Gate No. 22

A Korean Air Airbus A330-322, registered HL7525, resting at Gate No. 28 shortly after arriving from her regional afternoon journey from the Kansai Region of Japan on Christmas Day as Korean Air flight KE 724 from Osaka (Kansai)

HL8276 about to taxi towards her assigned runway in preparation for her regional afternoon journey towards the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong on Christmas Day as Korean Air flight KE 601 bound for Hong Kong

After spending approximately five minutes of anticipated waiting at the passenger waiting area at Gate No. 22, the first boarding announcements for Korean Air flight KE 643 bound for Singapore were finally made at 1.50 p.m.. The First & Prestige Class passengers, along with the SKYPASS club members and the passengers requiring special assistance were called out to board the aircraft first. As we were among the first passengers being called out to board, we rolled up with our belongings for the boarding process to commence smoothly.

Walking along the jet bridge to the aircraft door, we were finally on board HL8217 at 1.55 p.m., which was just in good time for a 2.20 p.m. departure. At the aircraft door, two cheery flight attendants warmly welcomed us on board, and showed us the direction to our seats in the Prestige Class cabin. Entering the Prestige Class cabin itself, we stowed away all our belongings in their respective storage spaces and settled into our assigned Seats No. 9H, 9J, 14H and 14J for the afternoon flight duration of 6 hours 35 minutes to Singapore.

The Prestige Class seats we would be using for the long afternoon return flight to Singapore were the newer generation of Prestige Sleeper seats. These seats are capable of reclining to the maximum of 180º to allow complete lie-flat rest for passengers travelling on long-haul flights. They were fitted on a majority of Korean Air's long-haul fleet (except the Boeing 747-400s) following the delivery of the airline's fleet of Boeing 777-300/ERs in May 2009, and are fitted on the entire upper deck of the airline's Airbus A380s.

The flight attendants then went about their normal pre-flight routines of distributing the food and beverage menus, pre-departure beverages and free newspapers to the First & Prestige Class passengers. I had my normal pre-departure glasses of champagne and orange juice, together with a small packet of honey-roasted peanuts, to commence the journey. While we were awaiting pushback from Gate No. 22 at the Main Terminal, I did some vacation report-writing on my laptop.


A view of my seat, 9J, during the boarding process at Gate No. 22 at the Main Terminal

A Korean Air Boeing 737-9B5/ER(WL), registered HL8272, parked at Gate No. 24 at the Main Terminal at Incheon International Airport

The view of the Korean Air Boeing 777-300/ER Prestige Sleeper cabin from my seat during the boarding process at Incheon International Airport

My usual pre-departure glasses of champagne and orange juice, together with a small packet of honey-roasted peanuts

Crafting out my report for the return trip to Singapore on my blog while awaiting pushback from Gate No. 22

The view of the Korean Air Boeing 777-300/ER Prestige Sleeper cabin from my seat shortly before the aircraft doors were closed for pushback

After the clock struck exactly 2.20 p.m. sharp, all the aircraft doors were closed, and we finally pushed back from Gate No. 22, which was just as scheduled. The safety briefing information video was then shown on our front seat video screens as we began to make our way to our assigned runway for take-off, taxiing past several aircraft parked at both airport terminals at Incheon International Airport along the way.

After a quick 15-minute taxi to our assigned runway from the Main Terminal, the aircraft's two powerful General Electric GE90-115B engines spooled into action, and we finally lifted off from Incheon International Airport at 2.35 p.m.. We then climbed into the very bright Christmas afternoon sky for a flight time of 6 hours 05 minutes over the South China Sea back home towards the Republic of Singapore.


Finally pushing back from Gate No. 22 at the Main Terminal

The safety briefing information video at the bulkhead area showing passengers the hazards and consequences of on-board smoking

A Korean Air Airbus A330-322, registered HL7524, resting at Gate No. 21 shortly after arriving from her regional journey from Japan on Christmas Day as Korean Air flight KE 708 from Tokyo (Narita). She will then have an evening journey towards the popular Indonesian resort island of Bali as Korean Air flight KE 633 bound for Denpasar (Bali). I remember travelling on this particular aircraft when I went on my traditional winter vacation to Hokkaido, Japan, as Korean Air flight KE 765 bound for Sapporo (Chitose) in December 2011

Finally taxiing away from the Main Terminal at Incheon International Airport

A Korean Air Boeing 747-4B5, registered HL7402, about to be towed to the Main Terminal in preparation for her evening journey towards the Kingdom of Thailand on Christmas Day as Korean Air flight KE 651 bound for Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi)

A Korean Air Boeing 737-8B5, registered HL8225, about to be serviced at Gate No. 20 in preparation for her regional journey towards Japan on Christmas Day as Korean Air flight KE 707 bound for Tokyo (Narita)

Taxiing past Terminal A to our assigned runway on a bright Christmas afternoon

Approaching our assigned runway for take-off

Korean Air Flight 643 ~ Bright Christmas Take-off From Singapore Changi Airport

Finally climbing into the bright Christmas afternoon sky

The seatbelt signs were switched off at 2.40 p.m., which was just five minutes shortly after taking off from Incheon International Airport. As the flight attendants sprung into action in order to commence the in-flight lunch service, I paid a visit to the lavatory and got my laptop out for my own entertainment purposes during the flight. Just a few moments later, a flight attendant came over to my seat to take down my main meal order for the upcoming in-flight lunch later on.

I decided to have the grilled beef tenderloin steak with shallot sauce served with black ink pasta and vegetables cooked medium as the main lunch course. With that, she immediately took down my main meal order and went back to the galley to collect the first meal courses. Soon enough, she returned with the first meal courses on separate individual plates, along with our meal trays containing some first meal courses. Some flight attendants also came by with the beverage cart.

To accompany my upcoming main in-flight lunch, I opted to have the Château Saint-Genès 2011 white wine, together with a can of Coca-cola. With the first meal courses delivered to my table, I sat back to savour and enjoy them, with my wine glass constantly being topped up with the same Château Saint-Genès 2011 white wine. At the same time, I played some racing games on my laptop and did some report work for the return sector of this Christmas holiday special report.


The view of the Korean Air Boeing 777-300/ER Prestige Sleeper cabin from my seat shortly after the seatbelt signs were switched off

A warning sign in the lavatory indicating to passengers that smoking, including tampering with smoke detectors in the lavatories, is forbidden under South Korean Civil Aviation Regulations

The rear view of the Korean Air Boeing 777-300/ER Prestige Sleeper cabin shortly before the in-flight lunch service commenced

Crafting out my report for the return trip to Singapore on my blog shortly before the in-flight lunch service commenced

Playing "LEGO Racers: Amazon Adventure Alley (Mirrored)", with myself playing as Basil the Bat Lord, attacking Achu and stalking the host, Baron von Barron, with three homing missiles

The cover page of the food and beverage menu for the segment between Seoul (Incheon) and Singapore

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

Reviewing the wine list for the segment between Seoul (Incheon) and Singapore

Playing "LEGO Racers: Alien Rally Asteroid", with myself playing as Willa the Witch, attacking the circuit host, Basil the Bat Lord, with three homing missiles

The first course: Roasted eggplant with chicken

A can and glass of Coca-cola for myself

The bottle of Château Saint-Genès 2011 white wine being held up by the flight attendant

My wine glass being filled up with Château Saint-Genès 2011 white wine for the upcoming main course

Playing "LEGO Racers: Amazon Adventure Alley (Mirrored)", with myself playing as Basil the Bat Lord, stalking the circuit host, Baron von Barron, with three homing missiles

The view of the Korean Air Boeing 777-300/ER Prestige Sleeper cabin from my seat during the in-flight lunch service

My wine glass being filled up with Château Saint-Genès 2011 white wine again

My glass of Château Saint-Genès 2011 white wine for the upcoming in-flight lunch

The second course: Seared scallop with black mushroom and eggplant

Cruising somewhere over the Minami-daito Islands over the East China Sea

The third course: Pumpkin cream sauce

After spending about 25 minutes enjoying my first in-flight lunch meal courses, the flight attendant re-appeared at my seat table again at 3.05 p.m.. This time, she had my grilled beef tenderloin steak with shallot sauce served with black ink pasta and vegetables. With my main lunch course delivered to my meal tray, I immediately tucked into my main meal course. With just one bite with a dip in the shallot sauce, the grilled beef tenderloin tasted very tender and cooked just right.

The vegetables and pasta also tasted as good, making them the perfect accompaniments to my main meal, along with the Château Saint-Genès 2011 white wine. Once I was finished with my main meal course, the flight attendant came by to my table and asked me whether there was anything else I wanted. To round off this very sumptuous and filling in-flight lunch, I requested for a glass of Baileys Irish Cream, together with two small tubs of Häagen-Dazs ice cream, which were one chocolate and one strawberry.

With that, the flight attendant went back into the galley to fetch my dessert orders, arriving back at my seat with my orders at 3.25 p.m.. The Baileys Irish Cream, together with the two tubs of Häagen-Dazs ice cream, were the most perfect methods to round off such a filling and excellent in-flight lunch. Once my used cutlery were cleared away, the cabin lights were dimmed to allow the passengers to get some rest. I was then left to my laptop for my own entertainment purposes until the seatbelt signs were illuminated for landing in Singapore.


My main course: Grilled beef tenderloin steak with shallot sauce served with black ink pasta and vegetables

My main meal tray shortly after I had finished my main in-flight lunch course

Cruising somewhere over South China Sea close to Hong Kong and Taiwan

A glass of Baileys Irish Cream with a tub of chocolate-flavoured Häagen-Dazs ice cream

My glass of Baileys Irish Cream with a tub of strawberry-flavoured Häagen-Dazs ice cream

The view of the Korean Air Boeing 777-300/ER Prestige Sleeper cabin from my seat shortly after the in-flight lunch service was finished

Playing "LEGO Racers: Dark Forest Dash (Mirrored)", with myself playing as Basil the Bat Lord, attacking Governor Broadside with three homing missiles

A scene from "Gordon's Christmas Carol: The Movie (2010)", where in the future of Sodor, Smudger begs not to be broken up for scrap

The rear view of the Korean Air Boeing 777-300/ER Prestige Sleeper cabin shortly after the in-flight lunch service was finished

A view of my seat, 9J, in the dimmed Prestige Sleeper cabin

The safety information brochure for Korean Air's fleet of Boeing 777-300/ERs

Cruising somewhere over the South China Sea over the Philippines and Vietnam

The rear view of the Korean Air Boeing 777-300/ER Prestige Sleeper cabin dimmed to allow the passengers to get some rest

Cruising somewhere over a blanket of clouds over the South China Sea somewhere over the East Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam

The rear view of the Korean Air Boeing 777-300/ER Prestige Sleeper cabin during cruising altitude somewhere between East and West Malaysia

Cruising somewhere over Malaysia close to the border of Malaysia and Singapore

In accordance with the Singapore Standard Timing, the seatbelt sign was illuminated again at 7.25 p.m., which was approximately 15 minutes in preparation for descent into Singapore Changi Airport. Knowing that we had very little time left before our arrival back home into Singapore, we immediately stowed away our belongings and buckled up in preparation for the descent into Singapore Changi Airport.

Night was already starting to fall as the aircraft began to commence its final approach into Singapore Changi Airport, with several ship and city lights shining below us. After a long afternoon flight duration of 6 hours 05 minutes over the South China Sea from the capital city of the Republic of Korea (South Korea), we finally touched down in Singapore Changi Airport at 7.40 p.m., which was approximately 15 minutes ahead of schedule.


The view of the Korean Air Boeing 777-300/ER Prestige Sleeper cabin from my seat shortly after the seatbelt signs were illuminated for landing in Singapore Changi Airport

The lights of Johor Bharu shining below us as the aircraft commences its final approach into Singapore

The lights of Singapore shining directly below us as the aircraft makes its final approach into Singapore Changi Airport

Making our final approach into Singapore Changi Airport

Korean Air Flight 643 ~ Night Landing In Singapore Changi Airport

Taxiing past Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1 shortly after landing in Singapore Changi Airport

A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-212/ER aircraft parked on the airport tarmac near Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1

A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-312/ER, registered 9V-SWJ and painted in the special "Star Alliance" livery, parked on the tarmac near Singapore Changi Airport Terminals 1 and 2

A Singapore Airlines Airbus A330-343X, registered 9V-STF, being serviced at Gate No. E28 at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 in preparation for her regional evening journey to the Republic of the Maldives as Singapore Airlines flight SQ 452 bound for Malé

Finally docking onto our arrival gate, Gate No. E27, at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2

The view of the Korean Air Boeing 777-300/ER Prestige Sleeper cabin from my seat shortly after docking on to Gate No. E27 at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2

After a relatively short 10-minute taxi along the airport tarmac to Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2, we finally docked onto our arrival gate, Gate No. E27, at 7.50 p.m.. Once the seatbelt signs were switched off, we immediately unbuckled and retrieved our belongings from their respective storage spaces. We also checked around our seats to check that no personal belongings were left unclaimed.

Upon claiming all of our personal belongings from their respective storage spaces, we rolled up behind some other passengers in order to disembark from the aircraft smoothly. As we disembarked from the aircraft, the flight attendants at the front exit door sincerely thanked us for our patronage with Korean Air, wished us a Merry Christmas, and sincerely wished us a pleasant road trip back home.

Korean Air Flight 643 Score Report

Seat: 20 / 20
Food: 17 / 20
Service: 18 / 20
Aircraft cleanliness: 15 / 20
Legroom space: 20 / 20
Total: 90 / 100

In the final analysis, Korean Air has successfully managed to obtain a total aggregate score of 90% for the return segment from Seoul (Incheon) to Singapore, meaning that they have obtained the highest airline grade, which is an 'A+'. It really has been a pleasant Christmas return journey home with them, and they should continue to keep up their high standards to attract more customer demand in the near future.

Part 3 ~ The Closing Sequences

After disembarking from Korean Air flight KE 643 from Seoul (Incheon), we walked along the moving passageways in Concourse E of Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 to the arrivals and immigrations area. Taking the escalator down to the immigrations area, we arrived there at eight o' clock. To clear the immigrations area, we used the thumb fingerprint checkpoint, which scans the thumb fingerprints of Singaporean citizens and permanent residents before allowing them into the country.

Upon clearing the immigrations area, we went to see which baggage belt our bulky check-in baggage would be arriving at. According to the baggage claiming information screen, all check-in baggage from Korean Air flight KE 643 from Seoul (Incheon) would be expected to arrive at Belt No. 32. With that, we immediately proceeded to the baggage claiming hall and claimed three baggage trolleys. While my mum went to purchase some duty-free items from the nearby duty-free shop, the rest of us went to Belt No. 32 to claim our baggage.


Walking along the moving passageway in Concourse E at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2

Approaching the end of Concourse E in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2

Finally arriving at the immigrations checkpoint in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2

The baggage claiming information screen indicating that all check-in baggage from Korean Air flight KE 643 bound for Seoul (Incheon)

The interior of the baggage claiming hall in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2

The duty-free shop located in the baggage claiming hall at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2

The baggage claiming information screens in the baggage claiming hall at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2

The arrivals and meeting area in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 on Christmas night

After claiming all of our bulky check-in baggage from Belt No. 32 and loading them onto the baggage trolleys, we finally went into the arrivals and meeting hall at 8.10 p.m.. Heading to the MaxiCab reservations counter, we informed the receptionist that we had arranged for a MaxiCab to transport us home. Positively identifying our MaxiCab reservations, she gave us our waiting stickers and informed us to wait for the driver to come over to meet us.

Soon enough, our MaxiCab driver finally met up with us in the arrivals and meeting area at 8.15 p.m.. He then offered to help us with the baggage trolleys to his waiting MaxiCab, and helped my parents load our baggage into the cab boot while we boarded for the ride back home. With our baggage loaded into the boot of the MaxiCab, we finally departed Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 by 8.25 p.m. for a short 25-minute cab ride back home.

Arriving back at the familiar compound of our home at 8.50 p.m., our housekeeper came out to help us unload our baggage with the driver before paying up our cab fare. To celebrate our return, we had a supper of our own familiar local delicacies before spending the rest of the night unpacking our bulky baggage. I also received a Christmas gift from a parcel, which my mum helped me to purchase online, and it was an aircraft model, as follows:

1) Qatar Airways Airbus A330-203 Herpa Scale 1:500 (508537)


Qatar Airways Airbus A330-203 Herpa Scale 1:500 (508537)

To summarise this entire blog report, it was indeed a really enjoyable combined Christmas winter vacation in both Hokkaido, Japan and South Korea in December 2013, and it was even better than the winter vacation I had in South Korea in December 2012. At the same time, I can safely say that South Korea is good only for brief stopovers for about three to four days at most. I shall never hesitate to come to Hokkaido again during wintertime.

As always, questions and / or comments will be more than welcome. Thank you for taking the time to read this Chrismas 2013 special blog report, and I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed it very much. There will be much more interesting blog posts for the upcoming fiscal year 2014. Lastly, but certainly not least, Merry Christmas 2013, Happy New Year 2014, and have a happy blogging experience, as well as Happy Holidays!