Saturday, December 24, 2016

๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต 2016 Christmas Special: Post-GCE 'A' Level Examination End-Of-Year Winter Vacation To Tokyo & Hokkaido, Japan, In December 2016 ~ Section 7 ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต

Welcome to the seventh sub-segment of my post-GCE 'A' Level examination end-of-year winter vacation to Tokyo & Hokkaido, Japan, in December 2016. This shall officially be the final segment of this year's end-of-year Christmas winter special trip report. There will be a total of two focus topics, excluding the closing sequences, that will be covered in this final segment of the entire report. They will mainly be the trip back to Narita International Airport and the early afternoon return flight back home to Singapore.

Part 1 ~ The Journey Back To Narita International Airport

For the early afternoon return flight back home to Singapore, we would be flying with Singapore Airlines on flight SQ 637 bound for Singapore, which would depart from Narita International Airport at 11.05 a.m., and arrive back at Singapore Changi Airport at 5.45 p.m. later that evening. Also, to return to Narita International Airport, we would catch the Limited Express Narita Express No. 7 bound for Narita International Airport, which would depart from Shinjuku Station at 7.06 a.m., and arrive at the Narita Airport Terminal 1 terminal station at 8.37 a.m..

To summarise both our hotel stays at the Hilton Hotel Tokyo, I can say that there was nothing that special about it, other than the hotel staff offering to take care of some of our souvenirs while we were in Hakodate and the hotel room comfort being quite comfortable enough for my preferences, along with the breakfasts at the Executive Lounge being good enough. However, some areas for improvement would include the staff service at the Dynasty Chinese Restaurant, with the prospective options of renovating the entire restaurant to have a much more welcoming atmosphere, and upgrading its Internet Wi-Fi connection service to be complimentary for its hotel guests.

Part 2 ~ The Flight Back Home To Singapore

Airline: Singapore Airlines
Flight No.: SQ 637
From: Tokyo, Narita International Airport (NRT / RJAA), Narita, Chiba, Japan
To: Singapore Changi Airport (SIN / WSSS), Changi, Singapore
Aircraft: Boeing 777-312
Registration No.: 9V-SYL (Painted in the special white "Star Alliance" livery)
Class: Business Class
Seat No.: 18K
Date: Wednesday, 14 December 2016

After walking across the main airside of Narita International Airport Terminal 1 (South Wing) for approximately 10 minutes, we finally arrived outside the All Nippon Airways (ANA) Business Class Lounge at ten o' clock. Proceeding over to the lounge reception counter, a lounge receptionist checked through our boarding passes before permitting us to enter the lounge. Entering the main lounge, we went to a nearby four-seater table by the kitchen counter before securing all our belongings and having some light refreshments from the take-out McDonald's breakfast we had.

Upon having some snacks inside the All Nippon Airways (ANA) Business Class Lounge with my family, the clock was finally showing 10.05 a.m.. Given that boarding for Singapore Airlines flight SQ 637 bound for Singapore would be commencing in half an hour's time, I grabbed my belongings and informed my family that I would be heading to Gate No. 46. They then agreed to meet me at Gate No. 46 approximately 10 minutes before boarding. Reaching the passenger waiting area near Gate No. 46 safely at 10.10 a.m., I could see that Singapore Airlines flight SQ 637 bound for Singapore would have a relatively light load today. My family then caught up with me at Gate No. 46 at 10.25 a.m., as agreed.

As for today, Singapore Airlines flight SQ 637 bound for Singapore would be operated by a Boeing 777-300, registered 9V-SYL and powered by two twin Rolls-Royce Trent 892 engines. 9V-SYL was delivered to Singapore Airlines on 6 May 2005 as the 12th and last Boeing 777-300 and as the 58th Boeing 777 for the entire airline company. Unlike some other Singapore Airlines having the "Star Alliance" livery with the Silver Kris logo, it was painted in a special all-white "Star Alliance" livery from August 2012. The overall delivery would make the aircraft approximately 11.6 years old today.

The interior of the All Nippon Airways (ANA) Business Class Lounge located on the second floor in the South Wing of Narita International Airport Terminal 1 shortly after we had arrived

Bypassing the self-service buffet corners in the All Nippon Airways (ANA) Business Class Lounge located on the second floor in the South Wing of Narita International Airport Terminal 1 on route to Gate No. 46

About to take the escalator up to Gates No. 31 to 47 on the third floor in the South Wing of Narita International Airport Terminal 1

Finally approaching the passenger waiting area at Gate No. 46 in the South Wing of Narita International Airport Terminal 1

Our aircraft for today, 9V-SYL, being serviced at Gate No. 46 at the South Wing of Narita International Airport Terminal 1 in preparation for her long early afternoon return flight back home to the Republic of Singapore as Singapore Airlines flight SQ 637 bound for Singapore

A closer view of 9V-SYL being serviced at Gate No. 46 at the South Wing of Narita International Airport Terminal 1 in preparation for her long early afternoon return flight back home to the Republic of Singapore as Singapore Airlines flight SQ 637 bound for Singapore

An All Nippon Airways Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, registered JA814A, being serviced at Gate No. 38 at the South Wing of Narita International Airport Terminal 1 in preparation for her long early afternoon flight to the Republic of India as All Nippon Airways flight NH 829 bound for Mumbai

An All Nippon Airways Boeing 777-381/ER, registered JA779A, being serviced at Gate No. 52 at the South Wing of Narita International Airport Terminal 1 in preparation for her long early afternoon transpacific flight to the United States as All Nippon Airways flight NH 174 bound for Houston

The entrance passageway at Gate No. 46 in the South Wing of Narita International Airport Terminal 1 shortly before the first boarding announcements for Singapore Airlines flight SQ 637 bound for Singapore were made

After spending almost 20 minutes of anticipated waiting near the passenger waiting area at Gate No. 46, the first boarding announcements for Singapore Airlines flight SQ 637 bound for Singapore were finally made at 10.30 a.m.. All the First & Business Class passengers, together with the KrisFlyer Gold club members and passengers requiring priority assistance, were called to board the aircraft first. Since we were among some of the passengers being called out to board the aircraft, we rolled up at the front row with our belongings for the boarding process to commence smoothly.

Walking across the main jet bridge of Gate No. 46, we were finally on board 9V-SYL at 10.35 a.m., which was in good time for an 11.05 a.m. departure. At the front door, two flight attendants welcomed us on board and showed us the direction to our seats in the Business Class cabin. Stowing our belongings into their respective storage spaces, we settled down into our assigned Seats No. 18H, 18K, 19H and 19K for the relatively long afternoon return flight of 7 hours 40 minutes back home to Singapore.

The Business Class seats we would be using for the upcoming early afternoon return flight home to Singapore were the first generation of newer Regional Business Class seats. They have a shell-shaped design, and have individual AC power outlets for passengers to charge their electronic devices, also reclining up to 175ยบ to allow passengers to rest. They were introduced in January 2009 with the delivery of the Airbus A330s, and are available on the Airbus A330s, refitted Boeing 777-200/ERs and the Boeing 777-300s.

An additional view of 9V-SYL being serviced at Gate No. 46 at the South Wing of Narita International Airport Terminal 1 in preparation for her long early afternoon return flight back home to the Republic of Singapore as Singapore Airlines flight SQ 637 bound for Singapore as we walk across the main jet bridge of Gate No. 46

A view of my seat, 18K, during the boarding process at Gate No. 46 at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 (South Wing)

The view of the Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300 Regional Business Class cabin from my seat during the boarding process at Gate No. 46 at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 (South Wing)

Overlooking the rainy and damp airport tarmac during the boarding process at Gate No. 46 at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 (South Wing)

My usual glasses of orange juice and champagne during the boarding process at Gate No. 46 at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 (South Wing)

The cover page for the in-flight dining menu for the return segment between Tokyo (Narita) and Singapore during the boarding process at Gate No. 46 at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 (South Wing)

Reviewing the in-flight dining menu for the return segment between Tokyo (Narita) and Singapore during the boarding process at Gate No. 46 at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 (South Wing)

Reviewing the wine list section of the in-flight dining menu for the return segment between Tokyo (Narita) and Singapore during the boarding process at Gate No. 46 at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 (South Wing)

Reviewing the KrisShop in-flight duty-free magazine during the boarding process at Gate No. 46 at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 (South Wing)

An All Nippon Airways Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, registered JA827A, being pushed back from Gate No. 47 at the South Wing of Narita International Airport Terminal 1 in preparation for her long early afternoon trans-Siberian flight to the Federal Republic of Germany as All Nippon Airways flight NH 209 bound for Dรผsseldorf

Awaiting pushback from Gate No. 46 at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 (South Wing)

The view of the Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300 Regional Business Class cabin from my seat shortly before we pushed back from Gate No. 46 at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 (South Wing)

With the model costing me ¥4,700, I paid a total of ¥5,000, thereby receiving ¥300 in change.

1) Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-312/ER Herpa Scale 1:500 (524858)

The late afternoon sun was shining brightly across the Malaysian Straits as the aircraft began to make its final approach into Singapore Changi Airport. After a relatively long early afternoon flight of 6 hours 55 minutes over the South China Sea from the colossal and modern metropolitan capital city of Japan in the Far East, we finally touched back down into Singapore Changi Airport at 5.35 p.m., approximately 10 minutes ahead of schedule. We then taxied across the main airport tarmac briefly to our assigned arrival gate at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2.

The view of the Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300 Regional Business Class cabin from my seat shortly after the seatbelt signs were illuminated in preparation for the descent cum arrival into Singapore Changi Airport

The flight route indication map indicating our cruising altitude across Johor Bahru in Malaysia close to Singapore

Cruising over the South China Sea near Johor Bahru in Malaysia close to Singapore

Cruising over Batam in Indonesia close to Singapore

Overlooking the skyline of Singapore as the aircraft begins to make its final approach into Singapore Changi Airport

The view of the Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300 Regional Business Class cabin from my seat as the aircraft begins to make its final approach into Singapore Changi Airport

Cruising over the South China Sea as the aircraft begins to make its final approach into Singapore Changi Airport

Singapore Airlines Flight 637 ~ Late Afternoon Arrival Into Singapore Changi Airport

Taxiing across the main airport tarmac in the direction to Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 shortly after we had touched down

A Singapore Airlines Airbus A330-343X, registered 9V-STT, resting at Gate No. F42 in Concourse F at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 after arriving from her regional early afternoon flight from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam as Singapore Airlines flight SQ 173 from Ho Chi Minh City. She would then have a regional evening flight to the People's Republic of Bangladesh later tonight as Singapore Airlines flight SQ 446 bound for Dhaka

An All Nippon Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, registered JA879A, resting at Gate No. F56 in Concourse F at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 after arriving from her long early afternoon flight from the modern metropolitan capital city of Japan as All Nippon Airways flight NH 841 from Tokyo (Haneda)

A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-212/ER, registered 9V-SVN, resting at Gate No. F41 in Concourse F at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 after arriving from her long afternoon return flight Down Under from New Zealand as Singapore Airlines flight SQ 298 from Christchurch

A Singapore Airlines Airbus A350-941, registered 9V-SMG, being serviced at Gate No. F58 in Concourse F at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 in preparation for her routine regional early evening shuttle flight to Malaysia as Singapore Airlines flight SQ 118 bound for Kuala Lumpur

A Cebu Pacific Airbus A330-343X, registered RP-C3343, being serviced at Gate No. F40 in Concourse F at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 after arriving from her regional afternoon flight from the Republic of the Philippines as Cebu Pacific flight 5J 805 from Manila. She would then return home to the Philippines later that evening as Cebu Pacific flight 5J 806 bound for Manila

Finally docking on to our assigned arrival gate, Gate No. F60, in Concourse F at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2

The view of the Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300 Regional Business Class cabin from my seat shortly after docking on to our assigned arrival gate, Gate No. F60, in Concourse F at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2

After taxiing through the main airport tarmac briefly for approximately five minutes to Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2, we finally docked onto our assigned arrival gate, Gate No. F60, at 5.40 p.m.. Once the seatbelt signs had been switched off, we quickly unbuckled all our seatbelts and retrieved our belongings from their storage spaces in preparation for the disembarkation process to commence. We then conducted a final check around our seats to ensure that there was nothing left behind on board the aircraft.

Part 3 ~ The Closing Sequences

Shortly after disembarking from Singapore Airlines flight SQ 637 from Tokyo (Narita) at Gate No. F60, we walked across the passageway of Concourse F in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 in the direction leading to the arrival immigration checkpoints. The entire walk linking from Gate No. F60 to the arrival immigration checkpoints took just five minutes. Taking the escalators down to the arrival immigration checkpoints at 5.50 p.m., we went over to the automated thumbprint checkpoints reserved for Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents (PRs), thus clearing the arrival immigration process in not more than approximately five minutes.

Upon clearing the arrival immigration checkpoints at 5.55 p.m., I promptly headed to check which baggage belt our bulky check-in baggage would be scheduled to arrive at. According to the baggage belt information screens, all bulky check-in baggage from Singapore Airlines flight SQ 637 from Tokyo (Narita) would arrive at Belt No. 37. With that, I promptly followed my dad and younger brother to claim two baggage trolleys before heading to Belt No. 37 to claim our bulkier check-in baggage to be loaded with our lighter baggage. My mum also claimed an additional baggage trolley for herself to do some post-arrival shopping at the DFS Wines & Spirits post-arrival duty-free store nearby.

Walking across the main passageway in Concourse F at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 in the direction leading to the arrival immigration checkpoints after disembarking from Singapore Airlines flight SQ 637 from Tokyo (Narita) at Gate No. F60

One final view of 9V-SYL being parked at Gate No. F60 in Concourse F at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 after arriving from her long early afternoon flight from the modern metropolitan capital city of Japan as Singapore Airlines flight SQ 637 from Tokyo (Narita)

Bypassing some duty-free shops in the main airside of Concourse F at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 in the direction leading to the arrival immigration checkpoints

About to take the escalators down to the arrival immigration checkpoints in Concourse F at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2

The baggage claiming information screens in the baggage claiming hall at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2, indicating that all check-in baggage from Singapore Airlines flight SQ 637 from Tokyo (Narita) would arrive at Belt No. 37

The baggage claiming hall at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 during the early evening rush hour

Overlooking the DFS Wines & Spirits post-arrival duty-free store in the baggage claiming hall at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 during the early evening rush hour

Finally in the arrivals and meeting hall at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 during the early evening rush hour

The arrivals and meeting hall at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 during the early evening rush hour shortly before we left for home

After claiming our bulky check-in baggage from Singapore Airlines flight SQ 637 from Tokyo (Narita) at Belt No. 37 and loading them onto the baggage trolleys, we were finally in the main arrivals and meeting hall at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 at 6.15 p.m..

To summarise this 2016 Christmas special end-of-year winter vacation report, I can say that I had enjoyed this post-GCE 'A' Level examination end-of-year winter vacation to Tokyo & Hokkaido, Japan, a lot. This would be one of the best trips to Japan I have ever undertaken in my countless years of overseas travel, and one that would never be forgotten for a lifetime. In spite of the restaurant service at the hotel being rather slow with the atmosphere being insufficiently welcoming and the rather slow Wi-Fi Internet connection at the Hilton Hotel Tokyo, the La Cachette Villa in Hakodate was quite a sobering and enjoyable experience.

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