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SQveteran May 8, 17 6:40 am

SQ - "Capital Express" SIN CBR WLG Service
I decided to try the newish “capital express” route recently; flying business class, SIN-CBR-WLG-CBR-SIN; and what a huge disappointment it was. There were a number of issues with the route:

First, SQ use old aircraft, a 777-200 series; a plane that’s usually employed for regional flights within Asia is put to use connecting the capitals of New Zealand and Australia to Singapore. One would think capitals deserve a product with more prestige! The angle flat business class seats are narrow and are inclined rather than parallel to the floor – not nearly as good for sleeping as seats on 773ER and some 772ER products and yet sleep is really what you need when you land in SIN at 5am and depart SIN at 11pm.

Second, SQ had equipment maintenance issues and before boarding the plane in CBR (to SIN) the public address system was used to advise all passengers of which there were around 200 to go to the toilet before boarding the aircraft because there were problems with the planes toilets. On board two of the three business class toilets were non-operational. Apart from two seats, business class was full on the CBR-SIN sector and so patience was needed during peak times (after meals, before landing etc.)

Third, Wellington airport is not well geared for international flights and neither is Canberra. In Wellington entry to the international departure area only opened 1.5 hours prior to departure and only a single hand luggage screening machine was in action, leading to a long queue and Canberra doesn’t have a proper international departure lounge. The lounge has a small duty free store and even smaller café. Full stop. Nice selection of chairs and good clean toilets though.

For those considering SIA connection options from New Zealand to Singapore I cannot recommend the Capital Express service. While the route may save a little time if you are located in Wellington the aircraft used via AKL and CHC are vastly superior. I’m hoping SIA reconsider their capital express aircraft selection in the future. Capitals deserve better.

1353513636 May 8, 17 7:49 am


Originally Posted by SQveteran (Post 28282678)
I decided to try the newish “capital express” route recently; flying business class, SIN-CBR-WLG-CBR-SIN; and what a huge disappointment it was. There were a number of issues with the route:

First, SQ use old aircraft, a 777-200 series; a plane that’s usually employed for regional flights within Asia is put to use connecting the capitals of New Zealand and Australia to Singapore. One would think capitals deserve a product with more prestige! The angle flat business class seats are narrow and are inclined rather than parallel to the floor – not nearly as good for sleeping as seats on 773ER and some 772ER products and yet sleep is really what you need when you land in SIN at 5am and depart SIN at 11pm.

Second, SQ had equipment maintenance issues and before boarding the plane in CBR (to SIN) the public address system was used to advise all passengers of which there were around 200 to go to the toilet before boarding the aircraft because there were problems with the planes toilets. On board two of the three business class toilets were non-operational. Apart from two seats, business class was full on the CBR-SIN sector and so patience was needed during peak times (after meals, before landing etc.)

Third, Wellington airport is not well geared for international flights and neither is Canberra. In Wellington entry to the international departure area only opened 1.5 hours prior to departure and only a single hand luggage screening machine was in action, leading to a long queue and Canberra doesn’t have a proper international departure lounge. The lounge has a small duty free store and even smaller café. Full stop. Nice selection of chairs and good clean toilets though.

For those considering SIA connection options from New Zealand to Singapore I cannot recommend the Capital Express service. While the route may save a little time if you are located in Wellington the aircraft used via AKL and CHC are vastly superior. I’m hoping SIA reconsider their capital express aircraft selection in the future. Capitals deserve better.

If they can't make money on the route, they receive subsidies from Aus/NZ government, did you expect them to put their best aircraft on the route?

kamchatsky May 8, 17 8:16 am

Well it is good that SQ actually tries to serve CBR and WLG. Before SQ there were NO international flights out of CBR. There were short international flights from WLG but not to Asia (mainly due to short runways).

It is up to Canberrans to try to make the routes profitable so that they get newer and better aircraft. CBR is very easy airport to check-in and navigate and it saves Canberrans a lot of time going to Asia, especially with the overnight flights to/from SIN.

In many ways this route is great on a A350 but I know SQ would prefer to use A350 on other routes for now.

SQveteran May 8, 17 9:23 am


Originally Posted by kamchatsky (Post 28283012)
Well it is good that SQ actually tries to serve CBR and WLG. Before SQ there were NO international flights out of CBR. There were short international flights from WLG but not to Asia (mainly due to short runways).

It is up to Canberrans to try to make the routes profitable so that they get newer and better aircraft. CBR is very easy airport to check-in and navigate and it saves Canberrans a lot of time going to Asia, especially with the overnight flights to/from SIN.

In many ways this route is great on a A350 but I know SQ would prefer to use A350 on other routes for now.


I agree that its good the SQ is serving CBR and WLG - I'm just disappointed with their aircraft choice. I can't think of any other sectors where SQ use a retrofitted 772 (regional J) for a total 11+ hour flying time.

I would love the see the A350-900 on this route. SQ has 56 on them on order so hopefully one day.

It is clear there is already good support for the service from CBR.

SQveteran May 8, 17 9:38 am


Originally Posted by 1353513636 (Post 28282912)
If they can't make money on the route, they receive subsidies from Aus/NZ government, did you expect them to put their best aircraft on the route?


The pax load was decent on all sectors I flew so together with Government subsidies I would have thought SQ should have bought their gold cutlery to the Capital Express table, not the dated and chipped china.

Phaze May 8, 17 3:00 pm

Have you considered conveying any of these (very valid) points to SQ? Of course they won't materially care and one passenger can not impact commercial business decisions, but you're a decades long Solitaire member - they should at least recognise your opinion and it'd be interesting to see how they respond (if at all). I'm sure you have the requisite email address but PM me if you don't.

I wouldn't be surprised if they put the 787 on this sector when they start taking delivery.

SQveteran May 8, 17 7:10 pm


Originally Posted by Phaze (Post 28284849)
Have you considered conveying any of these (very valid) points to SQ? Of course they won't materially care and one passenger can not impact commercial business decisions, but you're a decades long Solitaire member - they should at least recognise your opinion and it'd be interesting to see how they respond (if at all). I'm sure you have the requisite email address but PM me if you don't.

I wouldn't be surprised if they put the 787 on this sector when they start taking delivery.


Yes, I have provided feedback to SQ and await their reply.

Phaze May 8, 17 7:23 pm

Nice. Hope you can share it on here.

hackneycab2 May 18, 17 3:19 am

Singapore air,have announced that they are cutting their frequency from 4 days a week to three on this route,for the week of August(14), September(5) & October(24)( I believe it is because of low yields at this time of year.) They are returning to "normal" in November.Phew! I fly out on the 9th Oct to LHR.So far their is only five us in Business (including us) will be interesting to see if the numbers grow.Cheers:):)

jbfield May 18, 17 10:31 am


Originally Posted by SQveteran (Post 28285858)
Yes, I have provided feedback to SQ and await their reply.

I'll be doing the same as I had similar thoughts when I flew it earlier in the year. I think it provides a good WLG-CBR option (timing-wise) and CBR-SIN option, but WLG-CBR-SIN is not so nice.

The cafe also was lacking any vegetarian food options, and using the $10 voucher (or was it $20) became impossible except on beer.

The one good thing I did think was that at least you don't have to re-clear security in CBR.

onlySIA May 20, 17 3:47 am

I guess in theory if you really want lounge access at CBR you could clear Australian immigration (should be quick because everyone else will be waiting for their luggage) and then head straight up to the Virgin lounge, which is just 2 minutes walk from the international lounge.

vbroucek May 20, 17 4:02 am

BTW, in Australia, you do immigration first and then customs... Everyone goes first to immigration and only after that they wait for the luggage and then for customs...

onlySIA May 20, 17 8:40 pm

Silly me to forget. But immigration is very quick at Canberra because only one international flight, and J disembarks first.

I also agree with previous FTers who have wished for newer planes on this route. Unlikely to happen though, unless it becomes a major revenue source.

Kiwi Flyer May 20, 17 9:23 pm


Originally Posted by onlySIA (Post 28336301)
I guess in theory if you really want lounge access at CBR you could clear Australian immigration (should be quick because everyone else will be waiting for their luggage) and then head straight up to the Virgin lounge, which is just 2 minutes walk from the international lounge.

Australian immigration is likely to refuse to permit entry to Australia people around who try this, and even if they don't customs are likely to have some questions.

While it is annoying the lounge isn't accessible at the gate, the gate area is much nicer than usual and it is usually only about an hour before boarding is called.

hackneycab2 May 23, 17 2:50 pm


Originally Posted by onlySIA (Post 28338909)
Silly me to forget. But immigration is very quick at Canberra because only one international flight, and J disembarks first.

I also agree with previous FTers who have wished for newer planes on this route. Unlikely to happen though, unless it becomes a major revenue source.

They have talked about using an A350,possibly next year.Cheers:):)


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