Kerala Blog Express

Living in an archipelago of 7,107 islands can be quite daunting. Ever since I moved back to my province of Negros Occidental, flying out of the Philippines entailed one additional flight to an international airport, whether it is Manila, Cebu or another city. And for my Kerala Blog Express adventure, getting to Kochi in Kerala, India meant I had to take a local flight to Cebu in order to catch my SilkAir trip towards my final destination.

Kerala Blog ExpressSilkAir is the regional wing of the Singapore Airlines Group.

Going to Kerala, India is one trip of a lifetime. Imagine my excitement when I got my SilkAir e-ticket via e-mail. I was then in contact with SilkAir’s Marketing & PR Assistant, Suvarna Menon, prior to the trip and she made sure everything turns out fine. SilkAir is one of the partners of the Kerala Blog Express and it was my first-time to fly on SilkAir — a regional wing of the Singapore Airlines Group — though I had flown on Singapore Airlines many times in the past. It was time to see if it’s indeed a joy to fly with SilkAir.

My local plane touched down at the Mactan International Airport in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu at about five hours prior to my scheduled SilkAir flight to Singapore. The time frame was intentional on my part, just so I am assured that I have enough time to do everything before my long-haul journey. (In the Philippines, local flights can get delayed for hours, which can cause problems for those with onward flights).

 

On-ground Hospitality

The check-in counters for SilkAir were still closed when I arrived in Cebu so I sat outside its office. As soon as a staff came in, I immediately introduced myself and when he found out I was in the Kerala Blog Express, he immediately arranged for me to have better seats, despite having done my online check-in, and a pass at the Mactan Cebu International Airport’s Plaza Premium Lounge.

Kerala Blog ExpressThe Plaza Premium Lounge at the Mactan Cebu International Airport.

The SilkAir teams in Kochi and Trivandrum were equally amiable. We arrived in Cochin International Airport, which is a solar-powered airport, late at night and a SilkAir staff was already waiting for us at the gate to assist us at immigration, the baggage counter and towards our welcome party. There, I met Suvarna in person. “I was too excited while waiting for you and the other three bloggers at the COK International airport. I find it a privilege to support such talented writers and genuine travel enthusiasts. Thanks to the Kerala tourism board for extending us this opportunity  this year to be able to choose such wonderful set of bloggers. I was happy to follow you throughout your journey through social media,” she remarked.

At the end of our Kerala Blog Express expedition, the SilkAir team ushered us through the check-in counter to the immigration area and to the Executive Lounge at the Trivandrum International Airport where we had a pleasant stay before our flight out of Kerala. They made the whole process fast and easy for us.

Kerala Blog ExpressThe Executive Lounge at the Trivandrum International Airport.

Staying in airport lounges is really a big help when you have  to take several flights in a day or two. Airport lounges provide internet connection and recharging stations, perfect for travel bloggers like me. Of course, there’s also the food and drinks counters, reading materials, television, toilets, and comfortable seats, to pass up time and sate our gustatory needs.

Singapore’s Changi Airport, which is SilkAir’s hub, has various business lounges for weary travelers. TheSilverKris Lounge at the terminal 2 was very expansive, with a wide array of food, a Kris Shop and other amenities that passengers can enjoy on the ground. There were even meeting rooms for business travelers. Plus, they brought us by buggy to our gates for our onward trip to Kochi. Talk about VIP treatment!

Kerala Blog ExpressThe very elegant reception area of the SilverKris Lounge in Changi Airport.

Kerala Blog ExpressYou can buy some goodies at the KrisShop inside the lounge.

Kerala Blog ExpressOh, those sweets!

SilverKris LoungeThe lounge seats are extremely comfortable.

It was at the SilverKris Lounge where I met my fellow travel bloggers from Southeast Asia who are also joining the Kerala Blog Express: Indra from Indonesia, Evelyn from Malaysia, and Bernard from Singapore. They were also my travel buddies on the way back to Singapore after our 15-day expedition.

Kerala Blog ExpressWe had a fun time getting to know each other at the SilverKris Lounge – (from left) Indra from Indonesia, Evelyn from Malaysia, me representing the Philippines, and Bernard from Singapore.

For my flight back home, I stayed at the SATS Premier Lounge, also in Changi’s terminal 2, where I had the luxury to shower and freshen up early in the morning in preparation for a longer journey back to home, not to mention the unlimited coffee and food I binged on while waiting for the next flight.

Kerala Blog ExpressOn the way home, we stayed at the SATS Premier Lounge, which is also in Changi Airport.

Kerala Blog ExpressArriving early morning in Singapore and with another flight to catch was never hard, thanks to SATS Premier Lounge.

Kerala Blog ExpressThere’s plenty of food to choose from.

Routes and Destinations

SilkAir has 400 flights a week to 52 destinations in 14 countries – Australia, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and, of course, its hub in Singapore.

Travelers from the Philippines and those who want to visit my country now have more options because of its circular route. One is the Singapore-Cebu-Kalibo-Singapore route and the other is the Singapore-Davao-Cebu-Singapore route. On my way to Singapore, I took the first route wherein we stopped briefly in Kalibo to bring passengers to and from nearby Boracay Island, famous for its powdery white sand beach. I even had the plane almost all to myself during this brief stop. Homebound, the 40-minute stopover was in Davao City, the gateway to Mindanao, which is the second largest island in the Philippines.

Kerala Blog ExpressI had the plane almost all to myself.

Kerala Blog ExpressSilkAir flies in three destinations in the Philippines through two circular routes.

 

In-flight Experience

There’s plenty to do in the plane while cruising through the air. There’s Silkwinds, the in-flight magazine, and some specially selected silent short screen features. But, with the advancement of technology, SilkAir introduced its new wireless in-flight entertainment system called the SilkAir Studio. Having read about it, I connected my smartphone to the plane’s wi-fi and downloaded the SilkAir app where I was able to watch movies and short features, as well as listen to music, at the palm of my hand.

Kerala Blog ExpressBrowse through the interesting features inside Silkwinds, the in-flight magazine of SilkAir.

Kerala Blog ExpressEntertainment at the palm of your hands. That’s SilkAir Studio.

The meals were all delicious. They were so good and so many that I had to simply say no as more came in since I was really full. (I stayed in the airport lounges, remember?) I flew on Economy Class from Cebu to Singapore, wherein I was given mixed nuts and later on a meal, which I chose chicken with carrots and mashed potato. Apart from the main course, there were also bread, dessert and drinks. That alone, was enough for me. Imagine the treatment in Business Class, which I enjoyed in both flights on my way back home.

Kerala Blog ExpressDelectable in-flight meals, whether you fly on Economy Class or Business Class.

First, I was given a drink and some chips. Later on, I had a meal composed of an appetizer, choice of bread rolls, main course, dessert and drinks. A wide selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks was also available onboard. SilkAir’s All-Time-Favourites menu provides a choice of 20 dishes that cover Asian, Western, and Singaporean cuisines.

Kerala Blog ExpressThe SilkAir team on-ground and in-flight really made me feel so special.

Kerala Blog ExpressExpect warm hospitality from the SilkAir cabin crew.

Apart from the food, the crew’s treatment made flying even more pleasurable. When I was seated in the Economy Class, the attendants made sure they look after my needs. So much more when I was in Business Class, where I felt I was royalty. To top this, the wider space and leg room allowed me to doze off and feel more relaxed during the entire flights. It was indeed a joy to fly on SilkAir. The whole experience beckons to come feel the joy.

For more information about SilkAir and its destinations and services, check www.silkair.com.

This article is part of the over-arching post First-time in Kerala: God’s Own Country where you will find the other blog posts related to this trip. Get updates on the Kerala Blog Express at thehttp://keralablogexpress.com/ and check #keralablogexpress #tripofalifetime and #liveinspired in social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.