More in Singapo...
- Singapore Airlines A380 Business Class
- Singapore Airlines A380 Business
- Singapore Airlines B777-300ER business class
- Singapore Airlines Business
- Singapore Airlines B777-200 business class
- Singapore Airlines B777-200 Economy Class
- Singapore Airlines B777-200 Economy
- Singapore Airlines A380 Economy Class
- Singapore Airlines A340-500 business class
- Singapore Airlines A380 business class
Singapore Airlines B777-300ER business class
First impressions I had checked in online some hours before, and arrived at Changi’s Terminal 3 at 2130 for the 2345 departure on SQ306. I dropped off my bag (no queue) and then went through immigration to airside.
The lounge Changi’s Silverkris Lounge is a huge space, though busy at this time on a Friday night. No flights are called from here, so I sat at a high table and had a couple of drinks and a little sushi while catching up on emails using the free wifi in the lounge. The lounge has a large selection of food, both hot and cold, and drinks, including beers, wines (including champagne) and spirits. I knew the gate B4 was at the opposite end of the Terminal and so left early and visited a few shops before going through security to reach Gates 1-4.
Boarding There was then a short delay of about five minutes due to the late arrival of the plane, and then first class passengers were boarded, followed by business class passengers.
The first class seating is in rows 1 and 2 with a 1-2-1 configuration of A-CD-F. The first of two business class cabins then has row 11 and 12, again in a 1-2-1 configuration, but with the slightly different letters of A-DF-K. Note that seat 12K has no window. There is then a galley, and then the larger business class cabin begins at row 14 and stretches back to row 22 making a total of 42 business class seats. (Economy is then in two cabins of 3-3-3 seating (ABC-DEF -HJK) in rows 31-43 and then rows 44-56.) To see a seatplan, click here.
I went to my seat and had my jacket taken, and was offered a choice of juices or champagne. The cabin at first seems similar to that on the A380, as does the seat, but there are differences. The cabin has no centre overhead lockers, which gives it a sense of more space. There isn’t a problem with luggage storage because the overhead bins above the window seats are very deep and unlike on the A380 there was a storage area to the side of the seat which in my case fitted between the wall of the aircraft and the back of the seat in front.
As on the A380 the IFE screen is 15.4 inches, and there are various fold down areas, one holding a drinks tray, another opening to reveal the power for laptops or mobile phones, and a third having a vanity mirror. The IFE controls are in one arm of the seat (the IFE screen is not touchscreen) while the tray table comes out of the other arm. The tray table is at a slight angle to the seat, but can be adjusted so that it faces straight forward allowing you to work or eat without having to shift round in your seat to face the window. The colour scheme is beige, with the extremely wide seat having a rectangular beige leather cushion on it, perhaps to stop you sliding around on the seat.
I was in seat 21A which was a window seat towards the rear of the main cabin. The meals and drinks are served form the front of the cabin, so you can be waiting quite a time, but it is quiet back there with little footfall of passengers going to the washroom, unlike the front rows of 14, 15 and 16.
Once we were all on board the captain made the first of several announcements explaining that our delay was going to be longer than the original five minutes, and eventually we took off one hour late at 0045.
The flight Although SIA offered a small pack with flight socks and an eye mask, there is no general amenity bag, and if you want ear plugs (and I did) you have to ask for them. From one point of view I suppose this is an environmental measure – most people never use the toothbrush, toothpaste, mints, etc, that you get in most amenity bags, and I’ve given up taking them home just for them to languish in a drawer, but SIA is about the only premium airline I’ve encountered which doesn’t offer an amenity bag. Fine if you have the confidence to ask for the items you want – and they have them – but I would always need ear plugs to sleep properly on a flight and so I’d probably take my own if I thought I had to rely on the crew having a store of them.
What needs saying, however, is that the staff were so good on this flight that even if they didn’t have any ear plugs, somehow they would have found them. No request seemed too much trouble for them (and there were some fairly demanding passengers on board). They were professional, helpful and friendly, always ready with a smile but also able to complete tasks instantly. There were times I thought they must have been running up and down the aisle all night to get everything done so quickly, and yet they never seem rushed – perhaps that’s why the female attendants have the long dresses – so you can’t see how fast their legs are moving.
Food This is a long flight home so although it was late I wanted to try the food. Please skip this if menu items are of no interest.
- Starter: porcini mushroom with herbs served with iberico ham, mixed greens, red radish, parmesan shaving and Portobello mushroom dressing.
- Main: Blanquette of veal with button mushrooms, peas, baby carrot and new potatoes; Famous chicken rice- fragrant poached chicken with pandan flavoured rice, served with ginger, soya and chilli sauce; seared seafood with tomato sauce, sautéed vegetables and pesto with fettuccine.
- Finale: chocolate and mint dome, gourmet cheese with garnishes, gourmet coffees and a selection of teas.
- Also the option of the light bites menu: instant chicken noodle (or flavour of the month); vegetarian and non-vegetarian instant noodles: sandwiches (marinated Greenland shrimp with red onion, julienne lettuce, and avocado mayonnaise on a focaccia bun, Oriental duck with soya sesame mayonnaise in ciabatta; roasted eggplant with sundried tomato, shaved parmesan cheese, and pesto mayo on onion ciabatta roll.
- Assorted nuts, Snickers chocolate bar, dried cranberry, Lay’s potato chips, assorted walkers biscuit.
I had the chicken and rice, which was delicious, but skipped the dessert because I had eaten so much the previous week in Singapore (and in the lounge). I watched a film and then stood up and while I looked at how to fold down the back part of the seat to create the bed a flight attendant offered to do this for me. Once the bed had been made I lay down, was given a bottle of water and then fell asleep for several hours. I had already said I did not want to be woken for the full breakfast service, and instead slept on until only an hour or two before landing. As it happened I was offered the full breakfast, and so had the dim sum – the menu follows.
- Breakfast: a choice of apple, tomato or freshly squeezed orange juice, slice fresh fruit, cereals or yoghurts. Main: selection of dim sum, European breakfast (what we would call Continental), or baked crepe with scrambled egg, chicken sausages and tomato.
Arrival we were slightly late getting to Heathrow and then had to hold for about 10 minutes, but the delay was negligible and there were no queues this Saturday morning. There was another delay of around 10 minutes at the carousel before bags appeared.
Verdict Very good. The seat is comfortable for both sitting, work and sleeping, and the staff are simply excellent. On numerous occasions I noticed how they would go to extra lengths to keep passengers happy and expedite requests. The physical product on board is among the best in the world, but it’s the staff and service that makes the real impression.