Singapore Airlines A330 Business Class Review
Singapore Airlines | Business Class | Oct 2013
SQ 973 BKK-SIN | SQ 207 SIN-MEL
Airbus A330-300 (Regional, Angled Flat)
This post covers the final two legs of my (first-time) experience flying in business and first class using purchased points from a mileage program. For more details on how I did it, refer to my previous post covering Thai Airways Royal Silk (Business) Class from Paris to Bangkok on the A380. It’s only on these final two legs that I’d finally got to try business class on Singapore Airlines.
You may also notice that I’ve become more detailed in my thoughts and comparisons between various airlines’ premium class products. I admit that it’s a retroactive change in myself. One year ago, I was all starry-eyed like a child in a candy store boarding my first business class flight.
Since then, I’d learnt that business and first class seats and experiences can come in many different forms depending on the airline, route and the aircraft you’re travelling in. Hence this more analytical slant to supplant my own personal thoughts and feelings about the flight in my reports. Not to mention it really is big big dollars flying inside any of these premium cabins, so even the smallest differences in detail counts for a lot.
SilverKris Lounge, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport
After a 12 hour flight from Paris, we faced a few hours transit in Bangkok before our onward flight to Singapore. And it was time well-spent… relaxing in the very comfortable confines of Singapore Airline’s SilverKris lounge. Because I assume there aren’t that many Singapore Airlines flights out of Bangkok at any moment in time as compared to Thai, the lounge was nice and empty. We helped ourselves to some light (Asian!) refreshments and snuggled into the sofas.
It was funny what seasoned premium class travellers we’d become by that point. I remember on our first flight together three weeks before (on Thai Airways A380 First Class), how mom kept panicking that we’d miss the plane (in the end we were escorted by buggy to the gate!). This time round, she just relaxed and did her own things without a care in the world and it had to be ME who did the ushering with a “Ummm… mom! It’s time for us to head for the gate!”.
SQ973 – Bangkok to Singapore
And with a quick walk up the airbridge, our next premium class experience was about to begin!
Truth be told, I was pretty excited about being able to experience business class on Singapore Airlines at last. I’d heard many good things about it.
And here’s the interior of the business class cabin on Singapore Airlines A330. It has a capacity of 30 seats in a 2-2-2 configuration (it’s 2-4-2 in economy).
Dad and mom sat in the row in front of me while I sat at the window seat next to somebody I didn’t know. I’d become slightly spoilt from my last 12 hour flight where I’d enjoyed lots of privacy in my standalone window seat with direct aisle access. But here’s the thing – this is a short haul (2h 25min) regional flight, so having the luxurious 1-2-1 configuration that’s normally reserved for long haul flights will be a very rare occurrence.
The seats are upholstered in a soft, light brown leather and they’re quite noticeably wide at 24.5 inches (compared to 18 inches in economy). The seat pitch (distance between the back of the seat in front of you and the back of your own seat) of 60 inches ensures a good amount of legroom too. Seat pitch in the same aircraft’s economy cabin is 32 inches.
Once seated, we were immediately offered a choice of refreshments. And here’s the seat control panel… considering it’s a short haul flight, these seats are able to come to a fully flat position, albeit at a 8º angle (if you’re wearing silky business suits, you’d probably slide down… hahaha!). Still, I thought that was quite a step up from regular recliner seats that don’t come fully flat.
It wasn’t long before we were soaring in the cloud dappled skies.
A white tablecloth was placed on our spacious tables and lunch was served. I can’t remember what the dishes exactly were, but I thought it was pretty alright.
And here’s me snapping a sneaky photo of dad and mom enjoying their flight. This was to be the final flight that I’d be taking with them (the next flight from Singapore to Melbourne I did on my own). Mum and dad said that this entire trip was very memorable because we experienced together something that not that many of us will be fortunate enough to try… let alone as a family!
Changi Airport Terminal 3
I spent a few days in Singapore with my family before going back to Melbourne…
… and funnily, the ONLY photos I’d taken whilst in Singapore was of mum buying durians from an old school durian vendor.
SilverKris Lounge (Business Class) – Changi Airport Terminal 3
But those days of relaxation in Singapore won’t be covered here, let’s move on to my flight back to Melbourne… starting with the quiet moments of reflection I spent inside the SilverKris Business Class lounge.
The lounge is actually quite massive, which is understandable considering Changi Airport has a traffic of 53.6 million passengers a year (compared to 30 million for Melbourne Airport). So I can imagine there’d be loads of Singapore Airline flights each and every hour, with a concomitant high volume of business class passengers.
I liked the high quality dark wood and marble motif of this lounge, but found that its large size makes the lounge feel less homely. All that said, it’s still a very comfortable space with a peaceful, polished atmosphere.
SQ207 – Singapore to Melbourne
And here’s the aircraft that will take me back to Melbourne.
Stepping in, I discovered that the aircraft and its cabin was identical to what I’d flown in from Bangkok to Singapore a few days before.
Being a 7-8 hour flight, Singapore to Melbourne is considered a regional (medium haul) route, so the more luxurious (1-2-1) fully flat business class seat configuration (with direct aisle access) is currently only available for some the night flights (on the A380 & Boeing 777-300ER) on this route.
Changi International Airport (right after takeoff)
So inwardly… I was kicking myself for not researching a bit more thoroughly. But seriously, I shouldn’t be complaining… not to mention I always prefer day flights to night flights.
Fragrant rice cooked in coconut milk, accompanied by spicy sambal prawns, fried chicken, fried anchovies with peanuts, spicy pickled vegetables (achar), an omelette wedge, and grilled fish cakes (otah)
Breakfast consisted of fresh fruit, pastries, tea/coffee and a choice of cereals or yoghurt. But I skipped most of these offerings and went straight for the main dish of nasi lemak which, wise tactician that I am, I’d pre-ordered days before the flight via SQ’s Book the Cook service. It’s a service for premium class travellers where you can pre-order a main course (from a huge online menu) for each of your flight’s meals which will then be specially prepared just for you.
And I’ll have to say that this nasi lemak was very very good!! Normally airplane food tends to suck, but this dish really tasted exactly like how it should be on the streets of Singapore.
I spent the next few hours engrossed in my laptop and iOS devices (yes, I never ever use the in-flight entertainment on planes ever). During this time, I also meekly asked the one of the flight attendants if I could have an SQ Teddy Bear (the boy bear to be exact) for my ‘nephew’. The attendant happily obliged… but truth is, it actually was for Fatbee who already owns the girl bear… hahaha!
Tian of Alaskan king crab and mango with mesclun
Assorted Sushi (Book the Cook)
Marinated and smoked fish on lightly vinegared Japanese rice (served at cabin temperature)
I also went the Book the Cook option for the second meal service (before landing), this time picking sushi because I’d never imagine eating sushi whilst on a plane! All that said, this dish did not quite hit the mark because ‘cabin temperature’ pretty much meant the sushi was served quite chilled, so the rice and seafood were quite firm to the tongue. Not to mention sushi should always be eaten the moment it is made, so this meal choice was a rookie mistake on my part.
I think the take home message here is – when you’re flying SQ… stick with the amazing local Singaporean dishes!
Once I saw the patchwork quilt of Australian farmscapes stretching before me, I knew that we didn’t have much longer before touchdown.
Here’s a final pensive view of the business class cabin before I exited the aircraft for the final time.
Overall, this entire award booking involving two airlines and five flights in total has been one blast of an experience! But some of you may be curious to know if there are any comparisons to be made between my Thai Airways and Singapore Airlines experiences. Even though the flights I took weren’t equal (TG was long-haul while SQ was medium/short-haul), I liked how SQ’s regional business class seats were 4.5 inches wider than TG’s business class seats, not to mention they were upholstered in nice leather rather than fabric. And that nasi lemak was one of the nicest meals I’ve had on any airline, not to mention SQ actually plates the dishes properly instead of just serving them on a casserole dish.
As for the service, they were both good but I think SQ’s service had more polish with better attention to detail (not to mention I find the Singaporean accent very comforting). All that said, I personally thought the Thai attendants (despite being a little inconsistent) were more relaxed… they smiled and chatted with us more. The SQ cabin crew were fast and efficient, but they can sometimes come across as hurried in their impeccable efforts to perform all their duties with such superb precision.
Here are my other flight reports for this trip: