To many travellers, Singapore Airlines have one of the best Business products in the air (and their Suites are supposed to be fantastic). So I was looking forward to heading home with Singapore Airlines.
I used Lifemiles (the program from Taca/Avianca) to book these seats right on 14 days before the flight departed (Lifemiles availability for Singapore Airlines in Business class is released at T14, but availability is becoming harder to find)
It cost 40,000 Lifemiles plus $842 (Points plus pay) for 2 people which considering a one-way flight with Singapore by doing a normal search is over $3000 for one person it is EXCELLENT value! If you’re not a member of Lifemiles do join up as they offer some brilliant 2 for 1 deals with miles.
SQ237 leaves Singapore at 11:55pm and gets into Melbourne at 9:15am (or 10:15am in Daylight Saving time) which is a comfortable time difference. We were on a Boeing 777 which I’ve always found fine to fly on.
I do apologise for the lack of pictures in this report, but my phone was almost flat and I had left the USB chord in my luggage!
Check in was a breeze as was the fast track through immigration and we spent a couple of hours at Changi Airport (possibly the best and easiest airport to get around in the world) doing some last minute shopping, taking silly pictures at The Social Tree and then spending some time in the Business Lounge (which was a good 20 min walk to the departure gate). There is so much to do at Changi, from shopping to playing interactive games, relaxing in many of the leafy outdoor gardens; there is even a cinema and a pool!
The Kris Flyer First and Business lounges are located on the top level and have separate entrances. It was extremely busy with quite a few flights leaving at similar times. Plenty of seating and a good selection of hot and cold food as well as various types of drinks. The lounge “angels” were a delight and very helpful, especially as I wanted to check what sort of plane we’d be on (as our Singapore airlines flight from Bangkok to Singapore had the older Regional Business configuration with reclining seats).
We decided to board quite late (ok, it took us way too long to get to the gate!!!) and found our seats in the middle section on the Business cabin which I had pre-selected.
The Flight attendants were busy handing out newspapers, serving drinks and giving out hot towels. There was a choice of either having a main meal OR having breakfast closer to arrival. I thought this was a bit poor (I hadn’t eaten in the lounge) and asked if I could have both (as my partner declined both meal services and just wanted to sleep). Plus we had actually used the “Book the Cook” option via their website, so I had assumed it was a full service meal. They said yes, so I chose the lamb cutlets for main and then the breakfast service when I woke up.
I felt the crew were a little aloof throughout the flight and seemed quite rushed and not overtly too caring towards the passengers. Not the normal Singapore Airlines experience that I know many others rave about.
Now for the seat I’d heard so much about. Yes it was wide and there was lots of room, but I didn’t find it at all comfortable, in either sit up mode or lie flat. Not sure if it was the padding or the leather, but I couldn’t get comfortable at all during the flight. Mr Trip Guru who normally can sleep anywhere also woke up during the flight and commented that Etihad and Thai’s seat and flat bed was so much better!
A pillow and blanket was left on the seat, as well as a bottle of water; but no amenity kit (and I do love a good amenity kit!). My headphones were broken and I requested another pair (which took a little too long). Once I was able to hear the In Flight Entertainment there was a fairly good selection of new release movies, TV show episodes, documentaries and shows in various languages. The screen was a little blurry throughout (not sure why) but there was ample storage and places to put everything.
I was just a little disappointed. I had heard so much hype about it and in reality just wasn’t to my liking.
The meal service was weird. The food itself was delicious (Lamb cutlets and vegetables which I had pre-ordered) but it was just given to me on a tray; no entree, no bread rolls (and I asked and she said they weren’t offering them), no nuts…nudda!
I had heard that Singapore do this on the night flight, but I think it’s rather poor form. They are charging a premium price for their product and if you’re not given full service on a 7 hour flight, then that’s a big problem. I don’t really care what their reasons are (“Passengers don’t like to have full main meal service at midnight”), but many other airlines I have flown with do for flight times that are a lot less.
I tossed and turned for about 3 hours as the cabin was quite warm and watched some more television before the lights slowly came back on for breakfast service about 90mins prior to landing in Melbourne.
Breakfast was an improvement on the “supper” menu with a choice of breads and pastries as well as my choice of eggs, sausage, tomatoes and potatoes and fresh fruit. Coffee was good as well as the selection of juices and special drinks they have on their menu.
Upon arrival at Tullamarine we noticed that we had gone to land but went up quite quickly again. We had to wait another 30 mins or so to make another landing. The pilot kept us fully informed throughout that it was a missed approach due to the weather and at no stage did I feel at all worried. The flight up until this stage had been very smooth and having a pilot communicate so well was fantastic.
Once we did land I noticed that I had lost a gold ring I had purchased in Europe and thought I may have flushed in down the sink in the toilet. I was quite upset and the cabin manager was so helpful and checked all the areas and provided her details so she could keep following it up. THANKFULLY we found it in the row behind me (must have slipped off my hand while in the seat) but I was grateful for her professionalism.
Overall though I was underwhelmed with the Singapore Airlines experience. The seat and meal service as well as the crew I came into contact with (apart from the CM right at the end) just wasn’t what I expected, and while a great use of miles it was also risky to wait till T14 for availability (I did have a Qantas flight in Economy booked as a back up!). This was the second time in this trip that I flew with them (previous day route was Bangkok to Singapore in their older regional Business Class) and I don’t think I’ll be back in a hurry on this particular route (unless it’s The Suites!) when there are a lot of other Business class products that I personally prefer or I’d like to try.