Background A couple of years ago Singapore Airlines retired its oldest A380s, welcomed five new ones and retrofitted the rest with a new layout, cabin and seats. This seat is therefore just a couple of years old.
Check in I checked in online 24 hours before my flight although prior to that had already chosen my seat (17A) and used ‘Book the Chef’ to choose a main meal for dinner. I was not able to get my boarding pass as at the airport they want to check your vaccination status and Passenger Locator Form. I arrived very early for at 1930 for my 2345 flight and Changi Terminal 3 was quiet and I walked straight up to the Business Class desks (Row 6) and was issued a boarding pass within minutes.
The Lounge The Singapore Airlines Lounges in T3 are currently in the process of renovation. At the moment all eligible passengers use what will be the new Business Class Lounge. This was spacious with lots of different seating types and areas one of which was being used for First Class passengers. I sat in a pod style seat that had a desk with built in wireless charging as well as power and USB sockets. The lounge has a couple of places to help yourself to drinks and snacks, a bar area and also a kitchen serving hot food. Some items such as Laska you can queue up for but most items you need to order from the lounge app. There were Western dishes like Lasagne or Asian dishes like noodles which I opted for. It took about five minutes to be informed that my noodles were ready although when I looked later waiting times were nearer 30 minutes due to the volume. The lounge was also busy by the time I left with all seats taken. This will be a superb facility when all the lounges open and some Covid restrictions are removed.
Boarding The flight departed from the B gate area and boarding started promptly at 2315 with Suites, PPS and business class going first. When in my seat my jacket was taken from me promptly and the food and drink order taken. I was also given a cushion and offered slippers. Other amenity items such as face masks, ear plugs, socks, hairbrushes and amenity kit are available on request from the crew. There was no pre-flight drink offered I presume due to Covid.
The seat These seats are in a 1-2-1 configuration so all have aisle access. The middle seats have a divider so you can have privacy if travelling alone or otherwise speak to your companion. The plane also has some seats where the divider almost completely disappears creating a double bed.
The seat itself is in a large shell so you do not feel any movement or disturbance from the passenger in front or behind. On the upper deck of the A380 there are only overhead bins to the sides. This means that most cabin baggage needs to be stowed in the 2 storage areas at your feet under the seat in front of you. This is not a problem and does not interfere with your comfort or space. There are several small spaces to use for storage. I was pleased that one had a door so you could stow your phone and accessories when you slept. The location of these areas varies between the centre and window seats. Besides the seat is an area for magazines and papers, a bottle of water as well as space to securely store your laptop. When I arrived at my seat this had the SIA care kit containing hand sanitiser, face mask and wipe.
Next to this storage area is a USB charger and 3 pin plug (and contactless card reader). This means you can charge your devices when stowed or if you use on the sturdy table the cables are out of your way. The seat controls are easy to use but you need to push them in and hold them before they start to work. Next to the controls is the release button for a very sturdy table that comes out from underneath the side area. There is a small vanity mirror that opens up in the side of the seat and 2 directional reading lights one for when you are in the seat and one for when you are reclined. There is a headphone and additional USB socket at shoulder height next to your seat.
Best Seat All the seats give you exceptional space and privacy. Seats at the front of each cabin have more foot space as there is no seat in front. For that reason seats in row 11 at the front of the first cabin are my favourite as they are also quiet away from the toilets and business class galley. Also seats in row 11, unlike the other bulkhead seats are not fitted for Bassinet so no risk of a neighbour with a screaming baby. You are also off the plane quickly.
The flight Service started promptly with my pre-ordered drink and nuts. SIA has a very large drinks menu with a good selection of cocktails and mocktails as well as the usual wines, spirits and soft drinks.
This was followed quickly by the food service. I had pre-ordered using the Book the Cook option which offered a good selection of dishes that were not part of the inflight menu. My choice was Beef Rendang which I enjoyed and was very tasty.
No paper menus are given out so to see the food and drinks choices you need to connect your device to the wifi and app. The starter for all was smoked chicken with salad and a corn salsa – again very tasty followed by a choice of 3 mains. These were pan fried fish with a lemon dill sauce, Bak Chor Mee Dry Style (flat noodles with pork) or Bismillah Biryani Restaurant Chicken Dum Biryani. This was followed by apple crumble with vanilla sauce. Due to Covid, dishes were served to you with their plastic covers on and some items such as the signature satay or cheese were not offered.
There is good wine list:
- 2012 Piper Heidsieck
- 2018 Wairau River, Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand
- 2018 Stonier Chardonnay, Mornington Peninsula, Australia
- 2016 Chateau Bernadotte, Haut Medoc, Bordeaux, France
- 2016 Henschke Henry’s Seven,Eden Valley, Australia
- 2012 Bodegas LAN Vina Lanciano Reserva, Rioja, Spain
- Morris Classic Liqueur Muscat, Rutherglen, Australia
The IFE system was modern and easy to use with a large library of films, TV shows, music, podcasts, audio books and games. You control via a good size (18in/46cm) touchscreen or the handset in your seat. You are encouraged to be a Krisflyer member as you can then create and save your own playlists for future flights or watch films that you did not get to finish on an earlier flight as well as get access to ‘excusive content’. You can also connect your device to the screen and watch your own content. A pair of noise cancelling headphones were provided.
The flight also has wifi. Passengers in First, Business and PPS members get 100M free. Customers in Premium Economy and Economy get 2 hours free for chat (whatsapp, wechat, messenger etc) if they are Krisflyer members I used my allowance to clear a few emails. If you use your allowance you will then need to choose a package which start from US$3.99 to US$15.99.
Throughout the flight snacks are available from the galley. This includes items such as noodles, nuts, crisps, muffins, chocolate, biscuits and dried fruit.
About three hours after the meal I decided to sleep. Reclining the bed was simple at a push of a button. A pillow, duvet and fitted sheet were in the footwell of the seat. The fitted sheet hooks over the headrest and fits firmly in place. I noticed that the middle seats have an extra bit you pull out to complete the bed length. I slept well although did find the seat as a bed a little hard.
Two hours before landing breakfast was served. This started with a plate of sliced fruit followed by Bircher Muesli or Yoghurt and a choice of Cheese Frittata. Nasi Uduk (Indonesian steamed rice with coconut, fried chicken, egg omelette with onions and fishcake) or Seafood Rice Vermicelli. There was a also a selection of bakery items. I just opted for the Bircher Muesli which was very good. They have a selection of coffees to choose from, choices of teas by TWG as well as a selection of Asian, Chinese and herbal teas.
Arrival We landed at LHR Terminal 2 ahead of schedule at 0529. For some reason we were held in our seats before being let of the plane. After a short walk I was at immigration where I went straight into an e-gate and was through immigration. I had to wait about 20 minutes for my bag. My feeling this was more to do with the luggage belt being rather too small to handle the volume of bags from an A380. After about 15 minutes of bags arriving two staff members appeared to stand up bags thus making more space on the belt for bags waiting to get on.
Verdict A very comfortable seat with the usual excellent Singapore Airlines service.
PRICE Internet rates for a return business class flight from Singapore to London start from
- £2,800; book by 17 January 22
- £3,485; book by 31 March 22
Flight time 14 hours 10 minutes
Seat width and pitch 25 inches/63.5cm; 50 inches/127 cm (upright) 78 inches/198cm (fully flat)
Seat recline 180 degrees (fully flat)