Tried & Tested

Singapore Airlines A380 Business

30 Jan 2013 by Tom Otley

CHECK IN I arrived at Heathrow Terminal 3 at 1700 for my 1815 departure on flight SQ319. Check-in was swift, as was security.

THE LOUNGE Singapore Airlines (SIA) has two lounges – follow signs for Lounge D – with the first class Krisflyer Gold facility on the ground floor and the business Silverkris one accessed via a lift or stairs. There was a full choice of drinks, and though the coffee machine was broken, staff kept flasks topped up. At first the wifi wasn’t working but I eventually managed to log on.

BOARDING This had started by the time I arrived at the gate. On board, my jacket was taken and I was offered juice, water, champagne or a Golden Spice (lime cordial, ginger ale and pineapple juice).

THE SEAT SIA has two A380 configurations – this flight had a small economy cabin at the rear of the upper deck, while the other has an all-business upper deck. I haven’t flown on the latter, but in case it is thought preferable for those in business class to have this level of exclusivity, I can report I didn’t suffer from having economy on the upper deck.

The seat is very different from other business class products. Configured 1-2-1 (A, D-F, K) and in retro beige leather, it is very wide (30 inches/76cm) and squat. At one point I pushed the pillow to one side and even with the leather armrest on the other, there was room to sit cross-legged. I was in 21A, in the larger of two business cabins on the upper deck. The space for your feet under the seat in front is slightly at an angle. The in-flight entertainment screen is large, at 15.4 inches, and at either side of it are small storage spaces (for your glasses, for example). A panel behind contains the power and USB ports and a drinks tray, which was unsteady. The tray table is a good size, though it was hard to adjust it to a comfortable height for eating or working. There was wifi, but it would not work on my laptop, though it was clearly working for the person behind me since his Skype phone kept ringing.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? For individual flyers, the window seats are best, as the pairs offer slightly less privacy. You also get a reasonably large storage space to one side beneath the windows (my seat had two of these).

THE FLIGHT We took off on time and, after 45 minutes, the meal service started. A satay appetiser was followed by a starter of tian of crayfish with mango, mesclun and endives. The mains were seared beef fillet in Madeira jus, stir-fried scallops in XO sauce, pla kao lard prik (Thai garoupa fillet with chilli sauce), or pan-roasted chicken with mushroom and onion sauce. The fish was lovely and full of flavour. There was a choice of desserts, cheese and a “light bites” menu. Wines included Brut Henriot Souverain champagne, Hunter’s Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2011, and Château La Garde Pessac-Léognan Bordeaux 2008.

Service was excellent, with staff seemingly telepathic in working out if you wanted to make a big deal out of it or to eat quickly so you could work or sleep. When I was ready to sleep, I tried to convert the seat into a fully-flat bed and failed, so an attendant showed me how. I had no trouble sleeping, partly because the A380 is so quiet. You can have a complete breakfast 2.5 hours before arrival, or a continental option 1.5 hours before.

ARRIVAL We arrived on time and were quickly off the aircraft. Baggage arrived without delay.

VERDICT The seat and aircraft are top class but it’s the service that makes this something very special. Staff were professional and friendly, always ready with a smile but also able to complete tasks instantly.

Fact File

  • Configuration 1-2-1
  • Seat width 30in/76cm
  • Seat length 76in/193cm
  • Seat recline 180 degrees
  • PRICE Flexible rates for a return business class flight on the A380 from London to Singapore in March started from £3,600.

Tom Otley

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