Instead of arriving from Hongkong around 4.30pm as originally scheduled, a delayed departure had me at Changi Airport at 6.30pm with more than enough time to catch the 8.30pm departure of Singapore Airlines’ much publicised A380 (SQ221) flight to Sydney. Wanting to check emails, I headed for the Silver Kris Lounge, reached by escalator to the left of immigration. The Malaysia Airlines lounge is also located on this level.


The facility houses the First Class and Business Class lounges, each with their respective entrances. I went towards the left to find the place buzzing but not to an annoying level. With subdued lighting, a low ceiling and lack of windows, I have heard many passengers say through the years that SIA could have done better, and hopefully they will in their new home at the soon-to-open Terminal 3 of Changi. The internet section consists of two tables with several computers; I immediately spotted a vacant seat and started my correspondence.

Keeping in mind that no boarding announcements are made, I left at 7.55pm for gate F31, also a bit anxious that the queues might be longer with the A320’s increased capacity to 471. I got a bit disoriented and had to ask the way to the gate at an information counter.

Spotting that I was a passenger on the superjumbo elicited big smiles from the staff, which was exactly the same reaction I received when I checked in earlier in Hongkong. Envy mixed with incredulity at meeting someone so lucky seemed to be the instant reaction. Actually, I had already gone on a three-hour Airbus test spin around Southern China in March, so yes, you could call me luckier than most.


After clearing security, where laptops were required to be taken out of cases and passports shown with the boarding pass, I entered the holding area, which was clearly identified by lively banners as the departure gate for the A380. A large poster of the seating layout was placed by the door ostensibly to give passengers an idea of the new design and avoid confusion.

As boarding was swiftly taking place, I had no time to study it, and instead followed the sign saying Business Class/Economy Class. Other passengers were entering the door, marked First Class/Economy.

Used to the Boeing B747 where one climbs the stairs to the upper deck – where earlier I was told to proceed to – I asked the SIA girl upon entering: “Where do I go up?” She giggled, saying: “You are already up.” Silly me, I had completely forgotten that Changi Airport had prepared for this event some time ago, creating double decker entrances in at least two aerobridges, and I was already on the second level. Before taking my trenchcoat to hang up, the stewardess showed me two storage bins by the window seat I had requested, their lids opened by pressing a button. I placed my laptop in the generous space under the right side of the seat in front of me, and not in the overhead compartment as this made for an easier reach. Drinks, reading material and hot towels were offered, followed by the wine list and à la carte menu. Meal orders were taken as well.

We did not leave on the scheduled 8.30pm slot, due to the delayed arrival of another SIA flight from Mumbai. The captain made the announcement, begging our understanding. The passengers arrived after 15 minutes and we pushed off, finally taking off about 9.21pm. The flight, the captain went on the air again to say, would take seven hours and 50 minutes. The sound system that night appeared to be off as the voices sounded wobbly and coming from another world, but it wasn’t jarring enough to stir up any complaints.

As in my previous test run experience, the aircraft ascended without any of that steep incline feeling, not unlike a helicopter that lifts itself off the ground. It didn’t feel that this 305-tonne aircraft was exerting any effort to fly at all.


Business Class, located on the upper deck, consists of 60 seats in two sections (18 and 42 respectively) in a 1-2-1 configuration. I was assigned 26A, second to the last row before Economy Class. In fact, I kept peeking into that section, surreptitiously studying how the passengers were adjusting to the improved product. (Watch out for another review of this seat.) Although this is not quite an accurate observation, the passengers I saw appeared comfortable and animated – probably since this was a new adventure for most of us.

With a width of 34 inches, the Business Class seat also found on SIA’s Boeing B777-300ER – leather upholstered in camel or chocolate tone – is indeed extremely wide, enough for a petite person like me to curl up as one would in a sofa or accommodate a pile of magazines. Stretching out, however, I couldn’t quite make it, except for my heels, to the little footrest area in the left side of the seat in front of me (which also acts as part of the flat bed). How I envied my taller neighbours who looked so relaxed in that position.

Boxy in shape, this latest executive air chair contained many useful features: not just one but two adjustable reading lights on the left and right side shoulder part of the seat, in addition to the overhead lamp, noise-cancelling headsets, well-lighted function buttons on the control panel, side magazine rack and storage under the armrest for items like glasses, pens and water bottle. The 15.4-inch TV monitor on the seatback, besides providing immense viewing pleasure due to the increased size, was flanked by more compartments – the left held a panel for charging laptops (adaptors on request) and another crevice to stow small items, and the right contained a small vanity mirror and drinks holder. Two hooks, again on either side, were convenient for hanging light clothing.

Teal coloured amenity pouches (to match the pillows and bed linen) have been pared down, containing only socks and eye masks. Not to worry, the washrooms carry anything else you might need.


I was served the requested cup of Brazil Santos Bourbon soon after we reached cruising level, a full-bodied blend that perked me up at once. Dinner soon followed, starting with the sparkling Romaine lettuce in Oriental dressing with drunken prawns and marinated jelly fish. Just as I was wondering about the plastic knife that stuck out beside the gleaming silver utensils, I noticed a small card apologising for the mismatch citing security demanded by “airports in some destinations”. Anyhow, there was no need to use it on the wok-fried beef in black-pepper sauce with garlic, concocted by SIA resident culinary consultant Sam Leong, which melted in the mouth, but was a bit too fiery for my palate. Dessert was Häagen-Dazs cookie and cream ice cream smothered with chocolate sauce and roasted almonds. When the cheese and fruit trolley came around, I picked some black grapes and smoked pepper cheese slices, whose contrasting tastes blended beautifully.

I had requested for a viewing of the much-touted Singapore Suites on the lower deck, and the flight supervisor now came along to escort me to them. The section seemed to be almost completely full as Business Class was, so it was not possible to demonstrate how the contraptions that create space in the compartments for the fully flat bed worked, as these were bound to make some noise and disturb the occupants. (I did manage to see these work on the day flight back from Sydney and thought the ideas to be ingenious.)

As this was a night flight, I did not intend to switch on my laptop but enjoy the seat to the fullest, which I did, choosing the latest Angelina Jolie starrer, A Mighty Heart, from the enormous range of films, TV shows, CD music, games and applications on the recently enhanced KrisWorld entertainment system. After the movie had reached its sad ending, I asked a passing flight attendant to set up the bed, which she did by pulling down the backrest which stretched out to make a 76-inch fully flat bed. Sheets, the duvet and an extra pillow had been behind the seat all this time. I slipped in and before I knew it, they were shaking me awake for the Continental breakfast. Sensitive to turbulence, I felt some through my slumber but the A380 held on very well and didn’t shake enough to rattle me.


We arrived an hour late at 7.35am to an overcast Sydney, and at the worst possible time when five or more international airlines also touched down. At first blush, the immigration queues looked horrendously long, but actually moved quickly with attentive marshals guiding bleary-eyed passengers to the various counters. Bags from our flight were also delivered without too much of a wait. Thankfully, I was spared from having my luggage inspected at customs and waved through by the poker-faced officer.


With a revolutionary aircraft, superb Business Class product and flawless service, SIA has again redefined travel.


Internet rate for Business Class return SIN-SYD, departing February 15 and returning February 19 costs US$3,834.


Margie T Logarta