I arrived at Singapore’s Changi Airport Terminal 3 at 1700 for my scheduled 1830 departure on SQ2 bound for Hong Kong. I proceeded directly to counter six, which is reserved for Krisflyer Gold members. There was no queue and the check-in process took only a few minutes. I proceeded to immigration at 1705, and was cleared within three minutes.
Singapore Airlines (SIA) first and business class customers, along with PPS Club members are afforded entry into the carrier’s SilverKris Lounge. Located on level three near Gate A, the facility complements the KrisFlyer Gold Lounge that is available for Elite Gold members departing with SIA on economy, or Star Alliance premium customers.
With ample use of marble and dark, varnished wood, the SilverKris Lounge has an obvious premium look. Unlike many modern lounges, it does not offer views of the tarmac, but of the many shops located at the bottom level. While this does give the lounge a dimmer ambience, I felt that the tone complemented the darker materials used in the facility, and created a more private and exclusive feel for the lounge.
The F&B offering was generous, with an excellent range of international cuisines on offer. These included sushi, roast chicken with Thai spice sauce, as well as Farfalle lemon cream and sage. I particularly appreciated SIA’s kind consideration to guests with dietary restrictions, as there was a very decent spread of vegetarian options.
The one thing missing here was any form of Singapore’s own colourful cuisine. Unlike the SilverKris lounge in Hong Kong, which we reviewed here, the Singapore facility does not offer local favourites such as Laksa or Wonton Noodles.
There are plenty of seats available, as well as power outlets for charging of mobile devices. Connectivity is provided via complimentary wifi, and there are also shower suites for those seeking to freshen up ahead of a long flight, or while connecting through Changi Airport.
My flight ticket showed that boarding for business class was scheduled to begin at 1800. Therefore, I left the lounge at 1755 and made my way to Gate A11.
As is the standard practice across all three terminals at Changi Airport, security screening is located just behind the waiting area of each gate. Luckily, most economy class passengers had already cleared security, and there was barely a queue. I was quickly processed, and entered the waiting area at 1805.
Boarding had already commenced by this time, with economy class passengers lining up behind the doors of the gate. While first and business class passengers were able to board at their own convenience, I chose to head to the plane immediately.
When I travelled on this very same flight back to Hong Kong in February, the B777-300ER had not been fitted with the new seats that SIA launched back in 2013 (see here). Therefore, it was a pleasant surprise to find myself looking at the new business class product. I was seated at 11K – next to the window. The business class cabin is configured in a 1-2-1 layout.
The seat, designed by James Park Associates was part of a US$150 million cross-cabin refresh that saw the airline introduce new first and economy class seats too.
With a seat width of 28-inches, the new seat is slightly narrower (by two inches) than the model it replaces. Chief stewardess Catherine Tan, who was servicing the business class cabin told me that this was one of the comments that customers flying on the new seat have made.
However, compared to the long-haul business class products by other Asian carriers such as Cathay Pacific (21-inches), Malaysia Airlines (22-inches) and Garuda Indonesia (19-inches), the seat width of SIA’s new offering is significantly more generous.
In addition, the seat boasts a recline of 132 degrees, more than the previous seat. It is also capable of becoming a fully flat bed, but this is done manually by flipping the seat. An instructional video on how this can be done is screened after the safety video, but Catherine was kind enough to provide me a demonstration while we were waiting for departure.
The manual flip-down feature of the seat continues an ongoing trend by SIA. During a visit to the airline’s training centre, I learnt that the reason the airline does not automate this is so that it minimises the chance of any technical failure that would prevent the seat from reclining into a bed.
Other seat features include an 18-inch LCD monitor, with a vanity mirror located next to it. A video touch-screen handset is used to browse through inflight entertainment content, while there is also a power outlet to charge your devices, along with a “business panel” consisting of ports for iPod, USB and HDMI. Inflight wifi is also available at a cost.
A reading light with three brightness settings is located on the side console, and there is also a small stowage area that can easily store a laptop or tablet. Seat controls are comfortably located, and there are two positions to choose from – “Lazy Z” and “Sundeck”.
Finally, there is a large tray table, and small compartment at the armrest that houses the noise-cancelling headphones.
Upon taking my seat, I was immediately offered a welcome drink. I chose to go for SIA’s featured mix, Tropical Fizz, made out a blend of pineapple juice and bitter lemon and found it refreshing.
The stewardess also took note of my drink choice that was to be served after takeoff.
Though the flight was scheduled to depart at 1830, it was delayed for about 45 minutes. The Captain made an announcement at 1840 to inform us that the delay was due to a passenger who was declared unfit for travel, and therefore had to disembark the plane. As a security procedure, his checked luggage had to be removed as well.
We finally pushed back at 1855, and the safety video began playing. While SIA is well-known for being one of most modern carriers, with an average fleet age of only seven years, its safety videos are ancient and in need of change. The video featured sign (hand) language for customers with hard of hearing.
We finally took off at 1915, and approached our cruising altitude of 35,000ft ten minutes later, when the seatbelt sign was subsequently turned off and the cabin crew began carrying out their duties.
I was served a bag of nuts and a glass of coke soon after, along with a small bag containing a pair of flip-flops and socks, as well as eyeshades. I also took the time to browse through the business class menu, which was located at the side seat pocket alongside the Krisworld and Krisshop magazine.
Despite having already pre-ordered my main course, Chinese style cod with fried rice, through SIA’s “Book the Cook” service, I had a glance at what the standard menu would offer. It included:
- Salad of crabmeat with mango salsa
- Halibut roll with “A La Forestiere” stuffing, crystallised tomatoes, saffron potatoes and lobster sauce
- Oriental style barbeque duck and soya flavoured chicken with fragrant steamed rice
- Seafood hor fun
- Choice of dessert – either Movenpick Swiss chocolate ice cream or blueberry cheesecake
- Selection of camembert, feta cheese and Monterey Jack served with garnishes
- A selection of fresh fruit
- Gourmet coffees & selection of fine teas, with pralines
I settled in my chair intending to catch up on some entertainment content. However, it soon became apparent that my video touch-screen handset was not responding, which effectively meant that I couldn’t operate the IFE.
After highlighting this to Catherine, she attempted to restart the system to no avail. Luckily, the centre aisle seat next to me, 11F was free, and I was able to move over in order to use the system. I found the small handset to be intuitive, if a little restrictive, as it required me to scroll through the small screen to browse the entertainment selection.
Dinner service began at 2030, with a stewardess coming to my seat and setting up my tray table with linen. I was served the appetiser first, along with two pieces of bread, and a glass of mineral water. I was pleased with the generous amount of crabmeat offered, as well as the small pieces of mango that were soft and sweet. However, I found the herb vinaigrette to be overpowering and a little sour.
Main course followed soon after, and it was an excellent affair. The cod was seasoned and cooked perfectly, so much so that the flesh was moist in the middle and flaked off easily. The vegetables were well cooked, and the fried rice was delicious if a little too simple.
For dessert, I chose to go for a slice of blueberry cheesecake. The vanilla sauce complemented the cake, which was soft and sinfully delectable. This was accompanied with a hot cup of TWG camomile tea. Overall, the dinner service was near flawless.
With just over an hour and a half to go before arrival, I decided to get some much-needed sleep. Having had a live demonstration on how to turn the seat into a bed, I decided against asking one of the stewardesses to help me and flipped the seat over myself.
A duvet was stored behind each seat, and I proceeded to lay it out onto my bed. Upon doing so, I put on the pair of eyeshades that were provided at the start of the flight, and laid down. The bed was comfortable, and there was plenty of room for me to toss and turn if needed. I fell asleep almost immediately.
Descent was announced at 2215, with touchdown expected 30 minutes later. The cabin crew began their pre-arrival duties, which included turning my bed back into a chair. We landed in Hong Kong International Airport at 2245, and approached the arrival gate five minutes later. Disembarking the aircraft was quick, and I was on my way to immigration at 2255.
An excellent product, attentive and helpful service, and delicious inflight meal. The IFE issues were a bit of a disappointment, but did not detract from an otherwise excellent flight.
- CONFIGURATION 1-2-1
- SEAT WIDTH 28in/71cm
- SEAT LENGTH 51in/130cm
- SEAT RECLINE 132 degrees as seat, 180 degrees as bed
- PRICE The internet rate for a midweek, flexible return business ticket in mid-September started from S$1,478 (US$1,111), inclusive of taxes and surcharges.
- CONTACT singaporeair.com