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    Singapore Airlines’ New First Class Soars

    9.6/10

    From 5 editor reviews

    Geoffrey Thomas

    Cabin: Business Class
    Route: Singapore to New York
    Aircraft: Airbus A350-900ULR

    9/10

    Singapore Airlines’ relaunch of the Singapore to New York nonstop, the world’s longest flight, has been hailed as a great success by passengers and media.

    Key to that success for Singapore Airlines is the Airbus A350-900ULR, the all-composite twin-engine ultra-long-range jet that burns about 35 percent less fuel than the aircraft it directly replaces for this route the A340-500.

    The aircraft is configured in a two-class layout, with 67 Business Class seats and 94 Premium Economy Class seats.

    For the long flight there are two sets of pilots and after the arrival in the US, they have three days off before the return flight. And before the A350 sets off from Singapore they must have had 48 hours off.

    Looking after the passengers will be 13 cabin crew and these crews get four hours off during the flight.

    In premium economy, passengers will get three meals during the flight, while business class will get two larger meals and a non-stop refreshment menu throughout the flight.

    Seat and Amenities

    The business class seating on this aircraft is not the latest that was unveiled early this year for the A380 but nonetheless is very comfortable and still considered state-of-the-art.

    The airline, however, has made modifications for this ULR aircraft adding more padding to the “sleep mode” of the seat.

    The difference was noticeable and the bed was comfortable. I did get quite a few hours of sleep which is unusual for me on a plane. Mind you I have now discovered the best earplugs and those are ones I use for swimming, which are far better at eliminating all noise. So get some if tranquility is important.

    Back to the seat. It is a great seat or lounge if you like but only has limited recline or the flatbed option which doesn’t suit everyone. I like to sit up or ar a slight recline so that does not bother me at all.

    All the controls are within easy reach and everything you should want is at your fingertips.

     

     

     

    Customer service on board

    This is where Singapore Airlines excels and has done so for decades. The inaugural Singapore to New York flight was no exception either.

    Sure they knew we were media but that added pressure as there were cameramen up and down aisles all flight asking them to repeat all sorts of delivery actions like serving meals or making up beds.

    These constant interruptions never seemed to upset their routine and there was no noticeable delay in service delivery or that “Singapore Girl” smile which was delivered with sincerity all the way to New York.

    Longest Flight

     

     

     

     

    Catering

    Not long after take-off on the world’s longest flight, a marathon of food and wine started. And the order of things comes in a 32-page booklet, which covers the return journey.

    The menu is different in that it is influenced by the partnership with the chefs and nutritionists from Canyon Ranch, one of the leaders in healthy living and wellness.

    But there were also the traditional favorites from SIA’s own meal selections and creations by its International Culinary Panel of chefs.

    The first part is called “Äfter Take-off” and consists of a main course with four selections, followed by desert.

    The service was seamless and I chose the Pan Seared Head Snapper Fillet with Red Wine Vinaigrette. The snapper which was cooked to perfection.

    About halfway through the flight the second meal service commenced.

    There were three broad choices: Matt Moran’s Selection; Canyon Ranch Selection and the airline’s standard menu.

    Canyon Ranch tempted passengers with a Prawn Ceviche and Lavosh for an appetizer, then Braised Pork with Citrus for the main course. A French Apple Frangipane Tart rounded up that healthiest of options.

    Singapore Airlines’ describes the flight as an “Epicurean Journey” and that description is certainly apt.

    I opted for the main menu for the lunch.

    The starter was the famous Singapore Chicken and Beef Satay and it hasn’t lost any of its shine. This signature dish was followed by a Salad of Crab.

    For the main course, there were 6 selections and I opted for the Beef Cheek in Red Wine Sauce. It was perfectly cooked.

    Desert was a choice between Mango Cheesecake with Ginger Cookie Crump and Petite Patisserie.

    There was an excellent selection of cheeses.

    Of course, you could have selected, in the days before departure, options from the Book the Cook which appear to be almost endless.

    The only issue I had was with the white wine selection which was a little surprising. There were two Chardonnays (both oaked) and one German Riesling. I would have thought given the increasing popularity of Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc one of the Chardonnays could have been dropped.

     

    Inflight entertainment

    For this flight, Singapore Airlines has added another 200 hours of content. The airline has always been a leader in IFE and was the first to give all passengers seat back videos. For me, it was back to my iPad and a catch up on some favorite TV series.

    Passengers can also stay in touch with high-speed in-flight WiFi service. The A350 is equipped with Panasonic Avionics’ new satellite modem that operates with its third generation satellite network. The service is capable of delivering higher-speed Internet to passengers.

    This latest system will be rolled out to all the fleet over the next year or so.

    Extra information

    Geoffrey Thomas was a guest of Singapore Airlines

    Geoffrey Thomas

    Cabin: First Class
    Route: Singapore to Sydney
    Aircraft: A380

    10/10

    In its biggest product revamp since the Airbus A380 launch in 2007, Singapore Airlines has given its newest superjumbos an all-premium upper-deck sporting six innovative first-class cabins with giant swivel armchairs.

    Dubbed “Skyroom” suites they are just that. A first class “room” with a magnificent view.

    In fact, you are almost lost in all the space, which takes a little getting used to but mind you I don’t travel first class very often and perhaps to a seasoned “pointy end” traveler the extra space is no big deal. But to my mind, even the most discerning traveler would be really impressed.

    Singapore Airlines new A380 First Class
    A “magnificent” room with a view

    READ: Singapore Airlines new New York service heavily sold. 

     

     

     

    Seat and Amenities

    The first impression of the first class Skyroom is that it resembles a “Flying Oval Office” on board Air Force One.  For it is dominated by a massive swivel armchair designed by Pierre Jean Design Studio in France.

    The 21-inch (53cm) wide electrically-controlled swivel seat can be turned around almost 120 degrees, and is upholstered in finest Poltrona Frau leather and can recline up to 135 degrees for just lounging around, which you tend to do in first class. I mean if there is 135 degree of recline, why not use it?

    Passengers get a generous 3.23 to 4 square mtrs  (34.7 to 43 sq. ft) of floor space,  with the biggest suites being 1A and F.

    I had 1A for my test flight!

    Each suite is shielded from the aisle by two sliding doors. These are operated manually, as opposed to the electrical doors that have been a source of prolonged malfunctions on other airlines.

    And the suites feature a 32-inch HD touchscreen monitor mounted on the wall, which can also be swiveled.

    The seat is perfect and of course, there is a bed for a good night’s sleep. If you are traveling with your partner the screen divider can be lowered so that you can have a “double” bed sleeping arrangement.

    Singapore Airlines new A380 first class

    Customer service on board

    As soon as I boarded two flight attendants were at my whim and quickly poured a glass of Krug NV.

    Singapore Airlines in-flight service and attention to details is the stuff of legends and this crew was no exception.

    Singapore Airlines
    Geoffrey Thomas in the Skyroom Suite. with Singapore Airlines Staff

    Sure they knew I was writing a review but their efforts were so natural it was as if every passenger was writing a review. Nothing was a hassle – everything was just effortless.

    There are some things in life you cannot fake – and top class from the heart service is one of them.

    Catering

    As you would expect in first class the service is silver – in fact, it’s gold!

    A leather-bound menu is delivered with a casual but classy air of “we are sure sir that every dining experience is just like this.”

    “Of, course it is, this is a standard supper in the Thomas’ residence,” I thought.

    I have two very great weaknesses when it comes to flying – top class champagne and caviar. I guess that it makes me no different to most.

    So naturally, I opted for the Chilled Malossol Cavair. Malossol is a Russian word that literally translates to “little salt.” When Malossol is used to describe caviar, it means that the most idyllic salting process has been used to increase the shelf life of the highly perishable fish roe. But you all knew that!

    It was as I would have expected perfection, particularly accompanied by Krug.

    For main course – which is really a supper – I opted for something light in the Grilled Atlantic Cod Fillet with Shell-fish Sauce. There were four choices in all.

    It was accompanied by sautéed vegetables and Parsley Potatoes.

    Absolutely cooked to perfection. The fish firm but moist.

    I could have of course opted for the “Book to Cook” option where the options are seemingly endless. You need to do that a few days out from travel and I forgot.

    There were three dessert options but I needed a good night’s sleep so I passed on the  Hazelnut Praline Savarin, Warm Apricot Frangipane or cheese selection.

    Inflight entertainment

    Each suite has a 32-inch HD touchscreen monitor mounted on the wall, which can also be swiveled.

    A wireless tablet is provided with integrated control functions for in-flight entertainment (IFE) and there is a separate handset offering in-flight IFE control.

    Singapore Airlines

    The movie and entertainment options are arguably the world’s best with Singapore Airlines winning countless awards for its Krisworld product.

     

    Extra information

    The new Skyroom has plenty of storage and workspaces as well as the fold-out flat bed measuring 76” by 27” (193cm x 68cm) which comes with mattress bedding, duvet, and pillows.

    And the bedhead has a gas spring to elevate your head to watch a movie while in bed.

    When slumber calls the bed is superb and before I knew it I was being awoken for breakfast by the steward. “Hell this has gone far, far too quickly,” I thought.

    For the ladies, one of the two bathrooms, the more spacious one on the right side, has been fitted out especially with vanity table and stool, more mirrors and mood-lighting.

    However, there is no shower.

    All in all a magnificent experience and a must for your bucket list. Sure it’s more expensive than business class but there are deals to be done. Best piece of advice I can offer is get yourself a “really good” travel agent. They are worth their weight in gold – and they will save you a lot of gold coins.

    Geoffrey Thomas was a guest of Singapore Airlines

    Geoffrey Thomas

    Cabin: Business Class
    Route: Singapore - Sydney
    Aircraft: 777

    10/10

    When is a product as good as it can get?

    Well for Singapore Airlines the answer is never and so it has given its luxurious Business Class a makeover.

    Many would argue that it didn’t need any improvement but the design and marketing teams at Singapore Airlines felt that a refresh was in order.

    The PR teams call this ‘a more contemporary and dynamic design blending modern sophistication with functionality, to address business travellers’ requirements for more flexibility, comfort and privacy.’

    Which means it looks even more luxurious and functionality abounds.

    Seat and Amenities

    The business seat offers greater recline at 132 degrees and features an improved ergonomic seat cushion but don’t worry the seat will also tip forward to give you a spacious bed.

    Two new sitting positions created called the Lazy-Z and Sundeck need no explaining for those who want to really lounge back and watch a movie.

    The bed is 71cm wide fully-flat and is 198cm in length which was appreciated by this 194cm writer.

    The airline has improved the padding and cushioned headboard for greater comfort in both sleeping and lounging positions.

    The new seat is crammed with little extras.

    A side console has been added to stow your laptop and tablet and it is within easy in both seat and bed mode.

    Customer service on board

    As would be expected the attention to detail by the crew was outstanding.

    Catering

    On a seven-hour overnight flight departing at 1am meal choices can be a challenge.

    Singapore Airlines offers its Book the Cook (BTC) service for a super selection or you can take your chances with their onboard menu.

    On my flight there were three choices – Croque Monsieur, Braised Beef or Nasi Lemak which is spiced fish with coconut rice, sambal egg, fried tempeh and peanuts.

    Or you can bed down and wake to an American breakfast.

    Naturally on Singapore Airlines you can indulge with both.

    Perhaps the best way to judge the effort the airline goes to for its passengers is to look at things like the choice of Mocktails – six.

    Add if you’re a coffee lover that are no less than 5 selections.

    Inflight entertainment

    Located near the laptop stowage area are the in-seat power supply, eXport, HDMI and USB ports to connect and charge your smartphones, laptops and other personal devices.

    As most travellers will know, Singapore Airlines was a pioneer with seat back videos for all passengers and all that effort – and pain -back in the early 90s shows today.

    Business class passengers get a 46cm wide HD resolution LCD screen and noise-cancellation headphones and the selection is one the industry’s best.

    Extra information

    In a word a superb product and it is little wonder that the airline is a first choice for so many passengers.

    Sharon Petersen

    Cabin: Economy Class
    Route: Perth- Singapore return
    Aircraft: 777-200

    9/10

    Seat and Amenities

    The aircraft was one of the older 777-200’s and had the most comfortable seats I have ever encountered. The seat pitch was a comfortable 32 inch with a 6 inch seat recline. Every seat had a full size pillow with cotton covering and a thick, full size blanket. There were no amenity kits handed out as the flights were not overnight or long haul however, these are provided complimentary on such flights. Underneath seat C, D and H sits the entertainment box which is definitely larger than those used in the newer aircraft at about 6 inches wide.
    The cabin is light in colour and very spacious. They have chosen to keep the seating at 9 a breast in their economy class on this aircraft which also adds to the feeling of space.
    This particular aircraft did not have in seat power or USB ports but you will find that most of the fleet especially those used long haul will have this provision

    Customer service on board

    The presentation of the cabin crew is nothing short of perfect. They are efficient, organised and professional.

    Catering

    Passengers are given a menu shortly after take off outlining the meal and beverage choices for the flight. Immediately after take off the hot towels are handed out followed by the drinks trolley. A very filling breakfast was served on the flight to Singapore followed by a packet of peanuts a few hours later. On the flight home drinks and peanuts were served followed by a filling and delicious dinner later in the flight. My only negative about the meal service is the time it takes to receive it after takeoff. On the flight home from Singapore we didn’t receive dinner until nearly two hours into the flight which made it almost 9pm and on the way to Singapore breakfast was served about 90 minutes into the flight. During the day flights it is not such a bad thing but on evening and night flights it is nice to be served dinner fairly quickly so the cabin can be cleared and lights dimmed for passengers wanting to rest.

    Inflight entertainment

    The quality of the screen on this aircraft was not as clear as majority of the Singapore Airlines fleet but it was good enough especially considering this is one of the older aircraft that will be upgraded soon. There are plenty of entertainment choices however, I wish all airlines would make a whole “season” of a TV series available to watch rather than just episode 7 and 8 of season 3 for example. The headphones are not handed out until after takeoff and they are collected 30 minutes before landing. This is common practice with a lot of airlines despite passengers obviously preferring to have the entertainment system available to them from takeoff right up to arriving at the gate of the destination airport.

    Extra information

    Given that passengers judge an airline on comfort, food, and in flight entertainment this is without a doubt one of the most comfortable economy classes available. Allowing gate to gate use of in flight entertainment and an earlier dinner service would see this airline scoring a perfect 10/10.

    Geoffrey Thomas

    Cabin: Premium Economy
    Route: Sydney - Singapore
    Aircraft: A380

    10/10

    We all have an acid test when it comes to new products and services – perhaps a quirk of our nature. Ah yes – but can they do this or will they still do that?

    For me its refills of French champagne and seconds for ice cream – surely the staple of any airline reviewer?

    The big question with premium economy (PY) is whether it’s a warmed over economy or a downgraded business class and the variation can be significant between airlines.

    I think Singapore Airlines has it just right with plenty of legroom, extras and excellent meal selection.

    My flight was from Sydney to Singapore on the airline’s A380 and starts with dedicated PY check-in.

    Seat and Amenities

    PY is on the main deck behind first class and in front of economy. There are 36 seats set at 96.5cm apart which is a ‘comfort guaranteeing’ 15cm more than economy.

    Seats are in a 2-4-2 configuration – exactly how business class started out on Qantas in 1979.

    Interestingly I noted with that extra legroom there wasn’t the need to recline your seat for more space and no-one did on the seven-hour daylight flight to Singapore. My colleague David Flynn from Australian Business Traveller however tells me that these seats have a significant recline which can invade your space but that of course that is good for sleeping!

    The premium economy seat that Singapore Airlines has chosen comes with all the bells and whistles; a headrest that bends and twists in every direction, a seat that cradles you in the recline position, leg and foot rests, and plenty of gadget space.

    Customer service on board

    As per usual the ‘Singapore girls’ did not fail to impress. Service was slick and attentive.

    Catering

    I opted to select my main course for lunch via the Book the Cook (BTC) service ahead of the flight and there were an amazing seven choices.
    The benefit of BTC is not only that it it gave me a greater selection but I was served first along with a handful of others who had opted for the pre-flight select option.

    To start however was French Champagne and nuts of which I received refills on both!

    My main course choice was seafood thermidor which was a delight but I gave the thumbs down to the starter of pasta salad with turkey which was a tad on the sparse side.

    If you don’t chose the BTC service there is a choice of three main courses.

    Lunch was finished off with a tub of ice cream – and then another only for my ‘acid test’ of course!

    About two hours out from Singapore another service appeared.

    This was the ‘Refreshment’ which was more like a late lunch and the choice was Shepherd’s Pie or Braised Beeechoon which is rice noodles with shredded chicken and Chinese greens.

    And there was more champagne!

    Inflight entertainment

    On the electronics side there is a 34cm HD screen, adjustable LED reading light, AC power with universal plug and two USB sockets – one in the seat in front of you and one at the back of your arm rest.

    And thoughtfully there is a gadget holder underneath that USB located in the seat in front of you.

    Singapore Airlines Kris World in flight entertainment program continues to be improved and offered hundred of viewing choices including recent movie releases – certainly there was something for everyone.

    Extra information

    So the big question, what do all these extras cost? That is complicated by seasonal factors and routes.

    Premium economy is being rolled out on the airline’s A380s and long haul 777s only.

    For say the Sydney to London route in October this year the cheapest restricted return economy fare is $1913 rising to $2793, while the premium economy sits at $3721

    Your best bet is to seek out a good travel agent and get them to work their magic and come up with some options.

    My verdict – great product and definitely worth the extra.

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