Singapore Airlines 227, SIN – MEL

 

 

SQ 227

SIN – MEL

Airbus A380-841

Business Class, Seat 23K

 

Prologue

In 2007, Singapore Airlines made history by launching the world’s first commercial flight onboard the Airbus A380, setting a new benchmark in luxury air travel with an impressive hardware lineup including the exclusive Suites and an industry-leading Business Class product.

 

7 years on and with a new generation of seats coming online from the airline and its competitors, we see if the A380 can hold its own with a flight from Singapore to Melbourne.

 

Check-In

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Singapore Airlines utilizes a common check-in system for its flights at Changi International Airport, with counters open up to 24 hours prior to departure. Arriving at Terminal 3, we proceeded straight to Row 6 allocated for Business Class passengers where we were promptly attended to by the ground agent who confirmed our pre-selected seats. While lacking in charm, the entire process was completed in under 5 minutes in true Singaporean efficiency and we were soon on our way to the SilverKris Lounge.

 

Lounge & Ground Service

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Premium passengers are entitled to use the airline’s flagship SilverKris Lounge at Changi International Airport, but this quickly proved to be the weak link for Singapore Airlines as we were left underwhelmed by the lounge experience. For a carrier that prides itself on service, it was disappointing to note that this faltered on the ground as the staff were cold and seemed to avoid interaction with passengers, preferring to go about their routine instead.

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The hard product was also adequate at best for a homebase facility. We found the dining selection to be limited in variety and taste in comparison to the flagship lounges of other airlines. The shower rooms were also beginning to show signs of wear with scruff marks and frayed towels, although water temperature and pressure were good for a refreshing shower.

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A redeeming factor for the lounge is its relaxation and business areas, which offered a quiet ambiance for passengers to read and catch up on work before their flight.

 

Boarding & Departure

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Tonight’s flight was allocated gate A5, a common-use gate with plenty of space for boarding. Security checks were stringent but proceeded smoothly with adequate personnel deployed to process the passengers, but there was a slight confusion during the boarding process when passengers began queuing upon seeing others head down the jetway before the announcements were made. While priority boarding and a premium lane was enforced, we felt the gate agents were seemingly disinterested in their duties and interaction.

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Things were thankfully much better onboard the aircraft with the cabin crew being more welcoming and ready to assist. We were shown to our seat by the friendly flight stewardess and offered a choice of reading materials before the hot towel service and pre-departure drinks of water, juice or champagne. Prior to takeoff, our pre-selected meal was confirmed by the crew, followed by eyeshades and socks (a consequence of cost cutting where other airlines would offer a full amenity kit) being distributed.

 

Seat

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The Business Class seats remain competitive in the industry after several years on the market, even giving some First Class products a run for their money. Configured in a 1-2-1 layout for direct aisle access, the seat width is more than adequate at 30 inches and the soft leather upholstery comfortable to the touch, with plenty of nooks and storage compartments. Onboard the A380’s upper deck, passengers also benefit from the large side bins that easily accommodate a handbag or briefcase. A large meal table can be adjusted for reach and makes dining or working convenient without impeding movement.

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Folding down flat, it was one of the most comfortable beds in the sky. While some passengers will disagree with the diagonal sleeping position instead of facing forwards due to the design of the foot nook, we found no problems at all with this arrangement and even had space for movement. Having said that, the seat does begin to show its age with scuff marks and light damage. Our seat control buttons did not illuminate in the dark cabin and the attendant call button was malfunctioning, which posed a slight annoyance during the flight.

 

Crew

Taking care of the Business Class cabin were 7 crew members who carried out their duties professionally and with a polished refinement the airline is renowned for. Requests were carried out without delay and constant runs were made throughout the flight to check on passengers, while remaining unintrusive at the same time.

 

Meal

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Singapore Airlines offers premium passengers the “Book-the-Cook” pre-order service, which we utilized for our flight with the Classic Lobster Thermidor. Meal service began with our post-takeoff drink choice of the Singapore Sling being served with warm nuts and the table laid in preparation for the first course. We like how a glass of water always accompanies the meal, important for cleansing the palate and keeping hydrated, with butter and condiments laid out by the crew.
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A choice of breads followed with accompanying olive oils. We opted for the garlic bread, but felt that it could be warmer for better taste. Tonight’s starter was a tian of Alaskan King Crab and Mango with Mesclun. The sweetness of the chilled crab meat blended well with the refreshing mango to prepare the palate for the main course served shortly after.

 

The Classic Lobster Thermidor has had mixed reviews from travellers over the years and we were initially hesitant ordering it. We are glad to note that the slipper lobster that was a source of contention by some fliers has now been replaced with a proper lobster tail and that our concerns proved to be unfounded as the dish was very well prepared with the lobster succulent and the saffron rice fragrant, although the asparagus was slightly overcooked and bland.

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Dessert service tonight was a choice of Chocolate and Banana Cake with Vanilla Sauce or Chendol with Coconut Ice Cream. We selected the former which was excellent with rich chocolate and hints of banana that provided a sweet finale to the meal. The crew came round with the cheese board served on a trolley, which we had a tasting plate accompanied by sweet grapes and crackers.

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Rounding out the meal service was aromatic coffee with beans from Illycafe and pralines.

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2 hours prior to landing, the crew served a second continental breakfast meal service comprising a fruit plate and breads.

 

Entertainment

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KrisWorld does not disappoint with a large choice of movies, short programs and music available on-demand. Wi-fi was also available onboard the aircraft, although we felt the service was rather expensive at nearly USD 10 for 10MB of data. We selected a movie feature shortly after takeoff, followed by music and the airshow map for the remainder of the redeye flight.

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The noise canceling headphones from Phitek Systems blocked out most of the cabin noise (although the A380 is a very quiet aircraft to begin with) and made for very good earplug replacements throughout the flight. The connectivity panel also meant that passengers could watch their own content on the 15.4-inch flatscreen with ease.

 

Arrival & Deboarding

With favourable tailwinds, we landed in Melbourne ahead of schedule and were parked at the gate after a short taxi. There was a slight delay prior to the opening of doors with the docking of the jetbridge, but we were soon on our way towards immigration and customs clearance after a fond farewell from the crew at the door.

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