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Over the years I have been lucky enough to fly long haul every year at least once a year, so I can’t really complain. Many people don’t get to travel as much or as often. However, I hardly ever get to travel long haul on business class. Yes I should be grateful that I get to travel at all!!
Though having said that, if you look at my previous reports you may well think that I travel business class a lot! It’s actually not true at all. My last long haul intentional business class flight was on Singapore Airlines back in September 2015 when I flew back from London on SQ321, and I did fly business class on my return leg from Manila on SQ921, but that was a regional flight. I really don’t get an opportunity to fly long haul business very often.
However, in this case I need to get to London for work and thus was able to travel in business class. However, at the time I hadn’t quite figured out whether I would be travelling on Singapore Airlines or British Airways. In the end, Singapore Airlines was going to be the most convenient for me in terms of timing. Also, I would now be flying my favourite airline – Singapore Airlines #agreatwaytofly
As you have already seen from my most recent trip to Jakarta and back to Singapore, I am always so happy to travel SQ having switched my long haul flights to British Airways for the Executive Club loyalty program. I am completely in favour of SQ in nearly every single way, except their loyalty program (and their cost).
Why do I prefer the BA loyalty program? Well it boils down to a number of factors, which I have written about in a previous blog posting on why I switched to BA from SQ. First, points never expire; Second, Silver on BA means so much more than Gold on Krisflyer; Third, BA is more generous with their Op-Ups; Finally, it is possible to get top tier for life.
Of course there are many choices when flying SQ to London
01:10 → 07:45
Singapore Airlines 306
09:05 → 15:40
Singapore Airlines 308
12:00 → 18:55
Garuda Indonesia 86
12:35 → 19:05
Singapore Airlines 318
22:40 → 05:10
British Airways 16
23:20 → 05:50
British Airways 12
23:30 → 05:55
Singapore Airlines 322
Now was the choice between the A380 or the B777 (you can see some of my thoughts on the A350 and my excitement of the upcoming arrival in 2018 of the A350ULR in my outbound report to Jakarta on SQ966).
I have never flown the 777 on this route, having only flown the 747 and A380, and was originally going to stick with what I knew, which was the A380. I then read about the (relatively) new business class seats on the 777 and thought that since the 9:05 A380 departure was a bit too early for me, the 12:35 B777 departure was ideal.
There are so many reports on Singapore Airlines business class trips, but I am certain that people don’t mind reading more!!!
As I mentioned in my previous posts I try to take public transport wherever possible as it’s the cheaper option. However, as I was on going to be away for 2 weeks I needed to take extra luggage with me so a cab was the most logical choice. Gotta love Grab and Uber.
JOURNEY TO THE AIRPORT
Since I was taking the midday flight to London, I didn’t need to rush to the airport. Though I did want to use the lounge so it meant leaving earlier than I have done recently, which is basically to get to the airport just before the check in is due to close.
I wanted to get to the airport a couple of hours before the flight, which would give me an hour at the lounge and then an hour or so before.
With the flight departing at 12.35, I thought that leaving my place around 9.30-10am would be good enough to get to the airport by about 10.30ish.
Usually I would walk out to the main road to pick up a taxi rather than pay a booking fee, but since I was carrying quite a bit of luggage plus all other sorts of accoutrements I decided to just book a cab so I wouldn’t have to sweat on my way to the taxi stand.
In the end I woke up around 7.30am and couldn’t go back to sleep so just got up and got ready to leave and ordered a cab. Once the cab had arrived, I scurried on down. The taxi driver helped put my stuff into the boot and then off we went to Changi Airport. There was hardly any traffic on the road so we made it within 30mins.
The flight was departing from Changi Terminal 3, but SQ is not the only airline departing from there. The others include:
Air New Zealand
China Eastern Airlines
Myanmar National Airlines
Saudi Arabian Airlines
Thai Lion Air
These are quite a mixed bag to be honest, not all one alliance, but there must be some logic behind it. Maybe someone else can enlighten me? Something to do with A380s?
Well Terminal 3 is the newest of the three terminals being opened only in 2008 (T1: 1981, T2: 1990), though at 380k it square metres it is slightly larger than Terminal 2 (358m2).
The newest Terminal, number 4 is due to join these 3 next year, and Terminal 5 in the middle part of next decade. That’s planning for you.
CHECK IN EXPERIENCE
Most people will agree that the check in , in fact nearly whole experience at Changi airport is pretty amazing.
There was no one queuing for check in when I arrived. In fact it was so empty I almost wondered if there was a problem that I didn’t know about.
I’ve seen it pretty busy here in the past, but usually it is quite empty. I noticed that there are first/suites lines. For those who don’t know, in terminal 3 there is actually a dedicated first class check in area. I have myself never experienced this, but I know it’s there!
My check in experiences on SQ are usually so smooth and again I wasn’t disappointed. I don’t think I standing at the counter for more than 5minutes before I was being shooed on my way. And no, the hordes didn’t suddenly appear in the short time I had been standing there.
After spending a couple of minutes wandering around the landside area, I made my way to the passport check and immigration. Sometimes I am asked to have my hand luggage scanned at this point, sometimes I’m not.
Today, I clearly wasn’t looking shifty enough, so walked straight past and to the auto gates.
Silver Kris Lounge
As a holder of a business class ticket, I was entitled to use the Singapore Airlines Business premium cabin lounge – the SilverKris Lounge. Now for those of you that don’t know. The SilverKris lounge is not for Star Alliance Gold card holders — if you have that distinction you are allowed to use the KrisFlyer Gold Lounge, which in Changi Terminal 3 is just around the corner from the SilverKris Lounge. To get access to the KrisFlyer Gold Lounge, you of course need hold Star Alliance status, and be travelling on any members of Star Alliance from Changi. Now one little complication. If you are a Star Alliance Gold from a program other that KrisFlyer, if you are travelling SilkAir, this is not considered an alliance member, so you would not be allowed to use the lounge.
Why have SQ done this? Made two separate lounges? Surely economies of scale would mean it makes sense to have all frequent flyers in one location. Well simply, SQ believes it is about differentiating the product between themselves and other alliance members – a kind of come-on.
For access to the Silver Kris Lounge you need to be flying in business class on Singapore Airlines or one of their Star Alliance partners. So you can’t fly economy to say Frankfurt and travel business to London, and claim to have access to the lounge.
(Sorry for the blurry photo)
I don’t want to overload this post with photos of the food offerings. I know some people do post them all, but because this is a free site, I have a limit on the number of photos I can upload.
There is a First Class section which I have unfortunately never ever visited. I was originally going to be flying suites on my SQ321 flight in 2015, but for various reasons was not able to in the end – I did fly business class, but from London which is not quite the same thing.
After spending a couple of hours in the lounge and eating a bit for breakfast, the gate was open for boarding so off I trundled to gate B8. Fortunately the crowds hadn’t arrived yet and going through security was a breeze.
Estimated duration: 13hr 30mins
Actual duration: 12hr 56mins
Scheduled Departure: 12:35
Actual Departure: 12:59
Scheduled Arrival: 19:05
Actual Arrival: 18:35
Plane registration: 9V-SWW
As I settled into my seat I experienced one of those moments that only infrequent business class travelers have — the wish that the flight is late!!!!!
What did I think of the business class seat? I have travelled on the older business class seat – the ones currently used in the A380 and think that they are way too big. This seat is a bit of a more acceptable size so I was quite happy with it.
I felt that there was plenty of leg room and actually prefer this seat colour for some reason. I think it’s a bit more classy, but what do I know? It of course becomes lie flat but I didn’t get a chance to take a photo with normal lighting as most of the cabin had already gone to sleep by the time I had made my bed.
I find it a bit strange that you have to make your own bed. First, I would have thought having a button that makes it lie flat would make more sense? Second, as a regulator, I would be worried that the passenger doesn’t make the bed correctly and is insecure.
Anyway, once you get the hang of making the bed, it is actually pretty easy. If you don’t want to make your own bed, I found that the cabin crew were more than happy to help you out. In fact that might be the easiest option.
Krisworld is Singapore Airlines Inflight Entertainment system (IFE) and according to them it has 1,000 entertainment options ranging from movies, tv shows, music and games. If you look on their website they have a feature page that tells you what movies will be available on your flight — see their This month’s new movies page; and also has an option to see the next month’s movies. I had definitely wanted to see Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, so this was a really great opportunity for me. And I was disappointed. I realise this isn’t supposed be a movie review, but I was really really disappointed. Almost like they were trying too hard. I loved the Wonder Woman theme music though. That is some great tunes!!!
I didn’t take a photo, but I do like the new controller. It’s the same as the one that they use on the new A850.
BOOK THE COOK
Book the Cook or BTC to those in the know is one of those developments that other airlines wish they had come up with. It was originally only available for so-called premium cabins such as First/Suites and business, but it is now also available for premium economy.
I’ve talked about it before, but it basically allows passengers to select special meals in advance of travelling. You can see the full menu on the book the cook website.
On my previous Singapore Airlines business class flight from London to Singapore, I had lobster thermidor. However, tempting it was to have that again, I couldn’t help but notice the availability of Singapore specialties. And while I am not normally drawn to these, the presence of Pernankan dishes was a real bonus. It is very hard to find these kinds of dishes anywhere. Unlike a lot of Chinese cooking, true Pernankan dishes require a significant amount of preparation time and skill to prepare. Much of it is manual labour, for example true curry paste preparation does not involve a blender; it required a pestle and mortar. As such, these were the dishes that stood out:
Peranakan Ayam Buah Keluak
An iconic Peranakan dish, chicken and baby pork ribs stewed in buah keluak and tamarind gravy, served with traditional Nonya vegetable stew (chap chai) and steamed rice
Peranakan Itek Siow
A Peranakan classic – braised duck in a thick onion and tamarind sauce served with traditional Nonya vegetable stew (chap chai) and steamed rice
Nonya Nasi Padang
Served with beef rendang, opor ayam (chicken in a turmeric coconut gravy), sayur lodeh and steamed rice – a Peranakan version of Indonesian Nasi Padang
Peranakan Hokkien Mee Soup (only available on flights with flight time above 4 hours)
A rich pork-prawn broth with pork, prawns and vegetables on top of egg noodles and rice vermicelli – a Peranakan version of a popular Singaporean hawker dish
Nonya Assam Fish
Fish, okra, eggplant and tomato cooked with Assam spices Peranakan style, served with steamed rice
I love the satay, but they only serve it for one meal. Shame.
Garlic Bread — I was going to say that you can’t go wrong with this, but on my return flight the bread was a bit too crispy for my liking.
Peranakan Itek Siow – from the description “braised duck in a thick onion and tamarind sauce served with traditional Nonya vegetable stew (chap chai) and steamed rice”. I’ll be honest, I thought the meat was like chicken so was a bit disappointed. Duck usually has a very rich flavour. I suspect it was because it has been cooked for a long time and also being on a plane probably didn’t help.
And then you are able to enjoy snacks throughout the flight, which they lay out in the galley area. This isn’t just in business class, they also do the same for economy class as well.
And if you are business class you also can order hot meals throughout the flight.
Thai chicken sandwich. And I apologise to whoever had to clean my blanket afterwards as I managed to spill it on myself – messy messy child!!!
Fishball soup — really nice to clear the palate. Especially good because airplanes can be a bit dry so the soup really helps to get rid of that dry mouth sensation.
And then the final meal before landing
Nonya Assam Fish – “Fish, okra, eggplant and tomato cooked with Assam spices Peranakan style, served with steamed rice”. This was a pretty amazing dish. The fish was clearly fresh — there was no fishy flavour at all. The soup was really clear and the okra was not soft and soggy.
We arrived on time and made it through immigration with no problems at all. Our luggage was pretty much coming out as we got through immigration and there were no problems with customs.
I had to call the taxi company to pick me up as we landed earlier than anticipated and the immigration/luggage/customs process was much faster that I had anticipated…. and soon I was in a taxi and heading off to my accommodation.
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