Singapore Airlines has consistently been rated as a 5 star airline year after year. Their service has long known to be impeccable, but how does the rest of the flight experience stack up? To begin, Team GTE recently flew on their flagship flight, SQ1/2, which goes from SFO->HK->SGP. Most importantly, this Boeing 777-300ER flight features the Singapore Airlines New Business Class seating configuration that they released in November of 2017.

Pre Flight

Overall Grade B-

Check-in was quick, as there are 2 dedicated business class counters and 1 first class counter for an airline that only flies 2 flights a day out of SFO. The Silver Kris Lounge was closed for construction, as they are planning to build a new “Star Alliance” branded lounge in SFO. As a business class traveler, we were allowed access to the United Global First lounge, which besides being less crowded, completely sucked. The food and beverages weren’t even that much better than the normal United lounge. Definitely, not worth writing about.

Layout

Overal Grade: A-

There are 48 business class seats split into two sections.  3 rows in the front and 9 rows behind the galley/ toilets. There are 3 toilets, which is a lot considering that the plane has 4 classes of service. For reference, United 777-300 ERs has 4 toilets and they don’t have a first class section and has 64 business class seats.  Business class boards in a separate enterance. Another interesting thing is that they don’t have any overhead storage for the middle seats, just on the aisles. That really gives the middle section open feel. There is quite a bit of storage room under the seat so storage really isn’t a problem.

One downside is that they don’t have a handicap toilet like airlines like EVA airline, which is a lot roomier for you to change into pajamas. Continue reading to see why this probably make sense (because they don’t give out freaking pajamas!).

 

Lighting

Overal Grade: B

The cabin lighting was good. Since my flights were in the evening, the cabin lights were off for the most part, but when it was on, it was whiteish/yellowish. They don’t seem to do much of the “mood” lighting depending on what is going on (eating, cleaning tables, boarding, etc).

On the seats, they had a wide variety of lighting. You have you standard overhead lighting with the yellowish light, but you also have an excellent headrest lighting, with 4 crisp and clean LED lights, each pointed in different positions that you can toggle from “mild to intense” lighting. I found the intense settings too bright, as it was litteraly right next to my eyes.

The seats were missing some of the smaller and useful lights like the lighting in the footrest so you could see where your shoes and storage are or on top of the seats to help guide you into the cubby.

 

Seating

Overal Grade: B+

The seat is the most spacious business class seat I have ever been in. The cubicle itself seems like a first class cubicle and the seat was so wide, three of me could fit into it. The 28” seats are designed for you to sit /lay in two positions. The Lay – Z and the Sundeck position.  The Lay-Z is designed for you to sit sideways like you are sleeping on your side. I saw many people trying to sit diagonally on the seat and lay their feet out feet out. The Sundeck position allows you sit in a reclined position with your feet gently propped up.  The seat recliners forward as the base becomes an ottoman.

I found it quite comfortable to type this article in the Sun-Deck position.  The Lay-Z position is a bit strange, but maybe people who like to side sleep would enjoy it. Apparently Singapore did years of customer research to come up with these positions so I won’t doubt them. I’ve been passing my feedback along to United Airlines for years to no avail.

The seats itself was a very comfortable Scottish leather (instead of standard cloth seats), which make sitting more pleasant and allows for better heat transfer. The diamond stiching pattern on the seatback made me feel like I was sitting in a Bentley Continental. These seats are relatively new, but they were some of the cleanest seats that I have ever seen, not a crumb or fingerprint visible when I sat down.

The Sundeck
Lay-Z

Storage and Accessories

Overal Grade: A-

The Singapore Airlines Business Class features ample storage.  There were three main sections, one closable cubby large enough for your noise canceling headphones / camera / water, and a shelf for your books / tablets / laptops.  Next to the TV screen, there was another compartment for you to put your random accessories along with a hidden mirror that lights up upon opening.  The power sockets held my laptop chargers nice and snug, and there were additional usb outlets for multiple device charging.

The tray table to me initially was a bit strange, as it was a bit difficult to pull out because it was so big. It also pops up really high. I grew to like as I found out how much adjustability the table had, and it was one of the few business class seats where you could get out of your seat without having to put the tray table back (or risk you knocking all your food and drinks to the ground).

 

Amenities

Overal Grade: C+

The business class amenities on Singapore Airlines Business Class is well documented. They are one of the very few airlines that do NOT offer an amenity kit in business class. Singapore’s reasoning behind this is that 1) most people don’t use it anyways and 2) they provide all the necessary amenities (toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion, and perfume in the bathroom. As someone who collects the airline amenity kits and pajamas, this is quite disappointing.

Upon boarding, my seat had, a bottle of water, noise canceling headphones, socks, and slippers, none of which was of that high quality (I didn’t even get a pair of socks on my return flight to San Francisco). I had to use my own eye mask, although they probably had them if I asked.

Maybe, this is Sinapore’s way of reminding you that Business Class is still “Second Class” and that this is why you get an awesome Ferragamo amenity kit in First Class.   One unique perk is that you get 30 MB of free wifi for Business Class passengers. As long as you aren’t flying over Russia and China, you can receive service. This is good enough for you to check your email once and that’s about it.

Sleeping

 Overal Grade: A-

Singapore Airlines Business Class has one of the most interesting sleeping configurations I have seen. While other airlines have turndown services, egg crate mattresses to put on top of your seat, on Singapore Airlines, the bedliner is built right into the seat. With a press of the button, you can pull your seatback down to form your own 78 bed in your seat. Also, behind the headrest is a comfortable down blanket and pillow. It can be tricky to make the bed, so I would recommend you to ask the flight attendant to help you, as it seems like a common issue that comes up.

You could also just recline your normal seat which is also very comfortable if you didn’t want to go through the whole turndown service. Its like sleeping on the beach lawn chair.

Entertainment System

Overal Grade: A-

The 14” TV was huge and very clear. Also the distance to where I was sitting was nice and at least the TV was straight Ahead. On seats like on EVA air, the TV screen is off to an angle, which was a bit odd. With a screen that big, I kept on thinking it would be a touch screen, but it wasn’t. Only the handheld device was touch screen.

The entertainment system had over 1000 TV shows and movies, with a great variety of Hollywood blockbusters, documentaries, and TV shows. I was especially impressed by their music selection, spanning from R&B, Asian, Jazz, UK Charts, and even Country. Nothing like listening to some Florida Georgia Line flying to Hong Kong. This entertainment system along with Wifi can definitely keep you occupied for the 14 hour flight.

Food

Overal Grade: B+

I chose all the Asian themed meals, because I could get a burger and steak in the US any day. Surprisingly, the portions were quite small, but the food was good. Like other airlines, Singapore Airlines offers a pre-order program where you could prebook a meal. This also ensures you get meal that you would like. Most definitely, I would recommend the Book the Cook experience.

Pre flight

Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve Champagne

Appetizer

Salad with Smoked Salmon

Salad with Smoked Fish

Main Course

Chicken and Abalone

Shrimp dumping in Superior Soup

Desert

Black Cherry Flan

Apricot Cake

 

Breakfast

Assortment of Dimsum

Chicken Congee with Scallops

Mid Flight Snacks

Instant Ramen with Chicken

Light snacks

Cookies, Chips, Fruits, Crackers,

The coffee was surprising the best part of their food service. You can smell the crisp and bold aroma when they are brewing it during the breakfast service, and the taste is just as good as it smells.

Overall Service Level

Overal Grade: A

Service is where Singapore Airline excels. The cabin staff are well dressed, well trained, very professional, and speak good english. They always addressed me by my last name, asked if I wanted more to drink, and cleared my table very quickly. I switched my seat with someone so he could sit next to her wife, and they immediately 1) asked me if I was ok with that 2) changed their records so that they addressed me correctly and got my food orders correct.

Other little things that they do is when they are taking your food order, they actually have a menu for you to reference right there instead of having you have to look at the menu in the literature storage section.

Conclusion

Overal Grade: B

I was honestly a bit disappointed with Singapore Airline’s Business class product, from the lack of amenity kits, small portions of food, and, from a flight standpoint, there aren’t not that may flight plans out of San Francisco. For example, EVA airline has three flights from SFO to TPE a day in which you could transfer to anywhere in Asia. Also, from SFO, United, Cathay, (and in the future even Hong Kong Airlines) fly direct to Hong Kong, so it is a quite competitive route. Service alone can’t win me over, as it’s not like I am asking request of the flight attendants all the time. I would trade getting a Rimowa amenity kit and nice pajamas, over impeccable wine pouring technique and perfect english. That’s our own opinion and maybe that’s why experiencing Singapore Airline’s First Class service is next in line 🙂

Until Next Time,

Team GTE



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