Last year I booked myself a Singapore Airlines Business Class flight from Sydney to Singapore en route to Paris for my parent’s 60th birthday. I also booked my parents return Business Class flights with Singapore Airlines as a gift, and of course, they scored the new product, and I flew the old one. Unsurprisingly, our experiences were very different.
Singapore’s new Business Class Seat
I originally wrote this article to warn people that there are monumental differences in hard product, but I didn’t publish it because I felt it was too negative. Now I’m trying to book another flight on Singapore Airlines Business Class, and I can’t get anyone to confirm which flight numbers boast the refitted seats and which have the old ones (why wouldn’t they be subject to change?). I thought, seeings as I was revisiting this issue, I’d revisit this article, which was penned following a skinful of Champagne.
I hate to be cynical to kick this off, but I think it’s time airlines stopped making guests pay the same amount to fly on their old product as they do their new product.
In Singapore Airlines’ case, the difference in the hard product is quite substantial, not as significant as Emirates but certainly different enough to wish you’d booked on the A380, not the 777. I’m not entirely sure what refitted meant when I booked my Business Class flight, but the seat I sat in was a far cry from the one I sat in when I toured Business Class on my First Class Suites flight.
I’m not complaining about flying Singapore Airlines Business Class, I’m just saying for the same amount of points I could have flown on the A380 and enjoyed lie flat bedding not slightly angled lie flat (faux lie flight). I wanted to raise this point for anyone that is thinking of booking a Business Class flight – plane choice is the most important factor.
Perhaps I’ve become a little jaded, but outside of on plane service, my whole Singapore Airlines experience was fairly underwhelming (in September 2016). A point I mentioned briefly in my First Class Article was the lacklustre Sydney check in – it really needs something that screams a bit more occasion (as does the lounge).
I checked in 3 hours before my flight to get some work done in the lounge and interestingly wasn’t given an Express Pass-through immigration. The fellow on the opposite side of customs, before security, also thought it was strange and let me skip the line which was nice.
After checking into the SilverKris lounge, I walked over to the food station to find a grim cheese board, some uninviting sandwiches and some hot dishes. I went to retrieve a beer and turned around to see a woman who worked at the lounge helping herself to the final piece of cheese which I thought was especially fascinating. I looked for some nuts, but there weren’t any, then quietly wished I was next door at the Air New Zealand lounge enjoying a flat white from the in-lounge barista.
I chose to sit in 18F in the centre of the plane because both seats have aisle access. It’s surprising how hard it is to climb over someone sleeping after a handful of ports and a sleeping tablet. I had a seat spare next to me which always makes things a little nicer, and convenient, allowing me to stash my laptop and possessions on the seat next to me.
The seat while old isn’t terrible, it just doesn’t go flat for sleeping. I’ve said this so many times – the ability to lie flat is the number one priority flying Business Class. Feeling like you are lying on a Thermarest camping mattress that is sliding down an embankment trapped in a plastic womb is my idea of a nightmare. Angled lie flat seats are similar to said experience.
The entertainment system on the 777 is a joke and not a hilarious Dave Chapelle ‘Baby on the corner’ one – it’s the worst I’ve experienced. A handful of new releases, seven ‘Hollywood’ movies, three docos and a bunch of TV shows with two episodes from the middle of a series. If carriers are going to offer TV shows, why not just add the box set so you can get actually get into it?
My last gripe is my table, it’s on a slant, and I’m currently watching my wine glass slide across it. I’m also grieving with each mouthful of antipasti as I watch my balsamic dressing retreat in its entirety to the bottom corner of the slanted plate wondering what could have been had it been lacquered evenly. adorned correctly.
Reading it back, it’s all legit. Minus the poetic licence.
Five days after my flight my parents left Sydney. It was my mother’s first time flying Business Class, and I was stoked they got to experience the refitted seats and updated entertainment. They indulged in endless entertainment, got especially merry and enjoyed a proper rest on actual lie flat seats. Both were uninspired by the lounge experience, which didn’t surprise me at all. But on the plane, they had a fantastic time, and this boils down to the following factors, service, food, drink and the seat and entertainment.
The food and drink on my flight was great, as was the service. My parent’s applauded the service on their flight, decimating the champagne stock, and being encouraged to do so. The point I’m getting at is the food, drink and service component is usually consistent, and with Singapore, it’s consistently good.
The lesson here is when you’re picking a Business Class carrier and flight, you must work out what the best product is from that carrier and ensure you fly it because I promise you, you’ll be disappointed if you don’t. I recently booked a First Class Apartment ticket on Etihad’s A380, the best First Class product in the sky, and they charge the same price for their old First Class product on the 777 which looks comparatively dull, to say the least.
As of last week, I’m back to square one, trying to work out which planes feature the refitted Singapore Airlines Business Class and which don’t, trying to avoid a repeat of this trip. Unfortunately, no one can give me a straight answer. It’s worth avoiding it altogether and check out the new A380 business class instead.