After some warm, comfortable days in Singapore, it was time for my return to more northern latitudes – this time in Business Class aboard one of Singapore Airlines’ 14 Airbus A350-900s. With departure at 00:20, I was afforded the full day in Singapore, as well as large portions of the evening, which is very convenient if you are in town to attend a corporate dinner or the like. Evenings are a busy time Changi Airport, but it never seems to get frantic or stressful, which is almost commonplace at other major airports around the world.
I arrived at Changi Airport approximately 21:30. I proceeded to Terminal 3, where I checked in at one of the First/Suites counters since there was a little queue ahead of me at Business check in. I had a separate onward ticket to Oslo Gardermoen Airport, but my luggage was unproblematically checked in all the way to Oslo.
From check-in, I made my way via the automatic immigration system where you scan your passport and then your thumb. This is slightly different to arrival at Changi, where you also scan your thumb, but the process in not automated.
At Changi, the security check happens right at the departure gate, which means that after immigration you are immediately in the midst of all the many attractions the airport offers. We at BusinessClass will write a separate article on this at a later date.
In the middle of Terminal 3 you will find the Silver Kris Lounge. It is located on the second floor – just turn left after the escalator and a member of staff will guide you to either the very large Silver Kris lounge, or possibly to the First Class area or The Private Room. The latter is dedicated to those travelling in Suites or First Class with Singapore Airlines.
This evening, the lounge was full to the brim with guests, but after a bit of exploration I found a seat in a quiet corner and grabbed myself some salted nuts and a glass of Champagne, making sure not to spoil my appetite before my onboard meal – which I was particularly looking forward to as I had ordered one of my favorite dishes from Singapore Airlines’ Book the Cook service. At about 23:30, I took a trip to one of the restrooms and changed into a set of clothes that were more suitable for the latitudes I would return to. I then scooted over to gate B3 where flight SQ362 was set to leave from. In front of the B gates, there is a quick and efficient security check. Once I made it through and arrived at the gate, boarding started right away and as a Business Class traveller, I was one of the to be called to board. However, when my boarding card was scanned, there was a series of ominous beeps from the machine and I feared the worst – not a downgrade?!
The staff at the gate informed me that my seat, 11K, had a malfunctioning entertainment system and that despite trying to fix it several times, they had no luck. I was offered another seat, but since this was a night flight, my focus was on sleep and tranquillity rather than films and entertainment. At the gate, there was a separate queue for Business Class passengers, which was convenient.
Onboard I met in-flight supervisor, Sam, a very pleasant man who expressed his regret at the situation with the entertainment system. After a few minutes, a technician came up with a yellow vest and attempted once again to solve the problem, but the touch screen remote control was unresponsive.
He failed to fix the problem, but Sam wanted to try again as soon as we got into the air. It was at this time that a hot cloth and a glass of Champagne (Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve) were delivered to my seat – as well as a quick refill before we got to the runway.
Suddenly, Sam showed up at my place and informed me that seat 18F was free if I wanted to eat there and watch a movie before returning to 11K. This, I believe, was a commendable initiative.
The seat itself was wide and there is plenty of room for small items in various storage rooms.
The noise-reducing headphones are located in a separate compartment and the table is folded out from the side. Smooth and simple.
On the side of the seat there are reading lights – in fact, there are three different LED lights that project at different angles and can be adjusted in strength. This will allow you to tailor the light to whatever you are doing.
When sitting in your seat, you are unable to see your fellow passengers unless you lean forward. This is, in my view, ideal, and the 1-2-1 configuration works well. The middle seats are more suitable for those travelling with a partner, but of course, you can also deploy the partition for more privacy. The cabin itself feels spacious and is extra airy since the overhead compartments are just above the windows.
After we took off and reached a cruising altitude, I was escorted to 18F and served a Singapore Sling with a small bowl of hot nuts. The drink was quite strong for my taste but went down well.
After a few minutes the table was covered with a white cloth and cutlery laid out – not the disposable forks, knives and spoons, but the real thing. The starter came quickly in the form of a crab meat salad with mango salsa and herb vinaigrette.
I also went for the garlic bread as an accompaniment, which was very tasty. With this, I had a glass of 2016 Mud House Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. It worked so well with the starter that I chose to continue with it for my main course, which was Lobster Thermidor that I had ordered via Book the cook.
And I must say, I was mightily impressed with how tasteful and well-cooked this meal was cooked. I really must give full credence to the airline for this dish. You have more than 10 dishes to choose from the Book the Cook service, but since it was midnight in Singapore time, I did not fancy filling my stomach with a heavy steak or the similar – no matter how tempting it was. I strongly recommend Lobster Thermidor. Eventually, the plate was removed and dessert served – Raspberry Millefeuille, a flaky puff pastry with raspberry sauce.
It was certainly not bad, but felt a bit like an “assembly line product”, if you catch my drift. After this I had a small cheese platter with; Emmental, garlic cream and smoked mozzarella served with garnishes. It was nice and I then chose to call it a day and return to my original seat, 11K, and get prepared for the night.
I must also mention that the ‘standard dishes’ that were available on board were also attractive. You can see more details of these in the pictures.
Back in 11K I was put on my belt, which contains an airbag. I do not know the details of how this works, but I chose to believe it could be advantageous in an unfortunate situation.
I put the pillow in place, pulled up my blanket and slept quite well. Fortunately, Singapore Airlines does not have a particularly warm cabin. It was hotter than in my bedroom, but not uncomfortable when sleep clothes on. I slept close to 6 hours, mostly undisturbed, with the “do not disturb” sign ensuring I was not awoken by any staff. The button to activate this is next to the seat controls.
I wouldn’t have minded an extra mattress as I slept since you can slightly feel the structure of the seat when you sleep in certain positions. Singapore Airlines’ bed is made by folding the seat back, and it seems to be the ‘crease’ you can notice in your hip or lower back.
In the bulkhead (rows 11 or 19 on the Airbus A350) the seat is slightly better in that you do not have a slightly restricted space where you stretch your legs out in when you lay down thanks to the curved wall in most seats. Rather, you have the entire seat width and can switch sleeping position without kicking the walls.
By the way, Singapore Airlines’ latest Business Class product is very good. It’s wide, it gives a good separation from other passengers and the only thing you miss is the ability to close the door to you surrounding – this isn’t the Suite product. However, I think the new Business Class product provides far better shielding than the previous product. The seat now also offers a good “reclined/movie position”. By sitting in seat 11K, I was far enough away from both the toilet and the galley. 11A has some toilet traffic since the toilet is on that side, while row 19 should be avoided on night flights for this reason. I woke up when we were approaching Moscow and I asked Sam for a quick bite, to which he responded: “What do you want, sir?” I requested something easy, just some fruit, croissant, juice and black coffee.
It did not take long before this was brought to me. I assured Sam that I would eat fast. “Please do not rush, Mr Holm. We have time.” After breakfast was cleared, we began the final approach to Moscow’s Domododevo Airport, so I freshened up in the bathroom. Singapore Airlines did not distribute a complete amenity kit in business class, but before departure, socks, slippers and an eye mask were handed out. Additionally, there was a good selection of items in the bathroom, such as moisturiser and toothbrushes.
We landed on schedule in Moscow, and after a few minutes, I was departing the plane with my personal belongings in hand. There was an announcement that everything must be removed from the cabin and anything left onboard will be removed by the Russian authorities. Transit at this time of day is not exactly ideal, but since I was sitting in front of the aircraft, I was quickly off the plane and through passport and security control. I took myself up to the lounge, which, as this morning, was pretty crowded. There I had a cup of coffee and some water before it was ready for boarding from gate 13A. Back on board, I was now sat in 11A.
Previously, in-flight supervisor Sam had asked if I wanted to switch to this seat since the passenger who had it from Singapore to Moscow was not continuing on with us. I was thankful for that as I could now get stuck into the content and, not least, test out the superb user interface on the KrisWorld entertainment system. The 18-inch display is bright and crisp to look at.
You navigate it via a smartphone-style remote with touch-screen and a few physical buttons on it. On this short trip to Arlanda from Moscow, I chose not to watch a movie, but I did find the selection to be very good, with a lot of new movies, series, and a good selection of music. A nice touch is that you can link your mobile phone to the seat so that you can navigate the KrisWorld system via your own phone. This worked seamlessly with my Samsung Galaxy S7. This feature is also available in Premium Economy. The weather for this final leg to Stockholm on an early Saturday morning was calm and clear, and the Stockholm Archipelago eventually revealed itself before we landed gently and parked t one of the outer F-gates.
I went up to the SAS lounge while I waited for my connection to Oslo. And thankfully, my luggage was forwarded for me – even though it was a separate booking. As I have written before, the new route between Stockholm and Singapore is a welcome contribution, but in an ideal world, the stop off in Moscow would not happen. On the other hand, it is cheaper to fly this route to Singapore than, for example, via Copenhagen, and we in the BusinessClass editorial office only hope the popularity of the route will mean that you do not have to fly through Moscow in the future. Singapore Airlines has a very good Business Class product that is far ahead of most other airlines. Not only is the Business Class product itself very good, but the service and attention to detail make you not just feel like a passenger, but as a welcome guest on board.