Earlier last year, I spent a month in Australia with my family to celebrate my parent’s wedding anniversary, as well as to see the wonderful sights that the Down Under has to offer.
That enabled me to experience a long ride in Economy Class with Singapore Airlines.
This conception of spending 20 and a half hours in an aircraft in an uncomfortable class is definitely not the case with a carrier like Singapore.
This review will consist of two trip reports featuring the Economy Class product onboard Singapore Airlines’ Airbus A350-900 and its durability on what I consider The Aussie Hop, from Brisbane Airport to Manchester Airport in the UK.
Total flight time on the two legs is 20 hours and 30 minutes, with the Brisbane-Singapore hop being eight hours and the Singapore-Manchester hop being on average around 12 and a half hours.
- Flight Number: SQ246
- Departure Airport: Brisbane Airport (BNE/YBBN)
- Arrival Airport: Singapore Changi Airport (SIN/WSSS)
- Departure Time: 2350L
- Arrival Time: 0545L+1
- Aircraft: Airbus A350-900
- Registration: 9V-SMP
- Gate: 79
- Seat: 51K
- Date: 1st September 2019
We begin with our flight between Brisbane Airport and Singapore. Due to me having to return the rental car early, we turned up to the airport at around 1800 L, around six hours before departure time.
We were checked in online so all we had to do was drop the bags. The check-in online process worked very smoothly thanks to the Singapore Air app transferring my boarding passes to my iPhone, offering great ease getting through the airport.
However, I am the nostalgic sort of person who likes having the physical copies, so I opted for them as well. As we got to the airport early due to check-out times on rentals and hotels, we had to wait about an hour and a half before the bag drop opened.
This was also due to the easy element of finding our way around the airport, acquiring a very efficient coach transfer from domestic to international departures.
Bag drop was completed by us at 2100L, and we then proceeded through security. This took approximately ten minutes, reflecting Brisbane’s excellent security service. With around two hours and fifty minutes to kill, I proceeded to get food and look around duty-free.
By around 2250L, an hour before departure, the gate opened as boarding commenced. I would be assigned Seat 51K for this flight.
This leg would see me flying onboard 9V-SMP, the Airbus A350 in question which is aged at around 2.2 years old at the time of writing. So a fresh young bird to say the least.
Upon reaching my seat, legroom was noticeably large for myself which would enable me to get a better comfort on this night flight. The screens on offer are very substantial with an IFE controller also on offer to browse through its selections.
It has 300 movies, 192 TV Shows, 843 albums, 3 podcasts and over 10 games installed on this product which is quite a lot to get through in eight hours.
USB and battery chargers also come with the Economy product meaning I can charge my phone in-flight, which is very convenient.
At 2330L, pushback and taxi began, about 20 minutes early, which offered a long/short taxi to the runway.
At 2342L, we blasted out of the sky from Singapore Changi from Runway 01R and began our climb to cruising altitude. This made the flight eight minutes ahead of schedule showing positive punctuality.
Flight time was expected to be around eight hours, but the captain informed us it would be around seven hours and five minutes, giving us an arrival time of 0440L, meaning we would be arriving around an hour and five minutes early into Changi. Impressive stuff!
Not long after the cruise, food and drinks service began. On the menu were Turkish Pide and Vegetarian Turkish Pide with coffee and tea.
This was classed more as an appetiser as there wasn’t really much to eat. I did, however, think this was a nice snack to eat before it was time to get some rest. The Pide had loads of flavours and was very filling and satisfying. This was swilled down with a refreshing can of Tiger beer.
As we got to FL380, I decided to get a couple of hours rest before breakfast commenced.
I had about two hours of sleep before the lights in the cabin came alive. At this point, we were at FL400 with around two and a quarter hours left to roll.
Hot towels were handed out to freshen up slightly and before we knew it, it was time for breakfast before our early morning arrival.
This consisted of seasonal fresh fruit, Omelette with Chicken Sausage featuring sautéed mushrooms, tomatoes and potatoes all rounded off with some bread roll and coffee.
I thought this went well although I would have replaced the mushroom and tomatoes with a hash brown and some beans instead. There was also a yoghurt included in this meal.
I was not a particular fan as it had bits in it. I’m more of a smooth-rolling kinda guy. The bread roll was able to fill me up sufficiently due to me leaving out the tomatoes and mushrooms.
After breakfast service concluded, I opted for an additional hour to sleep as I would need all the energy I could get before my 14-hour layover in Changi to see the city. At this point, the descent would have occurred.
At around 0410L, our descent from FL400 into Singapore Changi commenced. The flight overall was very smooth with little to no turbulence at all, which was really nice.
The product so far was very comfy and spacious, and will no doubt have any problems with this product on my second leg.
By around 0435L, the final preparations for landing had been made and it was then time for the landing!
At 0445L, we touched down an hour ahead of schedule on Runway 20R at Changi to conclude this leg! A fantastic start so far from Singapore Airlines to say the least!
- Flight Number: SQ52
- Departure Airport: Singapore Changi Airport (SIN/WSSS)
- Arrival Airport: Manchester Airport (MAN/EGCC)
- Departure Time: 0225L
- Arrival Time: 0910L
- Aircraft: Airbus A350-900
- Registration: 9V-SMN
- Gate: A3
- Seat: 51K
- Date: 3rd September 2019
We entered security at 1700L on the 2nd. We didn’t need to check-in as our boarding passes for this leg was handed to us at Brisbane, which was very convenient.
We had decided we were exhausted after our outing around Singapore city with about two hours of sleep from the previous leg.
We would therefore just mull around the airport and get some naps in as sleeping on the plane doesn’t really happen for me.
This consisted of having a look around Changi’s brand new piece of infrastructure, dubbed The Jewel.
This is a brand new complex attached to Changi which offers a large variety of restaurants, high street shops, cinema rooms and lounges which can be used before you go through security.
The sheer size of the project, featuring a waterfall that reaches the ceiling, just shows how much effort was put into this project. It was honestly an honour to see it with my own eyes.
Once time had passed, at around 0125L on the 3rd, boarding had commenced for the 12-hour mega flight back to Manchester Ringway.
I would be given seat 51H for tonight’s flight but thanks to kind siblings, they gave me 51K.
About two hours before boarding we found out that SQ52 would push back from Gate A3, so we headed down there and set up camp in preparation for boarding to begin!
We proceeded through security at 0100L and was done within two minutes, showing off the efficiency within Changi Airport. Very world-class!
At 0155L, boarding finally began, where I was greeted and guided towards my seat being 51K. Legroom on this particular airframe feels a lot spacier, especially with such a big bag of mine, was a bonus!
Before pushback, the hot towels were handed out so I could freshen up. At the same time, the captain updated us on the plan of action for the flight, offering a flight time of 13 hours and 20 minutes with an initial cruise of 34,000 feet.
At 0220L, we began our pushback and taxi towards Runway 20C.
At 0237L, we departed from Runway 20C and began our climb out to cruise of FL340.
Whilst we were climbing out, I was able to take a look at the menu for this specific routing. Each route that Singapore Airlines operates tends to have a slightly different meal format.
We start with beverages, where on the alcoholic side there is lots to choose from. The list is as follows:
- White Wine
- Red Wine
- Singapore Sling and Other Cocktails
- Local Beer
For the non-alcoholic side, there is a choice of soft drinks, fruit juices as well as coffee and teas respectively.
Supper offers a potato salad with smoked turkey appetiser, fish fillet with dill lemon sauce served with vegetables and potatoes or the Soy Sauce Chicken Noodles with Chinese greens for mains, followed by Apple Cinnamon Cake for dessert, Bread Roll and Spread as well as coffee and tea on offer.
After Supper, there is the choice of opting for some delectables to keep you going over the 13-hour flight such as cold vegetarian or savoury sandwiches, peas and crackers, assorted muffins, chips, a trail mix and some fresh fruits.
Around two hours before arrival, we will then be served with breakfast offering seasoned fresh fruit, tomato and onion egg frittata served with chicken sausage, baked beans and potatoes or the braised egg noodles with pork in oriental sauce and vegetables for mains assorted with a bread roll and spreads and coffees and teas as well.
Back to the flight. Climb out was very smooth, with the aircraft making a left turn moments after departure from Runway 20C. There was no element of turbulence for the first few thousand feet but became ever so slightly mild as we got higher.
The terrain at night provided for some fantastic views! Within ten minutes after departure, we had soared 15,000 feet, reflecting what could be noted as the captain’s determination to get to cruise as fast as possible due to some weather giving us a mild bounce. It smoothened out thereafter.
Like on Leg 1, the amenities you get on Economy are enough to cope on big flights like a pillow for the back, blanket to sleep well in as well as headphones for your in-flight entertainment.
Foodservice started not long after we achieved a cruise. The supper, as listed previously, was just spectacular.
The fish was perfectly made, the potatoes went very well with the sauce but a little critique was that there were too many vegetables as it was overflowing sometimes on the fish.
The smoked turkey was very tasty, with it going well with the salad. This was all mopped up with the buttered bread roll sufficiently. Finally, the Apple Cinnamon Roll was to die for! It had the perfect texture and the perfect amount of flavour! A fantastic start to service!
After this meal, I immediately opted for some sleep as I had a long day in Singapore already seeing the sight. After I woke up, I estimated that I had around seven hours worth of sleep on this flight.
I first woke up as we had just past Kabul, Afghanistan to see some epic sunrise photos from my window, with the local time in the area being around 0510L at the time. I had noticed that our step climb had increased to FL360 as well. At this point as well, halfway through the flight, we had an estimated arrival time of 0845L, which was around 25 minutes ahead of schedule too which was nice.
At this point, I wanted a little snack so I opted for the Assorted Chips from the menu and just a cup of water to keep myself hydrated after what was probably the best sleep I have had in Economy Class.
As we reached the official halfway point in the flight, we took an additional step climb up to FL380 near the areas of Mashhad and Kandahar.
I proceeded to utilise the in-flight entertainment before I went for another nap to reduce my jetlag effects. Before we knew it, we are at FL400 over Nizhny Novogorod.
The last couple hours of the flight would see us transit further over Eastern Europe over the Baltic’s and the Scandinavian areas too before entering the UK via the east coast.
I decided to try out the Wi-Fi onboard the flight. I paid $3.99 for the Chat (30mb) package where messaging applications and the likes of Twitter work but at slow speeds. I did a speed test on this WiFi and it produced 0.11mbps of download and 0.06mbps of upload which is expected with a package like this. Yes, it may be slow but it’s bearable.
There are two other packages that Singapore Airlines offer. The other one above Chat is Pro which costs $9.99 and gives you 100mb of internet access with the other being Premium for $15.99 for 200mb of usage. Given other carriers have charged more than this, this is good for what the industry is offering currently.
About three hours before arrival, the mood lighting onboard the stunning A350 came alive, slowly beginning to wake everyone up for breakfast service and also so then I can take some more wing shots as well!
I opted for the Frittata meal for breakfast as I feel it would provide more filling for me. And boy was I right about that!
The Frittata itself was very filling, meaning I was very satisfied by the time I ate the sausage, potatoes and beans. However, I felt that the potatoes were slightly dry as they weren’t placed with the beans, which would have added a better texture and feel in the mouth.
The Swiss yoghurt that came with it was very nice with the fruit offering a fantastic conclusion to this meal.
About an hour before arrival I woke from my post-good nap and was ready to touch down after being in the air for over 12 hours already.
We commenced descent from FL400 at 0813L just before the east coast of England.
We then began our approach onto Runway 23R/05L at 0845L. The excitement was in the air to land even more.
Happily, we landed onto Runway 23R/05L at 0850L, after 13 hours and 20 minutes in the air bringing an end to a long yet overall good review of Singapore Airlines and my usage of them to and from Australia.
There was not much to critique about this product, especially when doing long legs to the other side of the world. If I ever get the opportunity to fly with Singapore again, I will definitely grab it by the scruff of the neck and fly again.