Date: September 1, 2017
Flight No.: SQ12
Route: Singapore Changi to Los Angeles International
Airline: Singapore Airlines
Type: Boeing 777-300ER
Flight Duration: 19 hrs 6 min (incl. 2 hrs 11 min at Tokyo NRT)
After a short transfer at Singapore Changi on my round-the-world trip, it was time to continue the journey onboard a Singapore Airlines 777-300ER. At almost 9,000 miles, the premium economy flight from Singapore to Los Angeles via Tokyo Narita happened to be my longest flight! That is, disregarding the stop in Tokyo Narita…
On a side note, I had an option to choose a non-stop A350 flight to San Francisco while booking the trip. But, I decided to go with the one-stop flight to Los Angeles so that I could get a quick rest at Narita instead of sitting for more than 14 hours straight.
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Beautifully Designed Changi Airport
Before I get to the flight itself, I want to note that Changi is my most favorite airport in the world.
It’s beautiful, clean, easy-to-navigate, and it offers a lot of fun things to do including a free cinema, gardens, a swimming pool, and various shopping options. I like to say that Changi is more like a theme park than an airport – and I never get bored even if I have to spend long hours there.
If the above is not enough, and you would prefer to have a drink or get some work done, you can access several lounges at Singapore Changi with a Priority Pass membership.
As the boarding time approached, I headed to my flight’s departure gate where I had to go through a security check. Unlike most other airports, rather than having one central security check point, security check at Changi is done at each gate separately.
The boarding process itself was very orderly and calm, and when Star Alliance Gold and premium economy passengers were called, I was among the first of the group to enter the cabin.
A Four Class Singapore Airlines 777-300ER
While Singapore Airlines has both three and four class 777-300ERs in its fleet, this particular aircraft was in the four class configuration.
At the very front of the aircraft, there was one row of first class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. The seats looked extremely wide and could easily fit two adults side-by-side. Plus, with only 4 seats, the cabin felt very private as well.
Then, there were 48 business class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration just like in first class. However, due to the tighter seat pitch, when in full-flat mode, one must sleep diagonally. It was sort of like a reverse-herringbone seat except with a massive seat width.
Singapore Airlines surely has a unique business class product and one day I’d love to try the comfortable-looking seat!
After the business class cabin, there were 28 premium economy class seats in a 2-4-2 arrangement, but more on that later.
Finally, there was the economy class cabin with 184 seats in a 3-3-3 arrangement. It is definitely one of the most comfortable economy class seats in the industry! …and the recline seemed generous as well.
Singapore Airlines 777-300ER Premium Economy Cabin and Seat
Now, let’s take a closer look at the premium economy class cabin and seat.
Although I had already experienced Singapore Airlines’ premium economy product on the A380 on my flight to Singapore, there were some noticeable differences between the two:
- The 777-300ER premium economy cabin felt more cozy than the A380 one as it only had three rows of seats next to the windows
- There was no large gap between the window seat and the wall like on the A380 making it easier to lean against the wall
- The seat itself was a bit narrower than on the A380
- The IFE system was newer and included an updated remote control, but programming was identical
The one other different thing – although it has nothing to do with the cabin – was the head set which, although different from the one on my Delhi to Singapore flight, was still noise cancelling and of good quality.
Other than that, the above, the seats – including the seat pitch, design and features – were identical to the A380 ones.
Departing Singapore Changi Airport Bound for Tokyo Narita
Once everyone was seated, a hot towel was provided.
On a separate note, one thing I realized when I sat down was that the premium economy cabin on SQ’s 777-300ER isn’t located in the best spot since it’s right above the wings.
In spite of that, I was able to enjoy some nice views while we were taxiing for take-off.
Having Nasi Lemak for Lunch
Soon after take-off, the meal service started. First, a drink was served. I chose a to go with a cup of orange juice.
Then, the lunch was served. Below is the menu for the first segment of the flight.
I found it impressive that not only were three choices of main offered (economy class passengers get more or less the same choice), but that there was also a separate appetiser for the Japanese selection.
Instead of choosing from the menu, however, I had pre-ordered a different lunch option using Singapore Airlines’ Book the Cook service.
I tried nasi lemak, which is a popular traditional Malay and Singaporean local dish consisting of steamed coconut rice, fried chicken, omelette, grilled fish cake, dried fish, peanuts, and sweet and spicy sambal sauce.
The side dishes were the same as the ones offered with the standard international meals. Here, I want to note that – even though it was served cold – the bread which contained corn, olives and cheese – was one of the most unique ones served onboard.
As for the meal overall, the portion was quite generous with more than enough of each part of the dish. It was considerably larger than an ordinary economy portion – one of the advantages of the Book the Cook service which is only available to premium economy passengers and above. In fact, while I usually finish economy class meals, with this one I got too full before I could eat all of it.
Taste-wise, it was authentic, but – to be honest – not so memorable.
Ice Cream & Singapore Sling
While large part of the meal was the same for economy and premium economy class passengers, there was a slight difference in the ice cream served as dessert.
In premium economy, we got Ben & Jerry’s. In economy, a smaller cup of a different brand (I couldn’t read the package) was served. The ice cream was rock hard and so I had to wait a couple of minutes before diving into it.
Along with the dessert, I was asked if I wanted any drink, and so I ordered Singapore Sling – a gin-based cocktail invented in Singapore.
I was told that it’d be brought back later. And, since the same crew served both premium economy and economy, I thought my order would be forgotten by the time the ice cream service was finished, but surprisingly, it was made and brought to my seat promptly after some time.
Actually… I guess it was the standard of service that I could have expected from Singapore Airlines!
Watching Japan Themed Shows
To kill time, on the first segment to Narita, I watched two shows.
The first one was a short travel documentary about Japan featuring Joanna Lumley, a UK television star. It was interesting to see how outsiders see Japan when they travel to the country for the first time.
The second thing I watched was a Japanese movie called Nekoatsume no Ie, or “a house of cats”.
It’s about a young writer who struggles to publish his novels and decides to escape to countryside. There, he rents an old house where many stray cats come and start living with the writer. That ends up giving him some inspiration.
A Well-Stocked Washroom
During the cruise, I also visited one of the the washrooms which – similar to the A380 – was shared with economy class passengers.
While the fact that there was no dedicated premium economy class lavatory might be a bit disappointing, the washrooms were well-stocked in amenities – including tooth brushes, mouthwash, hand moisturizer, perfume, and combs.
Champagne Before Landing in Narita
The flight went by fairly quickly and before I realized, it was time for the final round of drinks before arriving in Japan.
I went with a glass of champagne. The brand served in premium economy was Nicolas Feuillatte. And, a pack of roasted almonds and cashew nuts was offered along with the drink as well.
Interestingly, the same snack was served on my flight in business class that I flew a couple of months prior.
Transiting in Japan for the First Time
After landing in Narita, it was time to get off the aircraft and transit. It actually felt a bit weird to transit at Narita – my home airport – since before this flight, it had always been either my final destination or origin.
In fact, it let me wondering how many Japanese passport holders actually go through the transit security check at Narita.
During the layover at Narita, I spent most of the time in the ANA Lounge where I also had a chance to take a refreshing shower. More about the lounge in the next review, though.
After about two hours on the ground, it was time to board the aircraft again. At that point, we were still about 10 hours away from LA! Luckily, there was no passenger sitting in front of me on this segment meaning no one would be reclining into my space. That helped greatly with the comfort on the overnight flight to Los Angeles.
The Best Japanese Economy Class Meal Ever?
Shortly after taking off from Tokyo Narita, dinner service commenced.
Let’s start with the menu:
For this meal, I decided not to have anything from the Book the Cook options and instead chose one from the menu. Since their menu described how the Japanese meal was supposed to be authentic, I decided to test it.
And, all I can say is that I had the BEST Japanese economy class meal I’d ever had. In fact, I flew with JAL and ANA in economy class many times, but I was never as impressed by any of the meals I had onboard those two airlines as much as I was with this one.
The juicy chicken was perfectly cooked and tasted like charcoal grilled (yes, that’s authentic!). The vegetables were unbelievably fresh and tasty, and the rice was perfectly cooked.
For dessert, a cup of Haagen-Dazs ice cream was served. Funnily enough, I had three ice creams onboard SQ between Delhi and Los Angeles, and all three of them were different. First Magnum, then Ben & Jerry’s, and finally Haagen-Dazs – it was nice to have the variety!
Since I hadn’t had enough sleep since leaving Delhi, I decided to skip the in-flight entertainment after the dinner and went straight to sleep. During the night, a bottle of water was distributed.
Another Best Meal in Economy?!
About an hour and a half before landing in Los Angeles, a lunch was served.
While the menu said “light lunch”, I didn’t see any difference in the size of the portion compared to the previous meals.
The service started with a hot towel. And then, the main meal was served.
For this one, I opted for “beef hamburg with fried potatoes” out of the Book the Cook options. For those who don’t know what hamburg is, it’s a westernized Japanese dish made from minced beef – basically a burger patty without the buns.
The hamburg came in mushroom sauce with boiled corn, broccoli, and fried potatoes. The beef was very juicy, and the portion was as big as the first meal’s. With that, I can conclude that the Book the Cook meal portions are quite generous.
As you’ve seen above, I was impressed with the previous meal. But, I have to say that this one was even better. In fact, it was the best main dish I ever had in economy.
After the main, I had strawberry cake with whipped cream and berry compote for dessert. And once again, it was excellent.
Overall, I can’t say anything else than that I was just impressed with the quality of meals Singapore Airlines provides in premium economy (and thus also in regular economy). Between Delhi and Los Angeles, I had four full meals each of which was unique:
- DEL-SIN: Indian lamb curry
- SIN-NRT: Malay (Singaporean) coconut rice with fried chicken and fish cake
- NRT-LAX: Japanese-style chicken (yakitori)
- NRT-LAX: Hamburg
What is more, on top of the Book the Cook option, there were three choices of main for each of the meals.
With the meal service done – just off the coast of the US – one last drink service was done. The drink of my choice this time was orange juice.
From there, it was just a short time until landing. During the approach, I was able to enjoy some great views of the city of angels.
Once on the ground, one of the final announcements on the flight was made. It went as follows:
Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for flying with us Singapore Airlines today.
I’d also like to thank everyone in our crew team for working your best and making us proud.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I hope that we have met your expectations. If there is anything that you were not happy with… [pause, getting a bit dramatic in lower tone] …I apologize.
Hope we’ll see you again soon.
Once again, thanks for flying with us and we hope you’ll have a great stay in your final destination.
I was like… Wow!
I mean, I wasn’t expecting the crew to “apologize” like this.
I believe it truly shows how Singapore Airlines is confident in the quality of their customer service – otherwise it wouldn’t be easy to say something like that.
Singapore Airlines 777-300ER Premium Economy Class Summary
Overall, I don’t think I can find any major fault with Singapore Airlines’ premium economy class. (Unless the lack of an eye-mask is a major fault?!)
The seat was very functional, comfortable, and the in-flight entertainment system provided plenty of options. The crew’s service was great, and the food excellent. I hope the airline will continue to provide such a high standard of service going forwards regardless of any necessary cost-cutting measures.
Thank you Singapore Airlines – despite of it being such a long flight, I enjoyed every minute onboard.
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