Contributed by Hirofumi Suda
Earlier this year, I had a chance to try all four types of flat-bed business class seats that Singapore Airlines currently operates.
The first of the four flights took me from Mumbai to Singapore onboard the airline’s Airbus A350-900. Continue reading this review to see what the flight was like.
Check-in and Boarding
After arriving at the airport, I headed to Singapore Airlines’ business class check-in counter. As usual, the process was courteous and smooth – a typical Singapore Airlines experience.
Airside, I wondered a bit around the terminal – Mumbai airport’s terminal 2 is stunningly beautiful and was originally built with the concept of combining an airport terminal with an art museum – before heading to the GVK Lounge which I reviewed before.
Just like the check-in, the boarding was efficient as well.
There was a business class lane reserved for the actual business class passengers and PPS Club (status that can be achieved by spending 25,000 SGD on Singapore Airlines tickets in a year) members.
Economy class passengers with Star Alliance Gold status had to board with premium economy passengers instead.
Singapore Airlines A350 Business Class Cabin and Seat
Singapore Airlines operates A350s in three different configurations:
- Three-class long-haul configuration with a total of 253 seats (42 business class, 24 premium economy class, and 187 economy class)
- Two-class regional configuration with a total of 303 seats (40 business class, 263 economy class)
- Two-class ultra-long-haul configuration with a total of 161 seats (67 business class, 94 premium economy class)
The two-class regional configuration was only introduced recently and the ultra-long-haul configuration can be found onboard the airline’s A350-900ULR which operates the world’s longest flight among others. My flight was operated using an aircraft with the standard three-class configuration.
When I first reached my seat, I was shocked by its massive size. It was, by far, the wides aircraft seat I’d flown on – that includes the first class seats I had the chance to fly in (not that there were that many).
While the seat was wide, that cannot be said about the foot space – as is the case with many of the “modern” business class seats. Being 167 cm high, it didn’t bother me at all, although I can see how it could be restrictive for taller people.
As for the seat’s storage areas, there was a small space that could fit a pair of shoes under the seat, and there were several other open and covered smaller areas around the seat that could be used for storing smaller items such as cellphones and glasses. However, any larger pieces of luggage had to be placed in the overhead compartments.
Next to one of the storage compartments, there was also a small vanity mirror.
There were no individual air nozzles above the seat.
Other than the above, the outer armrest featured the seat controls, and there were reading lights on both sides of the seat. There were also a universal power outlet and USB (and some other) ports.
The one unusual seat feature that caught my attention was the ability to adjust the height of the tray table.
Departing Mumbai Airport
Singapore Airlines doesn’t provide a full amenity kit in business class. Instead, only slippers, socks, and an eye shade were waiting at the seat upon boarding. Other amenities could be found in the lavatories.
The flight’s menu (as well as the in-flight magazine, entertainment guide, safety card, and other printed materials) were prepared at the seat as well.
While preparing for departure, the cabin crew came around offering pre-departure drinks. I went with a glass of orange juice, and not long after finishing it, we were ready to depart.
We taxied past the slums surrounding Mumbai airport, and took off. After take off, it was possible to get an idea of just how large the slums in the city are.
Once the seatbelt signs were switched off, I headed to one of the lavatories. It was well stocked with amenities including dental kits and shaving razors (just like Singapore Airlines economy class lavatories are), and there was a changing board as well.
Singapore Airlines A350 In-Flight Entertainment System
While waiting for the meal service to commence, I took a look at the in-flight entertainment system. The seat was equipped with a high-resolution touchscreen, as well as a remote control with a screen. Singapore Airlines provided a noise-cancelling headset.
KrisWorld was very easy to navigate – especially so using the touchscreen. There was an extensive selection of movies as well as TV series. On this short, five-hour flight, I decided to watch 12 Strong – a movie about the US military team that was sent to Afghanistan right after the September 11 attacks.
Besides the entertainment programs, there was also an in-flight map that could be rotated, zoomed in, etc. freely.
Singapore Airlines Regional Business Class Lunch
As for the meal service, I was impressed by the offering on the fairly short, five-hour regional flight. Both the quantity and quality were top-notch, and the meal definitely rivaled some of other carriers’ first class.
Let’s start with a look at the menu. (For the non-wine drink menu, check my review of a Singapore Airlines A330 business class flight from Singapore to Delhi.)
I started out the meal service with a glass of Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve which was followed by the first course – a delicious lamb and chicken satay.
And, I followed that with a glass of SilverKris Sling – Singapore Airlines’ original cocktail made out of gin, orange liqueur, orange juice, pineapple juice, and Champagne – and a glass of Cru Bourgeois red wine.
For lunch, I went with Ruchi Thali – a traditional Indian set meal prepared by Sanjeev Kapoor, Singapore Airlines’ Indian cuisine chef.
The set started with a polenta appetizer that came with fresh Indian-style salad and a little jar of yogurt. The presentation of the appetizer was refined and the quality was excellent.
I chose the slow braised chicken curry for the main. As the menu above mentions, it came with dal (lentil curry), braised lady fingers, and basmati rice with vegetables and berries. Just as the appetizer, the main was excellent and equivalent to what one could find in a good restaurant on the ground.
Once I was done with the main, I was served a tasty dessert – the chef’s original dish combining gajar halwa (sweetened carrot) and Western-style tart. Together with the dessert, I had a cup of very flavorful TWG Vanilla Bourbon tea.
By this point, I was already stuffed. However, how could I refuse the cheese and fruits plate that followed?
Finally, once all the plates were cleared, the crew distributed pralines. That finished what was the best business class meal service I’d had the chance to experience.
Full Bedding Set on a Five Hour Flight
With the meal service over, I asked the crew for a turn-down service. I was impressed that even though it was just a five-hour daytime flight, there were a mattress pad, two large pillows, and a comfortable duvet.
The one thing that is worth noting about Singapore Airlines’ long-haul business class seats is that the turn-down service really is a turn-down service. To turn my seat into a bed, the crew had to pull a lever on the back of the seat to fold it over to its other side. In other words, the back of the actual seat becomes the bed surface.
Also, while I didn’t find that to be a problem, some people might find the bed quite hard (and the mattress pad too thin.
Evening Arrival in Singapore
Not long after I laid down, it was time for the crew to prepare the cabin for our arrival. And, the memorable flight came to an end just after five hours of flight time when we landed in dark Singapore.
Singapore Airlines A350-900 Business Class Summary
I can only describe the flight with one simple word – amazing.
Both the check-in staff and cabin crew were courteous, the meal was of high quality, the seat was comfortable, and full bedding was offered even though it was just a short regional flight.
Thanks to that, Singapore continues to be my (and many others’) favorite airline.