Contributed by Hirofumi Suda
Singapore Airlines – the launch customer of the Airbus A380 – operates the aircraft with two different types of business class seats. The older seat was introduced with the entry of the A380 into the airline’s fleet in 2007 while the newer one followed a decade later in 2017.
Currently, most of the A380s are still equipped with the older version of the seat. As such, I was glad to have a chance to spend some hours in it during a flight from Singapore to Mumbai last year.
Continue reading this review to see what it was like.
If you want to read about the newer seat, make sure to check my review of a flight from Singapore to Hong Kong.
Are you interested in trying business or first class for the price of economy?
If so, you might want to check out Four Ways to Try Business Class Without Breaking the Bank - a free guide that I put together detailing some of the ways I was able to do so - and experiment with some of the methods mentioned in it.
Transit at Singapore Changi Airport
Since my flight from Osaka arrived at a gate in terminal 1 (probably due to Singapore Airlines’ dedicated terminal 2 being packed), I had to take an automated shuttle to terminal 3 where my flight to Mumbai was leaving from.
There, since I still had some time before the flight would start boarding, I paid a quick visit to the SilverKris Lounge. Before leaving it and heading to the flight’s departure gate, I had a quick snack – cold almond jelly.
As with all my previous Singapore Airlines flights, boarding the flight was swift and smooth. And, I was the first business class passenger to enter the cabin.
Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 ‘Old’ Business Class Cabin
Unlike the other A380 business class flight I reviewed, the aircraft operating this flight was equipped with Singapore Airlines’ first generation flat-bed seat which was first introduced in 2006.
Because of its age, the seat was showing a bit of wear and tear. That said, the seat is also the widest of all the business class seat types the airline uses – and so, when you first enter the cabin, you might easily mistake it for first class.
The seat is so wide, in fact, that it can easily fit two adults side by side.
On a separate note, the seat is on the harder side, and so, the lack of padding might be a negative point for some people.
After settling down in my seat, 15A, I took some time to familiarize myself with its features.
In the seatback in front of me, there was a large screen. On one side of it, there were a mirror and a drink holder, and on its other side, there were a small storage compartment and power ports.
By the windows, there were larger storage compartments – a unique feature of the A380’s upper deck.
The seat controls were on a panel on the outer side of the seat.
Also, as mentioned earlier, the seat was very wide. The leg room was quite good as well, and the foot cubby was large enough to provide for a comfortable sleep.
Departing Singapore Changi Airport Bound for Mumbai
With most of the passengers settled in their seats, one of the flight attendants came around the cabin offering welcome drinks from a selection of water, orange juice, and Champagne (my choice). I was also offered Japanese newspaper which I found impressive given that it was a flight from Singapore to India.
An on-time departure that offered some nice night views followed, and once the cabin crew was able to move around the cabin, amenities including slippers, socks, and a sleeping mask were distributed.
With the seatbelt signs off, I also decided to check out the lavatories which were fairly simply equipped. There were some amenities including razors and dental kits available, though.
Singapore Airlines Singapore – Mumbai Business Class Dinner Service
Soon after take-off, Singapore Airlines’ customary satay service began.
Since the cabin wasn’t full, rather than being served from a cart, the cabin crew brought it directly from the galley. I requested a lamb and two chicken satays. As usual, it was really delicious. Around the same time, I also had a glass of ice tea.
For the actual dinner, the choices available onboard as were as follows.
Rather than choosing from the onboard menu, though, I had pre-ordered a dish using Singapore Airlines’ “Book the Cook” service. My choice was Singaporean Laska – a signature local noodle dish consisting of a thick seafood and coconut milk broth.
To start the meal, I got myself a glass of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
Then, the starter was served. Once again – like on my previous flight from Osaka to Singapore – it was a duck. However, the presentation and side dishes were slightly different, and included tasty seared scallops
The main dish that followed – laksa – was excellent as well. It was topped with a boiled egg, some chicken, prawns, and fried tofu. It was quite a filling bowl.
Towards the end of the meal, I asked for a glass of iced Milo.
Once that was served, chendol – a Singaporean dessert which is made of crushed ice and a variety of sweet toppings. It came with a scoop of coconut ice cream which enriched its taste.
Even though by this point, I was completely stuffed, I couldn’t refuse a cheese plate and some fresh fruits after the dessert. The fruits included longan – also called “dragon eye” – which is my favorite tropical fruit.
To finish the meal, I got some pralines along with a cup of herbal tea.
Cruising Towards Mumbai
For the rest of the flight, I enjoyed the in-flight entertainment, tried the seat in its full-flat mode, and just relaxed.
Given that the hard product on the aircraft was fairly old, the entertainment system screen was not as responsive as on some newer aircraft, and its resolution wasn’t that high either.
Still, I got to enjoy watching a travel documentary about India with Joanna Lumley who – as I found out while watching it – happened to be born in British India.
After watching the documentary, I asked one of the crew members if my seat could be turned down into a bed which was not a problem at all.
The space the bed provided was massive and it could easily have been mistaken for a double bed. However, because of the foot cubby, it is – of course – not possible to fit two adults into the bed. An adult and a child could probably be done, though.
Besides the fact that some people might find the bed to be a bit hard, its other downside is that the seat literally needs to be turned over – and so, you cannot simply recline into the bed mode like you could with a reverse herringbone seat for example.
Arriving at Mumbai Airport
Given how short the flight was, not long after I got my seat turned into a bed, it was time to turn it back and put it in the upright position.
Because of a storm, we had to hold for almost an hour before descending towards Mumbai airport and landing – bringing this excellent flight to an end.
Singapore Airlines Airbus A380-800 Business Class Summary
While the seat was more than a decade old, it was better than many of the modern seats, and it made me feel like I was sitting in first class rather than business class. Add to that the excellent meal service and the attentive crew that made sure my glass didn’t stay empty for too long, and you get what could be mistaken for first class service.
All in all, having flown in Singapore Airlines business class four times, I cannot praise them enough.
The only unfortunate thing about the whole experience was the fact that while Singapore Airlines offers excellent service onboard its business class, its lounge at Changi airport is mediocre at best.