As the COVID-19 pandemic situation continues to improve worldwide with the rollout of vaccines, and with the gradual resumption of mass travel in the months to come, I think it is timely to return to some coverage of a few noteworthy flights that I managed to enjoy in the months leading up to the outbreak of COVID-19. Hopefully, this will rekindle everyone’s love for travel when we can all return to the skies once again.
Singapore Airlines used to operate the newest A380-800 aircraft on flights to Mumbai, featuring the latest onboard cabin products. On this evening flight, we arrived at Changi Airport Terminal 3 with loads of time to spare, so that we could enjoy the SilverKris Lounge before the peak passenger traffic later in the evening.
Note that Singapore Airlines has announced that they will reopen the fully refurbished SilverKris Lounge for Business Class passengers late 2021, with the First Class and Private Room for First and Suites passengers slated to reopen in 2022. I am sure most travellers will be excited to see what these new lounges will have to offer by elevating the ground experience even further.
After having some snacks and drinks at the SilverKris Lounge, we proceeded to the gate early for boarding. The flight was operated by an A380 aircraft featuring the latest cabin products, and we managed to snag a pair of seats in row 11, which allows for the seats to be converted into a double bed, but more on that later!
Unlike the older configuration layout, the newer A380s have both Suites and Business Classes on the upper deck. In Business Class, seats are arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration, offering all passengers full aisle access.
All seats are spread out over three cabins, with the largest just behind Suites, and the two smaller ones towards the rear. If you are eyeing the seats that can be converted into double beds, these are only located in rows 11, 91 and 96, which are effectively the bulkhead row seats.
As the cabin crew came round to serve some pre-takeoff champagne, I took the opportunity to explore the seat. There is a large console to the side, on which I found some slippers, socks and eyeshades for my personal use.
This is also where you’ll find the IFE control, a vanity mirror, the seat controls, and the audio and USB ports.
Due to the placement of the seat control buttons, which are fully electric and touch-sensitive, do take care when manoeuvring around your seat as your elbows may inadvertently activate them.
The seat is pretty much enclosed in a cocoon-like shell, providing loads of privacy, even without a door. The beautiful motif also appears as soft ambient lighting at the seat, which is a nice touch of elegance.
Facing the front, note how spacious the bulkhead row is. With no seats in front of us, the legroom under the IFE screen was more than adequate. The padding, duvet and pillow were all individually wrapped and sealed, and placed neatly on the ottoman.
To the left of the IFE screen, you’ll find a coat hook, a power socket for your electronic devices, as well as a contactless payment interface, which was not in use for my flight.
And now for the actual seat. The latest Business Class seat can be reclined into the fully flat position without having to fold over the seat back, unlike the seat that was introduced earlier in 2013. This seat is also marginally narrower that its predecessor.
To ensure that you can sleep comfortably, the armrest can be stowed to give you that extra real estate.
On the centre divider, you’ll find the usual compartments for literature and other personal items. If you’re travelling solo, you can raise the centre divider for some added privacy. Otherwise, with the divider lowered, the centre seats are really couple seats!
As we taxied to the runway, I had a look at the menu, which had a really great Indian selection. However, I had elected to Book the Cook for my dinner on this flight, and decided to stick with it.
After an on time departure, we quickly climbed to our cruising altitude when the cabin crew started with the post take-off drinks and prepared for the dinner service.
To start, I had the chicken and lamb satay, which was succulent and tasty, especially with the peanut sauce dressing!
For the next course, I was served some seared scallop with mesclun, served with grilled asparagus and sun dried tomato pesto. Everything on the plate went very well together, and what stood out for me was how fresh all the ingredients were!
As mentioned, I went with the ramen for my main course, which was available on the Book the Cook selection. The broth had really complex flavours, and the ramen was prepared to a near perfect al dente! The soft boiled egg sealed the deal with this dish.
For the finale, I had a scoop of some decadent chocolate chip ice cream, topped with a chocolate slice.
This flight wasn’t long enough for me to get some good quality sleep, but I still enjoyed the use of the lie-flat bed feature, and the special double bed feature for our centre seats in row 11.
When fully deployed into the double bed, note how a partition still exists at the front end of the bed where your feet would be, which was a minor issue overall.
In terms of the overall width and length of the lie flat bed, given my height and build, there were no issues whatsoever.
As we approached Mumbai, the cabin crew offered some tea before we began our descent.
The new Business Class seats, while slightly narrower than its predecessor, allow passengers to recline the seat into its fully flat position with the touch of a button, and also offers the option for a double bed in Business Class, albeit only for selected seat rows. The seat cocoons also provide an adequate level of privacy, even without a door installed. However, if these features are not the most important to you, the 2013 Business Class seats still provide an excellent alternative, and in no way detracts from the excellent Business Class experience onboard Singapore Airlines.