Singapore Airlines is world renown for their service and cabin crew. Flying from Singapore Changi Airport to Sydney on Singapore Airlines’ A350, I was ready for a real treat. I was on my way to a National Geographic expedition. We purposely opted for the day time flight, to experience the best of Singapore Airlines.
Most flights between Singapore and Sydney depart early in the morning. You can choose to fly just after midnight and arrive in Sydney just after breakfast. Instead, we opted for SQ 241 departing at 7:05am with a scheduled arrival around 6pm. This was no Airbus A380, but I was still excited for the medium to long haul flight.
People rave about Singapore Airlines Business and First-Class products. I have flown Singapore Airlines several times and although I find them great, I often do not understand what the hype is all about. Even when flying Singapore Airlines First Class, I wasn’t overly impressed.
This was going to be my first flight with Singapore Airlines in Business class, outside of Asia. With the longer flight time I was excited for the newer product and enhanced offerings and service. Yet in the end, I found nearly everything about the experience lackluster. Other airlines in the region do as good or a better job than Singapore airlines. Spoiler alert, if the title didn’t already give it away. This flight left me wondering what the hype was all about. Not a top notch carrier, just all around alright.
There are two things that make for a great flight. The hard product, such as the seat and other items that cannot be easily changed. Then, the soft product. The soft product is the food, amenities, and service. In the case of Singapore airlines, both products are nice, but are not the world’s best.
Before departing Singapore, Diego and I changed out of our clothing and into our Qatar Pajamas. As we still had these in our carryon from our flight a couple of days previous.
On mid haul flights, Singapore airline does not provide amenity kits and all extras are provided on demand. I prefer this, as it reduces waste. I did get a pair of slippers for the flight, but did not request any additional amenity such as lip balm or eye masks. Reducing both waste and items to carry home. There are also noise canceling headphones at each seat which are Singapore Airlines branded and of decent quality.
Overall, Singapore airlines humdrum soft product between Singapore and Sydney fails to excite. Some of it is because of the priority to reduce waste and is also cost cutting. Yet the real issue of the soft product is the meals. More of this experience below and why I was left unimpressed in nearly every way.
Business Class Meal Service
After take-off a continental breakfast is available for those who are hungry. The breakfast is on a single tray and a single round of drinks is provided. This was the first time we saw the flight attendants since taking off, about 45 minutes into the flight. Service was speedy and efficient. Clearly meant to be a fast service to optimize sleep, even though it was day time.
As soon as the crew was done serving from the rear to the forward galley, they went to the back of the business class cabin to pick up trays of those who were done and refill drinks again. The breakfast was very basic, especially for Singapore Airlines. Similar to what I would expect on a redeye for a pre-arrival meal on a transcon flight in the USA. Just fruit and bread. Boring! And to think this is Singapore Airlines, a 5 star Airlines! HA
After this service, the crew dimmed the cabin lights and asked guests to close their window shades. It was 8:30 in the morning, on a daytime flight to Australia and the crew wanted everyone to sleep! Sleep at 8am?! Come one, really?
For the next 5 hours, the crew did not check on guests and only came out of the galley when someone rang the call light. I have always read about how attentive Singapore Airlines flight attendants are. Refilling drinks without being asked, and clearing things on a whim. Not this time. The crew basically was nonexistent, hiding in the gally of the plane
For a night flight this may be acceptable. Yet, this was a daytime flight, flying to a location where we’d be landing in the early evening. There was zero Singapore wow factor here. Just laziness, or the behavior expected from American Airlines, not Singapore Airlines.
About 90 minutes before landing lunch was served. This seemed like a late lunch and poorly timed. Once again, everything felt rushed as the crew had to feed the cabin and then clean up quickly before landing.
For those of us who booked the cooked and pre-order our meals were available on board. When the crew came to us with the meal carts, our meals were provided. Otherwise, there were several options to select from on the menu and the option was dropped off immediately.
The meal started with a round of drinks and satay. My favorite part of any Singapore Airlines flight. The Satay is so tasty! I think only Malaysian airlines does satay chicken better, but then again, my experience is on Malaysian Airlines First Class. So it’s not quite apples to apples.
For lunch, My main course was gross, absolutely disgusting. I made a bad decision via the Book the Cook service and very much regret it. I thought the meal would be great, but after one bite I knew I was going to have to ask for something different. My fault.
Song Fa Bak Kut Teh.
Prime pork ribs in a clear and peppery soup simmered with garlic, peppercorn and spices to perfection. Served with steamed rice and salted vegetable.
Five-time Michelin Bib Gourmand Award Winner from 2016 to 2019 and 2021.
love most Asian food and food from SouthEast Asia, but I found the soup to be too pepper forward and lacking any real taste or complexity. Quite boring. Yet again, it’s my fault for ordering this boring soup. I should have ordered something different.
I even asked my Brazilian partner to try the soup who is Brazilian. He too made a face of disgust. Thankfully I knew it wasn’t just me, but the soup was a bad choice. Thankfully, the crew was very nice and allowed me to change it for one of the options onboard. The Nasi lemak was MUCH better. It was full of flavor and so good! A valuable lesson in my adventure of booking the cook!
Diego also opted for a book the cook option. His meal was quite good.
Kok Kee Wonton Noodle
Springy egg noodles tossed in Kok Kee’s special secret recipe sauce, with pork char siew and handmade pork dumplings (wonton).
Authentic Singapore wonton noodles acclaimed by various local food critics and mainstream news and media outlets as “One of the Best Wonton Noodles in Singapore”
The meal was rounded off by fruit and dessert. We had one of each desserts. Both good!
Singapore Airlines Airbus A350 Seat
The Singapore Airlines Business class seat on the A350 is nice. It feels extra wide and faces forward, feeling larger than most business class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. There is lots of legroom and all around a comfortable seat. One of the better seats in the sky.
The business class seat does not have a door. Yet honestly I find that many suites with doors are more gimmick than anything, providing some extra privacy, but not necessary really. Afterall, anyone walking by can still see into each seat. This seat has large wings for privacy and did the job perfectly. Overall I like the A350 seat and think of the seat as a win for Singapore Airline Customers.
The only issue with the Singapore Airlines A350 business class seat was the middle seats are not well designed for couples. Almost better if flying solo. Flying with my partner, I thought the privacy wing projected too far forward. There is a wall which retracts, but you still have to lean forward to have a conversation. A simple fix would be to extend the wall and make the head rest or wing smaller. On newer generations of the Singapore Airlines A350, the seat converts to a double bed, we unfortunately were flying on an older aircraft without this option.
The seat has all the gadgets with a nice entertainment screen and some storage. I honestly did not take a bunch of photos of the seat or the surrounding area as I just wasn’t overly impressed by it. The seat does become a fully flat bed, but since this was a daytime flight and I had just slept 7 hours in the airport, I never put my seat into lie flat bed mode. I reclined it to a comfortable position and watched a few movies via the inflight entertainment system. If this was a night flight, it would have been a comfortable bed, or so it seemed.
Singapore Airlines business class to Australia is likely better at night vs the day. During the day Singapore Airlines treats the flight like an overnight flight with minimal service. The Singapore Airlines business class experience is honestly overrated by other bloggers and the past. With limited interaction from the staff you are best off sleeping. Singapore Airlines once again failed to impress me as a business class passenger. This business class product provides no Wow factor anywhere. The staff were friendly, but disengaged for the majority of the flight. I have had better experiences with other Asian carriers on similar routes.
With all the rave about the Singapore Girl, I expected more. Instead the flight was just pleasantly alright. I really think Singapore airlines should not try to make passengers sleep on a daytime flight. Maybe, that is what turned me off the most about this entire experience. Top notch, not at all. Overall this business class flight was just alright.