Singapore Airlines is a full service airline with a strong presence in South-east Asia and on the “Kangaroo Route” from London and other European destinations. They were the launch customer for the double-decked Airbus A380
Flight: London Heathrow – Singapore
This was the first leg of a trip to Darwin, Australia. A review of the second leg will be posted later.
Booking was done online and was simplicity itself on a very user friendly site. I also joined Kris Flyer their frequent flier program at the same time.
48 hours before the flight you can check-in online up until two hours before departure. Seats are already assigned but you have the option of changing them if you so wish. You are then supposed to be able to print your boarding cards. When I tried to do this the site froze. I had to resort to the telephone. After the initial “For reservations press 1. For…” message I spoke to a very helpful person who dealt with the issue efficiently – I picked it up at the airport.
At the airport the baggage drop was no problem and the bag was well labelled with “fragile” stickers once we explained it contained wedding presents. The staff were very pleasant and genuinely interested in what we were travelling for.
As we were flying on the A380 I had visions that boarding would take a lot longer than usual. It only took slightly longer but was done efficiently. Both decks were boarded at the same time through separate gates.
Once airborne drinks were served followed by pre-lunch drinks. We were also given menus with a choice of main course. Chicken Kiev, stir fried prawns and Mutton Biryani where the choices on the outward flight. I chose the Chicken Kiev. The tray came with real glass tumbler and stainless steel cutlery; so far so good. The starter of salmon quiche with pasta in pesto was reasonable but let down by the cardboard-like pastry. The chicken Kiev was well cooked; not dried out as is often the case. It was served on a bed of pasta with some vegetables. However, the chicken was tasteless and with a pasta starter the menu planning could have been better. Apart from that the food was good as airline food goes; finishing up with real Devonshire ice-cream. Having travelled twice before with Singapore Airlines I know they can and have done better with their food/menu.
Being a relatively new aircraft Singapore Airlines’ Airbus A380 comes with all mod cons. You can connect using wifi (at a price) and there are power points to charge laptops, phones and, I am pleased to say, my iPad. It is 110V and does take longer but it means the iPad was available for the whole journey. The TV screen for films and other entertainment pulls out an there is a light underneath that lights the table and the keyboard I was using.
Singapore Airlines have thought through the perennial problem of people behind a recliner losing their knee room. If you recline, the part of the seat on which your posterior resides moves forward. You recline and you, not the person behind, loses legroom. Unfortunately the top of the seat back in front does move a few centimetres closer to your face. The guy in front of me reclined and I still had room for my laptop and a food tray. (See my post on reclining seats).
Service throughout the flight was always there but unobtrusive. Snacks, or light bites as Singapore Airlines call them, were aailable at all times. Water and juice were offered frequently to avoid dehydration and other drinks to order.
Singapore Airlines’ seat configuration in economy is 3-4-3. Seats are cloth and moulded with winged headrests that are adjustable. Sitting in the window seat on the Airbus A380 gives you plenty of elbow room on the lower deck as the bulkhead, because of the double deck, is still curving outwards. This means 15cm extra at the elbow and 20cm at the shoulder. The disadvantage is that you cannot rest your head against the bulkhead; you would need to be a giraffe to do so.
Breakfast was served approximately two hours before landing and was an altogether tastier affair than lunch. It consisted of fruit, yoghurt, a roll and cake. There was a choice for the main course certainly the chicken sausage with vegetable frittata, baked beans and roast potato cubes had more taste than the Chicken Kiev at lunch.
Singapore Airlines may have slipped up on one part of one meal but their service is among the best in the airline business. No wonder then that they often win awards and accolades.
Addendum: Since flying the London-Singapore flight I have since flown in the reverse direction. This time the food and the menu were both of the excellent standard I have come to expect from Singapore Airlines.