Eleven flights, six international carriers. When planning this trip the opportunity to fly internationally on Singapore Airlines and Swiss were my most anticipated flights.
Imagine going 0-2.
Having checked one piece of luggage through to Auckland my duffle bag was all that remained. But since I was returning to Singapore in a few days I thought it foolish to lug 2 pieces around when I could wheel one. So the duffle was packed with items not needed for a few days. Changi has Left Baggage storage counters in all terminals, airside and pre-entry. And it's not expensive. It's nice traveling with nothing to carry.
Changi airport consists of three terminals. Singapore Airlines' main terminal is 3, but many flights arrive and depart from terminal 2. A tram connects all terminals. It's not that far. But like all airports if you arrive at one end and depart from the other end, well... Just so happens we arrived at the far gate in terminal 2, I believe E27. Melbourne departed out of terminal 3 gate A10. Baggage storage was at the opposite end of terminal 3 around gate B8. With my 1 1/4 hour connection time, needless to say I got my exercise.
Changi is an amazing airport. At 11PM at night with all the overnights leaving it was a beehive of activity. If you haven't flown into Changi you can spend a day there. Bring the kids too.
So much for the good news.
Date: August 2016
Flight #: SQ237 Red eye Supper flight
Aircraft: B777-300ER 9V-SWI Star Alliance livery
On Time: Yes
Reward Flying Rating: 4.4 out of 10 ✈
✔︎A bit of luck
There were plenty of SQ flight to and from Australia when I made the booking, yet recent searches come up empty. Thai always comes up and at some point they will fly the A350 down under.
Value for Reward per redemption point:
Sky High: >.08
A typical SQ business class fare from SIN to MEL is $2,800 one-way and $3,200 round trip. A UA redemption is 30,000 points. That's over 9 cents per point on the one way and over 5 cents if you go RT. Fantastic deal!
A lot of folks were headed to Melbourne this evening.
What were they thinking?
Compared to the A330 cabin the 777 looks dark and bland to me. I had secured a seat in the front mini-cabin, the coveted 11A.
SeatGuru, as well as blogs such as Flyertalk, claim row 11 is the best seat in the house. More on that later, but there is no doubt the front mini-cabin is quiet and private. If you can get the mini-cabin on 777-300 aircraft, go for it. I guess people don't research much into seats as this was a fairly full flight with one seat open in the mini-cabin, Row 11 Seat K. Maybe they were a no-show. Row 12 is yellow for a misaligned window which you can see in the above photo.
Standard 777 lavatories on these aircraft. Stocked with amenities as no kits are distributed.
For fun a few photos of First Class. These are the old first class seats.
This first class seat has less legroom than Row 11 in business class!
Just like home
Get me off this plane
I have mixed feelings on the seats. Possibly some of this is due to expectations. These are old seats. What sets them apart is their width as 30 inch wide business class seats are simply unheard of except on Singapore Airlines.
Don't they look great in a photo!
In the photo above notice the separation between the seat back and the pod back wall. This is where the bedding is stored.
Storage compartment for something.
Ottoman to stretch out, it folds up for take-off and landing.
Seat controls under the armrest.
Coat hook, heavy coat would get in the way of the monitor, but then again Singapore is hot all the time.
Head phone hook.
Electronics on the seat-back in front of you, or in the case of row 11 the bulkhead wall.
Storage compartment, but no scale to see if it weighs less than 2lbs.
Drink tray. (It should always be in use)
Now, if you like all the items on the bulkhead wall don't get row 11 because you can't reach them sitting down! A flight attendant put my drink on this tray and I couldn't reach it. But when I looked at other seats you can. So yes, tons of extra legroom in row 11.
Like a Rock
One would expect being an overnight flight going to sleep on a sizable bed would not be a problem. Well it was for me.
The male flight attendant converted the seat into a bed while I changed into my trusty Lufthansa pajamas. Here is one of my better bed photos, which isn't saying much.
Mattress pad, two pillows, duvet, what else could you ask for! In my case something more comfortable.
In bed mode this is where your head goes. You sleep on an angle. At 6 feet tall I was not able to fully extend. And in row 11 I had much more room than others!
I got a couple hours of sleep but simply wasn't comfortable in the bed. While I'm not a great airline sleeper in the first place, so it might be just me, however I thought the bed was extremely hard even with the mattress pad. On the positive side, there was a mattress pad and 2 pillows which is more than some carriers do in business class.
Overall these seats were cutting edge business class seats in their day. But they've aged and are in need of replacement. While I've sat in the new version, I didn't sleep on on it. But the length (pitch) seemed shorter than these older seats. Singapore Airlines has committed to the standard seat alignment with angled sleep positioning versus herringbone or reverse herringbone configurations. Verdict is still out, but for me, herringbone is leading in the polls.
Cabin/Seats: 5 out of 10 ✈
As mentioned most toiletries are stocked in the lavatory and Singapore doesn't ever have business class amenity kits.
Many people like amenity kits for a keepsake to remember the flight. In that regard kits weren't needed today.
This is what was passed out. What you can't tell is the slippers are a size small, I'm 6 feet tall.
Full bar in cabin
✔︎Multiple coffee selections
✔︎Multiple tea selections
Not as an extensive menu on this supper flight. Champagne was not offered upon boarding, but it was midnight so that's certainly understandable.
✔︎Printed, multiple cuisines
Printed, single cuisine
Verbal by flight attendant
Mid flight snacks
Once airborne the female flight attendant asked for beverage and food selections. I asked for a glass of wine. Then she asked if I'd like to eat now or prior to arrival. I asked if you could do both, she responded that I could eat now or before arrival. Maybe there was a language barrier here but the menu clearly states:
I didn't argue and accepted my wine and 8 nuts.
Have to love the salt and pepper shakers.
Compliments to the Chef
Fine dining with a miss or two
No rave reviews
✔︎Get me a meal from economy
With 2 hours to go sure enough, cabin lights on and breakfast is served. Why 2 hours? Sure I understand the necessity of being prepared for landing, but half the cabin already ate and was sleeping. Plus it only took me a minute (literally) to finish my meal.
Being an American the attendant assumed I wanted the American Breakfast and she was right, but I was wrong. I should have ordered something else as this breakfast was not up to par on US domestic flights. I passed on consumption.
Food/Drink: 3 out of 10 ✈
IFE: 3 out of 10 ✈
Can I stay and watch some more?
✔︎Watched a favorite and went to sleep
400 cable channels and nothing to watch
Glad I brought my tablet
As with the seats the IFE system is old and difficult to use. The monitor is small and in the case of row 11, far away. The only redeeming factor for me, is the current content happened to have a 12 episode program that I'd wanted to watch. And I was able to get all 12 episodes in on this flight and my return. As they say, YMMV.
Controller drove me crazy when stopping and starting a program.
Zoomed view with the window open.
Yes and Free
Yes and Purchase
Flight Attendants: 5 out of 10 ✈
Made the flight special
✔︎Did their job
Did they board?
Mixed bag here. While the male attendant assigned to the front mini-cabin was cordial and nice, offering and then preparing my bed, the female attendant was not great. Her service was rushed, she didn't say much except turn me down for 2 meals (not that I needed 2). Maybe it was to get the first service over so folks could sleep, but it surely wasn't the premium experience I was expecting.
Didn’t realize was on a plane
Time for a trade-in
9V-SWI was delivered to Singapore Airlines in March 2007. It is one of three 777s painted in the white Star Alliance livery. While the plane appeared to be well maintained, the interior is getting worn, especially the seat pods. A refresh can't come soon enough.
Overall due to my expectations I was disappointed, mostly by the food. It was below standards from a premium class point of view. The flight attendant was an isolated incident. Out of the 11 flights on this trip and all the attendants, this particular one came in last, but someone had to. The seats used to be great and they will be great again when replaced. So would I fly Singapore business class again, absolutely. In fact I had to on my return. Fingers crossed for better.
Do you have any Singapore Airlines experiences you'd like to share? Feel free to leave a comment.