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REVIEW – Singapore Airlines : Business Class – London to Singapore (B77WN)

sq j lobster - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

Singapore Airlines (SQ)

  • Flight: SQ319
  • Class: Business
  • From: London (LHR)
  • To: Singapore (SIN)
  • Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
  • Seat: 11A
  • Booking type: 25k Avianca Lifemiles + $333.82 in tax
  • Flight date: April 2015

lhr sin - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

I booked this flight using Avianca Lifemiles, miles which I purchased directly from the airline. Even though Singapore supposedly restricts partner airlines for redeeming on prime long haul routes, Avianca often has access. The reason for this is that being a Colombian airmiles program, it has exactly the kinds of checks, balances and IT infrastructure that you’d expect a Colombian airmiles program to have.

Not only did I have access to Singapore award flights using Colombian airmiles, I was able to get this flight for 22.5k Avianca miles + $333.82 in taxes due to some very interesting quirks in the online booking system. When people say that airmiles are worthless I shake my head and think of flights like this…


LHR SIN 4 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

The gate areas at LHR T2 are highly organised, with different turnstiles for different classes of service and status

 

There was a slight 20 minute delay to our flight (as usual Google updated me about this long before the gate agents had a clue) but soon enough, the efficient boarding process had us all onboard.

I was lucky enough to secure seat 11A which is in the front row of business class, in a 2 row mini cabin of 8 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, exactly like F.

Pre-suites SQ had trouble in differentiating its premium cabins, with the latest product on the 77WN the “problem” returns. Which is why you can understand their drive to eliminate F entirely on the A350.

LHR SIN 6 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

On first inspection the seat looked better than any other J product I’d ever seen

LHR SIN 8 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

The indentation behind my bag shows where the foot cubby is on the regular, non-bulkhead, seats. The extra leg-space in this row is remarkable.

LHR SIN 9 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

A decent sized cubby hole which can easily fit a macbook or small bag. Also a reading light, power, HDMI, S-video and USB ports.

LHR SIN 10 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

None of the problems I had with CX, my Mac charger fit perfectly!

LHR SIN 16 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

Plenty of space for the Mac itself too.

LHR SIN 13 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

I like having these simple and easy to use seat controls, without having to use the IFE or some extraneous remote

LHR SIN 15 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

3 extra lights mounted on the right of the seat

LHR SIN 18 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

The main storage cubby, located under the IFE control

LHR SIN 19 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

Acres of space to stretch out, or use your laptop whilst in bed

LHR SIN 20 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

I love the convenience of being able to access my carry-on without getting up from my seat

My first impression of the cabin?
I was utterly blown away.

The space is much more private and welcoming than BA F on the 744 a few days earlier. The layout was actually more similar to JL F and in some ways, such as the location of power sockets and storage, I prefer SQ J. The sleekness of the design definitely trumps JL’s spartan and utilitarian F offering.

I was immediately offered food and drink menus and asked for my choice of PDB, as well as having my jacket taken. This is a far cry from a number of other airlines I’ve flown in J where you get either water or juice, picked from a large tray as your PDB.

 

The Drinks List

LHR SIN 23 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

LHR SIN 24 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

LHR SIN 25 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

LHR SIN 26 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

LHR SIN 27 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

LHR SIN 28 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

LHR SIN 29 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

 

LHR SIN 30 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

LHR SIN 31 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

 

SQ’s J drinks menu is absolutely out of control. Talisker 10? The Isle of Skye’s nectar is a finer drop than most carriers load in F. Also quite an extensive cocktail list given that BA’s crew have been known to struggle when asked for the one single cocktail they offer in J.

I opted for a glass of the Taittinger Prelude, I was hoping this flight would have some Bolly loaded but you can’t have it all I guess! The champagne was brought to me individually and poured at my seat.

LHR SIN 32 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

I really like this stemless glassware. Larger volume and more stable than a regular flute, what’s not to love?

LHR SIN 33 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

There’s nothing like the feeling of taking your first sip of a PDB just before a longhaul flight

LHR SIN 35 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

One way in which SQ does differentiate J from F is that they don’t hand out pyjamas or amenity kits for J passengers. I was still given a few bits and pieces though.

LHR SIN 36 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

A sleeping mask and some wonderfully bizarre slipper socks

The meal service began promptly after we levelled off. I was offered a top up of my Taittinger and offered another entirely different “Prelude”:  the signature Singapore satay service.

LHR SIN 38 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

The chicken satay was unbelievably good. The chargrilled flavour really shone through with thin strands of aromatic lemongrass visibly ingrained onto the surface of the meat.

 

Dinner Menu
LHR SIN 37 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

LHR SIN 41 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

Waiting for the table to be set for the meal. The table’s height can be adjusted to allow eating in a variety of lounging/ bed positions. It is also very easy to swing the table to one side during the meal service, should you need to use the restroom. This shot also gives you an idea of just how private this 2 row mini-cabin is.

LHR SIN 43 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

The mushroom salad was delicious, with a very generous amount of protein. Leagues ahead of F salads on BA and AA

LHR SIN 44 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

A playful piece of design for the nesting S&P

Having heard how good some of the options can be and more importantly not wanting anything too heavy after a week of non-stop eating (and more sure to come in the days ahead) I pre ordered Lobster Thermidor from SQ’s Book the Cook program.

Whilst she was setting my table the FA asked if I’d ordered Lobster ex-LHR before. I told her that I hadn’t and that this was in fact my first ever flight on SQ.

She was very excited to hear that this was my first SQ flight and made conversation about other airlines, asking me how I thought SQ compared. I told her that I was loving it so far and this really seemed to make her day.

In any case she told me that I had chosen very well. In fact all the FAs had gathered in the galley to admire my lobster before serving it, due to its high degree of magnificence.

I was fairly sure that there was a degree of hyperbole at play but smiled and went along with it, rubbing my hands in excitement.

LHR SIN 45 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

Then she placed this armoured behemoth of the seas in front of me…

LHR SIN 49 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

Thankfully SQ didn’t cut corners on the engineering of their tray tables. This thing could have tipped over Fred Flintstone’s car with ease.

The flavour was sweet and rich and the meat was enormously plentiful, the claw meat had clearly been added back into the chopped tail to add to the indulgence.

The vegetables were also perfectly cooked and still slightly crunchy. The entire dish was leagues ahead of the rubbery lobster and frozen peas and tomato that you’re served when you pre-order the lobster thermidor on TG F.

Once I’d finished, the FA came over to ask if the lobster was as good as it looked.

“Better,” I said.
“I’m so glad to hear it. I hope you left some room for dessert.”
“Oh I’m not sure I’m really full.”
“Why don’t I just bring one over and you can try it, I promise you don’t have to finish it!”
“OK you’ve convinced me” (yeah I know, I’m weak)

LHR SIN 51 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

Hazelnut semifreddo with a rich chocolate center, covered in hazelnut praline and crushed meringue… it turns out I did finish it. I finished the hell out of it.

LHR SIN 52 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

I was hoping to get some sleep so opted for some TWG chamomile at the end of the meal

LHR SIN 53 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

I love the small detail of the dish to put the teabag in. You also won’t hear me object to being given Charbonnel et Walker truffles

The meal service as a whole was truly spectacular. It was not quite the calibre of ANA First Class but short of that, it was one of the best meals I’ve ever had in the air.

The service was a perfect mix of professional and friendly.
Every dish was spectacular in its execution.
The table and glassware was of a high quality.
Refills were proactively and frequently offered.

Would I have preferred Krug to Taittinger? Yes. Is Krug a fundamental prerequisite to a decent meal? No.

After the meal I spent some time watching a movie whilst in bed mode.

LHR SIN 42 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

Noise cancelling headphones

LHR SIN 54 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

Rocking the slipper booties with my TG PJs

LHR SIN 57 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

Settling down for the night

LHR SIN 61 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

Night time mini-cabin shot

During the night time portion of the flight I got a couple of refills on my tea. It seems that on SQ it is vey easy to get trapped in a vicious cycle. Each time I went to the bathroom, as I walked back to my seat, Fiona the delightful second shift FA would ask if there was anything she could get me.

Much like the dessert conversation I’d had with her colleague during the meal. It was very hard to resist. She would always make it seem like a fantastic idea to drink more tea, maybe have a biscuit, or some chocolate, perhaps some whisky to help me sleep etc.

So that is my one complaint about SQ. The FAs are so unbelievably nice and eager to ensure you have a good time, that you end up eating and drinking more than you intended to ?

LHR SIN 67 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

Resistance is futile.

Nonetheless I was able to get a good 6 hours of sleep and woke up at that special moment when most other people are still sleeping.

I really enjoy being up before everyone else on a longhaul flight. The atmosphere is very tranquil, you can hear some light clinking of trays as breakfast preparations are made but FAs have generally not had anyone new to speak to for a while and will happily make you a coffee and chat for a while. If you’re really lucky you’ll get a chance to experience an airborne sunrise, although on this flight I’d missed the opportunity by a good few hours. North/ South flights are the best for that.

LHR SIN 63 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

Not wanting to bother the FAs with endless coffee requests during the breakfast service, I had a couple of fantastic double espressos in advance of the morning meal.

LHR SIN 64 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

Next time I have a lunch flight on SQ I’m ordering a Cafe Royale! (or carajillo as we call it in Spain)

LHR SIN 71 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

Waking up to views like this never gets old.

LHR SIN 72 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

The IFE on the 77WN is ultra slick and responsive. A particularly cool feature is the moving map on the remote.

LHR SIN 73 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

Seeing as there were a few options available I also opted to BTC for the main course of the breakfast. The other options looked decent though.

LHR SIN 74 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

The breakfast service began with a wonderful mango smoothie

LHR SIN 77 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

A proper table setting for breakfast. I love the individual pots of marmalade. The filter coffee was actually pretty good and the fruit was very fresh and firm

LHR SIN 78 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

Fancy yogurt

LHR SIN 79 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

My main course of Pad Thai was excellent. A very generous portion size with separate trays of chilli and chopped peanuts as well as the separate wedge of lime

Breakfast was great. Far too often it is treated as an afterthought by other carriers, not only in J but even in F. SQ has gone for premium ingredients, espresso based coffees and multiple courses, with the option to pre-order numerous mains too. The only carrier that comes close in EVA Air.

LHR SIN 80 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Business Class - London to Singapore (B77WN)

All too soon the familiar sight of hundreds of shipping tankers came into focus; we were approaching Singapore.

This was something of a bittersweet moment. I genuinely did not want the flight to end. The service was just so unbelievably next level, I could have stayed in that cabin for a week without losing interest.

On the other hand, I couldn’t help thinking, “If J is this good, how unbelievably ridiculous will F be?”

SPOILER ALERT: HIGHLY RIDICULOUS.


2 Comments

  1. Mello says:

    Hello Jarvis:
    While waiting for FA to set up your table, I ve noticed you were wearing a nice fittied plain white t shirt. ( not box cut )
    Would you be able to advice on the brand name and which stores carry this white T.
    thank you

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