In today’s Flight review on AU Abroad, we take you on Singapore Airline‘s iconic Airbus A380 journey from Sydney to Singapore, which was recently reduced to one service a day.
Airline: Singapore Airlines
Route: Sydney to Singapore, SQ232
Seat: 34G (Aisle Seat, of a 3-4-3 configuration in Economy)
Aircraft: Airbus A380
Scheduled Flight Time: 7 hours 55 minutes
On Schedule? On Time Departure and Arrival
Frequent Flyer Program: Singapore’s own frequent flyer service is KrisFlyer, and they are part of the Star Alliance Network. They are also partners in the Virgin Australia Velocity Network. As I’m Gold with Velocity, this gives me access to the comfortable KrisFlyer Gold lounge in Terminal’s 2 and 3 of Singapore’s Changi Airport (pictured below) and in Sydney’s International T1 at the SilverKris Lounge. Being Gold (or Gold equivalent) on a Star Alliance Partner would get you the same access.
In Sydney before my morning take off, there was exceptional service in the SilverKris Lounge for the breakfast sitting, with a wide variety of drinks and food. Meanwhile, seats that represent the business class seating arrangement on board give you a taste of what you’re missing when you fly Economy!
Meal Service: The Sydney to Singapore service sees you enjoy a lunch and a “snack” dinner. There are also multiple drink services, where the famous “Singapore Sling” cocktail is available across the entire flight. Your first service is moments after takeoff, where peanuts are provided to ensure you’re never left hungry or thirsty.
Both the lunch and the “snack” were exceptional for airline food, and every guest is provided with a menu shortly after you board so you are ready with your request by the time they come to your seat. There were two choices for each service. After the lunch service they did a second run for a separate serving of ice cream. They definitely keep their air staff busy – but you’re sure not to go hungry!
In-Flight Entertainment: With almost gate-to-gate entertainment, Singapore ensured my day flight was not without its fair share of entertainment. There are hundreds, if not thousands of TV shows and movies to choose from – from the latest releases to the classics of the screen.
The LCD screens, though modern and widescreen (at 10.6 inches in economy it’s also along the largest), are not touch capable. Which is probably a good thing for the person sitting in front of you. Though an upcoming economy upgrade will see the screens expanded to 11.1 inches with touch capabilities.
There is power in every seat for your computer and also a USB plug to charge your phone or tablet device. There’s even a yellow RGB input cable for the TV in seat… though I’ve never tested it out. In theory though, you could use the in seat screen for your own DVD device. I’m not sure if that would be necessary, however, given the amount of entertainment always at hand. Perhaps more appropriate for the little ones…
Comfort: The A380 is as comfortable a flight as you get in modern travel. As long as you’re seated towards the centre of the plane (from personal experience anyway), you hardly feel any movement. I hadn’t even noticed we’d taken off when we had – there’s a stillness and a silence you don’t experience in smaller jets, or even in the 747s. The seats themselves are comfortable, with warm colours – light blues and pinks – and each seat has its own footrest, and the headrest is adjustable.
Unfortunately the A380 service between Australia and Singapore has been cut this year. As of May 30th, only one service is being offered daily (rather than two) between Sydney and Singapore, and then looking ahead to October 26th, the A380 service between Melbourne and Singapore will be cut entirely, replaced by their smaller 777-300ER jets. This likely comes in response to downward trends in travel to the region, as well as the recent lifting of the ban on A380s into India – which Singapore Airlines are no doubt taking full advantage off with their fleet.
Customer Service: Always available to assist, Singapore Airlines customer service is among the best in the world. Top marks for memory, too – often if you order a Singapore Sling, the steward or stewardess will have to make it after the drinks run, offering you another drink while you wait. But indeed, I’ve never had an instance where they’ve forgotten to bring it later in the service.
Extra: It’s the little things that make Singapore a class above the rest. A hot towel on arrival. Mint tip toothpicks. A bag with socks and a toothbrush. And the mentioned ice cream, served separately from the main course. You never feel like a budget “economy” traveller when on board. Exceptional service on all counts.
There is also Wi-Fi on board (which was untested for this review) – but at $20 for 30MB, and reportedly fairly unreliable, we remain far away from being expected to open up our e-mail inboxes on board an international flight. And hopefully that’s a long way away yet… But nonetheless, the option is there if you have an urgent e-mail to get off en route.