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FLIGHT REVIEW: Singapore Airlines B787-10 Business Class, Bangkok – Singapore

Singapore Airlines / 22 Apr 19 / B787-10 / SQ983 BKK-SIN / Business class / 14A

I was redeeming my Krisflyer miles for a trip down to Perth, and I remembered that I could add on a leg within Southeast Asia for an additional USD100. As I had a trip to Bangkok some time earlier in the year, I decided to add on a Bangkok-Singapore flight to make the full use of my miles.

Bangkok Survarnabhumi airport is a massive animal, but Singapore Airlines almost always depart from D gates. Singapore Airlines also operate a SilverKris lounge at the airport, right across from gate D7.

Singapore Airlines Boeing 787-10 business class

The aircraft

The Boeing 787-10 is the new generation aircraft that Singapore Airlines have decided on for its short and medium haul flights. At the time of writing, the aircraft type is progressing replacing the A330-300s on several routes, including to Osaka, Taipei and Perth.

The aircraft has a two-class configuration: business and economy class, with 36 and 301 seats respectively, for a total of 337 seats. In business class, the seat that Singapore Airlines have chosen is the STELIA Symphony, a brand new design that Singapore Airlines have decided on and announced with much fanfare back in 2018.

In a departure from its previous regional configuration on the A330-300, Singapore Airlines have gone with a 1-2-1 seat layout, forgoing the wide seats its famous for and gone for the alternating pattern with a side console. This layout is similar to what other airlines such as Qantas have on their widebody aircraft.

The seat

The Boeing 787-10 I travelled on has 36 business class seats across 9 rows in a 1-2-1 configuration, which means that all seats have direct aisle access. At the time of booking, all the window seats with the side console dividing the seat from the aisle have been taken up, which was rather surprising.

The 2018 regional business class seat

At first seating, the seat feels a little tight. The seat comes with adjustable armrests on both sides, which one can leave up or push it down to level with the seat for a more spacious seating.

Unlike the Qantas layout, Singapore Airlines have aligned the seats in the such a way that in alternate rows, couples travelling together can choose a pair of middle seats that is right next to each other.

Alternating couple and aisle-siding seats for the middle section

You will also notice there’s a sort of privacy divider between each seat and the aisle, making the seat feel really private as you will be avoiding any kind of awkward eye contact with your neighbours across the aisle if you happen to be just looking around from your seat.

Privacy divider on every seat

The controls on the seat have been very much updated from previous iterations of the Singapore Airlines business class seat. Loyalists will know that the previous iterations of the business class seats – especially the long haul seats – are built to be manually turned into beds upon request.

Seat controls and entertainment handset

For the Boeing 787-10, Singapore Airlines have adopted an electronically-controlled system. The seat controls are located on the side of the table-console. At a touch of the button, you will be able to recline the seat into a fully flat bed.

On the side console was also a small compartment which contained the headphones, and also contained the power socket and charging ports. For take off and landings, the compartment needs to be closed, so effectively you won’t be able to charge anything during this time.

Storage compartment on the side console

One thing to note is that the foot well is rather small. When I tried it, the only comfortable position is when you sleep facing upwards. If you are a side sleeper like me, you will be more comfortable curling up your legs, rather than try to slot them into the foot well. If you are very tall, good luck to you.

Tiny footwell

The tray table is stowed under the in-flight entertainment screen in front of you. There is a button to eject the tray, which you then unfold into a larger table.

For an extra perk, the two front row window seats – 11A & 11K – both contain an extra storage space that also serves as a bassinet space. If you manage to get those seats, the space is very handy to keep your bags within reach during flight.

Bassinet space at seat 11A

The service

The flight time today was just under 2 hours, and a full meal was served.

As usual, as the economy class is still boarding, the cabin crew came around with a choice of pre-departure drinks. As always, I’ve gone with a glass of champagne. The choice of bubbly today was the Charles Heidsieck, the choice of champagne that Singapore Airlines go for its business class.

Shortly after take off, dinner was served rather quickly. The menu for the day read as below:

Appetiser:
Marinated fried tofu and cashew nut salad with thai chili sauce

Main course:
Seared kurobuta pork loin with bourbon sauce
Deep fried sesame coated chicken with asian green, carrot, fried noodles and oyster sauce
Hor Mok Pla, or thai style minced fish with coconut cream and spices, sauteed vegetables and fried rice

Dessert:
Raspberry choux

Assorted bread rolls and gourmet breads

Coffee and tea

Given the short flight time, the meal was served on a single tray, rather than through a multi course presentation.

Single tray service for short haul flights

The only real choice you get on short haul flights are a choice of main course. For flights out of Bangkok, note that there’s also no Book The Cook options so you are pretty much limited to the menu choices.

I decided to go with the pork loin, which I thought was the least bad options based on the choices available. At first bite, I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty it was. The pork was tender and the texture was in fact closer to chicken, rather than pork.

The jus was pretty good as well, although I’m sure that would have been laden with sodium.

The star of the meal was in fact the dessert. The cake was balanced in its sourness and sweetness, making it a perfect end to the meal.

Along with the meal, there was also the usual choice of four wines, two whites and two reds. I went with the french red bordeaux (as opposed to the italian red), which wasn’t particularly memorable, although it wasn’t bad.

Champagne barely half-filled

I was done with my meal pretty quickly and soon enough the cabin crew came around to clear my tray. I then asked for another glass of champagne, which was promptly brought to me. I was rather amused at the serving though: it was barely one-third filled. I understand that service guidelines typically require most beverages to be filled to roughly about half, or two-thirds of the glass to minimise spillage, but one-third of a small, tall glass is kind of ridiculous.

Needless to say, I had to ask for a second serving.

Final thoughts

It’s great that Singapore Airlines has finally moved to a 1-2-1 configuration for its regional business class seats, which is a much needed upgrade from the previous 2-2-2 cabin which I unfortunately had to experience when I went to Beijing.

Having tried the seat for the first time, while sleek, I personally felt that the seat was rather tight. Even though it seemed like there was a lot of space, but in reality the seat width didn’t feel spacious, especially when the armrests are up.

Fully flat bed at a touch of a button

The screen also seemed like it was right in my face, although one may argue that’s not too bad a thing actually as I could actually touch the screen without stretching.

The design of the seat could also use some tweaking. Realistically speaking, the compartment next to the seat which had a sliding door wasn’t much of a use. If I have placed some small articles in it, I had to shut the door in order to prevent the items from falling out in case of turbulence. A container-style compartment would have worked much better.

In-flight entertainment

The seat controls next to the seat was also often accidentally triggered by my resting arm when my armrest is down, which was rather annoying.

On the service front, as usual it was impeccable, and a tray service even in business class is pretty standard for a short flight like this. However, I would really appreciate if there was a semblance of option, even for something as simple as desserts where some things such as ice cream are easy to uplift.

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