Singapore Airlines / 4 August 19 / B787-10 / SQ215 SIN-PER / Business class / 12K
Earlier this year I was planning for a National Day long weekend getaway with some friends, so I decided to dump some of my miles into a Bangkok-Singapore-Perth redemption for 32,500 miles (one-way) just before the devaluation of the Krisflyer miles kicked in.
Singapore Airlines had started operating its B787-10 on select services to Perth since earlier this year, so I thought it was prime time to check out the latest seats and service in business class.
Singapore Airlines operate 4 services between Singapore and Perth daily. Out of Singapore, two of the services are in the morning, one was in the evening and one was overnight. On the return leg from Perth to Singapore, there is one service each in the morning, afternoon, evening and overnight.
For my SQ215 service today, departure was at 6.45pm and scheduled to arrive into Perth at 11.55pm. All Singapore Airlines Australia-bound services depart out of Terminal 3 at Changi Airport.
Check-in was a relative breeze with many check-in rows for customers to proceed to. As a default, business class passengers can proceed to row 6 for a traditional check-in by an agent, but they can also head to row 4 to drop their bags if they have already completed their online check-in earlier.
At the time of writing, Singapore Airlines has already announced a phased refurbishment of its lounges in Terminal 3. On the day of my flight, the Krisflyer Gold lounge has moved to Murhaba Lounge, but the SilverKris lounge for business class passengers was still in operation (see my earlier review here).
I went in for a quick glass of champagne before making my way to the gate.
SQ215 was operated by a Boeing 787-10 today. The Singapore-Perth route is operated by a mix of the regional A350-1000s, B787-10s as well as some old A330s. Singapore Airlines has most recently announced that from October onwards, the A330 will no longer be on the Perth services, so all premium cabin passengers will enjoy a lie-flat new regional business class product.
For those following Singapore Airlines’ fleet renewal closely, you will know that SIA has now 12 Boeing 787-10 in its ranks, with another three birds joining the fleet by the end of year.
All of Singapore Airlines’ Boeing 787-10 are used for regional services, hence they only have two classes: business and economy. In business cabin, there are 36 seats over nine rows, with four across each row. 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.
All seats have direct aisle access, an upgrade from the previous 2-2-2 regional products found on the A330.
I have done a review of this seat for my Bangkok-Singapore flight earlier this year. This time round, I had the chance to book a seat with the seat next to the window, and have the console separate my seat from the aisle. If you ask me, this is a much better option as it offers a lot more privacy.
Even though this is my second time on this aircraft, I still maintain that the seat feels a little tight, although arguably much less than the JAL seats. 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.
Singapore Airlines have aligned the seats in such a way that in alternate rows, couples travelling together can choose a pair of middle seats with their seats right next to each other.
As previously mentioned, the seat controls have been upgraded significantly 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.
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.
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.
Flight time today is about 4.5 hours, which is a relatively short flight. Unlike short-haul services around Southeast Asia, Singapore Airlines do provide some amenities for business class passengers, including slippers, eye masks and socks.
Customarily, the cabin crew came around to offer a pre-departure drink of either champagne, juice or water. Champagne is always my choice of drink, unless it’s way too early in the day. For the uninitiated, Singapore Airlines serve Charles Hensieck champagne in business. Hot towels were also dished out during this time, as the cabin crew collected another round of drink orders for after take-off.
Just after doors are closed and the aircraft is on its way to the runway, the cabin crew came around and swiftly retrieved all the glassware.
Soon we are on our way. As there was only one meal service, there was no rush to serve. The cabin crew came around with the drinks that we ordered before take-off. This was when I experienced a little lapse. I had initially ordered a Shiraz, but a white wine was brought to me instead. After clarifying my order, the wine took a while to come again because the cabin crew forgot to bring it out for me. It was a relatively small matter, but for an airline who had set the bar so high with regard to service, this was a little annoying. I got an extra pour of the Shiraz (which turned out to be pretty decent) from a very apologetic leading stewardess, so I guess I’ll let this slide.
Dinner service commenced about an hour into the flight, so if you are the sort who needs an early dinner, you’re better off grabbing a bite in the lounge first.
As I have previewed the on-board menu earlier through Manage My Booking and wasn’t impressed with the selections, I have went ahead with a Book the Cook selection of Nasi Lemak, which the cabin crew came around to confirm just before the meal service.
For those who are interested, the menu for the evening read as below:
Singapore Chicken and Beef Satay
Parma Ham and Mozzarella Cheese Caprese
Main Course: choice of
Seared Salmon Trout with Campagne Vinaigrette
Singapore Roti Prata
Wok-fried Beef in Black Peppercorn Sauce
Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin with Light Tarragon Sauce
Dessert: choice of
Haagen Dazs Strawberry Ice Cream
Selection of Cheese
Fruit from the Basket
Assorted Bread Rolls and Gourmet Breads
Coffee and Tea
It’s a full meal service, and in my opinion with a little more choices than what was available on my Singapore-Beijing service.
Having said that, Singapore-Australia flights tend to be competitive given the relatively high yields out of the Australian market, so I’m certain that Singapore Airlines will pull no stops to impressing customers with the service quality on the Australian services.
The famed Singapore Airlines satay was served about an hour into the flight. What always amuses me is how the satay is served before they dress your table for dinner. If you don’t take either chicken or beef, you can always request for more of the other meat you prefer. On some flights, they also serve lamb satay instead of beef.
Dinner begins proper once I was done with the satay. The cabin crew came around to lay out the table cloth, before dishing out the tray with the appetiser and offering yet another drink. Another crew followed closely behind, offering a choice of bread rolls and garlic bread.
After the appetiser was completed, the stewardess came around to clear the plate and shortly my Book the Cook meal of Nasi Lemak was in front of me.
For those who had not tried the dish before, it comes with sambal prawns, a slice of otah, omelette and a fried chicken drumstick. The coconut-infused rice was on point, complemented by a sweet and spicy sambal chilli. The accompaniments were pretty rich as well, making the dish a perfect one. My only complaint was the chicken, my personal preference would have been a chicken fillet rather than a chicken drumstick, so that it’s easier to manage.
For dessert, there was a choice between the ice cream and a tiramisu. If you have followed me long enough, you will know that I will almost always go for the ice cream. My previous experience with SIA business class desserts have always been disappointing as they tend to ‘overdo’ it, for example adding toppings to the ice cream. However, the ice cream this time round turns out pretty perfect if you ask me: a simple scoop of strawberry ice cream, topped with just a simple wedge of chocolate.
I also ordered a cup of decaf coffee, which was promptly served after dessert along with a choice of pralines personally offered by the in-flight manager.
The entire dinner service was completed in about an hour, by which time we were about half way into the flight to Perth. I rounded off the flight with another glass of Shiraz.
The Boeing 787-10 aircraft is a boost to the Singapore-Perth services, which used to be serviced by the A330s using a regional 2-2-2 configuration in the business cabin.
The new seats, with all seats having direct aisle access, was a much needed upgrade, given that the only other competitor on this route, Qantas, has a similar seat type on the A330 they operate. Having said this, Singapore Airlines will be moving to a full new generation business class layout, featuring the latest regional business class product on all of its Perth flights from October 2019 onwards, operated by either the B787-10 or the A350 regional configuration aircraft.
Having said this, my comments about the seat comfort still stands. The in-flight entertainment screen was a little too close to my face for my liking, and the side console makes the passage between the aisle and the seat a little tight.
This time round, as I have chosen a window seat with the seat right next to the window (as opposed to having the console next to the window), the seat felt a lot more private than my Bangkok-Singapore sector experience. These seats tend to be very popular for solo travellers, so be sure to book them as soon as you can.
As I have mentioned earlier, the service quality of the Australia-bound services tend to be better as compared to other mid-haul destinations, and this is no exception for my flight today. So if you are ever planning a trip Down Under, you will have every reason to expect a tip-top service in SIA business class.