Review: Singapore Airlines, Business Class, A330 BNE-SIN

Singapore Airlines
Business Class, Seat 11A, 7 hours 20 mins.
Brisbane – Singapore A330, BNE-SIN four times daily

Reviewed By: Tony Hall, Editorial Director, Asia Pacific, Travel Daily Media

Summary

Check-in & Boarding *****
Seating ***
Aircraft ***
Food & Beverage ****
Amenities **
Entertainment ****
Service ****
Overall ***
Skytrax Ranking: ****

Check-in & Boarding ****

Singapore Airlines is renowned for its speedy no-nonsense check-in. New smart gates with passport scanning speed up the time to gate even more. Once on the gate business class and high status partner or Star Alliances members may board swiftly at anytime.

Seating ***

Daytime BNE-SIN flights are operated by aging A330s which are fitted with an angled, lie-flat seat in a 2-2 2 configuration which can wake you up if the person next to your moves vigorously. The seat becomes flat but is not horizontal and anyone taller than 170cm is likely to find their feet handing over the end. The seat is also quite narrow and difficult to find a comfortable position for seeping especially for arms which become wedge in the side laptop pocket. IN the upright position the seat needs a lumber cushion for comfort and does not have any head support. The seat is perhaps this flights’ least appealing feature which barely justifies the much higher business class price. Fortunately SQ will soon replace the A330’s with newly refitted 777 ER’s which sport a truly lie flat individual bed in a staggered 1-1-1 configuration.

Aircraft ***

SQ’s A330’s are aging rapidly and due for replacement when their leases expire in the next 12 months. The A330 is quite noisy, with rushing air quite loud, even with noise-cancelling headphones at hand. Bathrooms are of reasonable size but showing signs of significant wear and tear due to the age of the aircraft. Again, not a premium experience This aircraft fast becoming the least desired choice for flights over 4 hours in business class.

Food & Beverage ***

The menu is designed by chef Luke Mangan who owns Aria restaurant in Sydney. On the BNE-SIN sector, both brunch and afternoon snack. Meal selection is high quality and serving portions generous. The wine list is limited compared to other airlines but the quality on offer is certainly acceptable, especially when complimented but a very long list of cocktails, spirits, tea, coffee and soft drinks.

Amenities **

Amenities consist of slippers, eye mask and very large socks – all in a grey colour that would fail to win any fashion awards. The lack of an amenities kit is a small but important detail which reduces SQ’s A330 business class standard compared to the slicker offerings of other competitors.

Entertainment ****

The IFE system is quite old and comes with noise-cancelling headphones, there is a decent selection of movies, TV, music, games and reading on offer screen quality perfectly acceptable. The sound of rushing air is not completely blocked out by the headphones, an issue that has largely been resolved in quieter, more modern aircraft. Wif-fi is not on offer but seats have handing charging sockets for phones, laptops and other devices.

Service ****

The saving grace of this average business class experience is the consistently efficient and courteous service of SQ crew. Right from a reassuring welcome from the captain, the crew are always attentive and polite – attitudes that have been consistently maintained by the airline over many years.

Overall ***

SQ’s BNE-SIN business class offering is sadly over-shadowed by much larger and flatter seating on its A380’s and 777’s. For some time now, BNE customers have endured a mediocre airport lounge and sub-standard business class product which thankfully is soon due for an upgrade when the refitted 777’s replace the ungracefully aging A330 mid-range workhorse.

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