It is no secret that Singapore Airlines is one of the world’s leading airline brands when it comes to service and cabin products. It is also no secret that they are by far my favourite airline, and I will go out of my way to fly with them wherever possible. I had a few expiring air-miles with their Kris-Flyer Frequent Flyer scheme (which I reviewed here), so I decided to go on a short hop from Manchester (UK) to Munich (Germany). This is one of Singapore Airlines’ Fifth Freedom routes: it neither originates or terminates in their hub at Singapore Changi. My Itinerary wss as follows:
Dep: MAN, 09:10
Arr: MUC, 12:15
Flight time: 2h5m
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
I took the first flight up to Manchester from Heathrow that morning, which meant a 3am start. I managed to snag a bargain at the last minute by getting a BA Economy flight LHR –> MAN for 4,000 Avios plus £15 cash. The flight was 35 minutes, and included the most efficient meal service I had ever witnessed. Everyone received a hot panini or pastry for breakfast, as well as a range of hot or cold drinks, which was a nice pick-me-up at 6am.
Consequently I didn’t have time to use the lounge at Manchester. Singapore Airlines Business/First Class passengers departing from Manchester are invited to use the Escape Lounge before departure, though I am reliably informed through reviews on loungebuddy that I didn’t miss out on much. Boarding was very efficient, and I was first on the plane, which is always nice, meaning I could grab some great photos of the empty cabin. I chose my seat in advance, in the small Business Class cabin at the front, with only 4 rows, knowing this would mean a more personal service and nicer cabin ambience than the big cabin behind. I also chose a bulkhead (front-row) seat, knowing this would offer superior legroom to Singapore Airlines’ already spacious seat.
As a matter of fact, both Business, Premium Economy and Economy were only half full when boarding was complete. First Class was completely empty, and the senior crew used it as a ‘chill zone’.
I was greeted by name at my seat by the Inflight Supervisor (you can tell due to the purple tie), and asked if everything was OK, and that should I need anything throughout the flight, I shouldn’t hesitate to ask. I noticed I was the only passenger to receive such a personal welcome. Blogger privileges I guess! I was then offered a pre-departure drink, stowage of my suit jacket, and a scented hot-towel. I of course obliged on all three accounts.
I had a while to become acquainted with my seat, which included connection ports for international plugs, USB and HDMI, as well as a storage compartment, folding table, literature sleeve, vanity mirror, footrest, adjustable chair, and separate sleeping surface. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to photograph the lie-flat bed – I was already getting enough weird looks from the Aussie sat across the aisle from me for taking photos of the hot-towels and constantly adjusting my seat, and I didn’t want to request for my bed to be made up, and then packed away again! However, from past experience, I can tell you that the bed is supremely comfortable and spacious. I also had a huge amount of leg-room, which is a rare occasion for someone who is 6’2″.
Food & Drink
An efficient, but un-rushed meal service soon followed, with the following menu:
I chose the Frittata, which was quite tasty, but nothing to write home about. The yoghurt was out of this world, however. Hot/cold drinks were also offered at this time, though disappointingly, alcoholic drinks were not offered. Perhaps for the best! But I really wanted to try Singapore Airlines’ famous Singapore Sling…
Inflight entertainment and connectivity
I thought the tablecloth, salt and pepper shakers, and napkin & cutlery were a really nice touch, as well as the real crockery. Following meal service, another hot-towel was offered, and I took an opportunity to look at the entertainment system, Krisworld. It had an impressive selection of TV series and movies, and featured an intuitive touch-screen controller.
Singapore Airlines also offers in-flight WiFi and connectivity through OnAir, though I didn’t try it on this short leg.
I then took a walk down the length of the plane, something I always like to do when flying in a premium class. I was particularly interested to see Singapore Airlines’ new Premium Economy Class, which looked quite spacious, and very market-competitive. Even Economy I find far more bearable with Singapore Airlines than any other carrier due to their generous leg-room, solid in-flight Entertainment, and superb service.
The service in the Business Class cabin was very personal and attentive. Singapore airlines are very hands-on in service style, meaning they’re constantly coming through the cabin making sure everything is fine. I really like this approach, as it makes me feel valued as a customer, though some could find it overly attentive and invasive. You also notice a much higher proportion of senior crew serving you in Business Class than any other class. The colour of their tie/kebaya corresponds to their grade. Blue = cabin crew, green = leading crew, red = chief crew, and purple = inflight supervisor. If you are very lucky, you may see a Gold Tie/Scarf crew member on board. These are the ultra-rare Inflight Auditors. Gotta catch ’em all!
I took a look in the lavatories following my walk. Whilst Singapore Airlines don’t offer an amenity kit on this short sector, all the amenities you would find in a kit are in the washroom, including various lotions & potions, hairburushes, combs, toothbrushes/paste and sanitary equipment. A minor point, but the mood-lighting was lovely too.
A tour of First Class
I was invited into the empty First Class cabin towards the end of the flight, and given a tour of its functionality. Essentially, it is much the same as Business Class, just with more room, and a cabin with only 4 seats, meaning greater privacy and more personal service. I’m sure the real difference is in service and soft product (food etc). The stewardess showing me around offered to take a picture, to which I happily obliged:
In my opinion, Singapore Airlines provides the best service and hard product in every class, perhaps with the exception of the Etihad Residence, which I have yet to sample. Their food is also reliable, and their ground-facilities at major departure hubs (Hong-Kong, London, Singapore) are fantastic too. This flight was no exception, my only complaint being that I felt short-changed when we arrived early – I wanted to spend as much time on board as possible!
I made an effort to fly this fifth freedom route before its decommissioning, which is due to happen in a few weeks, sadly. Instead, SQ will operate direct MUC –> SIN flights, as well as a new SIN –> MAN –> IAH (Houston) route, which will be interesting. Unfortunately, though, this will feature the old Business/Economy/First Class, not the new one reviewed here. I guess the decommissioning makes sense, seeing as the flight was only half full.