The service provided by Singapore Airlines in Business Class on this A350 between Copenhagen and Singapore is in line with the airline’s reputation, even if a few points surprised me.
So here is the main course of this trip to Malaysia: after a few detours I am finally ready to take the Singapore Airlines A350 to Singapore and it is with some impatience that I will make my connection in Copenhagen.
As a reminder, the list of all the articles on this trip to Malaysia is available at the bottom of the page.
I disembark from my flight from Gothenburg and head straight for the Duty Free area where I will spend some time in the SAS Gold lounge. I really like this airport in Copenhagen and find it very pleasant.
I will leave the lounge with a safety margin as I still have to pass the police controls to enter the non-Schengen area of the airport. Well, the e-gates are not in use and I will have to wait in line.
But this is Scandinavia: it goes fast, the people are patient, the staff at immigration are pleasant and I’m on the other side in a few minutes. With the same queue at CDG I can’t imagine how long it would have taken.
I arrive in the departure lounge. A Danish agent, once again very friendly, directs me to the part of the room reserved for the front classes. In fact, the room is separated in two by a cord: one part for the front classes, another for the rest of the aircraft. You can settle down quietly and it avoids the formation of a gate lice. This also ensures that boarding priorities are strictly adhered to.
Our A350 is here and we will soon be boarding.
The boarding begins and I am the second to board. I head for my seat, which I will present to you in more detail below.
The business cabin consists of a large cabin and a smaller one behind. I am in the last row of the first. I settle in and my coat is quickly taken from me and put in the cloakroom. I am offered a drink: orange juice or apple juice.
The order for the aperitif will be taken on the ground for immediate service after take-off.
Finally an almost perfect boarding. Almost because only one gangway was put in place and it was at the front of the aircraft. All economy passengers will therefore go through business class to get to their seats.
The business class cabin of this A350 is of course in a 1-2-1 configuration.
The seats are really wide. Less than on Singapore Airlines’ 777s but overall much more than most of the market.
And this is my seat.
The cushion on the seat is large and plump. I like it.
Almost the only storage space available. This is a bit too little.
The headset is in its compartment.
Socks, sleep mask, comfort kit…everything is in place except the blanket (actually it’s there but I won’t find out where it is until later but that’s part of some of the subtleties of this seat. There are even slippers, quite rare in business class.
The menu is also there, but more on that later.
The amenity kit is by Penhaligon’s.
Good but perhaps a little disappointing.
The tablet is a good size.
The seat controls are clear and understandable.
The various lights can be controlled just as easily.
The screen is large and of good quality. On the side there is a glass rest and a very small storage space.
The touch-sensitive remote control is easy to use. On the other hand, one spontaneously wants to use the large screen as if it were touch-sensitive, and all the more so as one is very close to it…but it is not touch-sensitive. But the gesture is so spontaneous that you find yourself wanting to try it several times.
Cleaning was somewhat neglected at the stopover. It’s not the kind of thing you’d expect on Singapore Airlines.
If you want to see how wide the seat is:
Now let’s talk about a specificity of this seat, some would even say an oddity….
If you look at this picture you can see that I don’t have that much room to stretch out my legs as I could with the business class seat of just about any airline.
It is indeed impossible to extend your legs under the front seat because for this to be possible the seat should be in staggered configurationThis means that every other row the seat is close to the window and every other row the seat is close to the aisle to make this possible. Whereas as you can see, here the seats are perfectly aligned.
So how do we sleep?
In fact, contrary to what is usually seen, if the seat reclines it is not by reclining it to the extreme that it becomes a bed. Instead, it should be returned to an upright position, at which point the backrest should be tilted to form a bed on the other side. This is where the blanket is stored, which I will discover at that moment.
But how do you sleep with so little space?
In fact, the footwell is located not as an extension of the seat, under the screen, but on the side. And while one expects to sleep straight, parallel to the aisle, one sleeps at an angle as if the seat were a reverse herringbone. Moreover, it is one that hides it well and does not say its name.
I know that some people are not fans of this trick. My feeling is more nuanced.
Not having a “staggered” seat allows for a wider seat and when lying down it is as comfortable and large as any other seat in the category, or even more comfortable as the back of the seat is a real mattress. On the other hand, when seated, I understand that tall people, including myself, regret not being able to extend their legs further.
Another black spot: unless you know this seat well, no passenger can figure out how to put it in the bed position on their own, and in any case, the flight attendants spontaneously offer to help passengers with its handling. But on the return journey I finally managed to do it on my own, but not to put it back in a sitting position after the night. But above all, this means that the seat cannot be put upright in the middle of the night for one reason or another and then returned to the bed position. It is therefore not possible to choose a position that is not fully reclined: either you are slightly reclined or fully reclined, but it is not possible to have your legs flat and the backrest slightly raised. It’s a pity because it’s a position I like very much.
In the end, I found it a very comfortable seat, I had a very good night, but even if I am convinced that they are the result of a long reflection, some choices and arbitrations surprise me and I would like to understand the reasons for them. The leather is of good quality, but I find the part of the seat that holds the screen a bit plastic and “fake”.
I still have in mind the cabin I found a few months earlier on Thai between Stockholm and Bangkok and it is nevertheless night and day.
The only thing they have in common is poor cleaning. It’s not the company’s fault if the service providers sabotage the work, but it is its fault if the crew doesn’t check before boarding.
Last point: Wifi is offered in business class but I find that it works a bit erratically on this flight (frequent disconnections).
The flight and the service
We leave our parking point with a little delay. Not much, but you will see that it will have an impact on the rest of the journey.
We stop before the runway threshold to assess whether the aircraft needs to be de-iced or not. This will not be the case.
We finally take off and I enjoy the impressive silence of this A350.
No sooner had we broken through the cloud cover than the aperitif was brought to us.
No oshibori ??? Weird.
The service then starts quite quickly. I unfold my tray table and the table is set.
Here is the menu:
My food order is taken and while waiting to be served I will have a refill of champagne.
The starter is coming:
Baked cod with salted cucumber, garden cress, rye bread crumble, dill mayonnaise and mussel cream. With this I will have an excellent garlic bread.
The presentation is successful.
The fish is perfect, firm and fresh. The mayonnaise is excellent and the whole thing is very tasty. The cucumber is almost too much. However, I am still looking for the crumble.
Then the dish: Slow braised boneless pork shank, creamy spinach with nutmeg, carrots, mashed potatoes and Madeira sauce.
At this point I was served wine again but I had taken white with the starter and now I wanted red. The hostess will take several minutes to return with the right bottle while my dish cools.
In the end the dish will be excellent. The carrots are crisp, the meat neither too firm nor too decaying, the Madeira sauce gives a very good taste to the whole.
A dessert? I have the choice to take anything from the menu but I’ll settle for cheese and a passion ice cream.
And to finish, a mint tea and a cognac!
Special mention for the choice of teas offered on board.
An excellent meal, the service and the attitude of the staff are perfect but it lacks a bit of warmth, humanity and even common sense. For example, my cutlery was taken away when I had bread and butter left. It reminds me of my very first flight in first class on Singapore Airlines: perfect service but too mechanical. No approximation, everything is milimetered but by following too much protocol one sometimes forgets that one is serving human beings.
I really had the impression that things had to happen in a certain way, in a certain timing and that everything had to be done to respect the timing, even if it meant rushing the passenger a bit.
So of course it’s not so visible, it’s not so noticeable, but there’s still a strange feeling left at the end. The attitude is perfect on the outside, but in the mind there is protocol and the clock is ticking. Warm on the outside, cold on the inside.
This shows that it is possible to come close to perfection and still leave a little taste of unfinished business. Or maybe because it is Singapore Airlines the level of expectation is much higher than with other airlines?
Anyway, the cabin is now in darkness but it is too early for me to sleep.
We are above Turkey and you see the diversions that the events in Ukraine impose on us.
I look around and see something that catches my eye on a screen: a football match. A replay of a legendary match as it often happens? No ! Given the colour of the shirts, it’s Brazil-Croatia and so it’s the World Cup quarter-final live.
Here’s something to go with my cognac!
It’s time to move my seat to the bed position to watch the end of the game.
That’s how I’ll watch Brazil’s defeat. It’s the first time I’ve watched a game live in mid-air and I must admit it’s pretty cool. You will also notice that when you lie down you are no longer in line with the screen.
I will order a glass of champagne at the final whistle. The flight attendant, probably not very knowledgeable about international football, will say to me “I don’t understand why everyone is suddenly asking me for champagne”.
It’s time to finally go to sleep. There was a menu of snacks to be consumed at any time but I didn’t find the offer too interesting, I miss the satay brochettes on request from Garuda for example…
I won’t sleep much, like all the passengers obviously. Unlike the Air France or KLM Paris-Singapore flights I’m used to, which leave in the evening, this late morning flight is a bit more challenging in terms of my biological clock.
I finally wake up just for the breakfast service. I went to the toilet and the hostess put my bed back in the sitting position while I was away.
Here is the breakfast menu.
The service begins.
The fruit is fresh and sweet, the hot croissant not at all mushy or chewy.
Then fried egg noodles with shrimp, mushrooms, Asian greens and spring onions – ginger sauce.
Very good and tasty.
A few minutes after breakfast the cabin is ready for landing in Singapore.
At first sight I would say irreproachable, professional, friendly. After looking into the details and from experience I found that something was wrong. Too much haste in clearing away and speeding up the service, for example. We can feel that the most important thing at Singapore Airlines is the respect of rules and protocol and that’s why the company never disappoints, even if it means that it rarely has this extra humanity which can be enchanting, but at the price of some irregularities when the protocol is left too much to the appreciation of the staff (follow my eyes…).
This often leads us to say that an average, normal Singapore Airlines crew will always be better than an average or good Air France crew, will never be bad, but will always lack something compared to a very good Air France crew. But the passenger is interested in the average and doesn’t like large standard deviations… hence the excellent reputation of the Asian company.
I won’t get upset about the wine in the middle of the meal: I was on white, she anticipated and came to serve me again, she couldn’t guess that I wanted to change. However, the fact that the household was not checked (or poorly checked) before boarding is unforgivable.
Another point that has more to do with protocol than with the staff, but which is noticeable: there are obviously no more oshiboris distributed on board. Temporary survival of COVID measures or definitive choice. In any case it is missing, especially compared to my last flights on Thai where we were given some under any pretext.
One last point that has nothing to do with attitude but does matter. I am a fan of Singapore Airlines uniforms. Of course there are the Singapore Girls who need no introduction, but the stewarts’ outfit, in costume and not in the usual flight attendant’s outfit, looks more like a hotel or a restaurant, and I find that the best effect.
Landing and arrival
The ground appears little by little before our eyes, the sun shows the tip of its nose.
I arrived safely in Singapore with a short taxi during which I took the opportunity to buy online my ticket for the KLIA Ekspress in Kuala Lumpur.
The delay at the start has not been made up and when I disembark I have only 10 minutes left before boarding for Kuala Lumpur. Luckily my gate is right next door so I’ll be on time without any problem. However, a little voice inside me tells me that my luggage won’t go as fast as I do and that after my delayed luggage between Frankfurt and Gothenburg I might spend another night without a suitcase in Kuala Lumpur.
Lucidity? Pessimism? You will see this in the upcoming review of my flight from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur.
A very solid performance by Singapore Airlines, in line with what is expected of the airline. Very solid but not excellent, perhaps because too much is expected of it.
Objectively, the hard and soft products are of a very good level, but as we travel, we tend to be picky.
A great seat, wide, comfortable, but its very design leaves me with many unanswered questions.
Very good catering.
Professional crew but a bit of a rush on the first part of the flight.
If I were to compare to my previous one on Thai between Stockholm and Bangkok: the cabin is much better, the food a bit, the crews are equal but I felt more warmth on Thai.
And finally, what may seem like a detail: what happened to the Oshiboris?
And you who have already travelled in this seat, what did you think? What about the Singapore Airlines service?