When you’re fortunate enough to be in the exclusive nose or upper deck of a monstrous and awe-inspiring aircraft, you’ll want to get the absolute most out of the blissful hours onboard. Spending tens of thousands of miles or dollars can seem risky (and not worth it, to some), so to ensure you’re funds are well redeemed, take note of these few tips.
- Seat Choice
- Book the Cook
- Departure Time
- Departure City
Choose The Best Seats
It’s been said countless times before, by everyone in the industry – all seats are NOT created equal! (especially in Business and First Class).
Every aircraft has unique characteristics that make some seats far better than others, and you can have these extra perks for no extra costs.
Singapore Airlines permits advanced seat selection for ALL Business and First Class fares, and, unlike Economy, does not charge for seats with extra perks. So allow me to take you through the most prominent long-haul aircraft, the 777-300ER and the fabulous A380.
777-300ER Business Class
11 A,D,F,K | Placed just behind the First Class cabin, these are by far and away the BEST seats on the aircraft. Nestled in a 2-3 row mini cabin, you’re tended to in an environment with First Class exclusivity. Galleys, bathrooms, screaming babies (there are no bassinets in this cabin) and even Economy Class are all out of earshot. Windows are pe
rfectly aligned, and the best part… Extra legroom! See, most Singapore Airlines Business Class seats feature a small footwell to one side, where you place your feet in bed and seat mode. Bulkhead seats, however, don’t have this restriction, and instead feature a wide, full length bench that can be used for extra room, or as an ottoman.
14 A,D,F,K | Front row of the second cabin, so the extra legroom is there, just like row 11. However, these ARE bassinet seats, and so babies can be a problem. The seats are also close to the lavatories and galleys (although they shouldn’t be much of an issue). Whilst the perks don’t fully compare to row 11, they are the next best bet if row 11 is all out.
12, 18, 20 A,K | AVOID these seats. They don’t have extra perks (although row 12 is in the exclusive forward cabin), but all feature missing or misaligned windows. Windowless flights can be quite a pain, so avoid at all costs!
777-300ER First Class
Being First Class, most seats are fairly equivalent. It is key to note, that because of falling demand (probably due to the Business Class cannibalising First), some 777-300ER’s feature 2 rows of First Class, whilst others feature just 1.
In the single row aircraft, it’s simply a choice of window or middle. Middle (C,D) seats are ideal for people travelling together, but if not a privacy screen can be raised after take-off.
In the double row aircraft, there is a little more to think of…
1 A,C,D,F | The first row of the aircraft features a completely flat and open footwell area. However, due to the need to maintain the same legroom for the row just behind, there is reduced headroom when in bed mode.
2, A,C,D,F | Unlike row 1, these seats feature a completely flat head area,
yet have a slightly reduced footwell. Whilst it may
seem like deciding between headroom and legroom, the diminished
legroom in row 2 is so small, that it is unnoticeable. However, the diminished headroom in row 1 is far more noticeable in bed-mode. Hence, row 2 is recommended.
A380 Business Class
96 A,D,F,K (selected aircraft only) | Whilst many sites rate these as poor choices, they are in fact, golden seats! Firstly, they feature completely non-diminished legroom, and a wide ottoman not found in the normal seats. They are placed just behind the rear emergency exit, and so almost sit in their own 1-row cabin. Being the last row, it is common to see these seats unoccupied, so you may have the opportunity to have a ‘lounge room’ seat and then another ‘bedroom’ seat next door. Finally, being just in front of a galley, cabin crew will pass by very, very often. As a result, they will get to know your face better, and be able to tend to you far more so than the rest of the cabin. One minor downside is that the rear of the cabin is far colder than the front, especially due to the close proximity to the door. It may be a compromise, but then again, aircraft cabins are generally chill-boxes throughout!
17, 91 (selected aircraft only) A,D,F,K | These are the other bulkhead rows, featuring a wide leg area with no restrictions. However, they are part of much larger cabins, and are situated just behind galleys and bathrooms, with potential noise and light disruptions. Both rows feature bassinets on the windows, so screaming babies MAY be an issue.
11 A,K | AVOID these seats! The absolute worst on the aircraft. Whilst they have no footwell, and a bench instead, the seat and bench are narrower than others, due to the curvature of the aircraft nose. They also are missing windows, are close to the bathroom, and just behind the curtain and stairs, so it’s a lose-lose-lose situation.
A380 Suites Class
1 A,F | These Suites come with added privacy as they sit next to the staircase, as opposed to middle Suites. On more crowded flights, these are perfect, as you hardly notice the rest of the cabin. The forward wall is somewhat narrower, but makes no negative difference.
3 A,F | The special Suites! Unlike all others, these 2 window Suites feature 3, yes, 3 windows instead of 2! Work in a panoramic office in the sky, with ample natural light! It may not seem like much, but it does make a difference.
2,3 C,D | The couple Suites! These are the famous Singapore Airlines double beds! When in bed mode, partitions disappear and you have a fun double bed in the sky. On flights with few passengers, you may even be lucky to have a window Suite as a ‘lounge room’ and then a double bedroom all to yourself! (This is the win-win ultimate situation)!
4 A,F | AVOID these Suites. They are the last row of the cabin, just ahead of the galley, bathroom and Economy Class cabin. Extra noise and traffic, so these are your last call.
Book The Cook!
Singapore Airlines features an ‘International Culinary Panel’ (ICP) chaired by top chefs from around the world, including Suzanne Goin, Alfred Portale and Matt Moran. This panel works together to design meals for Premium Economy, Business Class and First Class, many of which are available for advanced selection.
Book The Cook (BTC) works with great benefits for the passenger and for the airline. It involves premium customers selecting their desired meal at least 24 hours prior to flight departure. With an extensive menu, varying depending on departure city, this gives passengers wider choice, and removes the “Sorry, Sir/Ma’am, we’ve run out of your selected meal” disappointment. Even better, the airline can cut down on how many meals they load onto the aircraft, saving time, money and fuel.
Whilst many travellers like to be surprised with the selection onboard, if you’re keen to try the signature service, have a look at the menu here and be sure to make your selection at least 24 hours prior to your flight. Simply log in to your booking through the “Manage Booking” tab, and click “Select Meals”.
Business and First Class passengers receive a range of high quality amenities from L’Occitane and Salvatore Ferragamo. In First Class, they involve a designer clutch with perfumes, colognes, creams and lip balm. In Business Class, Singapore Airlines socks, slippers and eyeshades are distributed. The signature Singapore Airlines teddy bears are available in both premium cabins, upon request, and seem to be more popular amongst adults than kids!
For First Class, cover bags are also available for hand-bags so they stay particle-free on the plush and freshly laundered First Class carpet 🙂
Toothbrushes, more cologne, moisturising creams, linen towels, combs, brushes and shaving kits are all available in Economy, Business and First Class lavatories.
Also available upon request are writing kits, pens, postcards and playing cards. These are all given complimentary to passengers in all cabin classes.
If you’re travelling with someone for a special event, say a birthday or anniversary, it’s always good to let the crew know, as they will almost always prepare a hand made card and present gifts to the desired passenger.
If you desire any more amenities or little gifts, always talk to the crew and ask. They’re almost always happy to do whatever it takes to make your journey incredible.
Finally, flights to certain cities provide Express Cards for the arrivals process. If you are on one of these flights, make sure you get an Express Card from the crew, as it makes all the difference for those packed, early morning arrivals.
Singapore Airlines has some incredible lounges across the globe, and partners with other airlines for ports with lower frequency. They are all currently scheduled for renovation, to bring them up to the new SIA standard. Sydney, Hong Kong and Manila have already been completed, with new Flagship lounges at Changi set for 2017.
No First or Business Class trip is complete without ample time in the lounge. If you are departing from Singapore, you’ll have a selection of lounges available:
- KrisFlyer Gold Lounge T2
- KrisFlyer Gold Lounge T3
- SilverKris Business Class Lounge T2
- SilverKris Business Class Lounge T3
- SilverKris First Class Lounge T2
- SilverKris First Class Lounge T3
- The Private Room T3
The KrisFlyer Gold Lounges are available to Singapore Airlines Economy Class passengers with KrisFlyer Gold Cards, and feature light snacks, Wi-Fi, PC’s, lounge and TV areas.
The Business and First Class lounges all feature the Gold Lounge perks, along with a wider selection of full meals, and a greater variety of alcoholic, non-alcoholic, hot and cold beverages.
TWG Tea forms the focus of the beverage area, with lavish $6000 tea samovars and a wide selection of high class TWG teas, all available complimentary.
In Terminal 3 the lounge names can be a tad deceptive. Whilst the Business Class is as it sounds (for Business Class passengers), the First Class lounge is actually for PPS and Solitaire PPS members, First Class passengers on partner airlines and guests of Singapore Airlines First Class/ Suites passengers. Meanwhile, The Private Room is available exclusively to guests travelling in First Class or Suites onboard a Singapore Airlines flight. This decadent lounge features plush leather chairs, widescreen TV’s and a lavish, waitered dining area.
If flying First Class/ Suites, you can most often use the First Class lounge as an arrivals lounge, if you land in Singapore.
It’s always advised to plan your travel to spend time in these gorgeous havens. If in transit in Singapore, select your flights to have several hours at Changi to take advantage of the lounges and all that the incredible airport has to offer.
If travelling in First Class, departing from Singapore, it is also advised to try to make use of the First Class Check-In. Terminal 3 features a drive in check-in area, with porters and staff to greet you as you arrive, open doors, collect luggage and passports, and sort out the technical mayhem, as you relax in the check-in lounge with a hot towel and glass of water. You’re then escorted to the private Singapore Airlines immigration channel, exclusively for PPS Club members and Suites/ First Class guests. The process is quick and easy, delivers you straight in front of the Bottega Veneta store, and lies just a few steps away from the escalator that carries you up to the SilverKris lounge. A kerbside checkin service is also available in Terminal 2.
Time of departure
Th is actually makes a HUGE difference in your travel experience. Let’s take an evening Singapore to Sydney flight, for example. Most of the time, you will end up paying exactly the same amount whether you take SQ221 (20:30) or SQ231 (00:45), but can have very different experiences.
On an evening flight like SQ221, you’ll be served a full 3-6 course dinner, followed by a solid 4-5 hours of sleep. You’ll then be woken gently for a continental breakfast before an early morning touchdown in Sydney. Whilst this part is perfect, once in Sydney you’re met by a hoard of thousand of passengers from every corner of the globe. It’s the busiest time with several A380s and 777s landing, resulting in incredibly long immigration and quarantine clearance times. This can be improved by the Express Passes distributed for premium passengers, but is still a pain.
On the other hand, if you a select red-eye like SQ231, you’ll have the option of a light supper, followed by up to 5 or so hours of sleep. St this point you’ll be slowly woken for a full and hearty breakfast, often inclusive of eggs cooked fresh onboard, accompanied by high quality espresso coffee. Upon touch down at close to midday, there are few to no other large international flights landing, allowing for an incredibly quick immigration and quarantine process. Often you don’t even need to use the Express Pass, and so can keep them for later, or to give to others.
So you’ll have to see what is important to you: a full premium cabin experience with an exceptional meal service, or a really good rest followed by quick departure from the arrival airport. If you’re a less-than-frequent flyer, I’d suggest a flight like the former, where you can have excellent service. However, if you’re more concerned about time and rest, I’d recommend the latter.
Ok, so this can vary in flexibility. For those who use miles for upgrades or award tickets, there’s often a situation where you have to decide between upgrading the outbound or the inbound journey, depending on whether or not you have sufficient miles for the round trip. If choosing one-way premium, think about what will be offered from where you depart. All thE ground privileges tend to occur at departure, mainly including lounge access. If you’re keen on experiencing a very high quality lounge, try to be in a premium cabin departing Singapore, to see SIA’s flagship lounges. Also, if flying First/ Suites, you’ll have the potential to use the amazing drive-up check-in.
If meals are important to you, note that the widest selection of ‘Book The Cook’ options are available departing Singapore. Other cities either have limited choices or none at all.
The final, less prominent thing is flight time. On flights that travel in fairly east/ west directions, you may be surprised to know that globally, a westbound flight is always scheduled to be longer than an eastbound flight. The difference can vary greatly between 5 minutes on a Singapore – Hong Kong flight, and over 2 hours on a Singapore – London flight. This is primarily due to the Earth’s rotation. As it moves from west to east, the air also moves in this direction. Hence, when flying west, the aircraft often encounters headwinds, flying against the wind. On the other hand, when flying east, you move with the wind, and so encounter more tailwinds, decreasing travel time. Furthermore, on routes to Europe, routing towards Europe is more northerly, in order to avoid certain restrictive airspaces. This adds a great deal of time to the flight. So if you seldom have the opportunity to experience a premium cabin, you may be inclined to choose the westerly option, as it will often provide you with more time onboard for the same price. Remember, though, that these times can fluctuate greatly, and often the differences are barely noticed.
A flight in Singapore Airlines First or Business Class will not disappoint… I promise you. Follow these tips to make your experience just that little bit better, and you won’t have the slightest regret about your choices.
Do leave a comment if you have any questions.
And have a pleasant journey. ✈