Flight Code – SQ – SenSational Quality
By Gayle Dickson
My first encounter with Singapore Airlines was twenty odd years ago when I hopped onboard at Jan Smuts Airport in Johannesburg bound for Auckland, with stopovers in Mauritius and Singapore.
I had been dreading the long journey with a grumpy toddler recently recovering from an ear-infection. He grizzled and griped just about the entire trip. However, to say that the journey was unpleasant would be lie. From that initial boarding to disembarking in New Zealand, hubby and I were treated like first class VIP’s, even though we were only in economy. The delightful cabin crew seemed to sense when we needed a break and would whisk our little one off for a trip around the aircraft while we eased back with a well-deserved meal and glass of wine.
Subsequent trips on this airline have never found them to be lacking – whether in food service, friendly smiles or helpful advice. Thus it came to be that I devoted the first of our Airline Profiles to Singapore Airlines. ??After 20 years of jetting around the planet on airlines of all size and description, I still rate them extremely highly.
Singapore Airlines took delivery of the first Airbus A380 in October 2007 and the fleet now numbers ten of these massive aircraft. With a total of 417 seats, the airline’s configuration boasts significantly less capacity than the standard configuration of 525 seats.
This, however, is not a bad thing, as it improves space throughout all classes.??Okay, so let’s get the technicalities out of the way.
The A380 has a range of about 7,100 nautical miles on a full passenger payload, equating to a distance further than Singapore to London or Hong Kong to San Francisco.
Her length of 72.7m is actually only marginally longer than that of the more common B747-400. It’s the wingspan and the height that are impressive. Whilst the design is compatible with most runways, her wingspan means that airports are having to widen taxiways – more than likely one of the reasons the airline currently has limited routes.
The larger cabin area has provided Singapore Airlines with plenty of scope for innovation and the new Singapore Suites feature the ultimate in-flight luxury. The aircraft is configured in three classes. In its current configuration, there are 12 Singapore Suites on the main deck, 60 business class seats on the upper deck, and 399 economy seats spread over both decks.
Singapore Airlines conducted vast research from both staff and customers to ensure that what they provided in the new A380 lived up to expectation. Ideas from these workshops were then presented to designers from fashion houses, luxury car manufacturers and aircraft cabin specialists, resulting in what we see today.
While the luxury of bars and showers onboard an aircraft is appealing, every bone-weary traveller will tell you that it’s space, comfort and privacy that’s paramount – and Singapore Airline’s configuration does just that, even in economy class.
For the discerning traveller, the Suites designed by leading yacht designer, Jean-Jaques Coste, offer unprecedented levels of personal space and privacy. Each cabin features a Poltrona Frau upholstered leather seat and a separate full-sized flat bed. Suite customers can also expect Singapore Airlines’ award-winning service to be even more personalised, attentive and discreet. Enjoy a dining table that adjusts in height for doing paperwork, a chaise lounge for companion seating and socialising, personal luggage stowage and coat closet, mini-bar, and much more. The experienced is capped off by a turn-down service with fine linen and full-sized pillows.
In business class, the level of service is impeccable, too. In fact, shortly after they began operating the A380, Singapore Airlines was awarded as Skytrax’s Best Business Class. Passengers in this class are delivered elegant, restaurant-style dining with meals plated on Givenchy-designed servingware, complimented by wines and spirits served in full-sized glassware. The 1-2-1 configuration ensures that every seat has aisle access. At 34-inches, the seats are the widest in the sky, converting to the largest full-flat business class bed.
Economy class doesn’t go without, either. There is increased leg and knee room, larger entertainment screens, in-seat laptop power supplies, coat hooks, cup-holders, spectacle stowage and even a mirror – all adding up to extra convenience and comfort. Plus, those handy toothbrushes and knitted socks are back – yes, even in economy – as are the toiletries in the lavatories, and you can request razors and combs, too!
With 23 cabin crew onboard, there are plenty of hands to ensure your journey is a pleasant experience. Menus for all three classes of passenger have been specifically created by top chefs like Matt Moran and Sam Leong. Wines and spirits are selected by world-renowned wine experts including Michael-Hill Smith and Steven Spurrier.
Even the entertainment has been taken to new levels with Panasonic’s xE2. It’s user-friendly and interactive, carrying a wider selection of movies, TV shows, music and games, as well as travel and learning applications. Singapore Airlines is in fact the only airline to offer 3D games on the eX2. Passengers can also use Zagat Survey, a guide to restaurants and hotels in selected destinations, check out city guides, get health information and much more.
Singapore Airline’s A380 currently operates to Hong Kong, London, Paris, Sydney and Tokyo. Their loyalty program is KrisFlyer and it’s free to join. Singapore Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance.