Plush Singapore Airlines A350 Business Class Wellington – Singapore
This review looks at Singapore Airlines A350 Business Class. Singapore (SQ) is an airline that’s always a pleasure to fly. I’ve flown them in the pointy end 7 times over the last 4 months alone. Part of what keeps you excited about them is the range of different products they have across all their aircraft. To my knowledge they have 4 different First Class products currently flying and even more types of Business Class. I’ve reviewed the new regional cabin, as well as the original A380. The A350s is very similar to their newer 777 seats.
This was my first flight of 2020. Another exciting/unique feature of this flight is that it starts in Wellington, a fairly small regional airport where SQ is the only long haul carrier. SQ’s A350 is by far the biggest aircraft handled by this airport. I spent a glorious afternoon plane spotting the previous day from Victoria peak, which overlooks the airport 🙂
Route: Wellington – Singapore (stops in Melbourne)
Flight no: SQ248
Departure time: 14.30
Seat: 19A (Bulkhead Business Class)
Wellington airport was just a 15 minute Uber ride from where I was staying in the city, arriving at the airport just before 3 hours to departure.
Check-in was still not open at that moment.
So instead I used the self-check-in kiosks and bag drop facility.
This process was effortless. Boarding pass and luggage tags printed within a couple of minutes, I still had 3 hours to go!
My boarding pass included lounge invitation to the Air New Zealand lounge from the international terminal. This was an airside lounge, but I could not get air-side just yet! Wellington seem to stagger the security controls for flights, when I tried to go through I was told to come back 80 minutes before flight departure!
Hmm so this doesn’t really leave much time for me to enjoy a lounge I thought?
Since I had over an hour left just to hang around the main terminal area, I decided to check the domestic lounges. Luckily, Air New Zealand does have a domestic lounge that I was able to use.
Once I got to the Air New Zealand international lounge, it became clear this flight would be very sparse for Business Class. Least on the first leg.
I didn’t have a clear picture of the aircraft from Wellington (where it was a nice clear sunny day). Instead here’s a picture of the aircraft while we stopped in Melbourne.
Boarding 45 minutes prior to departure, just as stated, and the business class lanes were moving swiftly as I got there.
Three different crew were greeting us at the aircraft door. The smaller business cabin was just to the right after stepping in.
I had a few seconds to take a pictures of an almost empty cabin with others immediately behind me heading into the bigger business cabin.
It’s a strikingly beautiful cabin, classy, elegant and very Singapore!
The cabin & Seat
There are 46 Business Class seats in this aircraft, all in a 1-2-1 layout across 2 cabins. Just 16 seats in the second cabin makes for a more intimate and exclusive feel.
Behind that was a Premium Economy Cabin with 24 seats in a 2-4-2 layout.
My seat today, 17A was a bulkhead! Which I chose specifically for the less restricted leg space.
Just by the left of the IFE screen, was a hidden mirror that you reveal by pulling up a slider.
As I was settling in with pre-take off champagne (LP La Cuvee Brut) and hot towels, some wears and tears in the seats did become noticeable. This was just a 5 year old aircraft.
There was a choice of 4 different welcome drinks.
To the right ride of the seat were various seat control as well as physical options for lighting, privacy and call buttons (some of which are also available on the IFE controller we will see later)
The right side of the seat contains a console, which contained the noise cancelling headphones. As well as storage above the side console. A magazine/literature pocket was neatly tucked away just to the front, and easily accessible while seated.
You have a moderately large dining table pulls out from the right side.
Not sure if this was me just getting used to massive First Class screens, but the IFE screen did seem a bit smaller than the latest Business Class seats. This again, feels more apparent due to being further away from you on the bulkhead seats.
Still, it was a fantastic seat, that I was more than happy to spend 13 hours in.
A slight downside of being on the smaller business class cabin, all other passengers board and go past you! This can interrupt the crew attempting to serve/talk to you while boarding is still in progress.
There was ample time between boarding and takeoff to look through the menu, which was divided between the 2 flight segments offering lunch for first sector, followed by dinner on the second. Presumably it meant they load catering in Melbourne again.
Menu was as follows:
Meal choices were taken on the ground, while I had a good chat with the crew in my section, who were all super polite and friendly.
The takeoff roll was so quick, it just felt like we hoovered into the air in a couple of seconds. We departed as scheduled.
Singapore Airlines A350 Business Class Service to Melbourne
Soon after departure, the drinks service began. The first leg of the flight was 3 hours 35 minutes to Melbourne.
I was not all too keen on the champagne, therefore switched to the classic Singapore Sling!
About 10 minutes later, my starter arrived, the Panzannela Salad with Prawns..
The prawns were fresh and succulent, though I got a hint of stale croutons on the plate.
I chose the Braised Lamb neck with Pickled Carrot and Korean Chilli oil. While the presentation element was lacking a punch, it was an exquisite dish.
I finished off lunch with some light ice cream.
Singapore Airlines A350 Business Class IFE
The A350 aircraft sports the latest version of the KrisWorld entertainment system, with a good quality 18″ screen. You can pair it with your mobile, though I have not tried this.
My earlier remarks of the screen seeming small was perhaps more down to specific observation of the bulkhead seats, as the distance between the screen and you is greater here. In any other regular seat in this cabin, you would feel this is big enough.
The programming selection was decent, but nothing as extensive as Emirates ICE system off course.
The touchscreen controller was responsive, and easy to use. Unlike the older planes, you can also watch things independently within the controller itself.
Business Class Bathrooms
Singapore Airlines A350 Business Class has 3 lavatories. Two located between the business cabins, and one in the front.
They were nicely equipped with toiletries and cloth towels (which I really appreciate ). They even had flowers! I did not have to wait when nature called.
Singapore Airlines A350 Business Class Bed Mode
Offcourse, the seat turns into a full flat bed, and this looked like the best setup. I decided to have a short snooze after lunch.
Soon enough we were in the Melbourne airspace.
Stop in Melbourne
This flight has a 1 hour 20 minute stop in Melbourne. You are required to deplane and take all belongings (even if you have the same seat on the onward leg). On existing you go through international transfer again and then board through the same gate.
It’s certainly a good opportunity to stretch your legs beyond the seats.
After going through transfer, we had about a 20 minute wait before boarding started again.
As far as I’m aware, there was no lounge invitation for this. Not that we had long enough to go into a lounge in Melbourne!
Reboarding & Second Take off
Upon re-boarding in a freshly cleaned cabin, I found new socks, slippers and eyeshades placed on my seat. A dozen more business class passengers hopped on from Melbourne.
There was a slight delay to our takeoff this time, the vast Australian bush fires were still affecting the traffic movements.
Singapore Airlines A350 Business Class Service onto Singapore
We had a new set of crew, and this time I was being looked after by Marr.
It took a while for drinks to be served after take-off, in the scheme of things, it’s all relative off course!
I was however a little surprised that they served nuts in a packets. Did they forget to load some of the chinaware?
My starter arrived rather soon.
Unfortunately, I don’t eat ham/pork based products, so I could not comment on this appetiser fully, other than the melon, which was refreshing!
While Marr came around to take my meal choices, I was still undecided, but leaning towards the Byriyani, however, she was super enthusiastic about the Seared Lamb, stating that this was created by Matt Moran, a well known chef from Sydney.
Well, I was sold. But I still keen on the Biryani, she suggested they could serve the Biryani as a side dish, and so it was settled…
Was I glad I went for that. The Biryani was exactly as I had expected, just the right amount of spice to tingle the taste buds in the air.
The lamb was deliciously tender, retaining the full distinctive aroma of the meat and complemented well by the gnocchi, baby carrots and peas.
What I really enjoyed about this being a day flight was you can really take time to enjoy your meals, try different drinks and get to know the crew. Talking of the crew, they could not be more attentive during the meal service. After my tray table was already set, and another crew member come by with the main, he asked if I was happy with the meal table height or if I wanted him to raise it higher (I had not even noticed that as a problem), sure enough though, it was better aligned a notch higher!
About 30 minutes after I finished the main, I decided to order some dessert. The Tarte bordaloue and some fruits.
This was light enough and a perfect end to the meal. I decided to skip the cheese course.
Nap round two
After an hour or so of just watching the clouds, I felt ready for another nap 🙂 The crew promptly helped me make my bed..
It was lovely just to snooze a little without having to actually sleep. I needed the rest after a few nights of new years shenanigans.
There was another pre-landing meal service/refreshment but I skipped that also.
When I was booking my New Zealand flights, I was tossing up the option of getting a night flight from Christchurch back, but now I’m very glad I got a day flight from Wellington. For one, the A350 is such a marvellous aircraft to be in, especially on a super long flights. Secondly, being a day flight you can really make the most of the amazing service, and this is where Singapore Airlines can really shine more than others. I know Singapore Airlines has been conducting trails of dine on demand, I think this is one of those flights were this could be much appreciated and 13 hours is a long time.
On balance the long haul A350 is definitely my favourite Singapore Airlines Business Class. The seats are still wide but not as wide as the original A380/777s. The newer A380 may have a better aesthetic, but those chubby holes feel even tighter.
If you would like to fly Singapore Airlines in the pointy end and have either KrisFlyer or Amex points, its always worth keeping an eye on the monthly Spontaneous Escapes offers.