Singapore Airlines inflight experience

NEWS: Singapore has stopped handing out newspaper in Economy. A trolley of papers is instead placed on the airbridge to the aircraft, with a selection always including the Straits Times, and often including the FT & Guardian (from LHR) or the Sydney Morning Herald (from SYD).

Singapore Airlines onboard inflight experience

Singapore Airlines new twin-desk Airbus at Sydney March 2009
Singapore's A380 at Sydney

Consistency (a rare trait in the airline industry) comes to the fore with SIA service, be it food or drink. Dom Perignon flows in first, Piper Heidsieck in business; the ice creams in economy are Haagen-Dazs and Ben & Jerry's. The trademark dish is Singapore's lobster thermidor. Reviews and opinions are generally good about Singapore airlines, particularly so in Economy compared to other airlines, but it's equally leading the market up the other end of the cabin too.

SIA is decidedly retro in certain respects, including its celebration of what it calls the Singapore Girl, selected for her beauty, grace and youth. The average age is 22. There are male flight attendants at SIA, but they get little attention. A problem with this youth is that sometimes if you make a request outside the normal service schedule - and particularly in Economy - you will get a polite acknowledgement, and then totally ignored. This can be something as simple as asking for the other wine on the menu (there are always 2 on offer, but only one on the trolley), or asking for a cocktail when the cocktail run has finished.

Singapore Airlines playing cards Singapore Airlines playing cards

In Economy after takeoff a tray with beer, wine, and juice is brought around immediately after the seatbelt sign is taken off, and then hot towels are handed out (and again just before the second meal service, if there is one) and then the economy menu is brought around for you. This contains the beverage list, with five cocktails, and a list of the three wines. During the flight there is normally a choice of two red wines, but they will only be listed as "French" or "German" rather than by grape, and there is normally only one on the drinks trolley. If you ask the cabin crew they will bring both out for you to taste, but expect a bit of grumling over this.

Singapore 747 ecnomy cabing Sept 2005 Singapore 747 The back of the bus
Newspapers are no longer brought round, but if you ask nicely and want a special paper, the cabin staff will often wait until a Raffles customer has finished their paper and then bring it to you. The first drinks service has trolleys from front to back except in the rear economy cabin where it is back to front and includes cocktails. A second run is with wine bottles only (so hang onto your plastic glass). The meal service then begins, in the same trolley order. The glass wine glass on the trays is tiny, and gaps between service long, so hanging onto your larger plastic glass is a good idea. Half way through flights of longer than 12 hours, there is a snack run, with rolls and reduced drinks run. The second meal service (on flights above 7 hours) starts 2 hours before landing, and is cleared one hour before.

In Business (Raffles) the experience starts as you enter the plane. Here a member of the crew will show you to your seat, and help with your luggage. You will be addressed by name and offered a drink, and one of each of the newspapers is brought round personally for you, so you can select one.

Singapore 747 at Singapore May 2003 Singapore Airlines 747-400 at Singapore
The Straits Times is always offered, along with a local paper for the destination. You will then be offered a menu - often you are askedto select your food before takeoff. I guess this means it can be cooked quicker, and the serving starts almost as soon as the plane reaches cruising height.

The Menu contains the complete set of food both for outbound and return, so it pays to check the top of the menu carefully for the destination. Look for the little flaming wok symbol, which is by the food Singapore is really proud of. There is a separate Beverage list, which has long tasting notes on each wine. In business there are normally 3 reds, 3 whites, Sparkling Wine and port. On 747s and 777 there are also long lists of coffees.

Singapore is one of the few airlines which still hands out free packs of playing cards to passengers, on request.

Singapore Airlines Inflight Magazine - SilverKris

Like Singapore Airlines - and Singapore itself - the inflight magazine is glossy, professional, and tells you a lot without telling you anything thought provoking or controversial in any way whatsoever.
SilverKris - the inflight magazine of Singapore Airlines
SilverKris - the inflight magazine

It's called Silver Kris after the 14th century Malay weapon (and shows Singapore Airlines origins as Malay Airways from 1947).

Singapore Airlines' new twin-desk Airbus at Toulouse on the Reveal day, Oct 15th 2007
A380 Singpore's new twin-desk Airbus with new airbridges

It comes out monthly, and normally includes a good article on the arts in Singapore (provided the plays are non-political), travel (to a Singapore Airlines destination) which normally includes all the good points about food and culture, but nothing negative, and couple of articles on business issues, such as how to get the best from your accountant.

There is also a lengthy, and incomprehensible, chinese section.

Alas there is no information on how Singapore Airlines is doing, or what planes are flying, but there is a good guide to Singapore Changi Airport - read it before you land to find out how to get to the swimming pool on the roof (Terminal 1).

Singapore Airlines Longhaul Amenity Kit

Loos in a Singapore Airlines 747
Loos in a Singapore Airlines 747 Toothbrushes and razors are in the small drawer underneath
Singapore airlines is quite stingy when it comes to giving away stuff in its amenity kits.

What you won't be told is that in the loos there are not only several smelly things on the shelf - (aftershave, face wash, etc) but in the hidden drawer under the counter marked "utilities" there are toothbrushes (in a long thin packet, with toothpaste in the packet), razors (in a packet with shavingcream), and combs. Economy gets some handed out - in business class you have to get your own! Singapore also colour code the goodies - economy ones are red, while business class ones are blue, even though they are identical (Its good to see an airline with so much money it can afford to make duplicate items in different colours), except for the razors which are single blade in economy, and double blade in business (a recent change, and most welcome).

Goodies for Economy - the socks and grey toothbrush are in the wallet. The razor, comb, and blue toothbrush are in the loos.
Goodies for Economy - the socks and grey toothbrush are in the wallet. The razor, comb, shavingcream, and blue toothbrush are in the loos.

Economy class - Singapore Airlines Longhaul amenity kit

In economy if the flight is over 10 hours, within an hour you'll get a little plastic wallet, with socks, a very cheap grey toothbrush, and a small tube of toothpaste.

All the other stuff you may need, such as a razor, is in the drawer in the bathroom.

Goodies for Business - you just get some nice slippers with a Raffles logo, and an eyeshade.
Business Class Amenity kit

Business Class - Singapore Airlines Longhaul amenity kit

If the flight is over 8 hours, you'll get a nice pouch with some pretty decent slippers, and a separate eyeshade.

That's it - no washbags or toothbrushes any longer. If you want any of these, alas you have to go to the loos.

Singapore Airlines Luggage Allowance

Singapore Airlines has a pretty standard baggage allowance for each flight.

Cabin Bags: Singapore Airlines allow Economy Class passengers to take hand luggage of one bag weighing up to 7kgs into the cabin, Business Class and First Class can take two bags. They must be no larger than 55 cm x 40 cm x 20 cm (22" x 16" x 8"). Rules on contents (such as liquids) apply.

Singapore Airlines Check in luggage: On all routes except to the United States Singapore Airlines baggage allowance for Economy Class passengers is two pieces. The weight of each piece is limited to 23 kg (50lb). Business Class can check in bags up to a total weight of 30kg, and First class can check in up to 40kg. Routes to or via the United States count the number of bags, as well as their weight. Economy, Business and First Class has two bags (each 32kg max).

Gold Krisflyer members and Star Alliance Gold gains an extra 20kg of checked in luggage allowance (or one extra bag if via the US). PPS Club members are entitled to 100% more free baggage allowance. There are no perks for Silver or Star Alliance Silver. This means that a Gold Frequent Flyer in First Class can check in three bags to 60kg, and carry on 14kg.

As always, these rules can change. Singapore Airlines website has details of exactly what you can take onto a flight.

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Singapore Airlines Experience
rating: 6 out of 10 3 Star Rating: Quite average
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