Singapore Airlines A350 Business Class Adelaide to Singapore Review
- Book the Cook and inflight meals were exceptional
- Cabin crew attentiveness was superb
- Comfortable seats with lots of storage and effective controls
- Singapore Airlines lounge in Adelaide needs improvement
- Seat can be narrow for some passengers
Exceptional onboard service and food offset by a tired airport lounge in Adelaide.
For a while I’ve wanted to experience an A350 flight to see if the claims about reduced jet lag and noise are true. I was also interested to see what well-known airlines like Singapore had done to innovate its product for this new aircraft. So as part of a larger holiday around Asia and the Middle East with a variety of airlines, I booked this flight using points.
Luckily for me, the A350 we flew on for this flight was literally brand new – this was only the second day of the new Adelaide to Singapore service.
Table of contents
Flight number: SQ 278
Aircraft Type: Airbus A350-900
Route: Adelaide to Singapore
Class: Business Class
Booking this flight with frequent flyer points
We booked this flight about two months in advance through the KrisFlyer program. I used a combination of KrisFlyer Miles I already had and some Amex Membership Rewards I transferred over.
After trying and failing to find seats online from Melbourne, I called the KrisFlyer call centre and the customer service representative gave us the options of Brisbane and Adelaide on the A350, so we decided to book the A350 through Adelaide.
As a side note, you can usually find reward seats on Singapore's Boeing aircraft a lot easier than its Airbus aircraft. When it comes to the A380 and A350 out of Melbourne and Sydney, it's always a little bit difficult so be prepared to travel to another capital city first.
If the flight you want still isn't available, you can call KrisFlyer over the phone, choose a flight and then waitlist another flight to see if it later becomes available. I did this in the hope that a flight from Melbourne would open up, but unfortunately this didn't happen.
As always, if you can book in advance you'll find more seats. Seats are generally released 355 days before the flight, so if you can plan ahead, you will definitely get a choice of better seats, dates and aircraft options.
START PLANNING YOUR OWN POINTS JOURNEY
There are a number of ways to use frequent flyer points to fly on Singapore Airlines A350 business class. One way is to convert Amex Membership Rewards points to KrisFlyer Miles, another way is to use Velocity Points, and yet another way is to convert Velocity Points into KrisFlyer Miles. Below are guides and comparisons for each option:
Lounge and boarding
Compared to Sydney and Melbourne, Adelaide Airport, is obviously much smaller. There was a dedicated business class counter, so it only took us 15 minutes to check-in and make it to the lounge.
Singapore Airlines has a lounge at Adelaide Airport, which is one of its older lounges. It's a little bit tired and the food options were limited. This was a morning flight and they were serving sausage rolls and sandwiches. Alcohol options were quite broad with champagne, wine and beer on offer. Unfortunately the lounge was very crowded just after 9am, and we struggled to get a seat.
The lounge is located on the lower ground mezzanine floor, so there are no windows looking outside. This made the lounge seem dark and not very welcoming. On the plus side, there's a business centre if you need to catch up on work.
If you're travelling from Adelaide to Singapore via another city in Australia, I recommend staying in a hotel in Adelaide the night before as it's a morning flight. If your other flight arrives a little late into Adelaide, you could miss your connection. We stayed in Adelaide the previous night, which is a good way to relax and start your morning nice and easy.
Cabin first impressions
Before long it was time to leave the lounge and start boarding, which was a very smooth process. All business class passengers were called first, followed by higher status flyers and then economy class passengers.
As we boarded the aircraft, we were greeted by the purser. After presenting our boarding pass, Clarence the cabin crew member looking after us during the flight greeted us. He took our hand luggage, showed us to our seat and sat us down.
Clarence made this flight what it was by being so welcoming. He was a true example of the service that won Singapore Airlines the world's best airline award last year.
The cabin still had that new plane smell. The cabin colours were crisp and relaxing music was playing in the background. The temperature of the aircraft was comfortable, which is something I've noticed that Singapore consistently takes care of.
The A350 cabin has a 1-2-1 configuration with two business class cabins, a larger one in the front of the aircraft and a smaller one in the rear. For couples traveling together, the middle seats in the front cabin are probably the best option. If you're an aviation enthusiast and want to get some good views of those Rolls Royce engines, you'll want a window seat which is also in the front cabin.
We decided to sit on the last row of the business class cabin and I wouldn't recommend sitting here. On both flights, we could constantly hear kids crying and screaming because of the economy class bassinets right behind us. I got no sleep on the night flight in this seat as a result.
The new seats on the A350 are very advanced with some good entertainment features, but they're a bit narrow. For this reason I would suggest taking this kind of flight during the day, when you can recline back, relax and watch movies. When you turn the seat into a bed during a night flight, the footwell can become a little tight and it got a little uncomfortable at times. For an eight-hour flight during the day though, the seat was comfortable.
When it comes to entertainment, this seat has the ability to sync your phone to the entertainment system, allowing you to catch up on movies you haven't finished, check the progress of your flight and more.
There are also plenty of storage space options. Next to the seat is a small area with USB charging slots, a power outlet and some space to store your passport and mobile phone.
The seat was very comfortable once seated. If you're traveling solo, it's designed with privacy in mind, so you'll have to move forward to see or speak to the person travelling next to you. If you're travelling with a partner or friend, this might be a downside. For extra privacy, there's a button you can press which deploys a plastic privacy screen.
It's quite easy to use the seat controls with the included remote, which you can pop out of the side of the seat. There's also a little LED screen on the side of the chair that has a number of positions for your seat. It's picture-oriented so it's very simple to use.
Because this A350 was quite new, the entertainment system was working well and had the latest movies. A nice feature of the Singapore Airlines' website is that you can see all the movies and entertainment that will be playing on your flight ahead of time, so once you board you don't have to waste time trying to find what you want to watch.
It's not as good as Emirates' ICE entertainment system, where there are a number of options in different languages, but it will still keep you occupied for a seven- to eight-hour flight. Unfortunately there is no option to watch the flight on the tail cameras, which is a shame for aviation geeks.
There was no amenity kit, but toothbrushes, hair combs and razors were all available in the toilet. There were also no mattress toppers available for sleeping.
The inflight meals and beverages for this flight were sensational.
Prior to the aircraft taking off at Adelaide Airport, we were given the option of champagne, sparkling water or orange juice, along with a refreshing hot towel. Shortly after departure, we were served drinks and nuts as well.
For the appetiser, we were served an antipasto plate. It was really tasty and presented beautifully, with good quality cuts of meat and vegetables.
The one thing I love about Singapore Airlines is the Book the Cook option to pre-select your food prior to your flight. We selected the lobster thermidor, which is one of my favourites on Singapore Airlines. It was a South Australian lobster and was served with vegetables and rice.
The non-Book the Cook options on the flight were Middle-Eastern braised lamb with saffron couscous, grilled barramundi, and a three-cup chicken with jasmine rice. Hot fresh bread was served as well.
Australian and international wines of both red and white varieties were available. French Piper-Heidsieck champagne was also on offer.
For dessert, we enjoyed the chocolate cake slice and our choice of fruit.
For an airplane, the food was great and I couldn't fault anything on it. Everything on the plate had flavour.
For the tea lovers out there, Singapore Airlines is great because it serves TWG, which is one of the world's most expensive tea brands. There was a full range of teas available in the menu.
Prior to landing we were served another meal. This is another reason why I would make sure I chose a day flight. Picking a night flight means you'll only get one meal service, whereas during the day, you will get two meals on a six- to seven-hour flight.
The meal prior to landing was either the crab cake or the chicken char siu fried rice. Once again, you could also choose fresh hot bread, coffee, tea and fruit. We tried both of these meals and they were both very nice.
Singapore Airlines' customer service is very personalised. As mentioned above, as soon as you board the aircraft, you're greeted by the inflight purser and then by the flight attendant who will be looking after you for the flight. I couldn't fault the service on this flight.
Straight after take-off, our flight attendant Clarence came over and asked us if we wanted anything, and after the meal did the same. He came through and topped up our drinks throughout the flight. He also asked us if we wanted more tea because he remembered we had a cup previously. Little gestures like this really made us feel that we were on the world's best airline.
The bathrooms on this aircraft were always clean. I noticed that after every passenger went in, the crew would clean it again for the next passenger.
Other key experiences
Onboard Wi-Fi was available on this flight but we got a very small amount of data, which was very fast to go through.
The other key experience to mention in this review is the A350 itself. It truly is very quiet. If you're a passenger who is sensitive to flying or if you want to get a good rest, it's a great aircraft. I also felt that the claims about reduced jetlag are justified. I didn't feel as tired at the end of this flight.
Mehron's Singapore Airlines Flight Rating: ★★★★★☆
This was a 5.5 out of 6 star business class flight. The only major thing that's letting Singapore Airlines down in this instance is the lounge in Adelaide Airport. The other downside is the narrowness of the seat, which was more of a problem during the night flights. For a night flight on this same seat, I would reduce my score to 5 out of 6.
On the positive side, the Book the Cook feature and inflight meals were superb and the cabin crew were exceptional. There was a good variety of food and I would say it's better than Emirates Business Class. The only product better than this in my experience is Qatar Airways' QSuites.
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