Introduction: A VERY Quick Trip To Hong Kong
Review: United Club Los Angeles Airport
Review: United Club San Francisco Airport
Review: United Business Class 777-300ER San Francisco To Hong Kong
Review: United Club Hong Kong Airport
Review: Singapore Airlines Business Class 777-300ER Hong Kong To San Francisco
Singapore Airlines 2
Hong Kong (HKG) – San Francisco (SFO)
Wednesday, March 29
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 21A (Business Class)
I boarded through door L2, where I was greeted by several flight attendants and pointed towards my seat. I tend to think you can tell within the first minute how good of a crew you’ll have, and this one was stellar. Singapore has a few different longhaul 777-300ER configurations — they have one featuring their “old” product, one featuring their refreshed product and eight first class seats with no premium economy (which I was on), and their newest configuration, which has four first class seats and premium economy.
In this case I was on a plane with eight first class seats and no premium economy, though it was a plane with Singapore’s newest business class product, which I hadn’t yet flown. I can’t believe it has taken me this long to write a real review of Singapore’s business class product.
Singapore has a total of 42 business class seats on this version of their 777-300ER. Business class seats are in a 1-2-1 configuration. There are eight business class seats in the forward cabin (right behind first class), and then the main business class cabin has a total of 34 business class seats. The rear business class cabin had a total of nine rows, though in the center section there are two fewer seats than by the windows.
In my opinion the cabin is physically stunning. Then again, Singapore has always had incredible design.
The absolute best seats in this configuration are the bulkhead seats in either cabin. That’s because they have so much legroom, and you don’t have to contort your body in order to be able to sleep. If you can assign yourself one of the bulkhead seats, I’d say you’re getting a better seat than what’s available in first class.
Up until now I’ve been in the bulkhead every time I’ve flown Singapore’s business class, so in this case I wanted to be sure I was experiencing one of the “normal” seats.
I had assigned myself seat 21A, which is the window seat on the left side in the second to last row. I knew that business class would only be just under half full, and in looking at the seatmap before the flight, I noticed that no one else was assigned in the last three rows, so I figured I might as well have that part of the cabin to myself. Besides, my general preference is to sit towards the back of the cabin anyway.
The seat was beautiful, and there are two types of seat finishes they use to make the cabin even more stunning (half of the rows have beige leather, and the other half have black leather).
For the most part the seat was very thoughfully designed.
To the left of the seat was a compartment with a storage area, a reading light, a headphone jack, and several power outlets.
In front of that and to the left was the entertainment controller, as well as a storage compartment for headphones, though you could also store something else in there if you wanted to.
The headphones Singapore offers in business class are reasonably high quality, certainly better than what most other airlines offer.
The tray table could also be extended from the left armrest, and was a single table that couldn’t be folded over. However, I loved how it could be adjusted to many positions, and you could even adjust the height of the tray.
Now we get to the awkward part of the seat… the “legroom.” Different airlines have different types of staggered configurations, and in the case of Singapore’s business class, your foot cubby is to the very side of the seat.
If you want to stretch out, you’ll have to sit sideways and place your feet in the very left part of the seat. I’ll talk more about bed comfort in a bit.
At the bottom left of the seat was another large exposed storage compartment.
Above that and to the left of the personal television was yet another storage compartment, which was perfect for storing glasses or a phone. There was also a mirror.
This seat has plenty of storage, which is an area that a lot of other airlines don’t do especially well, so kudos to Singapore for that.
The actual seat controls were on the aisle-side of the seat, and were easy to use. My one complaint is that it was quite easy to bump the controls accidentally, so I wish the controls wouldn’t be so “exposed.”
Within a couple of minutes of arriving at my seat I was approached by one of the lovely flight attendants, who addressed me by name and asked if I wanted a pre-departure beverage, with the choice between champagne or their welcome drink of the month. I selected the welcome drink of the month, which consisted of orange juice, pineapple juice, and soda water. I was also offered a bottle of water, presumably given that this was a late night departure, and some people wanted to go to sleep right after takeoff.
Moments later I was presented with the menu for the flight. The flight attendant explained to me the basics of the meal service (that there would be supper after takeoff, breakfast before landing, and that I should let them know if I want a snack between meals).
About 10 minutes later I was offered a warm towel, which was nice and thick, and not one of the cheap towels that some other airlines use.
Boarding was quick, despite the fact that economy was mostly full. By 11:20PM the door was closed, at which point Captain Richard came on the PA to add his welcome aboard. He informed us of our very quick flight time of 11 hours (1hr45min less than our block time), but that due to the strong jet stream he was expecting a “very bumpy ride.”
By 11:30PM we began our pushback and then taxi to the runway, at which point the safety video was screened. After that, a video was played showing how to make the business class bed.
Our taxi to the runway was quick, and surprisingly there was no wait for takeoff (I guess we beat the post-midnight rush). By 11:40PM we were cleared for takeoff on runway 7R.
The seatbelt sign was turned off about 10 minutes after takeoff, and as we continued our climb out I browsed the entertainment selection, starting with the airshow.
I found it a bit annoying that the personal television itself wasn’t touchscreen, but rather you had to control it using the handheld device, which I didn’t find to be especially easy to use. The KrisWorld entertainment selection is exceptional, and after Emirates’ ICE system, I’d say it’s among the best in the sky.
One of the fantastic things about Singapore’s reconfigured 777-300ERs is that they feature wifi. You can buy a wifi pass for the entire flight, and they charge based on how long you use it rather than the amount of data you use.
The pricing is as follows:
- 1 hour: $11.95
- 3 hours: $16.95
- 24 hours: $21.95
~$22 with no data caps is as good as it gets, so I was very happy about that. Best of all, the wifi was among the fastest I’ve had in the sky, though I suspect that may partly be a function of everyone else on this flight sleeping. Singapore’s 777 wifi system almost makes me prefer it to the A380, given that Singapore charges for wifi based on data usage on that plane, and it can be very expensive.
About 20 minutes after takeoff the crew distributed slippers, socks, and eyeshades. While it might surprise some, Singapore doesn’t offer amenity kits in business class, but rather hands out a few basic things, and then has some more amenities in the lavatory. They’ve stated that it’s an amenity that they don’t find that people value, and that it’s wasteful.
There were two business class lavatories located between the business class cabins, and they were nice.
They had plenty of amenities, as is the norm on Singapore.
Best of all, they were always spotless. Singapore crews are among the best about this, and every single time I entered the lavatory I saw the toilet paper tip “folded,” and there wasn’t a drop of anything anywhere.
Once amenities were distributed, the crew came through the cabin to take supper orders. The menu read as follows:
The wine and drink list read as follows:
Service began with drinks and mixed nuts. I ordered a glass of champagne — Singapore serves Charles Heidsieck in business class, which is nice.
Just 10 minutes later my table was set. Singapore doesn’t use trays in business class, but rather everything is placed directly on your tablecloth.
The stater consisted of a nicoise salad with prawns, and was the highlight of the meal. It was exceptional.
I was also offered a selection of bread, and had a piece of garlic bread and baguette.
My starter was cleared just a minute after I finished it, and then a couple of minutes later I was served the main. Singapore Airlines offers “Book The Cook” in business class, which allows you to pre-order a meal from a large menu. I should have done that, because my chicken wasn’t good at all. It was rubbery and tasteless.
For dessert I was offered a yuzu and milk chocolate mousse cake, which was light and refreshing.
I was also offered a cheese plate, which was both tasty and nicely presented, especially for business class.
While the main course was disappointing, I enjoyed the starter, dessert, and cheese. That being said, it wasn’t really a memorable meal. Singapore’s “supper” service is usually the least impressive meal they have, as they offer limited service on these late night flights.
However, the service was phenomenal. The flight attendants working my aisle were charming, engaging, and attentive. I felt like I was in first class. The entire meal took just 45 minutes from start to finish.
After supper I figured it was time to get some rest. I asked the flight attendant if it was okay if I made the bed in the seat behind me, and she said “of course, you have lots of seats to choose from!”
Singapore’s business class seat doesn’t recline into a bed, but rather you have to fold the back of it over. The bedding is already set up on the back of the seat, so when you fold the seat over you’ll find all of the pillows and sheets there.
The bed looks pretty comfortable, and I appreciate that they have two pillows. What you don’t see in pictures, however, is just how hard the bed is. While there’s a mattress pad (probably more like a mattress sheet), there’s very little padding so the bed is quite hard.
But the most unusual part of the seat is that the foot cubby is at the far left of the seat. So when I tried to just lay down “straight,” I basically had enough room until my knees, and then I had to bend my knees 90 degrees. So you have two options — you can sleep diagonally, so that your head is by the aisle and then your feet are by the window, or you can sleep in the fetal position.
As someone who basically sleeps in the fetal position, I didn’t mind not being able to stretch out all the way. My bigger issue was the lack of padding — the seat is really hard in the bed position.
I ended up falling asleep with nine hours left enroute to San Francisco.
I only got a bit over two hours of sleep, and woke up with just under seven hours left to San Francisco. We had hit some slight turbulence that woke me up, and then I couldn’t fall back asleep. The cabin was also quite warm, and unfortunately Singapore doesn’t have individual air nozzles at seats (something that I wish all airlines would have).
Singapore Airlines flight attendants are like ninjas, and somehow one of them came up to me a few minutes after I woke up to see if I wanted anything to drink. I asked for a cappuccino, which was excellent.
I was also asked if I wanted a snack, though I wasn’t really hungry. For what it’s worth, the snack menu read as follows:
I did grab a couple of packaged snacks from the galley, mainly so I could get a picture of them. 😉
I worked for the next several hours, given that it was during the business day in the US, and the wifi was fast. Before I knew it, we were just four hours from San Francisco. Around this point the flight started getting really bumpy. Not violently so, but we had a couple of hours of consistent turbulence.
Then I decided to take a break and watch some TV shows. I love Curb Your Enthusiasm, and they had several episodes of that. Even though I had seen them all several times before, it’s a show that never gets old for me.
I also watched a couple of episodes of Fawlty Towers, which I’ve always enjoyed.
At this point it was the middle of the day outside, given that we left in the middle of the night and were flying east.
About 90 minutes before landing the cabin lights were turned on in preparation for the breakfast service. The menu read as follows:
First the crew came through the cabin with either apple or orange juice, as a way of waking passengers up. I had some apple juice.
The meal was once again served directly on my tablecloth.
It started with a tasty fruit plate.
I was also offered a selection from the breadbasket, and chose a croissant and some other sweet thing.
I was then asked if I wanted some cereal or yogurt. I asked for some muesli with milk.
For the main course I ordered the pancakes with scrambled eggs and sausage. While I’m not a fan of sausage, the pancakes and scrambled eggs were excellent.
There is something a bit weird about having breakfast when you’re landing somewhere late at night, but that does seem to be the norm on many transpacific flights.
Once again, service throughout the meal was excellent. It’s funny to compare my United and Singapore flights, because I feel like on United the crew seemed like they were trying so hard, because they’re not quite used to the hustle as much. Meanwhile on Singapore the service just felt effortless. The crew was so good that I almost got the sense that they didn’t have to try, they were that polished and good at what they do.
30 minutes before landing the captain made another announcement, apologizing for the turbulence throughout the flight. He informed us that we would be landing in San Francisco at 7:40PM, a full 95 minutes ahead of schedule. You’ve gotta love a good tailwind!
The views on descent were beautiful. The Bay Area is a beautiful place to fly into, and it’s even more beautiful around sunset.
We had a smooth touchdown on runway 28L at 7:40PM.
From there it was just a short five minute taxi to the international terminal, which looked surprisingly empty, aside from a China Southern 777.
I bid farewell to the crew, and was ready to get a good night of sleep, after a couple of crazy days of travel.
Singapore 777 business class bottom line
Singapore’s business class product has both some highs and lows. Singapore is known for being one of the best airlines in the world, though there’s no denying that other airlines have narrowed the gap somewhat.
The service on the flight was flawless, as I find to pretty consistently be the case on Singapore. Meanwhile the food was decent, though not amazing. I’d say that’s largely a function of this being a “supper” flight, which offers the most limited meal service. Aside from the main course at supper, the food was pretty good, though.
The seat is a mixed bag. On one hand it’s thoughtfully designed in terms of the amount of storage, placement of things, etc. At the same time, it’s not especially comfortable in bed mode, both because the bed is hard, and because you can’t stretch out all the way especially easily. I will say that their bulkhead seats are phenomenal, though, if you can snag one of those.
Singapore’s business class seat has had the same “bones” for over a decade, so they were really ahead of the competition. I can’t wait to see what their next generation of seats is like.
If you’ve flown Singapore’s business class, what was your experience like?