Having gotten four free Round-the-World Business Class air tickets worth US$54,000 just by redeeming our one million air miles earned from credit card rewards back in October 2016, we were really excited about being able to fly on many airlines on the Star Alliance network. One of the planes we were most keen to fly on was the relatively new Singapore Airlines Airbus A350-900 plane, and coincidentally that was the first flight our family of four took as we began our epic family trip around the world on January 16, 2017. We were on the Singapore Airlines Airbus A350-900 plane, flying from Singapore to Johannesburg (SIN-JNB) on flight SQ 478 in Business Class.
In this Singapore Airlines A350-900 Business Class review, we'll share with you what it's like to fly Business Class on this relatively new plane.
Singapore Airlines A350-900 Business Class Review
Having four Business Class air tickets meant we could all enjoy the Singapore Airlines Business Class Lounge at Singapore's Changi Airport. You can read our review of the Singapore Airlines Business Class Lounge here.
From the boarding gate, we walked through the skybridge straight to the Business Class entrance of the Airbus.
Singapore Airlines took delivery of its first A350-900 in March 2016, and the A350-900 we were on is one of the two A350-900s in service, with at least 60 more on firm order. This plane fits 42 flat bed Business Class seats, 24 Premium Economy seats, and 187 Economy Class seats. There isn't First Class on this plane, and Business Class seats are configured 1-2-1.
Our departure time was 02:10 from Singapore, and arrival time was 06:50 in Johannesburg, with a total flight time of 10h 40min.
This was our first long-haul flight as a family of four and naturally we hoped the little ones would stay asleep on this overnight flight.
Our seats were 12D, 12F, 14D and 14F. Because these middle seats have a semi-partition in-between, it was difficult to seat 2.5 year-old Ranefer in one of those, so we moved him to the solo window seat, which happened to be vacant as it was blocked off due to faulty power in that seat. Seating him there was a much better choice as Grace could attend to him easily without a physical barrier.
The galley in the front part is a dry area for storage, while the wet galley is situated behind. Business Class passengers could access the front left toilet right behind the cockpit, and the two toilets behind.
The seats were wide and spacious, and clad in grey leather. The armrest was also wide, with bronzed plastic moulding.
One small downside of the Business Class seat is the positioning of the footwell bench, which is at the far right or left end of the seat - and that made it quite uncomfortable for us when lying down. I had to adjust my body in an awkward position so that my legs could fit in the small foot area at the end of the lie-flat bed.
There was even a hidden storage compartment in the armrest, which came in handy for our earphones, tissue packs and other knick-knacks.
I was happy to see the touchscreen remote for the inflight entertainment (IFE) system as that made it look very sleek and much easier to use.
The IFE screen was big at 18-inch, though it wasn't a touchscreen.
Ramses and Ranefer were each given some kid's packs which consisted of Star Wars activity cards. Not terribly exciting or engaging. Also, unlike on other Business Class flights where they were given small Singapore Airlines teddy bears, there were none this time.
The air stewardess made rounds in Business Class, asking if we would like Champagne or other beverages. I got Champagne while Grace ordered an orange juice.
Singapore Airlines doesn't offer amenity kits to premium cabin passengers, unlike a few other airlines. They do however give out basic stuff like socks, eye mask, noise-canceling earphones and a pair of slippers.
The toilet was clean and well-stocked with amenities like toothbrush kits, shaving kits, mouthwash, and hand and face moisturiser. Grace particularly liked the automatic tap as it meant she didn't have to get more germs on her hands. I have to say the cabin crew did a good job of keeping the toilet clean frequently.
By the time we took off and were at cruising altitude, it was already 3am in the morning. It was 'Refreshment' time, and instead of serving wrapped sandwiches like on other airlines, the choice of refreshment on this flight was pretty appetising.
Singapore Airlines' Book The Cook
Book The Cook is a special feature that's available on Singapore Airlines for Premium Economy cabins and above. It's a decent selection of exquisitely prepared food items which you can choose from in advance prior to your flight. I had never used Book The Cook before, always preferring to choose from the menu, though limited, on the flight. This time though, I wanted to try out this option.
The main meal served on the SIN-JNB flight was breakfast, in addition to refreshment and delectables, so there weren't that many breakfast dishes to choose from. We logged into our account on the Singapore Airlines website, and selected our meals from Book The Cook. I chose poached eggs for myself and we picked a golden pocket with scrambled eggs for Ramses.
Grace and Ranefer had their breakfast picks from the inflight menu: Buttermilk pancake with maple syrup and Baked crepe with chive scrambled eggs, chicken sausages and rosti potatoes.
The food was a mixed bag of very nice and mediocre. The baked crepe with scrambled eggs was delicious, but not so the pancakes which weren't that soft, so Grace hardly touched those. Mine was just ok.
Singapore Airlines A350-900 Business Class: Our Verdict
Being quite a new plane, the Singapore Airlines Airbus A350-900 was a dream to fly on, especially considering that we got to fly on it for free just by using our credit card points and miles. Not having a First Class on this plane meant that Business Class passengers like us got to enjoy being at the front of the plane.
The Business Class cabin crew gave excellent service. The air stewardesses were very polite, smiling and courteous, never failing to address me or Grace by our surnames. They were very helpful, even offering to wash Ranefer's milk bottle in the wet galley without prompt, when they saw Grace getting up from her seat to do so. When requested, they helped turn our seats into beds, saving us hassle as it was quite complicated to do so.
The lighting on the plane was very cosy and soothing; the temperature was perfect, not too cold; the seat was wide and well-equipped with sockets and ample space for holding gadgets and stuff. No comment on the wi-fi as I didn't pay to use it. My only complaint would be the awkward positioning of the footwell. To lie down, I had to turn my body to the side where the footwell was situated. Nonetheless, the flight was very smooth and time passed so fast that we barely noticed we had just flown our first long-haul with two boys aged 2.5 and 4.5.
Two thumbs up to the cabin crew serving us. Singapore Airlines, you are a great way to fly.
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Pedro Pla is co-founder of GET.com. He has been around the globe several times and considers collecting air miles and points from credit cards to be a hobby, if not, an obsession. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.Editorial Disclosure: Any personal views and opinions expressed by the author in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of GET.com. The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the companies mentioned, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
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