Review of Singapore Airlines flight Singapore Paris in Economy

Airline Singapore Airlines
Flight SQ334
Class Economy
Seat 36A
Aircraft Airbus A380-800
Flight time 13:55
Take-off 19 Jan 12, 23:55
Arrival at 20 Jan 12, 06:50
SQ   #2 out of 139 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 602 reviews
marathon
By GOLD 2840
Published on 20th February 2016
This is Part Two of a round trip home during Chinese New Year, back in 2012

TPE - SIN (SQ 877) A330-300
SIN – CDG (SQ 334) A380-800 You are here
CDG - SIN (SQ 333) A380-800
SIN - TPE (SQ 378) A330-300

Leaving the subway (if you missed the previous FR – link above – I used the longish connection to go to the local suburb), this series of escalators reached Terminal 1

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… with this vegetal reminder of Beijing’s Temple of Heaven which I did not find very convincing. There was a people mover to reach Terminal 3 for the SQ flights. The shuttles were 5 minutes apart, and I found the waiting time somewhat long.

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I suppose this was supposed to be SIN’s control tower

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I liked the spectacular decoration of Terminal T3.

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Beyond the check-in area, and just before the immigration control in the background at left, there was this equally vegetal Merlin, which I liked better than the previous sculptures.

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A last view of the landside area,

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… just before passing airside and finding this Eiffel Tower. These pictures were taken from concourses accessible to the general public overhead : those which overlook the landside area have simple ramps, whereas those overlooking the airside area are shielded by spotless glass walls at least two meters high. I guessed the point was to make it impossible to drop something unlawful to an accomplice below.

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I did not check, but the VISA logo hinted that there was nothing religisou in this showy redemption booth.

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On the other hand, there were rather bland prayer rooms, with facilities for the ritual washing for Muslims, and also a so-called « meditation room » with an abstract decoration.

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There were toilets in the vicinity though this corridor.

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They were so clean that they seemed brand new, with rather refined aesthetics.

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The toilets were clean because Mr. Yip Weng-Meng (a typical Cantonese name) was doing a very good job. I had not seen such a nominative panel before and there was no mistake about it: it was indeed Mr. Yip Weng-Meng who stepped aside to let me take these pictures. I am going on the record in stating that he was a very conscientious worker.

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This was the transfer desk which was not sueful to me, since I already had my BP to Paris. The boarding room was no open yet.

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SQ recommended to their passengers to check in at ETD-2h30 if they had checked lugagge and ETD-90’ if they didn’t, the public information counter landside recommended being at the immigration at ETD-2h, but this boarding room did not open before ETD-60’s, as an information desk staff confirmed to me, and the security check that you see here is sufficiently sized for that. Being on time is easy when you have your customers wait this way.

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This SQ crew was waiting too like their passengers.

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A word on this carpet which was pretty and stain-proof carpet, but was acting as an annoying brake on the wheels of my carry-on luggage that I did not really want to carry, all the less that I also had a laptop case with it.

I needed my laptop to continue the FR of my previous flight, but like in HKG, the power ports are numerous but exclusively Type G (i.e. British), and I had neglected this detail. I had been so used to the ubiquitous multistandard (Types A/B/E/F/G/I/L) plugs in Mainland China that I had forgotten that other countries were not equally compatible to the needs of foreign travelers, and I had to invest 6.90 SGD for an adapter in an airside shop. I did not find the free wifi network but there were self use internet access computers where a session was limited to 15 minutes (but you could start a new one, with no limits). The screens were at at a really uncomfortable height when you are both short and presbyopic. Whoever had validated this design was probably at most 40 years old.

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The security check opened at last around 22 :10, way after ETD-90’ for the flight towards Manchester whose last calls were in excellent German… because it was a flight to MAN via MUC.

See here the only two power ports accessible to the passengers in Boarding rooms A1 to A8. What is more, they were a distance away from the nearest seats, and passengers kept stumble on my laptop’s extension cord.

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SIN had not really considered that you might want to plug in a computer, maybe because there were computers for internet access. It was 13:17, and the FIDS announce the boarding of the flight to Paris which had not quite started yet. Again, what was the point for requiring passengers to be there at ETD-90’?

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There was a children play area in the center of the boarding room, but no kid seemed interested.

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How do you recognize a flight to France when you are in Asia ? Maybe to the slightly disorderly line, which was not a complete mess because there were many Asians, and long term French residents too, like the one I was to chat with in the plane’s galley while in flight.

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It may be a detail for some, but it was a major strong point for me : there was a power port (compatible with Types A/B/E/F/G) under each seat, delivering enough power for my laptop. (I had had repeated cases of power ports not delivering any power on several other major airlines)

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Take off on time ; the flight was full in Y – I of course did not know the situation in J and F. The reactors looked all the bigger than my seat was very near them. This was the only outside view I woud have of the A380 : it was winter, this flight would be entirely by night, and neither SIN nor CDG Terminal 1 are plane spotter friendly. Without much exaggeration, I could have claimed not noticing that this plane had two decks, since the upper one was entirely J, and therefore inaccessible to Y passengers.

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There was no miracle, as always : my compact camera was not sensitive enough to produce satisfactory night pictures of a city during take-off, but these are some of the floodlit ships in the bay.

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Back to the inside of the plane, with the two successive Y cabins. I liked the coloring scheme that I found eye-resting.

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The stairs in the rear were a dead-end because a removed belt blocked the way. A FA who was there told me that access to the upper deck was forbidden because it was all business class : a probable lie, because I had considered choosing a seat on that deck, but the only window seat available was an emergency exit and there was a 50 USD fee for it. My guess is that SQ wanted to deter any going back and forth between decks. (Some SQ A380s are indeed all J on the upper deck).

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The staircase in the front was invisible, since it was entirely in the Business and First front section of the aircraft. The only visible difference with an A330 or a B777 was that there was one more seat per row for roughly the same seat width.

Back to my seat which was outside this picture on the left. When choosing this seat on the internet, I had taken the risk of Row 36, a bulkhead row with bassinet locations. It was a winner: there was no baby on board, and I had more leg space, which allowed me to move around with hardly any disturbance for my neighbors.

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On the other hand, I confirm that this seat was identical to that in the A333 which had brought me to SIN. That meant that it was just as hard, and I still had a painful back after the preceding 4h30’ long flight. It was uncomfortable for a day flight, and it was unacceptable for a night flight: I slept little and poorly, all the more that it was too cold (maybe because of the vicinity of the emergency exit ?). I was close to getting my hand luggage to take my winter vest.

A menu was distributed – sorry, I only have the French version of the dinner. The front page was the same as that of the previous flight – a close-up of two green been seeds . I chose the fish for the hot meal. Altogether, the meal was decent, the starters being the best part of it. The worst part was the dessert which was outrageously called “délice au chocolat” (any need to translate?) and was definitely not delicious – I actually left half of it, although (because?) I love chocolate.

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The coffee was OK

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As too often, the meal tray is a nuisance after the meal, when I want to write a Flight Report.

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How do you recognize that the A380 is a gigantic aircraft? Maybe with the number of emergency exits and chutes, sized to the 800 passengers that the aircraft could carry in a maximum density seat layout.

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It was a night flight and there was therefore nothing to see through the window. It was time to get sleep in the French time zone, which was not that easy. I did not sleep much and had some food in the galley: mini tuna and vegetarian sandwiches, with non alcoholic drinks. The tuna sandwich was good, and I had a coffee served with a smile by one of these Singapore Girl who did not take much space in the galle, since they were so slim and spent so much going through the cabin to check that everything was OK.

After having some bites, writing most of the original version of the previous flight’s report, and even started this one, it was time for breakfast. The lights came on fifty minutes before I was nearly the last passenger served in the cabin. I had been awake long before that, because of the lack of comfort of the seat.

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"For breakfast, do you want the noodles with seafood ?" That was a clever question which made it possible to make the passenger believe that he received what he chose, but I wasn’t fooled because I had overheard the FA apologize at the previous row for having exhausted the supply of the other dish. It was actually an excellent leftover. Note the three rings of red hot pepper – better avoid them if you are sensitive to that.

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Another tour in the cabin, with this view from the front of the rear cabin ; the green lights under the two seats on the left indicate the power ports.

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A view from my seat. The IFE screens of seats 36A and 36B are on the bulkhead, and therefore slightly too far in consideration of their size. Note that that of Seat 36C is a foldable type in the armrest.

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The IFE’s remote control in the seat

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Arrival in CDG : we taxied nearly all the way around CDG1, going behind the French Government A340 (used in particular to airlift troops), before reaching the gate.

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A last view at the left reactors of the A380.

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I was not the only Economy passenger taking pictures on the way out of the so-called «suites », i.e. the First class compartments in 1-2-1 layout. See her from the left aisle the two central seats and the passengers leaving by the right aisle.

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CDG Terminal 1 from the satellite.

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The adequacy of the staffing of the immigration control to the number of incoming passengers was not as good as I was used to experience in Asia, but I had seen much worse in CDG. There were three counter for European passport holder, one PARAFE automatic French passport and fingerprint reading booths and I think five counters for other passports. The overall waiting time was ten - fifteen minutes, which did not matter much, since the delivery of the luggage was slow. Priority luggage did come first and relatively fast, mine arrived after a half hour wait on top of the waiting time at the immigration.

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Next, I only needed to join the RER-B rail link in the morning rush hour with my two heavy suitcases. A longish CDGVAL people mover trip to the station, and then these stupid low height station platforms in front of high floor train cars. I did not take pictures, but the mood felt sad and faded. The winter clothes looked as tired as those who were wearing them. It was a stark contrast with the rush our in Taipei. This picture was taken on the platform of the airport’s station 70 minutes after the plane’s touchdown, which would have been a rather poor performance in Mainland China or Taiwan.

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See more

Verdict

Singapore Airlines

8.6/10
Cabin7.5
Cabin crew9.5
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Meal/catering9.5

Singapore - SIN

9.1/10
Efficiency10.0
Access9.0
Services7.5
Cleanliness10.0

Paris - CDG

7.9/10
Efficiency7.5
Access7.5
Services6.5
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

The comfort on board was a mixed bag. On the plus side, there was the power port which is not the rule in Economy, far from it. The bulkhead provided increased leg room and allowed me to move around, not a negligible advantage. On the down side, twelve rows in 3-4-3, that is quite a crowd, and there was always some noise during the night, event though there were no unruly children. I was not impressed by the silence of the plane itself, and maybe I could not appreciate it in these conditions. The seat was much too hard and the incline was not enough. It was cold too, and despite the blanket, I had a hard time sleeping because of that.
The IFE was slightly too far, but since I only used it for the airshow and for selecting an audio channel, this was not an issue.

The bad chocolate cake deprived SQ of a perfect score on catering.

I dislike airports which have a security check per boarding gate or group thereof, because there is nearly nothing to do once checked. This is my main reproach to SQ.

CDG1 was inefficient at delivering checked luggage (this could be improved) and poorly connected by rail to Paris (this will never change).

Information on the route Singapore (SIN) Paris (CDG)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 69 reviews of 2 airlines on the route Singapore (SIN) → Paris (CDG).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is Singapore Airlines with 8.7/10.

The average flight time is 13 hours and 34 minutes.

  More information

6 Comments

  • Comment 384069 by
    Rosa-Anna 3 Comments

    Hi there Marathon,
    I'm flying from Frankfurt to Singapore on the same Airbus A380-800 and was wondering if you would say that there is enough legroom behind the bulkhead to stretch out one's legs when in seated position? I'd be very thankful if you could leg me know. I'm only 1,65 meters tall, so not too tall.
    Kind regards,
    Rosa

    • Comment 384087 by
      marathon GOLD AUTHOR 9580 Comments

      Hi Rosa-Anna,

      We are nearly the same size, and as far as I remember, there was ample space behind the bulkhead. See for instance the first picture with the meal tray : there was space behind my laptop’s screen. I also remember that it was easy to reach the aisle from my window seat, because of this vertical bulkhead instead of an inclined seat in front.

      I’m looking forward to reading your own report ! ;)

  • Comment 384138 by
    Rosa-Anna 3 Comments

    Well, see the thing is that I was looking forward to the emergency seat and would have willingly paid the 75$ for it until I found out that emergency seats don't have windows with Singapore Airlines. Now I'm looking into the window seat 41 on flight A380-800 right behind the bulkhead hoping that I can stretch out my legs AT THE HEIGHT of the seat in order to elevate my lower legs. therefore my question from my first message: if there was enough space behind the meal tray - that means between the seat and the bulkhead to stretch out your legs elevated?
    thanks and kind regards,
    Rosa

    • Comment 384325 by
      marathon GOLD AUTHOR 9580 Comments

      Now I have a justification for using a measuring tape the way I do for my more recent flight reports :)

      For the fun of it, I spent some time researching this issue, and I THINK you should be able to stretch your legs as you describe, but I do not take any responsibility on that !

      If you do choose this seat, let me know your findings !

  • Comment 384360 by
    Rosa-Anna 3 Comments

    Thanks a lot for your reply! I'll let you know how it all goes. :)

    One last question though: Were you able to reserve this seat without any issues? Singapore Airline tells me that these seats are blocked until 48 prior to departure and become available for reservation when the online check-in opens.
    What's your experience on this?

    • Comment 384361 by
      marathon GOLD AUTHOR 9580 Comments

      These seats are blocked until the OLCI begins because these are "bassinet seats" (i.e. a crib can be attached to the bulkhead), and they want to keep them available for people traveling with infants, until the last reasonable time.

      So basically, waiting until the OLCI begins is taking chances on the presence of families on board, and I do not know what the odds are. Also, be aware that connecting passengers have a time advantage over passengers starting their journey in SIN, because their OLCI begins 48h before their flight to SIN. This was my case:I grabbed this window bulkhead seat before any passenger in SIN could.

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