Since my only experience with Singapore Airlines' business class was several years back on a flight to Taipei on its regional business class, my excitement at finally being able to try the long-haul business product was palpable.
I made my way to the boarding gate about 30 minutes before departure. It was a long walk through the terminal, but thank goodness there were travelators.
Boarding had already commenced by the time I reached the gate. I made my way to the Business/First cabin through Door 1, while Economy class boarded through Door 2.
Singapore Airlines' B777-300ER Business Class is/was the newest business class product in its fleet at the time of travel, before its recent launch of the new business class on the A380 where the center seats can combine into a double bed.
While the A350 is a newer aircraft than the B777-300ER, the business class seats are essentially the same.
Seats are arranged in a 1-2-1 format, offering all passengers direct aisle access. I was seated in the forward mini-cabin, which is decidedly more private with just 3 rows of seats. The rear mini-cabin has 9 rows of business class seats.
The business class seat on Singapore Airlines' B777-300ER is gorgeous! I love how they've updated the leather upholstery compared to the old A380 business class, and the sleek metallic copper finishes on the seat which give it an almost futuristic look without being too flashy.
Measuring 28" wide with a seat pitch of 55" and convertible into a 78" pitch full-flat bed, these seats are extremely spacious.
The wings at the side of each seat offer added privacy, and you feel ensconced in your own comfortable cocoon once settled in.
Some passengers have complained of having to place their feet into the small cubby at the side when the seat is fully reclined, resulting in a diagonal sleeping position.
I was able to avoid this problem as I was seated in 11K, the bulkhead seat. In the picture below you can see that bulkhead seats have an added platform to rest their feet, which spans the entire 28" width of the seat. I was also able to place my carry-on bag and shoes underneath that platform.
There are a total of 8 bulkhead business class seats on this aircraft, located at the front of each business mini-cabin.
Located on the right-hand side of my seat was an armrest, which contained the magazine rack, fold-out tray table, a storage compartment as well as the handheld touchscreen IFE controller.
Slightly above the armrest lies the power socket, USB, HDMI and other ports for your electronic devices.
The large IFE screen measures 18" across and offers HD-quality video, but is not touch-sensitive.
There is a small mirror on the side of the IFE screen, in case you need to do some touch-up before landing.
On the left-hand side of the seat you will find a panel of seat controls, including the headphone jack, a "Do not disturb" button, the call button, as well as various options for footrest/seat recline and lighting.
Lighting can be further controlled with this 3-option panel on the top left side of the seat.
FOOD & BEVERAGE
An FA came over to greet me once I was settled in the plane, and offered me some warm nuts with my choice of drink. I opted for an apple spritzer instead of the usual champagne.
The in-flight meal was a "sleeper service" for this flight, since it was a really late (or early) departure at 2.25am. I opted to have the meal right before landing for breakfast, just so I could get a few hours of shut-eye.
I must have been so tired I forgot to take a picture of the menu, but I was able to take some screenshots when making my "Book the Cook" meal selection a few days prior.
There were some interesting selections in "Book the Cook" for this flight, specifically the SG50 Peranakan menu created for Singapore's 50th Birthday in 2015.
These were created in collaboration with Shermay Lee, renowned chef, culinary educator and cookbook author of The New Mrs Lee's Cookbook fame. "Mrs Lee" here refers to Mrs Lee Chin Koon, the mother of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's founding Prime Minister, and Shermay is the niece of Mr Lee.
I tried searching for reviews of the Peranakan dishes online but was unable to find any. So, I decided to order from the special SG50 Peranakan menu and do a review of the food.
The meal started with a serving of fruit, which tasted all right but some pieces were not exactly ripe.
I selected the ayam buah keluak for my main course, which was served with nyonya chap chye and some rice. Ayam buah keluak is a chicken dish cooked with buah keluak, a black fruit/nut that looks like a very large chestnut. It has a unique pungent taste which you either love or hate. Nyonya chap chye is a vegetable stew consisting of cabbage, carrots, and an assortment of mushrooms, flavoured with fermented soy bean paste.
Hmm. I know it's really hard to make a plate of black-ish stew look appetising, but they could have tried harder. No points here for the plating.
Looks aside, the taste was pretty spot-on. The buah keluak was punchy in a good way - a pungent, earthy, nutty fragrance that works so well in this dish. No toning down for foreigners here.
While the buah keluak sauce and chap chye were good, the chicken was dry and tough like a bark. I got a piece of chicken breast devoid of any fats or tender parts and seemed to have been nuked to death. I did not bother finishing this dish.
This can be easily fixed by replacing the chicken breast with a piece of thigh or drumstick. Dark meat is always better than white meat, especially when it comes to chicken in a stew.
That being said, the SG50 Peranakan menu offers a unique opportunity for a slice of Singapore culinary heritage in the air, and I'd love to try the other dishes on the menu the next time I'm flying out of Changi in J class.
Perhaps SQ might want to consider serving the Peranakan dishes on authentic Peranakan cutlery, or do a tie-up with Peranakan heritage brands for unique knick-knacks for guests who order from the menu?
IFE is shown on a large HD screen, which is controlled via a handheld controller at the side of the seat.
The KrisWorld movie and entertainment library is extensive, and always offers the latest blockbuster movies. So far I have not seen any airline with a more extensive and up-to-date library as Singapore Airlines.
The IFE controller acts also displays the flight data and flight map.
Headphones provided were noise-cancelling Singapore Airlines-branded ones, which worked well but not very comfortable. It got very hot over my ears after a while, so I switched to my own earphones.
At this point the we were approaching Seoul, and the first leg of my flight was coming to an end.
Stay tuned for my review of Seoul Incheon's SilverKris lounge and my flight from ICN to LAX!
Singapore Airlines Business Class Lounge (SilverKris) - 3
Singapore - SIN
Seoul - ICN
Singapore Airlines' long-haul business class is really a class above the rest. The size of the seat and the personal space is akin to first class on some other airlines. Warm, sincere service the moment you board the aircraft and the excellent catering, plus the opportunity to "Book the Cook" makes it a very enjoyable and comfortable way to fly. Singapore Airlines has set the bar really high. Here's hoping they continue to outdo themselves with the introduction of the new A380 Suites and Business class.
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