Review of Singapore Airlines flight Manchester Houston in Economy

Airline Singapore Airlines
Flight SQ52
Class Economy
Seat 59A
Aircraft Airbus A350-900
Flight time 09:16
Take-off 24 Aug 18, 11:00
Arrival at 24 Aug 18, 14:16
SQ   #2 out of 123 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 497 reviews
TheWindowSeat
Published on 8th September 2018

A Great Way To Fly




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Ladies and Gentlemen,

Before we begin, as you know I have provided some of the first ever reviews for Flight Report such as PIA, Shaheen Air, Royal Jordanian and Royal Air Maroc.

This is as well as the first ever reviews on the Internet for routes such as

Istanbul-Kuwait
Doha-Manchester
Istanbul-Lahore
Lahore-Bangkok
Manchester-Casablanca
London Heathrow-Amman v.v

A warm welcome therefore to the Internet's first ever review of Singapore Airlines' Manchester-Houston service.

Enjoy and please like,comment and share !

As a fan of Singapore Airlines ( SIA ) since my teens, I had wanted to fly Singapore Airlines for a special moment and to experience this Lion amongst Asian airlines since 1972.

Please note I have been a huge huge fan of Thai Airways,JAL,Korean,Garuda,Cathay Pacific,Malaysia and Singapore for the same time.

The ultra high inflight service standards of these Asian Mega carriers was, is and remains above and beyond the major airlines of the world.

Initially I had wanted to visit the Maldives and Singapore for my birthday this year.

In February 2018 I watched with great interest, a one off documentary on the UK's Channel 4 "The world's most luxurious airline" which gave the world a rare glimpse into the colourful and modern game changing world of Singapore Airlines. I knew the time had come to fly Singapore Airlines !

Having watched the Channel 4 documentary and as I had already flown to Japan and Korea in March 2018, still wanted to fly Singapore Airlines and really didn't want to do Asia again this year, I decided on visiting Houston, a new routing from Singapore via Manchester since 2016.

This would mean my first ever visit to Houston, first ever flights on Singapore Airlines and first ever flight on the Airbus A350 !

The Manchester transit stop has replaced the previous stop at Moscow as of 2016.

Despite local media attention in 2016 which excitedly ( and incorrectly ) announced the first "ever" direct flights from Manchester to Houston , PIA ( Pakistan International Airlines ) flew twice weekly 777s then 747-200 Combis on the same route from 2004 - 2008/9. The flights catered to the large Pakistani community settled in Texas.
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Most unusually I haven't been able to find " World's Most Luxurious Airline" online so here is the link for a great National Geographic documentary about Singapore Airlines
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKuGqKYk3pQ
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Singapore Airlines at Manchester



In April 1986 Singapore Airlines took off from Manchester to Singapore. This makes it the longest serving long haul carrier from Manchester Airport in 2018 !
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Initially the one stop route was flown by the Boeing 747-300 "Big Top" aircraft twice weekly, seen here at Manchester with those now vintage Pratt and Whitney engines !
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The aircraft was then upgraded to the 747-400 " MegaTop" flying from Manchester to Singapore via Bombay,Zurich and Brussels on alternate days.
The service then became a daily 777-300 from Manchester to Singapore via Munich.

The historic Manchester flight numbers SQ327 ( once MANSIN) and SQ328 (SINMAN) continue today on the Singapore-Munich sectors.

Today Singapore Airlines flies nonstop from Manchester to Singapore connecting to multiple onward destinations but mainly including Australia and New Zealand.

In the UK, The Houston route is the only one outside London and Singapore Airline's first transatlantic service from the UK / Manchester.
All Manchester services are operated by the newest A350's.




Launch of Manchester-Houston



Launched on 30th October 2016, the same year that Singapore Airlines also celebrated 30 years of flying from Manchester, this route is the first and only transatlantic flight that Singapore Airlines has ever operated from the UK and helps demonstrate its long term commitment to the North West region.

Manchester Airport is the gateway to the Northern Powerhouse,the brand name given to a proposal to boost economic growth in the North of England.
Just 3 months after the Houston route's dynamic launch, the aircraft was upgraded to the new hitech fuel efficient A350, thereby keeping Singapore Airlines passengers accustomed to the latest onboard products and services.

In October 2016 Singapore Airlines launched its first ever transatlantic service between the UK and the United States. The new non-stop Manchester to Houston flight is the only nonstop service connecting Manchester with the state of Texas.

Houston is a city of distinction. It's the Energy Capital of the World and famously put the first man on the moon. Now, America's fourth largest city is staking its claim as the most exciting metropolis in the country. Houston is also a great location to start your Texas adventure. To discover more of what Houston has to offer visit our 'Discover Houston' section.

Singapore Airlines operates five weekly non-stop flights from Manchester to Houston. SQ52 operates from Manchester to Houston on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Services are performing above expectation and I am confident that at least the Manchester-Singapore route will go daily and possibly twice daily.

SQ51 operates the return flight from Houston to Manchester on the same days of the week. Due to tailwind the total travel is on the return is shorter at approximately 8 hours and 50minutes.

In routing the Houston service via Manchester, the flight number has changed from SQ62/61 to SQ52/51. Unusually the lower flight number is operated on the return where most airline flight numbers increase on return sectors.

Singapore Airlines celebrated it's one year anniversary of the Manchester-Houston route on 30th October 2017.


The route had a busy 12 months as shown here with some interesting facts upto the 1st anniversary ( facts courteousy of Singapore Airlines )

1 inflight marriage proposal on the route

Aircraft spent just over 200 days in the air flying between the two cities

Over 500kg of scallops and lobster have been cooked for on board consumption

Almost 7000kg of chicken has been consumed inflight

Passengers flying the route have consumed just over 2000kg of prawns as part of their inflight meals

Over 10,000 litres of ice cream has been served on board during the year

383,914 meals prepared

2.5 million miles Singapore Airlines aircraft have flown between the two cities from launch




Mr Sheldon Hee, Singapore Airlines General Manager UK and Ireland ( shown below ) optimistically stated at the time ;

"We have a long history in the region of over 30 years and it is exciting to still be celebrating firsts after all this time; from our first transatlantic flights departing the UK to bringing the first commercial A350 flight to Manchester Airport earlier this year. It shows the depth of our relationship with the region and for that we would like to thank both our partners and loyal customers for their ongoing support’."

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Manchester-Houston promotional video "Touching Down from Manchester to Houston"
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hh96h2uU4VY


Houston to Manchester launch - the launch was attended by the British Ambassador to Houston, Ms Karen Bell.
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https://vimeo.com/189847715



A350 Facts,Figures and Economy Seating

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SQ News



In the leadup to my first flight with Singapore Airlines, the airline has been making the headlines with positive news left,right and centre ! Profits are healthy and the airline is going from strength to strength.

The Silkair regional wing will merge with the Parent company ; this means we will see the first 737-800s in Singapore Airlines livery and also with flatbed Business Class seats.

Singapore Airlines (SIA) will relaunch the world’s longest commercial flight on October 11, 2018, with a non-stop service to New York’s Newark Liberty International Airport, with Los Angeles and a new North American destination to follow.
The mammoth journey will cover a distance of roughly 16,700km (9,000 nautical miles) and take up to 18 hours and 45 minutes, vastly surpassing Qatar Airways’ 17-and-a-half-hour service (14,535km) from Doha to Auckland – the current title holder.

The flights will be operated by the new Airbus A350-900ULR (ultra long range), of which Singapore is the launch customer, with the first aircraft due to be delivered in September. In 2004, Singapore Airlines previously operated nonstop to New York and LA on A340-500s configured with Business and Executive Economy Cabins. The airline will be partnering with wellness brand Canyon Ranch to introduce wellness meals and to develop new nutrition focused menus along with scientifically backed sleep, exercise and stretching strategies designed to aid sleep and reduce jetlag.

Artist Impression of the Silkair 737-800 once in SQ livery - looking rather yellow than Gold and also carrying the now discontinued engine markings !
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Ahead of flying Singapore Airlines, it is a true delight that Singapore Airlines has been awarded World's Best Airline !
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Livery and Fleet



Singapore Airlines assigns names aircraft per fleet rather than individually naming aircraft ;

Big Top - 747-300
Mega Top - 747-400
Mega Ark - 747-400 Freighter
Jubilee - 777
Celestar - A340-500

A350 and 787 aircraft currently don't have names but I do hope they do in the future.

B747-400 registration 9V-SPK, in the tropical livery ( seen at Manchester Terminal 2 ) which had decals located where each Class was onboard - First/Raffles Business/Economy. Also seen is the amazing much missed Brittania livery and the Ryanair News of the world 737-200.
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Sadly this stunning aircraft would be destroyed in October 2000, after taking off in a typhoon at Taiwan bound for Los Angeles.
Of the 179 passengers, 83 were killed and 25 were completlely uninjured. The load mainly comprised Taiwanese and American passengers.

The first Singapore Airlines Jumbo ,the 747-200, took to the skies in 1973,with the 747-300 following in 1983.
The 747-400 proudly flew from 1989-2012 in Singapore Airlines colours.
Like most major 747 operators, Singapore Airlines had the disctinction of operating all 3 variants of the classic and modern 747 family.

In 1977, and from 1979 to 1980, British Airways operated a Concorde (G-BOAD) with a dual livery ; with Singapore Airlines' livery on the port ( left ) side and a British Airways' livery on the starboard ( right ) side. It was used on the London to Singapore via Bahrain service. The service was eventually withdrawn for financial reasons.
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Singapore Airlines was the first in the world to fly the giant Superjumbo A380 in 2007 and launched London Heathrow A380 service in 2008.
The introduction of the A380 also meant a new class in the sky ; "Suites", a class above First !
This went to include double beds ; another first for Asia's world aviation leader.

The start of commercial A380 services to London were a "proud moment " for the UK aviation sector ;
The aircraft’s wings are made at Broughton in North Wales and at Filton in Bristol. The Rolls-Royce engines that power Singapore's fleet are built at Derby.

The A350 and 787 Dreamliner family look set to take Singapore Airlines already excellent name even higher with fuel efficient,long range,passenger friendly aircraft. Ensuring the next generation of passengers will get even more priviliges onboard. Singapore Airlines’ A350s are configured in a three class layout with 42 seats in Business, 24 in Premium Economy and 187 in Economy Class.

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Livery
The livery and image of Singapore Airlines is iconic and powerful. The livery has only had very minor tweaks in the last few decades if any at all.
I personally associate the branding with high end luxury and sky high hospitality.

The Singapore Airlines logo is a bird inspired by a silver kris (keris), a dagger from Southeast Asia prominently featured in the region's myth and folklore.

Silverkris is the name also given to the airline's lounges,IFE and Frequent Flyer Programme.

The tailfin Silverkris logo is Gold on a Royal Blue background with an orange downwards stripe, which reminds me of when an envelope has been licked.
Engines are off white ( think BA Landor livery ) whilst the main fuselage is white.

The logo is prominently featured on the tailfin and all airline products and has remained unchanged since Singapore Airlines' inception from the split of Malaysia–Singapore Airlines.
The trailing (back) edge of the tailfin has a bold orange downwards stripe. The orange colour is most likely the inspiration behind the orange pillows and headrest covers in the Singapore Airlines Premium Economy Cabin,which debuted in 2015 on the Amsterdam route on the A350. The earlier livery had an all blue tail with a Silverkris logo.

There is a blue cheatline on the windows and a thin orange stripe.
The lower part of the cheatline is in Gold. The cheatlines cut off diagonally.

The look is completed by large Singapore Airlines titles in an attractive font ; the flag of Singapore appears just before the word Singapore.

There is a Star Alliance logo behind the cockpit area.

Previously the Singapore Airlines font was in Italics and further back on the fuselage the Gold was yellow. Engines previously had a blue circle with the Silverkris logo in Yellow and then Gold before being removed.

A tail of high class hospitality !
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50 years golden livery
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On 21st August 2018, it was announced that the SQ brand would be refreshed !

RP Abraham's 2011 stunning fictional livery which would really enhance the look of Singapore Airlines if taken on - this designer's similar livery for Pakistan's Shaheen Air was adopted around 10 years ago so there is hope !
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As well as these two great designs which stay true to the heritage

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It would make sense to have a Kebaya inspired livery for sure ! S K Hwang created this dream livery - who knows if SQ may actually adopt it ?!
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The scent of an airline


Brand Singapore Airlines is not just visually attractive ; it even has it's own scent !

Singapore Airlines’ hot towels are perfumed with “Stefan Floridian Waters,” a blend of rose, lavender and citrus.

The scent is also sprayed in the cabin and blended into the hot towels which form part of the airline's inflight service. The Cabin Crew also wear it in their perfume.Typically, passengers will be greeted with a subtle, elevated scent as they board.
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The Singapore Girl



Tmeless,Ageless,Flawless.
It would be highly incomplete to review my first Singapore Airlines flight without referencing the most iconic image of Singapore Airlines ; The Singapore Girl.

This is the official brand name for it’s Airhostesses, dressed in their even more iconic Sarong Kebayas. So much so that there is a Singapore Girl waxwork in Madame Tussaud’s in London. She indeed has celebrity status !

There are four Kebaya colours that represent the rank of the Singapore Girls :

· Blue – "Flight Stewardess"
· Green – "Leading Stewardess"
· Red – "Chief Stewardess"
· Purple – "In-Flight Supervisor"


Although the uniform of the Singapore Girl has remained largely unchanged, the uniform for male cabin crew was updated on 30 June 2008.
All male cabin crew wear the same, distinctive navy blue suits to complement the Singapore Girl's cobalt blue kebaya, their ranks are differentiated by the colours of their ties.
The four tie colours that distinguish male cabin crew :

· Blue Stripes – "Flight Steward"
· Green Stripes – "Leading Steward"
· Red Stripes – "Chief Steward"
· Purple Stripes – "In-Flight Supervisor"

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And there is no shortage of Kebaya fans !
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Looking elegant is one thing but unlike other airlines 4-5 weeks cabin crew induction ( or ab initio ) training, Singapore Airlines puts it's cabin crew recruits through their paces with a 3 month training schedule !
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The Singapore Girls are even taught how to sashay down the aisles ! The official term is "deportment" meaning how crew carry themselves and walk.
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An iconic icon of an icon !
The renown elegance and charm of the Singapore Girl is certainly no secret. But it was a secret crewmember Nur Surya Ambiah had to keep for six months – even from her own family.
In 2016, the Singapore Airlines Airhostess was chosen to be the model for the Airline’s new waxwork at Madame Tussauds Singapore !

Her warmth, humility and good grace justify her selection – perhaps, too, Surya’s ability to conceal a secret. She told inquisitive co-workers she was attending a “grooming check” at Singapore Airlines' training facility where, during an eight hour session, the Madame Tussauds team measured and photographed her, inch by inch.

Singapore Airlines' assistant manager crew performance Lim Suet Kwee – Madame Tussauds’ first Singapore Girl, in 1993 – acted as Surya’s confidante and mentor during this time.
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The Singapore Girl features prominently in advertising such as the "Discover the lengths we go to" campaign
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Singapore Airlines ultra swish app - you can even plan your IFE on it ! I always love knowing what Boarding Music is playing so it helps to have a listing !

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Dreaming way up high !



It has never happened in my life that signs of my trips start appearing , but signs of my upcoming experience on Singapore Airlines appeared twice ahead of me flying out.

On the 24th July, whilst on my way to the office, I saw SQ52 9V-SMP on finals into Manchester from Singapore and ahead of flying to Houston.
My first work break on the 24th July was at 1040am,the same as the STD of SQ52 !
The aircraft had performed Melbourne,Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur flights prior to performing SQ52.

You know you are in for a treat when you start dreaming about the airline you are flying on !

In a dream on the 2nd August 2018, I was looking to the skies and saw an A350, complete with "10,000th Airbus "special decals ( which happens to belong to Singapore Airlines,registration 9V-SMF) flying overhead.

I was in Norwich in this dream ( a place I have never been to but flown over whilst enroute from Manchester to Istanbul in 2016 - see flight report for TK1994).

9V-SMF with pre delivery Airbus registration
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In my case Flight for your dreams !
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Talking of dreams coming true, have a look at this cute video - I won't spoil the surprise but promise you will enjoy every moment !
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7dKdyEXa-U




Houston - Energy,Arts and Culture - a hub for Cowboys,Spacemen and Country music !

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With an economy built on oil and gas, Houston is a tourism hostspot as well as a business destination. North West England businesses have bases there like the renown luxury bespoke tailor Harris and Howard as well as Oliver Valves, Air Energi, Morson and A+B Insurance.

Ranking behind Chicago as the nation’s fourth most populated city, Houston's sprawling nature belies that fact. There’s the leafy Museum District, bewildering skyscrapers in the Downtown Skyline area, Upper Kirby and River Oaks for shopping and eating, Montrose with its bungalows, quirky shops and restaurants and the elegant Galleria Mall in the upmarket Galleria area.

Manchester Airport showing off the Houston route
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Singapore Airlines and Visit Houston's joint promotional video
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https://youtu.be/bcyKfMO_qCQ

Launch event at the gate of the Houston to Manchester/Singapore Service in 2016
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https://vimeo.com/189847715




Check in



My Booking
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A week before departure I received an email to upgrade
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Checkin alert
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Suitcase whilst still at home with SWISS sticker and handluggage with destination branding !
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Upon arrival at Manchester Terminal 2, I saw the Singapore Airlines Manchester Station Manager Mr Li . A very pleasant gentleman and a rare sight to see a Station Manager at checkin.
I was checked in before I knew it.

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The Swissport Check In Agent went through the motions but had no enthusiasm and she completely overlooked that I was flying on my birthday.

The USA landing card was handed out at checkin as well as a stylish bag tag receipt which went on a little slip ( it really used to annoy me when some check in agents used to put the bag tag receipt on the ticket or worse,inside the passport ..really ?!
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Mr Li then astonished me by presenting me with a branded gift bag with a model A350 aircraft as a birthday gift ; wow, I was so touched and humbled !
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My Boarding Pass seems a bit heavy - here's why !
Another lil surprise from Singapore Airlines on my birthday !
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After clearing security fairly quickly, it was time to head to the Aspire lounge via the Duty Free maze of Terminal 2
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Aspire Lounge Terminal 2



- the lounge access was a gift given to me ( not from SQ by the way ! )

I entered the lounge and received a beautiful welcome and birthday greeting from Supervisor Karen, a truly professional and friendly lady who clearly cares about customers.
A copy of my favourite travel magazine "Business Traveller" had been set aside for me via Lounge Manager Ronnie who also attached a lil card with Happy Birthday on it ! . Thank you Ronnie !

I have been reading BusinessTraveller for 2 decades. From the smell of the print quality to the tried and tested section to the airline news. I love this magazine and it's joy to hold a copy in my hands.
The food selection was fine for the time of day and the lounge was generally full - the only calm area was where the few SQ passengers were seated in the exclusive Singapore Airlines area :)
Wifi was free and superfast - sponsored by Estee Lauder and with a 4 hour slot.

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From the lounge upstairs I could see down below and some crew of my flight walking towards the gate area….so…………………………..

Time to head to the gate for the flight of my life ! Even the Manchester rain will not spoil this moment !
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Oh My God !! My first ever Singapore Airlines crew…will they live up to the adverts and all the great things you read about them ???!!!
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Boarding SQ52




SQ52 Fast Facts
codeshare with United Airlines as UA 7062
MANIAH
24AUG18
A350
Registration 9V-SMS ( airborne September 2017 )



Factoid Time
When is an A350 actually a 747-400 ?! Read on to find out !

Very unusually for the airline industry, the registrations of the Singapore Airlines A350s ( to date ) are actually reused registrations from it's former 747-400 fleet.

How amazing to think that 9V-SMS and some of her A350 sisterships were once mighty 747-400s ! ( in registration form obviously ! )

How I would have love to have flown a Singapore Airlines 747….oh well, I guess I will have to make do with the A380 Superjumbo instead !





Right - let's board for my birthday flight to Houston !

At the gate area,I met Danielle and Steven,two Customer Service Agents of Singapore Airlines who were most friendly and professional !

After US style security checks in the upstairs part of the airbridge,I went downstairs and boarded at 1010am. Anna the SQ Dispatcher welcomed me by name and wished me Happy Birthday.
One sure does get celebrity style recognition if flying on their birthday with Singapore Airlines !

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And this was it….the moment of truth. I boarded the aircraft and Inflight Manager Kenneth welcomed me onboard, I told him it was my first ever flight with Singapore Airlines and he promised his crew would do everything to make my flight a good one ! 2 other Senior crew who would be based in my section , Mr Raymond and Mr Paul also welcomed me onboard which was nice as you don't usually see Senior Crew members unless they are in Business or if something goes wrong !

The plush Business Class Thrones, not even seats !
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Premium Economy with the distinct Orange pillows - despite most online reviews saying the orange is easyJet like, I wish to point out that orange is in fact also part of the Singapore Airlines livery ( see livery section further up )
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Economy Class forward zone with Turquoise and Beige seats - looks like someone has forgotten to adjust the winged headrest
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Economy Class rear zone with Tan and Beige seats - look at the plush,posh pillows ! Economy Class pillows should ONLY be like this ! Apologies for a slightly blurry picture as I wanted to get the shot before the cabin filled up and had just moments to do so !
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3 seats to myself on an almost full flight ! Wow, I can celebrate my birthday in SkyCouch style !
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Ms Grace welcomed me at my seat - the first ever Singapore Girl I would fly with !

As I stowed my luggage, I told her it was my birthday and she wished me a Happy Birthday with a radiant smile - upon seeing my model aircraft she asked which model it was as she had recently bought a 777 ! Wow what amazing manners and a great personality. Something that continued throughout the entire flight,

Ms Grace was joined by Ms Jessie who hung up my jacket and helped me with my baggage. I kept mixing these two ladies up during borading almost as if they were twins !

Boarding gets into full swing - what was the chance that I would take this photo just as a not so flattering message appeared on a tv screen ?!
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American Jazz Music played throughout the cabin whilst boarding continued.
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Boarding was swiftly done and ground staff were told to leave the aircraft at 1030am, just after Dispatcher Anna had welcomed us on the PA ( I remember when I used to handle Air Jamaica at Manchester Airport, the Manchester based dispatchers would do a welcome PA to welcome passengers onboard the "Lovebird Service " ! )

A Virgin Atlantic A330 that has just pushed back - likely going to New York or Atlanta after taking these routes over from Delta Airlines
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Senior Crew member Paul asked if it was ok for him to take a pillow ? I had 3 seats to myself so I had no issue and found it so polite that I was asked so courteously.
Across the aisle, sat a hooded fellow who looked most out of place. He was wearing a hoodie and on top of that a bubble jacket. He spent the flight looking at the floor. Strange sight.

At 1035am the Captain made a welcome PA and advised that as this was a US bound flight,passengers were not allowed to congregate in public areas.
The Captain then asked passengers to enjoy the flight and thanked us for choosing Singapore Airlines.
The most professional Captain's welcome I have ever heard. Wow !

Talking of the wow factor, how many airlines offer a vanity mirror in the tray table ? Singapore Airlines has eradicated the need to go to the washroom to fix your hair/makeup etc !
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Hot towels were distributed and were steaming hot ; not lukewarm as on the few airlines that even offer this touch in Economy Class. I was pleased that the towel waa handed to me whole and not hanging from the tong.
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The hot towels were promptly collected and straightaway menucards were distributed

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Pushback was at 1045am just as the safety video began - the video takes you on a journey through Singapore and signs off in a beautiful way !
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See the full video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25brQSPMORg


Pushback continues - bye bye Manchester and the rain !
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A321 of the airline which after I have taken and blogged 8 of their flights, doesn't allow photos or videos to be taken onboard pushing back as TK1994 to Istanbul.
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A short journey to Runway 2
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Cabin secure check taking place
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Lift off to Houston !



At 1100am, 9V-SMS lined up quietly on Manchester's Runway 2 and suddenly the engines roared into life…my first Singapore Airlines adventure begins ! Apologies for the rain on the window, but it will be gone very very soon !
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Flying over Merseyside, the area more famous for the city of Liverpool, birthplace of The Beatles !
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15 minutes after take off, sleep kits were distributed - these only have dental kits and socks. When I want to sleep I want eyeshades and earplugs ?!
The kits were offered from a plastic Singapore Airlines branded bag and Ms Grace would take two kits out at a time to distribute.
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Ms Grace politely said " Mr Seat, a sleep kit for you" and I told her she can call me Window !!
Note to readers My first name obviously isn't Window and my surname isn't Seat !
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Time to check our progress
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As we entered Irish airspace, pre meal drinks and nibbles were offered. I was about to ask for an Orange or Apple juice when something more exotic caught my eye on the trolley - Lee's Pineapple Juice from Singapore !
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My first drink onboard Singapore Airlines is this delicious Pineapple Juice.
What made this pre meal service extra special was that my beverage cup's rim was not touched by the crew and ice was put in first thereby ensuring the tongs don't come into contact with alcohol.

10/10 for Singapore Airlines cabin services training. Quite why this carelessness happens on other airlines I do not know. It's unhygienic and very unnecessary.

A pre meal collection being built at my tray table !
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Lunch on SQ52



Special meals were distributed first ; My MOML ( Moslem Meal ) as presented
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And the Flight Report friendly version !

The Main Course was a spicy, almost achari (pickles marinated ) chicken curry with boiled rice and a spicy potatoe and green bean curry.
I actually felt like I was eating a Pakistani meal as the spices were perfected in tune with my Pakistani culinary taste buds !
There were two little pots - one each containing plain yoghurt and Mango Chutney.
The main course was accompanied by a bread roll with butter plus crackers and cheese.
Dessert was a fruit salad and the salad starter was purple cabbage with red peppers and yellow melon like chunks which tasted very chilli like.
If anyone knows what these are please do advise !

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Most of the salad starter went everywhere when I popped open the lid ( oopsy ) but I did manage to save enough to enjoy with my meal !
A full can of coke was offered with ice. Ms Grace very politely asked her colleague Ms Jessie to obtain ice for Mr Seat ! I felt so valued it was unreal !

The guy on the seat in front of me (58A ) kept squirming in his seat but would then would stop. This caused me irritation and I thought perhaps he is tired and will stop.
Cabin Crew then started bringing out meal trolleys into the aisles and politely advised passengers to please watch arms and legs.

There was no wet wipe with the cutlery pack but the pack did have salt and pepper ( take note Thai and JAL ! ) I will recommend to save packaging and cost and to ensure passenger convenience, to have the salt and pepper packs inside the cutlery pack without them being inside another package. There is also a toothpick which is greatly appreciated for those food bits which you feel in your mouth way after a meal has been consumed !
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This is my 5th Moslem Meal "dessert" this year but the fruit was exceptionally fresh and tasty.

Inflight catering companies seriously need to start being a bit adventurous with Moslem Meal Desserts and dare to believe that Muslim passengers have a sweet tooth !
Clearly they aren't following culinary trends otherwise the companies would be aware that all Muslim ( the corrrect spelling ) countries have heavenly desserts.
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After the meal I was delighted to be offered not one but two tubs of ice cream by Mr Raymond the Chief Steward but I had one,declining the other as I was full !

The flavour was a decadent Dulce De Lece and the tub was of medium size ! Salcombe Dairy who produce the ice cream, should be very proud of such a dreamy, decadent and delicious ice cream !
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I was pleased that unlike JAL who seem very reluctant to give Ice Cream to passengers with special meals, on Singapore Airlines the ice cream was handed out with great enthusiasm !
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Time for a coffee break…
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As inflight service was underway for other passengers, I was finishing off my ice cream after the West coast of Ireland, after a hearty meal.

Then at 1305pm over Porcupine bank ( a patch of sea ) an announcement was made for all crew to be seated due to severe turbulence
The Inflight Manager advised the suspension of all cabin service due to the weather. He also advised that hot beverages would not be served until it was safe to do so or words to that effect. Bottles and cutlery could be heard smashing into each other in the rear galley .

Porcupine Bank is an area of the Irish shelf, on the fringes of the Atlantic Ocean approximately 200 kilometres west of Ireland

As I finished off my ice cream and as the turbulence worsened, at the same time I was listening to Madonna's Like a prayer at exactly this point in the song ;

I close my eyes, oh God I think I'm falling
out of the sky, I close my eyes
Heaven help me


Of all songs to be listening to in the air during severe turbulence ! Heaven help me indeed !

Meal service re-commenced and a calm descended on the cabin.

As passengers began to settle down and go to sleep/enjoy the IFE, I made a beeline for the rear galley to stretch my legs.

And waiting for me was…..my birthday cake !

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Mr Raymond the Chief Steward decorated the cake with fresh strawberries ahead of leading the crew in singing Happy Birthday 35,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean ! A video was made of the celebration and this is a Birthday I will truly treasure, Some photos were also made with the crew as a mementoe.
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Last year Singapore Airlines also celebrated a birthday - 70 years of excellence in the skies ! Happily I am nowhere near that age for quite a while !
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Krisworld IFE



As all IFE content is available on the Singapore Airlines website, I won't show every page of the IFE magazine or every screen choice - rather I will simply show you highlights of Krisworld - the never ending Inflight Entertainment Service of Singapore Airlines ! I do feel live external camera images would enhance the SQ A350 IFE experience.

Luxuriously packaged earbuds - I prefer headsets for sound clarity although these offered reasonably good sound.
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Power Port between and under the seats…looks like the duster lost it's way down here !
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The range of inflight magazines

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Silverkris - the inflight magazine of Singapore Airlines has recently undergone a refresh and makes for a very stylish and elegant inflight read
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Krisworld Inflight Entertainment Magazine - all listings available online so I won't show you every page
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KrisShop - Inflight Shopping Magazine
As content is all available online at krisshopair.com, I will simply photograph the cover and we can look at the content on the return flight right ? There were 2 different catalogues for some reason. As I say we can look at the content on the return flight…..( see SQ51 flight report ) :)
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Under screen handset control
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Seatback Charger point, usb port and audio jack and coathook
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Are we there yet ?!
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Washroom Visit

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Paper cups for mouth rinsing
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I wanted to change out of my business suit into more comfortable Pakistani Shalwar Kameez ( slacks) and was allowed to use the Business Class washroom.
I wouldn't have stood a chance to change my clothes inside the Economy Class washrooms.
Once again Airbus fails to have larger Economy Class washrooms,even on it's next generation widebody aircraft. Boeing win at this every time.

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Mr Fidgety in front of me was really starting to annoy me so I politely tapped his shoulder and told him his constant fidgeting is really disturbing me.
He apologised and after a quick further squirm, didn't wriggle in his seat again.

Note that the seats have a sliding pan function meaning minimal disturbance to the passenger behind you.
Even if the passenger in front of you reclines, the tv screen is very clearly visible if you flip it out slightly

I then requested eyeshades from the crew and they came in this cute little pouch
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I slept for a while and this is a rarity for me in almost 40 years of flying !

The forward Economy Cabin
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I awoke just before the midflight snack service was about to commence. Ms Grace came to me with a tray and I happily took all these treats !

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I then took some more rest and then woke up having had as much rest as I could whilst thousands of feet in the air !

I filled out my landing card to save time on arrival

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Pre landing meal



Some orange juice before the prelanding meal
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A meal I will delightfully enjoy whilst flying past New York !
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Hot Towels distributed before the meal - the Stefan Floridian scent was very apparent on this distribution of towels !
Note the Silverkris logo :)
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Well hallo New York !
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Hi to New York again !
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New York Hallo !
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The tray as served for my Moslem ( MOML) Dinner.
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Spicy Prawns with spicier rice, tangy carrot and coriander salad topped with an orange segment,water cuplet and coke with ice.
A warm bread roll with butter was also offered and here we go again with a fruit salad ! Aaaaaaaahhh !
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I then changed back into my Business suit in the rear galley with two Senior (male) crew keeping guard at the curtains whilst I went from traditional Pakistani to Western Executive in seconds !
I let them know when I was decent again

At 1345pm Houston time, the Captain made an informational pre arrival announcement followed by the crew announcing that only 1 landing card is required per family.




Arrival into Houston



Landing music started 15 mins before landing and played throughout the cabin. Singapore Airlines should look at having it's own theme tune. The music of the current safety video should do the trick !
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Texas is in site ; Houston here I come !
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At 1416pm local time, SQ 52 touched down on Texan soil - I had mixed emotions as I was either going to have an amazing trip here or I would be deported back on SQ51 tonight due to my religion ( Muslim). Not a nice thought but sadly the state of affairs today. The aircraft was on stand at 1420pm.
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I bade a fond farewell to the crew and had really appreciated how much they looked after me…who knows when will ever meet again in life…….???
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SQ52 Cabin Crew



All I will say is set your expectations to high as Singapore Airlines crew manners are outstanding both with each other and towards passengers - a superior highly co-ordinated team of customer service professionals all aiming to make a pleasurable inflight experience. It was my pleasure to fly with this super team on my first ever flight on Singapore Airlines.
It is easy to see why Singapore Airlines is the best airline in the world when it's cabin crew are so efficient,friendly,caring and most gracious. It should train all Star Alliance carriers to offer this standard of service.
Flight Steward Jason and Airhostesses Ms Grace and Ms Jessie deserve special recognition for giving me such care and attention through the flight !

I exited the airbridge smiled and said Good Afternoon to a IAH female staff member outside the airbridge and she smiled at me and said Good Afternoon back.
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BA195 ( G-YMMO) just arrived from Heathrow just ahead of SQ52 from Manchester
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Immigration was abrupt and unfriendly - not the best impression of the USA or Houston. All questions asked were genuine questions but asked abruptly, the most bizarre being " You are very dressed up, why are you dressed up ?". Upon answering it is my birthday I got asked if I normally dress up on my birthday….God give me strength ! Seriously ?

I was happy to see this sign - a lovely lady took my photo with large images of the Nasa Space Centre - great for my Instagram !
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I then met a lovely lady from United Airlines ( Barbara ) in the arrivals hall - even though I hadn't flown in with United she made my day by welcoming me to Houston and showing care and directing me to the Super Shuttle desk. My case was waiting along with 2 others at the baggage area and 2 SQ reps were sat waiting for the bags to be claimed. One of the reps had taken my photo with the Houston Downtown mural and was here again !
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No need to travel almost an hour from my hotel to have a photo with the "Houston Is Inspired mural "when there is a large one in the arrivals area of the terminal !
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Upon heading into the arrivals hall, I met Jael ( pronounced Hael ) from Singapore Airlines, a charming gentleman who was very friendly and I learned that he would be checking in my return flight in a few days !
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The Super Shuttle kiosk right next to the customer service counter of Super Shuttle. Amazing to think that in the 80's/early 90's Super Shuttle was the name given to British Airways' hourly shuttles to/from the UK regions to/from London Heathrow !

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Houston I am here !
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Some tracking done by family and friends during my journey as well as a Learn More About Manchester message from SQ ?!
Believe me I know a lot about Manchester after living there for 2 decades !
The Manchester departure time is actually very close to the pushback time. The landing time in Houston is the time the aircraft was on stand.

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I received this email as soon as I had landed - however by the time I got round to filling it out the survey had expired !
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Let me show you Houston !



By the way there are two ways to pronounce Houston ; Straight up as Houston (Who-stun) or ( Huw-Stun) !

1 hour travel time saved on this short trip by not having to go all the way to the actual Houston Is Inspired mural !
Get your picfix for your Instagram account when leaving terminal D/E arrivals at IAH !
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Pinto Ranch on Post Oak Boulevard - the world of Western in one place !

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Downtown Houston in the distance !
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Minute Maid Park - winner winner chicken dinner !
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My luxurious hotel bed for the first 3 nights of my Houston adventure !
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Cavender's Boot City - do be sure to say hi to the lovely manager Mr Bubba Fuller !
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MetroLine Tram in Downtown
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The Galleria Mall - dine,shop,relax !
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Downtown Skyline area
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Oil then water…now Texas has bread too !
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Houston T-Shirts
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Snacking the Houston way !
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See more

Verdict

Singapore Airlines

9.8/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment10.0
Meal/catering10.0

Aspire Lounge (T2)

8.3/10
Comfort7.0
Meal/catering6.0
Entertainment10.0
Services10.0

Manchester - MAN

9.0/10
Efficiency6.0
Access10.0
Services10.0
Cleanliness10.0

Houston - IAH

6.3/10
Efficiency5.0
Access10.0
Services5.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

Wow ! What can I say ?

My first ever flight on Singapore Airlines was way way way above expectation !

Not only did I fly on my birthday, but it was also my first time on the A350 and first time to Houston. The Economy washrooms, as per usual for widebody Airbusses, are not designed for passengers of bigger/taller build and this lets down this otherwise stunning next generation aircraft.

Desserts for Muslim Meals need to be way more adventurous ; Singapore has a large Muslim population. As inflight cuisine always reflects an airline's home nation, I am sure Singapore Airlines can ensure that the sweet toothed will enjoy sky high treats instead of fruit with every meal.

The "sleep kit" does nothing to aid sleep ; premium cabins no longer have amenity kits and I think Economy class should follow by simply handing out eyeshades with earplugs. Announcements can be made to advise that there are dental kits available in the washroom ir from the crew.

The seat,catering,amenities,IFE were superb ; the cabin crew were a shining example of what happens when you have individuals who care from the heart and who do not see looking after passengers as a chore.

The day after arrival in Houston, I was in my hotel having Breakfast in the breakfast room.
Imagine my shock and surprise at seeing 2 of my crew from SQ52 - wow !
Not only did I stay in a beautiful hotel but also the same hotel as the SQ crew !

And rest assured they and other arriving SQ crews I happened to bump into were as sincere,polite and courteous on the ground as they are in the air. Great ambassadors for both the airline and their island home,Singapore.

Will the next flight be as great, bearing in mind it won't be my birthday ?
It's one thing to create a nice experience for a special event like a birthday, but could this beautiful experience happen all over again ?
Do visit the SQ51 blog to find out !

Informations on the route Manchester (MAN) Houston (IAH)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 3 reviews of 1 airlines on the route Manchester (MAN) → Houston (IAH).


Useful

The airline with the best average grade is with /10.

The average flight time is 9.0 hours and 32.0 minutes.

  More informations

2 Comments

  • Comment 466589 by
    directorphilip2 83 Comments

    Great! did you have to show your ESTA at check in? I contacted customer services but they didn't seem to know whether singapore checkin requires the ESTA printout

    • Comment 466591 by
      TheWindowSeat AUTHOR 95 Comments

      Hi there, how did you like my review ?!
      At Manchester, although I actively gave my ESTA printout, it was not looked at as the check in staff advised it was already attached to my booking.
      At Houston I didn't need the ESTA as I was departing the USA and just prior to security they do a very quick passport check. So quick in fact you won't even realise it ! I hope this answers everything ?

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