The airline with the best average rating is Singapore Airlines with 8.7/10.
The average flight time is 0 hours and 59 minutes.More information
After my first experience of flying Business last November, I had got the taste for this whole Premium Cabin thing.
Strangely enough it was a chance comment from a friend that was the opening to the rabbit hole. He mentioned about how he was taking his dad from London to LAX in BA First using Avios.
Now honestly I'd never really had a clue about miles, points etc and how the whole thing worked. Boy did I ever waste a lot of years! I'd always wondered how so many people could afford to pay the insane prices airlines charged for F and J. Little did I realise that many of those people were there for pennies on the dollar.
After diving into the whole scene full blooded I'd unlocked the key to do this on a big scale. So less than a year after starting I was able to put together a trip around Asia all in Business.
The YYZ-ICN-BKK flights cost 75,000 Aeroplan miles. The TPE-YYZ flight also cost 75,000 Aeroplan miles and for reasons I'm not entirely sure I understand I wasn't able to make my multi-city itinerary accept my return flight KUL-TPE-YYZ so I had to book KUL-TPE as a separate leg. This was highly annoying however the blow was softened by a 30% transfer bonus on my SPG points, so that effectively made the flight free in the end.
I used 15,000 BA Avios for the BKK-SIN leg on Cathay which is a crazy good value.
However my terrible luck bit me again on this flight which frankly I booked because it was on the A350-900 and I was yet to fly on one and with the rave reviews it was getting was to be a highlight of the trip for me.
Of course about 2 months before we left ExpertFlyer delivered the brutal news that there had been an aircraft change to an A330-300.
I was gutted especially when I checked EF and found that of the 30 days in September the A330 was operating on only 2 of them. The day after I travelled it was an A350-1000 which would have been even better. I thought long and hard about changing plans to fly a day later but it was just too much hassle. While my wife is nice and understanding even she has limits on how much she will accommodate my avgeekness!
The rest of the flights were cash bookings.
The most expensive flights was the SIN-KUL return on SQ. I originally booked in Y as the cost difference between Y and J was too much. However not flying in J was eating away at me and I started to wonder about how often I would get the chance to fly SQ J again and I buckled and upgraded the flights. It was crazy for a 50 minute flight, but our travel decisions are not always made with the head are they?
It ended up about $775 return.
KLM was about $390 for SIN-DPS, Garuda was about $260, Malaysian CGK-KUL-BKI was $330 and BKI-KUL was $190
*All prices per person in CAD
I'm not sure there are enough superlatives to really describe Changi airport fairly. It's quite something to experience when you are used to some of the World's travel hell holes (LHR T3 pre-renovation anybody?) to see an airport that was brilliantly designed and is just so easy to use.
Why can't all the World's airports be like Changi? It actually makes travelling pleasant!
And for whoever came up with the idea of security screening at each gate, I tip my hat to you, because you are a genius!
Anyway when we last spoke we had just arrived at Changi and were marvelling at the awesomness that is the main airport of Singapore.
Our arrival at T4 meant we had to take a shuttle bus to the central area, and we were there in no more than 10 minutes. It was just a short walk from T3 to our stop for the night the Crowne Plaza.
This hotel is often called the World's best airport hotel. I'm not sure who decides such things but I'm inclined to agree.
Of course being me we had to have a runway view room and a nice little tip off from a friend who lives in Singapore told me which room numbers to ask for because certain rooms sit next to areas in the corridor that are open and have no glass infront of them to make photo taking even easier.
On check in we were greeted by possibly the nicest member of hotel staff I've ever encountered who warmly greeted us, immediately granted my specific room request and pro-actively asked us if we would like a late checkout the next day - As we were just transferring to the Fairmont downtown with a 1500 check in time this was readily accepted with great thanks (plus it meant 3 extra spotting hours for me!)
I'll post some shots from the Crowne Plaza, Fairmont and Singapore in general in the bonus at the bottom. Let's just say that Singapore is firmly one of my favourite places on Earth.
Our flight time was 16:45 and we had to leave the Fairmont hotel in Singapore at 12 so we would have plenty of time at the airport, which is fairly typical for us anyway. I would have preferred to have had an extra hour at the hotel but such is life.
We just took a cab from downtown to the airport as the cost was very reasonable and we arrived at Terminal 2 around 1220 which was a little early for check in.
We took a seat and I sat there for ages taking in the magnificence that was this traditional flip-board style departures board. So retro and so amazing, even came complete with the flipping noises as the characters turned over. God I loved that thing, as well as trying to spot all the old airline logos from defunct airlines that would often flip around.
Actual flight time was just 43 minutes……………In a widebody jet! Fantastic :D
Interesting to note that during our time there every single Silk Air flight got a new gate!
I have to say my anticipation was building.
I have always wanted to fly Singapore Airlines, and especially at the pointy end. Now the reality was this was their oldest and most inferior J product on their shortest route so this wasn't going to be earth-shattering but still the excitement was building. I really was about to fly SQ in J and just that alone was going to make me happy.
Once 1245 rolled around we made our way to the Singapore Airlines Premium check in where of course there was not a sole waiting. We were quickly checked in and ready to head off to the lounge.
It was such a surreal experience checking in and then not going through security but straight to immigration and then be in the secure airside area. BTW Immigration was a breeze as we were directed to automated gates, which my experience of other airports is usually reserved only for citizens and residents of that country. However a quick scan of my exit card and I was on my way in mere seconds.
The efficiency of this airport is incredible.
Next stop the SilverKris lounge!
When we got to the lounge entrance there were two lovely ladies there to greet us and to guide us towards the Business lounge to the left and not the First lounge off to the right!
We entered the lounge and was struck by the size, its a big lounge but also how quiet it seemed.
We headed straight for the buffet as it was lunch time and my belly was rumbling. Also I'd spotted the self pout bottle of Charles Heidsieck champagne sitting in ice waiting for me and it seemed a shame to let it lie there waiting to be consumed.
Like a laser beam I poured myself a glass and returned to the table before remembering that my wife might like one too!
Next up would be taking a look at the buffet.
Now I'm not normally a buffet person. My unsophisticated (no doubt some might say uncouth!) food tastes which you may have already read have been widely mocked on here already means that I'm a bit picky with food and I like simple and what I would call "not fancy" stuff.
As a Brit by birth I'm far more at home with pie and mash or fish and chips than foie gras and other strange food type things that I can't pronounce :)
I have however developed a taste for champagne and I'm eager to sample both Dom and Krug in SQ F this year!
Anyway I was rather over the moon to see that there was some really great food here, the biggest hit for me being the chicken curry which I could have quite easily pigged out on over several plates. As it was I limited myself to 2 but only because other people were around! :D
So if even I can find something worthwile at the lounge buffet here that means anybody can.
There were several hot options including Indian, Chinese and Western foods and the quality of what I had was very good indeed. There was all the usual cold stuffs like salads, sandwiches, cold cuts etc. The selection was extensive and constantly kept fresh and replenished.
That was another thing that stood out about the lounge, the staff kept the place spotless and would be around to clear up after you without ever being over-bearing or breathing down your neck. It was all very subtle and perfect.
After I had eaten a very filling and enjoyable lunch and polished off my 3rd glass of Heidsieck I remembered that when I booked our tickets I entered my KrisFlyer account number on our bookings. Since that time though it was now possible to credit SQ flights to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan so I wanted to change our boarding passes to credit our flights to AS.
What was interesting here was that the 2 lovely lounge guardians (I can't call them dragons they were just way too nice!) had no idea what I was talking about. They told me that Alaska wasn't in Star Alliance so I had to do a little bit of explaining and educating about the AS/SQ partnership and after some calling and tapping on their computer they had learned something new that day! They were very grateful for me letting them know, and I was taken over to the First Class reception for the lady there to make the change and re-issue my boarding pass.
Data Point here too, my miles credited to my AS Mileage Plan in less than 7 days, it was quick.
After that little adventure it was time to relax for a while and we found some comfy seats for some re-charging before our flight
With boarding due to start at 1615 and with the lounge being a fair walk from our gate at F54 and knowing we still had to clear security we left the lounge around 1540 and made our way to the gate.
Fortunately everything at Changi is so well signed, it would be virtually impossible to get lost here!
We arrived at the Gate and there were 2 separate lanes for J and Y security. The Y line must have had about 50 people in it, the J line had none so we rather sheepishly made our way right to the security scanner and were through in mere minutes. I know its a paid perk of the ticket but it does feel slightly awkward for me still.
Here it is the glorious and stylish SQ J boarding pass
Our ride for today was to be 9V-STR an A330-300 that was delivered new to Singapore Airlines on 08 October 2010. She is not owned outright by SQ but leased from AerCap.
She has the standard SQ regional A330 layout of 30J and 255 Y seats in a 2-2-2 config in J and 2-4-2 config in Y.
I'm sure most of us are familiar with SQ's now very aged and not terribly good regional J product.
I have to say it certainly lives down to the billing.
Boarding was as expected flawless and bang on time and there were separate jetways for J and Y. We made our way down to door L1 where for the first time I saw one of the legendary SQ girls. With a warm greeting I was welcomed on board and directed to my seat just 3 rows away in 14A and my wife beside me in 14C.
The cabin was pleasant enough but the seats were obviously showing their age. They would of course be comfortable for our 45 minute hop to KL but I can't say I'd be thrilled to get this on an 8 hour flight to Japan or Australia.
Despite lots of cubby space we found the seats really short of functional storage. Everything didn't seem that well thought out as one could expect from a seat that is a decade old before the age where we all got surgically attached to our electronic devices.
Legroom was decent, of course as you can see here no lie flat, these are angled seats, though of course on such a short flight its not worth even bothering with turning the seat into a bed. There was a nice pillow and I believe a blanket waiting for us at the seat if memory serves me correctly.
A pre-departure beverage of juice or water was served and then we discovered my wife's power outlet wasn't working. I let her use mine as I was having way too much fun soaking up the whole ambience of being in SQ J and telling myself that the ridiculous price I paid was worth it!
The monitor was pretty good for such an old product. It was sharp and responsive unlike the old monitors on some of BA's fleet which look like you are watching TV off an antenna with awful reception.
We pushed back right on time and had a nice taxi past some interesting aircraft………….
Lufthansa A350 from Munich / Silk Air 737MAX8 / and a bunch of various Scoot's, Lufthansa A380 and Singapore 787-10
We made a rolling start of 20C and were in the air quickly as the lightly loaded A330 roared down the runway like an F1 race car, even seemingly winning the race with our own shadow :)
We departed South so had to make a 180 and that turn took us back over Changi with some nice views of the airport below
As you can see clearly from above its an absolutely massive airport
As is to be expected the inflight service was severely limited by the short duration of the flight.
As soon as the call bell went off the crew raced into action with a drinks and snack service.
Sadly no alcohol so my champagne dreams were put on hold for a few more days but I did partake in a very British cup of tea and the quite tasty wrap that was served
The crew had their hands full as I would say that J went out at lest 26/30 so they had to really crack on with the service given we hit our cruise altitude of 20,000ft and were there for all of 6 minutes before we started our descent into KL. The crew amazingly even came around offering a second drinks service. I have to tip my hat to them, these short sectors have to be a real handful.
Yet the crew were always smiling and made it seem like you could ask for anything and they would be happy to do it for you.
The service, the smiles, the culture of SQ and its reputation are all spot on. There are so many little things that you don't notice at first but just make such a difference. I was so impressed and that was even with high expectations.
We soon began our approach to 32L at KL with no holding required
We arrived at the International Satellite and parked next to this magnificent aircraft
Once more I uttered an expletive that my proper camera and lens were in my bag in the overhead and not in my hand snapping away at this great looking A330. Time to re-assess my camera storage habits when I'm flying.
We de-boarded again through door L1 and made our way through a sea of humanity as it appeared that adjacent gates had multiple departures happening. We had to take the air train from the satellite to the main terminal building and head to immigration.
While not as fast as Changi we were still through quickly and off to baggage reclaim where our bags were among the first on the belt.
I don't know about others experiences but every time I've had priority tags it does actually seem like our bags are off first which is such a nice time saver, especially when taking public transport from the airport.
Last time I was in KL was 15 years ago and the KLEkspress wasn't even built back then so I was looking forward to giving that a try as we were heading into the city for a stay at the Shangri-La.
The KLEkspress was excellent. It was fast and had free wifi (which wasn't very reliable but it did work for a bit!) and it got us into the city far faster than last time I was here when it was a taxi all the way.
This was a nice little flight. It wasn't worth the price I paid but then I knew that going in. For me this was more about getting to sample SQ J even in such a limited way. I was happy to have experienced the SQ Business product, it was everything I expected.
The seats were below average, the lounge, the service, the experience was everything I had looked forward to and while it was poor value for money I wouldn't have changed a thing and I left feeling very happy.
The view from the Runway View Room at the Crowne Plaza Changi.
A really great hotel that we loved. The breakfast buffet too was absolutely amazing.
It's an avgeek paradise
If you stand in the open area in the corridor you can get shots like this………….
Didn't notice this until we left, but it appeared there was an aquarium full of fish above reception! How strange!
We stayed downtown at the Fairmont.
We used a certificate to upgrade to a suite. The room and hotel were all really superb, the Fairmont Gold lounge was out of this world. High end Champagne (I'm pretty sure it was Laurent Perrier) as well as a full on buffet spread made it almost unnecessary to go out for dinner. We loved the lounge there and would say its one of the few hotel lounges that is actually worth paying to upgrade to.
This was our suite, and the bathroom was ridiculous! The shower was so big you could have lined up 10 people in there.
The view from our balcony
Unfortunately we were only in Singapore for 2 nights, 1 at the Crowne Plaza and 1 here at the Fairmont. I wish I would have scheduled longer however unknown to me it was just a few days before the F1 Grand Prix hit town so in a way I was glad we bailed when we did as the F1 infrastructure was already causing major inconvenience.
We headed out for dinner and to watch the light show at Marina Bay, however what should have been at most a 15 minute walk turned into almost 40 minutes due to the closure for the F1. Next time I go will make sure to avoid F1 week!
The sights of Singapore though are incredible
The light show - Looks way better on video!
And of course the obligatory Merlion shot
Singapore is just easy to love. The airport is the best in the World, the City is spotlessly clean and there is so much to do. The people are wonderful, there are great hotels and its a doddle to get around. I absolutely love Singapore and would totally recommend anyone who has the chance to visit there to do so.
The SilverKris lounge in T2 is still one of my favourite lounges. It's got everything you need and coupled with great food, quality champagne and great service it really sparkled.
Changi as always is the World's airport crown jewel. It doesn't get any better.
We all know that this regional J product is being phased out by SQ and thankfully so. It's really from the last generation and shows it age. The seats were comfortable enough for a 45 minute flight but we found the seat limited in features and functionality and the storage spaces just didn't work for the modern age.
Its hard not to rave about the crew, who worked their backsides off on such a short flight with an almost full cabin. Yet it never showed, service was always personal and with a smile and a can't do enough for you attitude. The awards SQ win for service and crew are certainly deserved.
It was of course awesome to have a widebody A330 for such a short flight, I was just disappointed that SQ were flying the 787-10 on such a late night departure as that would have 100% been my preference but it was just too late a flight and we would have lost a night in KL. However I did choose this flight over various Silk Air departures!
The catering was obviously not up to much, but with 6 minutes in cruise there isn't a great deal the airline can do. What we did get was perfectly fine, and similarly there isn't much point with IFE on such a short flight. I just left my screen on the flight map.
KLIA was like an old comfy pair of slippers, it hasn't changed much in the 15 years since I was last there. It was easy to get through and navigate around and is certainly one of Asia's better airports and the KLEkspress has completely revolutionised the journey into the City.