Review of Singapore Airlines flight Singapore San Francisco in Business

Airline Singapore Airlines
Flight SQ34
Class Business
Seat 11K
Aircraft Airbus A350-900
Flight time 14:20
Take-off 28 Nov 18, 15:15
Arrival at 29 Nov 18, 13:35
SQ   #2 out of 131 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 541 reviews
Rewardflying
By SILVER 2967
Published on 28th January 2019
One morning in October I received an email from Krisflyer stating their new A350 long range flights were on sale. What was normally 88,000 points to the west coast was promoted at 65,000 points. The Newark flight was a little more. I looked at some availability and LA's flight got in too late to fly on to Chicago and Newarks' flight wasn't available for the time I wanted to travel. Then I stumbled upon the inaugural A350 ULR flight to SFO. More digging found Q-Suites to Doha and Q-Suites on the new Qatar A350-1K to Singapore. So with no intention of taking a round the world trip when I awoke that morning, within a couple hours I was booked.

ORD-DOH Qatar Airways B777-300 QSuite Buisness Class - click to view
DOH-SIN Qatar Airways A350-1K Qsuites Business Class - Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge - click to view
SIN-HKG Singapore Airlines A380 Business Class - click to view
HKG-SIN Singapore Airlines A380 New First Class Suites - click to view

SIN-SFO Singapore Airlines A350-9 ULR Business Class - to come


SOF-ORD Alaska Airlines A320 First Class - to come

photo sq34 cover

The redemption that ended this journey was on Singapore Airlines new Airbus A350 Ultra Long Range with its premium class only configuration. This flight would the first from Singapore to San Francisco using the A350ULR. SQ also flies their standard A350 along with Boeing 777 4 class service to San Francisco. Obviously the ULR aircraft is not needed on this flight. The plane also flies to Los Angeles where other aircraft can make the journey and to Newark where this aircraft is necessary. Newark receives the current banner for the world’s longest flight, clocking in at around 19 hours. My flight to SFO was scheduled for about 14 hours and I have to admit, time flew by. This was a very comfortable flight on a beautiful aircraft.

After spending the morning in the East Coast Village area of Singapore I headed to the airport for my 15:00 flight home. Today there would be no issues with checkin! When I arrived at Changi I was greeted by tropical weather.

photo sq34 airport 0

But after I received my boarding pass, seasons changed.

photo sq34 airport 1

This is as close as Singaporeans will get to snow!

photo sq34 airport 2photo sq34 airport 3

I’ve been to Changi many times, but never in Terminal 3 SliverKris Business Class lounge.

photo sq34 lounge 1

It’s nice facility, except instead of a view of the tarmac you get a view of the terminal. Or is it a shopping mall?



As you can tell the lounge is dark, reminding me of China Airlines lounges in Taipei. One of these photos shows the back of a male, next to him outside the photo is his family, a mom and young boy about 2-3 years old. He was making a fuss as young boys that age do from time to time. I was feeling sorry for the people who would be sitting next to him on whatever flight he would be taking.

On SQ34 my seat was 11K. The young boy was in 12K.

Being the “inaugural” flight for this A350ULR to SFO, I expected there would be some kind of ceremony, maybe a cake, some balloons or a trinket commemorating the event. Not so.

photo sq34 boarding 1

Singapore Airlines had received their 6th A350ULR a few days prior to this flight. My hope was that aircraft would be placed into service on this flight. Instead we got SQ 9V-SKB, an ancient 2 month old Airbus A350ULR.

What a gorgeous aircraft!



And a gorgeous cabin as well.

photo sq34 cabin 1

With no luggage bins in the center the cabin is open and airy.

photo sq34 cabin 2

Windows seats, maybe stand up slowly.

photo sq34 cabin 3

This is row 17 at the back of the front cabin. Very private.

photo sq34 cabin row 1-1photo sq34 cabin row 1-2

Row 11 bulkhead. Bulkhead seats are the preferred seats on this aircraft due to increase legroom.

photo sq34 cabin bulkhead

Galley layouts are different in the ULR than the standard A350 for Singapore. I can’t imagine the flight attendants are too pleased with a galley in the aisle to the second business cabin. And in-flight I’m sure the passengers aren’t pleased as well. I’d stay away from the first few rows of cabin two, maybe grab your seat starting at 21 or 22 and back. The front cabin, rows 11-17 any seat seams fine with 10A window, 11D/F center and 11K window being the best. Although 10A has galley exposure and and all these are blocked for Krisflyer members or assignment at the gate. Or call in to Singapore, beg, and sometimes it works. Like it did for me on this flight netting me 11K.

photo sq34 cabin galley 1photo sq34 cabin galley 2

They changed the seat coverings on the ULR. MUCH more comfortable. The the A350-9 seats I thought were too firm. These had a nice softness to them while still providing good support.

photo sq34 seat 2

Seat 11K has a wider footwell along with a bench to support your legs. At 6 feet I didn’t need the footwell.

photo sq34 seat front 0

Other seats look like this.

photo sq34 seat foothole 1

Privacy is decent. You really can’t see anyone, at least their face while sitting. Crying and screaming is another matter.

photo sq34 cabin privacy

Singapore did not get the electronic double shade as Qatar did on their A350’s. Due to the size of the window it’s my guess these shades are going to have issues down the road.

photo sq34 cabin shade

Nor did they go for air nozzles.

photo sq34 cabin air nozzles

Nor did they go for the Airbus outside cameras! At least the IFE content had a selection featuring the person who inspired me to see the world and reward fly.

photo sq34 ife 1

The lavatories are standard size, stocked with Singapore amenities as well as a step opener for the trash, nice! The problem is they didn’t put enough lavatories in this aircraft. By my count there are only 3 lavatories for 67 business class seats. The 2 closest to the front cabin are at door two, which is where most of the rear cabin goes to use the lavatory as well. That galley area has to be a mess before landing.



Seat controls are nicely placed on along side of the seat. They require a firm, very firm press. At first mine didn’t work. The purser reset the seat and they still required a strong press to move the seat. This is good as you eliminate the accidental touching of buttons which is all to common on many aircraft. There are audio jacks on both sides of the seat.

photo sq34 seat 4

On the other side is a nice compartment that holds your power supply, audio jack, a reading light as well as a large compartment that fits tablets and laptops.

photo sq34 seat 6
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photo sq34 seat 7
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photo sq34 seat 9

The side table holds the meal tray, has a phone or stuff compartment as well as being a precarious place for your beverage.

photo sq34 seat side table 1
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The touch IFE monitor is not large, but has excellent clarity and given the proximity to where you sit, works well.

photo sq34 seat front 3

Sliding the door this is off to the right reveals a small mirror. Positioning????

photo sq34 seat front 4

Socks and slippers were passed out before departure. Singapore does not give premium passengers sleep-suits on a 14 hour flight. Come on Singapore, even United does from Singapore!

photo sq34 amenity 1

The amenity kits were not distributed until landing. Presumably because most of the kit is to care for your clothes because you slept in them.

photo sq856 amenity kit 1photo sq856 amenity kit 2
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photo sq34 menu cover

The serving schedule. This is not dine on demand.

photo sq34 menu food experience

The wine menu for this flight.

photo sq34 menu bev red
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photo sq34 menu bev white

While I was looking over the menu, the famous satays were served.

photo sq34 food satay 1
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photo sq34 food satay 2

Chef’s recommended menu.
photo sq34 menu food chefs carlo
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photo sq34 menu food min cheese

Singapore has introduced a menu on ULR flights partnered with Canyon Ranch. The idea is a healthy alternative to standard airplane food. I’d read other comments that the dishes were tasty. Book the Cook didn’t inspire me for this route for the main meal so my plan was for the Canyon Ranch menu. The FA was strict about mix and matching items between the standard and Canyon Ranch. For example if you get the Canyon Ranch you can’t order cheese or swap appetizers.

photo sq34 menu food canyon ranch

The appetizer of roasted beets and buratta was very good, albeit a small portion. You can get a sense of the size of the dish based on the silverware length in relation to the tray length.

photo sq34 food app 1
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photo sq34 food app 2

Next was the main course of beef short ribs. Very tasty, but being restricted to 307 calories it was a small serving.

photo sq34 food main 1

I am not complaining about the size of the dish, simply pointing it out. I was quite satisfied after this meal. The whole intent of Canyon Ranch is a healthy lifestyle. Part of that is proper portions.

photo sq34 food main 3

I passed on dessert.

About this time of the flight the young man in seat 12K had enough of flying and began to protest. The protest went on for a few hours. He was uncontrollable. His parents tried everything to no avail. I felt bad for them. A few gnarly passengers asked to be moved. I resorted to these, wishing I’d brought my Bose noice cancelling headphones.

photo sq34 amenity 2

One of the FA made my bed. The bed is firm but comfortable.

photo sq34 seat bed 1

Granted I was very tired from this round the world trip, but I slept soundly for about 7-8 hours, on my back (normally side sleeper) with headphones attached and a crying toddler behind me. In this position I could have easily contributed to the noises in the cabin!
photo sq34 seat bed 2

Somewhere over the Pacific.

photo sq34 cabin dark

For the most part I slept through this mid flight service so I can’t comment on any of these items.

photo sq34 menu food mid-flight 1
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photo sq34 menu food mid-flight 2

The second proper meal service was presented very early, like 2 1/2 hours before landing. Since you are able to view the menus on their phone app or website, I decided I’d rather have breakfast and ordered poached eggs from Book the Cook. Since the poached eggs replaced the main course I was entitled to the appetizer along with other items.

photo sq34 menu food before landing

The duck breast was excellent!

photo sq34 food brk-2
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photo sq34 food brk-3

Book the Cook poached eggs.

photo sq34 food brk-4

Not much care was given to the presentation of any dish on this flight. Obviously way too much hollandaise sauce, but the food was tasty.

photo sq34 food brk-5

Except for the hard boiled, err, poached eggs.

photo sq34 food brk-6

And finally Green Tea Tiramisu cake.

photo sq34 food des 3

And before you knew it we arrived on time.

Before deplaning I mentioned to the parents of the young boy that I thought he did great on such a long flight. I sure they were embarrassed. However I wasn’t trying to make them feel better. The young one did pretty darn good for being on a plane for 14 hours.

As did I. The A350 ULR is a great plane to fly. I wouldn’t hesitate to fly it again!

photo sq34 flight path

For information on Singapore Krisflyer redemptions prices visit Rewardflying with this link
See more

Verdict

Singapore Airlines

7.0/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew7.0
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Meal/catering7.0

Singapore Airlines Business Class Lounge (SilverKris) - 3

7.0/10
Comfort8.0
Meal/catering5.0
Entertainment/wifi7.5
Services7.5

Singapore - SIN

8.5/10
Efficiency8.0
Access8.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.0

San Francisco - SFO

8.0/10
Efficiency8.0
Access8.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

It was interesting to fly Qatar and Singapore Business Class back to back. My conclusion is this; Qatar tries to make Business Class First Class while Singapore does the minimum to be Business Class. Singapore has a good Business Class product, but it's not at the same level as Qatar. Thanks for reading!

Related

9 Comments

  • Comment 485729 by
    Alexis 7 Comments

    Thanks for this FR.
    Disapointed by the meal. Not a SG standard for me.

  • Comment 485738 by
    JW19 107 Comments

    Kudos to you for being such gentlemen in such circumstances. Kids definitely have different needs and wants compared to adults.

    Still, given the overall scheme of things, Q-suites is still the significantly better product, whether is it soft or hard product, not really sure what's all the hype with SQ.

  • Comment 486241 by
    socalnow GOLD 854 Comments

    Hi Mark and thanks for taking inside this very uniquely configured aircraft.

    Comments part 1:

    " I was feeling sorry for the people who would be sitting next to him on whatever flight he would be taking."
    -LOL, great foreshadowing! I can absolutely sympathize with the boy. I mean The Private Room is right around the corner and he's stuck in this lounge? He was probably just told he's flying Business Class for 14 hours and 20 minutes and not taking the one stop via HKG with a proper cabin. It's a rough day for a child when they learn their parents are fallible mere mortals.

    "Being the “inaugural” flight for this A350ULR to SFO, I expected there would be some kind of ceremony, maybe a cake, some balloons or a trinket commemorating the event. Not so. "
    -They've been flying it for weeks ;)

    "Or call in to Singapore, beg, and sometimes it works. Like it did for me on this flight netting me 11K."
    -You got 11K!?!?! No wonder you had a very different perspective than the other reviews of the ULR flights. The consensus has been "never again" from what I have seen.

    "At least the IFE content had a selection featuring the person who inspired me to see the world and reward fly."
    -Oh boy, you too? I'm still unable to enjoy his shows without profound sadness. Especially his relationship with Eric. I hope that changes some day.

    "The problem is they didn’t put enough lavatories in this aircraft. By my count there are only 3 lavatories for 67 business class seats."
    -That does seem light. One att eh nose sure would seem logical. Perhaps they are counting on the skimpy (Canyon Starvation Ranch) food portions reducing the demand? J/K of course, I'm a fan of the concept of smaller plates.

    "Singapore does not give premium passengers sleep-suits on a 14 hour flight. Come on Singapore, even United does from Singapore! "
    -Ouch, trailing United on any metric is low praise.

    "The amenity kits were not distributed until landing. Presumably because most of the kit is to care for your clothes because you slept in them. "
    -Ha! Zing on you SQ!

    "The serving schedule. This is not dine on demand."
    -The wording is odd. I had to read it a few times. It could be read that the second meal is served 10 to 12 hours before landing...which is roughly when the first meal service ends given the 14 hour flight time...

    Continued...

    • Comment 486477 by
      Rewardflying SILVER AUTHOR 447 Comments

      Hey Christian, WOW a 2-parter!

      I can absolutely sympathize with the boy. I mean The Private Room is right around the corner and he's stuck in this lounge?

      -How true, I caught myself trying to go right on entry to the lounge.

      -They've been flying it for weeks ;)

      -Me and inaugurals. 0-2

      Oh boy, you too? I'm still unable to enjoy his shows without profound sadness. Especially his relationship with Eric. I hope that changes some day.

      -Great man, have most of his shows on the recorder. Watch them frequently, same emotion.

      Ouch, trailing United on any metric is low praise.

      -Especially for the "#1 Airline in the World"

      The wording is odd. I had to read it a few times.

      -I know. I read it the same way, but with the canyon ranch portions it's feasible, eat nothing and have 2nd meal right away. I think they overthought this 2nd meal. What's wrong with serving it 90 minutes prior to landing? That way everyone can sleep as long as possible.

      Part II

      What a helpless feeling for everyone involved.

      -Yeah, this kid really melted down. I've seen it with mine. Nothing you can do.

      The refreshment menu seems to have great selection of interesting items should one wish to supplement.

      -They served the 2nd meal too soon to try these. Was asleep.

      Thanks for you extended comments Christian. Waiting for your MH F report. Then I will officially cancel mine!

  • Comment 486242 by
    socalnow GOLD 854 Comments

    Comments part 2:

    "The FA was strict about mix and matching items between the standard and Canyon Ranch. For example if you get the Canyon Ranch you can’t order cheese or swap appetizers."
    -Geeze, nurse Diesel. Those who are tardy get no fruit cup!

    "About this time of the flight the young man in seat 12K had enough of flying and began to protest. The protest went on for a few hours. He was uncontrollable. His parents tried everything to no avail. I felt bad for them. A few gnarly passengers asked to be moved. I resorted to these, wishing I’d brought my Bose noice cancelling headphones."
    -What a helpless feeling for everyone involved. As a parent of two young boys I appreciate your kindness towards the family in their time of desperate struggle.

    “Very tasty, but being restricted to 307 calories it was a small serving.”
    -The refreshment menu seems to have great selection of interesting items should one wish to supplement.

    “Not much care was given to the presentation of any dish on this flight. Obviously way too much hollandaise sauce, but the food was tasty.”
    -This is a sad looking affair with the ruined eggs. Poached eggs are quite ambitious for a meal that has to sit for 12 hours and be reheated.

    “Before deplaning I mentioned to the parents of the young boy that I thought he did great on such a long flight. I sure they were embarrassed. However I wasn’t trying to make them feel better. The young one did pretty darn good for being on a plane for 14 hours.”
    -I’m sure your sympathy was well received. They know next time to fly F.

    Thanks again Mark for sharing this unique flight and aircraft. Happy flying.

  • Comment 486535 by
    hometoyyz SILVER 498 Comments

    Hello Rewardflying!

    Thanks for a great look at the A350ULR!

    “It’s nice facility, except instead of a view of the tarmac you get a view of the terminal. Or is it a shopping mall?”
    - Why choose just one?

    “My hope was that aircraft would be placed into service on this flight. Instead we got SQ 9V-SKB, an ancient 2 month old Airbus A350ULR.”
    - Oh no! Hopefully the duct tape holding the plane together held?

    “I can’t imagine the flight attendants are too pleased with a galley in the aisle to the second business cabin.”
    - That seems an odd layout choice. I wonder why?

    “They changed the seat coverings on the ULR. MUCH more comfortable. The the A350-9 seats I thought were too firm. These had a nice softness to them while still providing good support.”
    - What a difference a small change like that can make.

    “Nor did they go for the Airbus outside cameras!”
    - Now THIS is an outrage!

    “The problem is they didn’t put enough lavatories in this aircraft. By my count there are only 3 lavatories for 67 business class seats.”
    - Yikes. Even a premium carrier like SQ is under-provisioning lavs for planes clearly designed for longhaul? Not a good sign.

    “This is good as you eliminate the accidental touching of buttons which is all to common on many aircraft.”
    - Whoever thought touch controls were a good idea for seat positioning should be taken out for re-education.

    “The amenity kits were not distributed until landing. Presumably because most of the kit is to care for your clothes because you slept in them.”
    - Ouch. Or perhaps they’re just harkening back to the good old days of not too long ago when SQ didn’t even bother with amenity kits.

    “About this time of the flight the young man in seat 12K had enough of flying and began to protest. The protest went on for a few hours. He was uncontrollable. His parents tried everything to no avail. I felt bad for them.”
    - Poor parents, and poor little kid. I wonder if the kid had any experience with flying, much less for as long as this flight.

    “Granted I was very tired from this round the world trip, but I slept soundly for about 7-8 hours, on my back (normally side sleeper) with headphones attached and a crying toddler behind me.”
    - This is high praise, but will nonetheless likely not find its way into SQ’s promotional materials.

    Maybe I’m caught up with the quantities (and those poached-to-death eggs), but the catering doesn’t look up to SQ’s standards to me from here. Perhaps the good stuff was all on the refreshments menu?

    “Before deplaning I mentioned to the parents of the young boy that I thought he did great on such a long flight. I sure they were embarrassed. However I wasn’t trying to make them feel better. The young one did pretty darn good for being on a plane for 14 hours.”
    - Good on ya, mate. I’m sure the experience was worse for them than anyone else on that plane.

    Thanks again for sharing this one. Cheers!

  • Comment 487933 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4836 Comments

    Hi RewardFlying! Awesome how it worked out that you were able to find award space on the inaugural A359ULR flight to SFO, and at a promotional rate at that!

    The Holiday decorations at SIN are always epic. I've been through SIN a few times during the Holiday season and always find it impressive. Then again, everything at SIN is always impressive.

    "Being the “inaugural” flight for this A359ULR to SFO, I expected there would be some kind of ceremony, maybe a cake, some balloons or a trinket commemorating the event. Not so. "
    - That's a shame. At the same time, SQ probably thought people wouldn't get too excited about putting a different variant of an existing aircraft on a route. Something that probably only appeals to AvGeeks

    "Nor did they go for air nozzles. "
    - I used to hate that as I always like some air flowing; however, I used to get a terrible cold on almost every single long-haul I would do. At some point I started closing the air vents to avoid getting other people's re-circulated germs flying at me and I never got sick again. May just be a coincidence, but now I no longer care about air vents.

    As you point out, SQ J is not on the same level as QR Qsuites, but still a very nice way to spend 14 hours! Thanks for sharing!

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