Review of Singapore Airlines flight Brisbane Singapore in Economy

Airline Singapore Airlines
Flight SQ256
Class Economy
Seat 48A
Aircraft Airbus A350-900
Flight time 08:10
Take-off 12 Jun 22, 09:20
Arrival at 12 Jun 22, 15:30
SQ   #7 out of 68 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 647 reviews
MD-90
By 955
Published on 26th June 2022

Date: June 2022
Airline: Singapore Airlines
Flight Number: SQ256
Route: Brisbane to Singapore-Changi (BNE to SIN)
Class: Economy
Seat: 48A
Aircraft: Airbus A350-900
Registration: 9V-SHM (2 years old)

INTRODUCTION:
Our flight report today begins bright and early at Brisbane Airport’s International terminal where early check-in for SQ256 was already underway at 5.30am.

I booked the ticket for this particular flight about three months prior to the departure date of the flight and chose Singapore Airlines really because there wasn’t a lot of options in and out of my home city of Brisbane for international airlines other than Emirates, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines with the former two being prohibitively expensive. This is due to international traffic in and out of Brisbane being particuarly slow to recover after the Covid-19 pandemic, with most international airline traffic now being routed into the larger cities of Sydney and Melbourne.

However, Singapore Airlines had at the time of travel returned to a full schedule of 3-4 return flights each day from Brisbane to Singapore, all using the Airbus A350-900 aircraft. Thus, when looking for flights connecting onwards to Europe Singapore Airlines was by far the most cost effective and flexible option with multiple daily flight times. For my standard return economy ticket from Brisbane to Singapore, including seat selection and 23 kilograms of checked baggage; I paid $547.80 which I found to be great value for money as a domestic return ticket on Qantas or Virgin Australia from Brisbane to Perth or Darwin will more often than not cost more. For your information my onward journey from Singapore to Europe had been booked on Turkish Airlines in business class but more on that part later.

CHECK-IN:
Despite arriving very early for my flight filled with excitement and eager to travel internationally once again, I was pleasantly surprised to find Singapore Airlines had a six check-in counters open at Brisbane’s International terminal which made check-in quick and painless. As Singapore Airlines does not employ its own staff in Brisbane, check-in was completed by contractor Swissport whose staff I found to be efficient and pleasant, despite only recently taking over the Singapore Airlines contract in Brisbane.

It should also be noted that I pre-selected seat 48A in the forward economy section of the aircraft during the online booking process so the check-in agent simply printed my boarding pass and I was on my way.

After checking-in I proceeded to passport checks and customs, which I cleared in less then 10 minutes thanks to being an Australian citizen and being able to use the e-Gate’s in Brisbane. It should be noted once Customs has been cleared, every passenger must at Brisbane must walk through a duty-free store of palatial scale in order to reach their departure gate.

BOARDING:
This particular flight departed outside of rush hour at Brisbane’s International terminal meaning there were plenty of places to sit in the terminal building with views over the apron and runway. However, being a Sunday morning there wasn’t a lot happening outside, even so I was able to get a good view of the inbound aircraft that would later take me to Singapore arriving.  With plenty of time before my flight, I enjoyed a latte from Hudsons Coffee while watching the aircraft movements outside.

Boarding for the flight ended up being called by the gate agents slightly behind schedule with special assistance and business class guests being invited to board first, followed by economy class boarding zone by zone. Singapore Airline’s prints your allocated zone on your boarding pass so it can be easily identified, despite this the boarding gate became quite chaotic with passengers trying to scan their boarding passes from all sides. This lead the gate agents to step in and reorganise everyone back into their zones.

I found the gate agents for this particular flight to be pleasant but not overly friendly, and clearly they were still coming to grips with the boarding zone system which is understandable given Singapore Airlines is new to them.

All up, the boarding gate process took about 10-15 minutes before I took one last glimst of Brisbane Airport’s International Terminal through the glass aerobridge before stepping on-board 9V-SHM, the 2 year old Airbus A350-900 which would take me to Singapore on this particular day. Boarding through the L2 door, I was greeted by the friendly cabin manager who offered my earphones and directed me to my seat 48A on the left hand side of the aircraft.  


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THE SEAT:
My seat 48A on the Singapore Airlines A350-900 aircraft, was located in the forward economy class section of the aircraft over the wing. The seat comes standard with both USB ports and universal power outlets, as well as a large in-flight entertainment (IFE) screen which includes a large variety of movies, TV shows and music from all over the world. Unfortunately, Singapore Airlines A350-900 does not feature a tail mounted camera which plays through the IFE system like some other carrier’s Airbus A350’s. 


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Waiting for me at the seat was a blanket and a pillow, however I was disappointed to find out since the Coronavirus pandemic, Singapore Airlines has removed economy class menu’s and amenity kits from its service offering; the seat pocket contained only a air sickness bag and a safety card.

Taking my seat, I found the 32 inches of seat pitch to be comfortable for me being over 6 foot tall, however I started to feel a little claustrophobic as the flight went on being unable to stretch out without my knees touching the seat in front of me. 


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Singapore Airlines Airbus A350-900 aircraft is also equipped with Wi-Fi on board, which I expected to complimentary given Singapore Airlines is a Skytrax 5-Star rated airline. I found out, however, this is not the case and Wi-Fi is available only as a additional purchase for economy class passengers. This is disappointing to me as even Qantas and Virgin Australia offer complimentary Wi-Fi to economy class passengers on Australian domestic flights and neither are close to being 5-star airline’s.  


DEPARTURE FROM BRISBANE:
Push back occurred on time at around 09.20am despite the boarding chaos, and soon we had commenced our over 10 minute long taxi to Brisbane’s Runway 19R for a full-length departure.

Takeoff was made in a southerly direction and passengers were provided with spectacular views as we made a sweeping right turn over Brisbane’s CBD to pick up our north-westerly track to Singapore.

The weather conditions were very smooth after takeoff despite strong winds, so the seat-belt sign was soon turned off. I expected the in-flight service would commenced shortly after, however, for whatever reason it did not occur until almost 1 hour and 30 minutes after takeoff when the flight was nearing the northern Australia city of Mount Isa. 


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FIRST IN-FLIGHT SERVICE:
As mentioned above, there was a painfully long wait for the first meal service aboard this flight and no explanation was given as to why this was the case. While I waited for the meal service to arrive, I tried to connect my device to the aircraft’s in-flight Wi-Fi after purchasing a Premium Wi-Fi plan (200MB of data) for $15.99 USD, which I considered to be quite expensive but still better than a nearly eight hour flight with no internet access.

However, to my dismay the aircraft’s in-flight Wi-Fi dropped in and out throughout the entire flight, and I ended up using most of my 200MB of data trying to reconnect my device via the login webpage each time internet connection was lost which was rather frustrating. I am still yet to figure out whether this issue is unique to this particular aircraft (9V-SHM) or it exists across the wider aircraft fleet.


Anyway, soon enough lunch was served and each passenger was presented with three options by the flight attendants, which were a Butter Chicken option, Shepards Pie or Vegetarian option. I opted for the Shepards pie which I found to be quite tasty. An aspect of the meal service I found disappointing was the whole meal and dessert was served in one hit, and there was no pre-meal snack and drink service like in pre-Covid times.

Along with the Shepards Pie, I received a bread roll, Chocolate Mousse for dessert, as well as some butter, a bread roll, milk and Coca Cola as my drink of choice. All beverages including alcoholic beverages were complimentary on this flight, it should be noted. A nice aspect of the meal service was the metal cutlery complete with Singapore Airlines logo, as well as the hard plastic reusable trays, rather then the cheap-looking single use ones used by many airlines for meal services in economy class. 


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During the meal service, I also noticed the double-folding tray table at my seat comes with a hidden mirror which is shown in the image below. 


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DURING THE FLIGHT:
After the meal service, I was after a bottle of water as I was not served one during the meal service as I expected I would be. However, the flight attendants at this time had more or less disappeared. Even after pressing the call bell, it took a rather long time for them to arrive and bring back a cup of water. I am not a snobby flyer and understand the flight attendants have other things to do during the flight, however during a nearly 8 hour long flight it is really an expectation from me that the flight attendant’s will make regular water offerings in the cabin.

After this, I decided on a bit of a loo review and decided to have a look at the economy class lavatory aboard the aircraft. The lavatory was averagely clean, however there was no soap available for me to wash my hands which caused a bit of a nuisance and was not something I really expected onboard a five-star rated airline even in ecomomy class. 


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SECOND-MEAL SERVICE:
Around an hour before our scheduled arrival in Singapore, the flight attendanrs came through the cabin to offer passengers a second food and beverage offering, consisting of a choice between a Vegetable Pie and another chicken option, of which I forgot the exact details. I chose the Vegetable Pie, which I found to be of high-quality and tasty, I again chose Coca-Cola as the beverage.

This food and beverage service was rather light and I don’t have much more to comment about it. Around thirty minutes before our arrival into Singapore, the flight attendants did a rubbish collection and began to prepare for our arrival into Singapore.


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ARRIVAL INTO SINGAPORE:
The descent into Singapore was uneventful, albeit a little bumpy as we passed through a layer of cloud and soon enough we had touched down on Singapore’s 02L and after a short taxi we arrived at busy Terminal 3 four minutes late, owing to the small delay in Brisbane. 


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However, we waited in the plane for what seemed to be an eternity before economy class passengers were able to disembark. Once we had finally disembarked and entered the terminal, passport control and customs were very quick and helpful, especially now most of the Covid-19 protection measures have been removed in Singapore. Our baggage was waiting for us on the carousel before we cleared customs.

Soon enough, it was on to Terminal 1 on the Changi MRT for my connecting flight to London-Heathrow via Istanbul with Turkish Airlines. Below is an image of a Singapore Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 which was parked on the gate next to our aircraft at Singapore-Changi.


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Verdict

Singapore Airlines

6.9/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew5.0
Entertainment/wifi9.0
Meal/catering6.5

Brisbane - BNE

5.5/10
Efficiency7.5
Access6.5
Services6.5
Cleanliness1.5

Singapore - SIN

8.9/10
Efficiency9.0
Access8.5
Services8.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

VERDICT:
Overall, I went into my Singapore Airlines flight with high expectations and how could I not with an airline which continually markets itself as the benchmark for in-flight service and comfort.

Singapore Airlines definitely did not meet these expectations; from the lack of menus and amenity kits, to the dirty aircraft and the unattentive cabin crew it certainly seems like Singapore Airlines has lost its mojo during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Despite, the flight attendants being cheerful, I certainly do not believe the service they provided was five-star and the lack of any pre-meal snack and drink and functioning wi-fi on a long-haul flight with a five-star airline was unacceptable in my opinion.

One area in my opinion that was definitely five-star, however, was the in-flight entertainment (IFE) system which was touch-screen and responded to commands very quickly. It was also loaded with an incredible range of movies, TV shows and music, as well as some games. I certainly did not get bored during the flight.

Overall, despite my disappointment with the service offering, Singapore Airlines provided good value-for-money to get me to Singapore, especially when considering the return ticket cost less than that of some domestic return tickets in Australia.

RATING:
Ground Experience: 7/10
Crew: 5/10
Meal Service: 6.5/10
Cleanliness: 5/10
In-Flight Entertainment: 9/10
Wi-Fi: 3/10
Seat: 7/10

GRAND TOTAL: 42.5/70

Information on the route Brisbane (BNE) Singapore (SIN)

4 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 606342 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 5832 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this first report here with us! So many carriers’ standards have dropped dramatically during the pandemic and it’s sad to see Singapore Airlines among them. It seems their standards have been less affected in premium cabins. Since Asia has hung on to pandemic protocols longer than here in Europe or North America, hopefully standards will be back to pre-pandemic levels at some point. I would expect it for a carrier like SQ…at least I hope.

    Sadly 32” pitch is a good as it gets anymore with very few exceptions (mostly in Asia) as 31” has become the new long haul standard. For someone of avéra height like me 32” feels spacious, but I can imagine it’s right if you’re over 6’…I’d hate to think how someone over 6’ can fare on an LCC with 28” pitch…just absolutely pain.

    Thanks again for sharing and looking forward to more reviews!

    Welcome!

    • Comment 606404 by
      MD-90 AUTHOR 5 Comments

      Hi KevinDC, thank you for your comment and feedback! I think maybe I was a little picky with my review of SQ, however as an airline that consistently markets itself as one providing a very high level of service I went in with high expectations and these were not really met. I too hope that we can return to pre-Covid levels of service as restrictions lift, however for now that remains to be seen.

      Look forward to writing more reviews!
      Thanks :)

  • Comment 606501 by
    ITcrew 11 Comments

    The meal is not great at all !!! My god if i compare with AIRFRANCE on a 8 hours flight . The meal has a starter , main course , cheese and dessert . Champagne and other wines are available . SQ is not as good as it was before

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