TRAVEL | Singapore Airlines operates four flights daily from Melbourne (and Sydney) to Singapore, using a combination of Boeing 777-300ER (“777”) and Airbus Industrie A380-800 (“A380”) planes. It’s been a few years since I’ve flown Singapore Airlines, and the experiences I’d had in the past were always pleasant, so I was looking forward to the first leg of what was going to be a long journey to New York flying Economy on the 777. I was using Velocity (Virgin Australia) frequent flyer points so to get from Melbourne to New York I had to go via Singapore and Frankfurt.
Check in at Melbourne International Airport was about the same as normal. A reasonable, but not too long line, and friendly service at the counter. Flying Economy means no fast track through security or lounge access of course.
Checked luggage is included with all Singapore Airlines Economy tickets. You can check-in one bag up to 30kg, and one carry-on bag up to 7kg.
Singapore Airlines often tops airline customer service lists and it’s easy to see why. Staff are attentive without being overbearing, are always smiling and are happy to help. Before take-off, you’re given a hot towel to help hydrate you and freshen up for the flight. Any requests are dealt with promptly and efficiently.
One slight criticism that I had of Singapore Airlines in the past was that service could be a bit too formal and stuffy and needed to be lightened up enough, but that’s not something I experienced on this flight. It certainly appears that staff have been told that they can step down the formality a notch while still being professional.
The Singapore Airlines Economy cabin on the 777 that flies from Melbourne to Singapore features 226 seats, in a 3-3-3 layout. There are enough flight attendants around so getting the attention of someone should you need assistance isn’t an issue. Colour wise it’s brown, cream and orange, keeping in line with Singapore Airline’s branding. When it comes to cleanliness, everything is as expected – nice and clean.
The fabric seat has dimensions of 81.28cm x 45cm. Like any economy seat, it doesn’t recline that far back, but as this was a day flight it didn’t’ really matter anyway. A little footrest was much appreciated too – its adjustability helping me keep my feet moving while seated. There’s also an adjustable cushioned headrest.
There are small armrests, and a multi pocket sleeve at the back of the seat in front to place your magazines and electronics. There’s not much space to get work done with the tray down if you’ve got a laptop, but for a tablet sized device it’s possible to get some productive stuff done.
Thankfully most of the 777s in Singapore Airline’s fleet have been retrofitted, and in this case both a USB port and power outlet were available.
There’s a 28.2cm touch screen on the back of each Singapore Airlines Economy seat which is your gateway to the KrisWorld in-flight entertainment system. KrisWorld features over 1,000 entertainment options – movies, television programmes, music, games and apps, all of which rotate regularly to ensure that the content remains fresh and current. Depending on the exact plane you get, there’s also the option to pay for Internet connectivity, as well as text and multimedia messaging. Provided headphones are acceptable, but if you’re anything like me you’ll bring your own noise cancelling headphones and an adapter for the headphone socket.
Meals are included with all Singapore Airlines Economy tickets, with the exact options changing depending on what time of day you are flying. I was on the flight that departed at 10:30am so it was lunch and a refreshment that was on offer. For lunch there was an appetiser of marinated baby shrimp with orzo, corn and bean salad, followed by a main course of either stir-fried chicken or beef burgundy. I went for the stir-fried chicken which was served with ginger and spring onion, Chinese vegetables and steamed rice.
The baby shrimp appetiser was quite tasty, and the bread roll that came on the tray was warm and soft. The stir-fried chicken was OK, but nothing special and I was done about half way through – the vegetables and rice were much better and I finished them off. Dessert was ice-cream and there was also cheese and crackers.
For a refreshment it was either a smoked turkey sandwich or char siew fried rice with egg and shrimp. I went for the fried rice and actually preferred it to my earlier main. For drinks its a selection of wine, beer, spirits, cocktails, soft drinks, fruit juices, coffee and tea which are all available at meal time and throughout the flight on request.
The provided amenities kit includes a toothbrush, toothpaste and socks. This was a day flight, so an eye mask was not required, however they are available on request.
I enjoyed my flight from Melbourne to Singapore and would happily fly Singapore Airlines Economy again on the same route. I’ve flown on an A380 before and it is a nicer plane to fly on than the 777, with the slightly larger seats being a welcome benefit, however the fact that everything else is top notch means flying on the older 777 isn’t really an issue. The prices on flights using the older planes tend to be a little cheaper too.