Sin­ga­pore Air­lines A350-900 Busi­ness Class

Sin­ga­pore–San Fran­cisco

Business Traveller (Asia-Pacific) - - TRIED & TESTED FLIGHT -

BACK­GROUND Sin­ga­pore Air­lines (SIA) be­gan this non-stop ser­vice to San Fran­cisco on Oc­to­ber 23, 2016, us­ing one of its new A350-900s. CHECK-IN Flight SQ32 leaves from Changi’s Ter­mi­nal 3 build­ing. Sin­ga­pore Air­lines’ Busi­ness class check-in is in row 6 and there are ten coun­ters avail­able. LOUNGE Turn left from im­mi­gra­tion and up the first es­ca­la­tor to the lounges. The Sil­ver Kris lounge is a huge space with var­ied seat­ing sec­tions, though many don’t have easy con­nec­tion to a power port for mo­bile de­vices, which is un­usual. How­ever, there’s an ex­ten­sive area of busi­ness desk booths near the en­trance. Wifi is easy to con­nect and fast. The buf­fet food coun­ters of­fer a typ­i­cally var­ied range of hot and cold dishes, plus a good se­lec­tion of bev­er­ages. To the left of the en­trance are six shower rooms. BOARD­ING The plane was at gate B8, a 10-15 minute walk away from the lounges. Se­cu­rity check­ing was swift, and board­ing be­gan at 0855 for the 0925 sched­uled de­par­ture. Once on board, my jacket was taken and a juice of­fered, and the air­craft pulled back from the gate on time. THE SEAT I was in a cen­tral seat (20D) – it smelled and looked brand new, with smooth leather seats in neu­tral grey tones. The seat is very wide and com­fort­able, and a slid­ing panel sep­a­rat­ing you from your neigh­bour pro­vides rea­son­able pri­vacy. A good-sized cush­ion was also a plus.

There’s no over­head bin above the cen­tral seats so it feels very spa­cious. Other stor­age op­tions are plen­ti­ful but rel­a­tively limited in size. Good read­ing lights are be­hind both shoul­ders, and be­neath one is a panel con­tain­ing a uni­ver­sal socket, HDMI port, two USB ports and an iPhone socket. The 18-inch mon­i­tor has no touch­screen func­tion but the con­trol cen­tre does and is easy to use. SIA’s “Com­pan­ion App” al­lows you to browse con­tent pre-flight and place movies, etc in a “Favourites” folder for ac­cess on board. You can also link your smart­phone to your mon­i­tor and use it as a con­trol de­vice – use­ful if you’re ly­ing down. Wifi is avail­able and pro­vided the fastest speed I’ve man­aged so far on a plane. WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE Busi­ness class uses a straight 1-2-1 con­fig­u­ra­tion (A-DF-K) of 42 seats across two cab­ins (26 in the first and 16 in the sec­ond) sep­a­rated by the gal­ley and wash­rooms. Win­dow seats pro­vide a lit­tle more pri­vacy, and seats to­wards the front of the first cabin cre­ate dis­tance from the gal­ley. THE FLIGHT Soon af­ter take-off a tray was brought round with canapés and drinks, and my meal or­der was taken – there’s an ex­ten­sive à la carte menu but I chose the (celebrity San Fran­cisco) chef’s se­lec­tion of grilled as­para­gus with pro­sciutto ham; seared bass fil­let with kale, raisins and pump­kin purée; and choco­late bread and but­ter pud­ding for dessert – it was all ex­cel­lent.

The fully flat bed was easy to pre­pare and I lay down to sleep (blan­ket and pil­low are be­hind the seat-back). The footwell is off­set so you lie di­ag­o­nally, but this was not a prob­lem. What was a prob­lem was the noise level – be­ing a morn­ing flight many peo­ple stayed awake for al­most all of the flight, and there was con­stant com­ing and go­ing, and much clink­ing and chat­ter from the gal­ley. I gave up af­ter a few hours and watched a movie.

At 0615 (US time) we were served a choice of Amer­i­can, con­ti­nen­tal or Asian break­fasts; my Amer­i­can was sub­stan­tial and tasty. AR­RIVAL We landed more than 90 min­utes ahead of sched­ule at 0837, hav­ing made ex­cel­lent time over the Pa­cific. For once the US cus­toms and im­mi­gra­tion process was swift – I col­lected my bag and was away from the air­port by 0915. VER­DICT A spa­cious seat prod­uct on a very good plane, en­hanced by ex­cel­lent ser­vice and in­ter­net ex­tras that add value. Be­cause of the day-long tim­ing of the flight, how­ever, you’ll need to be a heavy sleeper to get any shut­eye. Jeremy Tredin­nick

DE­PAR­TURE PRICE 0925 In­ter­net rates for a mid­week re­turn busi­ness class flight from Sin­ga­pore to San Fran­cisco in mid-April start from S$6,990 (US$4,842) in­clud­ing taxes and sur­charges. JOUR­NEY TIME 15 hours 45 min­utes SEAT PITCH 140cm/55in SEAT WIDTH 71cm/28in CON­TACT SEAT RECLINE sin­ga­pore­air.com 180 de­grees

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