Advantages Direct flight.
Disadvantages Very poor seating.
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As part of my recent trip to Penang, Malaysia we were given the choice of airlines to get us out there. Seeing Singapore airlines were available for a £30 supplement I thought we would give it a try due to its reputation as a five star airline.Once confirmation was made that we were now booked on Singapore airlines I had a look at the connection timings in Singapore. Our connection between flights was 50 minutes however on Singapore’s web site they ask that there is a minimum of one hour between connecting flights. I rang the holiday company we had booked with and told them this and they reassured me that there would be no problem in the connection. I also checked it out with Singapore airline who informed me should we miss the connection we would automatically be put on the next flight which departed two hours later.
Singapore airlines are the national carrier of Singapore flying out of its base at Changi international airport. They fly to 61 cities in 34 countries and have also run a regional airline called Silk Air serving 31 cities in the Far East. It has received many prestigious awards over the years as one of only a few of the so called five star airlines for a variety of aspects of the flying experience namely ease of booking, checking in, Cabin crew, Food, Entertainment, comfort, cabin experience and safety etc etc. Singapore airlines safety record is one of the best in the airline industry and they maintain their fleet of 106 aircraft by constantly upgrading their planes using the most up to date planes with an average age of 6 years which makes it one of the most modern fleets in the skies.
We arrived at Heathrow airport Terminal 3 about an hour before the official opening of the check in area however there was already someone on duty and we went into the web check in line and were able to drop our bags which were tagged to our final destination which was Penang. It was very straightforward and idiot proof. The check in guy was very cheerful and helpful. We also had hand baggage which is limited to 7 KGS plus one brief case or handbag.
Prior to departure we were offered a hot towel to freshen up which is quite useful however on the return from Singapore an ice cold towel would have been better. The cabin crew then distributed head phones for the entertainment system. Shortly after takeoff we were offered a drink and a bag of peanuts and also a menu for the meals and then the cabin crew brought around food after serving people who had pre ordered special diets.The food was ok nothing special or outstanding but it was adequate and not stodgy or over filling. On our return flight it was quite odd there was no dessert on the tray instead they walked through the cabin and gave everyone a chocolate magnum. After the next meal again there was no dessert but instead they gave out a snicker bar which I thought quite odd but touching.
The seats were a tad narrow and it seemed quite cramped but was the international standard of 31 inch seat pitch. It was especially cramped when the passenger in front put their seat back in the recline position and was reluctant to put it back up when the meal was being served however the cabin crew dealt with a few rows of passengers in front efficiently and firmly taking refusing passengers to task.
The seats were rock hard and after a couple of hours they were very uncomfortable so much so on the return flight I stood up behind my chair for about two hours as it was so hard and painful. They were ok for about an hour then after two hours it was getting uncomfortable after four hours I just wanted to get off the plane. Definitely not funny on a 14 hour flight.
The in flight entertainment I must admit was perhaps the best I have seen on any flight. There was a good selection of films and a library of classic films. There were other short documentaries, comedy programmes and a variety of other short programmes too. There is a good selection of children’s films and games that can be played on your own or with others on the flight. There was a vast music selection which was quite impressive. I usually take my own entertainment with me but it never even came out of my bag and for a 14 hour flight I found that very impressive. There are also ports available on the tv screen to plug in your laptop or Ipod/ipad using a USB connection. There are also power points at each seat to plug in your laptop.The cabin crew on the way to Singapore were probably not the best I have come across but they were exceptional on the way back. They seemed friendlier and their presence in the cabin was very noticeable bringing around frequent offerings of fruit juice and water. There were snacks available at the rear of the plane should you so wish.
It was neither too hot or too cold throughout the flight but due to the most uncomfortable seat I have ever sat on it was impossible to nab a nap which is not ideal for a 14 hour flight. I found it near on impossible. The toilets were kept immaculately clean throughout the flight both going and coming back. That is no mean feat for any airline so that was a bonus.
About four hours later we were reunited with our luggage at the hotel.
Their fares are much more expensive than other airlines flying similar routes and to be honest I cannot say that the flying experience was one which I would like to repeat again unless they sort out the very uncomfortable seats. In fact they quoted £1800 per person to upgrade to business class each way which I found extremely unjustifiable.I would not have rated them five stars but rather four stars would have been more appropriate. I must admit I was keen to fly on the airbus A380 the double-decker plane. The one we flew on was about three years old and there were signs of wear and tear on the internal fabric of the plane. However that being said it was a far better experience on this newer plane which seemed a tad roomier, brighter and airier. Overall I was disappointed with Singapore airlines and it did not live up to its reputation for me.
Singapore Airlines web site can be found here.
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