Last week I travelled on Singapore Airlines from Dubai via Singapore to Bangkok. My first SQ flight in 2 years!
There have been quite a few changes to the Singapore Airlines experience. Watch the video below to find out more.
Dubai to Singapore
Singapore Airlines operates a daily flight between Dubai and Singapore on an A350-900 aircraft. Prior to the pandemic it was a B777-300/ER, even for flights with First Class bookings.
The Check-in area at Dubai was very crowded, with the UAE National Holiday ahead. Terminal one in Dubai has been open now for six months.
Dubai Airport Lounge (Ahlan First Class Lounge)
I used the Ahlan Dubai Airport First Class Lounge, which is a common lounge used by a few other airlines including Qatar Airways. Here are some photos from the lounge.
The lounge offers both buffet and an a-la-carte menu orders, I had the cook make me a burger. There's also a bar service and it beats most of the lounges in North America!
SQ495 Dubai to Singapore
The flight is operated by an A350-900 in medium-haul configuration, which has 40 Business Class and 263 Economy Class seats.
On my flight there were about 160 passengers, most of which were making connections at Singapore Changi Airport to Manila, Indonesia or Australia.
My seat 20A was a window seat in the second Business Class mini-cabin. Here is the seat map of Singapore Airlines medium-haul A350-900.
Onboard amenities included a care kit, water, socks, eyeshade, slippers, a pillow and a blanket, all of which were individually wrapped.
Singapore Airlines do not give out amenity kits in Business Class. There are also no more welcome drinks upon boarding.
As it was an overnight flight, I went straight to sleep and woke up two hours before landing. We were flying over Ache, Indonesia at 41,000 ft when I awoke.
Singapore Airlines no longer offers a printed menu onboard. Instead the menu is accessible online here.
The cabin crew explained to me the three main choices, which were Indonesia Mee Goreng with beef, egg frittata or Nasi Lemak.
We landed after an uneventful flight on-time at Singapore Changi. The airport was quiet in terms of traffic.
Transit at Changi
I had about four hours of transit time at Changi. Depending on where you arrive from, you may be allowed to roam around free during your transit or you might have to go to a restricted area.
There are regulatory restrictions in place for transit passengers at Changi Airport. Transit passengers from France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom as well as Category IV countries may experience restricted movement within the transit area, as well as other regulatory measures. For more information on the transit restrictions, please visit this link.
New SilverKris Lounge
I got to visit the new SilverKris Lounge, which opened just a few weeks ago. Click here for a full lounge report.
The lounge replaces the old SilverKris Lounge. It has a few different sections.
Food can be ordered by scanning the QR code on the table. All food is served individually.
The new SilverKris lounge experience was very good, especially so given that it wasn't crowded during my transit. Lounge staff told me the peak hours are in the morning, then around 18:00 (US flights) and during late evening (Europe flights).
During my transit I saw several Singapore Airlines, including an A380 and a B737 MAX at the gate.
SQ712 Singapore to Bangkok
This two hours flight was again operated by a medium-haul A350, which has flat bed seats in Business Class for this short two hour flight.
Avgeek Elena, Sabrina and family were also traveling on the same flight to Bangkok. There were 91 passengers on this flight.
On this short flight, Singapore Airlines have simplified their food offering in Economy Class. They serve a carton box entrée with ice cream, the choice was braised beef with mashed potato or chicken fried rice. There are no more appetisers being served.
In Business Class I opted for bismillah chicken biryani, however it tasted a bit bland to me. The crew offered me the Chinese beef brisket noodle, which did hit the spot.
It was another quiet flight with little engagement, due to COVID precautions. There was quite a shocking scene upon landing, as there were a lot of Thai Airways planes parked in Bangkok. Watch the full landing in the video.
Both of my flights were non-eventful and quiet. Everyone was wearing masks and maintaining social distance, so there were few chatters.
What's changed onboard Singapore Airlines? There are no more welcome drinks, no printed menus and no Silverkris in-flight magazine.
The menus are now digitized. The food came on one tray on both of my flights. These measures may change as we navigate through the COVID pandemic.
The service delivery on both of my flights was consistent, which I think is a strength of Singapore Airlines. There are many airlines that are capable of giving great service, but to achieve the right level of consistency you need to be disciplined and that's where Singapore Airlines shine.
No doubt, the recovery of Singapore Airlines and other peers in Asia lies in the re-opening of border without quarantine and consistent border policy.