The Long Way to New York: Trip Planning
Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge, Singapore
Singapore Airlines A330 Business Class SIN-BKK
Thai Airways First Class Lounge & Spa, BKK
Thai Airways B747 First Class BKK-HND
Getting from HND to NRT
ANA First Class Lounge, NRT
ANA B77W First Class NRT-ORD
United Club ORD
United B767 Economy ORD-EWR
Visiting the US Open
Sheraton New York Times Square
Hilton New York Midtown
Wingtips Lounge JFK & Delta to DC
Exploring Washington DC
Element New York Times Square West
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, JFK
Singapore Airlines A380 Suites JFK-FRA
Lufthansa Senator Lounge FRA
Singapore Airlines A380 Suites FRA-SIN
Today’s flight would be departing from gate E12 in Terminal 2. This gate is at the furthest end of T2 .
As with most of SQ’s SIN-BKK flights, today’s SQ979 would be operated by an A330. All of SQ’s A330s are on lease on 5-6 year terms, intended to fill the gap on medium haul capacity until the A350-900s and 787-10s come into service. That means the A330s are essentially living on borrowed time, giving them a bit of a neglected middle child feel in the fleet.
The existing angled flat regional J was launched in 2009 and, in the grand scheme of things, it’s more than sufficient for a 2h 20 min flight. I firmly disagree with SQ’s decision to deploy it on medium haul red eye flights (it serves some locations in Australia and Korea), however.
I read an article by Lucky over at OMAAT about the lengths he goes to to get nice cabin photos unobscured by people. One proposed method was to have a second person bottlenecking the boarding gate while the first person sprints to the plane to snap photos. That’s a bit much for me, but today I got lucky (no pun intended) because the other passengers in J were somewhat laggy to board.
The angled flat seats in SQ’s A330s are in a 2-2-2 configuration. I lucked out and got an empty seat next to me in the middle 2.
There are many reports written about the regional J seat so I’m not sure what new insights I can add. Suffice to say that this seat is much better than SQ’s original attempt at an angled flat seat (the Spacebed- read all about that interesting history here). I prefer the leather material to the fabric of the Spacebed, and the seat when fully reclined doesn’t feel nearly as slanty as the Spacebed (more on that later).
Legroom is also more than adequate.
There is a large 10.6′ entertainment screen at each seat.
The controls are straightforward enough, but here you see signs that the product is starting to show its age (look at the gunk around the corners)
As for the seat itself- you do have a privacy screen separating you from your seatmate, but if you’re on one of the 2s on the side you will still have to hop over your seatmate to access the aisle. I can imagine this being an issue if your seatmate is fully reclined. The seats themselves are perfectly fine for napping but are decidedly inadequate for a proper rest.
Pre-departure drinks were offered. I figured blowing my alcohol allowance on Charles Heidsieck knowing that there was Dom awaiting in the near future would be a bit like filling up at McDonalds before going to Jean Georges, but I still had a glass anyway.
I’ve realised that SQ uses different glassware on its short/medium haul flights versus its long haul ones. In long haul champagne is served in curved glasses, in short haul you get these stumpy ones. The curved ones just feel nicer to hold somehow, the stumpy ones feel cheap.
The headphones on offer are the usual Phitek noise cancelling ones. They offer decent performance and are the same type used in SQ’s premium economy.
Priority immigration cards were also given out. I didn’t need one but took it anyway for next time. By right they’re supposed to put a date on this so it can only be used on that day but nothing was there and I doubt immigration checks.
Menus were handed out for the dinner service
I ordered the Steamed Cod Fish Thai Style from the Book the Cook menu and was pleasantly surprised.
A traditional dish of cod steamed with spicy lime sauce, served with shredded white cabbage, carrot julienne, Chinese sliced celery, fried garlic and steamed rice
Fish is generally hard to do right on airplanes because it tends to get nuked, but the cod here was tender and moist. I suppose it’s got something to do with the higher fat content.
The entire meal was served on a tray instead of course by course, which is understandable given the time constraints. In any case, the rest of the meal was forgettable. I think a lot of airlines could save money on the dessert budget by just giving ice cream and we’d all be a lot happier.
There is 1 toilet at the rear of the business class cabin which somehow seems inadequate for a cabin of 30 passengers. At least that’s what SeatGuru tells me. I can’t remember if there was a second one at the front of the cabin because that would make the ratio 1:15, more in line with that which we see on SQ’s other planes. Anyone remembers this?
The loo has amenities by Miller Harris. Nothing was available in the amenities drawer, though I imagine the crew would have a few toothbrushes handy if you needed one.
Afterwards I put the seat full flat to take a quick nap before we landed in Bangkok.
My overall thoughts on the regional J product- it’s perfectly serviceable but I’d be very interested to see what SQ has in store for its medium haul routes when the A330s are phased out. Will the 787-9/10s have SQ’s long haul cabin product? Or will SQ go for another more density intensive 2-2-2 layout? If they do, will all the seats be full flat or angled? So many questions.
We landed on time in BKK and I was already making plans to sprint to the Thai Airways spa. Fortunately, there was something waiting on arrival that made exercise unnecessary…