Flight: Singapore Airlines SQ 322
From: Singapore (SIN) To: London Heathrow (LHR)
Class: Premium Economy
My flight was provided by Singapore Airlines to review their inaugural premium economy flight from London Heathrow to Singapore in 2015. This was the return leg of that flight.
At the time this flight was booked last year they were still rolling out premium economy to all their London flights on the A380 aircraft. My usual preference for Asia to Europe flights is to leave in the morning and arrive in the afternoon, but that flight wasn’t available at the time. This flight was the overnight flight that leaves at 11.30PM and arrives at 5.55AM the next day.
Having checked out of my hotel by midday I didn’t want to walk around all day without a shower so I was at the airport by 2pm with the plan of working for the rest of the day. The great thing about flying with Singapore Airlines is that you can check in anytime throughout the day. They have so many connecting flights that they are accommodating for those who have more than three hours layover.
I checked in before the flight to reserve a seat. The online check in is available 48 hours before the flight. With my flight at 11.55PM I didn’t check in until the next morning. By then every seat was already allocated. Luckily for me an aisle seat was still available, which is my preferred seat. To make sure you get your preferred seat be sure to login right on 48 hours before the flight.
When you check in online there is also an option to Book The Cook, where you can chose what meals you are going to have. I did this on the first flight but didn’t do it on this leg because I wanted to see what the normal offer was. If you are flying premium economy I do recommend it.
At Changi Airport there is a dedicated section for premium economy. I was there so early that there was no queue.
I spent the rest of the afternoon working at the airport, which is still my favourite airport in the world.
By the end of the night it was time to board. Upon boarding there is a selection of Singapore and international newspapers.
After finding my seat I was asked if I could swap so a couple could sit together, so this time I got a window seat. I like aisle seats on long haul flights as I get up often to stretch and go to the toilet. Fortunately there is more room in premium economy so it’s easier to get by your seat-mate.
Premium economy has a 2-4-2 seat row, compared with 3-4-3 in economy. That means there are two less seats in each row, allowing wider seats and wider arm-rests. Seats get an individual arm-rest on each side. As you can see from this picture the space is enough for two bottles of water, which the seats have their own water holder. Also in this photo is the individual power outlet.
If you are interested in comparing the difference between the premium economy seats and economy seats these are the stats:
Premium Economy: 38″ (95cm)
Economy: 32″ (81cm)
Premium Economy: 19.5″
Premium Economy: 8″ (20com) / 125 degrees
Economy: 6″ (15cm) / 155 degrees
Premium Economy: 13.3″ (33cm) (includes noise-cancelling headphones)
Economy: 11.1″ (28cm) (standard headphones)
Premium Economy: Leather upholstery with seat stitching design (no seats next to each other will have the same design)
Economy: Fabric upholstery
With a scheduled flight time of 13 hours and 25 minutes I appreciated the extra legroom and seat width.
The premium economy amenities kit is a simple one with socks and toothbrush kit.
Even with seats that recline further I’m a light sleeper so I usually resign myself to having a movie festival inflight. With wider seats you get a wider TV unit, and there are hundreds of movies to choose from which makes for an enjoyable flight.
Premium economy passengers get noise-cancelling headphones as well, which makes a huge difference in the audio quality compared to the standard issue headphones. It’s already going to be hard to go back to flying regular economy after this flight (I have another long Singapore Airlines flight coming up next month) but I think it is time to invest in noise-cancelling headphones. Even when I wasn’t watching movies (like at dinner) I wore them as it helped reduce the cabin noise.
After takeoff and the seatbelt signs are turned off drinks are served. I don’t drink so I usually go for an orange juice. If you are flying into Singapore and want to get in the mood, or if you are leaving and are sad, how about a Singapore Sling to celebrate/commiserate your journey.
As I didn’t order my meal before the flight I was presented with the menu which is prepared especially for premium economy.
This is what I ordered for supper:
Appetiser: Cajun spiced chicken salad.
Main Course: Oriental barbecued pork combination with vegetable, mushroom and streamed rice.
Dessert: Tiramisu cake.
From the bakery: Bread roll and spread.
Hot Beverage: Coffee and tea.
After dinner the cabin lights are dimmed as the flight flies through the night until London’s morning. Next next meal is breakfast, served before arriving. If you get hungry during the night though you can call for snacks, or “Delectables” as they are called on the menu. This was the food on offer:
Sandwiches: cold vegetarian and cold savoury sandwich.
snacks: assorted nuts, Kit Kat, potato chips, dried fruit, fresh fruit.
A flight attendant walked through the cabin during the night with the snacks and I had a sandwich. It was dark and I was so tired that I don’t know what it was, but it hit the spot.
I might have got an hours sleep, which is a rarity for me, but I can’t tell if I went to sleep or not. I do know that I kept watching movies for most of the night, finishing off “Creed”, “The Revenant”, and
“In the Heart of the Sea”. That last one got terrible ratings but somehow bad movies are good on long flights.
Breakfast was served and there was a choice between a western or Asian breakfast. I went with the direction of the plane and was served the following:
Seasonal fresh fruit, cheese omelette with pan-fried pork sausage, cherry tomato, sautéed mushroom and hash brown potato, croissant or bread roll, coffee and tea.
On this flight you can send and receive text and multi-media messages at the standard roaming rates of your mobile provider. On this flight I had no sim card from the UK or Singapore so I didn’t get to test the service. I think this is a good option and I prefer it over being able to make phone calls and having wifi. I value the offline time on long-haul flights, and I don’t want the passenger next to me talking on the phone.
After breakfast the flight was coming to an end. Arriving at Heathrow first thing in the morning usually means doing some circle work over East London while the plane waits for a spot in the landing queue. Even with so many long-haul flights arriving at once I lucked out with a short immigration queue.
Overall this was another great flight in the premium economy section of Singapore Airlines, and I know I am going to miss it on my next long flight.
Singapore Airlines Resources
Singapore Airlines flies four times daily from Singapore to London Heathrow and daily to Manchester.
For an overview of the premium economy visit the dedicated SIA website at siapremiumeconomy.com.
Photos from this flight can be viewed in the Singapore Airlines photo gallery.