Singapore Airlines has a reputation as one of the best airlines in the world. I’ve flown them a few times over the years and have never been too impressed. A few days ago, I flew their long haul 777-300ER business class for the first time. I very much looked forward to experiencing something special, given the reputation associated with the airline. Instead I was disappointed by the lackluster service and subpar hard product, especially considering the much higher than AAdvantage redemption I paid for the same region.
I flew from LAX to Seoul to Singapore on the 777. The seat is very wide, I’ll give you that – little doubt the widest of any business class. However, it’s very short, so you have to sleep with your upper and lower bodies at different angles, more so than on a reverse herringbone seat for example. More problematic is that the seat is very hard. It was very uncomfortable to sleep in, to put it bluntly. And I had seat 11A, the bulkhead row supposedly with more room than standard seats.
To give you an idea, here’s me sitting before takeoff (meaning the seat is likely not reclined), and my feet almost reach the end of the bed! Sorry about the feet in the picture – it’s for illustration of the seat only.
The seat and cabin also felt needed of a refresh. They certainly didn’t look new.
While the hard product is set in stone, the soft product depends on the crew. I had a pretty disinterested one. In typical Singapore (the country) fashion, they did their job, nothing more. No introduction, no pleasantries, just an assembly line. I wasn’t offered an amenity kit or even slippers. I’m not sure if I should have been offered either, but I got slippers even on intra-Asia Japan Airlines angled business class.
It’s still better than US airlines, but notably below the typical service from EVA, Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific, etc.
Why I flew them
For years, I avoided redeeming SQ miles for flying to SE Asia. It was just way more expensive than other options, especially for someone not near one of their international gateways. Before the Great AAdvantage Devaluation, it made absolutely no sense. Even after the AA devaluation, it still made little sense most of the time. For this itinerary, I paid around 68,000 SQ miles + $300 in taxes and fees, and I have to position separately to LAX. I could have paid 70,000 AA miles + ~$70 in taxes and fees which includes the positioning flight. I pulled the trigger on SQ for 2 reasons: 1) I booked it before the SQ devaluation, which wasn’t actually that bad IIRC; 2) I was under the illusion that SQ business class was great. Now I know fewer AA miles gives me better options from Cathay and JAL.
The good thing is I was able to tag along the Silk Air flight to Luang Prabang from Singapore on the same ticket (no additional cost other than a few dollars more in taxes), so that made me feel a bit better.
One bright spot
Their business class SilverKris lounge in Changi Airport Terminal 3 is probably my favorite business class lounge in the world. The food selection is awesome, they have a wide selection of TWG tea, and it’s spacious. Staff is always meh though, not unlike on my flight.
However, you don’t have to fly SQ to use the lounge. Any Star Alliance business class flight departing Changi has access. However, Star Alliance Gold credential doesn’t have access; instead they must use the vastly inferior KrisFlyer Gold (?) lounge.
In a Nutshell
I was disappointed by Singapore Airlines 77W business class. Along with my previous experiences with them, they’re now on my Meh list. I might try their suites (old or new) if I’m super rich in their currency one day, but I’m in no hurry. The T3 lounge is always worth visiting though.