REVIEW: Singapore Airlines Business class Part 1 – A380 Melbourne to Singapore

REVIEW: Singapore Airlines Business class Part 1 – A380 Melbourne to Singapore

REVIEW: Singapore Airlines Business class Part 1 – A380 Melbourne to Singapore

Today’s article is from TLFL writer Jason. You can follow Jason on Instagram here @planejayds

This is part 1 of the Jason’s  Singapore Airlines review. 



I used Air Canada Aeroplan points to book a one-way trip in business class from Melbourne to Bangkok via Singapore for 45,000 points plus C$143. It is worth noting that Air Canada often has promotions adding a bonus percentage onto points that are purchased via Aeroplan, and a journey like this can work out quite the bargain versus buying a business class ticket.

Once Air Canada confirmed the reservation, I was able to pop my booking reference into the Singapore Airlines website and fully manage my booking, which is not always the case when booking on one carrier for travel on another. SQ has three daily flights from Melbourne, and a same-day connection was available from Singapore and on to Bangkok, but for two reasons, we decided on a short overnight transit in Singapore instead. Firstly, I hate early mornings, But mainly, the afternoon flight is operated by an A380, which I was very keen to try with the other two flights operated by 777’s.

This was to be my ‘new’ first flight on Singapore Airlines in Business class. I say ‘new’ first because I flew them just after COVID in Business between Singapore and Jakarta. I will say now I was not impressed. At all. The much-lauded ‘Singapore girl’ service had taken a day off when I flew with them as the service was frankly appalling, and the inflight manager (a ‘Singapore man’) was borderline hostile. 

I decided not to review the flight mainly because it was right at the beginning of the post-COVID restart. It was a very short flight, and I felt it would have been unfair to base an opinion off of that. I am glad I didn’t because, on the flight from Australia, they very much lived up to their reputation.



We took an Uber to Melbourne Tullamarine Airport, which takes around half an hour from the city centre, and saw Mum off on her Qantas domestic flight home to Sydney. Domestic flights within Australia are a dream. No liquid requirements, and ANYONE – not only passengers – can pass through security and walk right up to the gate to farewell a passenger or greet them on their arrival. It’s like in those American 1990’s movies! So we took Mum all the way up to her gate and waved her off down the jetty.

Fer and I went back through to arrivals and made the short walk over to T2, which is the international terminal in Melbourne, and made a beeline for security as we had checked in via the SQ app, which is available 48 hours before departure. Whilst no Changi or Chep Lap Kok Melbourne’s international terminal has had a refresh, and it seemed very calm, which is just what you want when starting long haul travels.

Priority security was available for business class, which moved quickly however, Fernando was devastated when his skipping rope that he had taken with him was confiscated. What made a difference, though, was the approach of the security employee. She was so apologetic and empathetic, suggesting options such as going back to the check-in desk and checking it in. This softened the blow so much, and it’s a shame airport security staff in so many other places make their job so much harder for themselves by not being empathetic. Fer kissed goodbye to his beloved skipping rope, and next up was passport control, which is an automated gate for all passengers leaving Australia.


Melbourne SQ and Air NZ Lounges


All the lounges are grouped together in one lounge precinct in the international terminal, and Star Alliance airline customers have a choice of two lounges, the Singapore Airlines Lounge or the Air New Zealand Lounge. The SQ lounge has more limited hours than the NZ lounge, reflecting the timetable of both carriers. SQ has three flights a day, with one in the morning, one in the afternoon (ours), and one night flight and its lounge opens 3 hours before departure of each flight and closes as soon as boarding has been called. Air New Zealand has six daily flights jetting off across the Tasman Sea or ‘the ditch’ as us Aussies call it.

We first visited the Air New Zealand lounge which is quite a large facility representative of the amount of daily flights Air NZ operates. The lounge is very much in line with the Air NZ brand (modern yet retro), with a focus on flora and fauna on large digital installations and signature pinks
scattered about. These modern digital works contrast with many historic prints of Air NZ advertising campaigns. Also as expected of the kiwis, the staff are incredibly friendly and relaxed. The lounge is
basically one large rectangular room with a buffet area on the left as you enter, a bar straight ahead
with a beautiful digital floral backdrop running the entire length and seating on either side. There are
large windows, but as the lounge is on the ground/apron level there aren’t many views to be had.

An example of the friendliness of the staff in there: I was trying to get a picture of the bar and its impressive digital feature, and the staff member working behind the bar clocked this and insisted on taking a picture for me – with me in the picture. She went on to explain that the digital feature was sea lavender, and she was incredibly friendly. The bar also serves very good barista-made coffee which you can also order via a touchscreen terminal. The food selection was good, with a focus more on cold items such as salads, sandwiches and wraps which I guess reflects the short journey times (around 3hrs) between Melbourne and NZ. There were a couple of hot options, too, though oddly it was still breakfast selections at 11:30 am. The lounge wasn’t particularly busy when we arrived, and while we were there, an Air NZ flight to Auckland was called and it literally emptied.

Next up was the SQ lounge just up the escalator. This is one of SQ’s older style lounges, which tend to be quite dark and woody, with lots of brown leather sofas and cream carpets. The lounge also did not have any windows, so there was no natural light. It was quite a bit smaller than the NZ lounge, but it still had plenty of space to accommodate SQ’s premium passengers. Where it did excel was the food available; the options were a bit more substantial than the NZ lounge, and I had some beef from the buffet which was delicious.

There was also a barista coffee station, but this remained closed during my visit (there was, of course, still coffee machines). So, did I prefer the Air NZ or Singapore Airlines lounge? For me I think the NZ lounge just edged the win. In an ideal world, I could take the food from the Singapore Airlines lounge to the Air New Zealand lounge that would be perfect!



Boarding started fifty minutes prior to departure. There is a quasi ‘direct’ boarding option for business class passengers from the lounge precinct to select gates. This is no Emirates-style board direct from the lounge to door, but the lounge precinct has shortcuts to some of the gates jetty’s as our flight did.

SQ’s A380’s have recently had a refurb and the entire upper deck is occupied by 6 First Class suites and a whopping 82 Business Class seats. I had wondered if this sheer number of seats would make the business class cabin feel less ‘exclusive’; however, for this reason, I chose seats right at the back of the cabin, and I had no regrets. The rearmost cabin has just two rows of business class seats. It felt weird being sat in the most exclusive business class section, which was also RIGHT at the back of the plane. As I passed through the main business class cabins, I admired how fresh and new everything felt and a really elegant purple, copper and grey colour palette which felt much more modern than the cream and brown of the 777 I flew on to Jakarta.

I couldn’t put my finger on why this A380 upper deck felt particularly open and airy until I realised there were no middle overhead lockers. As we took our seats, we had a warm welcome and introduction from the crew, and as I was harassing Fernando, asking him to snap some pix for this review, one of the wonderful crew came along and asked, ‘Can I take a photo of both of you’? Of course, we accepted.

The menu, a washbag, mattress, pillow, and blanket were waiting at our seats. A crew member was quickly nearby to offer a choice of champagne, bellini, or orange juice, and a hot towel followed. My ‘book the cook’ meal order was confirmed, and a drink order was taken for post-take-off. A hot towel concluded the pre-take-off service.

The captain made his welcome onboard announcement advising us of a flight duration of 7hr17min
and to expect a bit of a bumpy ride. We pushed back at 15:42 and were airborne at 16:03.


The seat

All of SQ’s A380’s have now been reconfigured, and gone is the old seat which had both fans and detractors. Whilst the seat (still found on most other long-haul SQ aircraft) is very wide many do not like the fact that it cannot simply be reclined into bed mode. Unless you are familiar with the seat, you will need the crew to assist in ‘flipping over’ the seat to turn it into a bed, and there are no halfway points between bed or upright.

In addition (and this also applies to the new 380 seats), the footwell is off-centre, so you need to sleep on your side in a Z position. Back to the 380, the new seats are, of course, in a 1-2-1 configuration with direct aisle access for all and the seat reclines to a 76” fully flat bed. Unlike many other direct aisle access setups, all of the seats are the same, so there are no ‘better’ seats than others that you find with some other designs where seats alternate closer to the window/closer to the aisle. That is, except for the seats at the bulkhead – more on that in a bit! With the middle seats, the console is on the aisle side, the window seats it is closest to the window and the console was large enough to fit my laptop on.

The seat doesn’t have a door although the shell is quite encompassing, so it still feels very private. The downside of this is that quite a lot of the shell of the seats also blocks out the windows of the solo A and K seats. The foot cubby isn’t the widest out there and is at an angle to the seat, but I did not have to worry about that. Why? Singapore has pairs of seats at the bulkhead that are blocked out for their top-tier frequent flyers to select during booking. However, at -36hrs, these seats become open to all, and I was able to nab a pair for Fer and me. Being at the bulkhead, you have an ottoman that takes up the entire seat width instead of a cubby, and I would highly recommend getting one of these seats if you can.

Storage-wise, there are a couple of cubby holes for small items however, my cabin bag was able to fit
under the ottoman of the seat. Charging wise there were two USB A ports and a multiplug power
socket. There is also a cute little compartment that opens to reveal a mirror with a backlight. The tray
table flips out from the console and can be in a half or full table mode.



After taking off just after 4 pm I had my wine and a ramekin of nuts in front of me by 4:30 pm, impressive! The wine was pre-poured in the glass in the galley instead of the bottle being presented in the cabin and poured there. When the debris was collected in, I was offered more nuts, which was

At 3 pm, the meal trolleys appeared in the aisle, and our tables were laid with a tablecloth, cutlery and
a side plate. We were offered wine top-ups and automatically presented with a glass of still water although sparkling was also available. There is often a ‘trolley vs no trolley’ debate in Business Class, but I find it is more practical for the passengers and crew even if it isn’t as ‘restaurant style’ as, say, Qatar, where you would never ever see a trolley in the business cabin. Saying that I think service from a trolley can still be elevated by little things such as offering a choice of still or sparkling water and presenting the wine bottle before pouring.

We were also presented with our prawn starter (everyone receives the same) at this time which was fresh and delicious and was presented using the full menu description. A choice of bread was also offered from a basket, and there were several options, including garlic bread. SQ is famed for its consistency in service, so I was eagle-eyed for any inconsistencies, and there were some. Being in the middle pair of seats Fer and I were served by different crew, and I noticed little variations. For example, the crew member on Fer’s side asked if he would like the dressing on his starter. Mine was presented already on, and Fer’s water was poured at his table, whereas my tray was presented with a glass of water already on it. Which is absolutely zero issue but nonetheless noticeable when you are dining together in middle seats on an airline absolutely famed for its consistency.

The starter plates were then cleared, the crew offered water and wine top-ups and then the main course was served. We had both pre-ordered our mains via the ‘book the cook’ service and my beef cheeks were tender and delicious, and Fer said his chicken dish was the best he had ever had on a plane. The main courses were done and cleared, and next up was a choice of dessert, cheese, or fruit. I went for the cheese, which featured three varieties as well as some grapes and dried fruit, but there were only three small, packaged crackers to accompany. We were just passing over Uluru when tea or coffee was offered, and then a bottle of water, which concluded the main meal service.

The meal was very good, although I was a little disappointed that the signature SQ satay was not
served on this flight, which I thought was a little odd. A friend of mine recently flew SQ from
Frankfurt to New York (one of two ‘fifth freedom’ flights they operate from Europe to the USA, the
other is Manchester to Houston) and on his flight, which had a similar flight time, satay was offered
prior to the appetizer.


I spent most of the remaining flight watching TV programs from the huge range of inflight entertainment, and there was plenty of cabin presence from the crew in between meals. At one point, one of the crew proactively asked me if she could get me anything, and I ordered a coffee, to which she asked whether I would prefer an americano, latte, espresso, etc. Weirdly, slippers were also offered midway through the flight, which felt a little odd timing-wise.

The second meal was served an hour before landing in Singapore and was a light meal of nasi goreng (fried rice with prawns and squid) which was right up my street. I would have definitely had seconds if offered! 45 minutes out of Singapore, the captain made an announcement asking the crew to prepare the
cabin for landing, and after an abnormally hard landing, we parked on the stand at Changi at 9:40 pm.


Inflight entertainment and Wi-Fi

Singapore Airlines has always been well regarded for its inflight entertainment, and for good reason. Each business class seat features an 18” High-Definition screen with a touch screen, although can also
be controlled by a remote. There are literally hundreds of options to choose from, and I found the system very responsive with no lag or freezes. I have to admit I am not particularly tech-savvy, but there was also the ability for those with a Krisflyer frequent flyer login to personalise their IFE selection even before getting on the plane. One thing I did notice was the content was much more censored than I had expected. For example, I watched the Hollywood comedy ‘Joyride’ and the word sh*t was deleted, and when one of the characters ‘gives the middle finger’ in a scene, the offending finger was blurred out! Wi-Fi was also available, and impressively SQ has made this free of charge to all customers with one caveat – you need to have registered for its Krisflyer frequent flyer program. This is well worth doing, however, as it is completely free and takes a few minutes.


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