This is a very different flight experience for me and I might have just encounter the first major incident throughout my travels where I could really real the really core benefit of flying in premium cabins! This is my first ever flight on SQ regional business class, I have never fly a premium cabin for a short haul flight before since usually I am good toughing it out in Economy or even Budget. I am originally on the latest 2018 regional J Class that SQ have on both the 787 as well as the A350. As it turn out I got rebook to SQ919 which is an old place featuring the old regional business class due to the volcano eruption. As luck turns out I didn’t expect this is how I got to try the old regional business class. Just on my outbound flight, I saw how spacious the seats are and was actually keen to try these recliner dinosaur era seats. I was actually pretty tired on the flight after all the change of events and chaos. Check out my earlier experience in the lounge previously. For once, I am just glad to have a seat back home to Singapore rather than being stuck in Manila.
A little more background information before I start the review and sharing of the flight itself. The Taal Volcano erupted on the day before my return flight and the ashes were over Manila, creating chaos on all departures and arrivals. Fun fact, I am lucky enough to encounter the eruption, with the last happening in 1977 before this, a good 43 years ago. My flight was affected and the Manila SQ was no help, no information was communicate, we didn’t even know if we should head to the airport. Finally at the airport, which was chaos and crowded, we were told that there isn’t enough seats since some flights are cancelled. SQ flies 4 times daily to Manila. We were given the choice to request for the only flight left or stay overnight and fly the next day. Thankfully I managed to get my business class ticket secured thru the Singapore Flight Disruption Centre in a matter of mins. I really have to thank the Singapore ground staff and Krisflyer agents. Kudoos to my lovely hotel staff at Conrad Executive lounge too!
Suddenly it strike to me! OMG, so thankfully I am in a business class! I can’t imagine how it will be if I do not get priority services in such crisis. Sucky Manila station, I have to say, no updates and phones were never pick up, they didn’t even update us even at Manila Airport. Daniel is the Station Manager is the most crappy one I have seen. I always have good things to say about SQ staff except this occasion. My flight finally took off after 9pm and we were even delayed after boarding for around an hour. A glass of champagne in hand certainly helps calm the nerves. Without saying, business is fully taken up. The old regional J class is in a 2-2-2 configuration and I got one of the centre aisle seat. Not too bad. I had a nice laugh with some of the crew about the delays and how they are earning Ultra Long Haul flying allowance to Manila!
As mentioned the seats are really spacious and I love how open the cabin is which makes the space looks bigger than it is. These seats are perfectly fine for a short flight and the leg space is very very generous. This will win over any US domestic first class! It is going to be a short review since I am really too tired after all the hassle and the attention span isn’t really there. I have to say it is nice to be onboard, SQ crews are so polished even after a long day and a fully packed flight! I was ushered to the seat, offered help with bags and even my jacket was hanged.
The seats while not the prettiest, it still remain practical. They come with a plush pillows as well as a blanket. Here are some pictures of the seats. It is wide enough, even for my size. Each seats comes with its own IFE, the screen is of course low quality but the size is alright and Krisworld always have an awesome selection. More than what is required for any distance.
The seats have limited storage though and not much privacy. While there is no awkward elbows bumping, the only storage space is in front of your seats in a little fold out holder. There is also a glass holder on your arm rest in the middle. I also note that there is no air nozzle which is a problem, especially when the cabin is kept warm on ground.
Elise and Mandy are absolutely lovely, they came around with some newspaper and magazines and then my meal selection is taken. Of course, there is no book the cook here. Towel and welcome drink is then offered! Here is the menu for the flight!
Weirdly there is no after takeoff drinks, perhaps due to the late departure or short journey! I do still got my fair share of booze due to the delay on the ground. The new business class champagne Laurent Perrier is loaded this time around!
Service started almost immediately after levelling off and we took quite a detour because of the volcano ashes covering certain part of the airport vicinity. There is no wifi available since it is an old aircraft. If not business class passengers get limited free access on wifi enabled flights.
Meals started out straight with appetizers and drinks. There is no choice for appetizers, with the only option being a Crab Meat Salad with pomelo and herb vinaigrette. I got some white wine and water to go with it as well as my usual garlic bread from bread platter. I was surprised with the salad and it is so tasty and delicious! So much better than my previous first class flight actually! I love the pomelo especially and the greens! Dressing is also delicious! Perhaps I am just hungry since I barely ate anything the whole day!
For my main, I got the Grilled Beef Fillet. It was a small portion but delicious. Beef dishes are usually hard to handle onboard but thankfully mine was not overcooked. I switch over to the 2015 Bordeaux and it is lovely. There is 2 FSS and 1 Chief doing the service in J class, it is a little rushed but I get where they are coming from since it is a full flight. The potatoes and asparagus accompanying the beef was good as well. This catering is really good.
For desserts, I had the Key Lime Pie for dessert which was alright! Elise even got me some Avocado ice cream too! It is really good. I am so satisfied with the meal. Probably cause I’m relaxed after finally settling everything and worrying earlier.
I kinda knock out and fell asleep even in the reclining chair and only woke up when we are wheels down in Singapore. Elise came by with a little note and to bid goodbye. Everyone is amazing on this flight from the FSS to CS! I really commend them since they had a long day also, eventually with a flight duty time of more than 14 hours. That is a flight to London! The seats is lacking, but comfy enough! Furthermore, the crew and soft product make up for everything! Singapore Airlines is always a great way to fly! That brings the end to my trip in Manila and the most adventures flight of my life!