It is time to fly home and while this is often the saddest part of your trip, it does help a little when you are flying on Singapore Airlines and in Business Class. When I flew this back then, the VTL was still a thing and we can only return to Singapore quarantine free on a dedicated flight. It was a struggle to get tickets on such flights and I wasn’t that flexible which leads to me overpaying for the ticket by issuing an Advantage Class award ticket and overpaying by 28,000 miles for nothing! The flight cost me 120,000 KrisFlyer miles and 32.26 SGD in taxes. Oh well, at least I managed to soften the blow by adding a stopover and routing the ticket to Narita without having to pay the 100 USD extra stopover fee which I value around 8800 miles. This will be my first time flying in SQ business class since the pandemic. It is also my first time on the A350 in business.
I arrived at Barcelona Airport at around 8.40am for my flight at 9.50am and we were definitely behind schedule after being caught in traffic. We still had tax refund to do and things were in a rush. There was barely anyone at the check-in counter since probably everyone have already completed the check-in. We just had to show our vaccine certs as well as our negative test results. I was also informed that we had access to the lounge. Singapore Airlines does not operate any lounge at Barcelona airport and there isn’t a Star Alliance-operated one too. Instead, eligible passengers are invited to the Miro VIP Lounge which you can access via Priority Pass too. Business Class passengers also had access to fast-track security at El Prat.
Boarding started around 10.15am, slightly behind schedule. I certainly jump on the bandwagon to get some amazing pictures of the plane cabin. I was warmly welcomed by the crew and it is nice to see some fellow Singaporeans after being away for close to 2 months. There are 42 business class seats onboard the long haul variant of the A350. It is in a 3 class configuration with the lack of First Class. Business Class is in the 1-2-1 configuration. Boarding was smooth and it wasn’t full at least for the Barcelona to Milan sector.
I was ushered to my seat by the crew and they offer to get my coat hung too. It was so nice to be onboard a Singapore Airlines flight. The crew was lovely and they will be taking care of me till Milan. Another fresh set of the crew will be taking me to Singapore. Due to COVID, pre-departure drinks are no longer offered automatically but rather available upon request. I got myself a flute of champagne since that is the only way ahead. Singapore airlines recently change its champagne offering and are now serving the 2012 Piper-Heidsieck Brut Vintage. A lovely upgrade. It is quite nice to have a vintage pour in business class. Service does feel to be rather diluted compared to my experience prior due to all the service changes and protection for COVID. It’s understandable now but I hope that this will not be permanent going ahead. The flight was delayed and we only depart at around 10.50am.
Singapore Airlines Long Haul Business Class
Let me share about the seats, these are the Singapore Airlines Long Haul Business Class in the 2013 variant. It is not my first time trying these seats. I have also tried the other newer long-haul business class seats that is launched in 2017. I am not a fan of it. You can check out my review here I did it back in 2019 when I flew to London. These can be found on the A380. I love these seats as they are super spacious. Look how sleek they are. Go for the bulkhead seats if you can as they offer you even more space. I love that SQ doesn’t install any overhead bins in the middle seats which makes the cabin less claustrophobic. Do not worry as there is always enough space in the bins for all the passengers. There will also be many compartments for your stuff around your seat.
The leather seats alternate between a dark purple-brown and a dark beach colour. Each seat comes with a comfy plush pillow. I appreciate that it isn’t like some paper-thin pillow. On the side of the seat, you can find some lights, the ports for the power outlets and a USB port. There is also a compartment that is huge for a little bag, laptop and stuff.
Now for the seat itself, this version of Business Class is the one renewed after their squarish J Class. I am glad to say that it is still as spacious, one of the best in the industry, compared to other airlines First Class! There are plenty of compartments!
Then to the window side of the seat, you can find the touch screen remote to the IFE as well as another compartment where you can find the headphones. This place is big enough to place some stuff as well. You could easily put your bottle or some stuff. A noise cancelling headphones and a care kit are left in the compartment by the table. On the other side of the seat, you can find the seats controls and they are intuitively enough.
Krisworld, Singapore Airlines Inflight Entertainment system is award-winning, the best in the industry. In Business Class you get an 18-inch HD LCD screen to compliment that! It is high definition and no flight is long enough to finish the selection of more than 1000 entertainment options. Besides the screen, you can find more compartments to store your glasses and include a vanity mirror. Business Class passengers are also offered a limited allocation of wifi. The speeds are decent.
One bad aspect about these seats is the leg rest area where it is found at an angle towards the window. You will also have to sleep at a slight angle in bed mode.
Below the seat, you can find a cubby which is great for your bags or shoes. Paper menus are no longer provided and the crew soon came by with additional amenities for the flight.
Business Class passengers are now offered a Penhaligon’s amenity kit that consists of a facial mist, hand lotion and lip balm, inside the kit is also a voucher where you can claim a gift from Penhaligon’s. I was also offered slippers, socks and eye shades for the flight. No pyjamas are provided. Other amenities such as a toothbrush and shaver could be found in the toilet!
We had a change of crew in Milan and the IFM came over to welcome us. The crew was busy getting the plane ready and it is certainly a buzz seeing the crew work. A bottle of water was provided and boarding starts for the Milan passengers. Weirdly, the bar is closed on the ground in Milan, which means no pre-departure champagne. Sounds rather ridiculous and to save on taxes.
I changed to a more comfortable t-shirt to laze around after the meal service and got the crew to make the bed for me in the meanwhile. I have to say it is one of the most spacious beds in the air. For turndown service, you get another pillow as well as a very comfortable blanket! There might be some complaints about this seat bed being on the hard side but it is perfect for me. Although I have to say that I am used to hard beds. The excellent views kept me accompanied.
BCN – MXP Meal Service
First meal service started after levelling off and the crew sprang into service given how short the flight is. It is heck impressive that the crew can do a meal service with drinks options for a 1hr and 40 mins flight. Some airlines would just offer you bottled water and chocolates. Kudos for doing this even for the short journey. You can find the Menu for the flight here. The real good stuff comes in the second long haul leg and for this, you are offered a snack, which is a choice between the Beef Pastrami Sandwich or a Smoked Salmon Sandwich.
I went for the salmon one and it was pretty delicious, the salmon was fresh and the cream cheese was lovely. I just had a few bits and bites before calling it, knowing that I will have a feast ahead of me on the longer leg from Milan to Singapore. A liquid buffet seems more tempting with the 2012 vintage Piper-Heidsieck and Brasile single-origin coffee on offer. You can’t miss out on a SilverKris Sling too. 1 hour went by in a blink of an eye. Miyuki who was working my aisle was a gem and we arrive in Milan at around noon. Soon the crew bid us goodbye as there was a change of set to take us to Singapore. Passengers are told to remain onboard while passengers originating from Milan are boarded
BCN – SIN Meal Service
Another set of crew took care of us for the BCN to SIN sector of the flight. I did feel that the previous set was much better and friendly but thankfully the sparkling gem Katherine took great care of me. It is a much busier cabin after additional passengers boarded in Milan. The staff offered welcomed drinks once we level off and I got another glass of champagne. It was served with the classic Singapore Airlines Satay. This canape is one of the skies and it was especially good seeing how I have been away from Singapore for almost 2 months.
Once again, you can find the Menu for the flight here. It took quite some time before the main meal service started and not before we were already flying for close to 2 hours. The views are amazing on this daytime flight and they kept me accompanied. Meal started with the appetiser which was some Smoked Halibut. Not too shabby but nothing memorable.
Sadly, Book The Cook is not an option for the flight out of Milan and Barcelona when I flew. I went for the Florentine Style Beef Steak and got a glass of the Australian Shiraz to go with the meal.
I do have to commend the IFM John on my flight as he was as hands-on as he can be. I have never seen such a hardworking and attentive IFM. Some of them are literally like an office manager who you see at the door and never again. He is everywhere from boarding to meal service and even making my bed during turndown service. He is the one pax that makes your business class experience feel like first or suites. The crew soon came by with a selection of bread and pastries and I got the garlic bread which is the worst that I ever had on SQ. I am not sure if it’s the crew or the oven but it is really bad. It was stale and hard.
The same goes for the steak which was way overcooked. It is pretty tasty but given how it is almost well done, it was way too tough and slightly on the salty side. Feels like I am having pork chop instead. The dessert was better and I opt for the Tiramisu. One of the better desserts I had onboard and I enjoyed it.
I was feeling a little peckish mid-flight given how disappointing the meal earlier was and ordered the egg noodle soup for a snack and it was bad too. The noodles are way too soggy. Seriously, the champagne is all that kept me full. In my opinion, Singapore Airlines have one of the most lacklustre mid-flight snacks ever. This makes me miss Cathay’s wanton noodles or beef sliders.
Breakfast service started around 2 hours before landing and I was first brought over some OJ and the fruit platter. Katherine sure knows my habits and offers me a Brasile coffee too. Funnily enough, it’s now served with a plastic cover and even the holder to hold the fruits in place wasn’t removed before serving. This is in fact a temporary service change to minimize contact with the food items during COVID.
I skipped the yoghurt and muesli course and went straight to the main course. After 45 days of western breakfast and being in Europe it’s time to be an Asian once more and I got the Fried Rice Vermicelli with Chicken in XO sauce. It is not too bad for a plate of reheated beehoon and in fact the better one compared to the steak. The sauce is great although a little lumpy. The chicken was way too mushy too.
Overall, Singapore Airlines failed big time for the meal service. It is literally the worst meal I had on board a Singapore Airlines flight. This is not what everyone craved. The catering was particularly bad on this flight. I did not enjoy the meals.
We landed at around 8am in the morning, a slight delay from the scheduled time. I don’t know where to gauge this flight. This is my first time on Singapore Airlines business class since COVID and while the standard is still there, it doesn’t feel as amazing as it is. Don’t get me wrong, it is still one of the best ways to fly long haul. The fact that I overpaid for this doesn’t help things too. It can still easily stand up and compete with the world’s best! This kinda marks the end of my trip and the whole series.