After an amazing 12 days in Japan, it is time to fly home. Japan was unexpected, it is much more fun and amazing than I thought it will be. What a trip! Consider me to be one of those Japan fans now! I can’t wait to be back. While an outbound flight leads you to a highlight of a trip, the return is often the other way around. It is always the “sian” part of your trip. It does feel a little better knowing that you will be in Singapore Airlines business class! I will be flying back from Haneda to Singapore on the A350. At the time of my flight, SQ does not operate the 777 or 380 from HND and as such business class is the highest cabin that you can get. I booked this flight way before the devaluation and paid just 66000 miles and 49.20 SGD in taxes. This is issued together with a stopover to Perth. A superb deal! Shockingly, SQ is using the regional business seats equipped aircraft for this 6 hours ish flight. This isn’t the best seat for this flight length and a red eye. I have reviewed this product multiple times outbound to Japan and Bali on it. You can check out one of my older reviews of Singapore Airlines Business Class on a long-haul flight here.
The train was super crowded from Shimbashi and we made it to Haneda just in time slightly before the Singapore Airlines check-in counters opened at 7.55pm. Haneda is always preferred to Narita. It cost just 5 SGD and we took the Rapid-Limited Express line which took about 30 mins. If you want to fly to and from Narita, expect to shell out 30 to 40 SGD on trains and around 1.5 hours depending on where you are staying in Tokyo.
Everything runs on clockwork in Japan. Check-in counters open right on time at 7.55pm with all the staff bowing to greet passengers before starting work. That is impressive! There was already a snaking line. They have three queues. One for PPS members, One for Business Class and Star Alliance Gold members and one for Economy Class. Check-in was smooth and the staff were proficient. We could then use the priority lines for immigration and security.
This was a shit show by the Haneda SQ team. About halfway thru my time at the lounge, I realised that they have printed a boarding time of 10.40 pm on the boarding pass for the flight that is departing at 10.55pm. That doesn’t seem right and there was no mention of a delay or retime when we check in earlier. We seek assistance from the lounge staff and she had no idea of a delay on her system as well. Both of us agreed to depart to the gate immediately and after rushing all the way there we were told that the flight was delayed for 30 mins. There was no indication of this at all and the screens weren’t updated as well. The crew was at the gate area as well. I inquire about this with the Station Manager and he could not explain as well. This is unacceptable. If you already know that the flight will be delayed which you did at the point of checking in. Inform the passengers and state the boarding will now be at 10.40pm. Since it is printed on the boarding pass, I presume that they already know of the delay.
Business Class passengers and PPS club members were invited to board first. Thankfully the hospitality was different once onboard. I was warmly welcomed by the IFM at the door and ushered to my seat by the crew. This was a lovely set. The crew then offered help with my jacket and I was also offered a welcome drink. Without saying, I got some champagne. Amenity kit and slippers soon followed.
While waiting for pushback, the crew came by to reconfirm my dining orders and preference for an after-take-off service or before landing. We had a rather late departure and a long taxi on the ground. We were finally airborne at around 11.40pm.
Singapore Airlines A350 Regional Business Class
I have already done a pretty extensive review of these seats previously and the hard product is the same. I will just recap and share some pictures. This time around I will be in the middle seat on row 12. Shina who was working my aisle was a gem and we had a lovely chat about travelling in Japan.
I do not like these regional seats. It is especially lacking on a red eye or when you require sleep. These seats don’t come with proper turndown service and bedding. They do not provide a proper duvet and mattress topper like what you are used to in the other aircraft like the 777 and the 350 LH product. It is also super narrow.
I am surprised by the lack of after-take-off drinks service. This is a flight that takes around 6.5 hours. I opted to be served after take-off. Despite being a mid-haul flight in the late evening, the service is lacking. For this flight, they are serving a reduced service. The sleeper service only consists of a main and fruits as well as a bakery. It sounds extremely weird. You can find the menu here. The Haneda route also offers Book The Cook option and you can pre-book your main prior. The entire meal was served on a tray rather than course by course.
l ordered the Grilled Beef Fillet with Yuzu Kosho dish from the Book The Cook menu. It was excellent and I enjoyed it. The steak was well heated to medium-well doneness. I also love the gratin potato that was served with the steak. The crew also came around with a bread basket and as well as it is, I got a croissant to go with my meal at 1am. The dish was extremely flavourful I got some sake to go with the meal. The sake was excellent and surprising for a Japan flight, they only have one bottle catered.
I had a really good sleep and fell asleep for a good solid 3 hours despite the inferior seat product. This is one of the best flight timing departing Tokyo for leave maximizing and travel time. The cabin was prepared for landing about 40 mins out and I got a double espresso after washing up. It is still a great way to fly with a spectacular set of crew. The meals can be improved. I would love for them to offer a more substantial menu for those guests that are not sleeping straight away. They should not be using this regional product for flights out of South East Asia and perhaps HK and Taiwan. Haneda staff needs to communicate better with passengers regarding flight updates. With that, this sums up my Nippon or Nihon trip series!
You must be logged in to post a comment.