Singapore Airlines Flight Review: Bangkok to Manila via Singapore (Business Class)

Flight Review: Singapore Airlines

singapore airlines a330
Image Source: Wikimedia
This report is the second and final report on my trip  to Bangkok on Singapore Airlines via Singapore. For my return journey, the flight from Bangkok to Singapore departed at around noon.  Boarding at Bangkok was swift and the aircraft used was one of the new A330-300 aircraft. In fact, the same A330 was used for my outbound flight from Singapore to Bangkok several days earlier.

Singapore Airlines Airbus 330-300 Business Class
Copyright Photo: Tamarind Walk/PFN
There was nothing of significance to report on the short flight from Bangkok to Singapore except to say that Singapore Airlines' service was top grade as usual.  Arrival at Singapore’s Changi Airport Terminal 3 was flawless. As I was transiting at Changi on this journey, my trip to Manila continued some 3 hours after arriving.

Singapore Airlines Airbus A330-300 at Bangkok Gate
Copyright Photo: Tamarind Walk/PFN
Singapore’s Terminal 3 is the newest of the airport terminals at Changi and it is, if anything, an improvement over Singapore’s Terminal 2.  It is spacious, bright, and airy, while managing to achieve an atmosphere of quiet calm that most other airport terminals dream about.  As the arrival gate is quite far from the transit point, a Sky Train (monorail) is provided which delivers you to a connection point to another Sky Train that runs between Terminals 3 and 2.  

Changi Terminal 3 Arrival Area
Copyright Photo: Tamarind Walk/PFN
The entire transfer process from aircraft arrival at Terminal 3 to Terminal 2 can be accomplished in 5-7 minutes and signs clearly indicate which way to go.  The entire transfer is accomplished with the minimum of hassle but a word of advice: hold on in the Sky Train as it accelerates swiftly!  In fact, there is so little hassle, that there is virtually nothing one can say about it except that it is very easy and very intelligently and logically laid out.  

On board the Sky Train from Changi Terminal 3 to Terminal 2
Copyright Photo: Tamarind Walk/PFN
One other pleasant thing is that there are no crowds and no annoying people or officials hanging about.  Having said that, help is available if needed, but it is unobtrusive.  I cannot say enough about the ease of transit at Changi Airport.  It is uncomplicated, simple, and designed to please.  It is more like walking through an up-market mall than transiting an airport.

Sky Train Entrance with Signage
Copyright Photo: Tamarind Walk/PFN
Terminal 2 seems busier than Terminal 3, but is also comfortable, spacious, and reflects an air of calm compared to many other airports.  There are all sorts of shops in the terminal from duty free luxury goods to liquors to cosmetics and candies and souvenirs.  A good thing to know is that there is a pharmacy (drug store) in the terminal and that you can acquire some prescription medicines there provided you have your passport and boarding pass. (P.S: It is always wise to keep your passport and boarding pass secure and near at hand when transiting any airport!)

I was travelling business class and thus had access to Singapore Airlines' Silver Kris Lounge.  This is a quiet, uncluttered, and comfortable haven away from any hustle and bustle and it is easy to doze off in one of the comfortable chairs provided.  WiFi access is free and there is an information board with updates on flights and boarding gates.  There are good, clean bathrooms and shower facilities available and there is a service desk for any assistance needed. (All of the toilet facilities at Singapore’s Changi Airport are clean, functional, and easy to find given how numerous they are.)  

Good food is available in the lounge all the time and there is a wide selection of hot and cold drinks.  Were it not in an airport, the Silver Kris Lounge at Changi would be a great place to sit back and read a book with a cool drink at hand!  While the lounge is great, it is wise to allow a good 30 minutes to get to the gate assigned for your flight as there is some distance to cover. (Note: For incapacitated passengers, appropriate facilities are available provided airlines are notified in advance.) Gates at Changi Terminal 2 are clearly marked and easy to find.  Though far, there are moving walkways and conveniently, small carts are provided for hand luggage.

On arrival at the gate, one needs to have his passport and boarding pass available to clear security.  While security at Changi is straight forward and efficient, it is strict with procedures and regulations being closely observed.  One lady on my flight attempted to bring a big bottle of facial cleanser on board and was firmly, yet politely, refused.  At the boarding area, immigration forms for the onward destination were handed out. It is wise to complete them promptly rather than waiting until one arrives at his destination!

The pre-boarding areas are large and designed to accommodate the number of passengers flying on today’s wide-body aircraft.  Ample, comfortable seating is available and free WiFi access provided.  Again, boarding was swift and straight forward.

Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-200: Old Business Class Interior
Copyright Photo: Tamarind Walk/PFN
For the onward flight to Manila, Singapore Airlines used one of its older 777-200 aircraft, configured in business class with 2-3-2 seating.  This style of seating is being phased out in business classes globally in favour of the preferred 2-2-2 seating.  Leading airlines are learning that the middle seat in the middle row in business class is a hard sell to anyone.  In spite of its age, the aircraft was obviously very well maintained and spotlessly clean.  The crew were efficient and courteous, which is a trademark of Singapore Airlines.

I was seated at the window in the second row and found my seat to be comfortable, affording sufficient space for relaxation.  A pre-flight drink was offered, slippers and eye shades handed out, as well as a hot towel, and orders for post-departure drinks were taken.  The flight departed promptly on time and the safety demonstration carried out electronically as we taxied to the runway.  Take off was smooth with no delay.

Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-200: Old Business Class Interior
Copyright Photo: Tamarind Walk/PFN
On reaching cruising level, drinks were distributed and tables prepared for the dinner to be served.  I quickly started up the Kris World entertainment system which on this aircraft is the older, arm rest type that one has to swing out.  The screen is the older type, smaller but, as is typical of Singapore Airlines, the system worked flawlessly and offered a very good selection of movies, music, and TV shows.  The audio was excellent.  Truly, the in flight entertainment system is a bonus for any airline and Singapore's Kris World is superb.

Facilities on the aircraft are clean and are kept so by a very alert and attentive crew throughout the flight.  I comment on this because I have been on other airlines where the crew is not so attentive to the comfort rooms, which can become disgusting after a while!  I appreciate that Singapore Airlines provides real cloth hand towels in its comfort rooms.

Dinner was served about 30 minutes after take-off and I had ordered lamb chops on Singapore Airlines online Book the Cook service, available for first and business class passengers.  Unlike the unfortunately tough steak on my outbound Singapore to Bangkok flight, the chops on this flight were excellent and my hat is off to Singapore Airlines for being able to serve respectable grilled lamb chops in flight.  I enjoyed them!

Lamb Chops at 35,000 feet on board Singapore Airlines
Copyright Photo: Tamarind Walk/PFN
Going back to the subject of the seating, while this is an older style seat, it is very adequate for one to snooze and reclines electrically to an infinite numbers of positions.  With the blanket, slippers, and eye shades, it is easy enough to have a good snooze on the 3 hour flight between Singapore and Manila, unless you are like me and get stuck on one of the movies!

Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-200: Old Business Class Interior
Copyright Photo: Tamarind Walk/PFN
The flight proceeded smoothly and arrival at Manila was spot on time.  My rating for the entire experience including flights and transit from Bangkok to Manila via Singapore is excellent.  Changi Airport has worked hard at achieving its model of cool, calm, uncluttered convenience, and efficiency that is unmatched.  Singapore Airlines does much the same. Although its fares are indeed higher, that fare helps to ensure the excellent service it delivers.

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