Singapore Airlines Flight Review: Singapore to Manila (78X)

This is the last in a series of five flight reviews involving Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines.  The trip spans May 26 to June 3, taking the author across three Southeast Asian destinations: Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Bangkok (then back to Singapore and later Manila).  


Since a pandemic was declared over COVID-19, the only overseas trip I made was flying back home from the UK to the Philippines in November 2021.  So this is effectively my first overseas holiday in over three years.  For the most part, the procedures and protocols were as straightforward as before the pandemic.  No need for a costly RT-PCR or even a rapid antigen test.  Even a proof of vaccination need not be shown.  Although one difference is that in lieu of paper landing or departure cards, you have to do it online, preferably before arriving at the airport.

Having saved up enough money, I decided to travel to Singapore and fly there using Singapore Airlines' (SIA) business class product.  I paid with a mixture of cash and miles (US$865 and over 7,700 miles).  Given SIA's hard product and reputation for expensive business class tickets, I thought there would be no other better time to try it.

Flights going back home are usually sad affairs.  It means the trip is drawing to a close.  But there were two things to look forward to in this case.  First was accessing the Silver Kris lounge at Changi Airport.  The second one was the book-the-cook service where one would order a meal in advance.  So it was a tricky question of where to spend more time on the last day.  


On this occasion, I decided to get to the airport via the MRT which is close enough to my hotel.  I managed to reduce the number of check-in bags from two to one so it made the transport of luggage more manageable.  

The MRT ride was a relatively straightforward one as it required only one transfer.  Unlike other systems like the KLIA Ekspres up in KL, journeys involving Changi Airport station do not have a special separate fare.  Thus, the MRT is one of the more affordable ways to travel between the city centre and airport.  It costs only S$1.85 (US$1.37, £1.10, €1.28).  Meanwhile a Grab taxi ride typically costs between S$20-25 (up to US$18.50, £15, €17.30).  Not too bad but if saving money is a priority, it's a no-brainer.  


We arrived at terminal 2 about 2 hours and 45 minutes before the flight.  Only a few business desks were open.  Yet terminal 2 did not feel too crowded at any point.  There were also no issues and even though I had a mobile boarding card issued, the staff issued a paper boarding card.

Singapore Airlines Business Class check-in desk

After check-in, I had to write a quick postcard and send it to a friend.  Luckily there was a self-service post office kiosk open.  If you are facing the front of terminal 2, just go all the way to the right.  You won't miss it.

Passport control was fairly quick although we were directed to an automated gate.  It is unfortunate that Singapore does not issue exit stamps on our passports.  It would be useful to have such evidence if we wisht to prove our travel history.  There was also a preliminary random security check afterwards.  My bag was tagged for a further inspection but they only saw a bottle of insect repellant that was an issue.  They didn't confiscate it, which is a relief as it was my friend's product.


I preferred to use terminal 3's Silver Kris lounge.  To get there I had to take the Skytrain from terminal 2.  Unlike many other airports, passengers can easily travel between different terminals.  

I've seen many Youtube videos of the area to get an impression of it being an airy space.  But nothing beats experiencing it in person and that was the same impression I got.  

Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3

The food selection was to my liking.  It had different kids of chicken, beef lasagne, fries amongst others.  You also had oriental options and a noodle bar.  It was the best Silver Kris lounge of the three I have gotten the opportunity to try in terms of food options.  Delicious food such that had it not been for. a doctor's reminder and a book-the-cook meal, I would have eaten much more.  

The one bone to pick I had about the business class was despite its massive size, it was too crowded.  Lucky I found a seat somewhere.  The seat was a pod and it had storage below for hand luggage.  The desk had a charger where you can just lay your phone on top of.  No need to take wires out.

Sitting area at Silver Kris Lounge, Changi Airport Terminal 3

I had a chance to use the shower.  Staff directed me to showers cubicle # 3.  The toilet seemed to be the ones you see in Japan - advanced in features.  Apart from the shower knob that was slightly dislodged, it was a refreshing experience to use the showers.

With under an hour left to departure, I wanted to see SIA's terminal 2 Silver Kris lounge.  It was surprisingly far.  After taking the Sky train back to terminal 2, it was a bit of a walk and was located closer to the E gates (mostly closed) than the F gates.  It was not crowded but one could sense how limited the facilities were and how small it was.  It did not have tarmac views featured in terminal 3.  I could not find the shower and the food selection was not as extensive as terminal 3's lounge.  I spent less than 15 minutes there and headed to my gate as the notorious "boarding" sign was flashing on our flight's screen.  

SilverKris Lounge at Changi Airport Terminal 2

SilverKris Lounge food selection at Changi Airport Terminal 2

SilverKris Lounge at Changi Airport Terminal 2

SilverKris Lounge at Changi Airport Terminal 2

SilverKris Lounge at Changi Airport Terminal 2

TIP: If you have time to spare, use Silver Kris Lounge Terminal 3.  Its has more facilities and a wider food selection.  It also seems closer to the F-gates.  

Flight Number: SQ918
Gate: F56
Aircraft: Boeing 787-10
Scheduled Departure Time: 19:25
Aircraft Registration: 9V-SCB

Security checks were done right at the gate's entrance.  Apart from the security staff helping me dispense with my liquids, it was pretty smooth.  

The business class lane was fairly empty but I wanted to take last-minute photos so it took me a few more moments to finish that.  I then boraded through the business class lane.  Luckily two jet bridges were in use at our departure gate.  

There was some mood lighting for this evening flight.  I had seat 11K to myself.  It had a bit more space in front than my previous seat of 12K on the flight to Singapore.  Even though I was closer to the aisle than the window, I thought the slightly less privacy was a good trade off for more space in front of me.  I could wiggle my legs around more.

The crew assigned to me asked me what my pre-departure beverage preference was and I said orange juice.  They assisted me in stowing objects.  Most of them went just under the seat where one lays his/her feet.  

Seat 11K, Singapore Airlines Boeing 787-10

Seat 11K foot space, Singapore Airlines Boeing 787-10

IFE remote of Singpore Airlines Boeing 787-10

We departed pretty much on time.  Much of the flight was uneventful.  Just like the outbound flight, much of the time was spent enjoying SIA's in-flight dining.  I chose beef steak from the book-the-cook option months in advance.  It was fine dining at its finest.  The crew made me take my time.  I did not finish the appetisers as I was excited for the main course I ordered.  I did not finish the desserts.  Much of this was down to the food I ate at the lounge: it made me full quite quickly.  But the meals were pretty superb.  If there was anything memorable about the return leg, it was the dining both in the lounge and in-flight.

Business class appetisers of Singapore Airlines SQ918

Business class main course (book-the-cook) of Singapore Airlines SQ918

TIP: If you have an SIA flight out of Singapore and are flying on First or Business class, consider getting a book-the-cook meal.  It will save you the hassle of second getting the options on the flight and choosing the ones you want to eat. 

I was glad my playlist from the previous flight was saved.  So I could listen to the tracks and TV show episodes I desired whenever I wanted.  This was a cool feature of SIA's KrisWorld entertainment system.  But much of my IFE time was spent watching live satellite TV, something featured on SIA's 787s.  In theory it was possible to use the SIA app to control the IFE monitor in front of you but for some reason it did not seem to work.  Still I enjoyed the offering this time.  The in-flight wifi was also working well.  Speeds were fairly decent though one would need to abstain from streaming videos to make the most out of it.  

TIP: Make sure you get a KrisFlyer account to enjoy saving your playlist and customising your settings (e.g. language).  It will also allow you to get complimentary internet access on flights with wi-fi.

For much of the final hour, I felt sleepy so I decided to take a little rest.  I reclined the seat.  It was comfortable as one could get even if if I didn't recline it to a full bed mode (which was possible).   But before we knew it, the captain was giving the latest updates out of Manila.  That signalled that the end of the flight, and my business class flight was fast-approaching.  

Before we knew it, the flight was descending and approaching Ninoy Aquino International Airport.  I used the time to ponder on the trip that was.  I had a feeling that this kind of trip had to be repeated.  

We were on the ground in no time.  We pulled in to our gate though only one aerobridge was in operation so business class passengers had to go to the rear door.  There was an automated passport control available to us Filipino citizens and I used it without much fuss.

I was slightly irked out as my bag took a while to emerge from baggage claim.  I was used to seeing my bag amongst the first to come out but not here in Manila.  I had to call the attention of a member of staff to assist me.  Luckily she was helpful and I found my bag soon.  I felt relieved by that. 

These are rated from 1 to 10 with ten being the best score.  Also, please note that given the COVID-19 pandemic, expectations have been adjusted accordingly. This covers aspects of the flight experience that Singapore Airlines and its ground agents are responsible for with a focus on Business Class.
  • Check-in (10/10): It was a fairly straightforward check-in process.  
  • Lounge (9/10): I love the ambience in terminal 3.  It felt exclusive.  Food selection was superb and I was glad I did not spend anything for lunch in downtown on today's flight.  But for such a large lounge, it was really crowded.  I just wish the food selection was consistent in both terminals 2 and 3.  
  • Boarding Process (10/10): It was pretty smooth process.  Both doors were in operation.  
  • Seating area (10/10): Please tell me a carrier that guarantees a flat bed on all regional flights.  This easily passes as a long-haul product on many other carriers and given what I've heard about SIA's long-haul business class, I wouldn't be surprised if I like this regional business class better.  If there was any criticism of it, it is that the flight was way too short to enjoy it.  
  • Food (10/10): The book-the-cook option did not disappoint.  I was spoiled with the presentation.  And as such, I got full quickly.
  • Cabin Crew (10/10):  The crew took care of us well.  They paid attention to detail and helped us take our time.  
  • Punctuality (10/10): All on time.  
  • In-flight Entertainment and Connectivity (9/10): I enjoyed the selection.  Wifi was working well.  I appreciate how our playlists were saved and carried over to our next flight.  However, a minor issue was the controls from the SIA app were not working.


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