A couple of weeks ago, I enjoyed a great holiday in Vietnam, where some resorts far exceeded my sky-high expectations (and rank among the best hotels I have ever stayed at). You can read my trip reports here:
- Review: Singapore Airlines A350 Business Class Düsseldorf to Singapore
- Review: Singapore Airlines A330 Business Class Singapore to Ho Chi Minh City (today)
- Review: The Reverie, Ho Chi Minh City
- Review: Anantara Mui Ne Resort & Spa
- Review: Vietnam Airlines ATR 72 from Ho Chi Minh City to Con Dao
- Review: Six Senses Con Dao
- Review: Evason Ana Mandara, Nha Trang
- Review: Six Senses Ninh Van Bay
- Review: Amanoi, the most exclusive hotel in Vietnam
- Review: Avani Quy Nhon Resort & Spa
- Review: Anantara Hoi An Resort
- Review: Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai, Hoi An
- Review: Banyan Tree Lang Co
- Review: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi
- Review: Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Hong Kong to Düsseldorf
Today (June 28, 2017): Trip report: Singapore Airlines A330 Business Class Singapore to Ho Chi Minh City.
On April 23rd 2017, I flew Business Class in an Airbus A330-300 of Singapore Airlines (SQ) from Singapore Changi International Airport (SIN) to Vietnam’s busiest airport, Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SNG), located inside the crowded city of Ho Chi Minh. The flight was part of a journey which originated in Europe, with the first leg (Düsseldorf to Singapore) being operated by one of SQ’s brand new A350 planes (you can read my review of that flight here). SQ’s subfleet of A330 aircraft features a regional Business Class product. Unlike SQ’s flagship A350, A380 and Boeing 777 aircraft which feature fully-flat bed Business Class seats with direct aisle access for every passenger, the SQ A330 Business Class cabin features a 2-2-2 layout, with angled flat seats rather than fully-flat. The experience was great nonetheless, moreover since the flight duration was only 1 hour and 40 minutes.
SQ features in my top 10 list of the best airlines for longhaul Business Class, the best airlines for longhaul First Class, the most delicious airline food, and the world’s best airline Business Class lounges.
- Trip: SIN-SNG
- Airline: Singapore Airlines
- Aircraft type: Airbus A330-300
- Aircraft registration number: 9V-SSB
- Flight Number: SQ172
- Date: April 23, 2017
- On time departure: Yes (9.45 am local time)
- On time arrival: Yes (10.55 am local time)
- Miles: 672
- Flight time: 1 hour 40 minutes
- Seat: 15A
- Class: Business Class
In this review (more information & photos below my Youtube clip & slideshow):
- Cost of my ticket
- SilverKris lounge at Changi Airport
- Facts of Singapore Airline’s A330
- Business Class Cabin
- Business Class Seat (& what seat to choose)
- Other inflight experiences
- My verdict
1. COST OF MY TICKET
The cost of my one-way ticket from Düsseldorf to Ho Chi Minh via Singapore was 240 euros + 65,000 Miles& More miles. Miles and More is the frequent flyer program of SQ’s Star Alliance partner Lufthansa.
2. SILVERKRIS LOUNGE AT CHANGI AIRPORT
SQ offers 4 different tiers of lounges for its premium passengers at its hub, Changi International Airport. This review only covers SQ’s KrisFlyer Business Lounge at Terminal 2, from where my flight to Ho Chi Minh City departed. This lounge used to be SQ’s flagship lounge, until the airline moved most of its operation to terminal 3 in 2011, where it now manages a much larger lounge. Despite a difference in size and the number of people they can accommodate, both lounges feature a similar decor, with soft lighting and marble floors (the lounge in terminal 2 was recently refurbished). The lounge facility at terminal 2 is located one floor above Changi’s famous ‘Enchanted Garden’, which comprises four giant glass bouquet sculptures decorated with a mosaic of reflective and shimmering stained-glass. Access to the lounge is limited to SQ Business Class passengers and passengers who hold elite status with a Star Alliance partner airline (e.g. Lufthansa, Swiss, Turkish Airlines, etc …).
As you enter the lounge, there’s an open-plan business center on the left, with both pc and mac computers available to guests that need to catch up on work. Next, you arrive in the spacious restaurant area, which features a couple of dining tables placed alongside an excellent, self-service buffet. It’s clear that SQ is not cutting any corners when it comes to food offerings, with a large selection of cold options (e.g. muesli, fruit, salads, cheese, Danish pastries, cereals, and sushi) and hot dishes (e.g. pastas, soup, noodles, curries, dim sums, pancakes, eggs, etc …). There’s even Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve Champagne. The sitting area at the lounge is confined to one large, dimly lit room, located adjacent to the restaurant area, which offers a dark, somewhat opulent escape from the bright lights of Changi Airport. There are plenty of very comfortable armchairs, most of them equipped with universal power ports. A newsstand, with complimentary local and international newspapers and magazines, takes center stage at the lounge. One side of the lounge also features 3 telephone boots where you can have your phone calls, so that other passengers are not disturbed by your voice, guaranteeing a maximum level of tranquility inside the sitting area.
Facilities at the lounge are great, with bartender service, free WiFi (at excellent speed), and showers inside the restrooms for those that need to refresh between flights.
3. DETAILS OF SINGAPORE AIRLINES’ A330
- The A330 is Airbus’ most popular widebody aircraft, with more than 1300 planes of this type being delivered since production started in 1992.
- SQ introduced the Airbus A330-300 in January 2009.
- Currently, SQ has 23 A330 aircraft in its fleet, with an average age of 8,2 years.
- SQ A330s are powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines and seat 285 passengers in total.
- SQ intends to replace all A330 aircraft with Airbus A350s in a medium-range configuration by 2019.
- SQ uses the A330 mostly for flights within Asia and to/from secondary markets in Australia.
4. BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
The SQ A330-300 aircraft features only 2 classes: one Business Class cabin with 30 angle-flat seats (with 172 degrees recline), and 2 Economy Class cabins with 255 standard seats. The 30 Business Class seats are arranged in five rows with a standard 2-2-2 configuration. All seats face forward and offer aisle access, except for the window seats where you will have to crawl over the legs of your neighbour if you want to get up and reach the aisle. In comparison, the 255 Economy Class feature a 2-4-2 arrangement, with a more spacious 2-3-2 layout towards the plane’s tail. The Business Class cabin itself features a neutral, beige colour palette, and somewhat lacks the refinement and luxurious ambience of SQ’s A350 plane, which I had flown on the previous leg (you can read my trip report about that flight here).
While still excellent, SQ’s regional Business Class cabin – that is unique to its fleet of A330 aircraft – is inferior to the Business Class product installed on board its flagship Boeing 777, A380 and A350, which boast fully-flat bed Business Class seats with direct aisle access for every passenger,
Click here for a seat map of SQ’s A330 planes.
5. BUSINESS CLASS SEAT (& WHAT SEAT TO CHOOSE)
I had pre-selected seat 15A & B for my travel companion and myself for the short, 1h40min flight to Ho Chi Minh City.
The leather seat has a seat width of 24.5 inch (62 cm) and a pitch of 152 cm (60 inch). Although still comfortable, that is nowhere near as wide as the Business Class seats of SQ’s A380-800 and the 777-300ER planes, which rank among the widest in the industry. On arm rest holds the seat control panel and a handset for the inflight entertainment, while the rather small tray table is located in the other arm rest and needs to be pulled out for any use (after which you are kind of blocked in your seat). A power socket and usb ports are installed on the side of seat while a large TV screen is located in front of the seat. Below the TV screen, you find with two storage pockets – that can be used to stow away smaller personal items and a bottle of water – and a foot well that is used as a space for the lower legs when the seat is turned into its reclined position. A privacy divider can be deployed between two adjoining seats for an added level of privacy if you sit next to a stranger.
At the push of a button, the leather seat converts into a angle-flat seats with 172 degrees recline. This is not a flat-bed, contrary to the seats on SQ’s A380, A350 and B777, although turning the seat into its bed position is far less complicated on the A330 as compared to the other aircraft in the SQ fleet and doesn’t require any assistance from the crew. The seat stretches to a comfortable 188 cm (74 inches) in length when the footrest is fully extended, albeit – due to its recline – one has the tendency to slip towards the footrest during a nap.
What are the best Business Class seats on SQ’s A330? Click here for a seat map of SQ’s A330 planes.
- All seats in the cabin, except for the first and last row, are quiet good, especially for couples.
- For solo travellers, I recommend selecting one of the center seats, which not only have direct aisle access but also the advantages that nobody will crawl over you.
What are the worst Business Class seats on SQ’s A330? Click here for a seat map of SQ’s A330 planes.
- The 2-2-2 Business Class layout does not make the cabin very attractive for solo travelers, since you will always end up sitting next to a stranger. There is a small screen though between seats that can be raised for added privacy.
- Window seats don’t offer direct aisle access.
- Passengers seated in the first row may be bothered by the noise of the galley and passengers going to or returning from the lavatories.
- I also suggest to avoid the last row of Business Class, which is close to the Economy Class bassinet seats.
Unfortunately, SQ doesn’t offer amenity kits in Business Class on any flights. A few bathroom amenities – such as hand lotion and perfume – were made available though in the one toilet during the short flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Noise canceling headphones (to block the noise from the engines and cabin) were provided – although you can not take them home with you – in addition to a blanket and pillow to enhance the sleeping comfort.
During this late morning flight, a brunch (instead of breakfast) was served on-board SQ172. Due to the short duration of the flight, the different meal courses were served all at once on one tray. The menu read as follows:
- To start with: freshly squeezed or chilled juices (with a choice of apple, tomato or orange juice)
- Main course: choice of
- Singapore fried carrot cake, a hearty traditional dish of fried savoury radish-rice flour cake with prawns and pickled turnip
- braised Udon noodles with sliced beef, served with Asian greens and black mushrooms
- cheese omelette, with pan-fried sausage, roma tomato, sautéed mushrooms and roesti potato
- A selection of sliced fresh fruits
- Assorted bread rolls and croissants, served with butter and fruits preserves
- Dessert: ice jelly, with fresh fruits and aloe vera
Food was great, albeit nothing memorable.
8. INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
The 15,4 inch (39 cm) TV screen in front of each Business Class has no touchscreen function and you need to use a handset located in the arm rest to command Krisworld, SQ’s inflight entertainment system. The KrisWorld inflight entertainment system provides over 1,000 individual options spanning movies, TV shows, audio tracks and games.
While still great, the entertainment selection is not as extensive as on SQ’s A350 planes, which provide WiFi access as well as a companion app (which allows you to select your entertainment before boarding).
9. OTHER INFLIGHT EXPERIENCES
#CREW: Dressed in her signature sarong kebaya, the female SQ flight attendant is the symbol of Asian hospitality recognised the world over. But besides being an iconic eyecatcher, SQ cabin crew – both male and female – are often regarded as the best in the industry, and with good reason. They address every customer by name and do all they can to make your flight as enjoyable as possible. Having said that, I do feel that SQ’s older cabin crew members are always a little more friendly than SQ’s younger, somewhat less experienced cabin crew members.
# BAR: The SQ A330 does not feature a walk-up bar, but you can order snacks from the menu at any time during the flight.
# TOILET: There’s just one toilet, located at the aft of the Business Class cabin.
# VIEWS: The flight offered great views of Changi Airport (after take-off), some cumulonimbus clouds, the Vietnamese coastline, the Mekong Delta, and Ho Chi Minh City.
10. MY VERDICT
- Seat : 7/10
- Food: 8/10
- Inflight entertainment: 8/10
- Service: 9/10
- Cabin ambience: 7/10
- Overall experience: good: 7,8/10