Bangkok / 2nd - 5th September 2016

Singapore Airlines SQ970 SIN-BKK (Business Class)

Sep 2, 2016 | Bangkok, Business Class, Fly, Halal Food in Bangkok, Halal Food in Thailand, Singapore Airlines, Star Alliance, Thailand

Either my eyes played tricks on me, or the flight information display deceived my eyes or Singapore Airlines deliberately changed their boarding gate at the last minute with the intention to ruin my first Business Class experience. Oh, I am full of excuses!

I went to the wrong gate and spent another 20 minutes walking to the correct one. 20 minutes! Argh! But thankfully, I was on time. Just in time when they announced for the Business Class passengers to board the plane first.

But the damage had been done. My first business class experience was ruined by the ‘gate mistake.’ I had planned to be early at the departure gate’s waiting area. I had imagined that when the attendants call for the Business Class passengers to board the plane first, I would pop up loftily from the sitting crowd, lilt my way into and across air bridge, and hop right into the plane. But no, that never happened. Instead, I rushed into the plane like a mad jittery clown. I was too flustered even to realize what I was walking into.

When I reached the entrance of the airplane, there were three cabin crews who served me their cheerful hellos. But I wasn’t quite in my cheerful mood. I smiled grumpily in return. Nasty me.

But objectively speaking, I felt their hellos were no different from how Emirates, Etihad, or Malaysian Airlines’ cabin crew had said theirs to me in the past. I don’t fly Singapore Airlines that often so I guess, at that moment, I felt peculiarly patriotic when my fellow citizens (We, the citizens of Singapore?) greeted me into the airplane.

Nobody showed me to my seat, but I didn’t take long to find my seat, 15A. I placed my bag under the seat in front of me because that’s usually where I place my bag in Economy Class.

Business Class seats in 2x2x2 configuration. A total of 30 seats.

Seat 15A. I love the gorgeous leather.

Dumped everything on the empty seat beside me.

One of the stewardesses must have freaked out at my ignorance, and she said this sentence in a single long breath, “Sir, you are not allowed to place your bag under the seat in front of you because it is not permitted in this aircraft configuration.”

“Aircraft configuration” uh? I thought only pilots and airplane enthusiasts use that term. Apparently, some flight attendants do too

I responded, “Ok.”

 Well, I couldn’t fault her for sounding as though she quoted everything from memory. She probably was trained perfectly by Singapore Airlines. But I rather the whole conversation turned out this way.

“Sir, would you rather place your bags up in the overhead bins instead?”

 “No.”

“But Sir, unfortunately, you are not allowed to place your bags there.” 

“Why?”

“Because I am afraid it is not possible on this airplane.”

 The above imaginary exchange would be more natural, more personal and less intimidating. But I guess the stewardess found it expedient to quote word for word from memory, that whole ‘tried and tested’ sentence, to tell me straight that I am not allowed to put my bag under the seat in front of me. I mean, if you can rectify an issue with one super-long sentence, why not right? There is no need to converse at length to deal with an insignificant issue right? She was just as efficient as Singapore Airlines itself.

Oh well.

I could manage a 4-figure seating position easily.

I could stretch out my legs completely too.

On my first glance around the cabin, I was not totally impressed with it. I expected a more contemporary interior like the ones shown in pictures of the revamped cabin interior designed by BMW DesignWorksUSA. But this cabin is very dated. The plastics were in awful brown color, the kind that had paled and timeworn from several years of chemicals wiped on them. The seat controls looked as though they inspired the design of the electronic Japanese toilet controls. The KrisWorld remote looked as though it was ravaged by a million clicks, taps, drops and sweaty palms. But it didn’t matter because the screen was a touch-screen? Was it? I am not sure because I didn’t even attempt to use the in-flight entertainment system.

To be fair, the leather seats were great. They were in my favorite saddle color. They appeared to have aged well. They were wide and comfortable. My seat allowed me to stretch my legs fully. There was also nobody beside me so I could have the two seats to myself.

IFE touch-screen was left untouched by me.

Glory days for this IFE remote were over.

Any similarities between the image above and the one below?

This review is rather harsh because my expectations were too unrealistically high. This is a regional business class seat. I can’t expect much right? Singapore Airlines probably decided that since the passengers are going to be in here for only a couple of hours, they shouldn’t spend money revamping the A330 cabins. To be fair, Singapore Airlines will be replacing their A330s with the new A350s in the near future (2017-2019).

The Nasi Lemak set served to me on the flight.

I was served Nasi Lemak not long after the seatbelt sign was turned off. I had expected the food to be a lot better than the food served in Economy Class. Well, I was wrong. The food I was served looked very similar to what I had in Singapore Airlines’ Economy Class before.  I was not sure if the Nasi Lemak was from the ‘Book the Cook’ service or the regular Muslim kitchen. But if the Nasi Lemak was indeed from the ‘Book the Cook’ service, then it is a serious issue isn’t it? The Nasi Lemak was very simply ordinary.

 Just look at the chicken! I love chicken but I didn’t quite like how this one looked and tasted. 

The chicken looked like it was sold in a school canteen, the kind that looks uninspiring but accomplished its ‘minimum job requirement’ of satiating hunger. And don’t get me started on the rice, sambal and the otah. Yes, they were edible but if someone paid $1,400 for this flight, I feel they deserve better food than this.

Scenes from up in the air.

Scenes from up in the air.

 The disappointment must have crept into me so exponentially that only after 52 minutes, I wanted to leave the plane so badly.

Yes, I was disappointed with the state of the cabin and the food. But I was also struggling to enjoy the Business Class experience. I was not used to the seats and its controls; I didn’t even bother to transform the seat into a flat bed. It doesn’t help that every time I turned to my right, I saw a Member of Parliament (MP) slouching in his seat, his mouth gaping, with his palm pushing one side of his cheek athwart the other one, inaudibly snoring. What a horrifying sight.

I guess the only redeeming quality of the flight was the female cabin crew. There were two of them. Other than looking simply gorgeous, the ladies were also very friendly. They were smiling all the time, genuinely. But the male stewards? No. They were constantly sullen and moody, and they rarely spoke to anyone. I have absolutely no idea why. Did they think that they exist in the cabin simply to deal with the graceless, unsophisticated, masculine tasks of carrying trays, cleaning the toilet and, carrying heavy luggage? Did they also assume that the ladies should be only the ones out and about offering graceful, flawless, friendly service to the passengers?

Leather toilet seat cover.

Miller Harris bathroom products.

SQ Fleet.

SQ Destinations.

In conclusion, what would I do differently next time? Firstly, I will ensure that I get the boarding gate correct. Walking from one end of the terminal to the other end was obviously tiring and frustrating. Secondly, I should book the more popular SQ972 flight so that I can experience the B772. And lastly, I need to manage my expectations. Sometimes it’s not that airlines’ fault that the passengers feel that their experience is subpar.

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And don't forget to say hello before you go!

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