[Airline Review] – Singapore Airlines (SQ255) / (SQ236) – Economy Class, SIN-BNE, (30 Jun 16) / BNE-SIN (6 Jul 16)

SQ uses A330-300 for their SIN-BNE-SIN service

On The Ground

SIN-BNE

The flight from Singapore to Brisbane departs from Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3. SQ has several check-in counters in Terminal 3, including the self check-in and baggage drop off. For this trip, I used the self check-in kiosks located at row 3. The kiosk is easy to use and prints out my boarding pass swiftly. As I had bags to check-in, I proceeded to the check-in counter behind the kiosks to drop off my luggage. There are ground staffs stationed at the kiosks ready to render help to passengers should they face any problem. Having gotten my boarding pass, I realised the boarding gate was not printed on it. I had to constantly check the flight information screens, scattered around the air side of the terminal for my boarding gate.
Terminal 3 departure hall in Changi Airport 
Passengers who have done online check in are given option to print their boarding pass on one of these kiosks or have their boarding pass collected from the counter
SQ self service boarding pass printing kiosk
After printing the boarding pass, passengers with check-in luggage have to deposit their luggage in one of these counters behind the kiosks
Luggage drop queue for passengers who have opted for the self service boarding pass kiosks
SQ255 departs from Gate A5. Passing the security checks for this boarding gate, the waiting area for the flight comprises of several gates which was rather chaotic especially there are two SQ flights with similar flight number leaving for Australia at around the same timing. Ground staffs seem to compete with each other for attention of the passengers when processing for boarding. Boarding for Economy Class passengers is done in groups, which are separated by the rows on the aircraft. I thought this arrangement has hugely reduced the long queues for passengers waiting to board on Economy Class.
The departure lounge that SQ255 departs from comprises of five departure gates. This has made the area look chaotic 
There are two flights outbound to Australia at timing that are very close to each other. The ground staffs at both gates are competing with each other for attention of the passengers in the departure lounge
SQ255 departs from Gate A5
Aerobridge towards the aircraft
Boarding gates for Economy passengers
Queuing to board SQ255

BNE-SIN

Check-in for SQ flights are located at Row 7 on the departure level of Brisbane International Airport. There are three queues for passengers traveling on SQ in this airport for Business Class, Economy Class and passengers who has done online check-in. As I had done my check-in via SQ’s mobile app, I headed for the online check-in queue. There are hardly any passengers in this queue and my check-in was promptly completed.
Check-in for SQ flights are done in row 7 in the departure hall of Brisbane International Airport
Row 7 in the departure hall
There are three queues at row 7
Dedicated queue for passengers who has done their check-in online. This queue is a lot shorter than the other queues
SQ236 leaves from Gate 78, located at the other side of air side of the terminal after the immigration area. Gate 78 has a dedicated area for passengers to wait around for their flight. However there are limited sitting available at this gate, a number of passengers are seen standing around the boarding gate waiting for boarding. As with my outbound flight, boarding was also done by groups with passengers sitting at the rear most section being boarded first. There is a separate queue for Business Class passengers.
Air side in Brisbane International Airport
SQ236 leaves from Gate 78 through this walkway
Departure lounge at Gate 78
There are two queues for SQ here, one for Business Class and one for Economy Class passengers

The Cabin

SQ uses the A330-300 for both legs of the flight.There are a total of 255 Seats in Economy Class arranged in a 2-4-2 configuration divided into two sections. The cabin ambience feels comfortable with the use of grey and turquoise coloured seats in the front section of the cabin and two different shades of brown in the rear section of Economy Class sections.
Peeking into Business Class Cabin 
Front section of Economy Class. This section is decked in grey and turquoise seats
Front section in Economy Class
Rear section in Economy Class. Seats in this section is decked in two shades of brown
Pillows and blankets are already placed on the seats awaiting for passengers when I boarded the aircraft
There are several lavatories located across the Economy cabins in the aircraft. The lavatory is tad small, and are well stocked with amenities such as toothbrushes and combs. Other than the standard hand soap which is common across most of the airlines, the lavatory is also stocked with mouth wash, hand moisturising lotion and eau-de-toilette. The large mirrors in the lavatory gives one a sense of spaciousness. What I like about the toilet onboard SQ is that the trash bin cover is activated by a step pedal located at the bottom of the bin, which means passengers do not have to dirty their hands while trying to throw rubbish in it.
Large Hollywood style mirrors are found in the lavatory
Moisturising hand lotion and Eau de Toilette are found in the lavatory
Additional amenities in the lavatory
Toilet bowl in the lavatory
I like the step pedal for the trash bin, which means passengers do not have to soil their hands trying to dump rubbish into the bin
Sink area in the lavatory

The Seat

Legroom for the seats on this aircraft is rather generous measuring 32″ pitch and 19″ wide and reclines at 115 deg. The seats are comfortable and capable of providing me with a good rest for the red-eye flight. There are ample storage space in the seat pocket behind the seat in front of mine. There is a small compartment in the seat pocket, large enough to put a mobile phone and passport. The seat has a bi-fold tray table with a vanity mirror on the back side of it, great for passengers who want to look good before deplaning. The recline button is located on the right armrest along with the jacks for the earplugs for the in-flight entertainment system. A multi-pin power socket is also located on the armrest or underneath the seat, depending on which seat one is seated at.

The legroom is great onboard SQ Economy Class
There is a hook for hanging clothes and a cup holder next to the TV screen
Seat pocket
Aircraft safety card
Contents of the seat pocket
Additional outlets next to the TV screen
Earphone jack and multi-pin power socket located on the right armrest 
Bi-fold tray table
There is a mirror on the tray table
Tray table fully extended
Seat recline button
On some seats only earphone jacks are found on the right armrest
The multi-pin power socket is located underneath the seats

The seats are not without its flaws. For the SIN-BNE leg, I was seated on row 34. When I was doing my check-in on my mobile app, there was no indication if that seat was “unique”. Upon arriving at my seat, I was shock that the seat was without a window. The condition of the seats onboard both flights were rather dirty with spots and dusts everywhere. There are also stains on the bulk head of the seat where there was suppose to have a window. The seat I took on the BNE-SIN leg could not recline. A stewardess had to give it a hard push for it for recline.

In-Flight Entertainment

All seats in Economy Class has a 10.6″ personal TV, however they are not touch screens. The controller to the PTV is stowed onto the ledge underneath the TV screen. There are no lack of movies and shows in the IFE, which kept me well entertainment throughout the 8-hour flight to Brisbane. However when I was watching movies on the IFE, there are pauses on the IFE every 20 mins, which is quite irritating.
A 10.6″ TV screen for Economy Class is pretty generous
Front side of the IFE controller
Back side of the IFE controller
The IFE controller is stowed under the TV screen
Earphones were placed in the cup holder next to the TV screen

Meal Service

There are two meal services for each leg of the flight. For the SIN-BNE leg, pursuers jumped into action to serve refreshments to the passengers about 30 mins into the flight. Supper was served about 30 mins further into the flight for passengers to catch maximum rest for the over night flight to Brisbane. Chicken and fish are in the menu for passengers to choose from. I opted for the fish which is tasty and the fish was well seasoned. Breakfast, comprising of a bread and a muffin served with coffee or tea, was served about two hours before landing.
Menu was distributed as soon as the seat belt signs were turned off
Fish with rice for supper
Breakfast

For the BNE-SIN leg, peanut and drinks was served around 45 mins into the flight, followed by lunch about 30 mins later. For lunch, passengers are given a choice of chicken with rice or beef with mash potato. I opted for the beef, which is tender and well marinated. The mash potato is well seasoned as well. Perhaps due to my hunger, I found the portion a tad small. Pursuers distributed ice-cream to passengers 30 mins after distributing lunch. Fried rice with chicken was the only option for pre-arrival meal, which was served about two hours prior to arrival. The fried rice is delicious and the chicken was rather tender.

Food options for lunch
Food offering for pre-arrival meal
Peanuts and drinks were distributed
I had beef and mash potato for lunch
Chicken with rice is also available for lunch
Ice cream as desert
Fried Rice with chicken for pre-arrival meal

Service

SQ255

As soon as the seat belt light went off shortly after the aircraft got airborne, the pursuers sprung into action distributing hot towels to passengers in Economy cabin. Another staff came distributing amenity kits to all passengers. The amenity kits in Economy Class, though not as elaborate as that in Business Class, comprises of socks and toothbrush which is a nice touch to the service onboard. However the good service seem to stop there. During meal service, I requested a can of coke from the pursuer and was declined by the pursuer, stating that there might not be enough coke to go around for the 8-hour flight. The pursuer gave me half a cup of coke and promised to return to me if there are leftover cokes to go around. No alternatives, such as giving me another cup of coke or offering of alternative drinks were given. The same pursuer walked by a few times during the flight, but refused any eye contact nor did she got back to me about drinks. However, the same pursuer was seen serving a Caucasian passenger seated across me three cups of soft drinks (one can of coke pours roughly two cups). The same pursuer was also seen topping up the cups of the said Caucasian passenger’s cup. At no point (other than landing), did I see the Caucasian passenger’s cup was empty.

I raised my displeasure with the in-flight manager, but was met with a series of defensive excuses. The in-flight manager also resort to playing with words during my conversation with him. I also raised my displeasure for allocated a windowless seat (what’s the point of selecting a window seat without windows?) not once but three times to the in-flight manager, but was brushed aside by the manager. The manager did not even bother to address my displeasure with the windowless seat. I was deeply disappointed to have received discriminatory service and a in-flight manager who is defensive and brushed aside my concerns, which was not the SQ that many of us has came to know.

 

Pursuers distributing hot towels once airborne
A small amenity kit comprising of socks and toothbrush was distributed to all passengers during the flight

SQ236

As with the outbound flight, pursuers went around distributing hot towels and amenity kits for a day flight. The pursuers were much better in offering service and ensuring passengers feel welcome and are comfortable during the flight. My request for drinks were well met and was offered another round when the pursuers saw my cup being empty. One of the meal option consists beef, as my friend is unable to take beef due to religious reasons, I highlighted my friend’s meal preference and the reason to two pursuers on two occasions to two different pursuers. I was happy that my friend’s meal preference was taken note by both pursuers. However when meal service came, the same pursuers asked my friend if he wanted chicken or beef. I was shocked to have found out that my friend’s meal preference was not taken into account despite having raised to them twice. Luckily there are sufficient chicken meals to go around and my friend was able to have his meal. Other than this little hiccup, the service onboard is generally good with pursuers frequently seen patrolling the cabin and responded to passengers’ requests swiftly. Meal service was completed efficiently and passengers were given ample time to finish their meals. Trays were collected swiftly as well. Compared to SQ255, service onboard SQ236 were much better, befitting of the service that SQ has came to known.

 

Pursuers (this is not the pursuer whom took note of my friend’s preference of meal) distributing hot towel once the aircraft was airborne

Overall

Both legs of the flight were comfortable, despite the outbound flight seem aged. Legroom was superb in Economy Class and the lavatories are well stocked with amenities. The IFE great in keeping passengers entertained throughout the 8-hour flight time. Service was a mix, where I experienced discriminatory service and pursuers as well as in-flight manager whom couldn’t care less about providing equal service to their Asian passengers as compared to the Caucasian passengers. The service for the inbound flight was way better than that of the outbound flight, which is the warm and attentive service that SQ has came to know. My outbound flight experience of discrimination was not the first time that I had experienced onboard SQ. I also experienced similar discrimination during my flight to Bali onboard SQ some five months ago in Jan 16. These has enough to put me off flying onboard SQ. If not for my paid booking for a trip to Taipei later part of the year, I would NOT have chosen SQ again. My Nov flight with SQ will be my last time with SQ!

Flying over Brisbane River

 

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