Singapore Airlines A330-300 plying between Singapore and Hanoi
At the Airport
Singapore Airlines departs from Terminal 2 or 3 in Singapore Changi Airport, depending on the destination of the flight. Despite my flight departing from Terminal 2, my friend and I were able to check-in for my flight at Terminal 3. Singapore Airlines dedicates Row 6 in Terminal 3 for Business Class passengers and in the same row, there are two counters set aside for First Class passengers. There was a short queue at all the counters in Row 6, we were as invited by the ground staff serving First Class passengers to check-in at her counter when she saw us queuing behind one of the Business Class counters. Check-in process was swift and the ground staff was very friendly throughout our short interaction with her. The ground staff did not forget to remind us that our flight leaves from Terminal 2 and advised us to leave for the terminal early. She also invited us to the SilverKris Lounge before our flight.
The check-in counters for Singapore Airlines at Hanoi Noi Bai Airport is located in Row E of Terminal 2 building. There are four queues for passengers flying with Singapore Airlines at Hanoi Airport: one for Business Class, one for Economy Class, one for passengers who have attained Elite Gold status with KrisFlyer and one for passengers who have completed online check-in. Two counters are dedicated for Business Class passengers where the queues are very thin. We did not have to wait for too long before being processed for check-in. The ground staff was very friendly and wasted no time in processing our check-in. He gave instructions for the departing gate and lounge invitations. At the security checkpoint, I realised there is a queue for Business Class passengers, where we did not have to wait for too long to go through the security checks.
SilverKris Lounge (Terminal 2 – Singapore)
Business Class passengers are given an invitation to SilverKris Lounge while waiting to board their flights. The SilverKris Lounge in Singapore Airport Terminal 2 is located on Level 3 in the middle of the terminal, which is a fair walk from our departing gate. Business Class and First Class passengers share the same entrance to SilverKris Lounge, however, these passengers are segregated into two different sections. The staff at the entrance did not make me feel welcome to the lounge, pulling a long face and without a smile. She merely processed our boarding passes and told us to head to the left where Business Class passengers would congregate. The Business Class section of SilverKris Lounge is dressed in an earthy tone, which gives a sense of relaxation. I find the SilverKris Lounge very noisy as it was crowded with passengers at the time of our visit, making it hard for anyone to sense the relaxing vibe.
Passing the entrance to the Business Class section of SilverKris Lounge, to the left is where the food section and a small dining area. There are very limited dining tables next to the food section at the lounge, which has all been occupied when we arrived at the lounge. There is another bigger area with armchairs where passengers can lounge to relax or do some work. The food offering at the SilverKris Lounge is very limited, laid out in buffet style, there are some local dishes as well as western options being offered. Despite having two food counters only one counter contains food, while the other counter has trays laid out but no food. There is a comprehensive selection of beverages, ranging from coffee to tea to soft drinks and beers at the food section. Due to the lack of dining area, my friend and I had to consume our food in the lounging area, which proved to be uncomfortable.
Lotus Lounge (Hanoi)
Singapore Airlines uses the Vietnam Airlines Lotus Lounge at Hanoi Airport. Upon entering the Lotus Lounge, we were warmly welcomed by the lounge staffs. The staffs at the entrance maintained smiles on their faces and briefly told us where to find food in the lounge. Despite serving several Airlines’ Business Class passengers, the Lotus Lounge was quiet and relaxing, a far cry from the SilverKris Lounge at Singapore Airport.
Lotus Lounge was huge with a lot of seats for passengers to lounge. There is seat facing the runway where passengers can relax and do some plane spotting. There is an area in the Lotus Lounge with quite a number of seats in the dining area, next to the food counters. The food offering in Lotus Lounge is a tad limited. Passengers can choose over some finger food or make themselves a bowl of pho while waiting for their flight. Beverage selection is also rather limited at the Lotus Lounge.
There is a section with three massage chairs where passengers can get a massage while waiting for their flight. Lotus Lounge also has shower rooms, which is located inside the toilet. The shower facilities are unmanned, passengers who want to get a shower can grab a towel set from inside the shower area and proceed into one of the cubicles for their shower. There is also a smoking room for passengers inside Lotus Lounge.
Singapore Airlines uses the A330-300 to ply the route between Singapore and Hanoi. The interior of the aircraft felt old, I understand from the flight attendants that Singapore Airlines is in the process of replacing the A330-300 aircraft with B787-10.
Singapore Airlines A330-300 comes with a two-class configuration. The Business Class cabin has a total of 30 seats while the Economy Class cabin has 255 seats. The white-walled Business Class cabin feels spacious and the seats are clad in beige and dark brown, making it look both comfortable and classy. The seats in Business Class cabin onboard Singapore Airlines A330-300 are arranged in a 2-2-2 configuration.
There are two lavatories at the back of the Business Class cabin serving the passengers. The lavatory feels spacious, thanks to the clever use of mirrors in the lavatory coupled with the bright lighting and the choice of white colour for the paint in the lavatory. There are two cabinets on either side of the sink. The left cabinet is where passengers can find handkerchiefs, tissues, paper towels and paper cups to be used with the mouth wash. Beneath this cabinet is the trash can, which can be operated with a pedal near to the floor of the lavatory. The right cabinet is well stocked with amenities. Here is where combs, sanitary napkins, toothbrushes and razors are stowed. Beneath the right cabinet is bottles of amenities such as mouth wash, facial mist, hand lotion and eau de toilette. The sink in Singapore Airlines A330-300 Business Class is fitted with the old touch button tap. The toilet seat is clad with a leather cover, making it look more premium than those ones would find in Economy Class lavatories. There are a couple of coat hooks on the door of the lavatory.
Singapore Airlines A330-300 features a Regional Business Class seats in the Business Class cabins. Each seat is cocooned in a shell clad in soft brown leather, which is very comfortable to sit one, measures 60″ in pitch and 24.5″ wide. The seat controls are in the armrest of the seat, above the storage for the IFE controller. The legroom in the Business Class seats onboard Singapore Airlines A330-300 is excellent, where I can fully stretch out my legs even when the seat is in an upright position. Each seat onboard Singapore Airlines A330-300 is treated to three window panels. A large pillow and a soft blanket are already placed on the seat when I arrived at my seat during boarding. I find the pillow firm and very comfortable to rest my head.
The Business Class seats are preset to four modes: an upright position for take-off/landing or for passengers who prefer to sit upright during meal times; a lounging position which I find the most comfortable for relaxing in when watching movies from the IFE; a semi flatbed mode which I find the best position for sleeping; and a full flatbed mode. The seats are angled slightly in full flatbed mode and are not 180º flat, sleeping on this mode feels as though one would slide off the bed. Apart from these preset seat positions, there are buttons that allow passengers to adjust the recline of the seat to a position that one finds most comfortable. There are two reading lights for each seat in the Singapore Airlines Business Class seats, one on the bulkhead of the seat, which can be turned on and off from the seat control panel; and one inside the seat which can be activated by pushing the light itself.
There is no lack of storage space in the Singapore Airlines A330-300 Business Class seats. Under the IFE TV screen, there are two huge storage bins for passengers to store small items such as phones, passports or compact cameras. However as these bins are rather shallow, it will not be able to hold bigger cameras or laptops/iPads. There are also two smaller shelves between the two seats and these shelves are capable of holding iPods or smaller phones. There is another more hidden storage bin underneath one of the armrests. This bin allows passengers to place their laptops and iPads. This is where the power outlet and two USB ports are located for passengers to charge their lifestyle devices.
There are two cup holders between the two seats, which allows passengers to place their drinks without having the need to deploy the tray tables. Seat tables are hidden in between the seats. These tables can be a tad difficult to pull out as they seem to be rather heavy. The tables are large enough for passengers to place their laptop on to do some work. These tables can be slide back and forth, however, to get out of the seat, one would have to put away the table. Seat pockets where the in-flight literature such as in-flight magazine, duty-free shopping catalogue and Singapore Airline’s lifestyle magazine along with the in-flight menu, airsick bag and aircraft safety card are found in front of the seat between the two IFE TV screens. The noise-cancelling headphones are also found here when I board the aircraft. There is a divider between the two seats, providing guests with great privacy especially when one is sitting next to a stranger.
All Singapore Airlines A330-300 Business Class seats are fitted with a 15.4″ personal TV. Kris World is the Singapore Airline In-Flight Entertainment System. As this is a rather old product, these TVs does not have touchscreen function. Controls for the Kris World is done through the remote control, stowed on the left side of the sit. Despite being old, the IFE system is still responsive. There are numerous entertainment options on Kris World for passengers on board, ranging from movies to TV programmes to games which kept me entertained throughout the 3hr 30 min flight. Kris World is arranged in an intuitive menu that is easy to navigate through. All Business Class seats come with noise-cancelling headphones that keeps out noise effectively.
The remote controller for the IFE is stored on the left seat armrest. The front side of the IFE controller has some quick access menus for flight information, movies and radio. The LCD screen on the front of the controller provides flight information. Other buttons such as volume control, screen brightness control and menu controls are also found on the front side of the remote control. On the back of the remote control are some buttons and directional dials for playing of games on the IFE. There is a qwerty keyboard also found on the back of the remote control, which does not seem to serve any function in the IFE system.
Passengers flying out of Singapore (and some other countries) have the option of using the famed “Book the Cook” service. There are several options for passengers to choose from. My friend and I used the “Book the Cook” and ordered the Classic Lobster Thermidor. Pre-departure drinks are offered as soon as we settled into our seats. The cabin crew came around and offer Champagne, Apple Juice or still water. I took the apple juice.
As this is a medium-haul flight, food is served in a tray with a pre-laid table cloth. Cabin crews sprung into action and went around the cabin to serve passengers the appetiser about 30 mins after taking off. The appetiser, Prawn Salad, was tasty. The prawn tasted fresh and the sauce is amazing. Another cabin crew came by with a basket of an assortment of bread. I opted for the Garlic Bread, which is famous on Singapore Airlines Business and First Class cabins. The Garlic Bread is flavourful with the garlic taste not too overpowering. I had four Garlic Bread throughout the meal service.
Shortly after cabin crews noticed passengers have finished our appetisers, They went around and served the main meal that we have chosen. As I am allergic to mushrooms, which mushrooms are not stated as one of the main ingredients in the “Book the Cook” menu, I did not have too much of the lobster. I tasted a small portion of the lobster (and started to get some allergic reactions), and it tasted creamy and fresh. The rice that comes together with the Classic Lobster Thermidor was fragrant.
The final course of the meal, Raspberry Bavarois, was served after cabin crews collected the trays from the passengers. The dessert was not too sweet and light, the taste of raspberry was just right. Cabin crews came by to take orders for coffee or tea. I ordered a cup of Latte to finish with the meal. Throughout the flight, cabin crews went around asking passengers if we want any drinks and the drinks were constantly topped up.
Singapore Airlines “Book the Cook” service was not available for flights out of Hanoi. Instead, passengers can preview the in-flight menu from the Singapore Airlines App and order their main course in advanced. I used the app and ordered the Seared Salmon Trout Fillet in Tomato-Black Olive Vinaigrette, while my friend opted for the Nasi Ayam. As soon as we boarded the plane, a cabin crew offered us pre-departure drinks. I decided to try out the champagne. As I seldom drink, I regretted my choice of drink after having a slip or two. When the cabin crew came by to collect the empty glasses and learnt that I did not like the champagne, he offered me Orange Juice or water. I opted for the Orange Juice.
As with the outbound flight from Singapore, cabin crews on this leg of the flight sprung into action and served the appetiser about 30 mins into the flight. For the appetiser, I was served the Marinated Seafood Salad which comes with papaya slaw. As my friend is allergic to prawns, he was served with potato salad instead. The prawn tasted fresh and well seasoned. The lime pepper vinaigrette complemented the prawns well. The appetiser also comes with scallops which tasted fresh as well. Another cabin crew came around with a basket of bread, the choice of bread is clear, I opted for the Garlic Bread again.
Soon after passengers were done with our appetiser, our main course was served next. The Seared Salmon Trout Fillet, which is cooked to perfection, was well seasoned and was not dry at all. The Black Olive Vinaigrette tasted well with the salmon. I had a taste of the lentil carrot stew which the salmon fillet was placed on, but did not like the bed of black lentils. I had a taste of my friend’s Nasi Ayam, the chicken was fried to perfection and did not taste soggy. The seasoning on the chicken was good and the chicken was not dry as well.
For desserts, we were served Strawberry Cream Cake, which did not taste too sweet. The cake was tasty and the crust at the bottom of the cake is still crunchy. The cabin crew served me some Latte for after-meal drinks as well. Shortly after the tray table is cleared, one of the cabin crews came by and offered me a Magnum ice-cream she snagged from Economy Class. I would never say no to ice-cream. Throughout the flight, the cabin crews topped up our drinks and constantly checked if we would like our drinks to be topped up.
The service in Business Class onboard Singapore Airlines is top-notch. Cabin crews greeted us by our last names the moment we present our boarding passes during boarding. Whenever the cabin crews interact with us, they will address us by our last names, which makes us feel personalised service is provided. Cabin crews would constantly patrol the cabin after meal times to check and see if passengers require any refill of water. Call buttons are answered almost immediately where the diligent cabin crews attended to passengers needs. Cabin crews are also seen interacting with passengers and taking interest in striking up conversations. During my two flights with Singapore Airlines, I had great chats with the cabin crews.
The cabin crews on this flight nothing short of amazing. It is a pity I did not manage to get their names. They were seen helping passengers with storing their carry-on luggage in the overhead compartment, other than standing at the door to greet passengers. During boarding, cabin crews went around taking meal orders in every seat. The cabin crew came by to confirm our booking for food that we have pre-booked our meals through the “Book the Cook” service. They were seen sprung into action as soon as the seat belt sign has been turned off after taking off. The cabin crew also checked if we had any food allergies when she was serving the appetiser. When I sounded out that I am allergic to mushroom and my friend allergic to prawns, she quickly checked with the menu to confirm if there are any allergens to us. She came back with her supervisor and inform us that the Classic Lobster Thermidor contains mushrooms. The supervisor also assured me that they will help us register our allergies in their system (which I have tried to do several times prior to departure via the KrisFlyer hotline, which apparently the call centre staff did not do so). However, the mushrooms seem to have been infused into the meat of the lobster, which caused a slight swell on my lips. The cabin crew came by to check if the lobster had triggered any reactions. I casually mention to the cabin crew that I feel a little swell on my lips, she quickly came back with her supervisor to see if there is any help they can render. This goes to show the level of care the cabin crew has for their passengers. As the appetiser on this leg of the flight contains prawns, the cabin crew came back with a potato salad for my friend. When the cabin crew learnt that I did not have much during the main course, she returned to my seat with two packets of cookies in case I feel hungry.
The cabin crews onboard this leg of the flight provided impeccable service during the flight, making flying on Singapore Airlines in Business Class cabin enjoyable. During boarding, I was hesitant to try champagne, the cabin crew encouraged me to try it out. When he subsequently found out that I do not like champagne after having a sip, he offered to bring me another beverage. The cabin crew was also seen helping passengers with their carry-on luggage during boarding and ensure passengers were comfortable during boarding. The service provided by Lay Hoon, the in-flight manager was amazing. She assured me that our allergies were registered and that the food does not contain the ingredients that we were allergic to, less the appetiser, which Lay Hoon mentioned that she has made arrangements to swap out with potato salad so that my friend can enjoy his meal. Lay Hoon also constantly checked if we liked the meal on board and even offered an additional portion of the main course after I remarked that the Nasi Ayam looks delicious. Lay Hoon brought us additional Garlic Bread when she saw how fast we consume the bread. Lay Hoon and her crew, Museika as well as Yaw Huah, were very friendly and kept smiles on their faces despite having a long day at work. They took well care of all passengers during the flight. I had the opportunity to strike up a conversation with Lay Hoon and she was amazing with her knowledge of the destination we came from and was generous to share with us the work of a cabin crew and some of the plans that Singapore Airlines have when it comes to the upgrading of equipment. Museika was seen patrolling the cabin and constantly topped up our drinks and took care of us very well to ensure we were well hydrated during the flight.
Flying with Singapore Airlines Business Class is an enjoyable experience. The good service started at the airport during check-in and continues into the flight. However the same cannot be said of the ground staff at KrisFlyer Lounge, who came across as grouchy and a tad rude. Despite being an old product, Singapore Airlines A330-300 Business Class was comfortable to fly for Singapore-Hanoi route. The Business Class seat is very comfortable to sit in during the flight. However, the fully flat bed mode was a tad too sloppy for my liking, but since it is a relatively short flight, it does not really matter. There is plenty of storage in the seat that allows us to store some of our knick-knacks. The In-Flight Entertainment system is packed with entertainment options that make us feel the 3hr 30 min flight time zooms past quicker than it seems. The thing that leaves me wanting to fly with Singapore Airlines again is the service that we have received on board. The service was exceptional and the cabin crew was not only friendly, but their caring for their passengers felt genuine. They kept their smiles throughout the entire flight and was seen helping passengers during boarding and in-flight. I am looking forward to flying with Singapore Airlines in their Business Class product again on Oct 19 when I travel to South Korea. Singapore Airlines truly stands up to its company tagline of “A great way to fly”.