At the Airport
The check-in counters for Singapore Airlines is located in Incheon International Airport Terminal 1. Singapore Airlines occupies the entire at Row D for its passengers to check-in. There are three queues – Business Class, Internet check-in and Economy Class, at Row D. The three queues were empty at the time of our arrival at Incheon Airport. There is no wait time before my friends and I are being served by the ground manager who processed our check-in with a smile on her face and sense of calmness. Our check-in was processed with efficiency and soon the manager gave us our boarding passes and invited us to the SilverKris Lounge together with information on the boarding gate, the boarding timing and directions to the SilverKris Lounge.
Singapore Airlines has its own lounge at Incheon International Airport. The SilverKris lounge is located on level 3 near gate 29. The lounge is a tad difficult to find as the escalator is located behind some shops. We were warmly welcomed by the Korean ground staff at the entrance of the lounge. We headed to the main section of the SilverKris Lounge at Incheon International Airport. SilverKris Lounge employs an earthy tone in the choice of colour, which feels very cosy. The SilverKris Lounge only serves passengers flying on Singapore Airlines, which the lounge is capable of handling passengers flying on Business Class today. The lounge does not feel overcrowded and we were able to find seats of our choice. There is a section of seats in the lounge that faces the tarmac for passengers to do some plane spotting.
Food in the SilverKris Lounge is served in buffet style. One can find some noodles and rice dishes as well as finger food like sandwiches and mini burgers. There are also desserts and canapes in the food area for passengers who do not feel like having too much to eat before their flight. In the centre of the main section lies a bar where staff will be happy to serve up some cocktails or liquors. Canned drinks can also be obtained from the fridge at the buffet area. The food served in the SilverKris Lounge was very tasty.
There are shower facilities in the SilverKris Lounge, next to the toilet area. I had the opportunity to take a shower here before my flight. There is a staff readily standing by to provide towels and escort passengers who want to take a shower to an empty room. The space in the shower rooms is not too large, with a wet and dry area. Shower rooms are fitted with both a regular shower head and a rain shower head. Shower amenities are stored in large pump bottles with no indication of the brand that Singapore Airlines uses in their lounge. Hairdryers are found in each shower room.
I noticed a smaller section on the left side of the SilverKris Lounge and checked with the staff what’s inside. I was informed that this section serves mainly Singapore food such as laksa, chilli crab. This section has a Peranakan decor, mainly furnished with dining tables and chairs. This section is empty at the time of my visit, though I did not try any food from this section.
Singapore Airlines uses the A350-900 and B777-300ER to service between Singapore and Korea. We flew on the A350-900 for this flight between Incheon and Singapore.
Singapore Airlines operates the A350-900 Medium Haul aircraft between Singapore and Seoul. The medium-haul A350-900 is configured with a total of 303 seats across the two cabins on board. There are 40 Business Class seats spread across two sections with the larger 28-seat section in front and 12 seats in the rear section. Business Class seats are arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration allowing direct aisle access to all passengers. The Business Class cabin feels very warm and cosy due to the choice of brown colour Singapore Airlines employs in its Business Class seats. I find the lightings used during boarding is perfect for Singapore Airlines Business Class cabin. The use of orange lightings along the windows adds to the sense of comfort and relax, exuding the same vibe with the colour of the seats. The use of white lightings in the centre row during boarding illuminates the cabin for passengers. And yet the choice of these lightings colours complement each other. During the flight, orange lightings were used during evening timing, as though the airline has brought the evening sunlight into the cabin. As the flight transits to night time, blue colour lightings are employed to assimilate night time. The deployment of mood lighting at different times of the flight is helping passengers to better adjust their body clock.
Three lavatories are serving the 40 passengers in Business Class on Singapore Airlines A350-900, one of which is situated in front of the entire Business Class cabin while the other two are located between the two sections of Business Class cabins. The lavatories are of a decent size, no larger than that found in Economy Class cabins. The lavatories are decked out in brown leather and wooden panel finishings at the sink and the cabinet to give it a more premium feel. The lavatories are well stocked with amenities as Singapore Airlines do not provide any amenity kit for their Business Class passengers. Other than the standard handsoap and mouth wash found in Economy Class lavatories, Singapore Airlines provides UK brand Quercus hand lotion, facial mist and eau de toilette. The other amenities such as toothbrush and razors are of better quality in the Business Class cabin lavatories. Cloth napkins are also stocked in the Business Class lavatories. There is a latch beside the toilet which can be lowered to form a seat in the lavatory. Mirrors are cleverly utilised in the lavatories to make it feel bigger than it actually is.
The seat on this Singapore Airlines A350-900 flight from Incheon to Singapore features the new Regional Business Class seats. Each seat has a pitch of 60″ and measures 28″ wide. All seats in the Business Class cabin give passengers direct aisle access and has superb privacy (depends on where one is seated). Business Class seats are clad in brown leather giving the entire cabin a premium feel. Pillow and blankets are already placed on the seats, together with the only amenities such as slippers, eyeshades and socks. The new Regional Business Class seats are arranged in a stagged manner, passengers would have to choose between better access into their seats or privacy. For seats with the side table on the aisle side, getting in and out is a tad squeezy however passengers will get better privacy in these seats. For seats with the side table away from the aisle, getting in and out is a lot easier thanks to the bigger opening for the seats, however, passengers sitting here will have less privacy.
The new regional Business Class seats onboard Singapore Airlines A350-900 generally have three modes. Passengers would be greeted with the take-off/landing mode, the most upright position, which can be a tad uncomfortable to seat on. The lounge mode is the second mode and the positioning of the seat that I spent most of the 6½ hour flight time in. The lounge mode is somewhere in between the take-off/landing position and the flatbed position, having a slight reclination but not all the way flat. I find this mode to be very comfortable watching the movies from the Inflight Entertainment System. I spent my time eating in this mode as well. The third mode is the bed mode, where the seat is converted to a 180° flatbed. Sleeping in the flatbed mode is rather comfortable as passengers’ legs can be fully stretched into the ottoman underneath the TV. The seat in the flatbed mode allows passengers to do some tossing and turning during their sleep. However, passengers can feel a tad cramp in the narrow seats (compared to that in Singapore Airlines B777-300ER). The armrests in the seats can be adjusted downwards in flatbed mode to give passengers more space in the seats during their sleep.
Each Regional Business Class Seat onboard Singapore Airlines A350-900 is equipped with a side table where passengers can place some of their things on. There is an indentation in one corner of this side table where flight attendants will place the drinking glasses on. There is a small cabinet with a sliding door on the same side as the side table. Here is where the menu and noise-cancelling headphones are placed during boarding. There is an NFC reader as well as two USB charging ports and international power outlet for passengers to charge their lifestyle devices. Storage space for passengers to stow away small items onboard Singapore Airlines A350-900 Regional Business Class is very limited as this cabinet is the only place where passengers can store small items such as mobile phones and passports, it is not big enough to store a tablet or bigger cameras. Even the older Regional Business Class seats like those on the A330-300 has more storage space (read about my previous experience here). A vanity mirror is found between the side cabinet and the seat for passengers who want to look presentable before they disembark. Seat control buttons, as well as the IFE controller, are stored on the side table is located. The seat control buttons are touch bar and will only light up when passengers touch the seat controls. The seat control touch bar allows passengers to adjust the mode of the seat, the seat lighting, on/off for the TV as well as flight attendant call button.
The table is hidden under the TV screen and can be deployed with a push of a button under the table. The table is folded into half and is very big when fully deployed. Underneath the ottoman below the TV screen is another compartment where passengers can place their shoes or their carry-ons. Seat pocket in the New Regional Business Class seats onboard Singapore Airlines A350-900 is found on the bulkhead in front of the seat, near to the floor of the aircraft. The placement of the seat pocket is rather unergonomic as passengers would have to unfasten their seat belt to reach the contents inside. There are several reading lights in each seat. One reading light is installed above each Business Class seats and a set of three inside the seat. The set three reading lights, catering to the different positions of the seat, have their individual switches providing much convenience for passengers using them.
Singapore Airlines has a great In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) System. Each Business Class seat is fitted with a large 18″ HD TV, making watching movies very comfortable as the TV does not look too small even when the seat is in the upright position. However, these TVs do not a touchscreen function. Controls on the IFE have to be done on the IFE controller. The design of the IFE controller menus is very intuitive, akin to a mobile phone. The menus on the IFE is well laid out and selection of movies from the controller is not difficult. When stowed away in its holder, the IFE controller screen has icons for easy to controls of the TV screen or for passengers to log into their KrisFlyer account where passengers can store their favourite movie titles into a personalised catalogue of entertainment. When in handheld mode, the IFE controller has large wordings and screens for passengers to scroll to look for the movie titles from the controller without having to look at the TV screen.
When it comes to entertainment options, KrisWorld (Singapore Airlines’ in-flight entertainment) has an extensive library of movies, TV shows, podcasts, music and games to keep passengers of all ages entertained through the flight. The IFE options are well organised into categories, making scrolling through the options very easy. In terms of movies (which I spend most of the time watching during the flight), KrisWorld has no lack of options. From the latest blockbusters to movies that are made in the 90s to foreign films, one will be able to find something that occupies their flight time with. Singapore Airlines provides noise-cancelling headphones for their Business Class passengers. These headphones are very comfortable to wear and the noise-cancelling function is very effective in blocking out ambient noise. The noise-cancelling function is so good that I have to remove my headphones whenever the flight attendants or my friend is talking to me. To provide passengers with convenience, the volume can be adjusted from the headphone itself.
Business Class passengers are entitled to 100MB of complimentary wifi during flight. Connecting to the inflight wifi is very easy and the speed connection is good. I managed to chat with my family while in the air and post some pictures on my Instagram account as we were up in the sky.
Passengers flying on Singapore Airlines Business Cass can use the “Book the Cook” to pre-order meals for their flight. However, the menu from the “Book the Cook” flying out from Incheon is not as extensive as flights departing from Singapore. For this leg of the flight, I did not use “Book the Cook”. When it comes to the in-flight menu, passengers can choose from the four options of the main course. For my meal, I opted for the Hansik and my friend opted for the Seared Chicken Breast. Flight attendants came around the cabin to take orders from passengers on their preferred meal.
About 1 hour into the flight, flight attendants started the meal service with Singapore Chicken and Beef Satay as a canape. Singapore Airlines is famed for its satay in its premium class cabins. Each passenger was served two beef and one chicken satay. The satay is tender and well marinated. The satay sauce that was served on the plate was not too spicy, and the sauce is very thick with peanuts. The satays are so tasty that I requested for a second serving from the flight attendants, who were happy to heat up some more for me and my friend.
About 2½ hours into the flight, the flight attendants went around setting the table for a meal for all passengers in Business Class cabin, followed by distribution of the meals. Meals are distributed from the kitchen to each passenger. I opted to have Hansik (Korean meal) for this flight. The Hansik started with Grilled Tuna with Yuzu dressing appetiser. The tuna was very tasty and moist and the yuzu dressing it was very well paired with was not sour. While having my appetiser, another flight attendant came around the cabin with a basket of bread for passengers to choose. I opted for the Singapore Airline’s signature Garlic bread, which was full of taste and warm. The flight attendant cleared the plate when I was done with the tuna and served up the main course – Andong Dak Jjim (Korean stewed chicken), which was served with kimchi and pickled cucumber. The stewed chicken was very tasty and tender, the sauce that the chicken was served in is very well balanced. After the main course, I had Yuzu Chocolate pudding for dessert. I did not quite like the taste of the pudding as it is a tad too sour for my liking.
My friend opted to have the “normal meal”, the appetiser and dessert he was served were different from mine. For the appetiser, my friend was served Smoked Duck Breast. The duck breast was very tender and was not dry. Out of the three choices of the main course, my friend opted for Baked Halibut with White Wine Sauce. The Halibut was moist and not flaky, the white wine sauce was very tasty. The main course came with linguine, which was not lumpy. My friend had Caramel Cake for dessert, which was a tad too sweet for my friend’s liking.
The service we received on Singapore Airlines Business Class was impeccable. The flight attendants are very observant and felt that they go all out to ensure passengers have a pleasant flight. We were greeted by the flight attendants with a warm smile at the door the moment step onboard the aircraft. Flight attendants escorted us to our seat and quickly serve up the pre-departure drink. We were given options of apple or orange juice as well as champagne. I was offered an additional drink by the flight attendant the moment she saw my glass was empty. Flight attendants were seen helping passengers to stow away their carry-on baggage during boarding. Throughout the flight, we were always addressed by our surname by the flight attendants. The moment the seat belt sign was turned off, flight attendants go around the cabin serving drinks to passengers, soon after the Satay service commenced.
The meal was presented course by course and individually to all passengers from the galley instead of pushing around a trolley to serve passengers. This gave us a feel of restaurant-style service where food was brought straight from the kitchen. The observant flight attendants cleared the plates almost immediately after observing the plates are empty and checked with the passengers if we would like the next course to be served. The flight attendants will always check how we find the food while clearing the plate. Meal courses were served up moments after the plate was being cleared. The flight attendants ensure passengers flying on Singapore Airlines Business Class stay hydrated by asking if we would like any beverages throughout the flight. At one point in the flight, the thoughtful flight attendant worried that my friend might be thirsty, placed a bottle of water in my friend’s seat when she noticed my friend was deep in slumber.
My friends and I were very well taken care of onboard SQ609 by the flight attendants. It seems they pay a lot of attention to the passengers they are taking care of. The excellent service started with Ms Katherine Chua, the In-flight Manager. She’s the first person we saw standing by at the door greeting passengers with the warmest smile. Before take-off, one seat across me was having problems with the deployment of the table. Instead of allowing the passenger to discover it himself, Katherine appraised the passenger of the issue, followed by offering the passengers vouchers that he can use for duty-free shopping onboard as a form of service recovery. Katherine was seen apologising to the passenger repeatedly (even though it is not her fault) and offered solutions for the passengers during mealtime. Katherine was serving my aisle during Satay service, I commented that I was looking forward to the satay service as I have heard good things about the satays. When Katherine walked past me after finishing serving the passengers, she offered to serve me additional satays and checked with me when I wanted to have the satays. This goes to show that Katherine registers what passengers comments are and took note of them. During mealtime, I was told by another flight attendant that my main course will take a little longer to be served up as Katherine was picking out all the mushrooms in my meal due to my allergy. When the main course was served, I noticed it was Enokitake mushrooms that were in the meal. Katherine must have put in a lot of effort to remove every single piece of the small mushroom. After the meal service ended, I passed the galley to visit my friend in another seat. I witnessed Katherine invested a lot of effort decorating the tray where my other friend’s birthday cake was served. My friend was delightfully surprised when Katherine and her crew brought the cake over to my friend and sang him a birthday song up in the sky. When I saw the end-product of Katherine’s efforts, I was amazed by how beautifully the tray was decorated by Katherine. I was telling my friends that the tray was so well decorated that we can’t bear to take it apart. At one point, I requested plasters from Katherine who brought some for me and even helped me bandage my finger which was cut due to my dry skin. Katherine even brought me a bottle of the hand lotion for me to apply throughout the flight to prevent my hands from feeling dry.
Ms Rose Bae was the other flight attendant on board SQ609 taking care of passengers on my aisle. Rose portrayed a cheerful and professional persona. She was very attentive and observant throughout the flight. During beverage service, I expressed to Rose that I wanted to try some mocktails. Rose patiently went through the menu of mocktails that I can order on board with me and quickly concocted the mocktail for me. At one point Rose walked past me and saw that I was drinking coke instead, Rose checked if I did not like the drink and offered to make another mocktail for me. I assured her that I liked the drink and just wanted to have coke at that point. I opted for the Hansik meal during the flight, Rose informed me that there are mushrooms in the dish after noting that I am an allergy to mushrooms from the records in a previous flight. I told her I will be fine as long as I do not consume the mushrooms. During meal service, Rose came over to apologise for my main course being served slightly later as Katherine was picking out all the small mushrooms in the meal. Throughout the flight, Rose ensured that I did not go thirsty or hungry and offered food and drinks throughout the flight. She would always offer me drinks whenever she saw my glass is empty. Rose was seen constantly patrolling the cabin and checking if I was comfortable.
The Leading Stewardess, Judy Cho was great as well. My aisle was not serviced by Judy and my interactions with her were limited to during the duty-free rounds she made. I told Judy that I wanted to get an aircraft model for my nephew as he like planes. Judy took the time to discuss with me the suitability of the model for my 3 years old nephew and gave her honest opinion that the model was not suitable for my nephew and persuaded me not to get that for my nephew. Judy returned later with a bag full of in-flight amenities that she put together so that I can give to my nephew as souvenirs from Singapore Airlines. Judy displayed excellent listening skills and thoughtfulness and did not push for sales when it is really not suitable. This goes to show she put her passengers’ requirements at heart and is truthful in her recommendations.
Tze Hwa was the other flight attendant who was very attentive during the flight. He was seen serving passengers with pre-departure drinks and checked with me if I needed additional drinks when he saw my glass was empty. Tze Hwa was also seen helping passengers to stow their carry-on baggage in the overhead compartment during boarding and disembarking. He was also seen patrolling the cabin and constantly checked if passengers want more drinks. Tze Hwa was one of the crews who helped Katherine to surprise my friend with the birthday cake.
Singapore Airlines indeed live up to their company tagline, A Great Way to Fly, in their Business Class service. The new Regional Business Class seats are narrower than those it replaces and has significantly lesser storage space in the seat for passengers to put away small items. The seat is capable of converting to a full flatbed, which makes sleeping comfortable. The meal was delicious and the satay indeed lives up to its reputation. There are lots of options in the IFE system to keep passengers entertained throughout the flight. What makes this flight enjoyable is the service we received on board. The flight attendants are very observant and come across as being sincere in their service offering throughout the flight. We were very well taken care of by Katherine and her crew that makes us enjoy the flight till this day.