Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Singapore Airlines Economy Class Flight Review: Davao to Melbourne



For years, Singapore Airlines has always been on top of its game.

Months ago, it was named as 'World's Best Airline' in Skytrax's World Airline Awards. It also bagged three awards in other categories in the annual airline quality rankings namely World's Best First Class, Best Airline in Asia, and Best First Class Airline Seat.

With best services come at a hefty price. On average, a regular economy roundtrip ticket from Davao to Melbourne with a brief stopover in Singapore costs at least USD1,200. For a middle-class working millennial who loves to travel, that's too much! While Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific have flights to Melbourne, Singapore Airlines is the most luxurious choice. That's why I immediately booked a flight with them when they had a seat sale last April. My roundtrip ticket to Melbourne only costs for USD550!

The last time I flew SIA was last February 2018. The services were great, although a shorter flight (MNL-SIN-KUL).

Read on as I experience flying with the World's Best Airline.

My journey starts in my hometown, Davao City. My flight to Singapore was scheduled to depart at around 3:30 PM via Silk Air, SIA's regional subsidiary. I arrived at Davao International Airport two and a half hours before my flight. Since I've already checked-in online, I went straight to the bag-drop counter and checked-in my luggage. The process was a breeze, and it less than 30 minutes, I was already inside the pre-departure area, waiting for my flight. Despite being an international airport and the country's third busiest, the airport lacks stores and restaurants in the pre-departure area. There were only a few choices, and I hate it.

Silk Air B737-800

Inside the B737 cabin

The Boeing 737-800 aircraft landed and taxied towards the gate. By three in the afternoon, we were boarding. I took my assigned seat in the rear portion of the cabin. I took the aisle seat, knowing that I always pee since I drink a lot of water while in flight. The in-flight meal was delicious, and I had a pleasant experience with SIA's regional subsidiary.

It's always a good idea to layover at Changi Airport.

Before indulging to the main cast of the show, I want to share what it feels like to have a layover at one of the best airports in the world. I arrived at Singapore's Changi International Airport at almost 7 pm. Since I still have six hours to kill, I went around, shopped a little, and ate a lot. At 11 pm, the gate opened. My flight, operated by a Boeing 777-300ER, was scheduled to depart at 12.10 am. The flight duration is around 8 hours. Since it was a red-eye flight, I planned to sleep after my late dinner.

Boeing 777-300ER

Upon entering, I passed by the first class, business class, and premium economy class. It felt like seeing the kings and queens of SIA mocking the commoners while sipping their complimentary champagne. I walked quietly towards the end of the cabin and took my seat assignment at row 57H, five seats away from the back of the plane. Luck was always by my side when I later found out that I don't have a seatmate. SIA's economy configuration for this aircraft is 3-3-3, much less cramped than the 3-4-3 configuration of Philippine Airlines. Each seat comes with a complimentary blanket, pillow, and a vanity kit.


Typical economy class meal. Yum!

Twenty-five minutes into the flight, they served their in-flight meal. The food choices in Economy Class weren't as bad as I thought. I chose a rice meal with pork. I was stuffed.

Right after I ate my dinner, I checked out their in-flight entertainment (IFE). The movies, music, and tv show selections were all updated. The interface experience was smooth, and I had no issues with its playback. I even watched a Filipino movie before dozing off. You can also charge your gadgets as each seat comes with two USB-charge-ports.

Airbus A350-900 mood lighting

I think I slept for a good three or four hours. When I woke up, they began serving breakfast. I ate a lot of bread, which were all hot and fresh. We were asked to open our window shades. I took a peek outside, and dawn was breaking. We still have less than two hours before landing. I still have the time to brush my teeth and wash my face using the free vanity kit, stretch for a bit, and enjoy one more movie.



As we drew closer to Tullamarine Airport, a piece of calming background music started to play. I believe SIA is one of the few airlines in the world who do this. It helps anxious passengers to relax for a bit. We arrived 30 minutes ahead of schedule, but due to the lack of parking bays, the ground controller instructed us to hold at a position for about 20 minutes. I didn't mind at all since this is way beyond the airline's control. There's nothing we can do about it.

I have flown with Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific to Melbourne and Sydney respectively, but Singapore Airlines leads the pack. Airline foods are known to be bland due to the conditions inside the cabin (dry air, low humidity) which could affect our sense of taste, but surprisingly, it is still delicious. I remember watching a show on National Geographic, featuring SIA's airplane food preparation. They even simulate the environment inside the aircraft cabin during cruising altitude while preparing the food.




If you ask me about my impression of a Singapore Airlines long-haul flight to Melbourne from Davao via Singapore, it was close to perfection. While most airlines tend to advertise their aircraft and services in general, Singapore Airlines branding and publicity revolves primarily around their flight crew. There was one time, during my flight from Singapore to Manila, the cabin crew profusely apologized to me for one reason: the chicken meal is no longer available, and the only available meal that time was pork. I was deeply humbled. I didn't care if my food choice is unavailable, but the fact that she was sorry for this small inconvenience, I'm completely sold.

An 8-hr flight isn't a joke. I'm not getting younger, that's why I am willing to pay more so as not to compromise comfort. I would love to fly with SIA again and experience their premium economy, business class, or better yet, their first class service. SIA is more expensive compared to other flag carriers, but their seat sale will always be a game-changer. Their economy class service is already excellent, what more in the higher classes?

One thing's certain: It's a great way to fly with Singapore Airlines.

1 comment:

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