In November 2019, I took the 7.55am Singapore Airlines SQ998 SIN-RGN flight (Airbus A330-300) from Singapore (Changi Airport Terminal 2) to Yangon (Yangon International Airport Terminal 1). The flight was the best option available for travel between Singapore and Myanmar, with other options being SilkAir, JetStar, Myanmar National Airlines and Myanmar Airways International. I booked a Business Class seat, using 15,050 miles redeemed during a KrisFlyer Spontaneous Escapes promotion.
Whilst in Yangon, I stayed at the Grand Mercure Yangon Golden Empire, Belmond Governor’s Residence and Rosewood Yangon. As I would be departing from Rosewood Yangon and wanted to check out as late as possible to spend more time in the hotel, I ended up taking a Jetstar return flight because it was the only viable flight with a suitably late timing.
SINGAPORE AIRLINES SILVERKRIS BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE (SINGAPORE CHANGI AIRPORT TERMINAL 2)
My Business Class ticket gave me access to the SilverKris Business Class Lounge (PPS Club members enjoy complimentary access). I checked out the lounge at Terminal 2, which I understand is smaller but significantly quieter than the lounge at Terminal 3.
The lounge comprises a softly-illuminated rest area with armchairs and side tables as well as a buffet area with dining tables. The buffet spread included both Western-style dishes such as Omelette with Chicken Ragout and Baked Egg with Mornay Sauce as well as Asian selections such as Seafood Siew Mai, Singapore Fried Carrot Cake (fried savoury radish-rice flour cakes with egg and pickled turnip) and Chwee Kueh (radish-rice flour cakes topped with preserved radish). The hot food station served a scrumptious Mee Siam (rice vermicelli in sweet-tangy gravy), which can be given a welcome shot of umami spice by adding sambal chilli available on the side.
On the alcohol front, the selection included spirits such as Absolut Vodka and Johnnie Walker Black Label whisky as well as Chianti, Chardonnay and Shiraz options. I spied familiar and welcome names such as M.Chapoutier and Laurent-Perrier (which recently replaced Charles Heidsieck as the Singapore Airlines Business Class champagne of choice) amongst the wine bottles.
Rounding up the facilities are the business centre as well as the shower area.
SINGAPORE AIRLINES SQ998 (AIRBUS A330-300)
The business class cabin of SQ998’s Airbus A330-300 has 30 seats spread across five rows in a 2-2-2 configuration, with each of the angle-flat 2009 RJ seats having a pitch of 60” (1.524m) and width of 24.5” (0.6223m). My seat was situated along Row 11 (the furthest forward row with additional legroom), which meant my 15” KrisWorld inflight entertainment system stood mounted on the bulkhead wall in front of me.
The decidedly mature leather seat converts into a flat bed with a gentle incline using controls located on the side. If you are seated next to a stranger whom you have no interesting in checking out from time to time, you can lower the partition situated near the headrest to extend the physical boundaries between your faces. Various modestly-sized storage compartments are available along the sides of your seat for the placement of your mobile phone, spectacles etc, with 110V and USB outlets located beneath the middle armrest. The tray table folds out from the middle armrest, and I noted a discernible layer of dust within the tray pocket.
While Singapore Airlines does not provide amenity kits, basic amenities (as well as posh Penhaligon’s amenities such as hand lotion and facial mist) are available in the lavatories.
Business Class passengers are able to select dishes from Singapore Airlines’ Book the Cook menu up to 24 hours prior to their flight. The Book the Cook options for the short-haul flight were fairly limited, and we went for the Nasi Lemak (fragrant rice cooked in coconut milk with sambal prawns, fried chicken, fried anchovies with peanuts, omelette and grilled otah fish cake) and Nasi Biryani (basmati rice cooked with aromatic spices, herbs, tomatoes, saffron and milk served with chicken simmered in gravy). Whilst the Nasi Lemak’s spicy sambal chilli was vibrant and alluring and the juicy otah fish cake quite the scene-stealer, the titular coconut rice was faintly fragranced, woefully moisture-deprived and ultimately more of a coconut-scented regular rice than bona fide coconut rice. In that respect, the similarly moisture-challenged Nasi Biryani fared better as it had the assistance of gravy to mitigate its Sahara shortcomings.
The inflight menu (which is available to Business Class passengers who did not order from the Book the Cook menu) offered mains such as Kai Krapow (Thai fried chicken with basil and chilli, Asian greens, carrots, mushrooms and steamed rice), Singapore Fried Carrot Cake (fried savoury radish-rice flour cake with prawns and pickled turnip) and Cheese Omelette (pan-fried veal sausage, grilled tomato, mushrooms and roasted potatoes).
Singapore Airlines’ Business Class service standards are legendary, and I can confirm that I was both addressed by name when I first stepped into the cabin as well as frequently asked if I wanted more refills of my Laurent-Perrier champagne (which I always obliged, out of sheer courtesy).
This was my first ever Singapore Airlines Business Class experience. While the hard product was visibly long due for refreshment, I was suitably impressed by the very confident soft product, in particular the attentiveness and high service standards of the crew. The pleasant experience sets the stage for my next SQ Business Class flight, which will be on a significantly more modern Boeing 787-10. Colour me excited.
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