In December 2019, I took the 8.05am Singapore Airlines SQ850 SIN-CAN flight (Boeing 787-10) from Singapore (Changi Airport Terminal 3) to Guangzhou, China (Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport Terminal 2). The flight was the best option available for travel between Singapore and Guangzhou, with other options being Scoot, China Southern, Sichuan Airlines and Xiamen Airlines. I redeemed a Business Class seat using 30,500 miles.
Whilst in Guangzhou, I stayed at the 103-storey Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou as well as new hotels Jumeirah Hotel Guangzhou and Rosewood Guangzhou, which stands 108 storeys tall and has the distinction of being the tallest 5-star hotel in the world.
SINGAPORE AIRLINES SILVERKRIS BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE (SINGAPORE CHANGI AIRPORT TERMINAL 3)
My Business Class ticket gave me access to the SilverKris Business Class Lounge (PPS Club members enjoy complimentary access). I checked out the temporary business class lounge at Changi Airport Terminal 3, which will continue to operate pending the much-anticipated launch of the new Silverkris and KrisFlyer Gold Lounges in mid-2021.
The lounge comprises an expansive 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 Baked Egg with Mornay Sauce and Bread Pudding as well as Asian selections such as Deep Fried Lentil, Somen Mee Sua, Yangzhou Fried Rice, Chwee Kueh (radish-rice flour cakes topped with preserved radish) and Dau Suan (sweet mung bean soup with dough crullers). The hot food stations served Mee Rebus (Chinese egg noodles in thick, spicy gravy), of which every mouthful always managed to be coated fully in luscious gravy despite the seemingly paltry amount of gravy in the bowl, as well as a very comforting Chicken and Century Egg Congee which probably deserves better billing at a hawker stall somewhere else.
On the alcohol front, the selection included spirits such as Absolut Vodka, Bombay Sapphire gin and Johnnie Walker Black Label whisky as well as Chablis and Riesling 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. Lounge guests looking to refresh their clothes have access to a LG Styler machine.
SINGAPORE AIRLINES SQ998 (AIRBUS A330-300)
The Business Class cabin of SQ850’s Boeing 787-10 has 36 seats spread across nine rows in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration with direct aisle access for all passengers, with each of the fully-flat 2018 RJ seats having a pitch of 60” (1.524m) and width of 30” (0.762m). All Business Class seats have a 23″ flat screen with access to the KrisWorld entertainment system with movies and television programmes as well as games and other entertainment options. As a Business Class passenger, I had access to 100MB worth of complimentary wifi, which appeared to be a data amount likely enough to cover just one or two social media posts depicting champagne glasses and the view of white clouds against azure sky outside, possibly accompanied with a caption along the lines of “oh, just my obligatory glass of bubbly which I always go for after takeoff during each of my J-class business class flights“. You know the type.
Each Business Class seat converts into a fully-flat bed where your feet goes underneath the console of the seat in front of you. While I have heard various negative comments from mileage club members about the footwell being too narrow and the bed length being unsuitable for Yao Mings and Gullivers, my Lilliputian form at 1.74m did not experience any issues with comfort, and I managed to catch some shut-eye before my meal was served. Each seat comes with a console on one side equipped with a 110V AC power port and two USB ports along with storage space for your spectacles, mobile phone, books and other smaller items. Those who require more storage space can use both the literature pocket as well as the sizeable stowage space beneath the legroom compartment.
I was seated at 15A next to the window (16A behind me does not have a window). The seats on the plane alternate row-by-row such that the solo seats on the sides are either directly next to the window with the storage and power consoles closer to the aisle or vice versa, and the middle seats are either directly next to the aisle with two consoles keeping you a safe distance from the passenger next to you, or love seats with both parties right next to each other and their storage and power boxes next to the aisles.
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 4hr SQ850 regional flight were fairly extensive. Notable healthier options on the menu include the Spiced Buckwheat and Pumpkin Pancakes (wholesome buckwheat and pumpkin pancakes with vanilla bean coconut yoghurt, toasted pumpkin seeds and maple strawberry and orange) and Red Rice and Fish Porridge (red rice, poached fish, wakame, kale and miso porridge topped with fresh ginger and coriander leaves), which were specially created by wellness maestros COMO Shambhala. However, the variety of Singaporean and Asian dishes available sounded punchier and more alluring in terms of flavour profile – think Peranakan Hokkien Mee Soup (pork-prawn broth with pork, prawns and vegetables on top of egg noodles and rice vermicelli), Nonya Assam Fish (fish, okra, eggplant and tomato cooked with Assam spices Peranakan style, served with steamed rice) and Singapore Laksa (rice noodles in a rich, coconut cream seafood gravy with prawns, fish cake, deep-fried beancurd and bean sprouts).
I skipped the Nasi Biryani (basmati rice cooked with aromatic spices, herbs, tomatoes, saffron and milk served with chicken simmered in gravy) and Nasi Lemak (fragrant rice cooked in coconut milk with sambal prawns, fried chicken, fried anchovies with peanuts, omelette and grilled otah fish cake) for reasons shared in my SQ998 SIN-RGN review, and tried the Bak Chor Mee Dry Style (thin noodles with seasoned vinegar sauce, garnished with sliced and minced pork, pork ball, braised mushroom, fried pork lard and dried sole. Served with chilli sauce and additional black vinegar on the side) on this flight. While the noodles were far too voluminous in quantity for a person of average appetite, something about the experience – it could have been the dried sole or black vinegar amidst all the porcine excitement within the bowl – invoked very faint thoughts of Singapore’s excellent Michelin-starred Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle, and in the context of an airplane meal there is no higher praise.
Many mileage club members and food bloggers swear by the Bak Chor Mee Soup (egg noodles in pork broth, garnished with sliced and minced pork, pork ball, braised mushroom, lettuce, fried pork lard and dried sole, served with sliced red chilli), which would be the next Book the Cook dish I shall try at the next earliest opportunity.
The inflight menu which is available to Business Class passengers who did not order from the Book the Cook menu offered mains such as Selection of Dim Sum (lotus leaf rice with chicken, steamed pork pot sticker, scallop dumpling and vegetarian bean curd roll), Singapore Roti Prata (fried Indian flat bread served with spicy fish curry) and Poached Eggs with Hollandaise Sauce (chicken sausage, marinated tomato and roesti potatoes).
Singapore Airlines’ Business Class service standards are legendary, and I can confirm that on this flight 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 second ever Singapore Airlines Business Class experience, which was a marked improvement from my first (SQ998 SIN-RGN Airbus A330-300) in terms of the hard product. While I was generally satisfied with my Boeing 787-10 experience, I have heard many positive things about the Boeing 777-300ER and am fairly keen to try that product next.