Believe it or not, this would be my first time in Singapore Airlines Business Class (although I have flown several times in first class). I was curious how much business class differs from first class.
The brand new Terminal 3 at Sao Paulo Airport is a lovely piece of architecture.
The Singapore Airlines counters were completely empty 3.5 hours before departure and check-in rather easy. The contracted staff (who do the check in for several airlines) spoke some English, but showed no customer appreciation, as we see a lot with Singapore Airlines.
There is no priority line for business or first class passengers at Terminal 3 for security and immigration. However, security is really quick in Brazil and the wait was under 10 minutes to pass through both. Everyone gets treated to TSA Pre✓ in Brazil 🙂
Singapore Airlines uses the Star Alliance Lounge at GRU, which looks great, but does not have too many options to eat or drink. Don’t go to this lounge hungry!
Although the inbound flight was 30 minutes late, boarding was announced right on time. Only about 10 passengers were in business class and we could spot only two in first class. Economy class was about half full.
We settled in quickly and were served pre-departure drinks. No nuts or snacks to be found, though.
Singapore Airline seats are very wide and this whole suite was spacious (much more than Cathay Pacific Business Class). It’s basically a sleeping mattress that doubles as a seat back. The downside is that the recline is minimal before the flight attendant makes the bed.
Just about 20 minutes later, boarding ceased and we pushed back from the gate. Given the low load factor, this wasn’t a surprise.
The flight attendants all shone with exceptional competence and friendliness and this was true throughout the flight. Fluent English, high professionalism and smiles. It does not get better than this, I feel.
No amenity kit was distributed; we got slippers, eye masks and socks and a toothbrush was also available in the bathroom.
The meal service started with the airline’s signature satay right after take-off into the Sao Paulo night skies. The chicken satay was great, though the beef satay was too rubbery.
The appetizer was a mix of several meats, tomato and mozzarella; I did not like the smell or taste of it at all and left it.
We all chose the chicken as a main course (and it was available). This grilled chicken dish came with leeks and mashed potatoes and the chicken itself was good, except maybe a bit too much pepper and salt. The leeks and mashed potatoes were rather bland.
With dinner, I chose the Chilean Syrah, which was excellent.
Chocolate walnut cake or strawberry ice cream was offered right after dinner (literally seconds after my plate was collected). I chose the strawberry dessert and did not like it much – it was awfully sweet and bland.
The cheese dessert cart came around a few minutes later and I tried all the cheeses, although none were particularly good.
After dinner, the flight attendants came by to make our beds.
Only about 30% of your seat back is fully stretched out – the rest is taken up by the seat and foot cubby hole of the passenger behind you. This makes you lie down at a 45 degree angle. I was just about able to stretch out as I’m 6’4″ and sleeping on my stomach wasn’t a good idea. Lying down on my side with my feet pushed up was great, though and the mattress felt like a bed.
It didn’t take long to make the beds and in this position it’s great to just lounge and watch movies. And that’s just what we did for a few hours until it was time to sleep for a bit.
The screen isn’t huge, but it’s still big. It’s crisp and the entertainment system is responsive. There were a ton of movies and TV shows, though they seemed a bit older than I’d liked.
We all tried to nap, but the seat belt sign (and a rather loud announcement every time) kept coming up. This happened every 30 minutes and made it hard to sleep. The turbulence was never strong, but very noticeable and at bad intervals.
After 4 hours of on-and-off napping, it was time for breakfast. I had instructed the flight attendants to wake us up about an hour out, but we were awake anyways.
I’m usually not a fan of airplane breakfast, but I really liked this one; the fruit was delicious and so was the Bircher muesli. For my espresso, I was able to choose from three different kind of beans (I went with the Ethiopian coffee).
The croissants looked stale, but tasted very well actually.
With a few minutes to spare for our scheduled arrival time, we flew into Barcelona Airport. This airport has these plain clothes immigration officers that like to see your passport right after you exit the plane (as does Frankfurt). I find that a nuisance; why check twice, seeing as no passengers can just avoid going through immigration. Immigration itself was empty though and we were out in minutes (only to have a Vueling flight delayed by 4 hours).
All in all, I liked this flight on Singapore Airlines. The seat and suite are great, though quite aged. The flight attendants are exceptionally good (as usual) and really help to make the Singapore Airlines product unique. The food could have been a bit better, but it was OK.
Would I travel on Singapore Airlines again on this route? Absolutely. It’s just around 50,000 KrisFlyer miles and no fuel surcharges. Too bad that the airline is cancelling this route starting October, 2016, though.