Airline review: Singapore Airlines Airbus A350-900 economy, Sydney to Barcelona

THE ROUTE

Flight SQ 388, Singapore to Barcelona.

THE AIRCRAFT

Airbus A350-900; Singapore has 23 in its 122-strong passenger fleet.

THE LOYALTY SCHEME

Singapore's KrisFlyer program is best for Singapore Airlines flights, though points are also offered for partner Star Alliance programs.

CLASS

Economy.

DURATION

14 hours, five minutes, covering a total of 10,906 kilometres.

FREQUENCY

Twice weekly, on Mondays and Fridays.

CHECKING-IN

Painless, despite my partner and I travelling with a six-month-old and the metric tonne of luggage that involves. There's no queue whatsoever at Changi Terminal 3 (as seems the norm), and we're checked in within 10 minutes.

THE SEAT

My partner and I have bulkhead seats, 47E and 47G, so we can use the bassinet. It should be noted that certain airlines flying out of Australia don't guarantee bassinets for parents travelling with babies, whereas Singapore Airlines allows you to book them online. We have a reasonable amount of leg room, and the passenger sharing our middle three seats is shifted by staff to give us more room, and for him to avoid our screaming child.

BAGGAGE

Between my partner, our baby and me, we're allowed a whopping two 30-kilogram suitcases, one 10-kilogram suitcase, plus a car seat and a port-a-cot.

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COMFORT

The A350 is one of Singapore Airlines' newer aircraft, a wide-body jet built to compete with Boeing's Dreamliner (and which appears to have a far brighter future than Airbus's A380). It's spacious and comfortable inside, and features SG's new economy seats, which have adjustable cushioned headrests and 11.1-inch (28 centimetre)  touchscreens.

ENTERTAINMENT

When you're travelling with a six-month-old, entertainment is the last thing on your mind. Singapore does offer more than 1000 movies, TV programs, music and games, but we mostly play episodes of Peppa Pig in an effort to calm our baby, Angus, at various points. We're also using a "CoziGo", which is a tent-like thing that sits over the top of the bassinet to help Angus sleep, and which also blocks part of our TV screens, so I end up watching the left-hand half of The Great British Bake Off in our downtime.

SERVICE

This is our first long-haul journey with a baby, and we chose Singapore Airlines because of its reputation for amazing service – and we're not disappointed. It's exceptional. Every member of the cabin crew calls past before take-off to ask our son's name. They all remember it. They bring toys for him to play with. Two of the crew, Melwyn and Peng, constantly call past to check on us, to chat, to reassure us Angus isn't being a nuisance, to hold him while we get ourselves organised, and to generally just support us. It's a life-saver.

FOOD

Here's my one tiny gripe with Singapore Airlines. Pretty much everything about the food and beverage service is great. There's a drinks cart within about 30 minutes of take-off, serving wine and cocktails. Angus gets his own baby meal, and my partner and I are served our food at separate times to allow one of us to baby-wrangle. We eat "oriental chicken rice" with black mushrooms and Chinese greens for dinner, and braised rice vermicelli with seafood for breakfast. It's really tasty. The only problem? The wine service. Wine is offered on the first drinks cart run, but with dinner, the staff offer only tea or coffee. They have wine, but you have to ask for it.

ONE MORE THING

How great is this? It's not just the staff who help out with Angus. The two women in the row next to us ask for a turn playing with him. And a lady from the back of the plane asks if she can take him to her seat for a while. We're more than happy to loan him out.

VERDICT

Singapore Airlines has built its reputation on great service and on this flight they go beyond our expectations. It's truly exceptional. Melwyn and Peng in particular do just as good a job calming and reassuring the parents as they do the baby. It makes the whole experience far more enjoyable than we'd expected.

OUR RATING OUT OF FIVE

Five

Ben Groundwater travelled at his own expense.

See also: TripAdvisor names the world's best airlines for 2019

See also: Skytrax names the world's best airports for 2019

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