Boeing 777-300, of which Singapore Airlines has 31, with either 278 or 284 seats.
Sydney to Singapore
THE LOYALTY SCHEME
Kris Flyer/Star Alliance
Economy, seat 49 H
8 hours 20 minutes
Four flights daily from both Melbourne and Sydney to Singapore.
32-inch (81.28 cm) pitch, 17.9-inch (45 cm) to 18.5-inch (47cm) width.
I'm down the back of this older style Boeing 777 in an aisle seat with my children next to me. There's a footrest, but I can only use one side of it as there's a large control box blocking the other; this seems to be an issue with most of the aisle seats in Economy.
There's a small first class cabin with eight seats, a larger business cabin with 50 seats and behind that 226 economy seats, in a 3-3-3 layout. Unlike the newer Airbus and retrofitted Boeings in the Singapore fleet there's no USB port or power outlet on this aircraft.
Checked bags up to a generous 30kg, plus one carry-on bag and one personal item.
This is a day flight so being able to recline the seat to sleep isn't as important as it would be on a night flight. After some initial bumps out of Sydney, it's a smooth flight, if I ignore the constant taps from my eight-year old who's keen to share all details of the movies she's watching.
Singapore's Kris World entertainment system offers 80 movies, from Hollywood new releases to Bollywood hits, and 126 TV shows. Most of the latter only have two episodes of a series; I reckon the airline is in cahoots with iTunes so we'll have to download the rest when we get home. I've brought my own noise cancelling headphones which make a huge difference.
Attentive, warm and efficient. Singapore Airlines just knows how to do service. The airline was recently named as having the best customer service of any international carrier flying from Australia, based on Roy Morgan Research.
Breakfast is served about an hour after take off; the kids get their special meals (pancakes, cereal, fruit and a hard, dry roll studded with sultanas) way before I get my noodles with pork. They're a little bland and I only see the separate container of chilli sauce after I've finished them, dammit.
Drinks are served five hours into the flight followed by lunch. The kids get penne with chicken bolognese, a small packet of chips and a gingerbread man. Happy days. "The best plane food ever, mummy" is their verdict. For grown-ups it's a choice of stir fried chicken and vegetables in dried chilli with fragrant rice or braised beef with potatoes; the chicken wins but it's not as good as the earlier noodles.
ONE MORE THING...
Of Singapore Airlines' flights daily between Sydney/Melbourne and Singapore the ones in the older aircraft tend to be less popular (and a little cheaper) that the A380/A330.
There's a noticeable difference between this Boeing 777-300 flight and the newer A380 aircraft. While it's not as comfortable as flying in the A380 economy class (some seats are up to 2cm narrower), and a bit cramped for the overnight flights we do in the same aircraft subsequently, the level of service and the quality of the food and wine make up for it.
Tested by Sally Webb who flew courtesy of Singapore Airlines.