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A350-900, Singapore Airlines has 21 of this aircraft model in its fleet and a further 39 on order, replacing its Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 aircraft, among others.
Brisbane to Singapore
THE LOYALTY SCHEME
Krisflyer, part of the Star Alliance
Premium Economy, seat 32K
7 hours 55 minutes
The new A350 flight from Brisbane to Singapore flies three times a day
The seat is generous, measuring 19 inches (46.2cm) wide with a recline of eight inches (20.3cm). It has a 38-inch (96.5cm) seat pitch. There's a power outlet and two USB ports and good stowage space for laptops, iPads and water bottles.
Checked baggage allowance is 35 kilograms, plus two carry-on items within the cabin. Bonus allowances are available for gold and premium-level Krisflyer and Star Alliance members.
Each seat has ample elbow room, adjustable headrests, swing-up legrests and fold-out footrests, which all help when it's time to stretch out for a snooze, though the seatbelt feels rather bulky because it has an airbag in it. The cabin is intimate with just 24 seats spread between three rows but it doesn't have its own dedicated toilet so one must go back beyond the curtain and join the line.
The 33.8cm (13.3-inch) HD screen offers a good selection of 1000 entertainment options including movies, television, music, games and apps and navigating is easy using a video touchscreen handset. Though it must be said the ratio of new releases could be higher. Noise-cancelling headphones are supplied and work well. Internet service is also available for a charge.
It could have been because this reviewer was seated next to an annoying passenger (constantly packing and unpacking, dropping things, dithering) and thus inextricably associated with them, despite us being strangers, but the cabin crew member assigned to the section I was in avoided any eye contact for the duration of the flight. When said neighbour dropped her tray of food in the aisle as she was getting up, the crew member stepped over it. The second time it happened – this time it was a drink – it was ignored again. Perhaps as punishment for us both we were not offered the last snack of the flight. That said, anyone can have a bad day; across the other side of the plane, passengers looked very happy with their crew member, who seemed to be generous with smiles and enjoyed a chat.
Singapore Airlines has always excelled with its cuisine offering and the Book the Cook feature takes it to another level. Premium Economy passengers can order their main course from an expanded menu up to 24 hours before they fly. The menu was conceived with the help of eight world-renowned chefs from Singapore Airlines' International Culinary Panel, which includes Australia's Matt Moran.
I reserved the chicken biryani, which was suitably spicy and complemented by a cucumber raita. It went down well with a glass of reisling. In Business Class, passengers who took advantage of Book the Cook were being served the popular lobster thermidor, straight from the jetset days of the 1960s.
ONE MORE THING
Melbourne and Sydney passengers might want to consider this option to get to Singapore. At Brisbane airport there's an indoor garden with deckchairs and food offerings with a relaxed ambience that make it almost not matter if you don't have the status to check out the new Krisflyer lounge.
The seat comfort and Book the Cook menu offering make this an attractive option for getting to Singapore at a cheaper price than Business Class.
Our rating out of five: 4/5 stars
Tested by Andrea Black who flew as a guest of Brisbane Airport Corporation.