Flight test: Singapore Airlines

Route Sydney-Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (via Singapore)

Aircraft Refitted Boeing 777-300 to Singapore in economy, aisle seat 57G in the very back row; 777-200 to Ho Chi Minh City in economy, aisle seat 41C.

Flight time Eight hours, five minutes to Singapore; we take off 10 minutes late, land five minutes late. Two hours, five minutes to Ho Chi Minh City; we take off 15 minutes late but land 15 minutes ahead of schedule. During a 3.5-hour stopover in Singapore, we recharge in Changi Airport's free massage chairs.

Seat width and pitch The 777-300's seats are 17.9 inches wide; the 777-200's seats are 19 inches wide. Both have pitch (legroom) of 32 inches.

Seat configuration 3-3-3 in both aircraft's economy section.

Luggage allowance Checked luggage up to 20 kilograms, one piece of hand luggage up to seven kilograms.

Amenities The daytime leg to Singapore includes an amenity kit with socks, toothbrush and paste.

Entertainment There is unexpected entertainment in the shape of seeing Uluru — those sitting on the plane's left-hand side as we head north have a bird's-eye view of the monolith. On the 777-300's 6.5-inch seatback screens, there are enough recent film releases to easily fill the four-movie-long flight time. Viewing choices on the 777-200's seatback screen are narrower but there's barely time for viewing one movie. At least entertainment is provided — not guaranteed if you fly to Vietnam with Vietnam Airlines.

Service The famed "Singapore Girl" cabin crew style is professional and courteous, impeccably groomed but not inclined towards chit-chat.

Food and beverages After leaving Sydney, breakfast arrives promptly: choices include an omelet with chicken sausage or fried rice studded with prawns and barbecue pork. The Asian option is a winner. For lunch, there's chicken and potatoes or beef curry and rice, washed down with French wines or Tiger beer, with Drumstick ice-cream to follow. Cabin crew have to hustle to get dinner served on the quick flight between Singapore and Ho Chi Minh City. Roast chicken with mash is followed by chocolate cake and is my least favourite meal of the day.

Flight frequency Singapore Airlines flies daily from Sydney and Melbourne to Singapore, and from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Return economy class fare from $1100.

Online See singaporeair.com.

Tested by Katrina Lobley, who flew courtesy of Cruiseco.