Airline review: Singapore Airlines Airbus A350-900 Premium Economy, Amsterdam to Singapore

Our rating

4 out of 5

THE PLANE

Airbus A350-900; Singapore Airlines has 16 in its fleet with 51 on order. The A350 has revolutionary wings that adapt intelligently throughout the flight, reducing air resistance and providing a smoother ride.

THE ROUTE

SQ323 Amsterdam to Singapore

THE LOYALTY SCHEME

KrisFlyer, which belongs to Star Alliance, whose 27 member airlines include Lufthansa and Air New Zealand.

CLASS

Premium economy, seat 32A, in a 24-seat cabin.

DURATION

12 hours, 30 minutes.

FREQUENCY

Daily

THE SEAT

The window seat in a 2-4-2 configuration includes power outlet and USB port for personal devices, adjustable reading lamp, built-in armrest tray table, decent-sized seat-back pouch and water bottle stowage. Seat width is 48.3 centimetres, at least 3.8cm better than economy. Recline is 20.3 centimetres with a 96.5-centimetre pitch, about 15.2cm more than economy. The footrest is useful to relieve back-of-leg pressure though the calf rest is tricky to extend.

BAGGAGE

Thirty-five kilograms checked baggage and seven kilograms for carry-on. Spacious lockers accommodate oversized carry-on baggage delinquents.

COMFORT

It's a stark fact that the two-seaters offer more comfort than the middle four seats. I experienced both and felt the difference. The slender console between the four-seaters' middle two seats compares unfavourably with the wider console between other seats, giving a cramped feel to all four seats. Twenty-four premium economy passengers and 51 economy passengers share four toilets. It's not enough, especially as they also service some passengers from the back section of economy. The amenities pouch has socks and toothbrush but no eye mask or earplugs.

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ENTERTAINMENT

KrisWorld's inflight entertainment system has a 33.7-centimetre HD-enabled touchscreen monitor with noise-cancelling headphones. There are hundreds of entertainment options – movies, TV programs, music, games and apps, internet connectivity, and text and multimedia messaging. I enjoy the terrific batch of TV series, but would appreciate more first-release movies. The front row of premium economy has wall video screens, which may not be to everyone's taste.

SERVICE

Extremely charming on this day flight, so we avoid the unseemly rush to feed and bed that can accompany a night flight. We would have enjoyed a welcome glass of something on boarding, which is what Qantas premium economy offers. We do receive a pre-dinner drink with almonds/cashews (not offered on the night flight), with our pleasant stewardess offering, unprompted, to replace the thimble with a larger glass because "a bigger glass of champagne is always appreciated!". It's not that big and it's plastic, but the personal touch is appreciated. Lots of water is offered, plus fruit and snacks and our names are always used.

FOOD

We pre-order premium economy "Book the Cook" dishes, but will probably go with on-board meal choices in future. Meals arrive early and the drinks trolley only appears with general meals, by which stage we've finished. The salmon mousse entree is just OK but I enjoy my tasty beef rendang. The rice isn't heated to a crisp as on a previous leg. Love the gouda cheese with crackers. Dessert is a rock-hard ice-cream block with coffee innards; the actual coffee is too bitter for my taste. Breakfast is fresh, sweet fruit, croissant, cheese, ham and yoghurt and orange juice. Nice.

THE LAST WORD

Sleep is a precious gift on long flights and this seat is comfortable enough for a decent snooze. It's a pricier but worthwhile choice, so treat yourself if you can.

The writer flew with the assistance of APT.