Airline review: Singapore Airlines economy class, Brisbane to Singapore

THE PLANE

Airbus A330-300, which has 285 seats (255 in Economy, 30 in Business class); Singapore Airlines has 26 of these in its fleet.

THE ROUTE

Brisbane to Singapore

THE LOYALTY SCHEME

KrisFlyer is free to join and a member of the Star Alliance whose 28 member airlines include Air New Zealand and Thai Airways. 

CLASS

Economy, aisle seat 39D

DURATION

Eight hours, 20 minutes

THE SEAT

It's a 2-4-2 configuration and I had an aisle seat in the middle section. The seat is 19 inches (48 centimetres) wide with a pitch of 32 inches (81 centimetres) and has a mirror in the tray table, a separate seat-back cup-holder, a USB charger and 110V power point and a coat hook.

BAGGAGE

The checked baggage allowance is 30 kilograms (50 kilograms for KrisFlyer Elite Gold and Star Alliance Gold members) plus one piece of carry-on up to 7 kilograms.

COMFORT

There's nothing better than finding that the last person has boarded and there are still two empty seats next to you; I didn't need to sleep on this daytime flight, but it was handy to have the extra space for my fleece blanket, pillow, reading matter and water bottle. Economy passengers receive a plastic pouch containing socks, toothbrush and toothpaste. 

ENTERTAINMENT

Does anyone read in-flight magazines on long-haul flights any more? I didn't on this flight; the KrisWorld entertainment system on the 10.6-inch (26 centimetre) screen was too engrossing with its 296 movies (including a "Trekkies" category for Star Trek fans), 576 TV shows, 864 CDs and six radio channels. There's also a Learning channel with Berlitz guides to 22 languages, executive summaries of "top business books" and a fascinating "About your flight" channel explaining everything you think you should know about air travel, from how jet engines work to what happens in case of bird strike.

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SERVICE

Checking in and choosing my seat online (I used seatguru.com, but singaporeair.com also has seat maps) meant a shorter check-in queue at the airport, a great way to start a long-haul flight. On board, I couldn't fault Singapore's flight attendants. They were equal parts friendly, attentive and efficient – and elegant (the female stewardesses, anyway, anachronistically called Singapore Girls on the airline's website) in their blue ankle-length sarong kabaya uniforms.

FOOD

Because of the 9am departure time, there were two light meals: brunch and "refreshment". Forgetting the "golden rule" of airline food – choose the dish closest to the cuisine of the airline's country – I ordered the "baked eggs" (with chicken sausages, baked beans and roasted potatoes) instead of the stir-fried pork with ginger and black bean sauce, which looked tastier, but the meal was redeemed by a second service of mini Magnum ice creams. I skipped the second meal: chicken carbonara (penne pasta) or char siu fried noodles with pork.

ONE MORE THING…

Singapore Airlines passengers in transit at Singapore's Changi Airport can get up to $SD40 (about $40) to spend in any of its three terminals; see changiairport.com to find out which flights are eligible. And to celebrate 50 years of flying to Australia this year, the airline is adding more flights between Singapore and Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane; see singaporeair.com 

THE VERDICT

This is how economy air travel should be: smooth, comfortable and hitch-free. It certainly doesn't feel like "cattle class" with Singapore Airlines. 

Tested by Louise Southerden, who flew courtesy of GAdventures.

Our rating out of five: 4

See also: Airline review: Etihad Airways economy class

See also: Airline review: Cathay Pacific economy class

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