Read our writer's views on this property below
Canberra to Wellington, New Zealand
THE LOYALTY SCHEME
Krisflyer (Star Alliance airlines)
Three hours 15 minutes
Four times a week
Business class 16H. The business class cabin features the airline's older 2-2-2 layout. There are 38 business class seats (and 228 in economy) which are 56 centimetres wide and 193 centimetres long as a flat bed with an eight-degree incline.
In business class, up to 40kg (2 x 32kg for Brazil- and USA-Singapore only), plus two carry-on items, up to 7kg each.
Launched September 21, SQ291/292 is Canberra's first regularly scheduled international service (with inward and onward service from Singapore and beyond). The new non-stop 'Capital Express' route joins the capitals of Australia and New Zealand, eliminating the need to travel through Sydney at the Australian end, and Auckland at the New Zealand side of things.
That cuts huge chunks of time and hassle out of the trip for those it directly services.
Canberra's brand new international gate is small but bright, fresh and comfortable, with plenty of seating and work spaces, a small cafe/bar set up and the minimum duty free offering: booze, cigs and a few cosmetics.
Passing through customs and immigration is a breeze in this only moderately busy airport. One thing though – it seems you're suddenly at immigration with little warning or lead-in and there was only one desk there at which to fill in the immigration form. So take care of it before heading upstairs from check-in.
The aircraft is a an older fitout, and perfectly comfortable – it's not the SIA A380 but you don't need it. This is a short daytime flight. The 777-200 is a quiet, sturdy flier that handled Canberra's September inclemency with aplomb.
Krisworld features more than 1000 entertainment options. Each business class seat has universal power and a 39.1-centimetre screen.
No Champagne before take off? Well, it is before 10am and this is likely to be a predominantly business person's flight. The orange juice will do. That lovely Singapore Airlines' service is as impeccable and charming as ever throughout.
A "light lunch" is served, that includes a not-so-light sounding Pork Belly Stew with Chorizo Sausage, Chickpea and Tomato by SIA "culinary ambassador" Matt Moran. It's before midday Canberra time, so I opt for the delicious Grilled Chicken with Singapore Style Chili Sauce that comes with jasmine rice and choy sum. There's a Local Grass-fed Beef Fillet in Mustard-Herb Crust with Red Wine Sauce that the Canberra academic in the window seat next to me polishes off voraciously.
To follow: Singapore Airlines' always classy and generous cheese plate, or a chocolate mousse cake.
It's all accompanied by excellent Australian and New Zealand wines, and real coffee if you want it. (Who can say no to good cheese and real coffee?)
ONE MORE THING
Even for travellers from Melbourne (like me), journey time to Wellington actually works out close to, if not quicker via Canberra than via Auckland or Christchurch (if the direct flight time – on another carrier – doesn't suit.) And you get to fly Singapore Airlines. It's a viable alternative (but for the early start).
Wellington is an awesome destination with a fabulous food scene and a great cultural identity. Canberra is increasingly similar. For natives of each city, the introduction of this route is a game changer. But why not consider a capital hop as a fun holiday idea?
Tested by Julietta Jameson who flew as a guest of Singapore Airlines and Wellington Tourism.