SQ 452 Singapore to Male
THE LOYALTY SCHEME
KrisFlyer (Star Alliance)
Economy, seat 32C
Four hours, 25 minutes. The flight is one-hour late departing.
Singapore Airlines operates twice daily flights from Singapore to Male (one with its regional carrier SilkAir).
I'm in the second row of economy on a side aisle seat (configuration 2-4-2). It's quite a change from my connecting Melbourne-Singapore flight, where I was seated in the very last row of a Boeing 777-300ER, although this did afford a little extra sideways leg room as the rear side row had only two seats, instead of the usual three. This flight's seat is conveniently located right near the exit and I am one of the first passengers off the plane and speed through immigration. It's also at the opposite end to the bathroom, so there's little foot traffic and no inadvertent bumping from fellow passengers during the flight.
30kg of checked luggage and 7kg of carry on. The flight is relatively full but overhead storage space doesn't seem to be an issue.
Sometimes it's the little things that make all the difference. The seat pocket is wide with four compartments, including a shallow mini-pocket perfect for storing phones and other pesky little essentials that are easily buried and left behind. The tray table folds in half, which is handy for holding a drink and snacks without poking you in the rib cage, and there's a slide-open mirror on the underside, though best not to use it at the end of a flight when your body clock says it's 5am and the angle makes for ghastly viewing.
There's also a separate drink holder that pops out from the seat in front and is useful at meal service when the tray table becomes a wasteland of utensils and serving accoutrements. The seat width is 47cm, with a pitch of 81cm. When reclined, my knees jar into the seat in front (I'm almost 1.8-metres tall), and the adjustable headrest wings do a poor job of supporting my lolling head.
Doesn't skip a beat. Just before take-off I find myself glaring down the aisle in a fatigue-induced stare and an attentive hostie catches my eye and hurries over to see if I need anything. Drinks (not just water) are served within 10 minutes of the seatbelt sign going off and are offered frequently and always with a smile.
The KrisWorld entertainment system is loaded with 294 movies, 688 television shows and 850 CDs. It's delivered through a large headrest screen and a push-out remote (always fun getting these back in their handset). The newer planes have touch screens and inflight Wi-Fi, but not this one. There is, however, an AV port, iPod jack, USB and power outlet. The movie selection is reasonable, if a little light on good new releases. I watch Miss Sloane (action movies just don't cut it on small screen), but what I really want is some sleep.
The dinner service is very edible, even yummy by airline standards. My entree of Cajun spiced chicken salad is crisp and fresh and followed by a main of Malay chicken curry and rice. The curry has a delicious hit of heat, and I even detect a bite of cardamom and am impressed with the authentic Asian flavours. The bread roll is too sweet and would be better served warm, while the coconut-gula Melaka cake is light and not too sweet. Dinner is washed down with a nondescript glass of wine whose variety doesn't get any more specific than "red". My cup of tea is hot and strong. A first.
ONE MORE THING
If you're on a honeymoon and, let's face it, the Maldives is that kind of place, Singapore Airlines provides surprise cake and champagne mid-flight. It's a nice gesture for newlyweds.
Singapore Airlines is certainly one of the better economy offerings, and provides the most direct route to the Maldives from Australia's east coast. The airline was recently named the world's best in the 2018 World Airline Awards.
Great, attentive service but the decor was a little tired. An explanation from the flight deck about the late departure would have been appreciated.
Our rating ouf of five: ★★★★
The writer travelled with assistance from Singapore Airlines.