What is it like to fly business class?

If you’ve been flying economy class most of your life, you could be wondering what flying business class is actually like. The price difference can be anywhere between $50 up to $3,000 more between economy and business, and is upgrading to business class really worth it?

You may also be wondering how business class differs between airlines, because no two airlines are the same. This not only applies to business class amenities offered, but rules and regulations as well – for example, the Delta business class dress code can differ from Emirates’.

So when answering what it’s really like to fly business class, there are a lot of variables to consider, and we’re going to explore them.

Business class: Short-haul versus Long-haul flights

For starters, business class may differ only slightly from economy class on domestic flights, with a bit of nicer seating and amenities – the differences become a lot more apparent on international flights.

Because domestic flights are typically much shorter, a business class upgrade may really only offer more comfortable seating on a short-haul flight. A gourmet meal wouldn’t make much sense on a 2-hour flight, so even though you’re in business class, expect soft drinks and snacks.

On long-haul flights, however, business class will provide you with a menu of fancier food choices, especially compared to economy class. International long-haul flights that exceed 7 hours or more will typically provide 2 meals during the flight. Of course, this is all contextual, and based on the airline itself. Some airlines are obviously higher rated than others, and you can check out some rankings, like this list of the top ten airlines for in-flight meals.

Business class amenity kits

Most airlines provide upgraded amenity kits to business class customers, which are typically stocked with a handful of “useful” items for the flight. Emirates’ business class amenity kit, for example, provides flyers with things like Gilette shaving cream and razors, Bvlgari lotions, and other name-brand toiletries. American Airlines’ amenity kit come in a pouch designed by leather accessory company This Is Ground, and includes skincare products from Allies of Skin.

Just like the in-flight meals, not all amenity kits are the same (or equal). But the amenity kits are really just a nice little “thank you” from the airline, what matters the most are the actual in-flight amenities. And again, all airlines are a little bit different, but let’s examine some of the unique business class amenities from popular airlines.

Emirates: Direct boarding from a private lounge that offers free wifi and an unlimited buffet. On the flight you have a personal minibar next to your seat, 4,500 channels of entertainment, and an on-board bar and lounge where you can order cocktails.

Singapore Airlines: SA offers a unique “Book the Cook” feature to business and first class customers. You can choose your in-flight meal 6 months in advance, and your main meal 24 hours before departure, from a pretty huge menu of over 70 meals.

Qatar Airways: Qatar Airways has been ranked as having the best business class in the world by numerous travel reviews, as you can expect things like a personal 17-inch LCD screen, on-demand meals served in multiple courses, seats that recline into flat beds, and more.

So is flying business class worth it?

Flying business class over economy will always be “worth it”, it’s just important to have realistic expectations. As we mentioned, short-haul flights won’t be as luxurious as long-haul flights, and you should research the exact amenities offered by different airlines, so you can figure which one offers business class features you’d enjoy the most.

Overall though, flying business class is a luxurious experience, and worth it if you’d like to upgrade over economy class, but not break the bank with first class.

Jet airways business class review

I recently travelled with Jet Airways in their “Premiere” class aka Business class.

Their prices seem very competitive and their routes have convenient flight times and connections too.

I was given the chance to conduct my own Jet airways business class review travelling from London to Singapore via Mumbai. Here’s how I got on.

Check in and lounge

I can’t remember the last time I flew out of Heathrow terminal 4. A refurbished modern airport terminal with a streamlined process from check-in to departure gate. Made all the more so by flying Business Class.

There was no queue at the Business Class check-in counter and a courteous greeting by the head flight-attendant was the perfect way to start my experience. A quick zip through security in the Express Lane and I was gate side in under 2 minutes! A new world record! After that I was on the hunt for the lounge access I had been granted.

Business and first class passengers with Jet Airways have access to the Plaza lounge shared by numerous airlines. Plaza Lounge is a network of premium lounges throughout the world.

A quiet and peaceful place to relax and get some last minute work done before the flight. A buffet breakfast was on offer although catering for a global audience so expect chicken sausages and turkey bacon rather than great British cuisine. Never-the-less it was pleasant enough.

There’s plenty of drinks on offer (all complimentary) and plenty of sofas, seats, desks and cafe style tables to enjoy a cuppa and charge your phone. Certainly beats waiting uncomfortably at a gate seat. Before too long my gate was open and it was time to board my Boeing 777-ER to Mumbai!

Seat

Another perk is boarding first and greeted with a warm welcome as I entered the plane, a Boeing 777-ER with curved seating pods in Premiere Class. I’ve flown Business before but this is my first experience of the unusual pod style.

First thing you notice is that the seats face away from the windows so if you’re a plane geek like me you’ll soon develop a strained next from trying to look out the window. In fact my flight from Mumbai to Singapore was in 1A. A lovely number to be sat at but the window was fully behind the seat so not much of a view there.

Still this is a minor issue as most of your time is spent watching movies and eating food. More on these later.

A fully reclining seat comes with an impressive array of buttons that can adjust various parts of the seat. From head rest to leg support and everything in between. There’s even a massage button for your lower back which is subtle in its application but very welcome as my back always suffers during long haul flights.

The curved pod design means lots of slots and cubby holes for your phone, your glass of champagne and the giant headphones they give you. It didn’t take me long to fill these spaces with everything I needed to call this home for the next 9 hours to Mumbai and 5 from there to Singapore.

Going “fully flat” is made simple with one button handily labelled with “zzz“. Considering I’m a lanky 6’4” I was impressed I could actually lay flat with my feat touching one end and my head just on the rest, wrapped in a cosy duvet and soft pillow. Interestingly it never feels like a novelty and I actually slept more than I usually do on long haul flights. Having said that it doesn’t feel like a bed eithr as the gaps between each section of the seat are noticeable when laying down. The glaring brightness of all the LED lit buttons and TV screens means it’s never that dark either. Still it was a welcome experience compared to sleeping in a normal reclining plane seat.

Service

While I was expecting good service for the price of a Business Class seat I have to make a special mention to the crew, especially on my London to Mumbai flight who were wonderfully friendly, chatty and really made the whole experience just that little bit more special. Being approachable means I never felt awkward asking for more snacks or asking questions about the flight. They were a touch above and beyond what I’ve experienced elsewhere and I can see how this would build brand loyalty among frequent flyers.

Food

One great thing about flying with an Indian Airline is the fantastic Asian dishes I was looking forward to experiencing. I’m a sucker for a curry and these flights did not disappoint. Beautifully presented on fine crockery I was quite surprised that such a fine meal could even be served at 35,000 feet. The choice of options were interesting for every meal and I felt compelled to try something new each time.

 

The Dining service was both flexible and personalised. I even received a surprise treat during the flight with a platter of fruits and tasty strawberry tart, a chance to meet the flight attendants and have a chat about their working day. In Premiere Class I really felt the meals were a dining experience in themselves rather than economy class sealed tin boxes we’ve all become accustomed to. For me the meals were the highlight of the trip.

Entertainment

Most of your time on any long haul flight is devoted to entertainment, what else is there to do after all? If you’re like me and can’t sleep much even on night flights, the entertainment system is your companion to while away the hours. The “Jet Screen” had an impressive array of both Hollywood and Bollywood movies to choose from as well as TV shows and music. The user interface could do with an update as it looks a little “Windows 95” but was fairly easy to use. The only issue I had was after chatting to a flight attendant I’d need to rewind the movie a few seconds, this is almost impossible as the fast forward and rewind functions skipped a couple of minutes at a time causing you to rewatch or miss chunks of a movie. A real “21st century problem” I know but a little inconvenient none-the-less.

Another little bug was when attempting to sleep you can switch off the screen entirely which is great but sadly this feature is undone by the crew using the PA system to make an announcement, usually about turbulence, causing the screen to wake up and not switch off again. It’s surprisingly bright too!

Conclusion

Both of my flights were pleasurable and very comfortable. Being so tall I usually get aches and pains in my legs and back from being forced upright in economy seats. Not so with full flat reclining Premiere seats. The food was an absolute highlight and the service was fantastic throughout. I’ve been really impressed by Jet Airways and wouldn’t hesitate to fly with them again. A big thank you to jetairways.com for their hospitality on these flights.

Book online direct with Jet Airways at jetairways.com.

Flight details

London to Mumbai

  • Flight number:9W11
  • Origin: London Heathrow Airport – Terminal 4
  • Destination: Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport – Terminal 2
  • Departs: 9:30am
  • Arrives : 11:10pm
  • Plane: Boeing 777-ER
  • Flight time: 9 hours

Mumbai to Singapore

  • Flight number: 9W12
  • Origin: Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport – Terminal 2
  • Destination: Changi International Airport – Terminal 3
  • Departs: 1:15am
  • Arrives : 9:25am
  • Plane: Boeing 777-ER
  • Flight time: 5.5 hours
SQ308 flight review

SQ308 review – Singapore Airlines SQ308 Changi to London

SQ308 flight reviewAfter a very enjoyable 2.5 months in Asia, catching up with good friends and exploring more of both Singapore and Malaysia, it was time to head back to England via London Heathrow.

Singapore Airline’s SQ308 would be our flight of choice for our return journey.

So here’s my in-depth SQ308 flight review so you know exactly what to expect when you fly with Singapore Airlines.

Why choose SQ308?

We chose this flight for a couple of reasons. Firstly its a fully daytime flight which is unusual for a 13.5 hour journey. Leaving at 9:05am and losing 7 hours on the way (as it was summer time in the UK) meant we’d be landing at around 3:30pm UK time.

It’s hard to work out which has the bigger effect on jetlag, the time difference or the hours away on a plane as I don’t sleep all that much when flying. All the other Singapore to London flights I’ve done have involved some overnight travel which usually cause more jet-lag. So it would be interesting to see if this flight would.

Secondly we chose SQ308 as its one of Singapore Airline’s Airbus A380 planes, the huge double-decker that on this flight was configured with all business-class on the upper deck. Some of their Singapore to London flights have extra economy seats upstairs so if you’re looking for more seating options, or possibly more business class seating options, check which type of A380 you’re booking on.

There’s some notable differences when flying on an A380 that, for me make it well worth hunting out.

Leaving Changi Airport

Changi AirportThere’s probably no better airport on earth than Changi. It has everything you’d expect and a whole lot more. In fact in many ways it redefines what a good airport should be like. The Check in area is quiet and very bright with high ceilings and lots of space.

Border control takes a minute if that, I’ve never seen much of a queue there, they seem to handle staff numbers very well unlike some airports I’ve flown from. There’s no security at this point which speeds things up immensely. That’s handled at each gate which makes a huge difference.

There’s no shortage of things to do once you’re in the departure lounge. Check out the free cinema, get a panoramic view of the runway and planes being serviced. Use the internet for free, enjoy the sunflower garden outside or even the wonderful butterfly sanctuary.

There’s no time to be bored here.

Boarding the A380

SQ308 A380 Singapore to LondonConsidering its size, the Singapore Airlines A380 configurations only carry a maximum of 471 people, fairly low compared to most carriers with A380s at the moment. Changi is fully equipped to handle these giants too, being the first airport and national carrier to fly the A380.

The departure gate has 2 ramps to board either the upper or main deck. So depending on your seat you’ll be directed to the entrance that will get you to your seat quickest.

Boarding time didn’t seem any longer than any other flight I’ve taken. We were soon pushing back and taxi-ing to the runway.

There was a delay of some 40 minutes before take-off due to congestion on our flight path but the surroundings were comfortable enough to relax in.

Take off

Its worth noting the take off of an A380 as its quite unlike any other plane I’ve flown on. Most planes push you back in your seat with a roar of the engines when they begin to hurtle down the runway.

This doesn’t happen with an A380 as it weighs up to 700 tonnes! There’s no feeling of acceleration at all as this process takes a little longer. Airbus also boast that the A380’s superior sound insulation reduces outside noise by 50{bec4beb4183ddc16376e6eff89836f2abe3407e857522bf84005ba0ad48d654d}.

This is most apparent when taking off as you can barely notice any difference. Take off becomes quite a relaxing experience, almost a non-event. Take off out of Changi Airport was smooth and quiet, perfect for anxious flyers.

In-Flight Entertainment

A380 Singapore Airlines in flight entertainmentAs with all major carriers these days there’s on-demand facilities showing a handful of the latest blockbusters and a decent collection of other movies, TV and music. The current entertainment offering on the Singapore Airlines A380s is an older system first introduced in 2008.

While its fully featured I’m looking forward to when the airline update their A380s in line with their new entertainment service on their Boeing 777s which definitely offer a bit more. Never-the-less the choice of movies was very impressive. Catering for both a western and Asian market.

All the latest movies including some indie movies I’d never heard of but were worth watching. They also had entire movie franchises which is something I’d not seen before.

If movies aren’t your thing there’s a decent amount of TV shows and even some live music concerts from the likes of the Rolling Stones. As this was a day flight I had no problem consuming 5 movies and a couple of episodes of an american sitcom.

The only difference with Singapore Airlines compared to some European carriers is that with Singapore you can’t start watching movies before takeoff and during landing. Something which I found enjoyable to pass the time during these parts of the flight. Hopefully this will change as more airlines allow this.

Comfortable seating

Singapore Airlines foodWe were lucky enough to have bulk-head seats during this flight which were comfortable and offered a little more leg room. I’m tall so didn’t have a chair in front of me that usually rubs against my knees.

Singapore Airlines do seem to have a level of quality in their seat upholstery that makes them more comfortable and cleaner looking too. This A380 features a cream and almost orange interior in one section.

With a light blue in another, you could describe the interior as “inoffensive”, it’s not the most exciting but it is relaxing and comfortable. The plane also features a colour changing LED lighting system which the crew can control to simulate sunset and sunrise. A wonderful way to be woken up or sent off to sleep.

Of course with this being a night flight it wasn’t really needed although for some reason I did see the lights go through sunset and sunrise modes a number of times.

There was no need for everyone to pull their window blinds down so there were patches of darker and lighter parts of the plan interior where some had and some hadn’t. Maybe this was the reason.

Conclusion

Considering the 14 or so hours we spent on the aircraft, the journey seemed to go by so easy and effortlessly. The food was great, Singapore do have some of the best inflight meals and rather than push drinks trollies around we could go up to the galley and help request any soft drinks and alcoholic drinks we wanted, along with small snacks too.

The flight crew were friendly and attentive, always willing to help with a smile, all dressed in the very unique Singapore Airlines uniform. I’ve flown long haul many times now but that was definitely the easiest flight, a combination of day time flying, comfortable surroundings and a smooth journey all the way.

Helped by the beautiful beast that is the Airbus A380. I definitely recommend flying on this aircraft if you get the chance.

Our thanks to Singapore Airlines for their hospitality on SQ308 from Singapore to London.

  • From London: Singapore Airlines offers 28 nonstop flights per week, or four times daily from Heathrow, with Airbus 380-800 and Boeing 777-300ER aircraft
  • From Manchester: Singapore Airlines operates daily flights from Manchester to Singapore via Munich with Boeing 777-300ER aircraft
  • For more information visit www.singaporeair.com

Cheap hotel deals in Singapore

I’ve been searching the internet for the best hotel deals in Singapore right now. Here’s what I’ve found. I’ll keep this list updated regularly. Just click “VIEW HOTEL” to see more details about the discount deal.

What to read now

How about checking out the Best new attractions in Singapore or my pick of the Best restaurants in Singapore right now. Maybe you’re looking for things to do in Singapore on a budget. If you’re travelling with an infant check out our Singapore Airlines bassinet review.

SQ305 Review – Singapore Airlines – London to Singapore

Now that we’re a family with a toddler travelling has a whole new set of perspectives, challenges and experiences to be had. Some filled with excitement and anticipation while others like long haul flying often fill people with dread.

For years I’ve been the guy occasionally tutting at the parents who can’t stop their baby screaming for the entire flight. Now it was time to take my baby on a flight and experience it from the parent’s point of view!

Thankfully our first foray in to long haul flying was with Singapore Airlines, an airline constantly voted one of the best in the world and flying to a country we love to visit whenever we can. So how would 13 hours in a plane be for us and our daughter?

Here’s our SQ305 review…

Flight details

  • Number: SQ305
  • Route: London Heathrow to Changi, Singapore
  • Flight time: 12 hours 40 minutes
  • Flight distance: 10,891 km (6,767 miles)
  • Aircraft type: Boeing 777-300
  • Registration: 9V-SWM

Checking in at London Heathrow Terminal 2

T2 at Heathrow Airport in London is the latest terminal to get a complete overhaul. I remember flying from this terminal many years ago and it certainly has changed beyond all recognition. Now a bright and spacious place to check in and spend a couple of hours. Check-in services here have changed a lot too. You now have to check in via computer, scanning your passport as proof of purchase. Don’t bother printing any paperwork, I did and a passport is all you need so its really not worth it. Singapore Airlines long haul flights thankfully gave us 30kg each  for the flights and anyone that’s travelled with a baby before will testify that you need every spare kg you can get!

The check in desks here serve multiple airlines which makes checking in much quicker as there’s more available counters to walk up to. The downside is that the staff no longer work for your airline so forget about asking for a free upgrade. Those days are gone unfortunately.

Terminal 2 departure lounge is fantastic, to rival the best in the world I’d say. Some great places to eat, large open  space with plenty of natural light and even a play area for the kids which kept both my daughter and I entertained until we were ready to board SQ305.

View [tp_link origin=LON destination=SIN text_link=”the latest cheap flights from London to Singapore” origin_date=1 destination_date=12 one_way=false type=1 subid=””]

Travelling with our toddler

We boarded our Boeing 777-312ER pretty quickly. Travelling with a child does have its perks as you get to jump the queues and head straight to the front. Of course it doesn’t get you there any quicker but does help you grab a bit more overhead compartment space for the masses of carry-on every parent travels with. The fleet of 777s flying out of London have all been upgraded to the latest Singapore Airlines cabin interior which was spacious and bright. While the plane fuselage is obviously no different to any other 777-312 they have found new and ingenious ways to pack in all the carry-on and offer decent bassinet seats with the TV screens attached to the wall in front. Much better than trying to stuff them in to immovable arm rests which are often uncomfortable especially if you’re as tall as me.

Singapore Airlines SQ305 review

Our daughter seemed to like the plane as she promptly fell asleep before take-off. It made the anxious part of starting the journey a lot easier and once we were at cruising altitude we transferred her to her bassinet and she slept for a couple of hours.

Keeping a toddler entertained and happy is one of the toughest things on a long haul flight. They don’t like to sit still and have no interest in the art-house indie movie with subtitles that you’d love to finally watch.

They want to be walked up and down the isle and constantly requesting books and toys that are in one of many bags in the overhead compartments. So the flight is anything but relaxing for a parent. Lots to do all the time and you’ll be lucky to watch a couple of movies!

The best advice I have is to just go with it and remember that a 13 hour flight is like spending the day in your lounge with your child. They’ll want toys, want food, want sleep and cuddles. They’re also like to cry and possibly scream at some point too.

Its all in a days work for a baby so why should this day be any different? True to form our daughter did all these things, thankfully not too much of the screaming and crying. She slept well too in her bassinet although had to be removed a couple of times when turbulence forced the pilot to put on the seatbelt signs.

Bassinet seat on SQ305

In flight entertainment

With the new interior in the Singapore Airlines 777 fleet out of London you get the new in-fight entertainment system too. I have to say its much improved with a better user interface and a hand held control that has its own screen. This allows you to browse while watching TV and also check the latest flight information without exiting your movie. The screens are also touch controlled which may seem like a great feature but you’ll soon wish it wasn’t there when the guy in the seat behind you starts tapping and swiping on the screen attached to your seat! There’s really not much need for it either as the handheld device does all the controls you’ll need.

As with every Singapore Airlines flight I’ve taken the range of movies and TV is excellent with all the hollywood blockbusters and classic indie movies you’ll ever need. Plus a lot of great Asian movies including Bollywood and Chinese.

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The flight information app was great too which some impressive Google Earth style flyover animations that do a great job of telling you where you are. I always love to keep an eye on this as I find aviation fascinating.

The on problem I’ve noticed on numerous flights recently is the inability for the on-demand movies to play without jumping, skipping or pausing. Presumably because the computers used to handle all of this new system can’t handle the data. I even asked the flight attendants to re-boot my particular seat (they’ll happily do it) which takes around 20 minutes but sadly it didn’t improve things.

It made watching movies a little less enjoyable. Hopefully they’ll find a fix for this soon. It seems I wasn’t the only one that experienced this too.

Travelling with a baby on Singapore Airlines

Service

I have to make a special note of the service on this flight as the crew were wonderfully accommodating and hospitable towards those with children. When we boarded the plane we were asked our daughter’s name and all the crew used it throughout the flight, a nice touch that really made us feel welcome. Its all too easy for parents to feel they are a massive burden on both the other passengers and the crew.

Not so on this flight and they were so attentive to our daughter’s needs. They even took turns picking her up and entertaining her for a few moments to give us a break. I was really surprised by how great they were with our daughter, in fact when the crew spotted us again at the baggage reclaim in Singapore they rushed over for one last cuddle and my daughter delighted in waving goodbye to them.

As a family travelling on a long haul flight this made a massive difference and the entire journey felt a little less stressful.

SQ305 flight review 2015

Conclusion

Thanks to decent seats in a new and well designed interior, great service from the crew and a happy placid daughter, the flight was enjoyable and comfortable. A lot more enjoyable that I thought a flight with a 16 month old toddler would be. It was a great first long haul flight for my daughter and has given us the confidence to take her anywhere in the world.

View [tp_link origin=LON destination=SIN text_link=”the latest flight deals from London to Singapore” origin_date=1 destination_date=12 one_way=false type=1 subid=””]

Check out this awesome review from our friend Pommie Travels who sampled business class on her flight back from Changi Airport in Singapore.

With thanks

A big thank you to Singapore Airlines for their support with this review. You can book flights directly with them at the Singapore Airlines website and follow them on Twitter for all the latest news and very helpful customer service.

Singapore Airlines direct flights

Singapore Airlines bassinet review – (Flight SQ211 review)

We recently flew from Singapore to Sydney, two places we’ve been to before but this time we have a family.

Our little daughter, at just 16 months old, is a travel junkie too but long haul flights are a new experience for us all.

Travelling on planes without children is a very different experience so we were keen to see how Singapore Airlines would make our journey as comfortable and easy as possible.

Checking in at Changi Singapore

As many travellers will tell you, any flight starting at Changi Airport in Singapore is a delight. Constantly voted the best airport in the world and its easy to see why. The whole experience is relaxed, quiet and calm with plenty to do before you board your plane.

Check in is still a personal experience rather than using faceless machines and security is conveniently located at the gates rather than after check-in so you feel you’ve made it through to departures a lot quicker than any other airport. There’s a butterfly sanctuary, a free cinema and plenty of places to check your emails and charge your phones too.

There’s also some great views of the runway to help pass the time. It all helps create an atmosphere of calm and serenity which should help any nervous flyer.

Changi Airport butterfly sanctuary

Travelling with a child

All this serenity can be entirely lost on kids who live by their own moods whenever they feel like it! Thankfully the play area at Changi helped burn off some energy and when it came time to board our Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-312 our daughter was suitably tired.

We had bassinet seats thankfully so she had somewhere to sleep after takeoff. When you’re traveling without children, taxiing to the runway for takeoff seems to take forever, but with kids you hardly have time to notice you’ve left the ground as you’re busy entertaining the little one and making sure they’re happy and comfortable.

The flight path is fairly bumpy as you cross from one jet stream to another but once you’re over Australian land its much smoother. So expect a bit of turbulence in the first few hours.

Bassinet seats

The interior of this particular Singapore Airlines 777-312 was relatively old, at least by the modern standards of some of their fleet. It could definitely do with an overhaul as my seat cushion had collapsed somewhat leaving a metal bar pushing against my thighs.

Not the most comfortable of economy seats. The bassinet was perfect for our daughter who merrily dozed in it apart from during moments of turbulence when we had to remove her. Its a real pain but I fully understand the safety aspect of doing this.

People with long legs (like me) usually end up with our knees jammed against the seat in front, no issue with that in the bassinet seats but its impossible to put your legs out straight too so expect some discomfort after a long haul flight.

I recommend getting up every hour or so for some exercise, if you’re travelling with children you’ll no doubt be up every 10 minutes with them unless they’re sleeping. Our daughter very much enjoyed walking up and down the isles, chatting to the passengers and flight crew too.

Bassinet on SQ211

As with all parents using Bassinet seats you’ll soon find that its more useful as a shelf for all the books, cushions, toys, drinks and other baby paraphernalia you may have.

Our daughter only slept a total of 3 hours out of the 7 hours on SQ211 so for the other 4 hours this is pretty much how it looked. Every bassinet in use around us looked the same. Its amazing how much extra you need in your carry-on bags just for children!

In flight entertainment

On-demand systems are the norm these days so standards in delivery and movie selection are what we look benchmark them by. Singapore Airlines consistently has a great selection of movies and TV from around the world. With high numbers of Chinese, Indian and European travellers their selection is huge and well varied. Larger than any I’ve seen on other airlines.

I have a feeling the collections are so big the computer systems they run it on have trouble delivering so much content to all of the passengers as I’ve experienced freezing and jumping video on all Singapore airlines flights recently. The free headphones in economy class are frankly rubbish, with no high range and jarring mid range audio quality.

Thankfully I always travel with an adapter that allows me to plug my own high quality noise cancelling headphones in to the seat. I highly recommend doing this and I’m quite surprised at how bad the free headphones are these days.

They’re also in-ear style ear-buds which aren’t to everyone’s preference. Business get over-the-ear higher quality headphones, its a shame this doesn’t apply to all classes. My screen also had a few issues displaying everything with a blue tint if I put it in the wrong position.

Definitely showing signs the equipment had seen better days, hopefully this plane (9V-SYG) will get an interior overhaul soon.

Food

As this flight left around 9:45am Singapore time and Australia is 3 hours ahead we were served a lunch at around 11:30am. Some airlines don’t offer any meals to children but thankfully Singapore Airlines do with a choice of 3 options you can select online before your flight.

Children can be picky about food at the best time of times so its impossible to know exactly what you might be getting and whether the child will like the food. The biggest issue is timing as we had turbulence during the serving of food.

This meant we had to have our daughter on our laps and strapped in so we ate separately and had to send the child food back, being told she had to eat it within 1 hour. The large lump of processed spinach wasn’t to my daughter’s taste and it didn’t look very appetising to us adults either.

Thankfully she loved the turkey and potato. I recommend bringing snacks of your own that your child is guaranteed to eat as the whole long haul flight experience may put some kids of formal meals like this.

Eating at Bassinet seats with infant

The biggest issue was actually caused by very poorly designed bassinet seats. Because there is no seat in front all of the usual in-flight furniture like tray table and TV are built in to the seat. With my daughter sat on my lap it was impossible to move the tray table far enough away for us to use it.

I’m by no means a large person either and our daughter isn’t even 18 months old, yet there was no way she could eat her food while sat on the lap of an adult. The only way we could feed her was by her sitting on my wife’s lap and using my tray table to rest her food on.

Not ideal at all and if you’re travelling alone with your child I’m really not sure how you would feed your child any meal provided by the airline. Thankfully the new interior of some of the Singapore Airlines 777 fleet have addressed this problem but older planes like this one are definitely an issue.

With the bassinet in place, TV out, tray table out and no movable arms on the seats, its all a bit cramped and very limited on space.

Uluru

The highlight of the flight was quite unexpected. On the in-flight map I could see we were approaching Uluru aka “Ayers Rock” and wondered if it would be visible from the plane windows. I noticed another passenger was searching for it out the door window so I knew we were getting close.

The pilot then announced that we’d been given special permission to fly closer to the famous red rock and it would be appearing on the right of the plane within a few minutes. Everyone got very excited and some generous passengers offered us a better view from their seats for a brief while.

It was amazing to see one of the most iconic landmarks in Australia as we flew overhead, quite spectacular and a real treat!

Uluru

Conclusion

Long haul flights go surprisingly fast when you travel with a toddler. There’s so much to do in order to keep them happy, entertained, fed and sleeping comfortably. The 7 hour flight whizzed by and the surprise sight seeing above Uluru added something special too.

Our daughter was mostly on fine form and travelling with young kids is a real ice-breaker with other parents too. The staff were helpful and the bassinet was definitely useful although the interior design made life difficult for people travelling with children under 2 that don’t have their own seat.

With thanks

A big thank you to Singapore Airlines for their support with this review. You can book flights directly with them at the Singapore Airlines Website and follow them on twitter for all the latest news and very helpful customer service.

Retro KLM

Flying the vintage DC3 with #retroKLM

Dutch airline KLM celebrated its 95th Anniversary by taking some very lucky people on a flight in their vintage DC3 aircraft, Princess Amalia. So when I got offered the chance to experience the golden age of flying, I couldn’t say no.

Princess Amalia

Built in 1944, the Princess Amalia was originally used by the 8th Air Force based in the UK. She was involved in the Second World War she was all set to take part in D-Day but just before the invasion, she was hit by German bullet. The repairs are still visible on her today.

Retro KLM

In 1946, H.R.H. Prince Bernhard bought the aircraft from the military and converted her for passenger use. The aircraft was then donated to the Dutch government who kept her in use until her retirement in 1975. It was not until 1998 that the aircraft was restored to flying status again and given her current name of Princess Amalia.

DC3 flight to Newcastle

Now she is operated by the Dutch Dakota Association and sponsored by KLM.

Flying from Amsterdam to Newcastle – the vintage way

Our flight took us from Schiphol Airport to Newcastle where we were treated to two and a half hours of fantastic sights. We flew at an average of 145mph and, at a maximum height of only 5000ft, we could see the waves of the ocean, birds flying and some amazing scenery when we hit the coast.

RetroKLM views

We started off by gathering at the Schiphol Jet Centre. This private aircraft section of the airport is where all the rich and wealthy land when they come to Amsterdam. We secretly hoped to see someone famous, but alas, it was just the DC3 and us. I have to admit, flying privately is definitely a more civilised experience!

While we were waiting at the Jet Centre we even saw a 1919 Junkers JU52 going out on a flight.

Check in for our DC3 flightCheck in was a breeze. The cabin crew came to speak with us while we waited for security to come to us (a refreshing change from the usual queues!) and gave us a rundown of what our flight will be like. Tickets where given and we all could select which window seat we wanted. I took the emergency exit, as we all love the extra legroom. Little did I know, that meant I had about six feet of legroom!

When we got to the plane, we had the opportunity for a quick look around before we boarded and prepared to take off. The floor of the plane is quite steep so getting to my seat. Sitting in the most luxurious of seats, which felt more like an armchair, we were then given our safety briefing from the stewardess.

Retro KLM flight

The DC3 then started to taxi to the runway. It’s surprisingly quiet – we had no problems talking to each other. The engines did a quick run up to 100{bec4beb4183ddc16376e6eff89836f2abe3407e857522bf84005ba0ad48d654d} to warm them up and you could feel the power!

Taking off was a different experience than a normal flight. As I was near the back, I took off before the guys at the front as the tail raises first. We got permission from the air traffic controllers to do a low fly over Amsterdam on the way out. DDA is the only airline who have permission this over the city.

DC3 retro flight from Amsterdam

Feeling the aircraft bank and turn and yaw was amazing. Modern aircraft that use computers to control them remove most of these feelings but in the DC3, the pilots do all this manually. The pilots have no computers to help them navigate, so they still use maps and use roads or railways to help.

Flight maps

When we got to the sea, I could sit back and relax. The crew left the cockpit door open to allow us to go up front and check out the views from there. As the aircraft is non-pressurised, the air was lovely and fresh.

A quick nap for an hour, and we eventually got to the UK coast. After a nice fly around the coast to Newcastle, we got to circle the city where we could see Newcastle highlights like the Tyne bridge and Gateshead Millennium Bridge as well as their football stadium.

Newcastle bridges arial view

Landing was a breeze and very soft. A quick bump as the front main gear hit the ground, then the rear sank until it landed too. A quick taxi to our parking spot, then another look around the outside of the plane before we boarded the airport bus which came to take us to the arrivals building – but unlike a normal flight, this bus waited until we were ready! After that, all we had to do was get through passport control where they asked “if we came from that cute little plane”!

RetroKLM-16-of-20

This is definitely one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences that I was very happy to have taken. KLM most certainly looked after us, and I can’t thank them enough for their hospitality.