Singapore Airlines SQ319 review

SQ319 Review – Singapore Airlines – London to Singapore

Singapore is a country we always enjoy visiting, sometimes staying to check out the sights and visit friends, other times just fleeting visits as we pass through on our way to Australia.

Whatever the reason for visiting Singapore there’s no shortage of flights to this tropical nation. On our latest excursion we were invited to review Singapore Airlines flight SQ319 departing from London Heathrow, flying to Changi Airport.

Singapore Airlines has repeatedly been voted in the top 3 of the world’s best airlines but would their new Boeing 777-300ER live up to the high expectations?

SQ319 flight reviewSQ319 Review topics

  1. Flight management
  2. Checking in at Heathrow
  3. Boarding SQ319
  4. In-flight entertainment
  5. Comfort
  6. Amenities and service

Flight management

SIA flight management appWhile the flights were sponsored in part by Singapore Airlines we had full control of our booking through their website. Logging in with our booking reference and last name, we could pick which seats we wanted with a very clear and concise admin system. There was no additional charge for reserving seats either, only additions for exit rows and any seats with longer legroom. There’s also an option to upgrade your seat to another class and redeem Singapore Airline’s “Krisflyer” points too. We could also check-in online up to 48 hours before our flight although most people seem to check-in online these days so its appeal of queue jumping at the airport is somewhat lost. There’s a mobile app with full access to your booking and flight details making the whole process very easy.

Check-in

All Singapore Airlines flights depart from Terminal 2 at Heathrow and check-in couldn’t be easier. The central entrance to the building has Singapore Airlines check-in desks conveniently located right in front of you at zone E. Whether this is because the airline has paid the airport extra to be located front and centre, I don’t know but it definitely makes finding the check-in desks that little bit easier. There was also no queue when we arrived and we were greeted by the airline’s check-in manager who showed us to the correct desk. A minute later and we were all done, leaving us lots of time to explore the airport and relax before boarding.

Singapore airlines made this handy video all about checking in at terminal 2. Definitely worth watching.

Boarding the Boeing 777-300ER

SQ319 flight reviewSingapore Airlines were keen for us to experience their new 777-300 Extended Range aircraft with its newly designed interior and in-flight entertainment system. Having recently reviewed a British Airways 777-200 to Antigua it was interesting to see how the two compared. Boarding was quick and simple with the rear rows entering first in blocks of 10 rows. The plane has the same 3-3-3 configuration for economy class is all Boeing 777 aircraft so we opted for 2 middle seats giving us easy access to the isle without waking someone up during the night. The cabin was noticeably bigger overhead with newly configured overhead bins and brighter LED lighting.

Singapore is known for its high standards of quality and this was apparent from the moment we stepped on to the plane. The “Singapore Girl” has been a big part of the airline’s marketing since 1972 and all female flight crew had the familiar Singaporean uniform and friendly smile. I’m not entirely sure how the airline does it but there’s a feeling of already being in Singapore even when you’re still at Heathrow Airport.

In-flight entertainment

SIA were very keen for us to try out their brand new in-flight entertainment experience, one that they boast is the world’s most advanced. The first thing of note was the size of the screen which is an impressive 11.1 inch wide-screen format in economy. With touch screen controls you navigate through menus and options with smartphone like gestures, swiping left and right to see more movies and TV shows, taping to view and sliding volume and brightness controls.

Singapore Airlines new in flight entertainment review

The sheer amount of movies on demand here was very impressive. Some of the latest and greatest from Hollywood along with some classics and a wide selection of Chinese and World movies to suit the high numbers of Singaporeans on the flight. There’s a bunch of touch-screen friendly games you can play too which were good fun although the responsiveness of the controls wasn’t quite on a par with an iPad or Android tablet, also repeated tapping and swiping could possibly annoy the passenger who’s head is rested on the other side of your display. Although we had no issues on our flight, we have experienced this on other flights recently.

There’s still a remote control style device wired to the seat in front that once controlled the in flight entertainment system. Rather than remove this device, Singapore Airlines have put it to good use and added another touch screen to it as well. We could easily watch a movie on the main screen while checking the time and flight data updates on the hand held control.

Flight SQ319 new in flight entertainment

There’s also a very useful notifications system on here so any messages from the crew were displayed here rather than pausing the movie and interrupting all the passengers.

One slight issue with the in-flight entertainment system happened some 7 hours or so in to the flight. It had been noted that the flight path section was not working so the crew decided to reboot the entire system which took at least 20 minutes. Most passengers were asleep at this point but unfortunately I was not, instead I was half way through a movie so had to wait patiently while the whole thing re-launched, the cabin was almost pitch black while this happened until the system restarted and every screen in the plane displayed a bright white that no doubt woke a few people up. Other than this minor glitch I have to agree that it is the most advanced in-flight entertainment I’ve seen with more than enough movies, tv and games to keep everyone entertained.

Also worth mentioning the in-flight entertainment system could not be used before or during take off and landing. Something that many other airlines now allow. This makes a surprising difference and I find the anxiety of take-off is drastically reduced by having access to the movies as soon as I board. I hope Singapore Airlines change this policy soon and allow us to use portable electronic devices and the entertainment system to aid a stress free flight.

More to read: What to do in Singapore on a budget.

Comfort

Singapore Airlines 777-300ER interiorOur seats were well padded and covered in a high quality material that could be considered a signature of Singapore Airlines flights now. Definitely better than the standard material used on most budget airlines. The leg room was unfortunately a little less generous than our recent British Airways 777-200 flight. I am taller than the average passenger and had trouble getting comfortable, my knees touching the seat in front and quite a struggle to get them under the seat in front. This was compounded by the the fact that the seat slides forward as you recline, great if you’re short or average height but just made matters worse for me.

Thankfully the surroundings were comforting and the endless movies were distracting enough. I understand many of Singapore Airline’s passengers probably have no issue, with the average height of a Singaporean currently at 1.7 m (5 ft 7 in). I unfortunately am 1.9 m (6 ft 4 in) so in future I’ll need to spend a little extra on a seat with more legroom.

The flight

Flight time was around 12 hours 40 minutes although we were delayed by around 40 minutes at Heathrow due to levels of air traffic over Europe. Something that happened to all air traffic heading east out of London. We later found out why this was when we hit some clear air turbulence of Germany. A fairly bumpy ride for around an hour but the pilot kept us updated and thankfully it never got too rough to scare anyone. Other then at that the flight was smooth and enjoyable. It’s amazing how quickly 12 hours and 40 minutes can go when you’re well fed and entertained.

Amenities and service

One thing Singapore Airlines prides itself on is quality of service and it was highly apparent on this flight. The flight crew were very attentive and always smiling. There was a choice of meals presented to us in a high quality printed menu, the meals were delivered promptly and there were noticeable differences with many other airlines, mostly in the amount of food you were given and the range of drinks available. I’m partial to a famous Singapore Sling cocktail and I have to say the airline’s is one of the best I’ve tasted.

Glasses of water were offered at very regular intervals and a tray of brand snacks was available at any time from the staff located at the Galleys both in the middle of the economy section and at the back. When we went for a snack we had a lovely chat with one staff member who was genuinely interested in why we were heading to Singapore and where we should go.

The toilets always seemed clean and tidy, in fact on a couple of occasions I had to wait while the flight crewed cleaned and sprayed the washrooms with sweet smelling deodoriser. There’s a few airline branded moisturisers available in each washroom along with extra toothbrushes, combs and other sweet smelling lotions. Something I felt inclined to make use of during my half day on the plane.

Conclusion

We had an enjoyable long haul flight to Singapore, touching down only 25 minutes behind schedule. We felt like we’d arrived in Singapore before we’d even taken off and were treated more like human beings than human cargo, a feeling you sometimes get on airlines. The food and service was impeccable and the in flight entertainment system, although briefly out of action, was definitely a big step in the right direction. Offering advanced features and larger screen size, something many airlines should take note from.

Singapore Airlines SQ319 review

While Singapore Airlines is rarely the cheapest way to get to Singapore, it is no doubt the best way to get there. A big thank you to Singapore Airlines for sponsoring us on flight SQ319 from London Heathrow to Singapore.

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=””]

  • 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
  • You can also follow them on twitter too
  • Like the Singapore Airlines Facebook Page for the latest offers

On our return journey we reviewed the Singapore Airlines A380, the enormous double-decker aircraft flying twice daily to London. Check it out to compare the quality of the A380-800 service with the new 777-300ER.

British Airways flight to Antigua

British Airways BA2157 review – London Gatwick to Antigua

While it’s the flagship carrier of Great Britain I’ll admit it’s not an airline I’ve flown with for many years so I was keen to see how they’ve changed over the years and how they fare compared to other flights out of London.

British Airways BA2157 review

  • Flight number: BA2157
  • Origin: London Gatwick
  • Destination: Antigua
  • Distance: 6564 km / 4079 miles
  • Duration: 8 hours 10 minutes
  • Leaves on time:  83{bec4beb4183ddc16376e6eff89836f2abe3407e857522bf84005ba0ad48d654d}
  • Average Delay: 37 minutes

Flight management

BA2157 reviewWhile these flights were sponsored by Elite island Resorts and British Airways, we had full control of the ticket management via the BA website.

The site has a lot of information on their services although can be a little confusing at times. Managing our flights was relatively easy and we could add more personal information to the booking to allow us easier check-in. We could reserve seats before check in but for a few of £27 per person.

This is the first time I’ve seen an airline charge for seat selection on a long haul flight as it’s usually included in the flight cost.

We opted to wait until online check-in 24 hours before we flew where we could then reserve our preferred seats at no extra cost.

Check in

Thanks to the British airways app on the iPhone our check in was quick and painless. You check on the app, select your seats and are given a virtual ticket with a bar code on your screen.

At Gatwick airport we walked up to an available check in machine where it scanned the bar code and printed both our boarding passes and labels for our bags.

A quick walk over to a bag drop and we were all done in record time with no queues.

Boarding our Boeing 777-200

BA5157 london gatwick to antiguaBoarding was fairly quick with an usual order to get passengers on. Presumably as the entrance being used was further back, allowing passengers at the front and back to board first with us in the middle boarding last.

Our chosen seats were a middle row of 3 which I’ve not seen before. Usually you see a 3-4-3 configuration.

Sitting in the middle row meant there was no need for either of us to have to move out-of-the-way for other passengers to get in and out.

Something I do a lot as I like to exercise my long legs.

Comfort

Seats on British Airways Boeing 777The seats are in British Airways trademark blue and with surprisingly more leg room than I expected for standard economy seating.

Being 6’4″ tall and mostly legs I often find my knees jammed up against the seat in front but thankfully this wasn’t such an issue for a change.

I did have to spend some of the flight with my knee jutting in to the isle which is usually fine except for getting bashed by food trollies or the occasional passenger not looking down.

The padding on the seats had seen better days while mine was not as cushioning as it once was, Deborah’s back cushions had little to protect from the passenger behind putting objects in their seat pouch that jutted in to her back at times. An extra pillow soon sorted this out.

The head rests on either side are adjustable and really helped when trying to sleep for a while. We both managed I have a decent nap to offset the effects of jet lag.

One of the headrests was broken on my seat but thankfully this just meant it stayed down, closer to where id want it anyway.

The flight

With a flight time of around 8 hours we were due to set off at 10:20. Unfortunately some data about balance load weights was delayed from Heathrow and our captain did a good job of keeping us informed. We finally took off around 10:50 but arrived on time thanks to favourable winds.

The weather at Gatwick was wet and windy but thankfully low-lying so we soon left it behind with only a little extra turbulence on take off.

With storms over the UK and much of the eastern Atlantic we actually had a fairly smooth ride considering. The seat belt signs only coming on once during our time which is fairly low for an average North Atlantic flight.

In flight entertainment

British Airways In Flight EntertainmentThis is a service that can really define a flight as good or bad. The range of movies was excellent with more big blockbusters than you usually see on long haul flights. While the size of the collection wasn’t as big as other carriers we had no problem finding movies we’d wanted to see for ages.

With touch screen control its easy to navigate and pause the movies but with one drawback. The technology for touch control involved a clearly visible grid of lines on the screen that were often quite annoying during watching.

The screen quality wasn’t great but after a while you get used to the reduced quality. I think this is an area that will come under increasing scrutiny in the future as we compare these screens to those of our tablet computers like the iPad and Android devices.

Other than movies, tv and audio there’s little else on the in flight entertainment. Having experiences games on carriers back in 2008 some of which you can play against other passengers, I would have expected a little more from British airways on 2013 but I’m guessing this particular 777-200 is due overhaul.

Amenities and service

The staff were friendly on entrance and exit of the flight of that I expected anyway. During the flight there all performed their tasks well although I’d say other airlines offer more of a smile and attentive service than this flight.

While I can’t complain about the service we received I did not that there we’re less drinks offered and snack foods too.

Other airlines like to give surprise treats as an easy way to keep their customers happy, something that didn’t happen on this flight. We were welcome to ask for a drink or extra snack from the galley at the back of the plane so kept hydrated this way.

The toilets on this 777-200 were fairly small but well equipped. One thing I did notice is that they weren’t cleaned regularly so by the end of the flight had towels and paper on the floors and toilet rolls that had come unraveled.

Not a major issue but something that should have been checked once an hour to keep things tidy.

British Airways flight to Antigua

Conclusion

An airlines ability to make a long haul flight seem like a simple journey is always something important to me and British Airways flight BA5156 did a good job of that. Suitably entertained and fed just about enough.

While there were a few extras I would have liked to see I was happy with what was on offer. The journey from Gatwick to Antigua was comfortable, smooth and above all easy.

Flights from London to Antigua

I’ve searched the internet for the latest flight deals from London to Antigua and back. Here’s what I found.

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A380 Best economy seat

Since travelling to Singapore and back on the “Super Jumbo”  I’ve been asked by a number of people what it was like and where is the best economy seat on the Airbus A380? So here’s my quick review of economy on a Singapore Airlines A380 plane.

Firstly when you walk up the departure gates at Heathrow and see it you realise it’s real size. It’s main body doesn’t appear taller than a Boeing 747 because they both have two decks at the front of the plane. The biggest difference it’s wingspan. It’s huge! Much wider than any other plane I’ve seen. The tail fin towers over everything around you at 24 metres high.

Inside it’s pretty much like any other aircraft at first. Mainly because all the overhead compartments are down ready for you to pack your bags in to. Once they’re all up though you see the difference. There’s a lot more head room as the sides of the main deck don’t slant inwards, It does on the upper deck so presumably there’s less head room up there.

Firstly a little review of the plane

Take off is a non event. Getting 600 tonnes of plane doesn’t happen very quickly so there’s no sudden acceleration, Just a smooth take off you hardly notice. It’s also so much quieter than any other plane. You could easily sleep though take-off if you were knackered!

airbus a380 is the most fuel efficient plane per passengerAs the plane holds more people there’s more toilets and more galleys of course. Don’t be fooled by the little curtains the pull across, you are allowed to walk anywhere in your class so we headed to the back to find the staircase. It wasn’t as grand as it could have been but then i guess space saving and weight reduction is the key. The back of any plane moves around more than anywhere else on it so hold on when you’re going up!

It was a novelty going up stairs on a plane to see a whole other plane up there, with loads more economy seats and 60 flat bed business class. There was talk of upstairs on some airline’s A380s being shops and health spas but with the current economic turmoil i think bums on seats is more likely.

So what is the best seat in economy?

The best seats in Economy are of course bulkhead ones although people tend to queue in front of you for the toilets. Not so nice. So the other best seat in Economy was mine! 48D is the one seat with no seat in front of it as there’s an escape hatch for the staff dorm room below. forward planning meant we’d booked this seat for both journeys on the day we ordered the tickets back in February. I’m 6’4″ and i couldn’t reach the seat in front. Perfect and had quite a lot of people tutting as the walked past, wondering why they hadn’t booked that seat for themselves!

On board entertainment on the A380

The on board entertainment is much like any other plane these days with on demand movies and TV shows along with a few rather cheap computer games. I managed to crash the computer in my chair so they had to reset it! Turns out they run a cut down version of Windows so that explains it! Some great features of it are the USB port you can charge your iPod up on or plug in your USB memory stick and work on your word documents. There’s also a video in connection for watching your home movies through the entertainment system. Every chair also has mains power although i think they’re all American style plugs or maybe there’s a special adapter you have to buy from the airline.

Landing an A380

Landing was fun at Singapore! Storm clouds meant it was pretty rocky but we landed fine. Coming back to the UK was very smooth. There are some seriously loud thuds and clunks when you’re coming in to land. The wheels locking in place made a few people wonder “is that normal?”. Also the flaps on the wings extending during landing makes a loud whirring noise as the extend to what looks like the size of a football pitch!

So all in all we enjoyed our experience on the Airbus A380. It’s big, it’s heavy, it’s a pretty smooth flight and we’ll be seeing a lot more of them in the Air over the next few months to America and the far east.