Flight to South Africa – Singapore Airlines Business Class (1 Dec 2018)
We were really pumped for this flight, as this is Xiuling’s maiden Singapore Airlines flight, and my first business class flight on SIA.
In terms of Krisflyer miles/miles flown, it’s safe to say that flights to Cape Town are the most worth it, at just 45000 miles at that time (49000 miles after the devaluation in January 2019), for a 13 h flight to Cape Town. In comparison, it costs nearly twice that at more than 90000 miles to fly to Europe, with roughly the same flight duration. I guess this has got to do with the popularity of the flights and scarcity of redemption seats, even if dollar-for-dollar European flights aren’t any cheaper than that to South Africa. We managed to snag these tickets in March 2018 without a waitlist, but it’s safe to say that it’s always good to book as far ahead in advance if possible (the earliest you can redeem is 1 year in advance) so as to secure the desired tickets. Waitlists in my experience rarely free up, maybe only a day or two before your trip sometimes.
As we walked up to the Business Class counters, we felt like a bunch of rather privileged folks… particularly since we usually flew budget wherever possible.
As usual, Changi pulls out all the stops to make the airport a welcoming place. Even though it was still nearly a month away from Christmas, the Christmas decorations were already out in full force.
We got to the airport rather early to have enough time to enjoy the Silverkris lounge. We were surprised to see how crowded the lounge was, despite its huge size (this is easily bigger than any of the other lounges accessible with the DragonPass/Priority Pass). I guess it’s because SIA doesn’t kick people out after 3 hours, so many folks just linger there for hours upon hours to enjoy the place.
Thankfully, we found a table fairly easily, and proceeded to grab some dinner off the buffet line. (At this point I must apologize for the poor quality of the food photos – was still new to the Sony A6300 and didn’t bother to focus the macro shot properly).
The food was definitely better than the standard lounges, with a large variety of food ranging from Chinese to Indian and Western. They also had Tiger beer on tap, and TWG tea, so it was pretty awesome.
We waited till almost the last possible moment before getting our asses out of the lounge and to the gate. From my experience it’s totally okay to be at the gate 30 minutes before departure, even if the announcement says Gate Closing. However if you’re taking business class, you might want to be there early so as to “enjoy” the privilege of boarding early (which we didn’t, as we were enjoying the lounge a little too much and having 1 cup of TWG tea too many).
And finally, we got to our seats! Usually we’d just walk by these nice spacious seats wondering when we’d get to sit in one of them, and finally we’re here 🙂
The stewardess noticed that I was taking photos, and volunteered to take a photo for us. The start of really nice service throughout the entire flight!
After we had settled into our seats and explored every square inch of what was around us like an excited kid with a new toy, we were immediately offered champagne. This would be the first glass of alcohol out of… 10? for the entire flight.
The menu was extensive, as expected. The list of coffee, tea and beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) was just mind-boggling.
Our first meal was wanton mee (the soup version). The meal service and presentation was definitely a notch (actually, make that 10 notches) above that of economy class. First, they would lay a white tablecloth over your large table – no more struggling not to knock your drink off your table because you can have like FIVE drinks on your table easily, yay! Then, they would carefully place the cutlery on your table. Food was all served in proper plates and bowls, so none of that plastic-and-aluminium-foil nonsense (sorry I’m beginning to sound like an entitled elite hehehe).
The food tasted better than we thought – perhaps even better than at least 70% of what’s usually available at hawker stalls (although, I almost always eat the dry version of wanton mee – this is probably slightly closer to the HK version where the soup version is much more common).
After that we settled in for the night and converted our seats into a flat bed. One common complaint of the SIA business class seat was that one had to sleep diagonally, because the cubby-hole for your legs were angled to the side. I didn’t really have much of an issue with that, personally. Although I guess if you’re paying a premium for these seats (either with miles or cold, hard cash) on what’s arguably the best airline in the world, even the slightest “fault” has to be singled out.
In any case, I was super happy to be all stretched out. You know how we always wanted time to pass as quickly as possible on a long-haul flight by sleeping it away? In this case however, I actually set an alarm 3 hours later to wake myself up, so that I could continue to enjoy the service and beverages. It would have been too much of a waste if I woke up at my destination having not enjoyed much of what I came here for 😛
About 2+ hours before our flight landed, we were served breakfast. This being an overnight service, there was no Lobster Thermidor offered for Book-The-Cook, unfortunately. Instead, I got the Angus beef burger, while Xiuling got the nasi lemak.
The burger was pretty great with a juicy patty, but the nasi lemak was nothing to write home about – the chicken was rather overcooked and stiff.
So after a 10h 40 mins flight, we landed in Johannesburg for a brief 1h stop. At this time, we had to remain in our seats (which we were happy to do so – but probably not, if we were in Economy).
The flight to Cape Town promptly resumed – this time it would be a short 2h flight. We were served breakfast – a more basic one this time. I got the tuna sandwich which was quite good, while Xiuling got the platter.
Given the rather small quantity of food earlier, I decided to try the noodles (which you could order at any time during the flight). I was told that the noodles were actually instant noodles and was thus expecting to be served an instant noodle cup, but instead the noodles came in a nice bowl and proper cutlery again. Just… wow.
Since we were seated in the centre aisle, we asked to move to a window seat to enjoy the view. The flight was probably 70% empty, so I guess most of the travellers dropped off at Jo’burg.
And we’re in South Africa!
All in all, the experience was really great – perfect start to any adventure, but perhaps it almost raises the bar a little too high given the insane comfort level and luxury relative to what we always experienced in our trips. Service was impeccable and there were no complaints about the ample seat room available. Definitely looking forward to such an experience again hopefully next year-end, but first, South Africa beckons. See you in the next post!
This entry was posted in South Africa